Clash of the 2018 Crossovers – Volkswagen Atlas, Mazda CX-9 and Mitsubishi Outlander
Car sales are down – but crossover sales are hot, according to several sources. If you’re about to jump on the Crossover bandwagon, here are three you might consider, and why.
There are two lines breaking the hood up into thirds visually; they might have chosen a mighty slab o’metal, since this tester was a V-6. But its ride! Comfy, smooth, elegant, quiet. Some reviewers have complained about its jackrabbit acceleration from start-off, but the driver can easily adjust his or her foot to smooth it out. Its touch-screen infotainment system is one of the best of its kind – intutive, logical, and no more trouble than it takes to look down and find what it is you’re looking for – climate, nav system, sound, Smart Phone hook-up. Advanced safety features include forward-collision alarm and automatic emergency braking – starting with the Atlas’ SE trim.
Its alarm, should it be deployed during a break-in or otherwise, is bizarrely quiet and therefore practically useless, akin to writing out “help” in 6-point type in the sand on a desert island. Otherwise, we loved the Atlas and wish it an exciting future.
We expected to dislike the Outlander, as Mitsubishi has a well-earned reputation for wheezing, cheap-feeling vehicles. But we found the 2018 Outlander a competent, tame, pleasant experience over a week’s test, the key being not requiring it to be the roaring equivalent of its better-made, more expensive brothers and sisters. Its base 166-horsepower, 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine doesn’t exactly gallop, but you’re rewarded with about 30 miles per gallon depending on driving habits, which add up over time to gas savings. (A faster, 224-hp, 3.0 liter 6-cylinder trim is available.) Outlanders can also be bought with a Safety Pack (ADAS) that features Adaptive cruise control, Autonomous emergency braking, Lane departure warning, and headlamps that switch to low beam by themselves when required. The Outlander seats seven but the third row is more suited to dogs or children. The best thing about the Outlander may be the price – they start under $25,000 for a front-wheel-drive ES with a 166-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, and the better-outfitted SE is only $1,000 more. A GT model starts around $33,000 with a 224-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 and standard all-wheel drive. The Outlander comes in four trims – the ES, SE, SEL and GT, each of which are available with all-wheel drive for an additional $2,000.
Seat comfort is above-average and the interior is fairly quiet unless you’re going uphill or trying to pass, in which case a pat on the dash doesn’t do any harm accompanied by shouts of “Come on, Bessie!” Controls are easy to use, and attractive dark bamboo-like accents give the interior a premium feel, as does the new black-gloss finish on the center floor console. Folding down the second row is simple – and fold down both rows and you’ll have over 63 cubic feet of cargo space.
Mazda’s CX-9 is one of the few actual good-looking crossovers available, and it’s big enough to meet the needs of any growing family without its operator feeling embarrassed that the Audi or Porsche in the dealership window had to be mentally consigned to the “some day!” bin. The CX-9’s got three relatively generous seat rows, its software-driven console is easy to use (except for its annoying habit of blasting you with music a minute or so after startup whether you asked for it or not, and you didn’t) It also handled very well during a recent week’s snowstorm. The inside’s high-quality, too, with rosewood accents, tons o’ leather, and aluminum.
For this year, the CX-9 features a variety of small but significant tweaks. One is their “G-Vectoring Control,” improving stability in your hands and on the road; perhaps this was one of the reasons we had such an easy time of it in the snow. Blind-spot monitoring, which we’ve never liked, is available on sport trims. Front parking sensors, on the other hand, are a handy accessory to help you parallel park this big boy, as is front collision warning in this ever-more-connected world of ours. The car also has fat 20-inch wheels that top off its handsome, mod look. Other features on our Grand Touring tester include 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, LED foglights, roof rails, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display with traffic sign recognition, driver-seat memory functions, retractable sunshades for the middle-row seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, aluminum interior trim, additional interior lighting, a navigation system, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system and satellite radio.
The CX-9 features many new drivetrain technologies, including its world-first Dynamic Pulse Turbocharger system, which helps CX-9 deliver both outstanding immediate torque and top-of-class fuel-efficiency.
Bravo CX-9, we say.
Original article from https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshmax/2018/01/25/clash-of-the-2018-crossovers-volkswagen-atlas-mazda-cx-9-and-mitsubishi-outlander/#1fe331157423