2017 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - SUVs

SUVs: MicroCompact - MidSize - Luxury - All-Terrain

 

Chevrolet Traverse  Ford Edge  Honda Pilot  Mazda CX-9 
Buick Enclave  Ford Explorer  Hyundai Santa Fe XL  Nissan Pathfinder 
Dodge Durango  GMC  Acadia  Jeep Grand Cherokee  Toyota Highlander 
      Volkswagen Atlas

2018 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse

 
NEW

What’s new
The second-generation Traverse went on sale in the late summer of 2017, with the Enclave expected in the fall. 

Performance

Traverse

The 3.6L V6 combines with the smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission to deliver urgent acceleration and serene operation. So serene that it seems like the engine has stopped, which it has because of the standard stop-start system. Unlike most other similar systems, GM's stop-start device cannot be switched off, which could be a deal breaker for some buyers. 

The electric power steering is precise, nicely weighted and has good directional stability at highway speeds. Braking is confident and the brake pedal location, feel and degree of travel needed to stop the car are all nicely judged; quite a change from GM cars of just a few years ago.

The suspension reconciles ride and handling very well; the Traverse absorbs bumps adroightly and the vehicle feels solidly planted on the road. Despite its prodigious size, the Traverse actually drives smaller than it is.

A towing package is standard on all but the base LS trim; with the V6 model rated for up to 5000 pounds (2268 kg).

Solidly constructed, there were no squeaks or rattles noted on the two vehicles driven and road and wind noise are quite successfully suppressed.

The interiors on GM cars have improved exponentially over the last five years or so and the cabin of the new Traverse reflects this great leap forward.

The longer wheelbase combines with the XXL format to provide impressive room for a three-row CUV, maintaining one the greatest marketing features of the previous model.

With pleasing shapes and attractive bright accents, the cabin of the new Traverse is quite elegant. While most vehicles in this segment feature soft-touch dashboard surfaces and door toppers, those of the Traverse are hard plastic painted with a low sheen paint. This move no doubt saves GM money on each Traverse sold and the finish looks so good that occupants won't notice unless they touch them. The interior of the new Traverse has a multitude of oddments storage to be the go-to crossover for vehicular hoarders.

Front occupants are supported by substantial, supportive seats and enjoy abundant space. The individual second row seats are comfortable, can be moved forward and back to furnish greater legroom for third-row seat riders and have enough space between them to let third-row riders pass easily to the third row. Though the space and comfort of the third-row seat can't compare with those available in a minivan, it is good for this type of vehicle and adults can easily tolerate a cross-town hop back there. The cargo bed is a full four feet (1219 mm) wide; easily accomodating standard building materials and offers best-in-class cargo capacity for a three-row CUV. The cargo floor cover can be flipped up, liberating a great deal of vertical space.


Comments

After nine long years on the market, Chevrolet has finally released its second-generation Traverse.

Many buyers viewed the previous Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia as a monobloc of vehicles, so GM has taken great pains to create marketing space between them for their replacements. So much so that the three cars were released at different times and the GMC Acadia, which went on sale a year ago, was actually shrunk to be a direct competitor with big volume three-row CUVs like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander. The on-sale-now Traverse and soon to be released Buick Enclave retain the XXL format.

About the same length as its predecessor, the latest Traverse is built on a 2 inch (51 mm) longer wheelbase which permits more legroom, especially in the last two rows. Like many new vehicles, the platform of the new Traverse is a bit more rigid than before and the vehicle is roughly 330 pounds (150 kg) lighter than the vehicle it replaces.

While there were 135 trim variations available to Traverse buyers in 2017, Chevrolet has reduced the number of possibilities down to 11 for 2018. With centre row bucket seats, most Traverses will be seven seater this year; but the base LS trim and one version of the LT seat eight. New for 2018 is a sporty themed Premier Redline trim with black-out trim and wheels and a new range-topping High Country, which explores the limits of what buyers are willing to pay for a Chevrolet.

Though GM's ubiquitous 3.6L V6 will power most Traverses, Chevrolet is testing the market for a smaller engine with a 2L turbo four that produces 255 horsepower and a stout 295 lb-ft of torque. Power finds its way to the wheels via a nine speed automatic transmission in all cases. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive, optional. Most models offer an optional all-wheel drive system with Normal, 4x4, Off-Road and Tow-Haul modes; with the High Country employing a more sophisticated set up with torque vectoring delivering greater stability in challenging driving situations.

The electric power steering in the new Traverse will help the driver counter a skid and corrects for both side winds and heavily crowned roads. Active safety is taken care of with available adaptive cruise control with all-speed forward automatic braking including front pedestrian braking. Lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings and lane keep assist are also available. All trims are equipped with a rearview camera; with fancier variants featuring a 360 degree bird's eye view. A new feature alerts the driver if a person is left in the car after it is locked.

