With the demand for SUVs as high as it’s ever been, automakers are wise to cover all bases and offer additional models and vehicle styles to fit different buyers.

For Volkswagen, which already offers the Volkswagen Atlas three-row SUV, that means also having a shorter two-row version of the Atlas  — dubbed the Atlas Cross Sport — for folks who need fewer seats and are seeking a sharper look.

There’s a ton of strong competitors in the midsize SUV segment (including Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Passport, and many others), so the Atlas Cross Sport must clear a high bar to make a significant impact.

New for 2024 is an updated engine (a four-cylinder engine that replaces the previous model’s V6 but adds power), and some styling updates and additional standard tech features.

I recently spent some time in a 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL R-Line, a midsize SUV which catches your eye with its attractive, sloping roofline, and I’m back with a full report on this stylish ride.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

For families shopping for an SUV that will serve their needs, the Toyota Highlander has long been on the list of vehicles to consider, in part because it can hold up to 8 passengers and lots of cargo.

This three-row midsize SUV isn’t the class-leader in all areas (some rivals are more luxurious, and have more third-row space, for example), but collectively it delivers an excellent experience that has led to it being a top seller in the segment for many years.

A full redesign of the Highlander hasn’t happened since 2020, but there was a change in the engine offerings starting with the 2023 model, which carried over to 2024. The new engine is a turbo 4-cylinder instead of the V6 offering that had been offered prior. And the new Highlander features an updated tech system that delivers an excellent user experience.

There are a ton of major vehicles in this segment — including Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and more. Read on to see how the Highlander holds up in this very popular and competitive category of three-row family haulers.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

The interest in Hyundai’s SUVs has seen a resurgence in recent years due to some high-profile new models including the popular Palisade, but the brand’s SUV history started way back in 2001 with the introduction of the Santa Fe SUV.

Still around decades later, the Santa Fe is now considered the midsize SUV offering from Hyundai — slotting in between the smaller Tucson and the larger Palisade — and remains a stout competitor in a massive sea of crossovers that dwarves what was available two decades ago.

I recently spent some time beyond the wheel of a 2023 Santa Fe Calligraphy model, the final year of the current look before an anticipated 2024 redesign,  and I’m back with a full report on how this family 5-seater measures up in this busy SUV landscape.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
Wednesday, 05 April 2023 00:46

Mazda debuts new 2024 CX-90 three-row SUV

Mazda has announced the brand new 2024 Mazda CX-90, a three-row SUV built on Mazda's all-new large platform. The CX-90 represents the company's new flagship vehicle with wider, longer, and more aggressive proportions. Mazda CX-90 is available with all-new electrified powertrains, including an inline 6 turbo and a plug-in hybrid, that offer drivers enhanced performance and efficiency.
2024-Mazda-CX-90-Reveal

"At Mazda, our focus is to deliver an ownership experience that enriches the lives of our customers. With each new vehicle launch, we challenge ourselves to progress through our human-centric approach of design and engineering," said Jeff Guyton, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. "CX-90 offers powerful and responsive performance, alluring design, and intuitive technology. We're very proud of our team's work on CX-90, which we know is a breakthrough vehicle in its segment."


As with all Mazda vehicles, CX-90 is designed with the driver in mind. With seating for up to eight passengers, CX-90 can accommodate families and friends in all three rows. Cabin space, cargo capacity, safety features, and many amenities are optimized for their needs.

Published in NEWS

BMW has a variety of popular models, but even for this sports-car focused brand, SUVs are increasingly stealing the spotlight.

Case in point: The BMW X3 — a compact luxury SUV offering — is now the brand’s best-selling model in the U.S. with over 75,000 vehicles sold in 2021.

That’s a tremendous success considering the strong competition in this sector from brands including Genesis, Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln and more.

I recently tested the 2022 BMW X3, which features design upgrades as well as tech improvements, and I’m back with a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

As large as vehicles have gotten these days, with the biggest SUVs looking more and more like monster trucks than ever, there is still a strong market — particularly among younger people and those who drive mainly in urban areas — for smaller and more maneuverable vehicles that don’t take up so much space.

That’s where vehicles like the 2022 Nissan Kicks — a subcompact crossover first introduced a few years back — come into play. WIth a no-frills approach that’s the polar opposite of the ultra luxury offerings available today, it’s focused mainly on offering an attractive, tech-savvy ride that is also affordable.

I recently tested the 2022 Nissan Kicks (in the top SR trim level), and I’m back with a full report of what it offers and how it compares to the myriad small SUV offerings available to today’s car-buying public.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

If we’re talking about Hyundai SUVs, most of the focus in recent months is on the Palisade, Hyundai’s new full-size three-row model that was a finalist for the NACTOY Utility of the Year. But the good news for Hyundai, and the SUV-buying public, is that even if the Palisade isn’t the best fit for all consumers, there’s plenty of strength throughout Hyundai’s SUV lineup.

Once such example is the midsize Santa Fe, which got a full redesign in 2019 and sees minor changes for 2020. I recently spent some time in a Santa Fe, and I’m back with a full report on how it compares in this highly competitive segment.

LOOKS

The exterior design of the Santa Fe is svelte and elegant, yet still a bit imposing at the same time.

I was impressed with the quality of the materials used on the interior, which was approaching near-luxury territory on the Limited trim level that I tested. Highlights included a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel and extremely comfortable leather seating. You also get heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, push-button start, manual rear sunshades, and a long and attractive panoramic sunroof

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

In the U.S., the vehicle trend in recent years has been “bigger is better”. Sedans are disappearing every year, and large SUVs appear to be growing on trees.

Even companies that had traditionally were not focused on the larger SUV category are now dipping their toes in the water. Once such company is Hyundai, which debuted its 2020 Hyundai Palisade three-row SUV during 2019.

LOOKS

The Palisade is the largest SUV ever offered by Hyundai, jumping to the top of their lineup above the Santa Fe, Kona and Tucson. And it’s an impressive debut, to say the least.

A corporate cousin to the Kia Telluride (another impressive debut for the 2020 model year in this segment), the Palisade offers an attractive design, both on the exterior and the roomy interior setup.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
Saturday, 09 November 2019 22:24

Rolls-Royce unveils Black Badge Cullinan SUV

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled the latest member of the Black Badge permanent Bespoke Family, Black Badge Cullinan. 

One-in-five Rolls-Royce commissions are done as Black Badge with a darker image that defines the taste of a younger generation of luxury consumer.

“Black Badge reflects the desires of a distinct group of Rolls-Royce clients: men and women who take risks, break rules and build success on their own terms. The time has come for Rolls-Royce’s boldest and darkest expression of Black Badge yet. The King of the Night, Black Badge Cullinan,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 

This Rolls-Royce alter ego is marked with the mathematical symbol representing a potential infinity placed discreetly throughout the motor car. This marking was first applied to Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking Rolls-Royce-powered Blue Bird K3 hydroplane.

Published in NEWS

 

Many SUVs these days aim for a bit of flash.

Some razzle dazzle to get your attention amid a growing sea of offerings.

But not the Toyota Highlander.

It is what it is. No gimmicks.

It’s an SUV for families who want reliability and versatility. And it delivers.

Let's take a more in-depth look at how the 2019 Toyota Highlander measures up in a crowded SUV field.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
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