crossover

crossover

  A crossover SUV or XUV is an automobile with a sport utility vehicle appearance but is built upon a more economical and fuel-efficient car-based platform.

Posted on by TB +  

Seeing a line of pristine Carrera White Audi ’s from across the paddock at Autobahn Country Club was almost enough to make a guy start jogging to get the first seat time. The brand-new S Q5 was on the pre-event list of attendees, and the new grille finish of the Q5 in brilliant white was very promising.

Within closer range, the “TDI clean diesel” script was visible on the side of almost all ten Audi ’s on offer for the car writers to sample. The A7 and A8 were common sights leaving the club gates, but at least one car writer was mildly disappointed.

Not only was the S Q5 not present, but diesel engines all around? Eek. One bright spot was visible: a gigantic white Q7 with some snazzy fender flares on anthracite grey alloys.

Also... a diesel, but this was more TopSpeed style.

A quick blast up to my gravel road photo spot was enough time to fall head-over-heels for the big Q7, even as its replacement is firmly on the horizon for 2014 or 2015.

This Audi is a creamy beast with torque for days even in the 3.0-liter TDI specification. The real clue to its fresher-than-average looks is the S-line trim worn by the tester, which brings along a host of sporty programming options and décor inside as well.

When a Cayenne is too bouncy, and an Escalade is too soft, look no farther than the Q7 TDI S-line for a seven seats and a ride that is ’juuusst riight’.

Click past the jump for all the beautiful sunny photos of the 2014 Audi Q7 TDI S-line, plus some first-hand observations on how the small-capacity diesel engine performs.

Ever since Aston Martin re-introduced the Lagonda name in 2009, the super-lux SUV has been stuck in limbo with no production plans set in the near future.

Widespread revulsion at its styling froze the crossover in its tracks from day one.

But even with the Lagonda’s future not certain, Aston Martin boss Dr. Ulrich Bez isn’t closing the door on both the Lagonda brand and the Lagonda SUV. Or at least not yet.

Speaking to Drive, Dr. Bez intimated that he still believes that the Lagonda has a production future, although a specific timetable can’t be disclosed just yet.

So, in short, Aston Martin still has hopes for the Lagonda down the road. It’s just a matter of finding the right time to do it. Dr. Bez did say that when the Lagonda does get its production date, one of its biggest draws will be the way its built. Despite being billed as an SUV, the Lagonda will be less "utility" and more "luxury", a straight reference to the kind of image Aston Martin has come to be known for.

That’s good news for those waiting for the Lagonda to return, but not as good as the string Dr. Bez threw out in saying that the door isn’t closed on the SUV and the model for that matter.

Click past the jump to read about the Aston Martin Lagonda SUV Concept from 2009

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The Nissan Juke Nismo is a really surprising little machine. After a week with my foot on the floor (in ’normal’ mode), I was vaguely unimpressed with the little truck’s ability to hustle out of its own way. I thought it looked cool and handled well, had great seats and a good image. But... even the coolest car in the world still needs to be fast to get my attention, and yours too I bet.

Silly me. The TopSpeed team is mostly hard at work during the day producing news content, so the amount of miles we put on the press loaners is pretty low overall.

That extra time was exactly what I needed to discover the Juke Nismo’s sport buttons, which allow personalization of numerous parameters between normal, sport and eco.

Most sport buttons in mainstream cars are a waste of time. They might make the engine hold shifts longer, or thump harder over bumps - but generally achieve very little beyond that.

The Nismo sport tune is far from subtle, however. Cars have to generally start up in their ’Normal’ setting so that they can achieve the emissions and economy required by the test and buyers.

Flipping to Juke Nismo to Sport mode opens up a totally different little crossover. One that has front, AWD auto or even a V-mode all-wheel-drive setting to keep traction.

Skinny tires ensure more playfullness than is normal in a compact, and the sport mode also transforms the optional CVT auto of our test car into something much, much more special. It thrums and upshifts like a real sports car, with handling and steering precision on the highway that seems autobahn-ready.

A quick walk-around video of the Juke Nismo highlights some of the reasons I loved this car by the end of our time together. It also shows of an impressive exhaust rumble and all the Nismo-exclusive styling features of this $27,000 pocket rocket.