Infotainment equipment for 2018 includes GM's excellent IOS/Android interface that lets the driver's cellphone take over the dash centre screen as well as standard in car WiFi (requires data).


Pricing

Traverse

All-wheel drive, standard on LT True North, Premier, Redline and High Country models, is a $3000 option on the LS and LT Cloth trims. With alloy wheels, auto climate control and xenon headlamps, the $36,790 front-wheel drive Traverse LS base model is well equipped for the money. The LT Cloth upgrade, with a power driver's seat, heated front seats, satellite radio, power tailgate, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings and a tow package, is very good value. The LT True North model reconciles price and content quite well but the supplement to migrate from there to the Premier is very high and the price gulf between the Premier and the High Country is roughly twice the value of its additional equipment. The Traverse is an exceptional lease value for 2018 

Reliability
New model, not rated. The previous models were rated below average for reliability. The electrical system of the previous generation was prone to electrical glitches. The previous version of the 3.6L V6 suffered from defective timing chains which let to all sorts of issues. A GM extended warranty recommended if you plan to keep these vehicles past the warranty period. 

Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3/2, 2/3/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (255 HP), 3.6L-V6 (306 HP)* 

Transmissions: 9A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  13.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available adaptive cruise control with all-speed forward automatic braking including front pedestrian braking. Available lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings and lane keep assist

Additonal airbags: Rear outboard side airbags

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000 (Chev. GMC), 4/80,000, 6/110,000 (Buick),

Current Generation Debut:  2018
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2017 GMC Acadia

 

NEW

What’s new
All-new Acadia has been shrunken down to join the mainstream herd of the three-row CUV market to better compete with vehicles like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. The Acadia is only version of the former Acadia/Enclave/Traverse trio to migrate to this new platform and make it to the market.   

Comments
Built on a 164 mm shorter wheelbase, the new Acadia measures 184 mm less from stem to stern, is 87 mm narrower, 99 mm lower and about 300 kilograms lighter than its predecessor. GM is unconcerned about giving up its unique "Midsize-Plus" sales position held by the previous Acadia in a move to engage the wider mid-size CUV market. The new Acadia looks like a slimmed-down, modernized version of the original Acadia's predecessor, the body-on-frame GMC Envoy XL. The Acadia's cabin is attractive and well constructed. Cabin space is less than before, but similar to that offered by major competitors in the mainstream mid-size CUV market. GM's 3.6L-V6, now with direct injection, powers most Acadias, but GM offersits familiar 2.5L four for those seeking additional fuel economy. The Acadia is equipped with an auto start/stop system designed to safe on fuel in heavy traffic conditions. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. GM
 contends the All-Terrain variant of the premium Denali trim level has off-road capabilities beyond that of mainstream all-wheel drive versions of the Acadia. Available active safety equipment includes low speed forward auto braking, forward auto braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist and blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane change alerts.
Driven briefly, the Acadia Denali, with a punchy, silky V6, slick shifting six-speed automatic transmission, nicely weighted, precise steering, firm brakes and a very well judged ride-handling compromise for a family bus, is another 'no excuses' vehicle from General Motors. With clear gauges and logical controls, comfortable seats and attractive components, the Acadia's cabin is a pleasant place to spend time in. Despite its smaller size than its XXL predecessor, the Acadia is roomy in the first two rows of seats and offers competitive space for those in the third-row seat. Cargo space is typical for this class. 

Pricing

All-wheel drive, standard on most models, is a $3000 option on the SLE1 and SLE2 trim levels. SLE models are powered by a 2.5L four, with higher trim levels featuring a 3.6L V6. Upgrading from the SLE1 to the SLE2 trim level is very expensive, but migrating from the SLE2 to SLT is good value, especially as the upgrade includes the V6 engine. The SLT2 upgrade is very expensive when its additional content over the SLT1 is analyzed. Overpriced Denali range-topper.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. The previous Acadia et al were rated below average reliability. The electrical system is likely to develop glitches. Numerous complaints have been received regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L V6 used in the previous version of this vehicle. An extended warranty from GM is recommended if you plan to keep this vehicle past the warranty period. 

Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3,  2/2/2, 2/3/2

Engines:
2.5L-4 (194 HP), 3.6L-V6 (310 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  13.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.5L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available active safety equipment includes low speed forward auto braking with pedestrian detection, forward auto braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist and blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane change alerts.
Additonal airbags: n.a.

