Car Review: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring
The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover that has been a leader in its segment for years and is now in its fourth generation. It’s America’s best-selling SUV for the past decade and was substantially refreshed for the 2015 model year. AS a result, the 2015 CR-V was named Motor Trend’s 2015 Sport/Utility of the Year.
So we knew we had a well-received vehicle on our hands when we tested the new CR-V recently for a week. We also had the all-new Touring trim model loaded with extra features like the leather interior and moonroof, and after a week in the vehicle, we can safely say it lived up to its reputation.
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Car Review: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
For the 2015 model year Mitsubishi has updated its perennial best-seller with some aesthetic changes and engineering improvements to this sporty compact crossover. I tested the SE model with all-wheel drive for a week and came away impressed with what the vehicle offered for the price.
The 2015 Outlander gets new, stylish-looking LED running lights in the SE model but otherwise the exterior design remains unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing as the Outlander’s exterior works for a sporty but practical crossover. I like the front end and the vehicle looks great from every angle. The Ruby Red version we tested looked particularly sharp, and I like it in the other offered colors including the blue model pictured here. It has the type of look that should be appealing across a wide variety of consumer groups as the designers haven’t tried to get too cute with any aspect of the design.
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Car Review: 2015 Toyota RAV4 XLE
The Toyota RAV4 was the first compact crossover SUV, debuting over 20 years ago. This popular vehicle is now on its fourth generation in a very crowded and growing segment. We tested the XLE model with the Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive system.
Over the years, the look of the RAV4 has evolved considerably, as it now sports more of a lower, car-like stance. This sleeker design is becoming more common in this category, and we suspect many buyers will use design as a differentiator in making their decision.
One of the reasons the compact crossover segment is growing has to do with the roominess you get for a smaller vehicle. Like others in this segment, the RAV4 comfortably seats five adults, and we filled up the vehicle several times during our test. It also has plenty of cargo capacity with 38.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats. With the 60/40 split rear seats folded, the space expands to 73.4 cubic feet. This practical feature plus the roominess for passengers in a smaller, affordable vehicle makes the RAV4 and other options in this segment irresistible to many buyers.
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Nissan unveils all-new X-Trail and Rogue
I was on hand with Nissan at the 2014 Frankfurt Motor Show as CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the all-new 2014 Nissan X-Trail that will be sold in Europe. Shortly after in the U.S., Nissan unveiled the 2014 Nissan Rogue that will be sold in the United States.
The Rogue and X-Trail have been completely redesigned as you can see from the photos above with a more muscular look that incorporates new design elements like available LED headlights and standard LED signature daytime running lights. All new headlamps and front grille replace the harder edges of the front facia of the current model. The high, muscular ridges along the wheel wells also enhance the styling of this compact CUV.
The Rogue is the second-largest seller in Nissan’s U.S. lineup and the 2014 model will be in showrooms in November. Here are some notable features on the new model:
– For the first time, Rogue will offer optional 3-row/7-passenger seating;
– The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is rated at 170-horsepower and a best-in-class 175 lb-ft of torque;
– Xtronic CVT transmission with sport mode switch;
– Fuel economy is projected to be best-in-class 33 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models, representing an 18 percent improvement in highway fuel economy versus the 2013 model; and
– A number of Nissan technology features are available to aid the driver, including Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning.
Seeing this new model up close I was impressed with how it looks from every angle. The compact CUV market is large and growing but it’s also very competitive, so the redesigned Rogue and X-Trail will be critical for Nissan to keep and grow its market position. Check back later this year as we’ll share our driving impressions once we get the chance to try out the Rogue on the road.
First Drive: 2012 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V has been a consistent leader in the entry CUV market category for years. This category is exploding in popularity and more carmakers are introducing crossovers to compete in this space. With the all new 2012 model Honda has updated the CR-V and this fourth generation should help the company hold on to its leadership position. We traveled up to Michigan on a crisp November day to test drive the new CR-V and came away very impressed.
As you can see from the photos, the updated design looks great. The front grille and wrap-around headlights are a nice improvement over the previous model. The overall look is more aerodynamic which also improves performance. The lines of the vehicle are much more aggressive and dynamic and should be a hit with buyers.
The most impressive feature of the interior would be the new one touch fold-down rear seat. The Honda engineers have crafted a clever method that has the 60/40 rear seats automatically fold down simply by the pull of a cord at either the side of the seat or a lever at the top of the seat. The lower seat cushion automatically pops up and the headrests and backside of the seat fold down and disappear below it. The result is a best in class cargo area.
I really liked the center stack and the overall feel of the dash. The new CR-V also has new high-tech features as all models include a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface (previously an available feature), a full-color intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID), a multi-angle rearview camera and an SMS text messaging function. Honda has also introduced Pandora Internet Radio as well. Many more features like the nav system are available as options.
The new CR-V sports a more efficient engine design with improved horsepower and torque, along with an all-new Real Time All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) with Intelligent Control System™. It’s powered by a 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower and 163 lb-ft. of torque and has a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. As I drove the CR-V through the back roads in Michigan I was consistently impressed with the performance and handling. The vehicle has good acceleration and responsiveness and zips around corners with ease.
The CR-V also features best in class fuel economy with 23/31 MPG for the two-wheel drive and 22/33 for the AWD. Another interesting addition is the white-to-green ambient light on the dashboard. As the light moves to green the driver knows that the current driving patterns are resulting in better fuel economy.
The new CR-V is fun and functional, so I expect it will continue to have very broad appeal, with active singles and young couples being primary targets. It goes on sale on December 15th and you should check it out.
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