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Archive for the ‘utility vehicle’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Audi E-tron Quattro

Back when Audi debuted the Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, it promised a production version of its all-electric SUV would be ready in 2018. Sure enough; it looks like Audi is about on par with keeping that promise as the production version of the E-Tron Quattro was just spotted in the wild for the first time. Little is known about the E-Tron Quattro at the moment, but based on the concept and what we see here, it will be a sporty, sleek SUV that shouldn’t have a problem standing up to vehicles like the Tesla Model X. I wouldn’t expect to see all of the futuristic tech from the concept inside, but it should get a digital instrument cluster and a large tablet-like display. If Audi keeps the same drivetrain setup from the concept, the production model should boast a 95 kWh battery pack that’s good for 310 miles per charge along with somewhere around 429-496 horsepower and up to 590 pound-feet of torque.

Of course, by the time this thing hits the market as a 2019 model, it’s quite possible that other automakers could be taking part in the all-electric SUV niche too. Think about models like the Mercedes EQ and the BMW i5, which should both be on the market by 2020 or 2021. Be that as it may, the segment is rather bare right now, and it looks like Audi just might beat the flock in enough time to grab itself a nice little piece of the market. Before that happens, though, let’s take a good look at the spy shots we have now and talk a little more about what we can expect.

PostHeaderIcon Here’s Why the Mercedes X-Class’ Design Sucks

So Mercedes finally unveiled the X-Class somewhere in Africa and everyone is excited about the German brand finally offering a pickup truck. Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating. I’ve noticed a ton of negative comments about this vehicle. How it’s not a true Mercedes-Benz, how it’s design is boring, and how it’s just a Nissan Navara. Well, I hate to break it to you folks, but the X-Class is a freakin’ pickup truck, of course it’s not a true Mercedes. It’s a brand-new body style for an automaker that didn’t make pickups before, of course you’re hating. But you’ll get over it, just give it a couple of months.

I also don’t agree with all the “it’s not a real Merc, it’s a Nissan underneath” commotion. So it’s based on the Nissan Navara, what’s wrong with that? Is there a problem with the Navara? It’s ugly, unreliable, it can’t haul stuff on a trailer? Of course not! But hey, I get it, you wanted Mercedes to come up with its very own truck. Well, tough luck, it’s 2017 and all carmakers are looking to reduce costs by sharing platform. And as long as you yuppies keep buying Mercs for the badge, they will keep borrowing platforms for new cars and bigger profits. Wanna do something about? Buy a Hyundai! But hey, I agree with you on the boring part…

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Brand Worth More Than FCA, Report Suggests

There’s no question the Jeep Brand is doing extremely well. But, according to Adam Jonas, a Wall Street analyst with Morgan Stanley, Jeep is more valuable than the rest of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Jonas conducted a sum-of-the-parts analysis that concluded Jeep’s value is 120 percent of FCA’s $23.6-billion market capitalization. That’s a huge deal for a sub-brand of a global automaker. What’s more, Jonas estimates Jeep could account for nearly half of FCA’s total vehicle sales by 2018.

Of course, Jeep’s upcoming 2018 Wrangler JL and the Wrangler Pickup likely contribute to Jonas’ optimistic estimates, but even currently, Jeep has seen tremendous growth since 2009 when Fiat took control of Chrysler. CNBC reports Jeep sold 1.4 million vehicles worldwide in 2016, which is four times its sales volume in 2009. New models like the Renegade and Cherokee are undoubtedly contributing thanks to the boom in popularity for the crossover segment. However, Jeep’s success could mean big bucks for FCA and its shareholders if the brand is sold or spun off. FCA has already done this with Ferrari with great success. FCA’s market cap was listed between $15 and $16 billion before the Ferrari spin-off in late 2015, according to CNBC. Since then, FCA and Ferrari now have a combined market cap over $31 billion. When Jonas asked FCA boss Sergio Marchionne if he would consider spinning of the Jeep brand, Marchionne reportedly said, “yes.” However, no plans have been made public by FCA or its executives. What does this mean for Jeep? Keep reading for more.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Did Mercedes Go Too Far With The X-Class?