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000 

Current Generation Debut:  2017
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Dodge Durango

 


 

 

What’s new
The new GT trim level replaces the Limited. An Anodized Platinum Appearance package is an option on the Citadel trim level this year.

Performance
Hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Durango's 3.6L V6 delivers good urge with impressive refinement. The Hemi V8 is quick and generally smooth, but equal numbers of people like or loathe the prominent V8 burble at low speeds. Precise steering and a well-judged ride-handling balance. The all-wheel drive system is remarkably well sorted. The cabin is quite well done, with tastefully conservative design and decent materials. Comfortable seats and plenty of room up front and good room in the third row, but the second row seats, which can't be moved fore and aft, have just adequate legroom. Abundant cargo space with the third-row seat folded but storage space is tight with the third row seat arrayed to take passengers.

Comments
Based on the same platform as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango is built on a longer wheel base and has a third-row seat. Styling, with a hint of the first Durango in its flanks, is very clean and shares no panels with the Grand Cherokee. Chrysler’s Pentastar V6 produces 290 horsepower in this application, with a 5.7L V8 optional. Power reaches all wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission regardless of the engine. Unlike its Jeep Grand Cherokee showroom mate, the Durango does not need to be "Trail Rated", so it is tuned for on-road use and drives with more precision. Properly equipped, the Durango V6 can tow up to 2812 kg (6200 lbs), with the V8 rated for up to 3266 kg (7200 lbs).

Pricing

The base SXT model is nicely equipped, but lacks a rearview camera, standard on the GT trim upgrade that is priced $5000 higher than the SXT. However, the upgrade is good value as it contains roughly $6000 worth of extra content. The range-topping V6 Citadel model is priced to reflect its extra content compared with the V6 GT model. Compared with the V6 SXT, the V8 powered R/T contains a wealth of equipment as well as the more powerful engine, but its price is significantly higher than the value of its upgrades.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. The Durango V6 and transmission are unproven.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/3, 2/2/2 

Engines: 3.6L-V6 (290 HP-295 HP Rallye)*, 5.7L-V8 (360 HP)
Transmissions: 8A
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  12.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features:
Available adaptive cruise control with active braking and forward collision, blind spot and rear collision warnings
Additional airbags: driver's side knee airbag

Current Generation Debut:  2011
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Ford Edge

 


What’s new
Edge: A windshield de-icer grid is now part of the Canadian Winter package.
Performance
Our Sport model, powered by a turbocharged 2.7L V6 that produces 315 horsepower and a stout 350 lb.ft. or torque, needed just a whisp of throttle to get the Edge moving quickly, which is a good thing as its punchy, flexible, all-conquering V6 lacks a compelling soundtrack when extended. Fuel consumption of 10.6L/100 km, admittedly mostly on the highway, is impressive for a vehicle of the Edge’s girth, accommodation and speed.
The Edge’s six-speed automatic transmission always seems in the right gear and works unobtrusively.
The Edge’s steering requires just the right amount of effort, is nicely geared, sends road surface information up to the steering wheel and makes maintaining a steady course at highway speeds an easy task.
With firmer suspension settings and sports car-like P265/40R21 tires, the Edge Sport handles crisply with very little lean and feels incredibly planted at all speeds. The Edge rides firmly but has amazing compliance and never jolts occupants regardless of the road surface, a hard thing to do with sports car-like low-profile tires.
With great pedal feel and no lost motion, the Edge’s brakes are as confidence-inspiring as they are powerful.
Other than an engine that sounds a bit gruff when really pushed, the Edge is an impressively refined vehicle.
Big windows and a straight window line between the windshield and tailgate combine to provide all occupants with a good view out, unusual in this vehicle segment. Multiple cameras, including one for the front of the vehicle, make the Edge easy to park in a tight spot. The Edge’s rear-cross traffic feature, packaged along with a blind-spot warning system, is a major safety plus, alerting drivers to approaching vehicles while reversing.
Drivers face the universal instrument package employed by all Ford products equipped with its MyFord Touch integrated infotainment system. A conventional centre speedometer is flanked by configurable electronic readouts. The MyFord Touch, four tab info screen resides in the top centre of the dashboard. Unlike some of Ford’s previous MyFord Touch equipped vehicles, most climate and audio functions can be manipulated by conventions buttons and knobs. Controls are relatively straightforward despite the multiple features they operate.
The Edge’s cabin is a vision of conservative good taste that is carefully assembled from very attractive components. The faux alloy accents are particularly well done and the leather and Alcantara upholstery is very elegant.
The Edge’s seats are large, supportive and very comfortable on a long run. Rear seat riders will find that a supportive seat combines with ample legroom are most welcoming. The cabin is stocked with a multitude of cupholders and storage cubbies. Cargo space is long, wide and deep with the rear seats in place, increasing substantially with them folded flat.
The Edge’s strong air conditioner cooled the car quickly and kept occupants comfortable during the sultry conditions experienced during our time with the Edge. The three-setting cooled front seats on our Edge were a real treat.
The Edge’s Bluetooth system hooked up easily, its audio system was a sonic delight and its navigation system was a boon when driving in unfamiliar locales.

