2020 BMW X3 M Competition by AC Schnitzer
AC Schnitzer knows its way around BMW models. That knowledge comes in handy when we’re talking about a comprehensive aftermarket program for one of Bimmer’s resident performance crossovers, the X3 M.
You’re probably thinking the same thing. The X3 M already has 510 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t need more power than what it already has, right? Well, don’t tell that to AC Schnitzer. The German tuner isn’t interested in what’s already there; it’s in the business of imagining what it could become and bringing that scenario to life. The product of all that is this extensive tuning program that not only adds a slew of aerodynamic improvements to the X3 M, but, more importantly, also adds more power to what is already a powerful performance workhorse.
AC Schnitzer hasn’t announced pricing details for the X3 M Competition program, but rest assured, expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $20,000 to $30,000 for the program alone.
2020 Lotus SUV
The idea of a Lotus crossover might make some fans of the British sports carmaker a little squeamish, but if Lotus is going to stick around, it’s going to need a higher-volume model with more mass-market appeal. Lotus revealed that it’s developing a compact crossover in 2017, but we still don’t know much about its underpinnings and design. However, a batch of patent images that surfaced the Web provided some hints as to what the British crossover will look like, and our designer created a rendering of the vehicle.
So what do we actually know about this crossover so far? First, it will be built in China and launched exclusively in that market before expanding to Europe and Japan. No word on U.S. availability just yet, but it’s very likely that North America will get it too. Second, Lotus aims to win SUV enthusiasts with one of the lightest and most dynamic vehicles on the market. "The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else," former Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales told Autocar in October 2017. Lotus began testing the crossover in 2019, but the prototype is just an old Lynk & Co 01 model. As a reminder, Lynk & Co is owned by Geely, the same Chinese company that owns Lotus (and Volvo for that matter).
Updated 06/24/2019: Our spy photographers caught the very first mules for the upcoming Lotus SUV out for the first testing session.
2020 Nissan Rogue - Driven
It’s far too easy for car aficionados to dismiss an aging vehicle. “Just look at that dashboard — straight out of 2014. And that hopelessly uncompetitive engine, ugh; to keep up, it needs at least 11% more horsepower. Junk!”
Now, we’d never suggest that cars never fall behind the curve. Quite the contrary, it happens all the time in today’s fast-paced marketplace. But when a vehicle gets the important stuff right from the start, especially if it also benefits from updates over the years, it can still be a great choice in its segment throughout its lifespan. And that’s precisely the case we’re finding with the 2020 Nissan Rogue compact crossover, one of America’s best-selling vehicles. The Rogue still brings a handsome face, a pleasant driving experience, great gas mileage, and a spacious cabin. And it’s now laden with advanced driver-assistance technology, even on the base model.
True, the Rogue hasn’t changed much since its current generation debuted as a 2014 model. Yes, its interior still has the sort of humdrum plastics and plain shapes that most newer competitors have moved away from. And its 170 horsepower is undoubtedly on the low side for the segment these days. The Rogue isn’t one of the compact crossovers that brings a high degree of luxury, sporty performance, or overall pizzazz. But we’d challenge its critics to spend a week in one, study how it compares to its competitors, and still write it off as a tired relic. We found the Rogue to be a solid family vehicle at compelling prices, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our time with it — and with the glowing praise it received from passengers. Prices start at $26,39, including destination charge.
Porsche has released the all-new Porsche Macan GTS after a short hiatus, and this time around it pushes things to the next level with a more powerful engine, reworked chassis, and exterior features that make it standout in the pack.
On the outside, the Macan GTS features new front and rear fascias, new side skirts, and a handful of black trim pieces for extra flare. On top of this, you’ll be able to spot the new GTS by the 20-inch RS Spyder Design wheels which are, you guessed it, dressed in Satin Black. On the inside, you’ll find plenty of Alcantara, including onThe seat center inserts Center console armrests Door trim panels
You can also opt for the GTS interior package that includes leather and accent stitching in Carmine Red or Chalk. The multifunction sport steering wheel can also be had here, and it’s actually exclusive for the Macan GTS, if you can believe that.
The big news here is the 2.9-liter V-6 under the hood. It delivers a cool 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque – that accounts for an extra 15 ponies over the previous model. It’s also enough for a 4.7-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 162 mph. Adaptive air suspension is also available and, with it, the suspension will be lowered by 0.39 inches (10 mm.) Pricing for the Macan GTS starts at $71,300 and you’ll be able to get your hands on one starting in summer of 2020.
