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.
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.
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.