The 2013 model year is shaping up to be a momentous one for the SUV market. From Acura to Porsche and all the brands in-between, everything from styling refreshes to interior tweaks to all-new models are on the horizon. From compact to jumbo, sporty to practical, there is a new SUV for nearly every taste and budget.
Debuting at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show was the 2013 GMC Acadia, with a new, buff-looking front grille, representing a major departure from the subdued styling of its predecessor. Rounding out the changes for the Lambda triplets were a refreshed 2013 Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave debuting at the 2012 New York Auto Show. The Traverse debuts a new look for Chevrolet, similar to that of the recently-unveiled 2014 Impala, while the Enclave's changes are more evolutionary, bringing its styling more in line with the rest of Buick's refreshed lineup.
New York proved to be a big show for more than just GM, as Hyundai introduced the 2013 Santa Fe in two sizes, and for the first time, with available turbocharged four-cylinder power. The Explorer Sport name returns to the lineup, this time in the form of a V-6 EcoBoost with more than 350 hp, and BMW officially confirms the X1 for the U.S. market, including an exclusive six-cylinder turbo just for North America.
Finally, for diesel fans, you will soon be able to get the Porsche Cayenne with a fuel-sipping diesel option, sharing the 3.0-liter TDI V-6 of its platform mates, the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg.
For all the other updates in store for the 2013 model SUVs, check out the new and noteworthy updates below!
Fifteen years after the concept debuted, Lexus adds an enthusiast model to the RX lineup. In addition to the cosmetic upgrades applied to all RXs, the F Sport adds an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, F Sport-tuned suspension, unique front bumper and mesh grille, 19-inch wheels with 235/55 tires, black headliner and leather with contrast stitching, and aluminum pedal covers. The Premium and Comfort packages are standard. At $47,000, only the AWD hybrid RX costs more.
Hyundai has dropped the Veracruz crossover, with the new Santa Fe taking its place. The 2013 Santa Fe three-row model complements the shorter-wheelbase two-row Santa Fe Sport. The Sport is due this summer, and the Santa Fe will be in dealerships next year.
Sport models use a 190-hp/181-lb-ft 2.4-liter direct-injected engine on 17-inch wheels or a 264/269 2.0-liter turbo on 19-inch wheels, while the long-wheelbase model gets a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 and 18s. All use a six-speed automatic. The AWD system features a poor-man's brake-activated torque-vectoring corner control, and many models will be rated to tow 3500 pounds. A fair amount of equipment is standard.
The Santa Fe adds more second-row legroom and a kid-size 50/50 split-fold third row and increases cargo space behind the second row to 41 cubic feet. In GLS and Limited trim, the latter offers the most luxury and features but has six seats; if you need seven, opt for the GLS.
Acura put a 3.5-liter V-6 in the RDX for 2013 mated to a six-speed automatic, so, despite boasting more power (273 hp, up from 240, though torque drops 9 lb-ft to 251) and accelerating quicker it is notably more fuel efficient than the outgoing turbo four. It trades its Super-Handling AWD for a system shared with its stablemate CR-V, and grows a little longer and lower. The center stack is less imposing while still offering plenty of technology. It's priced from $35,215 to $36,615.
Mini added a John Cooper Works model to the Countryman ALL4, making it as close to a WRC Mini as you can buy. With 208 hp and up to 200 lb-ft, expect 0-60 in about 7 seconds.
GM's medium-large crossover family gets an update for 2013. Cadillac's 308-hp, high-revving 3.6-powered SRX adds the CUE infotainment system, which links up to 10 Bluetooth devices, SD card, USB and MP3 inputs. There are an 8-inch multigesture touch screen, HD radio, active noise cancellation, and an optional driver-assist package that includes a Safety Alert Seat that vibrates to alert of drifting from a lane or getting too close to something when parking.
Chevy's Traverse gets refreshed styling and, with the lower-revving 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6, delivers 281-288 hp, but 23 lb-ft more torque than the SRX and tows 1700 pounds more (5200 max). Cosmetic renewal also hits Buick's Enclave, as do electronics updates and a front center airbag in the event of a side-impact collision.
GMC adds a Denali-spec topline trim to the Terrain, using a 301-hp, 272-lb-ft 3.6-liter (up 37 hp and 50 lb-ft from the old 3.0-liter), typical chrome Denali styling cues, and standard forward collision and lane departure warning, but navigation and rear entertainment are optional.
GMC marked the 100th anniversary of the GMC-logo truck debut in 1912 by offering Heritage Editions of the Yukon, XL, and Sierra. In black, Diamond White, or Heritage Blue, the trucks have unique badges and embroidered headrests and floormats. The Sierra adds chrome, 20s, and conveniences; the 'utes get the SLT2 package as standard. A Heritage pack adds $2645 to Sierra, $1970 to the Yukon, and $1820 to the 2500.
Ford brings back the Explorer Sport name for 2013, but there's no two-door or pickup version. This Sport runs a 350-or-better-hp EcoBoost, shorter final ratio for the AWD, firmer suspension and chassis based on the Police Interceptor, bigger brakes, revised traction electronics, and 20-inch wheels; it tows 5000 pounds.
Porsche will bring us the Cayenne Diesel for 2013, priced from $56,000. It uses the 3.0-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic of platform-mates VW Touareg and Audi Q7, and in this application rates 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.
BMW's X1 and X3 get the 240-hp N20 2.0-liter turbo I-4 for 2013, priced from $39,395 in the X3. The X1 version costs less because the start/stop four-cylinder is offered in rear- (sDrive28i) or AWD; the 300-hp, 3.0-liter ($39,345) is AWD only. The X6M, now $93,795, receives M versions of the X6's revised front end, a power bulge hood, and blue brake calipers (gold with ceramics), and active sport seats are now standard.
Now being produced in the U.S., Mitsubishi's 2013 Outlander Sport gets a modest update. Cosmetics, wheels, and colors are obvious, interior changes less so -- noteworthy changes are underneath. The CVT is reprogrammed for better acceleration and "smoother shift feeling," and the rear suspension has been refined.