Click past the jump to see some clips of the Nissan Juke Nismo ahead of the full TopSpeed Driven review in the coming weeks.

Posted on by Simona  

The second generation Hyundai Tucson was announced in 2009 and the only update it received was back in 2011 when the old GL trim was replaced by a new GLS version. Things are completely different for the 2014 model year though, as the Tucson was updated with some minor changes on both the exterior and the interior, but under the hood it received two new, more efficient engines.

The 2014 Tucson will be Hyundai ’s first vehicle on the American market to be powered by the new 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine, with other models to follow at a later point. Next to the new engines, the 2014 Tucson is also offering an all-new SACHS Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD), Hyundai’s Blue Link safety, service and infotainment telematics system, two-stage reclining rear seats and third-generation navigation with a larger seven-inch touchscreen display and HD Radio technology.

For 2014 model year the Tucson will be offered in three trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited with prices ranging from $21,450 to $27,700.

Updated 07/22/2014: Hyundai announced prices for the 2015 Tucson which is now available in dealerships. The model received pretty much no changes for the 2015 model year, so prices remained unchanged: $21,500 for the base GLS version and up to $27,800 for the Limited edition. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Hyundai Tucson.

Posted on by Simona  

Considering how surprisingly popular the Nissan Juke has been since it was first introduced a few years ago, nobody’s going to hold it against Nissan if it continued to produce more powerful versions of the funky-looking crossover.

To be fair, it’s hard to top the 500-horsepower Juke-R , but Nissan has continuously produced more and more powerful versions of the Juke, and at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show , another one is set to grace us with its presence.

The new tuned-up crossover will pick up where the Juke Nismo left off. Taking that into account, the Juke Nismo RS offers an even more powerful engine, sport-tuned suspension with new springs and shock absorbers. There will also be a more aggressive exterior look, an updated interior and other cool Nismo features.

Updated 11/20/2013: This review was updated with the official details, images and specs.

Updated 02/28/2014: Nissan announced today prices for the 2014 Juke Nismo RS which will be put on sale at national dealers later this spring. Prices for the sporty crossover will start from $26,120.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan Juke Nismo RS.

With so many automakers looking to break free from the dull and stale auto designs, a few brands have been left to collect everyone else’s dust.

Mitsubishi is one of those brands that appears to have been content with rolling out models with designs that left a lot to be desired. But the Japanese brand seems to be turning the corner — finally! — and for the first time in seemingly forever, it will roll out a trio of new concepts at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show next month.

Not a lot of details have been divulged about these concepts, other than the fact that the company is preparing all three as the first batches of its new "@earth" philosophy.

One is an SUV that’s been dubbed as the Concept Grand Cruiser Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or Concept GC-PHEV if you find the other name too long. This concept appears to be a future version of the Montero SUV, highlighted by a new front profile with aggressive edges and a new headlight setup that’s eerily similar to the Range Rover Evoque .

The next concept is called the Concept Cross Runner Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or XR-PHEV. Mitsubishi says that this concept will be introduced as a compact crossover with coupe-like styling cues, possibly taking the place of the current Outlander Sport in the coming years.

Finally, there’s the Concept Active Runabout, or Concept AR. In addition to being the simplest-named of the three concepts, the Concept AR is being touted as a compact MPV that, unlike the two others, will come with a conventional gasoline engine with turbocharging and direct-injection technologies.

Based on the teaser photos of the concepts, all three appear to be a far departure from what we’re used to when it comes to Mitsubishi. That’s a great thing because, if for nothing else, the Japanese brand’s move to the present is long overdue.

Click past the jump to read about one current model that appears to have its next-generation successor in the pipeline, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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The new Pathfinder is lighting up the sales charts with its seven seats and a newly luxurious, efficient and smooth driving experience. Far from going soft, the Pathfinder is still able to do all the truck-like things that made its previous body-on-frame models so memorable.

The TopSpeed Garage is much classier with the 2014 Pathfinder Platinum in "valet 1st position" out front.

Have kid-friendly features totally stomped out the lenedary toughness of the chiseled hardbody Nissan SUV’s from the 1980s? The irrelevance of this question is pretty clear. This is a business, and Nissan knows it.

