Everybody is getting into the act!
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD – Children may be buying up anything and everything related to “Frozen” from Walt Disney but their parents are melting the market for small sport utility vehicles.
In May crossovers accounted for just over 31 percent of the total sales volume and were the second hottest selling segment just behind midsized cars. Demand is such that just about every manufacturer is getting into the act for fear of being left behind.
Here’s a look at some upcoming crossovers and one that is already on the market from what at first glance might seem an unlikely source.
Audi’s new small crossover will join the Q5 and Q7 in the lineup when it is introduced at dealers this fall. It will be powered by the familiar 2.0 liter four with 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque matched to a six-speed Tiptronic transmission. Front wheel drive will be standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive available. Among the options are front sport seats with adjustable thigh support and a Bose Surround Sound audio system good for 465 watts of power to no less than 14 speakers. “Ride of the Valkyries” in the wilderness, ya can’t beat it! Google Voice will offer info on travel destination, restaurant and hotel hours and customer reviews. Prices will be announced closer to launch.
2015 Nissan Murano
It will be the first Murano to be assembled in the U.S. at the plant in Canton Mississippi and will arrive in showrooms later this year. Nissan claims a 0.31 coefficient of drag that it says is the same as contemporary sports cars. Zero gravity outboard seats with available heating and USB connection ports are an option for second row occupants. Knee room outback is up 1.4 inches and the interior is what Nissan calls a “social lounge.” Up to four onboard cameras and three radar systems are available to provide operators with a wide variety of information such as Blind Spot Warning and Forward Emergency Braking. The third generation Murano is said to have one of the largest moonroofs in the segment. Under the hood is a 3.5 liter V6 good for 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft torque. There are four trim levels topping out with the Platinum and each is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
It’s built on the same platform as the redesigned Fit but is 7 inches longer but 9 inches shorter the hot selling CR-V. Honda maintains it is an “ideal size for both city streets and mountain roads.” Honda is not releasing much information on the HRV but it is a good guess it will be powered by the same 130 horsepower 1.5-liter four found in the Fit. It is expected to hit these shores sometime next winter.
To settle this – Maa-khaan is the pronunciation and it is the Indonesian word for tiger. It is the company’s fifth model line and first entry into the compact sports utility segment. Macan shares its underpinnings with the Audi Q5 to give you an idea of its size. There are two models starting with the Macan S with a 3.0-liter V6 twin turbo with 340 horsepower and good for 0-60 runs of 5.0 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package. Next up is the Macan Turbo with a 3.6-liter V6 twin turbo good for 400 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a 4.4 second run to 60 with that sport Chrono package. Top speed is a jail inducing 164 miles per hour, unless of course you are on a track and the tranny is Porsche’s rather nifty but hard to spell “doppelkupplung” seven-speed manual/automatic with paddle shifts. Both models feature all-wheel drive. Top Gear called it a “tidy looker …” An air suspension system is an option along with Torque Vectoring Plus that varies the amount of power sent to the rear wheels and yes, Porsche fans, the ignition switch remains on the left side of the steering column. Eighteen way adjustable sport seats are standard on some models with a leather and brushed aluminum interior trim or at owner’s direction dark walnut and carbon fiber trim are an option. A button in the center console will switch all relevant systems to a traction oriented off road program. With the air suspension, that will increase ground clearance by 1.58 inches to a maximum of just over 9 inches. Prices start at $49,900 to $72,300 with a lot more treats. The Macan is currently in dealer showrooms.