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Crossovers Galore

December 7, 2005

Ford loves them the CD3 platform.  It began its life underpinning the highly praised Mazda6…and has become the basis for the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln Zephyr sedans. 

Now they are planning on using the platform to launch themselves into the crossover ("car-based SUVs, basically) market, dominated by the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Lexus.

To that end, they will be debuting three crossovers at the North American International Auto Show in January.  Those three are the Ford Edge, Lincoln Aviator, and the Mazda CX-9.  Regrettably, all I have to go on right now are spy shots of heavily clad and disguised prototypes…but even with all the camo…well…let’s just say that I think one of them looks far more appealing than the other two.

Take a look for yourself.  What do you think? 

The Ford Edge

Ford_edge

The Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln_aviator

The Mazda CX-9

Mazda_cx9

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2005 5:46 pm

    Hmm. I don’t know. they all look pretty ugly to me. SUV’s in general are a bad idea in my view – especially in London where they clog up the roads and consume extraordinary volumes of petrol. I’m kind of with the environmental lobby on this one I’m afraid.

  2. December 8, 2005 3:21 pm

    I can’t figure out which one is supposed to be far more appealing (they all kind of look the same), but personally I kind of like the Mazda the best.

    Which one do you like, Matt?

  3. December 9, 2005 6:25 am

    I like the Mazda. How easy would it have been for them just to follow Ford and slap a kind of different front on their vehicle? They did it with the Tribute, and over at General Motors its standard operating procedure. Instead it has completely different window and roof lines, bulging doors.

    I think that, underneath that cladding, its going to share some design elements with Mazda’s upcoming CX-7, which I’ve linked to below.

    http://doogs.typepad.com/blog/2004/12/mazdas_new_suv.html

  4. December 9, 2005 6:45 am

    King – my take on SUVs is a pretty complex one that has been changing over the past few years. It is not the vehicles themselves I dislike (except the Hummer H2), it’s their proliferation. It’s the number of SUVs that spend 0% of their time driving offroad. The number whose owners could get by just fine in a compact sedan (you can commute to work without seven seats) or a minivan (if you do need all that seating). There are people who use their SUVs. They offroad. They tow things.

    But the majority of people (in the U.S., at least)…they want to sit up high, they want to feel safe, and they don’t want to be seen in a minivan. Basically – they want a minivan that doesn’t look like one. That’s precisely what these new crossover SUVs represent – as do the Toyota Highlanders and Honda Pilots they are meant to compete against. They are minivans without the sliding doors and sloping hoods. They are car-based, lighter, more fuel efficient.

    In my offroad days, I used to mock crossovers as cars with tall body panels. Now, I hope they succeed. Maybe then automakers can go back to offering simple, capable, offroadable SUVs as niche vehicles instead of having to build them for the mainstream.

  5. December 9, 2005 9:47 am

    Hey, what’s wrong with being seen in a mini-van. Until you have kids, you will never know the true beauty of the mini-van. Maybe I should have some flames painted on the side to make it even cooler, or a chain stering wheel…….I know, MUD FLAPS!

  6. December 9, 2005 5:59 pm

    I remember some goon from General Motors explaining that the SUV was invented to get around the road tax payable on lorries, essentially building a car on a lorry chassis. Ingenious. Ingenious and sly.

  7. Tim permalink
    December 10, 2005 10:27 pm

    I don’t know, do these really sit up higher than a regular car?

    At first glance, my main thought was that crossover was just a cooler sounding word for station wagon.

  8. December 11, 2005 8:11 am

    They do sit up higher…I think the cladding and the lack of other cars to provide scale kind of throws things off.

    But yes…crossover is definitely an industry code word. Nobody is quite sure for what – because everything from the Chrysler Pacifica to the BMW X5 could technically be called a “crossover”. It gets bandied about to denote “not a traditional, truck-like SUV”, “not a station wagon” and “not a minivan”.

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