Category Archives: Crossover Vehicles

2011 Toyota 4Runner

Most drivers consider the Toyota 4Runner a truck-based SUV but it’s actually a mid-size with a whole lot of power. The 4Runner was completely redesigned in 2010 and is on its 5th generation. It does not have the eco-friendly acknowledgements that many of the crossovers have but for such a rugged SUV it does okay. The 2011 Toyota 4Runner actually has better fuel economy than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and may be a better choice for those who just can’t bring themselves to cross over.

The seven-passenger 4Runner has a four-cylinder V6 engine under the hood. The V6 gets 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. For 2011, Toyota did away with the 4Runner’s slow four-cylinder engine, leaving the V6 as the only option. Drivers still have the option of 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive and there are three different models to choose from. The maximum towing capacity is 5,000 lbs.

Fuel economy is typical for such a large SUV but does still compete with other vehicles in its class. The 2WD model gets 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, while the 4WD subtracts one away from the highway figure. This is the same as the Honda Pilot and a bit better than the Grand Cherokee and the Nissan Pathfinder. Some critics say that the 4Runner took away the green choice by losing the 4-cylinder option, but in fact, that engine only got one mile better in the city.

The 2011 model will still have all the great features built in the redesign from last year. It comes with power windows and locks, MP3 jack and stereo, cruise control, and rear parking assist. Some of its best options are a moonroof, backup camera, and water-resistant seats. The 2011 Toyota 4Runner starts at $29,705 but the Limited Edition can easily get above 40K.

2011 Nissan Juke

The all new Nissan Juke has been deemed a baby crossover that gets fairly good gas mileage and is fun to drive. It comes in three different models priced within a few thousand dollars of each other. Most auto critics complain about its small interior but the Juke was meant to compete with the Suzuki SX4 crossover and the Scion xB, both smaller crossovers already on the market.

The base model of the 2011 Nissan Juke is the S-model. It comes standard with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine with all-wheel or front-wheel drive. The engine gets an average of 185 horsepower with 175 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the FWD comes in around 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg highway. Its efficiency is comparable to the other smaller crossovers in it class. The base starts at $18,980.

The next model is the SV. It gets all the standard equipment the base model does such as an interface system with Bluetooth and iPod capability plus a moon roof and rear privacy glass. This upgraded model also comes with Nissan’s Intelligent Key with a push button ignition. You do have to add around $2,000 to the base price though.

The third and most appealing model is the SL. This crossover has everything from the other models and a navigation screen with updated traffic alerts, upgraded speakers, leather-appointed seats, and heated front seats. This most wanted model starts at $22,570.

Unfortunately, all the models are the same in terms of space. Test drivers complain that the backseat is barely big enough for adults and would have a hard time fitting a child’s car seat comfortably. Cargo space is a little over 10 cubic feet but the rear seats do fold down to give it around 35 cubic feet of space.

The 2011 Nissan Juke may have plenty of flaws but does get good fuel efficiency and is appealing in its own way. It is new to the United States and has been on the market for just a couple of months. The Juke could be an eco-friendly choice for drivers in the market for a smaller crossover.

Best Crossovers for 2010

Now could be the best time to buy the crossover SUV of your dreams. With year-end deals going on at many dealerships, that eco-friendly crossover you’ve been eyeing may be right in your price range. If you’re not sure which crossovers make the green list, here are a few you may want to check out.

The 2010 Chevy Equinox is a top pick for a smaller SUV. Fuel economy is excellent, getting 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The Equinox also prides itself on the fact that it can go over 600 miles between fill ups. It has a sleek design and holds up to five passengers. The Equinox can be very affordable starting around $22,000.

Getting the same gas mileage and seating is the 2010 GMC Terrain. This crossover is a bit more rugged looking, probably what you’d expect from GMC. The price is a bit higher than the Equinox but the Terrain comes with some standards that usually cost extra on other crossovers. Some of its features include a rearview camera, satellite radio, and a sliding rear seat.

The 2010 Toyota RAV-4 is another crossover that should get serious consideration. In addition to the fact that it’s a Toyota, the RAV-4 starts at just $21,000 and gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Drivers love that the interior is comfortable while the exterior remains sleek. The 2010 model year got a Kelley Blue Book award for being one of the best resale vehicles on the market.

If Toyota’s not your thing, you may want to take a look at the 2010 Honda CR-V. This crossover gets around the same fuel economy as the RAV-4 and comes close to the same price. In comparison the Honda CR-V has a tailgate that is easier to use and the interior is a bit better in quality than the RAV-4. Since these crossovers are so similar, it may just be a matter of opinion.

These top four crossovers are the most fuel efficient for the money. These prices may be beatable since most of the 2011 models are already on showroom floors. But if none of them strike your fancy there are tons of other crossovers to choose from.

Green SUVs under $25,000

It’s true that green technology does come with a hefty price tag. Many SUV drivers would be more than happy to drive a new hybrid but can’t meet the monthly car payment. But just because you can’t buy the newest hybrid doesn’t mean that you can’t pick a green SUV in your price range.

The original 2010 Ford Escape may not be a hybrid but it still gets great fuel economy and the Escape XLS is priced around $21,000. The ’10 Escape gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The 2010 Honda CR-V is another great SUV that starts around $21,500 and has a 4-wheel-drive option for $22,795. The CR-V’s fuel economy is similar to the Escape coming in at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The 4-wheel-drive model gets just a bit less.

The 2010 Toyota RAV4 can seat up to 7 passengers and starts at $21,675. Its fuel economy is 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg highway. For a SUV that can seat up to 7, it is one of the most fuel efficient vehicles in its class.

The 2010 Nissan Rogue has four different model/packages to choose from and they all start under $25K, one model starting around $20,460. The Rogue has a 5-star safety crash rating and gets green mileage at 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

The 2010 Hyundai Tucson is a 5-seater with 176 horsepower. Fuel economy is right on with 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg highway. The new Tucson starts at just $18,995. Even the Limited model with all the bells and whistles comes in under $25,000.

These five SUVs are just an example of the eco-friendly options that are out there for a budget-friendly driver or family. Each of these SUVs being reviewed were also 2010 model years. Buying a used eco-friendly SUV may even be a better deal, just be sure to check fuel economy on older models.

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Audi Q5 Hybrid Coming Soon!

The German auto-maker Audi has been debating on the rumored Audi Q5 hybrid for quite some time now but it looks like the rumors will become a reality. Audi has been indecisive because German companies view diesel as the greenest technology but now reports are saying that the Q5 hybrid will come out with a 2011 model. Some claim as early as late 2010 in the U.S.

The current non-hybrid Audi Q5 is a sleek crossover SUV with a 3.2 liter V6 engine with direct injection under the hood. The current engine brings around 270 horsepower. Reviewers praise the Q5 saying that it drives better than some sport sedans with its standard all-wheel drive. The non-hybrid 2010 Audi Q5 gets good gas mileage for its class with 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The downside to this Audi is the price which starts at $37,000 and increases with every available option.

Audi is no stranger to green technology as its Q7 TDI clean diesel larger SUV gets 225 horsepower, has a V6 engine, and still maintains a green shine with fuel economy at a combine 20 mpg. This SUV seats 7 passengers and also gets good reviews except for its hefty price tag. Get more info on the Q7 TDI here.

As for the smaller Audi Q5 hybrid were still waiting on its release, hopefully sometime at the end of this year. There is still much speculation on which kind of battery Audi will use, nickel-metal hydride or lithium ion. It is also rumored that a diesel version of the Q5 will be released shortly after the hybrid model. Diesel still seems to be Audi’s first green pick but it looks like they are willing to prove that they can create a hybrid. No word on price just yet.

GMC Granite Crossover SUV Concept

The GMC Granite Crossover Concept was an award winner at this year’s 2010 Detroit Auto Show. The Granite won the EyesOn Design award at the famous auto show. Maybe because it is hard to keep your eyes off of it. As it would be the smallest of GMC’s, the Granite is sleek, stylish, and does not have a small feel to it at all.

As for the exterior the Granite uses no chrome but a brushed metal or satin gaze. The materials are premium giving it an industrial outside look. The Granite also comes with 20’’ wheels and doors that open together with no pillar in between for extra wide access. The interior seats use a suede-like material, along with a full center console with storage and connection ports. The GMC Granite will be a 5-passenger crossover with plenty of storage and cargo, yet short enough to drive through crowded urban environments with ease.

Unfortunately, the GMC Granite is no hybrid but it does get fairly eco-friendly fuel economy and is backed up with driving power. It is estimated to get 140 horsepower with its 1.4 liter turbo-charged engine and 6-speed transmission. Estimated fuel economy comes in at 27 mpg city and 33 mph highway. Not too shabby.

This crossover SUV is hard to compare to other vehicles because it seems to be in a class on its own. Right now the closest in size to the Granite is the Honda Fit and it could be compared to the Scion xB or Nissan Cube but has much more flare and style.

No word from GMC about a production model just yet.

2010 Nissan Rogue

If you’re looking for an affordable crossover vehicle there is no shortage. Every automaker has one, now it’s time to find the right one for your needs. The 2010 Nissan Rogue is a compact SUV that is affordable and has the fuel economy for a modest budget. Some critics say it’s lacking in power but it has some other pros that may be to your liking.

The Nissan Rogue was introduced in 2008 and ranks 12 out of 26 for affordable compact SUVs for U.S. News & World Report. The Rogue is a 5-passenger SUV that boasts about its roomy interior. It has an available folding passenger seat and a 60/40 split back seat for extra cargo room. The driver and front passenger sit on bucket seats. Reviewers claim that the interior is comfortable and spacious for all passengers.

The 2010 Rogue exterior looks the same as previous models except for the new 360-Degree optional package. This package includes a chrome grille, rear spoiler, privacy glass, aluminum alloy wheels, and a rear-view camera. This optional package helps to give the Rogue a bit more style.

The Rogue continues to be criticized for not having a V6 option. Instead it carries a 170 horsepower, 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine under the hood. It is fairly fuel efficient at 22 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. It is more affordable that some of the other more powerful crossovers, starting at just $20,340. Since there are few changes to the 2010 model buying a 2009 may be a more economical choice. Fuel efficiency is the same for both model years so the older model could save you more green in more ways than one.

The 2009 Chevy HHR

There’s a newer crop of vehicles that are difficult to categorize. They ride smooth like a car, have the cargo space like an SUV, and can tote around a family like a wagon. This category of vehicles includes the Chevy HHR, Ford Flex, the PT Cruiser, and more. They probably should have their own category name but for now most test drivers consider them SUVs.

Out of all these similar vehicles the 2009 Chevy HHR seems to have the greenest shine with the best fuel economy and flex-fuel capability. Chevy introduced the HHR a few years ago and it was fairly obvious that they were trying to compete with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. They both have similar body styles and a “wagon” look. At that time, the PT blew the HHR out of the water due to its popularity and added features. For the 2009 model, the Chevy HHR is pulling ahead in the competition.

The HHR comes in three diverse models. There’s the traditional 4-door version, a panel version that has no back windows, (geared for creative business owners), and the SS model with a turbo-charged engine. The exterior has a retro look similar to the PT while the interior includes a comfy cabin with extra lighting, cup holders, XM Satellite radio, On-Star, and a 60/40 rear seat. Bluetooth capability and a rear camera are available in the 2009 model.

The 2009 Chevy HHR has flex-fuel capability in its 2.2 and 2.4 liter engines. The HHR gets good fuel economy, the EPA reports 16 mpg in the city and 22 highway using E85, and 22 mpg in the city and 30 highway using gasoline. So, if you decided to become an HHR owner you have to decide which green avenue to take. The MSRP for the LT and LS models start around $19,500 and the turbo SS starts around $25,500.

Crossover Mania

The “crossover” vehicle seems to be the most popular trend in SUVs these days and all the auto makers are on board. It’s pretty obvious why crossovers are driven by so many. They are the perfect combination of SUV and car. Crossovers are perfect for those of us who want the features of an SUV yet want to be eco-friendly but can’t afford a pricey hybrid. Most crossovers have the room of a minivan but the sportiness of an SUV. The 2009 Mazda CX-9 falls right into this category and even though it is not the greenest vehicle around it is a much more eco-friendly choice than some of the bigger SUVs.

The 2009 Mazda CX-9 gets fairly good fuel economy for the power of its engine. Under the hood it holds a 3.7-liter, V6, 24 valve engine. This six speed automatic engine pulls around 273 horsepower and can be purchased as FWD or AWD. The CX-9 can tow up to 3,500 lbs and can seat up to seven. For all this power, the fuel efficiency is not too bad, coming in at 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. Of course, the AWD model does lower the fuel economy just a bit.

Overall, it has been reported to be a pretty good ride as well. Smooth handling, comfortable seating, and a pleasing interior. The 2009 Mazda CX-9 starts around $30,000 and this base model comes standard with a Bluetooth hands free interface, tri-zone climate control, and a folding 2nd row for extra cargo room. There are a few upgrades such as leather, navigation, and rear DVD entertainment for the kiddies but this may add on an extra 10 thousand to the total price.

There have been a few rumors circulating that one day this crossover will have a diesel option, but could be just Internet talk. If you’re looking for a powerful crossover with okay fuel efficiency the CX-9 crossover is a great choice but if you’re a Mazda fan who wants better fuel economy then you best be headed towards the Tribute HEV.

A Crossover from Volvo

The big trend for families has gone from the 80’s station wagon to the mid-size crossover SUV. Volvo did not want to be left out of the market so they introduced the 2010 XC60. No, unfortunately it’s not a hybrid but it is a fairly eco-friendly vehicle with its decent gas mileage and other environmentally-minded features. It has also been deemed the safest Volvos thus far.

The Volvo XC60 has one model that includes a new 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. The engine has a twin-scroll turbocharger that gets 281 horsepower along with 295lb-ft of torque. It is also complete with all wheel drive and instant traction. Fuel economy is pretty good coming in at 15 mpg in the city and 22 highway. Could be better if it was a hybrid, but we’ll take what we can get.

The XC60 comes complete with dual zone climate control, leather seats, power seats, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, plus a lot more. Volvo also offers an additional technology package that offers a premium sound system, navigation, Bluetooth technology, real-time traffic, a rear view camera, basically the works!

Not only does this Volvo have all the gadgets and gizmos a driver could want but it also has excellent safety features. Not only does it come with airbags for all, but a tire-pressure monitor,
brake assist, traction control, hill control, and roll stability control. It also has Volvo’s City Safety. The City Safety system is used when the vehicle is going less than 19 mph. The laser reads upcoming traffic and if the vehicle is rolling up to fast it automatically uses the brakes to prevent rear collision. How cool is that?

This Volvo sounds like a wise choice and it has a few flares of green. Besides the fuel economy being pretty good, Volvo also has an interior air quality system installed so you breathe in fewer toxins and 85% of the materials used in production are recyclable. It sounds like Volvo is on the right environmental path. The XC60 starts around $37,000.