2022 BMW iX2
The BMW X2 is barely two years old as a model and it’s already headed down the path of electrification. A prototype version of Bimmer’s relatively new compact crossover has been spotted in the snowy abode of Sweden, and while it’s easy to assume that said model is the plug-in hybrid variant of the X2, the truth is that it’s not.
This crossover is the test mule of the iX2, the all-electric version of the X2 crossover that will be launched sometime in 2021 or 2022. The spy photos captured the iX2 prototype sans any camouflage and that’s not by accident. Visually, it’s still the X2 but that little sticker that says “electric test vehicle” confirms that, other than a few design changes, this prototype is an all-electric crossover hiding in the X2’s clothing.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA
Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the new GLA, the A-Class-based crossover whose first-generation was a popular choice among buyers. The new Mercedes-Benz GLA, however, takes a lot after its bigger brothers design- and tech-wise, and that’s a very good thing.
The new GLA is 4.1 inches higher (now 63.4 inches) and 0.6 inches shorter (now 173.6 inches) than the model it replaces. This means you get more headroom, but Mercedes-Benz highlights that now there’s even more legroom in the rear (38.4 inches, compared to 33.9 inches in the previous model). The U.S.-bound 2021 GLA has an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.30, which will contribute to low levels of wind noise inside the cabin as well as a reduction in fuel consumption at higher speeds. What’s more, Mercedes is so confident that the GLA can pull its own weight off the beaten path that it offers the Off-Road Engineering Package as standard on the GLA 4Matic.
On the inside, the GLA receives the highly-acclaimed MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment setup. Rear headroom, however, takes a 0.3-inch plunge (now 38.1 inches instead of 38.4), but shoulder room is more generous (now 54.8 inches instead of 53.1 inches, a 1.7-inch increase). Trunk capacity is also better in the new GLA, measuring 15.4 cubic feet, a 0.5 cubic feet increase from the previous model’s 14.9 cubic feet rating.
The safety bundle is a hefty one, especially if you opt for the optional Driver Assistance Package. Here’s what you get:Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC Active Steering Assist Active Speed Limit Assist with Traffic Sign Assist Evasive Steering Assist Active Lane Keeping Assist Active Brake Assist Pre-Safe PLUS
In the U.S., the non-AMG 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA can be had with a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine bolted to an eight-speed 8G-DCT automatic transmission. The powerplant makes 221 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,620 rpm and 4,000 rpm. You can pick between the GLA 250 or the AWD GLA 250 4Matic. Performance-wise, Mercedes-Benz estimates that the 2021 GLA needs 8.6 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill en route to a top speed of 130 miles per hour.
No words on pricing yet, but the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA launches in the U.S. in the summer of 2020, so we’ll know more as its market debut closes in.
2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
The Nissan Rogue is in its second generation, but it has been soldiering on since it was introduced in 2014 with only a mild facelift in 2017 and a safety equipment update in 2018. With all of the wide selection of compact SUVs on the market, we thought it would be a good idea to see how the aging Rogue holds up on an oh-so-competitive market. Does the Rogue’s appearance, interior comfort, safety systems, and technology hold up against the ever-growing crop of small crossovers or is Nissan in dire need of majorly updating the Rogue? Well, we found that out for ourselves and more – this is our experience with the 2020 Nissan Rogue.
2021 Ford Puma ST
The new Ford Puma will, most likely, come in several different guises. The one we are most interested in is an alleged performance ST version that, lately, hooned its ST skills over the hard tarmac and bends of the Nurburgring race track in Germany. Spy shots that come from Europe clearly showcased the small Ford SUV tackling the ’Ring with large exhausts and rather large wheels and tires. That is basically the only differentiating factor between this Nurburgring-caught Ford Puma, and other units previously spotted on the roads.
Update 10/31/2019: The Ford Puma ST has been caught testing in the wild once again, this time feature a lot of production parts and no padding. Check out our special “spy shots” section below to learn more about it and see the latest images.
2021 Mazda MX-30
Mazda is the latest entrant in the EV segment. The company has finally launched its first electric crossover in the form of an urban crossover. Moniker’d the MX-30, Mazda revealed the product at its home turf at the ongoing Tokyo Motor Show. From the initial impressions, the MX-30 looks like a mixed bag. We’ll hold our verdict till Mazda releases all the details about the MX-30. The Tokyo Auto Show was lukewarm at best and it was the perfect time to launch the crossover with pomp and fare and garner all the attention. But, Mazda has still not revealed everything about it. Missed opportunity? I think yes.
