Utility vehicles carry lifestyle flexibility

Utility vehicles carry lifestyle flexibility

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Today’s active lifestyle consumer demands the flexibility of the crossover utility vehicle and sport utility vehicle segment.

These vehicles are among the fastest-growing automotive segments in the last five years, offering buyers a wide range of styles in compact, mid-size, full-size and luxury classifications.

Combinations are endless creating just the right crossover or SUV to meet an owner’s specific passenger and cargo needs.

Nearly 100 Crossovers and SUVs are on the exhibit floor for the buying public’s inspection at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.

Here is a sampling of some of the newcomer Crossover and SUV models in the compact and mid-size segment on display at the Chicago show.

COMPACT CLASS: Buick has just introduced the new Encore powered by a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine rated at 138 horsepower offered in front- or all-wheel drive. Features offered include leather, heated steering wheel, navigation system and an array of safety features.

Another popular Crossover is the revamped 2013 Toyota RAV4.

One of RAV4’s major changes is the elimination of third-row seating allowing more cabin room for second row passengers and cargo. This new configuration allows placement of the exterior rear-mounted spare tire to be moved under the rear interior floor.

The new RAV4 is powered by a 2.5L, four-cylinder motor rated at 176 hp, upgraded to this six-speed automatic transmission for fuel economy of 24/city and 31/highway miles per gallon.

All-new from the ground up with three engine options comes the 2013 Ford Escape.

The base engine is a 1.6L, four-cylinder rated at 168 hp and two turbo motor options that deliver 173 hp and 231 hp, respectively. Fuel economy is stated to be 22 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway.

MID-SIZE: Korean automaker Hyundai introduces their redesigned 2013 Santa Fe Sport.

The new Santa Fe Sport features stunning fluidic sculpture styling and hexagon-shaped two-tone chrome grille and LED headlights that wrap dramatically around the side of the vehicle.

Inside it sports two rows of seats for five passengers. There is also a long-wheel base model with three rows for those with additional passenger requirements.

The base motor is 2.4L, four-cylinder with 190 hp and a turbo option for 264 hp. Long-wheel base models receive a 290 hp V6 engine. Hyundai offers a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Nissan has revamped the 2013 Pathfinder with a new Crossover platform offering three row seating for seven passengers. Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5L V6 motor rated at 260 hp. for best-in class towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

Pathfinder’s body panels reflect flowing curved contours and a wide front grille and head light treatment with chrome accents.

For the performance minded, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee brings to market the high-performance SRT8 model with its 6.4 liter Hemi V8 motor rated at 470 hp capable of blistering 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

So lace up your comfortable walking shoes and set your course to examine these and many other new Crossover and Sport Utility choices at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

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