With motorists across America showing a decided preference for sport-utility vehicles these days, automakers are responding with no fewer than eight brand new models in all size segments and price points for 2018. Coming from brands as diverse as Ford, Jaguar, and even Alfa-Romeo, each adds its own brand of style and substance to the mix.
We covered the latest sedans and coupes in a separate article, but here’s a quick look at the latest people-movers, both large and small to debut for the new model year:
Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Based on the quick and nimble Guilia sedan, the midsize Stelvio is Alfa-Romeo’s first crossover SUV. It comes powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces a quick 280 horsepower, with a Ferrari-based 2.9-liter 505-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 coming in the top Quadrifoglio model (0-60 mph in 3.9-seconds). All versions pack the automaker’s DNA drive mode selector that lets the driver tailor select performance characteristics for more or less aggressive behavior.
BMW X2. Coming early next year, the new subcompact X2 is essentially a racier-looking version of BMW’s X1 with a curvier coupe-like profile, and is the automaker’s answer to the Range Rover Evoque. It will share underpinnings with the X1 and offer a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. An M Performance variant is also anticipated with as many as 300 horses on hand.
Ford EcoSport. Likewise debuting in early 2018, the EcoSport is based on the subcompact Fiesta sedan/hatchback, and shares that model’s 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Inside, there’s a large tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system. A long list of available features includes a heated steering wheel, and a blind spot monitor with cross-traffic alert.
Hyundai Kona. Also anticipated in the first months of 2018, the new Kona is Hyundai’s entry in the subcompact crossover SUV arena. With curvy styling that features narrow slit-like daytime running lights atop larger composite headlamps, engine choices include a 2.0-liter 147-horsepower four cylinder and a 1.6-liter turbo-four with a livelier 175 horses. Available features include a multi-function head-up display, wireless mobile phone charging, and various accident-avoidance systems.
Jaguar E-Pace. Smaller sibling to Jaguar’s F-Pace, the subcompact E-Pace is nicely styled, with a cockpit that wraps tightly around the driver like a sports car. A 2.0-liter 246-horsepower turbo-four engine comes standard, with a hotter 296-horsepower version alternately offered. A fully independent suspension system with a multi-link array at the rear promises pleasingly agile handling, with multiple performance enhancements available.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar. The new-for-2018 Velar is a somewhat larger, but likewise dramatically styled, alternative to the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. A trio of available engines includes a 247-horsepower four-cylinder, a 380-horsepower V6, and a 180-horsepower four-cylinder diesel. A new InControl infotainment array comes with dual stacked 10-inch touchscreens, and its available convenience, performance, and safety features are too numerous to list here.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Yes, here’s another small crossover that premiers next year. The Eclipse Cross slots in size between Mitsubishi’s current Outlander and Outlander Sport models, but with far more expressive styling that features an odd-looking split-window tailgate. It’s expected to pack a 1.5-liter turbo-four engine and a gearless CVT automatic transmission. A cleanly cast interior features an infotainment system that’s controlled by a touchpad on the center console.
Volkswagen Atlas. The three-row Atlas crossover SUV was designed with American families in mind, with clean styling, a roomy interior, and myriad amenities. Power comes from either a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with 235 horsepower or a smoother 3.6-liter 276-horsepower V6. As one might expect, the Atlas comes with a touchscreen infotainment system and can be fitted with assorted connectivity and advanced safety features. The top SEL Premium version includes a self-parking function.