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Audi SQ5 by Lumma Design

Audi SQ5 by Lumma Design

The Body Kit Forgets About Elegance And Demonstrates Raw Muscle

As far as compact SUVs go, the Audi SQ5 feels like a textbook example of how to make cars. It’s sleek, sophisticated, and somehow looks like an Apple phone - clean and just right. Making something wacky out of it requires some thinking and creativity. In this case, Lumma, a German tuning company, took it upon itself to craft a customization package trying to awaken the buried raw character hidden behind its SQ5 badge.

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2019 Volkswagen T-Roc GTI

2019 Volkswagen T-Roc GTI

The company’s first SUV with a "GTI" badge?

Launched in 2017, the T-Roc is Volkswagen’s smallest crossover yet. Built on the MQB platform that underpins several Volkswagen Group vehicles, it’s related to the Audi Q2 and Seat Arona and competes against the likes of the Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR, and Renault Captur. Ever since it arrived in showrooms, there have been rumors that Volkswagen may develop a GTI version of the mini SUV. Come 2018, and the beefed-up crossover was spotted testing on public roads.

Performance-oriented models are quite rare in this niche. Although the segment is populated by at least ten models from various companies in Europe, none of them are available with power upgrades. Nissan used to offer a Nismo version of the Juke, or even the extreme, GT-R-powered Juke-R, but these variants are no longer available. This means that the T-Roc GTI will be a unique model and will have the entire market to itself. At least for a while. Let’s find out what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.

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2019 Renault Captur Coupe

2019 Renault Captur Coupe

French automaker is looking to introduce a coupe-crossover for the masses

Renault’s got big plans for its Captur lineup, and it seems that one of those plans involve rolling out a new coupe-crossover that will make its debut in concept form at the 2018 Moscow Motor Show. The French automaker has rolled out at the first teaser of the concept, but more importantly, a heavily camouflaged test prototype has been seen rolling on the streets recently. By all accounts, this test mule is an early production version of the Moscow-bound concept that we will see this August. It’s already pegged to get the Captur Coupe name, and it will likely be shared with Dacia using the same nameplate.

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line Aero Concept

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line Aero Concept

The Volkswagen Tiguan was left to go stagnant on the market for 10 years after its launch, with Volkswagen finally giving in to introduce the second-gen model for the 2017 model year. It was, in fact, significantly more attractive, more modern than ever, and even had all the right technology. Be that as it may, once successful Tiguan isn’t doing quite as well on the U.S. market as VW would really like. So, as part of the SOWO show in Georgia, Volkswagen has debuted four new concepts, one of which is the Tiguan R-Line Areo Concept. It’s the most aggressive, stylistic, and attractive Tiguan we’ve ever seen. And, it sits excessively low to the ground – something that intrigues the low-rider in us and makes the Tiguan look like an oddly overgrown Golf with a cool wrap.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC

2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC

The company’s first EQ vehicle is a crossover

Like most luxury automakers out there, Mercedes-Benz is looking to expand its lineup with electrified models. It already offers a few hybrids and small EVs like the B-Class and the Smart ForTwo, but its lineup still lacks the bigger electric models it needs to compete in the more popular segments. This is why Mercedes-Benz created the EQ division, which will soon include bigger sedans and crossovers. The Germans have already unveiled a few concept cars, and at least one is scheduled to become a production model in 2018. It’s called the EQC and is being developed alongside a hydrogen-powered version of the GLC.

Tested on public roads for a few months know — we know this because Mercedes-Benz released a few photos of the crossover — the EQC seems to be ready for the assembly line. Although still covered in swirly camo, it appears to be fitted with all production parts, including a new-generation electric drivetrain. It was initially rumored that the crossover was set to debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, but the EQC didn’t show up. This leaves the 2018 Paris Motor Show in October as a likely event for the EV to break cover. Until that happens, let’s take a closer look at what we already know about the EQC.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz EQC.

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Driven

2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Driven

I see a lot of the Subaru Crosstrek. After spending a week behind the wheel of one, I finally understand why they’re so numerous in my area despite the fact there’s no Subaru dealer nearby.

