Fittingly, Honda has chosen the Detroit Motor Show to show off the styling cues of its upcoming baby SUV via this neat little concept called the ‘Urban SUV’. Why fittingly? Because it’s all very RoboCop at the front; Detroit’s fictional crime-fighting champion.
Details are scarce, but we do know this Urban concept previews a small SUV based around the Honda Jazz platform; the Jazz remember, sits on Honda’s Global Compact Series underpinnings.
Interesting thing to note however, is how huge the actual concept is in size. Sure, it might preview a small SUV, but in reality this thing looks closer to a Mazda CX-5 in size. Honda tells us the urban concept is “designed to provide aesthetic cues”, and will eventually see service all over the globe.
Volkswagen has taken the opportunity of the Detroit Motor Show to showcase an American-only concept: it’s the CrossBlue SUV.
Weighing in at around the same size as an Audi Q7 - and thus, huge - Volkswagen reckons that should this ever make production, it will slot in between the Tiguan and the Touareg in VW’s SUV line-up.
Underneath the Tonka-truck exterior sits a diesel-electric hybrid setup mated to a DSG gearbox and four-wheel-drive, strapped to the VW Group’s new MQB platform (the same platform underpinning 10 million VW group products). So you’re looking at a 187bhp TDI engine with 295lb ft of torque, together with a lithium-ion battery pack - laying across the central tunnel - powering one electric motor on the front axle and one on the rear axle.
Altogether, the CrossBlue’s drivetrain - much like the Cross Coupe concept shown at last year’s Detroit show - produces 300bhp and a not inconsiderable 516lb ft of torque. 0-60mph is quoted as seven seconds, while the top speed is 127mph (or 75mph if running in electric-only mode).
So, what do we know? Honda’s miniscule two-paragraph press release tells us that it’s a global concept model that combines a sporty and dynamic SUV profile with a spacious interior utilising Honda’s centre-tank layout. Oh, and that it’ll be introduced at the Detroit motor show on January 14.
From the sketchiest of sketches, we can make out that the scribblers have used the CR-V’s kinked glasshouse shape but the rear light clusters are positioned where you’d normally find them on the boot, not the D-pillars. But, erm, that’s about it.
This is Volkswagen Taigun, and you don’t need a degree in English to decipher that name: it’s an anagram of Tiguan.
It’s been unveiled at the Sao Paulo motor show, previewing - what Volkswagen reckons - the look of a possible small SUV based on the ‘New Small Family’ platform. Confused? The platform’s shared with the Up, too. So it’s pretty handy.
The Taigun measures just 3.86m in length and 1.73m in width, with short overhangs and a 1.0-litre, three-pot turbo producing 107bhp and 129lb ft of torque, all pushed through a six-speed manual gearbox. 0-62mph takes 9.2 seconds - quicker than a Polo 1.2 TSI - while the mini SUV will top out at 115mph.
Oh, and because that engine is tiny and the SUV weighs hardly anything - just 985kg - Volkswagen reckons it’ll return 60.1mpg.
Porsche’s people like to claim the new Cayenne GTS brings ‘emotion’ to its insanely popular SUV range. And they’re right. That emotion mainly being: “How in God’s name am I managing to corner this fast in a two-tonne 4x4?”
The Cayenne is a Porsche that will always split opinion, but, once you’re on the move, it’s always had that essential Stuttgart DNA. It shrinks around you in a way that the BMW X5s and Audi Q5s of this world simply can’t match. And the GTS version moves the game on once again.
The normally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 from the Cayenne S has been fettled to release another 20bhp, up to 414bhp, with peak torque of 380lb ft coming in at 3,500rpm. It’s also 160kg lighter than its predecessor, all of which means a 0-62mph time of 5.7secs and a vmax of 162mph.
The suspension is lowered on a completely revised chassis set-up: by 24mm on the standard steel springs or 20mm if you choose air suspension. Plus, of course, there’s Porsche’s familiar alphabet soup of options. Trick active suspension management (PASM) is fitted as standard, but for the full ‘emotion’ described above, you’ll want Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) to further reduce body roll, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) to improve handling.
The result? The best-handling SUV we’ve driven to date. With the Sport button pressed, the steering response and lack of roll is remarkable: just point and go. It’s only really when braking from speed that you become aware of all that mass surrounding you.
“Don’t change it. Just make it better”. This, after many hours in conversation, was apparently the brief from the core customer base for the new Range Rover. Not an easy thing to deliver, but this fourth generation of a British icon would seem to have done it.
We were invited up to Jaguar Land Rover’s base in Gaydon to see the car close up. We knew the broad facts. Like the all-aluminium monocoque body that helps the new car come in a whopping 420kg less than the predecessor (a shell, in fact, that is 23kg lighter than the one found in a 3 Series). The new design and interior that continues the brand’s velocity into the luxury market. And some astonishing sales figures to live up to (last year 279,606 people bought a Range Rover, more than ever before). But there were plenty of details to come: the new Range Rover is lighter, more refined, more capable off-road, and more frugal with fuel…
Well don’t just sit there. Click through to read the story.
This is “the Lamborghini for everyday use, for the family,” we’re told. It is intended to be used as a daily driver, emit a lower CO2 figure than rivals, have space for four adults, for luggage and - shock! - for shopping. Thankfully, Lamborghini has tempered this utility by targeting a 600bhp power output and permanent four-wheel-drive with traction control. Best strap up those eggs, then.
The Urus also promises lightweight construction both inside and out, and will be “considerably lighter” than its competitors; the body will feature a height adjustable front spoiler that allows obstacle clearance, but also stability at high speed when lowered. There’s another adjustable spoiler at the back to better aid aerodynamics and handling, and you only need to look at the X6 and those of it’s ilk to know amazing feats of cornering are possible in an SUV.
This is Bentley’s idea of a SUV: larger than a Range Rover, faster than a Cayenne, and more expensive than any other SUV out there.
And, from the looks of this one, it sure is out there:
This enormo-SUV has a wheelbase some 200mm longer than a Range Rover. It’s got similar rear legroom to the mighty Mulsanne saloon. To give you an idea of scale, those are 23-inch wheels. And it’s punched through the mud - or more likely over desert dunes or down the autobahn - by a 600bhp W12 turbo.
Inside, the lower surfaces are clad in hard-wearing saddle leather. The rest of the leather is soft as a glove. The wood is Bentley’s usual immaculately polished stuff, and the carpets are wool. It’s going to smell like Ladies’ Day at Ascot in there.
But it’s also high-tech. The instruments lie behind knurled metal rings, but they’re actually TFT screens. In off-road mode, the navigation arrow display is designed to switch to a ‘sump cam’ so you can make sure the immaculate Bentley isn’t about to run aground. The undershields are specially shaped for surfing down desert dunes. The split tailgate has powered upper and lower halves, turning itself into a mini-grandstand.
So… assuming your footballer contract gets signed, your oil inheritance comes through, or your IPO goes well… would you get one?
When Nissan introduced their Murano Crosscabriolet (convertible) last year, reaction was, dare we say, mixed. But perhaps Nissan was onto something — and perhaps that thing was predicting Range Rover’s next move:
The drop-top Rangie follows last September’s equally stunning Land Rover Defender DC100 Sport concept (an open-topped off-roader), stretching the appeal of Top Gear’s Car Of The Year 2011 to new, fresh air highs.
It’s a concept for now, but as with the Defender models at Frankfurt, Land Rover has built it to see what the public think when it hits the Geneva motor show next month. We’re informed that should reaction prove positive - as it has done for the standard Evoque - you could see this thing within a couple of years.
So… if you could, would you?