Comments
Ford claims the 2L turbo four is all-new compared with the 2L turbo four used in the previous Edge. The 2L is standard on all trim levels except for the Sport, which is powered by the new 2.7L V6 turbo exclusively. The returning 3.5L V6 is not offered on the SE but is optional on the SEL and Titanium. All-wheel drive is standard on the Sport model and optional on other trims. The sole transmission is a six-speed automatic.

Pricing
All-wheel drive is a $2000 option on all models except for the Sport, where it is standard. For $500 extra, buyers can swap the 2L turbo four for a normally-aspirated 3.5L V6. The Sport model is powered exclusively by a 2.7L V6 turbo. Moving from the SE to the SEL and from there to the Titanium model represents very good value. The Sport is priced $4000 higher than an all-wheel drive Titanium V6 but contains about $1100 worth of extra equipment, leaving roughly $2900 devoted to the extra 30 horsepower (and 100 lb-ft of torque) devoted to the engine. Ford asks up to $550 for metallic paint colours on the Edge. Good value leasing.    

Reliability
Based on the Ford Fusion which is rated average overall. Some expensive engine failures on the 2L turbo four and the 2.7L V6 turbo is unproven.  

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L4 T (245 HP), 2.7L-V6 T (315 HP), 3.5L-V6 (285 HP)* 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy: 13.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 9.1L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available adaptive cruise control, collision, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings and lane keep assist
Additional airbags: Available passenger side glovebox airbag.

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Current Generation Debut:  2015
Country of Origin:  Canada

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Ford Explorer

 


 

 

What’s new
The Explorer enters its seventh year on the market with little change other than an XLT Sport Appearance package. 
Performance
The 3.5L V6 is quick and refined. The new turbo four is quick but is unrefined and is not demonstrably more economical than the V6. Smooth automatic transmission. Astonishing ride/handling balance for such a large vehicle. Light but precise steering. Strong, progressive brakes. The small glazed area restricts outward visibility. Good cabin fit and finish, but the dark cabin colours (including a black headliner), makes for a grim cabin ambience. Comfortable front seats. The middle-row seat has limited legroom and an uncomfortable centre seating position. The third-row seat has reasonable space for short hops. Ingress/egress is hampered by the Explorer's great height. Impressive cargo space with the second seat in place, with reasonable room remaining when the third-row seat is arrayed for passengers. Clear gauges.

Comments
A 3.5L V6 is standard, with a 2.3L turbo four and a 3.5L-V6 turbo, optional. The four-setting (normal, mud/ruts, sand, and snow) All-Terrain system alters performance parameters to match surface conditions. Properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 2268 kg (5000 lbs.), an impressive weight for a unibody CUV.

Pricing

All-wheel drive is standard on the Limited, Sport and Platinum models, is a $3000 option on the base and XLT trims with the normally-aspirated V6. The 2.3L turbo four is available for $1000 more than the normally-aspirated V6 on the XLT and Limited trims. The 3.5L V6 turbo is standard on the Sport and Platinum trim levels and is not optional on other models. Moving up to the XLT trim is priced to reflect its additional features over the base model. but the Limited and Platinum are overpriced. Accounting for the additional equipment included on the Sport over the XLT V6 AWD, the turbo engine on the Sport is worth roughly $2500. The Platinum trim level is very luxurious but is also very expensive. Acceptable lease terms for 2017. The Ford Flex, built on the same platform, roomier and more luxurious than the Explorer, is worth a look. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data on this model. An extended warranty from Ford is recommended. Unproven turbo engines.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/3, 2/2/2, 2/3/2

Engines:
2.3L-4 T (280 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 (290 HP), 3.5L-V6 T (365 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  14.83L/100 km Highway Fuel Economy:  10.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and well as adaptive cruise control with collsiion warning monitor.

Additonal airbags: Front passenger side knee airgag, and optional outboard inflatable seatboard in the middle row seat

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2011
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: M

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Honda Pilot

 

 

 

What’s new
All-wheel drive is fitted to all Pilots for 2017. 

Comments
Unlike its rather utilitarian-looking predecessor, the Pilot is more elegant and upscale this time and ready to do batlle with competitors like the ever-popular Toyota Highlander. The Pilot driver faces a peanut shaped instrument cluster with half-circle tachometer on the left side, a quarter circle fuel and temperature gauges on the right side, separated by a crisply-marked electronic info centre which is topped by a digital speed indicator. The centre of the dash is dominated by the HondaLink info touchscreen that controls all aspects of the audio and navigation systems. Like in other Hondas, HondaLink, with no knobs for volume or tuning, is not really suited for in-car use. Relatively conventional climate controls reside under the info screen. With plenty of matte-finished soft-touch surfaces, the new cabin of the new Pilot is a huge improvement over its predecessor. Trim levels with leather upholstery look quite elegant but the fabrics used in lesser models are a bit dour, especially in this price bracket. Big, supportive and comfortable, the Pilot's front seats are up to the high standard set by large Honda vehicles over the years. The second-row seats are comfortable and passengers enjoy good legroom. The third-row seats allow reasonable access and offer acceptable space for smaller, agile passengers. Cargo space is ample when the Pilot is in two-row mode and while not expansive when the third-row is deployed, it offers more space than on the last Pilot and better than most three-row CUVs.
The Pilot's 3.5L V6 is smooth, strong and flexible. The nine-speed automatic transmission on our Touring model harnessed the V6's energy very well and permitted low-rev cruising. Steering is accurate, nicely weighted and geared but not the last word in road feel. Handling is steady and secure and the Pilot's ride is nicely absorbent. The Pilot stops quickly enough but the pedal feels soft and pedal travel is longer than necessary.
The Pilot's air-conditioning system worked hard to keep passengers cool during some hot weather and the in-dash turbulence generated inside the dasboard when the rear seat ventilation system is deployed is such that some potential buyers may find it to be a deal breaker. Despite its poor controls, the audio system has a pleasing sound.
Active safety equipment such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning with mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitors, are available.

Pricing
All-wheel drive is standard on all models for 2017. The EX trim is conspicuously good value but the EX-L Touring and EX-L Navigation models are priced to reflect the value of their contents. The Touring package is a bit of a bargain. Pilot sales have been brisk, outstripping supplies and keeping transaction prices high, especially on the The Touring model. Exceptional value leasing.  

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. The previous Pilot was rated above average with cautions regarding ling-term engine and transmission durability. Nine-speed automatic transmission is unproven.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/2/3

Engines: 3.5L-V6 (280 HP)

Transmissions: 6A*, 9A (Touring) 
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  N.A.

Highway Fuel Economy:  N.A.


Active Safety Features: Active safety equipment such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning with mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitors, are available.
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,00
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating:


2017 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

 


 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for 2018.

Comments
Compared with the two-row Santa Fe Sport, the XL has 100 mm more space between the front and rear wheels and is 215 mm longer overall.
The XL's cabin is very elegant and could teach a lot of 'premium' manufacturers a thing or two about design as well as fit and finish. Clear instruments and logical controls make the XL easy to deal with. Occupants in the first two rows sit on comfortable, supportive seats and enjoy generous legroom. The third-row seat, like those of many competitors, is made for the young and supple. Cargo space is good with the third-row seat folded but available space shrinks considerably when the third-row seat is deployed to accept passengers.
The XL is powered exclusively by a direct-injected 3.3 V6 with 290 horsepower. Power reaches the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Except for the base FWD model, all XLs feature all-wheel drive. The V6 is smooth, punchy and offers strong performance. The six-speed automatic upshifts seamlessly and reacts promptly to downshift requests. The XL's steering lacks road feel but is nicely weighted and geared. In contrast with the Santa Fe Sport which exhibits a ride that veers toward excessive compliance, the XL's suspension is firmer and its handling is crisper than its somewhat wallowy stablemate.
Like many vehicles of this type, exterior vision could be better. Very good audio system on the Premium model tested.

Pricing
All-wheel drive is standard on all but the base trim level, where it is a $2000 option. Good value Premium trim level includes features such as a power driver's seat, heated rear seats and leather wraps for the steering wheel and shift knob. The Luxury trim, with leather seating, navigation and a panoramic roof, is excellent value. The supplement to move up from the Luxury to the Limited trim balances price and content precisely. The Ultimate trim, the only way to get active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, is overpriced.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. The previous Santa Fe was not trouble free and there were some corrosion issues as well.

