I’m of the opinion that, after much exposure to their lineup of fire-spitting muscle cars, there’s nobody else in the automotive industry that captures the spirit of classic American steel better than the Italians; specifically, Fiat-Chrysler group. And while the thought of a muscle-bound Jeep Wagoneer probably wouldn’t have been widely accepted back when that truck first debuted in the 1960s, if it had been built, it would have no doubt felt a lot like today’s ballsy Grand Cherokee SRT.
Tag - SUV
2015 saw the true coming of age of the small crossover – a surprising number of them popped up almost overnight from various mainstream brands, suggesting that the development work required to bring one to market required little more than a stretch in roof height and a marketing team to name it. Premium marques certainly aren’t immune from the segment’s charms of quick showroom turnover and easy profits; indeed, the luxury “big four” of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Audi now each have small utility vehicles of their own filling dealer lots, most of them based on each brand’s entry level sedan offering (and Infiniti’s bowed just recently). We think a lot of the A3 and S3 sedans, which have a small footprint but carry themselves like Audi’s larger offerings. How convincing was the transition of the Q3 – based on the same platform – from sedan to crossover? Let’s find out.
Hot on the heels of a recent three-row crossover comparison, we just sampled yet another variation on the luxury crossover theme, the Infiniti QX60. Positioned between the smaller QX50 and sportier QX70 models within Infiniti’s burgeoning line of crossovers and SUVs, the QX60 intends to lock horns with near-luxury competitors like the Acura MDX, Lexus RX and Buick Enclave.
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.
With competition in the large luxury SUV class heating up once again thanks to a recovering economy and falling fuel prices, Infiniti has glossed up its QX80 model for 2015 to battle the likes of Cadillac, Range Rover and Lexus.