If you want a mid-sized crossover that will stand out from the crowd, take a look at a 2015 Nissan Murano, and its new price tag!”

Crossovers are the most in demand vehicles in any market you can name…

Toyota Highlander
Nissan Murano
Mazda CX-3
Lincoln MKC

Mazda CX-3

Freshly unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Mazda CX-3 is an all-new compact (crossover) utility.

Like all the latest Mazda products it comes with that distinctive Kodo (Soul of Motion) styling theme and it’s the fifth in a series of the new-generation models to feature the full-package of Mazda’s ground-breaking Skyactiv (fuel-saving) technologies. In dealers next summer (as a 2016 model), the CX-3 is expected to become a new core vehicle in the Mazda line-up.

Power comes from a 2.0-litre gas engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission and Mazda’s new-generation AWD system. This system employs an active torque control coupling, first used on the Mazda CX-5, plus a new and unique front wheel slip warning detection system. New technologies available include a Mazda Connect infotainment system and its (radar based) i-Activesense active safety system.

The CX-3 has an extra long hood and a flowing shape that raises at the rear to convey a look of strength and power. Large diameter wheels are pushed to the body ends and it has a long 101.2 wheelbase. The chassis employs a lightweight torsion beam rear suspension system.

Forward positioning the front wheels allows the driver extended leg room, on the inside, and space for a hinged (organ-type design) gas pedal. Seating is provided for up to five and the rear seat occupants sit a little taller than those in the front.


 

Lincoln MKC

Agile, athletic and fuel-efficient are not words you probably associate with Lincoln vehicles, but they can be used to describe the MKC. This all-new and attractive premium compact utility vehicle fits nicely into a revitalized Lincoln line-up that’s more in tune with today’s luxury vehicle buyer. Powered by either a 2.0-litre (10.9L/100km), or optional 2.3-litre (11.2L/100km), turbocharged four-cylinder (EcoBoost) engine, the MKC has a starting MSRP just under $40,000 and comes in three trim levels. All wheel drive is standard plus continuously controlled suspension damping, adaptive electric power-assisted steering and active (cabin) noise control are included in a group of advanced technologies called Lincoln Drive Control.

The MKC’s extra-large rear liftgate is a distinctive wraparound design that includes the full-width LED taillights. Created by using a unique hydro-forming process it gives the MKC a smooth, clean rear appearance and the wider opening provides easier access to its cargo area. A clever optional power feature also allows hands-free operation, to open or close the liftgate, by using a kicking action.


 

Toyota Highlander

This third generation of Toyota Highlander is sleeker, more fuel-efficient and larger, with three rows of seating, for up to eight occupants. It’s also available in four (3.5-litre) V6 engine editions plus three (V6) hybrid powertrain editions.

The fuel-frugal base LE trim ($31,975) is the only front-drive version. Limited ($45,395) is the top-line all-wheel drive edition and hybrid editions range from $44,015 to $52,990. The 3.5-litre V-6 can generate 270-horsepower and it’s mated to six-speed automatic transmission. Towing is rated at 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) and a transmission cooler is standard, however, the tow hitch, with a wiring harness, is an option.

While you gain the cool-factor of its utility, as a people-mover it can’t match the practicality of a minivan. Maximum cargo space of 2,370 litres (with second and third rows folded) isn’t close to the Toyota Sienna minivan’s 4,247 litres. Then again, Highlander has real off-road credentials. Good ground clearance, hill-decent and four-wheel-drive locking features keep Highlander in-touch with its roots.


 

Nissan Murano

If you want a mid-sized crossover that will stand out from the crowd, take a look at a 2015 Nissan Murano, and its new price tag! This third-generation design takes the Murano’s car-like styling to a new level in the utility segment. It’s offered in four trim levels – S ($29,998), SV, SL and Platinum and there’s a choice of front-wheel (S, SV) or all-wheel drive (SV, SL, Platinum).

The start price has been reduced by $4,500 (versus the 2014 Murano S) and prices have dropped on almost all trim levels, even though the new Murano comes with more equipment. Power comes from a 3.5-litre V6 engine connected to an Xtronic (CVT) transmission.

The 2015 Murano has reduced weight (approximately 145 pounds) versus the previous generation, low rolling resistance tires, air grille shutter, low 0.31 Cd, underbody covers that enhance underbody airflow and improvements to the Xtronic transmission.


 

Honda CR-V

There are many very good reasons why the Honda CR-V is Canada’s best-selling utility vehicle and it gets significant enhancements for the 2015 model year. Honda claims this is the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in its history and the changes include a new direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Although the current (2014) CR-V provides good fuel economy, the new powertrain combo is even better. When both model years are measured with the new NR CAN’s 5-cycle test method, the combined fuel savings for a front-drive 2015 edition is 1.3 L/100km and the 2015 all-wheel-drive version is 1.1 L/100km more frugal than its predecessor.

In addition to enhanced exterior and interior styling, CR-V also gets a new suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver assistive features, plus some new standard and available features. And there’s more good news, the 2015 Honda CR-V comes with a lower start manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $25,990.

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Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

 

 

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