Sport-utility vehicles and crossovers have never been more popular
By Casey Williams
Electric cars took a back seat at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show (except for a stunning new offering from Jaguar). That allowed diverse new crossovers to shine, from LGBT-friendly Subaru’s new three-row crossover to an overhauled Jeep Compass, and dramatic Toyota:
2018 Jeep Compass
Already hot, Jeep is about to spread flames. As evidence: the Fiat-based Compass with its muscular fenders, upturned rear window line, dual-pane sunroof, and LED tail lights that leave their signature. An off-road tuned Trailhawk edition is fortified with skid plates, red tow hooks, and a 4×4 system that shifts up to 100 per cent of torque to any one wheel. A 2.4-litre 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine, connected to a nine-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, gets it done. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take tunes roadwork.
2018 Toyota C-HR
This fashion-forward compact crossover aims at the Nissan Juke like a polished urban-dwelling diamond. Bulging bodywork complements an interior dressed with a dash top audio display, satin-plated shift knob, heated front seats and futuristic curves. Tested on Germany’s famed Nürburgring, the C-HR conjures spirits from the 144-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and athletic suspension. Safety is enhanced by pedestrian detection, automatic braking and radar cruise control systems.
Jaguar I-PACE Concept
Jaguar confirms its first electric car, due in 2018. The mission was to combine emissions-free driving with a crossover interior and sports car styling. Engineers installed a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, driving both ends, to deliver 0-100 km/h in four seconds and a 354-kilometre driving range. Cab-forward styling with Jaguar haunches hosts a panoramic glass roof, buttery leather befitting British luxury, real timber to enhance cabin ambience, and twin touchscreens to control an array of infotainment options.
Subaru VIZIV-7 Crossover Concept
Check the thinly disguised concept version of the three-row crossover that Subaru will introduce next year. Styling cues borrow from the Outback and Forester with a bold grille, C-shaped running lamps, bulging fenders and wrapped-in tail lights. It’s big, but refined and upscale. This becomes the alternative SUV for alternative owners who want a family-sized car from a company that cares about them. Powertrain choices and pricing will come closer to launch.
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT Magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.