Tag Archives: CUV

Report: Chrysler delays 2014 Jeep Cherokee media launch

By Brandon Turkus

2014 Jeep Cherokee

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Chrysler is making the unusual move of delaying the first media drives of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which were slated to start next week in Seattle. And while something like this is a rare occurrence, and one that most of the Autoblog staff can’t recall happening this publicly or so close to the event itself, it won’t effect the actual on-sale date of the new Cherokee, which is set to hit showrooms in September.

“Over the last couple of weeks during final quality and durability testing, we have discovered the opportunity to further improve powertrain calibration,” Chrysler told Automotive News. This marks the second notable delay in the Cherokee’s short life, after production was delayed for roughly a month earlier this summer.

Still, we’d rather Chrysler make sure the Cherokee is ready for primetime before flying media in from around the country. It shows a willingness to get things right the first time, rather than offering media drives and then tweaking the car after the fact.

A simple look at the Cherokee’s powertrain is all that’s needed to understand how big of a deal it is. Everything under the oddly styled CUV’s hood is new, from a tweaked 2.4-liter engine to a new 3.2-liter V-6, to the first use of Chrysler Group’s new nine-speed automatic, developed jointly with ZF. The pressure to get this right must be immense. We’ll find out if Chrysler succeeds in September.

Chrysler delays 2014 Jeep Cherokee media launch originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: Updated J.D. Power APEAL study shines on VW Group, Chevy

By Brandon Turkus

2013 Volkswagen full line parked in field

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J.D. Power has just revealed the results of its 2013 APEAL Study, which looks at which brands have the most appealing cars based on sales figures, dealer inventory, brand loyalty, transaction and trade-in prices. The study was revamped for 2013, and places a larger focus on the new tech and infotainment options available to customers. All told, study participants gauged their vehicles on 77 different attributes, delivering a score out of a 1,000 points.

The Volkswagen Group had the greatest success of any corporation, topping the APEAL rankings with the Audi Allroad, Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayenne, VW GTI and Passat. Chevrolet had the highest number of awards for a single brand, though, with the Avalanche, Sonic and Volt all taking home a prize.

The best brand overall was Porsche, which scored 884 out of a possible 1,000 points. The top Japanese brand was Lexus with a score of 847, while the top American brand was Cadillac, at 841. The best mainstream brand was Ram, which received a very respectable 817. The industry average for this year’s study was 795, with 16 brands, all of which were mainstream, falling below the average.

There were a few surprises for the individual model awards, as well. The Buick Encore took the sub-compact CUV class, while the Ford Mustang was the winner of the mid-size sporty car segment. The Lincoln MKZ beat out the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, and a spate of others to capture the compact premium car segment. Finally, the redesigned Land Rover Range Rover was the first vehicle outside of the large premium car segment to net the highest overall score. For more details, scroll down to read the official press release.

Continue reading Updated J.D. Power APEAL study shines on VW Group, Chevy

Updated J.D. Power APEAL study shines on VW Group, Chevy originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Renault promises new concept car and Dacia Duster in Frankfurt

By Brandon Turkus

Dacia Duster front three-quarter

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Renault and Dacia will be headed to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in a big way, with a new concept car from the French company and an all-new Duster from its Romanian budget brand. The new concept is particularly exciting, as Renault’s press release mentions a “new brand identity.” We can also count on this car being a bit higher on the luxury scale than Renault’s traditional offerings.

Dacia’s new Duster will have big shoes to fill when it hits the spotlights of Frankfurt. The current Duster (pictured), a small, handsomely rugged CUV, was introduced in 2010, and has been a critical hit in Great Britain, Russia, and India (where it’s called the Renault Duster). It’s also been a smash with customers, becoming Renault’s best-selling global model.

Both the new Duster and Renault’s latest concept will hit the stage in Frankfurt on September 10.

