Suzuki finally earning some respect as quality improves
For years Suzuki’s cars and small utes didn’t garner much respect, but you have to earn respect, and NOW Suzuki is getting some.
That’s after its fine Kizashi sedan and SX4 small crossover raised awareness in the brand by being well designed and executed, with quality more on par with other entry-level and value brands. Another winner is its Grand Vitara, a small sport-ute that’s fun to drive, simple and delivers excellent value.
My silver tester was the mid-level Ultimate Adventure model with 4WD. And even with its impressive sounding name, it lists at $23,949, including delivery. This is where entry-level sport-utes used to be priced and what some, like Jeep’s Liberty started out to be. Continue reading 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara→
Volkswagen Tiguan: Putting the Sport into Sport-Ute
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed driving Volkswagen’s restyled Tiguan, a small sport utility with the emphasis on sport.
The silver test ute was the mid-level SE with 4Motion, a giant sunroof and a navigation system, so it started at a very un-small price tag of $32,480.
Thing is, for that price I can find a lot of fairly sporty utes that don’t require premium fuel, get better gas mileage and frankly have better acceleration than this I4 turbo unit, at least during normal driving situations. Continue reading 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion→
When I drove a GMC Terrain a couple years back I was impressed by its fit, finish and good value in the small sport-ute or crossover market. Not much has changed in a couple years and mostly that’s good.
Terrain slots in above the many smaller SUVs and crossovers, but isn’t big enough to be a 7-person hauler. Yet there is ample room inside for five adults and their luggage. Plus, in its nine trim levels the GMC comes with a 182-horse 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine that is rated 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. That creates a fine economy hauler for folks who prefer a taller vehicle to a standard mid-size sedan. Continue reading 2012 GMC Terrain→
With Hummer gone, Jeep is our resident Alpha male off-road vehicle and truth be told, it has been for 70+ years. Hummer was the upstart.
While Wrangler is Jeep’s real Type A personality, it’s more sophisticated brother, the Grand Cherokee is no shy guy. Take the Limited model for example.
Standard with a 290-horse Pentastar V6, our silver test model upped the ante with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with variable valve timing and Fuel Saver Technology aimed at eeking out an extra mpg while still giving the Jeep major grunt. Continue reading 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee→
The world needs another compact sport-utility vehicle like it needs a few more politicians, but Mazda definitely needed a new compact SUV.
It’s Tribute, which was based off Ford’s Escape, was aging and barely selling. Its CX-7 and CX-9 are larger and frankly, more expensive.
So the 2013 (already) CX-5 comes along at just the right time, for Mazda. The fact that it’s attractive, abandoning the giant gaping mouth nose styling that Mazda has fancied of late, will likely make it popular too, that and its performance. The good mojo starts with better than average gas mileage and extends to a pleasant ride, above average handling and a stylish interior. Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD→