Posts from ‘First Spin’
Earlier this year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee kicked off its fifth generation with the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L—the first Grand Cherokee to offer three rows of seats. Meanwhile, the 2021 two-row Grand Cherokee soldiered on for one more season with the previous, fourth-gen design. Now, for the 2022 model year, a redesigned two-row five-passenger Grand Cherokee is being introduced. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is built on a shorter version of the L’s all-new unibody platform, and it’s scheduled to go on sale by the end of the 2021 calendar year. Shortly after the new year, Jeep will add 4xe plug-in-hybrid electrified variants of the two-row Grand Cherokee.
Here’s a factoid for you: Nearly 1 out of every 5 Subarus ever sold has been a Forester, and since its debut as a 1998 model, Subaru has sold more than 2.3 million of its popular compact crossover SUV. For the last several years, the Forester’s annual sales have been running in the neighborhood of 170,000-180,000 units in the US, and Subaru says those totals have been limited by production capacity rather than consumer demand. The current-generation Forester debuted for 2019, and for 2022 it gets a mild freshening, along with the addition of an outdoor-adventure-focused Wilderness model with improved off-road capabilities.
The full-size pickup market in the U.S. remains dominated by Ford, Ram, Chevrolet, and GMC (in that sales order), with sales of Toyota’s Tundra typically running less than half the fourth-place GMC Sierra’s tally. Significantly, Tundra hasn’t received a ground-up redesign since way back in 2007—consider that since that second-generation Tundra debuted, Ford redesigned its F-150 in 2009, then again in 2015, and for a third time in 2021. Now, for 2022, Toyota is finally introducing a clean-sheet, third-generation Tundra. It features new twin-turbocharged and gas-electric hybrid turbo V6 engines, and it rides on a redesigned steel frame with fresh front and rear suspension designs. All-new styling and the introduction of the Toyota Audio Multimedia system are further highlights.
The product-planning teams at major automakers typically develop detailed demographic profiles of the consumers they’re targeting with their new vehicles, sometimes going so far as to create a hypothetical ideal target customer. Infiniti has done just that with its redesigned-for-2022 QX60 three-row, 7-passenger crossover SUV. Her name is “Claire.” She’s smart and stylish. She’s a leader at work and someone friends come to for advice. She’s a mom, and like most people today, she’s very, very busy.
As American new-vehicle buyers continue to choose SUVs in significantly greater numbers than traditional passenger cars, affordable cars of any type are less prevalent than they were as recently as five years ago. Enthusiast-friendly examples are a rarer breed still. When you sharpen the search to affordable, track-ready, rear-wheel-drive sports cars, you quickly determine they are approaching unicorn status.
Though clearly a small pickup truck, Hyundai calls its new-for-2022 Santa Cruz a “Sport adventure vehicle,” and to the company’s credit, it is unlike any other car or truck currently for sale in the U.S.
Despite being one of the oldest basic designs in the midsize-SUV segment, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is consistently one of the best-selling vehicles in its class. However, the Grand Cherokee has never offered one key feature that would allow it to compete more directly with rivals such as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Volkswagen Atlas—a third-row seat. That changes with the introduction of the 2021 Grand Cherokee L, an all-new model that kicks off the Grand Cherokee’s fifth generation and comes standard with a third row of seating for 6- or 7-passenger capacity.
With the redesign of its long-running Pathfinder midsize SUV for 2022, Nissan seems to be trying to have its cake and eat it too. Stylistically, the new Pathfinder gets a sharper-edged, beefier look that recalls the rugged styling of the truck-based, body-on-frame Pathfinders of the 1990s and early 2000s. Underneath, however, is a heavily modified version of the more family-friendly, crossover-style unibody architecture that the Pathfinder has been built upon since 2013.