The Crosstrek proved itself equal parts practical, efficient, and rugged during my weeklong test drive. It’s fitting that Subaru does so much advertising targeted at dog owners. The Subaru Crosstrek was as lovable as a golden retriever, as ruggedly handsome as an Alaskan malamute, and as stoic as a Weimaraner in the face of difficult conditions.

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2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - Driven

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - Driven

Plug-in cars are the future, and the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 seeks to prove they can be both practical and fun to drive.

And we’re not talking fun to drive in the “let’s see how far I can go on a tank of fuel” sense. We’re talking in the traditional, pedal-to-the-metal sense.

In a lot of ways, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 succeeds in its mission. In one important way, however, I felt like it needed a little work.

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2018 Ford Fiesta Active

2018 Ford Fiesta Active

More ground clearance, rugged looks

After almost 10 years on the market, the sixth-generation Ford Fiesta was finally discontinued in 2017, making way for a brand-new model with a fresh and sportier design. The new Fiesta also brought new technology on the table, as well as revised engines and an ST model powered by a three-cylinder unit. Come 2018 and Ford added a new member to the Fiesta family, this time around in the form of a crossover-styled model called Active. The Fiesta Active joins the Ka+ Active, a similar version of the smaller Ka+ hatchback launched earlier in 2018.

Designed for a small niche that used to include the Volkswagen CrossPolo — a model that is no longer available — the Fiesta Active will share the market with the Hyundai i20 Active. Essentially a hatchback with increase ground clearance and crossover-style cladding, the Fiesta Active is aimed at customers who want the benefits of crossover but still need a compact car that’s easy to drive and park inside the city. A bit more rugged on the outside, the Fiesta Active shares its technology and drivetrains with the standard hatchback, although certain differences are noticeable in every department. But more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta Active.

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2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

The company’s smallest SUV yet goes against the BMW X3

A few years ago, Cadillac finally admitted that it’s way behind its competitors in the premium market and hired Johan de Nysschen, who devised a new strategy for America’s iconic luxury brand. The new plans includes a host of new models, of which the range-topping CT6 sedan and the XT5 crossover have already been launched. Come 2018 and Cadillac launched the XT4, an even smaller crossover that competes against the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Spotted testing on public roads since early 2017, the XT4 made its public debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

Cadillac’s smallest crossover to date, the XT4 rides on a new platform and uses a brand-new, small-displacement engine. While the larger XT5 is a replacement for the dated SRX and aims at the midsize luxury crossover market, the XT4 is actually a brand-new entry. And it’s not surprising that Cadillac wants a piece of the compact market, as this is where a lot of car makers are making huge profits. Having missed out on sales for so many years, Caddy is finally trying to catch up. The question is, will the XT4 be good enough to give the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 a run for their money? Let’s find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Cadillac XT4.

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2019 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX

Acura’s Compact Crossover is All-New and Ready to Take on the Germans!

Now that Acura has effectively moved on by the design slump it was once in; the brand has begun to blur the line between luxury and performance. The new RDX is a prime example of that, taking cues from the 2017 Acura Precision Concept and the Acura NSX. As the latest addition to Acura’s revamped model portfolio, the RDX takes on a striking new look, has more than enough power to take on the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, and is luxurious enough to make you wonder why you’re not paying more for a vehicle of this caliber. That’s where that blurred line comes in, and that’s why you need to keep reading to learn more about the model that will make BMW and Audi fanboys reconsider what brand they represent.

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2018 Jeep B-Ute

2018 Jeep B-Ute

When a Renegade Trailhawk is not enough!

Introduced in 2014, the Jeep Renegade was received with some skepticism, mostly for being based on a Fiat platform and for being built outside the United States. But the company’s smallest SUV yet became a popular choice in its first three years on the market, with nearly 250,000 units sold in the U.S. and more than 470,000 examples delivered worldwide. The Renegade is close to receiving its mid-cycle update in 2018, but until that happens, Jeep gave the mini SUV a makeover for the Moab Easter Safari. It’s called the B-Ute and is equipped for the ultimate off-road adventure.