We’re thrilled to report that the Pathfinder has not lost its way.

Guiding the trails like it did as one of the first semi-premium, imported SUVs in the 1980s, the Pathfinder is on a new trail now — a much smoother trail. One that has dual video monitors in back, a sliding/reclining second row to stretch out with the wireless headphones, and even a heated rear seats for the ultimate in couch potato lounge amenities in back.

But what about the irritating and non-premium character of most previous CVT automatics?

As confessed CVT haters and without rug-rats (yet), our expectations were quite mixed before the 2014 Pathfinder Platinum rolled into the TopSpeed Garage . The latest CVT automatic is standard and truly is a new breed of lightweight and economical transmissions, and we took a quick video of a brake torque launch to show how snappy this new Xtronic box is.

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Garage review of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4x4, by far one of the most impressive seven-seat crossovers on the market.

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Infiniti’s name change is starting to take hold with the QX50 and QX80 officially carry over from their previous nameplates aside from the new badges. The name change is hard to swallow. Let’s just get that in the open.

Not only are the new names confusing, but they ditch all the old short-hand for model and engine size. One upside I know from starting my career as an Infiniti dealer runner is to call the pronounce the name differently. QX4 became "Q by four" - and so QX50 could be called "Q by 50." Still not exactly peachy to say, but I digress.

The EX37 is now the QX50 for 2014, and comes in four flavors of trim and rear- or all-wheel-drive traction from about $35,000. Where does this model fit with the new Infiniti Q50 that is leading the brand?

Style-wise, the crossover QX50 was never really the centerfold of its first-gen FX cousins. Even so, it is an even closer replica of a G35 wagon that was never offered stateside. Near-perfect weight distribution, a 325-horsepower engine and a swanky seven-speed automatic are still the main benefits of this sporty crossover.

Quality and interior luxury is up there as well, but certainly not space, with no quoted figure for the seats-down luggage capacity, one has to fear the worst.

How does the 2014 QX50 stack up versus the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class , the Audi A4 Allroad or the cute BMW X1 ?

Updated 05/22/2014: Infiniti announced today prices for 2015 QX50 which continues to offer the same features as the 2014 model year. The only change is the Bluetooth Hands-free Phone offered as standard feature on the base models. Prices for the 2-15 QX50 will start from $35,000.

Click past the jump for all the details from Infiniti on the freshly-renamed QX50.

Mini Cooper

We’ve seen plenty of spy shots of the 2014 Mini Cooper , and we’ve even seen leaked imaged. Heck, we even had Mini officials complaining that leaked images didn’t represent the newly redesigned models properly. Well, Mini is now starting the flow of next-gen information by releasing a very in-depth presser that outlines the chassis, engine and safety updates to the soon-to-be-revealed models.

This press release, which dropped late last night, confirms that the new Mini models will feature three- and four-cylinder powerplants, ranging from a petite 1.5-liter, three-banger up to a 2.0-liter, four-pot that nearly reaches the 200-horsepower mark. Along with these new engines will comes an all-new driveline that will help deliver increase fuel economy across the range.

The chassis will also get some nice refinements that will offer up precision handling and a comfortable ride all at the same time.

Click past the jump to read more about the next-gen Mini technology

Posted on by Simona  
Caterham AeroSeven Concept

During the unveiling of the 2013 AeroSeven Concept Car , Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Co-Chairman, also revealed some of the company’s future plans. We must admit that they sound quite promising, and it looks like the Caterham name will undergo a huge transformation in the near future. .

The company plans a big expansion, especially into the Asian market, and Fernandes confirmed there will be a new crossover and small city cars, alongside a range of sports cars to meet a diverse global market.

The first step in this direction was made with the AeroSeven — a concept car that previews the company’s new sports car set to be developed in cooperation with Renault Alpine. The production version will arrive in the autumn of 2014.

However, when asked when the new models will be launched, Fernandes added: "We’re focused on developing the right products; with the right retail experience, in the right markets, at the right time. The sales will then come." Well, that is rather cryptic; so, we guess we’ll just have to wait...

Click past the jump to read more about the new Caterham AeroSeven Concept.


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