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/2/2, 2/3/2
Engines:
3.3L-V6 (290 HP)

Transmissions: 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  13L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: The Ultimate model has adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection 

Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee

 


 

 

What’s new
The Grand Cherokee enters its eigth year on the market with a number of changes. An insane TrackHawk model, powered by a 707 horsepower supercharged 6.2L V8, is new. The iOS-Android cellphone infotainment interface is standard and Gaurdian, Travel Link and Traffic Plus from Sirius-XM, are optional. 4G Wi-Fi is now featured on the Grand Cherokee. A Sterling Edition, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee, is optional on the Limited trim. The cabin of the base Laredo model has been freshened with a new upholstery pattern. The 3L VM Motori diesel is no longer available on the Grand Cherokee.  
Performance
The wide spread of gears afforded by the Grand Cherokeeès eight-speed automatic transmission optimizes the power of the 3.6L V6 to deliver effortless performance along with refined, low rev. cruising. Unless you are towing extreme loads, there is no reason to consider the 5.7L V8.
Tested briefly in very cold weather, the 3L turbodiesel is quick and economical but was very noisy when started from cold and was disappointingly unrefined even when warm. Sales of the diesel were put on hold as of February 2017 due to emissions issues. 
While nicely weighted and geared, the Grand Cherokee's steering is a bit numb and you can sense the mass of components being controlled by the steering wheel. Equipped with the air suspension standard on premium model tested, the Grand Cherokee has an absorbent ride that absorbs even major bumps without fuss. That said, some APA drivers thought the Grand Cherokee's supple ride was at the expense of handling, which exhibits greater lean in corners and a less stable feel than they would like.
Braking is strong but the amount of brake travel required before anything happens is disconcerting. The brakes on the diesel were very slow to react and caused some APA drivers to think the brakes were not going to react to pedal inputs.
The cabin of the Grand Cherokee is sumptuous, especially on high-end models. Hand-stitching, matte-finished open-pore woods and elegant leather upholstery combine to create a comfortable driving environment. The Grand Cherokee has become a premium-priced vehicle and its interior is finished to satisfy the aspirations of its well-heeled buyers. Big, comfortable seats front and rear and good legroom for all passengers. Versatile cargo area. That said, the cabin is colour sensitive. The dark brown with warm wood tone colour scheme looks very welcoming but the black with black wood colour combination is oppressive. The gold-toned faux alloy cabin trim looked chic when combined with warm tone cabins but some thought the trim was visually discordant when used in cool tone cabins.

Comments
Four engines, a  3L V6 turbodiesel (sales suspended as of February 2017), a gasoline 3.6L V6 and two V8s, a 5.7L and a 6.4L (SRT), are offered in the Grand Cherokee. All engines send power to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Three all-wheel drive systems are available. Quadra-Trac I is a permanently engaged single-speed all-wheel drive system. Quadra-Trac II adds a two-speed transfer case and can send power to all wheels or to either axle, depending on what is needed. Quadra-Drive II has a rear electronic limited slip differential and can send all available torque to one wheel if that is the wheel with traction. The Overland, Trailhawk and Summit models are underpinned by an air suspension system. The SRT8 is remarkably fast and agile for this type of vehicle. The (not recommended due to durability concerns) 3L V6 turbodiesel was a $5000 option on the Overland and Summit trims. The Signature Leather Wrapped package, which includes 'Laguna' leather upholstery. Properly equipped, towing capacities are 2812 kg (6200 lbs.) with the gasoline V6 and 3265 kg (7200 lbs.) with the 5.7L V8.

Pricing

Over the last decade, the Grand Cherokee has morphed from a mainstream CUV to a premium priced product. The base Laredo version of the Grand Cherokee is nicely equipped and the best value of the lineup. Upgrading from the Laredo to the Limited costs just under $8300, about twice the value of its additional equipment. The price to move up from the Limited to the Overland is overpriced but its real value is acceptable if you really desire its extra luxuries. The Summit range topper balances price and value quite precisely. The Trailhawk dedicated off-road package is priced to reflect the value of its extra equipment and delivers a lot of off-road prowess by just checking a box. The 5.7L V8 is a $2400 option on trim levels where it is not standard. Opting for the gasoline V6 instead of the 5.7L V8 nets buyers a $2150 credit on the Overland or Summit trims. The SRT model, powered by a large 6.4L V8, is expensive and the insanely powerful $109,995 supercharged TrackHawk, can only be measured against CUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo when value is discussed.   

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data on the current model, but few complaints have been received since its launch. Unproven diesel engine. Complaints of a "hydraulic lock" condition  and outright failures on the diesel, which is not recommended.  Unproven air suspension on the Overland and Summit models.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
3.6L-V6 (295 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (360 HP), 6.2L-V6 S (707 HP), 6.4L-V8 (475 HP)

Transmissions: 8A 
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  12.71L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic warning. Adaptive cruise control with stop and forward collision warning with mitigation braking.

Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag 

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 (no powertrain warranty beyond 3/60,000 on the SRT),

Current Generation Debut:  2011
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: M

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2018 Mazda CX-9

 

NEW

What’s new
G-Verctoring control, which actively assists handling, is standard on all models for 2018. Mazdas i-Activesense safety suite now includes radar cruise stop and go as well as pedestrian detection, is now optional on the GS and GS-L trims. The GT model now includes the features standard on the previous Technology trim as standard. Numerous detail package and packaging changes.  
Performance
The new CX-9 is an elegant, luxurious and well-constructed vehicle. It's turbo four is quick and flexible, but the lack of engine refinement when accelerating hard could be a deal breaker for some buyers. Combined overall fuel economy of 12.4L per 100 kilometres in moderate summer weather is not that impressive considering the operational refinement drivers are giving up. Like other current Mazdas, the new CX-9 has precise, nicely weighted steering and a ride handling balance that combines a firmly compliant ride with crisp handling.
The driver faces clearly marked, traditional gauges and controls for audio and climate functions are straightforward, even though the climate controls are hidden away at the base of the dash centre stack. The front compartment is dominated by a massive, and very high centre console which is meant to replicate the intimacy of a sports cab cabin. It looks great, but makes drivers feel hemmed in. The front seats are comfortable enough but a lack of vertical and pitch adjustment makes attaining a comfortable driving position difficult. The large-dimensioned middle row seat is sumptuously comfortable and occupants enjoy expansive legroom. Like most three-row CUVs, the last row seats are best for children or for short hops by adults. The CX-9's cabin is very elegant and constructed from very attractive components. While long and wide, cargo space is somewhat limited by its shallow height between the cargo floor and the window line.  

Comments
Mazda, who sold the Ford derived first-generation CX-9 for a very long time, finally released its all-Mazda three-row CUV in the summer of 2016. Without a V6 in its arsenal and with an eye on the previous U.S. fuel economy regulations, Mazda elected to power the new CX-9 with an in-house turbo four. Most buyers will choose all-wheel drive but the base CX-9 is offered with front-wheel drive, partially to be able to advertise the lowest possible MSRP. 
Pricing
All-wheel drive is standard on all models except tor the GS, where it is a $2500 option. Most buyers will find the GS-L, with leather seating, a sunroof, heated rear seats and steering wheel, power tailgate and front passenger seat and Keyless Go, to be an excellent balance of features and price. The i-Activesence package, with radar cruise with stop and go, pedestrian detection, smart city brake support, forward collision and lane departure warnings as well as lane keep assist, is a 900 $ bargain in the GS and GS-L models. With navigation, a branded audio system with satellite radio, head up display parking sensors and alloy cabin trim, the GT trim is well priced. The Signature range-topper is expensive for what it offers over the GT.

Reliability
Not rated, new model. Mazda's previous turbocharged engines have been unreliable so an extended warranty is recommended if you place to keep the car past the five year mark.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/3/2
Engine:
2.5L-4 T (227 HP on regular, 250 on premium)

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available foward collision, blind spot and lane departure warnings. Available active cruise control with "Smart City" low-speed 4-30 km/h brake support as well as "Smart" brake support for 15-145 km/h speeds. Lane Keep Assist is also available.
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited
Current Generation Debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Nissan Pathfinder

 


 

 

What’s new
Internal changes and direct injection on the 3.5L V6 increases horsepower from 260 to 284 for 2017. Maximum towing capacity is boosted from 2268 kg (5000 lbs) to 2720 kg (6000 lbs) this year. Suspension changes, cabin revsions, new fascias, L.E.D. headlamps and foot gesture power tailgate operation, are new for 2017. Adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are now available on the Platinum trim level.
Performance
The Pathfinder's strong 3.5L V6 provides effortless acceleration, good refinement and reasonable fuel economy for a leviathan. Well-matched to the V6, the Pathfinder's CVT operates unobtrusively. The Pathfinder's steering is nicely weighted, but a bit slow and lacks road feel. Though it leans more lean in curves than other vehicles of its type, the Pathfinder has a supple ride that many drivers may find more pleasing than crisper handling at the expense of ride comfort. Nissan uses the same elegant, precisely marked gauge package used in the related Altima. Logical controls, especially considering the multiplicity of tasks requiring manipulation. Substantial, supportive front seats. Though mounted a bit too close to the floor, the second-row seats are comfortable and fold in such a way as to permit easy access to the third-row seats, which, like most vehicles, are meant for supple pre-teens. Cargo space, ample with the vehicle in two or five-seat modes, is significantly diminished with the third-row seat deployed for passengers. 

Comments
Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants of the Pathfinder are offered for 2017. Properly equipped, Nissan gives the Pathfinder a towing capacity of 2720 kg (6000 lbs.), but heavy loads may compromise the durability of the CVT.