I know the whole spiel about innovation being one of the foundations of the auto industry. I get it. I also get the part about automakers having to go out of their comfort zones with their model offerings. It worked massively when these companies decided to build high-riding versions of their cars and call them sports utility vehicles. It also worked to some extent with the adaptation and use of alternative power sources, giving birth to hybrids, FCVs, and electric cars. You can argue that Mercedes has been at the cutting-edge of these advancements, reaping the rewards in the process. Now, the German automaker is tackling on its latest challenge and it’s set its sights on the pickup market. Yes, the pickup market.

Mind you, this is the same company that has gifted the automotive world with classics like the 300S Gullwing and performance exotics like the AMG SLS. Now it’s fully entrenched itself in the rough and rugged world of pickups with the launch of the X-Class. It certainly has the front end of one, but the bigger question is did Mercedes really have to do this? It’s one thing to roll out SUVs because of the popularity of the segment. Pickups, on the other hand, aren’t as popular and there’s certainly an argument to be made that Mercedes may have taken it too far by going into a market that it probably didn’t need to. Only time will tell if the brand’s decision to do pickups will pay off, but whether you’re for it or against it, there’s no doubt that arguing for the merits and demerits of a Mercedes pickup is going to make for a lively discussion.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon A Look Back at the Mercedes Utility Vehicles that Preceded the X-Class Truck

Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the X-Class, its first mass-produced pickup truck, and while it may seem weird for a premium company to build a car like this, the German brand is actually a big producer of utility vehicles. And it all started more than 100 years ago!

Long before his company developed into a luxury car manufacturer in the 1930s, Karl Benz actually built buses. He unveiled the world’s first motorized bus back in 1895 and actually competed against Gottlieb Daimler, soon to become his partner, in this field, with both exporting vehicles to England and Wales. Daimler and Benz merged into one company in 1926 and the success story of Mercedes-Benz began.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Mercedes debuted its all-new X-Class pickup truck July 18, 2017 in South Africa in celebration of it being Mercedes’ first international market. The correlation with the X-Class being Mercedes’ first pickup wasn’t breezed over during the short presentation. Corporate self-appreciation aside, the X-Class resides in a completely new segment for the German automaker, and one that’s teaming with established competitors. Mercedes’ sales pitch centers on the X-Class offering three trim levels catering to distinct customer groups, with four available engines, two transmissions, and three RWD/4WD mechanicals.

Of course, Mercedes isn’t venturing into the mid-size, metric-tonne pickup market alone. Renault-Nissan co-developed the X-Class by contributing the Navara NP300, one of the X-Class’ rivals. The Mercedes uses Nissan’s chassis and body structure under the skin, along with a few familiar Nissan buttons and knobs. While the cost-cutting is apparent inside, the proven Navara chassis – including the fully boxed ladder frame – ensures the X-Class starts on the right foot. The X-Class will arrive in European showrooms beginning in November of 2017 with a price of 37,000 euros, roughly $49,500 at current exchange rates. Sales will expand to South Africa and Australia in early 2018, followed by Argentina and Brazil in the beginning of 2019. Sadly, Mercedes has no plans to launch the X-Class in the U.S. However, that could change once the X-Class has proven itself and Ford reestablishes the mid-size Ranger pickup in the U.S. for 2019.

Continue reading for the full preview

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Gears Up For X-Class Debut

If you love pickups, but lust after high-end German luxury and engineering, then Mercedes has a solution with the upcoming X-Class. Anticipation for the full reveal of Merc’s first foray into the segment has been building, with an official debut slated for early next week. To add fuel to the fire, we’ve included the most recent spy footage, courtesy of our friends from Motor 1. Hit play, and watch as a pair of camo-clad X-Class’ undergo a little last-minute testing in Spain.

We’ll have to wait a few more days for the official numbers, but for now, the speculation is pretty straightforward. Inside, expect lots of fanciness, with high-end infotainment and extra-plush materials throughout, while the rear will get a decent amount of space for hauling things. Exterior dimensions will be compact, with the bones based on the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan. The engine options will include a variety of four-bangers, diesels, and a top-trim 3.0-liter V-6. The drivetrain will be RWD with 4Matic AWD as an available option. Unfortunately, stateside buyers won’t have a shot at ownership, which isn’t all that surprising considering the huge variety of pickups already on offer over here (although Merc has left the door open for future iterations for the U.S. market). Rather, the X-Class will splashdown in Europe, South America, and Asia, with first deliveries going to Europe before the end of 2017. Look for the full reveal on July 18 with a livestream event kicking off at 1:10 PM ET.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Like the BMW X3? We’ve Got Your Wallpapers Right Here!