Continue reading Renault promises new concept car and Dacia Duster in Frankfurt

Renault promises new concept car and Dacia Duster in Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mitsubishi recalling 2013 Outlander Sport for suspension issue

By Jonathon Ramsey

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - front three-quarter view, tan

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Just 305 units of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport are the subject of a recall over a potential suspension issue. Crossovers made from January 17-25 of this year might suffer from a bad weld on the front left strut’s stabilizer link. If it fails, damage to the brake hose or tire could result, in turn making steering or braking control of the compact CUV more difficult.

When the recall begins, owners can take their Outlander Sports to Mitsubishi dealers for inspection and replacement of the strut assembly if necessary. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bulletin below has more information.

Continue reading Mitsubishi recalling 2013 Outlander Sport for suspension issue

Mitsubishi recalling 2013 Outlander Sport for suspension issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Long Term: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013

By Steven J. Ewing

Long-Term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder - front three-quarter view

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When we say that our long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has been busy, we mean it. Want proof? In the past month, the big, brown Nissan was only idle enough for us to take it in for its 11,500-mile routine service and to shoot a couple of new photos of the long-termer in Detroit.

Most recently, the Pathfinder spent a few weeks in the hands of AOL Autos‘ executive editor Sharon Carty, who used the three-row CUV to haul her entire family from Detroit to New Jersey and back… twice. That’s a pretty serious amount of miles, but it gave Sharon a really solid look into how the vehicle holds up for the needs of a family with kids of different ages.

Continue reading 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013

2013 Nissan Pathfinder: June 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Hyundai mulling new small CUV under Tucson

By Chris Paukert

2013 Hyundai Tucson - front three-quarter view, silver

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Hyundai maintains it can barely build enough of its core models to satisfy North American consumers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t keen to expand its offerings to capture developing segments of the market. According to Edmunds, one of those expanding niches could be the burgeoning subcompact crossover segment. The website quotes Hyundai North America president and CEO John Krafcik as acknowledging his company is “very under-represented” in crossovers, the market’s hottest vehicle type.

With the discontinuation of the Veracruz, Hyundai is down to two CUV nameplates, Tucson (pictured) and Santa Fe, the latter of which covers two segments with a two-row Sport and long-wheelbase three-row model. And while Hyundai commands seven percent of the US sedan market, the company estimates it only has two percent of the truck segment.

And while Krafcik stops short of confirming a new model, he acknowledges “a new segment is emerging” underneath the Tucson and says, “I think it’s something to look at.” At the moment, the subcompact softroader segment remains small and somewhat amorphous, with tiny CUV offerings like the Buick Encore, Nissan Juke, and now-discontinued Suzuki SX4 illustrating that there are a lot of different ways to package and market such a vehicle.

Edmunds expects a new Tucson sometime around 2015, so with Krafcik admitting that the company has no firm plans but is starting to look into the matter, it’s likely that we won’t see a smaller CUV from Hyundai until sometime after that.

Hyundai mulling new small CUV under Tucson originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Long Term: 2014 Mazda6: June 2013

By Steven J. Ewing

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The 2014 Mazda6 is our most recent addition to the Autoblog long-term fleet, and we spent the month of June getting to know our Soul Red tester, generally enjoying the honeymoon phase of this twelve-month relationship. During June, the Mazda6 spent the majority of its time with director of photography Drew Phillips, who in addition to putting together this pretty gallery of our rakish long-term car, had a lot to say about it as a daily driver.

You see, not too long before Mazda delivered our long-term 6, Drew bought a 2014 CX-5 crossover to support his growing family. The CX-5 was the first vehicle to use Mazda’s full suite of Skyactiv technologies, and we’ve generally enjoyed the good-to-drive CUV. A lot of that CX-5 goodness lies beneath the more shapely lines of this sleek Mazda6 sedan, so it’s only fitting that Drew had a lot of comparisons between Mazda’s two housemates during his month behind the wheel.

Continue reading 2014 Mazda6: June 2013

2014 Mazda6: June 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA gets official ahead of Shanghai

By Zach Bowman

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Mercedes-Benz has something special planned for the Shanghai Motor Show – a new CUV concept that we first saw when it leaked on the internet yesterday. The GLA Concept compact crossover will hit the show stand with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive, and likely previews a new production model that we’ve already spotted testing.