Fitted with a series of Jeep Performance Parts, the B-Ute would slot above the Trailhawk model in the lineup if it were to become a production model. It has more rugged features, bespoke interior parts, and enhanced off-roading capability thanks to a lift kit and larger wheels and tires. The name itself is a bit weird, as it combines the letter "B" with the term used for utility vehicles in Australian. Read together, and it would seem like Jeep wanted to call this SUV "beauty." And it’s certainly not! But hey, it was built to tackle rough terrain and not win beauty contests, so it doesn’t really matter.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep B-Ute.

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2018 Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Concept

2018 Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Concept

Germany’s answer to the Tesla Model X!

Back in 2015, Porsche unveiled the Mission E concept, an all-electric super sedan that featured drivetrain technology developed for the 919 Hybrid race car. It didn’t take long for Porsche to confirm a production model and the test cars spotted on public roads began to fuel everyone’s dreams of a premium competitor for the Tesla Model S. While the Mission E is still under development, Porsche wants to expand its all-electric lineup with a different model. It’s based on the Mission E design- and drivetrain-wise, but it’s aimed at the booming crossover market. It’s called the Mission E Cross Turismo and previews a production model that will surely become the Porsche Cayenne of the electric market.

Unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the Mission E Cross Turismo is a sporty crossover that combines elements seen on the Mission E sedan, the Cayenne, and the Panamera Sport Turismo. Yes, it’s a shooting brake that rides as high as a crossover, and it previews a competitor for the Tesla Model X. Porsche has already confirmed that a production model is underway, with the release date set sometime in 2019. It’s still one year away, but at least it’ll be here sooner than the Mission E, which took at least three years to become reality. And, by the looks of things, the Cross Turismo concept looks ready to go into production for the most part.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Concept.

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2019 BMW X4

2019 BMW X4

The Bavarian jack of all trades gets a second generation

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – people love their SUVs. It seems like every year, the segment gets bigger and more diverse, with a seemingly never-ending parade of tall-riding, off-road-styled, utility-oriented models filling every niche possible. One of the fresher entries in this space is the BMW X4, which hit the scene as recently as 2014 as the Bavarian’s take on compact/mid-size crossover luxury in a sporty, coupe-like package. Making its initial debut at the New York International Auto Show, the first-gen X4 has performed quite well for the brand in terms of sales, moving some 200,000 units since its introduction, nearly 10 percent of which went to the U.S. market. Now, just four years after its release, the X4 is gaining a second generation. Framed as a sporty, yet practical, yet off-road capable evolution of the Bavarian’s upscale SAC (BMW doesn’t like to call it an SUV, instead preferring the “Sports Activity Coupe” nomenclature), the 2019 BMW X4 offers consumers a surprising number of “sporty” updates, including a wider track, new suspension settings, more aggressive proportions, a lower center of gravity, and a more aerodynamic exterior.

The model line once again includes two equipment levels, starting with the xDrive30i, which replaces the outgoing xDrive28i, and ending with the more aggressive M40i, a carryover from the previous model year. Overall, the updates seem to double down on what the X4 does best, and will surely tempt buyers looking for something that can “do it all.” Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 BMW X4.

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2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

The grandfather of luxury crossovers

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and basically invented the luxury crossover segment. It’s even appropriate to credit the RX with the boom in popularity for all crossover niches. But things have changed, of course, and the competition is fierce. Lexus brought its latest RX iteration to life for 2015, complete with the aggressive styling seen elsewhere in Lexus’ lineup.

Now as 2018 rolls on, the Lexus RX gets a new three-row version called the RX L. it’s available in the RX350 and RX450 configurations, meaning you can haul seven people with a standard V-6 or one connected to a hybrid system. If that’s not enough choice, Lexus will also let you have the F Sport package – and that’s all before getting into the optional features available within the cabin. Needleless to say, the RX offers customers plenty of choices.

But we’re testing the old standard – the RX350 in FWD without the appearance package or hybrid powertrain. This is the type of RX you’d find at any Lexus dealership without having to special order something. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading for more information.

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