The X3 has been on the market for 14 years as of 2018, and in its first two generations, its saw amazing success. 2018, however, brings about the third-gen model and BMW has somehow managed to make the X3 even better, with clear intentions to add greatly to the current 1.5 million X3 registrations on record. And, that’s saying a lot considering it has to compete against some pretty tough models. The Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC class aren’t exactly models to sneeze at, but the X3 is coming to the party with more under its belt than ever, including a 355-horsepower, 369 pound-food monster of an inline-six that can be found exclusively in the M40i. As such, the competition has a lot to worry about, and we’re mighty impressed.

Even in base form, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder offers up a decent 248 ponies and 258 pound-feet, enough to get it to 60 mph in six second flat while topping out at 130 mph. Meanwhile, it’s better-equipped brother hits the same benchmark in 4.6 seconds – that’s 0.2 seconds faster than the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and 1.4-seconds faster than the 3.0-liter-equipped Audi Q5. On top of that, it has the modern looks necessary to stand out (no more round fog lights, either) and a pretty plush interior if you ignore the cheapish aluminum trim. Of course, a real man would opt for the ambient lighting package, but don’t worry we won’t judge 😉 With that said, we’ve put together a few of our favorite shots that will make perfect wallpapers for all of you X3 fans out there!

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Equinox – Driven

I don’t need to remind anyone just how explosive the crossover market is these days. The competition is growing evermore fierce as automakers fight for consumer dollars as sales of sedans plummet and traditional body-on-frame SUVs crawl up-market toward the luxury segment. That’s why the Equinox is so important for Chevrolet. It splits the difference. And having spent a week driving the all-new, 2018 Equinox, it’s clear Chevy sharpened its knife before redesigning this two-row crossover.

The new, third generation Equinox gains fresh (though arguably bland) styling for 2018, along with a far more modern interior with tons of in-demand active safety and tech features. Available attractions include a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, six USB ports, wireless phone charging, heated and vented front seats, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, and a 360-degree camera system. Chevy improved the ride, too, with a stiffer and lighter chassis, four-wheel independent suspension, and three engine choices that include a turbodiesel estimated to achieve 40 mpg highway. Even as a jaded journalist used to driving high-end products, I found myself deeply impressed by the 2018 Equinox. Keep ready to see why.

Continue reading for the full driven review.


PostHeaderIcon Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven

The 2015 – 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is Toyota’s most rugged and capable SUV. Thanks to some clever engineering in the Toyota Racing Development labs, the 4Runner enjoys a truly hard-core off-road version that usurps even the venerable Trail Edition 4Runner. Heavy duty Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs, thick coil springs with a 1.0-inch suspension lift, upgraded wheels and tires, and a tank-like front skid plate makes the TRD Pro a natural in the dirt. All the same off-road tech on the 4Runner Trail Edition carries over to the TRD Pro, too. This includes the electronic locking rear differential, manual transfer case, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system.

A unique front grille with the blocky T-O-Y-O-T-A lettering sets the TRD Pro apart, along with TRD Pro badging on the C-pillars and bespoke TRD Pro wheels and all-terrain tires. Things inside aren’t much different than other 4Runners, beside a TRD gear shifter and some like-branded floor mats. So how does the TRD Pro handle everyday life and the sandy trails of Central Florida? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full review.


PostHeaderIcon BMW X7

When BMW joined the SUV market with the X5 back in 1999, little did we know that the German manufacturer will become such an important player in this segment. But in 15 years, the Bavarian brand has launched no fewer than four different crossovers. At least two more are underway as of 2017, with the X7 to join the family as a range topper, above the popular X5 and the sportier X6. The SUV was already spotted on public roads and we have just enough info to speculate as to what it may bring to the table.

The Bavarian brand made an announcement about the X7 in 2014, when it revealed that it will be built at its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which also produces the X3, X5, X5 M, X6, and X6 M models. Although production was initially planned to start in 2016, it appears that the X7 will hit the assembly line later, most likely in 2017. There’s no word as to when the X7 will make its public debut, but I expect it to break cover in the second half of 2017, meaning it could go on sale for the 2019 model year. When it arrives in showrooms, it will become BMW’s largest offering yet and will enable the German manufacturer to compete against SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Range Rover, and even the Cadillac Escalade.

