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Detroit auto show: Crossovers focus on the future

  • 4x4 off-road safari. Egypt. Sinai desert

Strange that on a continent where consumers (particularly U.S. ones) generally dislike hatchbacks and station wagons, crossovers are immensely popular.

After all, as this vehicle segment has evolved from the truckish K-Blazers and Grand Wagoneers of old, a large number have come to share platforms with sedans — and really, what is the four-door-with-a-tailgate version of a sedan but a wagon?

Some of the wagons, er, crossovers introduced here are labelled as “concepts,” but there’s a good chance that each accurately foretells a production version in the near future.

2014 Acura MDX

The MDX has been made in Canada up until now, but when the 2014 Acura MDX Prototype starts production later this year, it will do so in Alabama.

Power will be supplied by a new, direct-injected 3.5 L V6. Lower in overall height, and featuring a longer wheelbase to benefit second-row legroom and third-row access, the MDX’s chassis, suspension, and body are also said to be all-new. A full complement of electronic driving aids, including “Low-Speed Follow” cruise control, will be available.

Audi SQ5

In most European markets, Audi’s SQ5 features a turbo-diesel engine. Elsewhere — including the U.S. and Canada — the addition of an “S” to the model name means that Audi’s “quattro” subsidiary has turned the wick up on the current Q5’s optional 3.0 L supercharged V6.

Horsepower jumps from 272 to 354, resulting in the claimed ability to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds. Larger brakes and 20- or 21-inch wheels, combined with a retuned suspension that sits 30 mm lower, give the SQ5 handling capabilities to match the added power.

Honda Urban SUV Concept

With an overall length of 4,300 mm, Honda’s Urban SUV Concept is 230 mm shorter than the company’s popular CR-V crossover, and will be positioned below it in Honda’s lineup.

Using the same mid-mounted fuel tank and multi-folding “Magic (rear) Seat” as the current Fit subcompact, it will be built alongside that model in Honda’s new Celaya, Mexico, plant when the facility is completed in early 2014. Little else was revealed, but I’d expect this small crossover to arrive as an early 2015 model.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

It’s not a complete redesign, but Jeep’s 2014 Grand Cherokee has undergone a thorough refresh, with new exterior styling and an interior featuring upgraded materials and electronics content, including large colour screens in the instrument cluster and multimedia system.

The biggest news is underneath; all models use a ZF-supplied 8-speed transmission (to the betterment of both performance and economy), and a 3.0 L turbodiesel V6 engine option returns, now a VM Motori unit producing 240 hp and a robust 420 lb.-ft. of torque. Tow capacity with the “EcoDiesel” and V8 engines climbs to 3,357 kg (7,400 lbs.).

Lincoln MKC Concept

Ostensibly a concept vehicle, the Lincoln MKC Concept would seem to have a fighting chance of production, particularly when you consider that Audi, BMW, and even Buick offer small, premium crossovers.

Its specifications are close enough to Ford’s new Escape to suggest kinship, although the Lincoln uses a clamshell-style tailgate and different C-pillars. Lincoln’s supplied information highlights materials and design, but makes no mention of the MKC’s powertrain.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

If you drive a Porsche Cayenne Turbo now, and the kids are still late for school, perhaps what you need is the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S — its 50 additional horsepower (now 550) might make the difference. At 4.5 seconds, the S is two-tenths faster to 100 km/h.

Serving as the flagship Cayenne model, some of the Turbo’s optional equipment, such as Torque Vectoring and the Sport Chrono package, are standard on the S, as are unique, blacked-out trim elements.

  • Detroit auto show: Crossovers focus on the future
  • Detroit auto show: Crossovers focus on the future
  • Detroit auto show: Crossovers focus on the future

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