2019 Nissan Ariya Concept
The Nissan Ariya Concept has arrived at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. The all-electric crossover concept will take its place in Nissan’s booth in the show. But the Ariya Concept is far from a show car that will fall back into the shadows when the show ends. The Ariya Concept is a production-ready prototype that will eventually evolve to become Nissan’s second mass-market electric vehicle, joining the long-standing Leaf in that lineup. The production car — it will likely be called Ariya, too — will take plenty of cues from its concept counterpart. It’s not expected to hit the market until 2020, so for now, absorb everything you can absorb with the Ariya Concept. You’ll be seeing a lot more of the crossover in the near future.
2019 Cadillac XT4 - Driven
Back in 2018, Cadillac finally decided that it was tired of missing out on sales in the compact SUV market and launched the XT4. This compact crossover was designed to compete against the best in the market, including the BMW X1, Mercedes GLC, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX, among others. Now that the XT4 has been on the market for well over a year, we decided it was time to get behind the wheel and see how it really holds up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem to hold water against models from BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t compete in the market at all. This means there are a lot of questions to answer: How does the Cadillac XT4 drive, does it have enough passenger space, and what about cargo room? What models does the XT4 actually compete against? Well, we spent a week with the XT4, and we’re here to answer all those questions and more . This is what we’ve learned after spending a week with Cadillac’s latest compact crossover.
2019 Hyundai 45 EV Concept
Hyundai didn’t come empty-handed to this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The Koreans fielded a strong stand that covered a lot of niches, yet it was the 45 EV concept that caught the eye. Believe it or not, back in 1974, Hyundai worked with Giorgetto Giugiaro on the Pony Coupe Concept, a wedge-shaped car that would ultimately inspire the DMC DeLorean.
The year is 2019 and 45 years later, Hyundai is looking back at the Pony Coupe Concept for its most recent prototype, the suggestively-named 45 EV. Well, we’re sure you’ve guessed its purpose by now, but we’ll say it nonetheless: this is Hyundai’s take on what the future holds for autonomous and electric vehicles in terms of exterior and interior design.
2019 CUPRA Tavascan Concept
Out of all the cars churned out by the Volkswagen Group that are not of the premium/luxury ilk, Seat’s models have been the sweethearts when it comes to design, whether we’re talking the Leon, the Ibiza, or the likes of Ateca and Tarraco. CUPRA, a newly-born company that has its origins deeply rooted into the history of SEAT, is looking to follow and build on the same design creed with a stunning all-electric concept called Tavascan.
Now, as a new brand, CUPRA is just stretching its tentacles but it has been doing it with well-defined goals. For example, CUPRA has just become the official partner of FC Barcelona and it was only last month that it announced Mattias Ekstrom as its new e-ambassador and e-Racer official driver. Obviously, CUPRA is a brand that looks towards the future before anything else, so the concoction of all-electric concept cars shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. However, it’s the looks of said concepts that make us raise our hands and admit that CUPRA’s designers know what they’re doing. To further illustrate that, let’s have a closer look at the CUPRA Tavascan prototype, which the brand calls “a glimpse of our first 100% electric road vehicle.”
2020 Kia XCeed Crossover
For those who want the Ceed hatchback, but wrapped in a higher-riding, crossover-like package and with a hint of extra sportiness to its design, then the Kia XCeed is what you’re looking for. Its underpinnings are pretty much identical to those of the regular Ceed, but for some buyers, the fact that you sit higher off the ground in combination with the more rakish design will make it an irresistible proposition.
Kia markets it as “a sporty alternative to traditional SUVs” and while it’s certainly sportier than typical, tall SUVs, it’s not actually a sporty car. I will grant Kia this, though - this is the best looking member of the current Ceed family, which to my eyes is even more handsome than the Proceed wagon, thanks to its unique fascias and that very well executed fastback-style hatch.
And if at first glance you’re thinking “this looks quite different to all other Ceed models,” you are actually right. The only body panels the XCeed shares with the rest of the Ceed lineup are the front door panels - everything else is bespoke and really quite distinctive. The automaker has also tried to spruce up the interior, although here it only changed a few bits of trim to match the car’s more lively exterior - the dashboard, controls, seats and, well, pretty much everything is identical to what you see in the Ceed hatch.
The Fiat 500 L is classified as a Compact MPV – Minivan, as we know the term here in the United States – but it’s really more of a compact SUV or large hatchback. It’s been on the global market since 2012, but Fiat didn’t bring it to the states until the 2014 model year. It’s been on the market ever since, and was updated in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that the 500 L is still nearly eight years old. With this in mind, we’re kind of curious if the city car on steroids – remember, it’s based on the 500 city car – is still a viable choice in today’s market.
So, we spoke with our press fleet coordinator and managed to get our hands on a 2019 Fiat 500 L. A couple of weeks later, a 2019 Fiat 500 L Trekking showed up at Top Speed headquarters. This trim level sits above the entry-level Pop trim, but below the upper-class Urbana and Lounge trim levels with a starting price of $23,575. It is certainly positioned right in the middle of the affordable price bracket, but how does it drive? Is the aging 500 L comfortable and up to par with the competition? Does it provide the same thrills and entertaining experience as the smaller 500 that it’s based on? Well, after spending a week with the 2019 Fiat 500 L, we have answers to these questions and more – this is our story.
2020 Nissan Juke
The 2020 Nissan Juke is an upcoming subcompact crossover from the Japanese firm. It’s the second-generation of the already iconic SUV that has soldiered on with minor changes since 2010. The 2020 Juke will make its global debut in September with a brand-new exterior design, a revamped interior, and state-of-the-art technology borrowed from bigger Nissan models.
When the Nissan Kicks replaced the Juke in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, it was rumored that the old crossover won’t have a future in other parts of the world. We were basically expecting a replacement under a different nameplate in Europe as well. In an unexpected turn of events, Nissan announced that the Juke will carry over with a second-generation model. The new Juke will arrive in early September 2019 and Nissan just released preliminary information and photos of camouflaged prototypes. Check out my speculative review below to find out everything we know about this vehicle.
2020 Volkswagen ID Crozz
With an impending approach of the numerous Volkswagen ID electric cars, the spy photographers come into their own finally having a proper reason to film camouflaged Volkswagens. The latest that fell victim to a spy photographer’s lens is a curiously uncovered Volkswagen Tiguan. It was wheeling, silently, in nearly the same way as that Golf Sportsvan I wrote about earlier. As it turns out, this one famously hides the body of the next Volkswagen ID Crozz. It is definitely one of the most important electric vehicles that will appear in the next year or two, and this is essentially all that we know about it.
Update 08/11/2019: We spotted the Volkswagen ID Crozz testing with what we believe to be official metal. Check out our latest spy shots and what we’ve learned in our special spy shots section below!
2019 Audi A1 citycarver
The Audi A1 citycarver — yep, no caps here — is living proof that automakers will go to any lengths to attach the words “crossover” or “SUV” to their models. The result is the creation of sub, sub-lines born out of sub-lines born out of main model lines. It’s confusing on a lot of levels, but that’s the nature of the beast in the auto biz these days. On the surface, the A1 citycarver looks like a more rugged version of the A1. While there is some truth to that, appearances can be deceiving, too. The A1 citycarver is slightly higher than the A1 and it also comes with suspension tweaks aimed to make it more appealing to rugged urbanites who are looking for more adventures with their A1s. Most of the bits though come directly from the A1, so it is classified as a different version of Audi’s hatchback, the A1 citycarver is just an A1 wrapped in tighter clothing. The Audi A1 citycarver goes on sale this month in Europe at a yet-to-be-determined price tag. There’s no word yet whether it makes the trek to America or not.
2019 Chevrolet Blazer - Driven
The Chevy Blazer name dates back to 1969 when Chevy introduced the K5 Balzer, a large, rugged SUV with some serious utility and off-road chops. The Blazer name remained in use for this specific model until 1994 when GM decided the Tahoe name was a better fit. In 1983, 11 years before the K5 Blazer was discontinued, Chevy slapped the Blazer name on a smaller SUV known as the S-10 Blazer. From 1990 to 2000, there was a rebadged Tahoe sold in certain markets as the “Grand Blazer.” Despite the different shapes and sizes and designs over the years, there’s one thing all of these models stayed true to, and that was their beastly nature and ability to go anywhere while taking one hell of a beating. This trend continued all the way until 2005 when Chevy discontinued the S10 Blazer and shelved the name for what we thought would be forever. Then, 2019 came, and here were are looking at the Blazer name all over again.
The problem with the new, 2019 Chevy Blazer is that it has attracted polarizing opinions. For some, the new Blazer is too much of a family hauler with little ability to go off-road and, thus, just doesn’t live up to the Blazer name – especially when you consider Ford’s bringing back a boxy Bronco and Ram is bring back the RamCharger. Others, however, seem to like the design of the new Blazer – it’s sporty thanks to its Camaro design cues, has decent interior space, and may even be a good family vehicle. This second group of opinion makers are, obviously, the ones that didn’t look at the old Blazer as a part of Chevy heritage. But this is where we are now, and when we got the opportunity to try out the new Blazer to see how it holds up in the real world, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Does it oppose a true threat to the segment, or did Chevy drop the ball? Join us as we explore the all-new Chevy Blazer and how it holds up against the competition.