Updated 04/25/2017: Our spy photographers spotted the upcoming X7 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW X7.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Explorer Sport

The Ford Explorer has defined the American SUV segment for more than two decades, having debuted for the 1991 model year. Changes both big and small have kept the Explorer, well, exploring urban and rural landscapes across the U.S. with big sales figures sliding across Ford’s bean counters’ desks. But of all those updates, Ford’s latest might be the smallest. Insignificant? Not really, but you’d have to be a fanboy to spot the differences.

Headlining the changes for the 2018 model year is a slightly reworked exterior, new active safety equipment packages, and more choices with four new colors and five new wheel designs. These changes made their debut at the 2017 New York Auto Show.

These modifications to the Explorer come in response to market research Ford says indicates the crossover and SUV segments will be the fastest-growing of all segments over the next few years, soon accounting for more than 45 percent of all non-luxury vehicles sold in the U.S. While that’s not surprising, Ford says millennials and baby boomers are leading the way. Of course, Ford says it will be ready to meet this growth thanks to its new lineup of crossovers and SUVs. These include the EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer, and Expedition.

The revised 2018 Explorer is expected to hit showrooms this fall, with pricing staying mostly stagnate with current 2017 Explorer pricing. Keep reading for the full run-down of the changes for 2018.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Kona

It would appear as though Hyundai has decided to take on the popular Nissan Juke with a stylish sub-compact crossover all its own. The unnamed future model was recently spied by the carparazzi undergoing road tests in Germany in full camouflage, leading to speculation over what lies beneath the covers. If rumors are to be believed, the upcoming Juke fighter from Hyundai will pull from the i20 and i30 parts bins, boast a good deal of youth-oriented exterior styling, and most likely come equipped with the latest interior gadgets.

Backing the rumors are statements made in August of 2014 by Hyundai’s American CEO Dave Zuchowski, who suggested in an interview with Edmunds that the South Korean brand might be interested in a sub-compact SUV that would slot under the Tucson. Such a vehicle “would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time buyers,” Zuchowski said, later adding, “Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dramatic styling.”

It’s not a lot to go on, but we’ve done more with less. Read on for our speculative review.

Updated 04/07/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Hyundai Kona out for a new testing session. According to Hyundai, the name “Kona” is derived from the Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii, reflecting the island’s energetic image and unique lifestyle

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Hyundai Kona.


PostHeaderIcon 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL to get SRT Demon Edition, Inside Source Says!

Jeep will build a 750+ horsepower Wrangler Unlimited with all the racing components found on the upcoming Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, including the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 and Drag Mode. The information comes directly from TopSpeed’s anonymous inside source that works closely with SRT projects. Best of all, the Jeep will be called the Demon Wrangler.

“Jeep is expanding its boundaries with the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk, but some in the company though more was needed,” said our informant during a chat on the dark web. “The Wrangler is our hottest product, so we figured a track-focused edition would get plenty of traction – pun intended.”

The Demon Wrangler will use super wide, 315-series performance tires from Nitto, while its 4WD system is upgraded to a full-time AWD system with beefy components able to withstand hard launches. The interior is complete with a flat-bottom steering wheel, a five-point racing harness, and the Performance Pages on the new Uconnect system.

Under the hood, the Hemi V-8 will use the A/C to chill the liquid-to-air heat exchanger, just like the Challenger Demon. The transmission brake is also present, allowing the Demon Wrangler’s supercharger to reach full boost before launching.

Our inside source says official speed trials have not been completed, but preliminary runs show the Demon Wrangler hitting 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 10.82 seconds at 125 mph – just a hair’s breath slower than the Challenger Demon due to wind resistance.

The insider was adamant these details are mythical, due in large part to a Jeep’s inability to wrangle demons. Happy April 1st, everybody.


PostHeaderIcon Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription – Driven

Volvo has been making the XC90 since 2002, and with great success. The first generation SUV sold well all over the globe. Even in the U.S., the XC90 sold roughly 35,000 examples annually before the crash of 2009. Updates late in the first-generation XC90’s life kept it kicking, though with only modest sales in America. That’s all changing with the second-generation XC90, which debuted for the 2015 model year. A highbrow design, an opulent interior, sophisticated powertrain options, and a matured sense of luxury all bring the XC90 into the modern times. Even with the 2017 model already two years old, the Volvo SUV continues to look like a futuristic concept.

To get a better feel for the Swede, I spent a week driving a 2017 XC90 fitted with the T6 AWD powertrain and decked out with the high-end Inscription trim line.