That’s not news, but the laser-based headlamps with video-projecting capability certainly are. Mercedes-Benz says the array can project any image or video onto a screen, which is handy since there are a pair of HD cameras mounted to the roof rack. The cameras can be removed and taken with you on all sorts of adventures. The lamps also feature a visible cooling system comprised of a series of fans, and the system helps give the headlights their “sparkle” effect.

Step indoors and the GLA offers up the interior of a high-quality crossover, complete with contrasting leather and plenty of aluminum. The automaker says the cabin was inspired by saddle craftsmanship with “more than 65 feet of hand-stitched seams to hold the raw edges of the leather together.”

You can check out the full press release below for more information, and stay tuned for live photos direct from Shanghai later this week.

Continue reading Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA gets official ahead of Shanghai

Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA gets official ahead of Shanghai originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Apr 2013 03:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Review: 2013 Toyota RAV4

By Seyth Miersma

2013 Toyota RAV4 - front three-quarter view, red

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A Nicer View Than Ever Of Middle Of The Road

When we had our first shot behind the wheel of the 2013 Toyota RAV4, the overall judgment from Managing Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski could be summed up in a sentence along the lines of, “Eh, not bad.” The truth is that the compact crossover segment, now filled with not-so-compact offerings, is as cutthroat as any in the industry these days. When a heavyweight player like the RAV4 comes to market with a new generation, it is not at liberty to start from a clean sheet, lest it throw cold water on a vehicle that sells tens of thousands of units globally every month. Like De La Soul says, “Stakes is high.”

If the choices in the marketplace were still largely limited to the Honda CR-V, as was the case when this market niche was green, the Toyota offering might actually seem like the exciting choice. But with new players offering better dynamic thrills (Mazda CX-5), cool turbo motors and fancy technology (Ford Escape), or even crunchy cred (Subaru Forester), the small crossover shopper is really spoiled for choice in 2013.

With Mr. Korzeniewski’s excellent First Drive review covering the granularity of the RAV4 specification so well, we chose to focus our notes this time around on living with the Toyota in its natural suburban habitat for a longer stretch. What’s more, we’ll try to mark out where the CUV wins, loses or draws with the rest of the strident segment.

Continue reading 2013 Toyota RAV4

2013 Toyota RAV4 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Apr 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Subcompact car sales in a funk despite high gas prices

By Chris Paukert

2013 Mazda2 - metallic green, front three-quarter view

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When gas prices rise, knee-jerk consumerism means that sales of small cars increase in lockstep, right? Well, sometimes – but that’s not always the case. Ward’s Auto reports that sales of subcompact car sales in America are off despite fuel prices pushing and holding at $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon across the country. According to the report, the “Lower Small” segment has seen a 2.6-percent sales decline since October, while fuel prices have been on the rise. Despite their comparatively thirsty appetite for fuel, the industry publication notes that sales of large crossovers are up a whopping 61 percent over the same time period.

Part of the sales stories may center on the boom/bust cycle that comes as a result of new or aging models in each segment – the full-size CUV segment has received a raft of new models, including the refreshed Lambda triplets from General Motors, the Nissan Pathfinder and even derivatives like the new Sport model in the Ford Explorer family. Yet it isn’t as if America’s subcompact segment is stagnant – as Ward’s points out, most of the players are two years old or less.

Sales losers in the first quarter of the year include the Mazda2 (pictured – down 51.9 percent), Toyota Yaris (-27.9 percent) and Hyundai Accent (-24.7), though other models including the Kia Rio and Chevrolet Sonic slipped as well. Conversely, the Nissan Versa and Ford Fiesta held their own, registering sales up 11.6 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Part of subcompacts’ sales problem may be due to the fact that those same automakers offer larger compact models whose fuel economy figures are comparable to that of their smaller counterparts. Further, pricing differences may not amount to all that much between the models – particularly in leasing situations where compact cars’ typically command higher residual values.

