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Posts Tagged ‘SUVs’

Hyundai Set to Launch 1st Pickup, Flood of New SUVs

Official Santa Cruz announcement to come by April.

by on Jan.29, 2016

Hyundai won raves for the Santa Cruz concept, a car-based pickup unveiled in early 2015.

In a market increasingly dominated by pickups and utility vehicles, Hyundai is “out of whack,” with a car-dominated model mix, but that’s about to change, says the company’s top U.S. executive.

Sometime before April, the Korean carmaker is formally planning to announce it will build the well-received Santa Cruz pickup that debuted in concept form at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. But it will be just one in a flurry of new crossover-based models for both the mainstream Hyundai and new Genesis luxury brands, officials have confirmed.

“We’re out of whack, a fish swimming upstream,” in the current environment, said Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski, noting that while truck models currently account for 58% of the U.S. vehicle market, they make up barely 27% of Hyundai’s American volume.

Keep on Truckin'!

And without getting more in line with market trends, Hyundai is beginning to see its steady growth begin to sputter, officials acknowledged during a media preview of the new Elantra sedan in San Diego.

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VW’s New Touareg Outfitted to Fit in with High-End SUVs

Maker’s sport-ute gets facelift, new technology.

by on Dec.08, 2014

Volkswagen is looking to compete in the high-end SUV market with a freshened Touareg that includes a boatload of safety and convenience technologies.

Volkswagen of America had been rolling along toward some ambitious sales targets when a decided shift away from cars to crossovers and sport utility vehicles robbed it of its forward momentum and put more pressure on its own SUVs, such as the Touareg.

While facing competition from SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz ML and Acura MDX, which have been overhauled in the last couple of years, VW still believes the Touareg can still hold its own.

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For 2015, the Touareg gets facelift, an optional driver assistance package and a refreshed interior with new convenience features. The Touareg also retains its sturdy vehicle dynamics, which deliver solid ride and handling under a variety of driving conditions thanks to well-tuned suspension, brakes and steering. (more…)

Ford Introducing 2016 Explorer at L.A. Auto Show

Maker teasing “#ExploreMore” campaign on social media.

by on Oct.29, 2014

Ford Explorer sales are up 8.7% for the year. The maker is going to debut the 2016 model at the L.A. Auto Show.

Ford is ready to celebrate another special anniversary with a new vehicle. The maker is marking the 25th anniversary of the Ford Explorer with a new 2016 model it will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

As part of the launch, Ford will debut an “#ExploreMore” digital teaser campaign on social media. The Explorer wasn’t the first midsize sport-utility vehicle in the U.S., however, it is the best-selling one. Since its introduction, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has sold nearly 7 million Explorers.

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Sales this year are up as Ford has sold more than 158,000 Explorers through the first nine months of 2014, up 8.7%. (more…)

Jeep Has Attitude – Make that “Altitude”

Name chosen from 100,000 entries.

by on Mar.27, 2012

The Jeep Compass Altitude, one of three new models to wear the new "Altitude" badge.

Jeep is adding a new array of blacked-out, limited-edition models to its line-up, dubbing them the “Altitude” edition, a name chosen from 100,000 entries in its “Name My Ride” contest.

There will be three models bearing the new altitude badge, versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Patriot and Compass SUVs.  The public got a first look at the “production intent concepts” – and an invitation to come up with a name – at the Houston Auto Show, last January.

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“The fact that well over 100,000 consumers entered our ‘Name My Ride’ contest reinforces the passion behind the Jeep brand, and its position as one of the most recognizable and popular brands in the world,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “These new Jeep Altitude editions will clearly have a broad appeal among consumers, especially those looking for something distinctive, edgy, and just plain cool.”

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First Drive: 2012 Jeep Wrangler

Power to the people.

by on Aug.22, 2011

The big changes for the 2012 Jeep Wrangler are found under the hood.

Nobody doubts the iconic status of the Jeep Wrangler. It is, after all an “All-American” classic, with a distinctive bloodline that reaches back 70 years to the  legendary Jeeps of World War II.

For 2012, however, the Wrangler gets better, much better, as it is equipped up with an all-new and more powerful 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with five-speed automatic transmission that enhances the Wrangler’s on-road performance without compromising any of its legendary off-road capabilities.

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The 2012 Jeep Wrangler’s ride on ordinary pavement, which was traditionally rather rough, is instead quieter, smoother and less harsh with better fuel-economy as well as more power and torque.

Despite the on-road improvements, a first drive of the 2012 Wrangler revealed an SUV that is just as capable as ever of traversing unimproved forest trails and charging up hills through the most rugged terrain.

Wrangler gets an all-new Pentastar V-6 for 2012.

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World Car of the Year Finalists Announced

Europeans dominate, though Leaf, Grand Cherokee make the cut.

by on Feb.07, 2011

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the only U.S. model among the 10 World Car of the Year finalists.

European automakers overwhelmed their North American and Asian competition, placing eight of the 10 products to make the cut as finalists in the World Car of the Year balloting.

Audi, with the new A1 and A8 models, and BMW, with the redesigned X3 and 5-Series, have the strongest presence on the list, which also includes, among Europeans:

  • Jaguar XJ;
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS;
  • Porsche Cayenne; and
  • Volvo S60/V60.

In an unexpected slight, only Nissan, with the all-new battery-electric Leaf, and Jeep, and the newly redesigned Grand Cherokee, managed to find a spot alongside the Continental offerings.

Notably absent were the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, which has won an armful of awards, including North American Car of the Year, and the Ford Explorer, named last month North American Truck of the Year.  Leaf came in just behind Volt in the North American balloting, while Grand Cherokee lost out to the Explorer.

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Land Rover to Reveal Production LRX Crossover

Launch to mark Range Rover’s 40th anniversary.

by on Jun.30, 2010

A 2009 rendering of the LRX. Look for some changes -- and a new name -- as Land Rover's first front-drive crossover debuts late this year, with a hybrid version to follow by 2013.

There’ll be more than just a birthday cake to help Land Rover celebrate the 40th anniversary of its flagship Range Rover tomorrow, a bouncing baby brother that’s been making the rounds, in concept form, as the LRX.

Lower, sleeker and decidedly more crossover-like, the compact Range Rover that’s due to a formal unveiling could take the British-based marque into a new era, one where car-based crossovers have come to dominate traditional, truck-like sport-utility vehicles on the sales charts.

Similar to the concept vehicle Land Rover has been promoting on the auto show circuit for several years, the production version of the LRX boasts a less boxy appearance, with a more sloping honeycomb grille, pinched headlights, and a roofline that appears to taper towards the rear hatch.

The show car – along with a number of heavily camouflaged prototypes seen in recent months – sported a two-door configuration, but a 4-door is also reportedly under development.

Don’t expect to see the show car’s LRX name to carry over into production, various sources report, though the actual moniker will be tightly held until a global webcast launch from Land Rover headquarters in the U.K. Thursday afternoon.

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2011 Ford Explorer to Get “Curve Control”

Automaker emphasizing safety as truck-based ute switches to crossover platform.

by on Jun.28, 2010

A prototype of the 2011 Ford Explorer. Expect significant changes by the time the production model is revealed this summer.

Ford Motor Co. will introduce what it is billing as the next level in automotive safety with the launch of the 2011 Explorer, a system the maker has dubbed “Curve Control.”

The technology is designed to go a step further than today’s electronic stability control, the maker says, allowing the vehicle to sense whether it is turning as much as the driver intends.

Curve Control is just one of a number of new systems debuting on what will be a very different vehicle than the classic Ford Explorer, a product that, two decades ago helped kick off the boom in sport-utility vehicle sales.

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Curve Control is a sort of analog to stability control, according to Ford.  That earlier system is designed to detect when a vehicle enters oversteer – counteracting what the average motorist would call a skid.  The new system helps correct understeer, phenomenon most makers actually design into their products.  That’s fine under most circumstances, but under aggressive driving or slick road conditions it can lead to a loss of control, with the vehicle sliding off the road.

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First Look: Hyundai 2010 Santa Fe

Sometimes luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

by on Jan.11, 2010

Hyundai Sante Fe 2010

Freshened outside and with more efficient powertrains underneath.

Hyundai made the decision several years back to try to lead in fuel economy in the segments it competes in – a plan that is now emerging in production just as fuel economy and emissions reduction have become the hot topics in the business.

Enter the freshened Sante Fe with newly competitive powertrains with six-speed transmissions, which improve both fuel economy and vehicle performance. The 2010 Santa Fe is available at Hyundai dealers now.

The 2010 Santa Fe debuts Hyundai’s second-generation Theta four-cylinder engine. The Theta II 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine delivers quicker zero-to-60 miles-per-hour acceleration than the Santa Fe with the old V6 engine, while also improving fuel economy ratings by 17%.

The four-cylinder is now rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and the new six-speed automatic transmission. The Theta II is rated at 175 horsepower and 169 lb.-ft. of torque. This high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on both camshafts and a Variable Intake System (VIS) for better engine breathing.

Santa Fe’s old 3.3-liter V6 engine has also been replaced by a Lambda II 3.5-liter V6 engine. The Lambda II 3.5-liter V6 engine makes an estimated 34 more horsepower and 22 more pound-feet of torque (276 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque).

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First Look: Hyundai Sante Fe

Sometimes luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

by on Jan.01, 2010

Hyundai Sante Fe 2010

Freshened outside and with more efficient powertrains underneath.

Hyundai made the decision several years back to try to lead the segments it competes in fuel economy – a plan that is now emerging in production just as fuel economy and emissions reduction have become the hot topics in the business.

Enter the freshened Sante Fe with newly competitive powertrains with six-speed transmissions, which improve both fuel economy and vehicle performance. The 2010 Santa Fe is available at Hyundai dealers now.

The 2010 Santa Fe debuts Hyundai’s second-generation Theta four-cylinder engine. The Theta II 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine delivers quicker zero-to-60 miles-per-hour acceleration than the Santa Fe with the old V6 engine, while also improving fuel economy ratings by 17%.

The four-cylinder is now rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and the new six-speed automatic transmission. The Theta II is rated at 175 horsepower and 169 lb.-ft. of torque. This high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on both camshafts and a Variable Intake System (VIS) for better engine breathing.

Santa Fe’s old 3.3-liter V6 engine has also been replaced by a Lambda II 3.5-liter V6 engine. The Lambda II 3.5-liter V6 engine makes an estimated 34 more horsepower and 22 more pound-feet of torque (276 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque).

(more…)