What makes a vehicle a “crossover”? I thought I knew, and that it was some sort of small car-based SUV/tall wagon type vehicle, like a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. That being said, the CR-V, RAV4, and CX-5’s of this world fall more into the “cute-ute” camp rather than crossover, at least in my book. To take my misguided understanding a bit further, I consider cars like the XV Crosstrek, Volvo XC70, and Audi Allroad to be just jacked-up wagons. Suffice it to say, I don’t have a clear understanding of the definition of “crossover” in my own mind.
The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan is a refreshed model for this year. For 2012 the Tiguan has received a revised exterior and upgraded transmission bits that help it look more like the rest of its family and remain competitive in the pile of little SUVs. In a word, the little VW is adorable. The Tiguan wins the award for the car that I have driven that garnered the most approving looks from the women that it encountered. The Tiguan is easily likable, but like a lot of things little and adorable, it can do things that make you want to scold it and put it in a corner.
By Roger Boylan
GM offers three versions of this pleasant vehicle: the working-stiff’s Chevrolet Equinox (previously reviewed in these pages), the fancy-pants Cadillac SRX (actually on a premium version of this platform shared with the recently deceased Saab 9-4x), and the present, modestly upscale iteration, the GMC Terrain, which was my ride for a week. (The also recently deceased Saturn Vue was another close relation.) While the vehicle may be similar in feel and specs to its relatives, at least GM has made it look completely different from the Equinox – for better or worse.
By Chris Haak
Ford has spilled the beans on its all-new 2013 Escape, and after more than a decade of following the same basic template (that is, cute-ute, car-based mechanicals wrapped around a traditional SUV shape), the all-new 2013 model completely turns to a new chapter in this vehicle’s evolution.
By Chris Haak
With the poaching of design head Peter Schreyer from Audi several years ago, Kia has turned itself from a brand that had no design identity to one that has a coherent language across its lineup, and that one drapes Kia vehicles in interesting and dynamic shapes. With the 2011 Optima and Sportage now on sale, Kia’s lineup has nearly been completely transformed from also-rans into competitively-styled vehicles.
While design is certainly a differentiator among new vehicles, and can catch the attention of buyers, it takes more than just good looks to establish and sustain success in a very competitive automotive landscape. Kia loaned me a 2011 Sportage for a week so I could find out if it also had beauty within, or if in fact its beauty was just skin deep.