The lights are back on and factory floors are buzzing. Hot metal is pouring out of car companies that are leaner, greener, and meaner than ever. We've driven many of their offerings and looked ahead a couple of years for the rest. What's next? It all starts right here with our 2012 Future Trucks, SUVs, Vans, and Crossover guide, an A-to-Z sampling of some of the most anticipated vehicles coming soon from the world's top automakers...
2012 Acura MDX -- Minor Updates
2012 Acura RDX -- Minor Updates
2012 Acura ZDX -- Minor Updates
Aston Martin Lagonda
When Aston Martin rolled out its Mercedes GL-based Lagonda concept at the 2009 Geneva auto show, no one was really surprised, but virtually everyone was horrified -- by its looks. Stung by the criticism, Aston retreated and rumors circulated the project had been killed. Now it appears Lagonda is back on, and one thing's for sure, it won't look anything like the monstrosity pictured here.
The smallest of Audi's four-ringed SUVs reportedly draws its styling from 2007's Cross Coupe Concept (pictured), meaning it's compact, stout, and replete with the usual Audi bits like a prominent grille and LED running lights. Believed to be based on the VW Tiguan and powered by a version of VW/Audi's 2.0-liter turbo four mated to a eight-speed automatic, the featherweight should easily return 30 mpg when it arrives, probably late in 2011.
2012 Audi Q7 -- Minor Updates
2012 Audi Q5 -- Minor Updates
2012 BMW X1
At roughly 14.5 feet long, 5.8 feet wide, and 5 feet tall, the BMW X1 measures several inches shorter, skinnier, and narrower than the X3 -- the smallest SAV the automaker currently produces. In fact, the X1 is just over 1 inch wider, 3 inches longer and 4 inches taller than the 128i, with a wheelbase exactly 4 inches longer than the compact sports coupe. Needless to say, this is not a large vehicle. The likely motivation for the U.S. spec X1 will be BMWs all new 2.0-liter gas engine with the automamaker's TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine features a high-performance twin-scroll turbocharging system and direct injection and is rated at 245 horsepower. Due to high demand in Europe, BMW is moving back the debut of the X1 in the U.S. to this fall.
2012 BMW X3 -- Refreash
2012 BMW X5 -- Minor Updates
2012 BMW X6 -- Minor Updates
Buick Compact Crossover
One of Buick's product voids is the compact crossover -- but that's soon to change. Smaller than the full-size Enclave, the new Buick is expected to arrive early in 2012, where it will compete in an increasingly crowded segment. It's possible the new crossover will feature the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Volt as an option, in addition to the 177-horsepower 2.4-liter four and 2.0-liter Ecotec from the Verano.
2012 Buick Enclave -- Minor Updates
2012 Cadillac Escalade/ESV -- Minor Updates
2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT -- No Change
2012 Cadillac SRX -- Minor Updates
2012 Chevrolet Avalanche -- No Change
2012 Chevrolet Colorado -- No Change
2012 Chevrolet Equinox -- Minor Updates
2012 Chevrolet Express -- No Change
2012 Chevrolet Silverado -- Possible Redesign/All-new
2012 Chevrolet Silverado HD -- Minor Updates
2012 Chevrolet Suburban -- No Change
2012 Chevrolet Tahoe -- Minor Updates
2012 Chevrolet Traverse -- Minor Updates
2012 Chrysler Town & Country -- Minor Updates
2012 Dodge Durango -- Minor Updates
2012 Dodge Grand Caravan -- Minor Updates
2012 Dodge Journey -- Minor Updates
2012 Dodge Nitro -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford C-Max
Ford's been out of the minivan game for years, but the Blue Oval is re-entering the fray, sort of, with the seven-passenger version of its European C-Max. The base engine is a 2.5-liter preliminarily rated at 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. The optional engine is Ford's new 1.6-liter EcoBoost four, the first Ford to get the 1.6-liter turbo for the American market. The engine is estimated so far by Ford at 168 horsepower (180 when running on premium) and 173 pound-feet. Both engines hook up to a six-speed automatic, for optimal fuel economy. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are right behind it. Look for it this fall.
2012 Ford E-Series -- No Change
2012 Ford Edge -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford Escape
The Escape is in need of a good update, and with the One Ford plan in full swing, it is expected to merge with Europe's Kuga crossover. Based on the
Vertrek show car revealed at the 2011 Detroit show, this Mondeo-based soft-roader will likely maintain separate names for each market but transition to a version of the Vertrek's sheetmetal, which better matches the new Focus and Fiesta.
2012 Ford Expedition/EL -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford Explorer -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford F-150 -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford Flex -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford Ranger -- No Change
2012 Ford Transit Connect -- Minor Updates
2012 Ford Super Duty -- Minor Updates
2012 GMC Acadia -- Minor Updates
2012 GMC Canyon -- No Change
2012 GMC Savana -- No Change
GMC Sierra All Terrain HD
GMC stole Ford's Raptor playbook when developing the Sierra All Terrain HD concept -- down to the hardcore off roader's widened body, 35-inch BFGs, and remote reservoir Fox Racing shocks. Unlike the Raptor, All Terrain is based on an HD chassis and backed by a V-8 turbodiesel pushing 397 horsepower and 765-pound-feet of torque. GMC is being coy about production, but we expect the brand to offer a package along these lines in the near future.
2012 GMC Sierra -- