Crossover Options

October 1st, 2019

By Don Armstrong

The CUV, or “crossover utility vehicle,” is typically built on a modified car chassis, where the body and frame are one. The advantage is car-like handling and better fuel mileage. In this edition of Bay Area Houston Magazine, we look at two contenders in this hot category.

Nissan Pathfinder
The Pathfinder is a midsize crossover that shares much of its undercarriage with the Nissan Altima. The ride is smooth and, yes, car-like, but has a body-on-frame swagger to it.
Refreshed in 2017, our ’19 Pathfinder is equipped with the new Rock Creek trim package that adds a sophisticated, off-road look, along with other bits, to an already attractive exterior.

Inside you’ll find all the tech needed for around town errands, including a functional and easy-to-use infotainment system. Seating is among the most comfortable on the road – 3-rows are offered, the third being kid size.

Rock Creek Pathfinders come in 2-wheel drive, but we suggest the 4-wheel drive upgrade for $1,700. It adds a few dollars to the monthly payment but is well worth it for go-anywhere capability.

Nissan’s powertrain scores high marks with a 284-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, connected to the best CVT transmission on the market, capable of towing up to 6,000 lbs.
Base price for the Pathfinder is $31,530, Rock Creek trim adds $1,000.

2019 HR-V Touring

Honda HR-V
Not long ago, manufacturers discovered a huge market for subcompact crossovers, tiny 5-seaters that pretend to be bigger than they are, Honda’s version is the HR-V.
HR-V stands for Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle. It’s not “hi” nor is it revolutionary – well, perhaps in Honda’s way of thinking it is – but it gets a refresh for the 2019 model year.

To go along with its diminutive size, Honda equipped the HR-V with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that buzzes its way up to 141-horsepower coupled to a CVT transmission. This combination is rated at 27 mpg-city and 31-highway. To the grocery or school car-pool is fine but getting up to highway speed on the entrance ramp of the Gulf Freeway may take some extra thought.

The interior is well thought about but there is a learning curve with the infotainment system.

There no mistaking the HR-V’s exterior styling for anything other than a Honda. It comes with attractive, curvy lines that make this crossover stand out from its competitors.
Pricing starts at $20,620. Nicely equipped, about $26K. Honda fans will love this little one.

Big as You Want

April 1st, 2019

By Don Armstrong

The difference between a sport utility vehicle, SUV, and crossover utility vehicle, CUV, is capability. The body-on-frame SUV typically shares most of its underpinnings with a modified truck chassis, giving it more towing and hauling capacity. The CUV is more car-like, with its unibody construction. Each, however, has its own attributes.

Ford Expedition
Expedition is Ford’s version of the Chevy Suburban, a big, hulking, monster of a machine capable of hauling sacks of concrete, people and equipment, all while towing a loaded trailer. However, if you’re more into hauling the ball team and its equipment to the game, it makes the trip effortless, and in the luxury you can afford.

Ford’s infotainment system, Sync 3, provides all the tech connections you could ever want, while seating up to eight people. Air vents, controls and displays are located at your finger tip and easy to use.

Under the hood is a 375-horsepower, 3.5-liter, turbocharged V-6. A new 10-speed automatic transmission helps this beast achieve 17 MPG-city and 22-highway.

Ford researchers know the options most of us like on a do-all, like Expedition, and they package them in trim levels titled XLT, Limited and Platinum.

Pricing starts at $52,130.

Unless you are a Ford fanatic, you’ll also want to shop the Chevy Suburban, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada.

Mazda CX-5
With a sportiness that attracts those who enjoy the art of driving, the Mazda CX-5 brings with it ‘the look’ that enthusiasts appreciate. The leading edge of its hood is thin and evokes a marathon runner’s svelte physique. The door skins have a sharp belt-line transition, giving it cutting-edge swagger.

The CX-5 has an inviting interior. The infotainment screen is perched atop the middle dash. Touch features are limited while the vehicle is in motion, but most can be accessed through a knob on the center console.

The 2019 model addresses the need for more grunt with an optional turbo version of Mazda’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers up to 250-horsepower through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Its taut suspension fits the sporty nature of the brand. So, when there is an opportunity to carpet the throttle and zoom onto the freeway entry, you’ll do it with a smile.

The CX-5 starts at $24,350. You’ll have to get one of the top two trim levels to access the higher horsepower engine option.