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.
Civic v Corolla v Mazda 3 Consumer Comparison by Edmunds.com
As so many Hollywood blockbusters have proven, if something works once, why
not try it again? Last year, we decided to try something completely
different by inviting six regular consumers to do a comparison test of
three popular midsize sedans — without the sponsorship of a specific
manufacturer. They poked and prodded each car using the same criteria
Edmunds editors use when evaluating a vehicle. The result was an
enlightening experience for the consumers involved, the Edmunds.com editors
and, judging by feedback, the readers at home.
For the sequel, we rounded up three economy sedans: the two best-selling
models (Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic) and the one we consider to be the
best (Mazda 3). We also invited a fourth dark-horse contender to the party,
but the Mitsubishi Lancer that showed up featured a fancy stereo, a sunroof
and a $3,000-higher price tag. It was disqualified before the test started
for being too far out of the price range. As such, the remaining three
contenders were priced within $479 of each other, giving our testers the
chance to see how much equipment each brand provides for basically the same
amount of dough. Each car was also right off the boat (or train), with
miles in the low hundreds or less. In other words, nothing was given an
undue advantage. Here's a rundown of the cars.
Toyota vs...Toyota? Camry Hybrid takes on the Prius
LEARN MORE ABOUT TOYOTA HYBRIDS:
Guy walks into a Toyota dealer — sounds like a joke so far, right? Not
Guy walks into a Toyota dealer looking for a 2008 Toyota Prius. He's heard
about hybrids for awhile now, and the Prius is one he knows by name. He
vaguely recalls some celebrity bragging about taking one to the Academy
Awards instead of a limo, and then there was that South Park episode, "Smug
Alert" a couple of years back. And didn't Al Gore's own son make headlines
for getting busted doing 100 mph in his Prius?
Something like that. Beyond the hype, Guy's never really given hybrid cars
much thought, much less gone looking for one. And even though he can afford
a decent-size car or SUV, the price of gasoline has him looking for fuel
economy in a serious way.
And there on the showroom floor, Guy sees a 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid for
almost the same amount of money as a Prius. Now what?
2009 Chevrolet Traverse Full Test
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHEVY TRAVERSE:
If the large, traditional SUV you're giving up represents trans fat, the
2009 Chevrolet Traverse you're replacing it with is unsalted, organic
butter churned from the milk of grass-fed cows.
This is not a low-fat crossover SUV. Along with its siblings built on GM's
Lambda platform architecture, the 2009 Chevy Traverse is the longest and
tallest crossover on the market. Yes, it even beats the ungainly
Mercedes-Benz R-Class. It's also longer than a Honda Odyssey or Dodge Grand
Caravan. If you wanted a bigger family vehicle, you'd have to go back to
driving a Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition EL.
And yet just like the sort of large, placid Holstein cow you see on family
farms, our 2009 Chevrolet Traverse 2LT AWD is amazingly friendly for
something with such a large footprint. It does everything to make sure it
doesn't step on you. You start to back up and a built-in camera display
takes over the left side of the rearview mirror, while the sonar goes nuts
if you get within 10 feet of anything shaped like a toddler. Then you
glance to your right and realize you have the choice of looking in the
regular side mirror or a built-in blind-spot viewer.
All the standard visibility aids on our Chevy Traverse 2LT tester can be
overwhelming at first, but the car just wants to help you out. In doing so,
though, it reminds you that you're not really downsizing when you get into
a seven-passenger crossover. Rather, you're driving an SUV with the safety
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Mazda CX-7 Review - Kelley Blue Book
FOR PRICING & SPECS ON THIS CAR VISIT:
Mazda CX-7. With full-size Sport Utility Vehicles falling from public
favor, many buyers are turning to a new breed of SUV, the crossover. With
controlled ride and handling, a raised seating position and spacious cargo
capacity, crossover SUVs combine many of the best features of cars and SUVs
into one package. Mazda's CX-7 is a sleek, five-passenger crossover SUV
with the heart of a sports car.
Welcome our comprehensive Kelley Blue Book review of the Mazda CX-7.
Designed to evoke the same sporty image as Mazda's flagship performance
coupe, the RX-8, the CX-7 may be the sportiest crossover you can buy for
under $25,000. For more new car reviews, interviews and automotive news
visit http://www.kbb.com today.
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.