Sizes to Fit All

April 1st, 2017

By Don Armstrong

Large, medium or small, there is a crossover out there that will fit your family’s needs. In this edition of Bay Area Houston Magazine, we look at two examples of how diverse 2017 SUV models can be.

Chevy Trax

The Chevrolet Trax falls under the subcompact category and like all other SUV’s has plenty of competition. However, in this category, the proportions are weird. Most subcompacts have a very short rear overhang and a tall greenhouse, making them look more like a phone booth. But despite their diminutive size there are advantages to owning one, namely, maneuverability.

The 2017 Trax gets a major refresh that brings its looks more in line with others in the Chevy lineup. The new front facia and headlights give this crossover a fresh, modern appearance. Wheel haunches and sculpted lower door panels give it a “taught” look.

The updated dash has just the right curves to bring interest to control surfaces. Electronics include a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, all standard.

Due to its short wheelbase, the ride might be a little choppy for some but is perfect for delivering the kids to school or sports events and runs to the supermarket.

Pricing begins at 21,895.

Nissan Murano
To those that argue the midsize Murano belongs in the full-size category then they haven’t driven a Suburban or Armada.

We haven’t driven a nicer, more family friendly do-all than the Murano. Its sharp, distinctive exterior shows a conservative boldness that most others in this category don’t have.

Nissan calls the new grille “V-motion,” just one of the design features that contribute to its swoopy look.

The interior is luxurious. Some premium luxury SUV’s aren’t this nice. Seats are the most comfortable among the throngs of competitors. Design, execution, materials and quality rank at the top of our list, especially at the Premium trim level.

The Murano is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 260 horsepower to the front or all-wheels through a CV transmission. Say what you will about continuously variable transmissions, Nissan knows what we didn’t like about them and fixed it. This CVT feels like it has gears and acts like a grownup.

Mileage is 21 MPG-city and 28-highway.

Whether around town or on the highway, the Murano rocks it.

MSRP starts at $31,110.

Summer Road Trip

June 1st, 2016

By Don Armstrong

School’s out, parents have made the Teepee motel reservations and that much-needed, two week summer vacation has arrived, now all that’s needed is a dependable set of wheels. Look no further, we found a couple of crossovers that will surely make the miles click by.

2015 Nissan MuranoNissan Murano
Near luxury. Different but not over-the-top. Best interior. Do we have your attention yet? If you’ve never considered Nissan, the time for an up-close look is now.

Completely redesigned last year, the 2016 Nissan Murano hits all the sweet spots without paying the luxury price.

Its swoopy exterior is different. The narrow hood allows room for the bulging front fenders. Large, artistically designed headlights are cut into the top of the wheel wells. The new-look Nissan grille is bolder, while its rear haunches accentuate a new “floating roof” architecture.

The Murano’s interior is just as eye-popping. Nissan calls it the “social lounge,” we call it one of the best. The infotainment system is easy to navigate, the quality of materials is top-notch and those seats; Nissan named them Zero Gravity and they are fabulous.

Power comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 260 horsepower that’s delivered to the front wheels through a best-in-the-business CVT transmission. The combo gets 21 MPG-city and 28-highway.

There are four trim levels with pricing starting at $29,660.

2016_Lexus_RX_450h_004_057A68E69120430B4B954E1C9F9720A5417400BBLexus RX 450h
If you are ready to pull the luxury card, why not go all the way with a Lexus hybrid. Despite $2.00 per gallon gas, many think hybrid is the wave of the future.

The Lexus RX line is a complete redesign for 2016.

The word “polarizing” is THE definitive word when describing the RX’s Dust Buster grille. It looks as though it could suck pedestrians into it, never to be seen again. And like the Murano, it incorporates Lexus’ version of the “floating roof” design.

2016_Lexus_RX_450h_020_8AF213E14F5440C73A682CBD638897A88171E6EBThe interior is one of many angles with different materials and colors. The infotainment screen is massive and is perched atop the dash in its own sculpted cove. Control the screen functions with a mouse-like joystick on the center console.

Ride and handling is a strong suit of the Lexus RX450h. The level of control will give you enough confidence to throw it around a bit for a fun and engaging road trip.

The gas/electric combo delivers 300 horsepower to the front wheels and gets a combined 30-mpg.
Starts at $52,235

Bay Area Houston Magazine