Subcompact car sales in a funk despite high gas prices originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Apr 2013 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Land Rover planning entry-level 'baby' SUV?

By Zach Bowman

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Autocar reports Land Rover may be mulling a new, inexpensive SUV to slot below the company’s current offerings. John Edwards, global brand director for Land Rover, has confirmed his company’s product planners are currently evaluating the viability of a baby SUV. Edwards says he scan see such a model performing well in several markets, but has yet to see a convincing business case for bringing the machine to life right now. Other premium manufacturers are seriously pushing into the small CUV market with vehicles like the upcoming Porsche Macan, BMW X1 and even the Mini Countryman.

If the small Land Rover were to come to fruition, we could expect the car to carry an MSRP of around 18,000 pounds in the UK, or around $27,500 in the US at current conversion rates. Autocar reports the machine would likely borrow design cues from the beefy-looking Land Rover DC100 Concept as well as the upcoming Defender replacement.

Land Rover planning entry-level ‘baby’ SUV? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Electrified BMW X1 spotted testing

By Steven J. Ewing

BMW X1 EV/Hybrid spy shots

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So here’s something interesting. This might look like an ordinary BMW X1, but take a closer glance – those stickers on the side read “hybrid test vehicle,” and around back, there doesn’t appear to be a tailpipe at all. But does this mean that BMW is working on a straight-up all-electric version of its smallest crossover? Let’s hypothesize for a moment.

Just because we can’t see a tailpipe in these photographs doesn’t mean there isn’t one somewhere under there. And while those hybrid stickers are an indication that there’s some sort of electrification going on underhood, it could just be for a forthcoming gasoline-electric version of the X1. Lexus recently confirmed it would be bringing a small hybrid CUV to market that will compete in the X1’s space, so perhaps BMW is working on another powertrain option to offer when its littlest crossover gets refreshed.

Also consider that Toyota collaborated with Tesla to bring back the RAV4 EV, which would sort of compete with the X1, so it also stands to reason that perhaps this is an early test mule for a larger all-electric vehicle in the upcoming, eco-minded BMW i range. Our spies seem pretty confident that the prototype seen here is indeed an all-out EV, but we just can’t say with certainty without more evidence.

Look through the shots in our high-resolution gallery above and give us your best guess in the comments.

Electrified BMW X1 spotted testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Apr 2013 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Renault Twin'Z concept revealed, Twingo replacement takes shape [w/video]

By Jonathon Ramsey

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Renault teamed with Welsh designer Ross Lovegrove, known for his works inspired by nature, on the Twin’Z concept. The supermini city car is the fifth in Renault’s six-stage concept cycle modeled on human stages of life, after the DeZir (Love), Captur (Exploration), R-Space (Family) and Frendzy (Work). The Twin’Z is all about play and spaciousness, an all-electric powertrain allowing a unfettered cockpit and rear-wheel drive athletics.

Inspired by the heritage of the Renault 5 (which might also be returning in concept form) and the Twingo, it has been introduced at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, the annual furniture design showcase in Italy. The Twin’Z brief is to conjoin “the world of furniture and the automobile.” On top of Renault’s bodwork design, Lovegrove and his associates detailed the bumpers, LED light patterns throughout, wheels and interior.

That cabin is probably the most striking aspect for there being so little to it. Instead of an instrument panel – and storage, it appears – there is a smartphone near the steering column that displays crucial data and a tablet on a pedestal between the front seats with supplemental diagnostics. Occupants sit on carbon fiber seats wrapped in a woven textile, those in the rear will find the seats emerge from the Twin’Z’s bodyshell.

The boggling interior gets an equally interesting LED lightscape inside and out. Starting at the grille, twin-line lights give the Twin’Z a face before waving, curlicuing and climbing over the roof, on every interior surface and down the rear glass to the taillights. Even the wheels receive the illuminated due, a green hue mimicking “intelligent growth structures.”