Pricing 
All-wheel drive is standard except for the base S trim, where it is a $2900 option. Moving up from the S to the SV trim is very good value but the SL trim upgrade balances content and and price precisely. The SL Premium Tech and Platinum models are very expensive for what you are getting for stepping up. Very good value leasing for 2017. 

Reliability
Not rated. Predicted reliability is average at best. CVT durability not proven in high-power applications such as the Pathfinder and durability may be further compromised if the vehicle is used for towing. Some V6 engine failures reported; please adhere to Nissan's oil change intervals. An extended warranty from Nissan recommended. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/3/2

Engines: 3.5L-V6 (284 HP)*


Transmissions: CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:   12.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings.

Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2013
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2018 Toyota Highlander

 


What’s new
No changes of note for the fifth, and likely last year for the Highlander in its current form.   

Performance
Excellent drivetrain. The 3.5L V6 is quiet, smooth and quick. Refined, economical hybrid. Very carefully judged ride-handling compromise for a family hauler. Overly light steering. Very comfortable seats and abundant space in the first two rows, with third row seating one of the best in this segment. Elegant cabin fronted by a dashboard with clear gauges and logical controls. The interior features attractive, carefully assembled components. Ample cargo space. The Highlander was judged the best vehicle in an APA group test that also included the Hyundai Santa Fe XL and the Dodge Durango. 

Comments
The Highlander's cabin is attractive and carefully assembled. With a three-passenger third-row seat, the Highlander can now accommodate up to eight people.


Pricing
The Highlander has been is short supply since its launch in 2014 and the situation has remained unchanged since then. 
All-wheel drive, standard on the XLE and Limited trims, is a $2495 option on the base LE model. The LE Convenience package is a bit overpriced but contains a lot of equipment buyers are keen on and represents the best value of the lineup. The XLE and Limited upgrades are good value if you like their features. Compared with the XLE, the SE package lacks value. Hybrid: All-wheel drive, with the rear drive being electric, is standard on the Highlander hybrid. Moving up from the XLE to the Limited trim is good value this year. The hybrid variants are priced about $6000 higher than the same trim level of conventional all-wheel drive Highlanders. Good value leasing.  

Reliability
Predicted above average reliability, including the hybrid, which uses proven technology.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/2/3, 2/3/3
Engines:
3.5L-V6 (295 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 H (306 HP combined)

Transmissions: 8A*, CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  n.a.
Highway Fuel Economy:  n.a.

Active Safety Features: Collision prevention system with pedestrian detection. Lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings. 


Additional airbags: Knee airbag for the driver. Seat cushion mounted airbag for the front seat passenger 

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2014
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


 

2017 Volkswagen Atlas

 

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
All new three-row Volkswagen built in the United States. 




Comments

After a long period sitting on the sidelines while other carmakers booked increasing sales of three-row CUVs, especially in the U.S. where this segment sells in robust numbers, Volkswagen has finally released its three-row Atlas. Built on the same component set that underpins the Passat, the Atlas is built alongside it in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Like the Passat, the cabin of the Atlas is very functional but lacklustre, and interior materials, once a Volkswagen drawing card, are class average at best. However, the seats are comfortable, space is abundant in the first two rows, with competitive room for third-row occupants. Cargo space is generous in two row mode and typical for the class when seven passengers are being carried.

Front-wheel drive variants are powered by a 2L turbo four with 235 horsepower; a 276 horsepower 3.6L VR6 is employed on Atlas models equipped with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

A full suite of active safety features is available on the Atlas, which also offers a Post-Collision system that maintains braking force once the airbags have been deployed.

The Highlander's cabin is attractive and carefully assembled. With a three-passenger third-row seat, the Highlander can now accommodate up to eight people.


Pricing

The base Atlas is nicely equipped but moving up from the Trendline to the Comfortline is, with forward collision warning, pedestrian warning, remote start, keyless go, blind spot-rear cross traffic warnings and updgraded audio equipment, very good value. Compared with an all-wheel drive VR6 Comfortline model, the Highline, with a large format sunroof, navigation, leather seating, heated rear seats, heated rear seats and a power tailgate, is a bit of a bargain if you like its equipment. The VR6 all-wheel drive powertrain is standard on the Highline and a $4100 option on other trims.

Reliability

New model. Not rated. Predicted reliability is average for the first three or four years, declining after that.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants: 2/2/2, 2/3/2
Engines:
2L-4 T (235 HP)*, 3.6L-V6 (276 HP combined)

Transmissions: 8A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  n.d.

Highway Fuel Economy:  n.d


Active Safety Features: Adaptive cruise control with stop and go, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings. 


Additional airbags:  

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2018
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: