2017 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - SUVs

SUVs: MicroCompact - MidSize - Luxury - All-Terrain

Micro SUVs

The micro-CUV segment was inadvertendly started by Nissan when it introduced its Juke model in 2011. GM, with its Trax and Encore models, expanded the segment, which ballooned for 2016 with the introduction of the Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3. In a remarkable effort to foster confusion, FCA sold two different generations of the 2017 Compass, the Compass, and the All New Compass, which went on sale in the spring of 2017. Ford announced the Ford EcoSport micro CUV in late 2016, but sales will not begin until early 2018. While some potential compact CUV buyers may take a look at these vehicles on a dollar basis, when you analyze monthly payments, the larger vehicles generate payments that are too tempting to make vehicles in this segment interesting for non-cash buyers. 

A note about mileage: The APA is using the Canada Energuide figures for 2017 as they were available at the beginning of the model year this year. 

Chevrolet Trax Fiat 500X Jeep Renegade  Nissan Juke 
Buick Encore  Honda HR-V  Mazda CX3  Nissan Qashqai 
Ford EcoSport      

2017 Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore

 


What’s new
The Encore and Trax get major refreshes for their fifth year on the market.
Comments
2017 Encore
2017 updates for the Encore include revised frontal styling with Buick’s new “wing” grille motif and new headlamps (L.E.D. on top models) outside, and cabin updates including a new dash centre stack with an eight inch touch screen, Keyless Go and touch-activated entry on all models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are part of an updated IntelliLink infotainment system. 
2017 Trax
The Trax gets a refresh for its fifth year on the market. Updates include revised frontal styling with Chevrolet’s new “dual port” grille motif, new headlamps up front as well as a restyled fascia and new taillamps out back. Cabin styling updates featuring a new dash centre stack highlighted by a new seven inch touch screen, new instruments and revised trim. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available as part of an updated MyLink infotainment system. The Premium trim level replaces the 2016 LTZ range topper. New active safety equipment such as blind spot, rear cross traffic, forward collision and lane departure warnings are now optional.

Encore and Trax

Though they share the same mechanicals, exterior styling and cabin designs are unique to each model. The Trax is quite attractive and manages to neatly disguise its great height in relation to its length. The Encore's exterior design, which displays all of Buick's styling cues within a tall short form, is awkward at best. Driven briefly by the APA, the Trax garnered positive attention from denizens of a chic resort town north of Montreal and proved to be an amiable companion. The cabin is clad with a lot of hard plastic components, which, while a bit on the shiny side, are carefully assembled and attractive enough in design. While narrow, the cabin can easily accommodate four adults and a reasonable amount of luggage as well. The Encore's cabin reflects Buick's current design themes first explored on the Buick Enclave which was Buick's first attempt to re-enter the luxury vehicle field. The dash houses big, clear gauges and a visually impressive. Pleasing shapes, attractive materials and a few fetching two-tone colour combinations are cabin highlights. Like the Trax, the Encore can contain a quartet of adults easily enough. The hard work of Buick's "quiet tuning" boffins have resulted in a very quiet car. Dealers report that despite their shared components and cabin volumes, buyers aren't cross shopping the two nameplates. Trax buyers are cross-shopping the Equinox-Terrain while Encore buyers are seeking it exclusively. Roughly 10 percent of Trax buyers opt for all-wheel drive but nearly half of Encore intenders go for it.
Pricing
Encore: AWD, standard on the Premium, is a $2000 option on the Essence, Sport Touring and Preferred trim levels. Preferred, Sport Touring and Premium trim upgrades are spectacularly poor value. Great value Essence trim package. The more powerful direct-injected turbo four is a $1030 option all but the base trim. Good value leasing for the Encore. The LT trim upgrade is priced to reflect the value of its additional content and the Premier range-topper is very good value if you want its luxury equipment. All-wheel drive, standard on the Premier, is a $2000 option on the LT and costs roughly the same on the LS when other equipment, standard with all-wheell drive, is factored in.


Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient data. Possible trouble points could include the turbo engine and the suspension. Free oil changes (up to four changes, based on oil life monitor in the car) for two years or 40,000 kilometers.   

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.4L-4 T (138 HP: Trax)*, 1.4L-4 T (138 HP,  153 HP: Encore)

Transmissions: 6M (Trax), 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  9.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Both: available forward collision and lane departure alerts. Encore: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings.
Additional airbags: Front occupant knee airbags and ourboard rear side airbags.
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000 (Trax), 4/80,000. 6/110,000 (Encore)
Current Generation Debut:  2013
Country of Origin: Mexico (Trax), South Korea (Encore)

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating:


2018 Ford EcoSport

 
NEW
 

 

 

What’s new
Though the current EcoSport was introduced overseas for the 2013 model year, the Ford EcoSport will debut here early next year as a 2018 model.

Comments
Updated for its North American debut, the current EcoSport is now in its sixth year. Compared with the class-leading Honda HR-V, the EcoSport is just a bit shorter overall. Power will stem from two familiar Ford engines, a 1 L turbocharged triple and a normally aspirated 2 L four. The sole transmission announced is a conventional hydraulic 6-spd. automatic transmission. The 1 L engine is featured on front-wheel drive EcoSports; with all-wheel drive exclusive to the 2L engine.

With a grille shape that echoes those fronting the Escape and Edge, the EcoSport can easily be identified as a Ford. The rest of the EcoSport is an unfortunate aggregate of odd shapes that combine to create an ungainly whole; nudging the Buick Encore off its perch as the least attractive car in the segment. The cabin, with big, clear gauges, a large floating screen at its centre and logical minor controls, is a very conservative design that looks easy to live with. The Android Apple phone interface will be available on the new EcoSport. Cabin materials on pre-production units shown at various auto shows were unimpressive. Comfortable seats and sufficient space will keep front occupants happy but rear seat legroom is really for kids only. The regularly shaped cargo, deep below the window line, is accessed via a side-mounted, swing-out tailgate that has all but disappeared from vehicles destined for the North American market.

Pricing
No pricing details are yet available.  

Reliability

New model. Not rated. Predicted average reliability. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1L‑3 T (120 HP estimated), 2L-4 (160 HP estimated)

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

City Fuel Economy:  n.d.
Highway Fuel Economy:  n.d. 
Active safety equipment:
Additional Airbags: n.d.
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2018
Country of Origin:  India

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Fiat 500X

 

 

 

What’s new
Trekking Plus model discontinued. 

Comments
Along with the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3, the 500X is one of three all-new Micro CUVs introduced at the Montreal Salon in 2015. With 500 hatchback sales falling and little interest from buyers in the 500L five door, the attractive 500X should have been the car that finally made Fiat dealers happy they took the franchise, but despite robust sales of the related Jeep Renegade, 500X is failing to bring new adherents to the brand and the long-term future of the marque Canada is not a certaintly.
The 500X is based on the same component set as the Jeep Renegade and built next to it at a Fiat plant in Italy. The cabin is quite elegant and roomier than the Mazda CX-3, but can't match the space offered inside the HR-V.
Power choices include the 1.4L turbo four seen in the 500 Abarth and 500L, with a normally-aspirated 2.4L four also available. Transmissions include a six-speed manual with the 1.4L and a nine-speed automatic with the 2.4L. All-wheel drive is optional with the 2.4L engine.
Driven by the APA in the fall of 2015, the 2.4L, all-wheel drive 500X was a bit of a disappointment. The engine is gruff and the nine-speed automatic transmission seems poorly adapted to the engine and is often in too high a gear to provide any discernable energy. Suspension is a sore point, offering neither entertaining handllng nor an absorbent ride. Like its Jeep Renegade platform mate, the 1.4L turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission combination, which few people will buy, is the most satisfying powerteam for the 500X. Good audio sound quality.
While much more elegant than its Jeep Renegade platform made, the 500X is a less satisfying all-rounder than its corporate cousin.

Pricing
The Pop version, available with a 1.4L turbo four, manual transmission and front-wheel drive, is a very nice driving car. The Sport trim, which will be the most sought after version of the 500X, is priced to reflect the value of its extra content. The Trekking trim is a bit overpriced but the range-topping Lounge model is a bit of a bargain considering the equipment it includes. All-wheel drive is priced at $2200 (Lounge), $3195 (Sport) and $3695 (Trekking). No leasing is available. With only 760 units sold in 2016, the 500X, meant to stabilize the Fiat franchise, has been a bust. 

Reliability
Not rated, new model. New-generation Fiat reliability has been average, at best.

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.4L‑4 T (160 HP estimated), 2.4L-4 (180 HP estimated)

Transmissions: 6M (1.4L-4 T), 9A (2.4L-4) 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.1L/100 km 
Active safety equipment: Available blind spot, rear cross traffic, forward collision   and lane departure warnings in addition to active front braking.
Additional Airbags: Driver's side knee airbag
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Italy

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Honda HR-V

 

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for 2018. 

Comments
The HR-V is longer and taller than the Fit, whose platform it is based on. The HR-V has substituted the Fit's 1.5L engine for the 1.8L four from the previous Civic. Power reaches the front wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic; the automatic is the sole choice on all-wheel-drive models.
Recently tested by the APA alongside the Mazda CX-3, the HR-V was rated second of the four cars tested, with the HR-V in first place for one driver due to is amazing space efficiency. Like the Fit, the HR-V's front seats and driving position does not suit all drivers and the front passenger seat, mounted too low to the floor, is also partially encroached upon by the large dashboard. Rear seat passengers enjoy a comfortable seat and abundant legroom. Cargo space is not massive, but is square and tall, and with the rear seat folded, remarkably versatile. The HR-V driver faces elegant, conventional gauges and a centre stack that looks chic, but its touchscreen-activated controls are very unsatisfying, with the audio controls, with no knobs for tuning or volume, needing a total rethink. Attractive fabrics, which cover the upper door panels in addition to the seats.
The HR-V's 1.8L four is smooth and works very well with a carefully calibrated CVT to deliver good acceleration and relaxed cruising. The HR-V's steering is light and lacks feel, but is nicely geared and accurate. Very good ride-handling compromise for a small family hauler.
Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the EX-L Navi trim, is a $2300 option on the LX and EX models. Trim upgrades, from LX to EX and from EX to EX-L Navi are very good value. Good value leasing. Equipped with automatic transmission, the HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 are priced very closely from the base model to the range toppers. Compared with the HR-V, the Mazda is considerably more stylish, inside and out, but is essentially a 2+2 format with limited cargo space whereas the HR-V is a generous four seater with abundant cargo space. Good value leasing. 

Reliability
Not rated, new vehicle. The Fit and the Civic which supply the structure and mechanicals for the HR-V are both rated above average.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.8L-4 (141 HP)*

Transmissions: 6M, CVT*


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

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

Active safety equipment: Available forward collision and lane departure warnings.


Additional airbags:: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current generation debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2018 Jeep Renegade

 

 

 

What’s new
Uconnect 4 is standard on the North, Limited and TrailHawk models; with Uconnect 3 now incorporated into the base Sport model. 4G Wi-Fi is now available, as are Guardian, Travel Link and Traffic Plus from Sirius XM. the iOS-Android cellphone infotainment device is available on the Renegade this year. A number of cabin updates claim to have increased oddments storage and the cabins have been freshened with new fabrics, trim hues and bright trim. 

Comments 

The Renegade was the first Fiat-Chrysler vehicle based on a new Small Wide 4x4 architecture that is somehow different from the Small Wide platform that underpins most of FCA's newest models.
The Renegade incorporates Jeep styling themes such as the seven slot grille, large, squarish wheel openings and prominent body cladding, but the overall design looks forced and a bit cartoonish. The Renegade's enormous windshield pillars add to its blocky appearance and don't do much for visibility.
Like the Cherokee, the Renegade is offered in two distinct flavours, regular and TrailHawk. The TrailHawk differs in that its front and rear fascias are shaped to allow for steeper approach and departure angles for off-roading.
The cabin featuring clear gauges and logical controls. The dashboard, like much of the rest of the cabin, looks like it was fashioned from various components pulled from a variety of other FCA vehicles. The cabin is constructed primarily of matte-finished hard plastics. The front seats are substantial in size but are somewhat squishy for heavier occupants. The rear seat is hard, uncomfortable and offers just enough legroom for adults. While not massive in width or length, the Renegade's trunk is nicely square, deep below the window line and looks commodious for such a small vehicle.
Two familiar engines are available, Fiat's 1.4L turbo four and the 2.4L version of the old Chrysler-Mitsubishi-Daimler jointly-developed engine updated with a Fiat cylinder head. The turbo will be offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission in front-wheel and all-wheel drive systems; with the 2.4L mated exclusively to a nine-speed automatic.
Two available all-wheel drive options, with Jeep's Selec-Terrain system, with Automatic, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock settings, offered on the TrailHawk version of the Renegade.

Pricing

All-wheel drive costs an extra $6650 on the base model equipped by the 1.4L four and manual transmission (the all-wheel drive variant includes around $1700 in additional equipment when compared with the front-wheel drive version), but costs $1500 on the all-wheel drive North. . Automatic transmission, which includes the larger 2.4L enigne, costs $1495 on the Sport and $1595 on the North. Very good value Sport and Limited trim upgrades. Poor resale value predicted. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficiehnt data. New-generation Fiat reliability has been average, at best.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.4L-4 T (160 HP), 2.4L-4 (180 HP)*
Transmissions: 6M, 9A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy: 11.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8.2L/100 km
Active safety equipment: Available forward collision warning with active braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning.
Additional airbags: Driver's knee airbag
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current generation debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Italy

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2018 Mazda CX-3

 

 

 

What’s new
G-vectoring control is standard on all models. Mazda notes that 2018 updates result in enhanced refinement and ride quality. Higher contrast gauges for 2018. Manual transmission offered on the GX front-wheel drive variant. Smart City brake support is standard on the GX. GS trim gains standard blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control and an iActivesense active safety option package. The GT gains a 10-way power driver's seat, an iActivesense package and the Tech package includes radar cruise control and traffic sign recognition this year.

Comments
With a long front end compared with overall vehicle length and a wealth of body lines and creases on its flanks, the CX-3 adheres closely to current Mazda styling themes.
The horizontally arrayed dashboard, with its crisp instrumentation and simple controls, is lifted right out of the Mazda 2. The interior is quite chic and nicely finished, especially in top-spec models boasting high-contrast two-tone colour combinations. Cabin space in reasonable up front, but rear legroom is tight and getting in and out is a struggle. Cargo space is small but regularly shaped.


Based on the Mazda 2 platform but powered by the 2L four from the Mazda 3, the CX-3 performs well but the engine is noisy when pushed. The six-speed automatic transmission works well with the 2L four. This car is a satisfying drive in the country or on the highway and handily compact in town. Crisp handling on the GT trim model driven is offset by a very firm ride that can become uncomfortable in town. Though it represents a compromised package in terms of passenger and cargo space, the stylish CX-3 found over 9000 buyers in 2016.

Pricing

Three trim levels, the GX, GS and GT are available. The $19,995 base manual transmission GX ($21,295 with automatic) a rearview camera and Bluetooth. All-wheel drive is a $2000 option is standard on the GT trim and is a $2,000 on other models with automatic transmission. Upgrading from the GX to the GS trim is a bargain, Overpriced GS Luxury package but the iActivesense upgrade delivers a lot of safety gear for the money. The GT is priced to reflect the value of its additional content but the GT Tech package is overpriced.

Reliability
Not rated, recent vehicle. Above average reliability expected. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L-4 (146 HP)

Transmissions: 6A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy: 8.8L/100 km
Highway fuel economy: 7.5L/100 km
Active safety equipment: Available blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings as well as Smart City brake support. 
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/unlimited, 5/unlimited
Current generation debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating:


2017 Nissan Juke

 


 

 

What’s new
Only the 188 horsepower version of the 1.8L turbo four returns for 2017. Limited to 250 units, the Black Pearl special edition is new this year. 

Performance
The Juke's 1,8L turbo four spools up after a slight delay, and pulls in a strong, linear fashion from 2000 to 5000 rpm. Robust, flexible passing power seldom requires downshifting any lower than fifth gear when hooked to a manual transmission. The turbo four is acceptably refined but gets loud at full chat. Despite a slightly rubbery gearchange and longish throws, the manual transmission works well. Light, progressive clutch. Heavy fuel consumption. Precise, nicely-weighted steering and entertaining handling. Firm, sometimes harsh ride. Poor rear visibility. Supportive front seats grip occupants well but without a telescoping steering wheel, the driving position is not ideal. Seat travel is limited for the very tall. The rear seat is too narrow to handle three persons comfortably. Tight rear legroom. Limited headroom on sunroof-equipped models. Crisply-marked gauges and logical controls inhabit a stylish cabin embellished with exterior body-colour accents. Good fit and finish. Limited trunk space. Strong air-conditioning, Good audio and navigation systems.
Comments
Only one engine, a 1.6L turbo four producing 188 horsepower is available. Two transmissions, a six-speed manual and a CVT, are offered on front-wheel drive Jukes, with the CVT standard on the all-wheel drive model. With around 4400 sold in the 2016, the Juke is still a very popular vehicle considering its design age and its limited cabin space.

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the SL and Nismo models is a $2200 option on the SV trim.The SL 
trim upgrade is priced to reflect its extra value quite precisely but the Nismo trim is good value if you like its additional equipment. The Black Pearl edition offers little of value for its $1500 price tag. Leasing is not worth considering in 2017. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Predicted reliability is average to below average as the Juke is based on the first-generation Versa that suffered from rapid brake wear, premature exhaust flange failure and a general lack of durability.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L-4 T (188 HP)*
Transmissions: 6M, CVT*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy: 9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 7.8L/100 km
Active safety equipment: None
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current generation debut: 2011
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Nissan Qashqai

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
Long a hit in Europe, the Qashqai comes to North America. The car is marketed as a 2017 model despite its spring 2017 release.
Comments
Nissan abandoned the conventional C-segment hatchback market in Europe about a decade ago, replacing it with the Qashqai, which has been very successful for them there.
The Qashqai (to be sold in the U.S., as the Rogue Sport) is Nissan’s entry in the micro CUV class inhabited by vehicles such as the Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V. The Qashqai is a bit larger overall than the Honda HR-V but usefully smaller than the Rogue, which will suit the urbanites, Nissan’s primary market target.
The cabin is elegant and uses various familiar bits from other Nissans. Good interior space up front and competitive rear seat legroom. The front seats are quite supportive and the rear seat is comfortable enough.
Only one engine, a 141 horsepower 2L four is available. The front-wheel drive S trim can be linked to a six-speed manual transmission, with a CVT transmitting power on all other trims. Front wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. 

Pricing
Upgrading from the S to the SV (with automatic) costs $2600, but the value of the additional content is about $4000. The SV upgrade includes include features such as a sunroof, dual zone climate control, Keyless Go, remote start, cruise control, a multi-floor cargo area and alloy wheels. The SL upgrade is priced $2700 higher than an AWD SV (the SL has standard all-wheel drive) and delivers luxury features like leather upholstery, navigation, a multi-view camera, forward collision warning and 19 inch alloy wheels; about a $3000 value. Buyers need to fork over an extra $2700 for the SL Platinum package to obtain active safey gear such as active emergency braking, blind spot/rear cross traffic monitors and intelligent cruise control. The Platinum package also features L.E.D. headlamps. Very good value leasing.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Predicted reliability is average when for the first few years, sinking to below average as the car ages and premature component failure is predicted.  

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L-4 (141 HP)*
Transmissions: 6M, CVT*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy: n.a.

Highway Fuel Economy: n.a.


Active safety equipment: Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, active cruise control, rear cross traffic and blind spot warnings. 
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current generation debut: 2017
Country of Origin: Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/A

Mod. Front: N/A

Side: N/A

Roof: N/A

Rear: N/A

NHTSA Rating: