Lincoln’s caught a lot of flack from the press lately for padding its product offering with what are basically gussied-up mainstream Ford products. The aspirational “premium” brands that Lincoln is gunning hard for also do this, but those vehicles are usually offset with some higher-end niche platforms. Take this MKC, introduced for 2015 – it’s well-proportioned and wears perhaps the best execution yet of Lincoln’s waterfall grille treatment yet. Under the skin, though, it’s little more than a Ford Escape – a crossover near the head of its class, albeit a class that starts about $15 – 20 grand cheaper. We like the Escape – but does the MKC have what it takes to charge up to $50k for its mainstream bones?
Tag - crossover
This Renegade, a plucky little toaster of a vehicle that’s probably been more divisive to hardcore Jeep enthusiasts than any new model the company has introduced short of the Compass, has been on my radar for “must-drives” this year. That isn’t because it’s composed of especially compelling parts – in some ways, I’ve already driven the Renegade a few times over. The Fiat 500X I sampled over the summer shares its underpinnings with the Renegade, as well as its powertrains. And in the case of this Latitude model, the hotter Abarth version of the Fiat 500 donates its 1.4-liter turbo and six-speed manual. Why, then, was I so compelled to drive the new Jeeplet?
Every week is a roll of the dice in terms of what press car shows up at our Speed:Sport:Life door step. One week we’ll be in a heavy duty diesel pickup, the next a hybrid sedan. It’s rare that we receive consecutive vehicles that are direct competitors. Well, the stars must have aligned recently, because the car gods sent us two mid-size crossovers on subsequent weeks. And if we can be forgiven for secretly wishing for back-to-back Ferraris, this still afforded a unique opportunity to spot the similarities and differences between two popular crossovers – the Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Subcompact crossovers are all the rage right now: for proof, look no further than any mainstream dealer’s showroom. Most of the big name players have put a rush order on their cute ute plans, save for a few hold outs, and those vehicles are now starting to hit dealer lots in earnest. FCA has taken a two-pronged approach to getting in on the action – Jeep’s Renegade covers the rugged end of the image spectrum, while the new 500X pictured here plays on Fiat’s already established, slightly cutesy Continental charm. The question is whether or not it’s able to capitalize on that charm while remaining a solid crossover entry.
I generally liked the Juke NISMO when I drove it two years ago. I found it to be a plucky, and quirky, entry into a field of vehicles that are by definition fairly quirky – namely city cars like the Fiat 500, Mini Cooper and Hyundai Veloster. Though not quite up to the task of taking on high-performance hot hatches such as the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen GTI, it does strike a unique balance as a pseudo-crossover/warm hatch. Last year, Nissan upped the ante with an RS version, bringing in more power and a sharper chassis but keeping the same pumped-up puffer fish looks and aero additions from the regular NISMO model.
We originally tested the Santa Fe Sport after the model’s introduction in 2013. Since then, little has changed, aside from some minor equipment, suspension and aesthetic tweaks. Does it still measure up against the rest of the midsize crossover field? Read on to find out.