For those unfamiliar, the XC90 (and most Volvos, for that matter) come standard in the Momentum trim. The XC90 is also available in the R-Design, the Inscription, and the range-topping Excellence trim. While the limo-like Excellence trim is absolutely stunning thanks to its reclining second row bucket seats and full-length center console, the Inscription trim provides all the luxury anyone without a chauffer could desire. Skipping the Excellence trim also keeps the XC90’s third-row seats.

So what’s it like to live with the 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Peugeot Partner Tepee Electric

The second-generation Peugeot Partner was introduced in 2008 alongside its PSA sibling, the Citroen Berlingo. Like its predecessor, the current Partner is available in both panel van and passenger versions, but the latter has been renamed the Partner Tepee. Offered with four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines since its introduction, the Partner gained an electric drivetrain in 2013. The utility vehicle was updated in 2015 with a redesigned exterior and a revised cabin. At the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Peugeot introduces the electric version of the Tepee passenger model.

Called the Partner Tepee Electric, the “leisure activity vehicle,” as it’s being described by Peugeot, uses the same electric motor as the pavel van version. Mileage is similar, while the Tepee Electric will also benefit from tax exemption with new VED regulations from 2017. Peugeot also added a range of new features, especially in the connectivity department, as well as a comprehensive battery warranty program.

The new Tepee Electric is basically a passenger-friendly alternative to the panel van EV for customers that need the cargo room of an utility vehicle, while also being able to transport up to four passengers when needed. It also enables Peugeot to finally offer an alternative to the passenger version of the Renault Kangoo Z.E.

“Whether for personal or business use, the Partner Tepee Electric stands out thanks to its blend of practicality and efficiency. The vehicle offers an impressive range and is easy to run and maintain, making it a highly attractive option for those looking to switch to electric,” said David Peel, managing director of Peugeot U.K.

Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot Partner Tepee Electric.


PostHeaderIcon The Ariel Nomad Might Be The Perfect All-Terrain Vehicle

The BBC’s Top Gear has a new segment called Rory Reid’s Road Trips, and it’s fantastic. In it, the new host takes a long drive through an interesting place while driving an even more interesting vehicle. This time, it’s the Ariel Nomad. Now you’ve surely heard of Ariel, the small British automaker that hand-builds open-air, street-legal cars. They’re best known for the Atom, a super lightweight rocket powered by any number of four-cylinder (or even a V-8!) engines with big, sticky tires and the ability to out-handle supercars. Well, the Nomad is the Atom’s tough cousin.

Built for off-roading adventures, the Nomad is built on a similar skeletal chassis as the Atom, but has big shock absorbers, meaty tires, and tall ground clearance. Though it doesn’t have 4WD, its low curb weight and Honda-sourced four-cylinder with 235 brake horsepower allow the 1,477-pound Nomad to dig its way over any obstacle – including a rally circuit. Oh, and on dry pavement, it’ll hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds!

As Rory Reid finds out, the Nomad is a fantastic drifter, both on the road an on the dirt. It performs even better with the legendary rally driver David Higgins behind the wheel. Reid gets schooled on throwing the Nomads rear around a corner, while the throttle pedal is hammered to the floor. Having a handbrake lever doesn’t hurt either.

So this begs the question: is the Nomad the perfect all-terrain vehicle? Well, before we answer that, it’s important to look at the Nomad’s intended function. It’s lack of 4WD means it isn’t intended for deep mud or rock crawling. Rather, this thing is built for moderate to high-speed blasting. Granted, traction isn’t much of an issue thanks to the engine and transmission being directly over the rear wheels. So yeah, it can probably go 75 percent of place anyone in a Jeep Wrangler is willing to go. And if push comes to shove, the Nomad can be fitted with a Warn recovery winch.

In our eyes, the Ariel Nomad might indeed be one of the best all-terrain vehicles sold today. Its open-air cabin, outrageous power-to-weight ratio, and go-anywhere tires and suspension make it impossible not to want.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.


PostHeaderIcon Wait, Mercedes Might Actually Offer X-Class in America?

Mercedes was very clear it had no intentions of offering its upcoming X-Class pickup to North American customers. Adding insult to injury, the German automaker confirmed nearly every other global region outside American and Canada would have access to the luxury pickup, including those in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and South America. But Mercedes might be changing its mind.

News from The Detroit Bureau suggests Mercedes is reevaluating the American pickup market ahead of the X-Class’ launch for the 2019 model year. Volker Mornhingweg, the head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, said this at a news conference on February 24, 2017:

“In the past year the (U.S.) mid-sized truck market has come back a bit. We are watching developments very closely, and we will take a decision at the appropriate time.” Mornhingweg was reportedly pointing to the success of General Motors’ mid-size pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

There’s no doubt Mercedes is also watching Honda’s success with its second-generation Ridgeline, along with Ford’s upcoming Ranger and Hyundai’s upcoming Santa Cruz pickup.

What’s more, Mornhingweg went on to say Mercedes’ assembly plant in Argentina would not have enough capacity to build X-Class trucks for both South and North America. As a result, the U.S.-spec X-Class would likely be built inside the States. That theory is further backed by President Trump’s threat of tariffs on imported goods, meaning a U.S.-built X-Class would be more cost-effective.

Mercedes has several routs it could take for U.S. production of the X-Class. For one, it could add to its existing assembly plants, including the one Tuscaloosa, Alabama or the plant near Charleston, South Carolina that’s currently under initial construction. Mercedes could also build an entirely new assembly plant with the help of Nissan, which partnered with Mercedes in developing the X-Class. Both the X-Class and upcoming Nissan Frontier will share a similar platform. Conversely, Nissan could expand the Frontier’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi to accommodate the X-Class.

Needless to say, Mercedes as a number of options, along with a very wide and untapped customer base in the U.S. And based on the number of high-end trim levels available with current pickups, a luxury-minded Mercedes pickup will likely do rather well.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Land Rover Teases New Velar SUV; Fresh Tech Incoming?

Land Rover just dropped an above-and-behind teaser image of its new Velar SUV, saying it will fill the gap between the smaller Range Rover Evoque and larger Range Rover Sport. The Velar supposedly uses the same platform as the Jaguar F-Pace, and is expected to take on rivals like the BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe, and Porsche Macan, with four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and possibly even hybrid powerplants offered under the hood.

Land Rover has yet to divulge many details, but did say the Velar will offer “elegant simplicity, a visually reductive approach and all-new consumer technologies,” so we’re guessing a coupe-like, streamlined, and somewhat minimalist exterior, a good dose of interior opulence, and a suite of semi-autonomous driving tech.

Studying the provided press pic, we can also see a large moonroof and a decently sized touchscreen in the dash. Land Rover added that it used “sustainable materials” in the vehicle’s construction.

“We call the Velar the avant-garde Range Rover,” says Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Chief Design Officer, in the attached press release. “It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything.”

While likely not much more than PR bluster, we’re excited to see if the Velar can truly bring something new and exciting to the segment. The name, after all, harkens back to the first Range Rover prototype from 1969, so maybe there’s something up Land Rover’s sleeve.

Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to find out the truth. The Range Rover Velar is slated to see a full reveal on March 1st, with an in-the-metal debut in the U.S. at this year’s New York International Auto Show in April.


PostHeaderIcon Honda CR-V – Driven

Honda has made millions of CR-Vs since its introduction in 1996, selling them all over the world. Even in hard times, the CR-V as remained one of Honda’s most go-to models in terms of sales volumes. And who could blame customers for choosing the functional, fun, fuel efficient, and frugal crossover? It’s combination of Civic-based goodness mixed with a high-riding suspension and relatively voluminous interior make it a great those needing to split the difference between a traditional SUV and wagon.

That recipe carries over for the 2017 model year, though everything else about the CR-V changes. Honda introduces the CR-V’s fifth generation this year, which brings an all-new design language, a new chassis, a new interior, and a new 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The CR-V is a bit larger, too, now slotting more evenly between the small HR-V and the three-row Pilot SUV. Honda says the new CR-V has class-leading second-row legroom, to boot. The CR-V’s Cargo room offers an impressive 75.8 cubic feet of room with the second row bench seat folded flat. That’s far more than the Ford Escape (67.8 cubic feet) and just a touch bigger than the Toyota RAV4’s (73.4 cubic feet). Despite this, the CR-V’s footprint isn’t much bigger than its competition.

Honda undoubtedly needs the CR-V to success. It can’t have a repeat of the 2011 Civic and its sudden redesign for 2012. I wholeheartedly think Honda won’t have that issue, but feel free to leave your thoughts on the new CR-V in the comments below.

Continue reading for the full driven review.


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