There’s a huge gallery of the Twin’Z for your enjoyment, and a detailed press release below with lots of words to please your inner organic-inclined aesthete just below. As we saw with the Captur concept becoming the Captur production CUV, this little velveteen blue showcase could offer clues to the coming Twingo.

Continue reading Renault Twin’Z concept revealed, Twingo replacement takes shape [w/video]

Renault Twin’Z concept revealed, Twingo replacement takes shape [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Apr 2013 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD V6 Review & Test Drive

By Harvey Schwartz

‘NEW PROFESSIONAL GRADE PERFORMANCE, LUXURY, SAFETY’

If you are looking for a uniquely styled, performance-driven, luxury and very safe compact crossover sport utility vehicle than look no further than the GMC Terrain ‘Denali’.  GMC adds its signature Denali luxury trim to the 2013 Terrain with distinctive exterior styling, interior luxury and convenience features plus offering the more powerful 3.6 liter direct-injected CVVT V6 engine that generates 301 hp.  This new V6 engine is larger than the previous 3.0 liter V6 but delivers 14% more horsepower and 22% more torque yet gives back the same EPA estimated fuel economy of 16 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway.

The new Terrain Denali’s bold look is augmented with the signature cues that distinguish GMC’s premium ‘Denali’ sub-brand including its unique bullet-hole chrome grille, specific front and rear lamp clusters, and a lower air-intake with round projector beam foglamps at the sides.  There are satin chrome accents on top of the grille, body-color fascias and rocker panel moldings.  Also at the side are muscular fender flares stuffed with 19X8 inch alloy wheels, a chrome strip around the greenhouse, chrome pull-out door handles, separate chrome bars at the bottom of the doors, a chrome finished roofrack, and chrome at the bottom of the power-remote/heated sideview mirrors.  The rear shows a spoiler at the top of the power liftgate, a thick chrome bar attaching the lamp clusters and down below is a wide chrome bar attaching the dual chrome-finish exhaust outlets.  Lots of bling as seen in the bigger Denali’s, but with a larger, more powerful engine to back up this compact CUV.  It has an athletic stance with angular surfacing yet is refined with a strong front-end appearance that features its squared-off edges accented with chrome.  No other compact CUV has this commanding look all around.

The more powerful 3.6 liter all-aluminum V6 is mated to a smooth-shifting 6T70 six-speed automatic electronically controlled with electronic range select.  Torque is channeled to each wheel through an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.  Standard StabiliTrak and Traction Control help keep the wheels turning as needed and limiting the amount of excessive wheel-spin during severe driving situations.

Terrain is built on a body-integral structure with single-piece body side stampings and targeted applications of high-strength steel.  These elements create a solid, quiet driving experience.  The strong structure supports a fully independent suspension that is unique and gives a smooth ride over all surfaces and is very responsive to driver inputs.  The long, 112.5 inch wheelbase and wide front and rear tracks-contribute to car-like ride and handling traits.  The long wheelbase and wide tracks reduce body roll for a more stable driving experience.

The independent front is a strut type setup with tuned coil springs, direct active stabilizer bar and hydraulic ride bushings.  The independent rear features …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Automotive Addicts

Report: Lexus to debut small hybrid CUV at 2014 Geneva Motor Show

By Steven J. Ewing

2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport - front three-quarter view

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Following rumors that Lexus has been working on a small crossover to slot below the RX (pictured), Automotive News Europe reports that the production-ready CUV will bow at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show next March. Later this year, Lexus will preview this new crossover by way of a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in November.

According to the report, this new crossover will be a hybrid, and will ride on the smaller architecture that underpins the Toyota RAV4. Specific details have not been confirmed, but AN states that the entry-level CUV will be powered by the same 2.5-liter gasoline-electric drivetrain found in the Lexus ES 300h. Since Toyota will evidently be taking the time to hybridize the platform, we can’t help but assume that it will eventually build a second-gen RAV4 EV.

Either way, with the small luxury CUV segment heating up, Lexus is likely smart to offer a player in this space. Until now, there has not been a Lexus crossover below the RX, and this new model will compete with other new players in the class including the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

Lexus to debut small hybrid CUV at 2014 Geneva Motor Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Apr 2013 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Long Term: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: March 2013

By Steven J. Ewing

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Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about how our long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder functions as a daily-driver, long-hauler and all-weather warrior. And so far, it’s earning high praise from most of us for being a well-rounded, pleasant vehicle in these regards. But the vast majority of people who actually go out and buy a Pathfinder will do so because of its people-and-stuff-carrying abilities. Nissan specifically engineered the new Pathfinder to be a softer, more widely appealing crossover than the sort of rugged SUV that it was before, and in doing so, the company is hoping its new CUV will find homes in the garages of many American families.

We needed to get some family impressions of the new Pathfinder, and fast.

Thing is, many of us Autobloggers live the kid-free life – at least that’s true of most of us in the Detroit area where the Pathfinder currently resides. We have no doubts that the Pathfinder will get a proper family road trip workout from west coast editor Michael Harley after it shuffles over to the left side of the country, and it might also do a jaunt to North Carolina this summer with executive editor Chris Paukert and his family before it leaves the area, but in the meantime, we needed to get some family impressions of the new Pathfinder, and fast.

For the past couple of weeks, we handed our long-termer over to Autoblog and AOL Autos general manager and VP, Chris Eschenburg, who promised us lots of wife-and-kid impressions about this family-friendly vehicle.

Continue reading 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: March 2013

2013 Nissan Pathfinder: March 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

New York: 2014 Toyota Highlander greets the world with NYC debut

By Seyth Miersma

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - front three-quarter view live from 2013 NY Auto Show reveal

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Toyota has pulled the wraps off its all-new, 2014 Highlander in New York this morning, giving Americans a first look at what is sure to be a heavyweight in the mid-size crossover segment.

The new third-generation Highlander will come with the buyer’s choice of three different powertrain options. The base model will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel-drive. Next up the ladder is a 3.5-liter V6, also mated to the 6AT, which can be had with either front-or all-wheel-drive. Finally, the Highlander Hybrid will be equipped with all-wheel drive, its 3.5-liter V6 mated to an electric motor, all hooked up to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The automaker has not released any specs for fuel economy or output yet, though we’re promised increases in both power and efficiency.

While not a revolution in terms of styling, Toyota has cleaned up the bodywork for the new model, offering a crisp, conservative look for the slightly larger Highlander. The vehicle is some three inches longer and an inch-and-a-half wider than the outgoing model, yet it has a lower roofline. Black plastic-clad wheel arches make an attempt to butch up the crossover, though to our eyes, the Highlander still has the look of a minivan around the rear view.

Inside, the most important feature of this model is that it seats eight humans. Beyond that, the automaker is crowing about contrast stitching on the seating surfaces, soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and accents in wood grain, silver satin and chrome. The third row is now easier to access via a sliding second-row point of entry, and is more capacious thanks to 4.3-inches of added width. There’s also a raft of newly safety tech including lane-departure warning, pre-collision warning and blind spot monitoring systems.

Toyota tells us that this Highlander will reach dealers sometime in the first part of 2014, though pricing has not been finalized. Scroll down to read more granular info about the 2014 Toyota Highlander in the official press release, and don’t miss our galleries of both stock and live images of the CUV.

Continue reading 2014 Toyota Highlander greets the world with NYC debut

2014 Toyota Highlander greets the world with NYC debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

2014 Jeep Cherokee Photos and Info: Crossover Duds and a Hearty Drivetrain [2013 New York Auto Show]

By Andrew Wendler

2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

The last Jeep product to wear the Cherokee nameplate was so beloved it survived three corporate ownership changes and an onslaught of more advanced competitors before finally meeting its demise at the hands of Daimler in 2001. Launched in 1984, that Cherokee—known internally as the XJ—and its boxy looks and loyal-bulldog reputation became an icon, and Jeep had no choice but to leave the name off its replacement. Calling the first-gen Liberty a Cherokee would have been akin to McDonald’s trying to pass off a tofu and bean-sprout sandwich as the Big Mac. (Of course, that didn’t stop Jeep from selling the Liberty as the Cherokee overseas.) But now, with a 12-year production run of the Liberty serving as buffer, Jeep is bringing back the Cherokee name to America, this time applying it to a vehicle that appears to be more CUV than SUV. READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Quick Spin: 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD

By Seyth Miersma

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After spending some time roaming the Hill Country of central Texas with Mazda’s new Mazda6 and CX-5 with the 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine, I got a round with the redesigned CX-9 back in Michigan. The three-row Mazda crossover comes to court in the 2013 model year with the same 3.7-liter V6 engine that we’ve sampled before (still making 273 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque), though the nose that wraps it has been updated with the same “Kodo” design language that marks out the CX-5 and friends.

I had quite recently spent time in our long-term Nissan Pathfinder, so I felt better equipped than usual to suss out the potential high and low points of Mazda’s family-facing CUV.

Driving Notes

  • A combination of a responsive throttle pedal and a surprisingly lively exhaust note made the CX-9 feel immediately sportier than the CVT‘d Pathfinder I had just stepped out of. The Mazda’s six-speed automatic transmission was surprisingly willing to drop gears and pile on the revs when I put my foot to the floor for a pass on the highway, and I actually never really felt prodded to use the manual mode as a result. Don’t get me wrong, the CX-9 isn’t “fast” in an objective sense, but it definitely feels adequately powerful for a largish 4,500-pound crossover. (Those seeking real speed with three rows would still prefer the Ford Explorer Sport or Dodge Durango in V8 trim, I’d wager.)
  • True to form for Mazda, the CX-9 feels a shade sprightlier in terms of handling than does the bulk of its competitive set. Sitting in the drivers seat for the first time, I was actually a little shocked at how small in diameter the steering wheel is. Better yet, the front end of the large vehicle moves promptly when guided by this sporty wheel, turning in with a quickness that belies the long wheelbase, and offering a shade more road feedback than is typical of this class. I’m not sure how many buyers really care about a kind of “athletic” steering feel when selecting their next kid-wagon, but the Mazda would seem to be the top-of-class here.
  • Overall fit and finish of our CX-9 Grand Touring-spec interior felt nice – I particularly liked the kind of micro-suede door inserts – if a little bit simple. There’s still more hard-plastic surfacing in the CX-9 than I’d gotten used to in our long-term Nissan, and far fewer enticing pieces of technology. Mazda is offering a new-for-2013, 5.8-inch display with which to negotiate the navigation and media controls, but the interface simply serves to make the CX-9 feel slightly less out of date than it would with the older setup. And the Mazda didn’t have the near-luxury feeling that the plusher, gizmo-laden Pathfinder does.
  • There was more interruption from wind and tire noise in the CX-9 than in other similarly sized crossovers and SUVs I’ve been in lately, too. Just a shade louder, …read more
    Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Confirmed: BMW confirms X4 for next year, i3 preorders starting to add up

By Zach Bowman

BMW i3 Spy Shots

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BMW has confirmed the long-anticipated X4 will bow next year. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the automaker’s board of management, made mention of the upcoming CUV during remarks at the company’s annual accounts press conference. Reithofer said that BMW has sold more than 2.7 million X models since it began producing the machines, and that the company plans to expand those offerings with the new X4 next year. He declined to offer up any more details, though from what we’ve heard so far, the model will be more of a crossover than either the X3 or the X5.

Reithofer also made it clear that BMW is getting serious about electric vehicles, saying the i3 (pictured above, in prototype form) is “definitely coming to market” and that the runabout will be ready by late 2013. BMW reports it has had “Several hundred advance orders” for the EV. As you may recall, the i3 uses a special carbon fiber reinforced plastic passenger cell to save weight and boasts a standard range of 93 miles. You can read the full transcripts from the press conference below for more information.

Continue reading BMW confirms X4 for next year, i3 preorders starting to add up

BMW confirms X4 for next year, i3 preorders starting to add up originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Mar 2013 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog