By Sue Mead.
We are passionate about cars and immerse ourselves in driving all the new models each year so we can tell you what is new, what is fun-to-drive and to point out some of the latest technologies and safety features. For this issue, we chose three compact CUVs that are in the “sweet spot” of sales today and a full-sized SUV that can carry more family, friends, and gear, as well as tow bigger loads, such as boats, horse trailers or small RVs. We hope there’s something that will catch your eye or entice you to take a test drive in one of many offerings for 2017. Truly, there’s something for everyone!
2017 Nissan Rogue
This fashionable, fun, safe, and practical five-passenger compact crossover Nissan Rogue was completely redesigned in 2014 and was updated for 2017 to offer a refreshed and more modern styling and a hybrid powertrain option.
Also new is a compact “Rogue Sport” version designed for versatility and affordability, with a fuel-efficient engine. One of the best-selling vehicles in Nissan’s lineup and currently the top player in the highly competitive small-sized crossover utility vehicle segment, both the 2017 Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport are available in three trim levels — S, SV, and SL — in both front- and all-wheel drive versions.
The regular-size Rogue is powered by a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter engine (also paired with a CVT) getting 26 mpg city/ 33 mpg highway, or a 176-horsepower 2.0-liter hybrid powertrain for up to 33 mpg city/ 35 mpg highway.
Pricing starts at $21,420 for the entry-level S trim Sport model, and ranges up to $31,560 for the AWD SL Hybrid model.
Standard features include a rearview monitor and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity with Siri Eyes Free, as well as Nissan’s Easy-Fill tire alert, which beeps when adding air to the tires to let you know when you’ve reached the proper tire pressure. Forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning and keeping are also available.
For more information visit: https://www.nissanusa.com/crossovers/rogue
2017 Chevrolet Equinox
Updated for 2017, the Chevy Equinox gets new features, technology, and safety to make it a leading offering in the top-selling crossover market. Its exterior styling is modern and appealing, with an expressive face and attractive lighting.
Chevrolet downsized the five-seater to occupy a smaller footprint, but it still delivers a roomy and well-equipped interior as well as all-wheel drive on LS, LT, LTZ, and Premier trims. Under the hood are two engines: a standard 182-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder promises 21 mpg city/ 31 mpg on the highway (FWD models) or 20/28 (AWD models). A 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 is available and enables trailering up to 3,500 pounds and fuel economy of 17/24 (FWD) or 16/23 (AWD). Both are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
There are new wheel designs and updated safety features, as well as a larger color touchscreen radio and a standard rear-vision camera for entry-level models.
Chevrolet MyLink is standard on LT and LTZ models, while OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is offered on all trim levels. Pricing starts at $23,100 for the entry-level FWD L trim and reaches $31,790 for the top-of-the-line V-6-powered AWD Premier trim level.
For more information visit: http://www.chevrolet.com/
2017 Infiniti QX80
Review by Johnny Quezada
The Infiniti QX80 is big and impressive. It is very luxurious with its soft leather and rich wood trim and the visibility from the cabin is excellent. There is plenty of room throughout the vehicle, providing plenty of cargo room once all seats are down.
The upscale standard equipment such as tri-zone climate control and 360-degree parking camera system is superb. The leather seats are very comfortable and offer a wide array of adjustability, allowing everyone, no matter their height and weight, to find a good driving position. The driver assistance package is a must.
The 13-speaker Bose surround-sound system is exceptional. It has plenty of gadgets such as power folding second and third row seat, blind spot monitoring, navigation satellite radio, USB ports, bluetooth and a voice command system.
With plenty of power — 5.6-liter V-8 engine – the QX delivers a comfortable and quiet ride. The handling is superb and the massive 22-inch wheels are great for a smooth ride. The break system is smooth and provides excellent stoppage. The 2017 QX80’s fuel economy is relatively high 14/20 mpg city/highway. The towing capacity is at 8,500-pounds which is near the top of other competitors. I did not use the four-wheel drive but it is a nice option to have.
The QX80 is a family vehicle and a road trip dream. Fully loaded will cost you a bit more, but if you are in the hunt for a big SUV and money is not an obstacle, I would definitely recommend purchasing the Infiniti QX80.
For more information visit: https://www.infinitiusa.com/suv/qx80
Lexus NX 300H
Review by Robert Bard
Not only is the Lexus NX 300H luxurious, it is fuel efficient and all-wheel drive. Unique is its system which combines output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor through its transmission. The system varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed. The result is a combined 194 system horsepower.
For 2017, the NX 300h makes the Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i) standard. New to this model is the standard Scout® GPS Link on models with display audio, optional 18-inch wheel design. The NX cabin is offered in five variations. The Base model, along with the Comfort and Premium packages, feature perforated Crème, Flaxen or Black NuLuxe inserts with smooth bolsters and Dark Umber trim.
The standard 60:40 split/recline rear seat can be upgraded with a power-folding option. You can lower or raise the seats individually using switches on the instrument panel, on the side of each rear seat or within the luggage compartment.
The available power liftgate, which includes memory height, likewise can be operated by switches on the instrument panel, door and wireless remote.
For more information visit: http://www.lexus.com/models/NX-hybrid
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