Posts from ‘First Spin’
Over the past few years, the compact and midsize crossover SUV segments have grown hotter than ever, but Volkswagen’s two entries in those categories have fallen a bit behind the pack as they’ve aged. While it’s a perfectly capable and pleasant compact SUV, the current VW Tiguan is seriously long in the tooth—it has soldiered on for a full nine seasons with no major changes to its 2009-model-year platform. Likewise, the current Touareg—VW’s pricey, luxuriously trimmed midsize SUV contender—dates back to 2011, and hasn’t seen any significant architectural updates since.
There’s a lot on the minds of Chevrolet sales and marketing people, judging by the diverse array of new products the brand has placed on the market in 2017. New vehicles being added starting in the spring include a pure-electric subcompact, a compact crossover, performance cars, and compact and large pickups.
It’s still not often you see the words “Sport” and “Hybrid” in the same sentence – let alone in the same name – but the concept is growing in popularity. And few companies are leveraging the principle of using an electric motor’s instant low-speed torque to augment the high-end power of a gas engine as thoroughly as Acura.
Despite their current popularity, it has come to my attention that some people just don’t like SUVs. Even when branded with the cuter “crossover” tag, they strike some as too boxy, too tall … and too common.
Chevrolet has no fewer than five SUVs in its corporate lineup, yet none fit neatly into the “compact crossover” segment, currently the most popular in all of autodom. None, that is, until now.
Even in this line of work, it’s not often we get to drive something truly revolutionary.
Recent buyers seeking an affordable sports car have often been forced to make a heart-wrenching choice: the open-air rush of a roadster, or the closed-roof security of a coupe.
But not any more.
Already one of our favorite compact crossovers, Mazda’s CX-5 gets a redesign for 2017 that – in virtually every measure – makes it a better choice than ever.
At first blush, Toyota’s 2018 C-HR looks all the world like a rakish new entry in the compact-crossover segment, but it’s not. At least, not in the traditional sense.
However, that may depend on how one defines a “crossover.” Despite the fact that roughly 40-50 percent of small SUVs are purchased in front-wheel-drive form, Consumer Guide’s definition has traditionally included the mandate that it has to at least be offered with all-wheel drive, and the C-HR is not … at least, not yet.
Jeep, a name virtually synonymous with SUVs for more than three-quarters of a century, has hit the mother lode in recent years as buyers suddenly began flocking to that market. And in the hottest segment of that market – compact SUVs – the company has long had three entries, together accounting for half of its entire model portfolio.