Battle of the Crossover SUV's: Honda v Mazda v Toyota
LEARN MORE ABOUT CROSSOVERS:
We keep a couple seven-passenger crossover SUVs in our long-term test fleet and they're indispensable for carting around kids, terriers and lawn furniture. Of course, we still crack the obvious jokes. We'll tell you that these are minivans with hinged doors, SUVs trail-rated for the Starbucks drive-thru, tall wagons that think they're too good to be called tall wagons.
But there's nothing superficial or irrational about crossover SUVs like the 2009 Honda Pilot, 2008 Mazda CX-9 or 2008 Toyota Highlander. All three make good on the crossover promise of a vast interior, easy maneuverability and decent fuel economy. Maybe you're aghast that anyone would need three rows of seating, but maybe you've never tried to cram three toddlers in Britax car seats into a Honda Accord.
We have. You need that third row. But if that third row were in a minivan, you might find yourself filling a prescription for antidepressants. This leaves you to consider a crossover SUV of medium-to-large proportions.
Just about any current-day crossover will accomplish the basics, but the diversity of this vehicle genre might catch you off guard. Even though the 2009 Honda Pilot, 2008 Mazda CX-9 and 2008 Toyota Highlander seem to match one another airbag for airbag, their personalities are so different that you can't drive them without taking sides.
Volkswagen Tiguan v Honda CR-V v Toyota RAV4
CHECK OUT THE CUTE-UTE SMACKDOWN:
We get it already — fuel prices suck. And while we pity the poor sod who
bought a new full-size SUV a few years ago and is now stuck with a fuel
bill that has doubled and a vehicle whose residual value makes manure
futures look appealing, everyone wants solutions. Sympathy won't heal a
So what's a utility-lovin' small family to do? Downsize. Full-size SUVs
provide unmatched capability but their thirst may make you reassess your
needs. Think compact utility vehicle. Think crossover.
This doesn't mean you have to downsize your expectations, though. The three
compact SUVs we've assembled here — the brand-new 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan
and the 2008 Honda CR-V and 2008 Toyota RAV4 — are based on car
platforms, a strategy that helps create an efficient utilization of
interior space in a relatively lightweight, fuel-efficient package. Simply
put, you can pack more stuff inside these compact SUVs than you might
And being car-based, these compact crossovers offer easier entry and exit
and better driving maneuverability than truck-based ones, something you
really appreciate when you're running errands around town. Of course,
car-based SUVs lack the rough-road capability of their bigger brethren, and
you can forget about serious towing. For everyday use, though, a compact
ute just makes more sense.
We tested a 2008 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with navigation, a 2008 Toyota RAV4
4x4 Limited and a 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion. Each one represents a
different take on the cute-ute concept and carry distinct strengths and
weaknesses but the three turned out to be surprisingly well-matched.
Indeed, when the dust settled, we had a tie for 2nd place, and just 4.2
points separate them from the winner.
These are no penalty boxes either, as all three tested — the top trim
level available — are equipped with all-wheel drive, stability control,
leather and heated seats. Two of them have navigation systems with back-up
cameras and satellite radio.
NSX Unleashed: 2011 Acura NSX Finally Hits the Nürburgring
FOR MORE ABOUT THE ACURA NSX SPY VIDEO:
The latest prototype of the 2011 Acura NSX has finally hit the Nürburgring
and it's looking — and sounding — better than ever. Unlike the previous
prototypes — which were nothing more than cobbled-together test mules
built from the S2000 platform — this NSX has bodywork that looks close to
Although the design of the original concept didn't get favorable reviews,
it appears as though Acura has stuck with similar styling for the
production car. Instead of going for an all-out sports car, Acura is aiming
for high-end GTs instead. Think Aston Martin DB9, not Nissan GT-R. As a
result, Acura has abandoned its former midengine concept and adopted a
traditional front-engine 2+2 layout. The company is after prestige, not
That said, the 2011 Acura NSX is still expected to offer supercar
performance. According to our sources in Japan, Takeo Fukui, Honda's CEO,
has tasked his R&D team with building an NSX that's faster around the Nürburgring than both the
2009 Nissan GT-R and the upcoming Lexus LF-A.
Sounds optimistic, but according to our shooters Honda is already close to
its goal. One hand timed lap came in at 7:37, just 8 seconds longer than
the GT-R's fastest lap. Not bad considering that this was Honda's first
trip to the Nürburgring with this prototype.
Credit the NSX's formidable new power plant, a 5.5-liter V10 with as much
as 550 horsepower
and 420 pound-feet of torque. The engine is a slightly larger version of
the V8 that Honda will use for the next-generation rear-wheel-drive RL
sedan, and it will use cylinder deactivation under light loads for maximum
efficiency. Additional efficiency gains will come from the use of an
eight-speed automatic transmission that will feature shift paddles on the
Getting all this power to the ground will be a challenge in a front-engine
car, so the new NSX will employ a modified version of Honda's
Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system. Packaging could be tight,
however, with the big V10 up front. A combination of steel and aluminum
will be used for the chassis that will form the basis for what looks like a
relatively small car.
We have reports of NSX mules being tested in the U.S. alongside the Aston
Martin DB9, Mercedes-Benz SL550 and the Porsche 911 turbo, so this should tell you about the kind of
car the NSX will become. There's still time for changes, though, as the
2011 Acura NSX isn't expected to go on sale until late 2010. Who knows what
Nissan and Lexus will have on the road by then, but from the sound of it,
Honda is making sure that the NSX won't be lagging behind.
Crossover-ish: 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour vs. 2009 Toyota Venza
2010 Honda Accord Crosstour vs. 2009 Toyota Venza:
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Lotus Underwhelms: 2006 Lotus Exige by Secant Vehicles
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LOTUS EXIGE:
The last time we saw an American entrepreneur stuffing a powerful
American-built engine into an unsuspecting British sports car, it was the
1960s and it was Carroll Shelby. The meek AC Ace roadster was, shall we
say, invigorated by his fitment of the Ford V8 into its lightweight body
Fast-forward nearly a half-century. Secant Vehicles, a small start-up
headquartered in San Francisco, has developed a GM Ecotec engine conversion
for every Lotus Elise (or Exige) built since the waspish midengine sports
car's 2005 introduction.
The players are different, but the three-step formula for the Lotus Exige
by Secant is the same as Shelby's:
Step 1 — Find a small car.
Step 2 — Add power.
Step 3 — Kick ass.
So has history been repeated? We drove Secant's development car, a 2006
Lotus Exige equipped with the optional Track Pack suspension, to find out.
New 2013 Mazda CX-9 0-60 MPH Drive and Review
( http://www.TFLcar.com ) The new 2013 Mazda CX-9 is a sporty family hauler
that seats 7 and zips around corners like it has a healthy dose of of Mazda
Miata DNA.Gone is the smiley face now replaced by a much more serious and
more grown-up new front fascia. The car now looks almost mean and
certainly determined as it eats up the corners of your favorite twisty
road. In this exclusive TFLcar drive and review we not only see how fast
the new 2013 Mazda CX-9 will go from 0-60 MPH but we also check out how
the car serves as a family hauler.
Top 5 small off-road worthy Crossovers reviewed
( http://www.TFLcar.com ) Wikipedia says, "a crossover is a vehicle built
on a car platform and combining, in highly variable degrees, features of a
sport utility vehicle (SUV) with features from a passenger vehicle,
especially those of a station wagon or hatchback." We simply like to say
that the crossover is the new family truckster. Here are the Top 5 off-road
worthy crossovers that we've driven in 2011.
2011 Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester muddy mashup review
( http://www.TFLcar.com ) The 2011 Toyota RAV4 and the 2011 Subaru Forester
2.5XT turbo both cost about 30K , both
can seat five people and both can go off-road with their very capable all
wheel drive set up. But which one of these two competing new crossover's is
the better buy? That's the question we try to answer in this off-road
2014 Honda Pilot AWD Off-Road & 0-60 MPH Drive and Review
( http://www.TFLcar.com ) The 2014 Honda Pilot is a family hauler disguised
as a rugged off-road SUV. So exactly how rugged is the 2014 Honda Pilot. We
decided to find by taking the new all-wheel-drive Pilot off-road to go
exploring for gold in the mountains of Colorado. In another fun, accurate
and informative TFLcar off-road review we see just how well this family
hauler does when the road gets, muddy, steep and snowy. Oh yes...we also
wanted to find our just how fast it is from 0-60 MPH while we had the Pilot
in our possession.
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Honda Pilot 2012 Test Drive & Car Review by RoadflyTV with Ross Rapoport
Ross Rapoport spends some quality time with the updated 2012 Honda Pilot.
This large mid-sized SUV crossover competes head-to-head with the Toyota
Highlander and the American offerings from GM like the Chevrolet Traverse
and Buick Enclave.
Host: Ross Rapoport
Vehicle: 2012 Honda Pilot
To see additional pictures and the window sticker for the 2012 Honda Pilot
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Little Luxuries - Lux SUVs Comparison
Big on amenities, not in size - We test the hottest lux SUVs from Audi's Q5
to Volvo's XC60.
Read the story here:
Top 4 Brand New Small AWD Crossovers Driven, Tested & Reviewed
( http://www.TFLcar.com ) What's the best Brand new small off-road worthy
Crossover that you can buy? In other words, what's the best all-wheel-drive
brand new Crossover this year? We at The Fast Lane Car are lucky to drive a
different car every week so we've had the chance to drive many (if not
most) of the best top new all-wheel-drive Crossovers on the market. So
without further delay here are the top 4 new Crossovers that we've driven
in 2012 that we think are best off-road worthy new rides to buy this year.
Roadfly.com - 2008 Mazda CX-9 Car Review
Video car review of the brand new 2008 Mazda CX-9 shot in Tarrytown NY.
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on the Internet visit Roadfly.com http://www.roadfly.com
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King Of The Crossovers - Cadillac SRX Vs Lexus RX350
Cadillac's redesigned crossover SRX takes aim at the gold standard in the
segment, the Lexus RX350.
Read the story here:
2009 Mazda CX-9 Review - Kelley Blue Book
FOR PRICING & SPECS ON THIS CAR VISIT:
Mazda CX-9. SUVs and sports cars serve very different purposes. One carries
people and payload in a roomy, comfortable package; the other delivers a
visceral driving experience. You might think trying to combine these traits
into one vehicle would be an exercise in futility but thats exactly what
Mazda has attempted with the CX-9.
Welcome to our comprehensive Kelley Blue Book review of the Mazda CX-9.
Mazda is known for infusing a sports car spirit into its lineup. Doing so
with a seven-passenger crossover SUV, without sacrificing most of its
usability is a tall order. Yet, the CX-9 largely succeeds in balancing
these seemingly contrary goals. For more new car reviews, interviews and
automotive news visit http://www.kbb.com today.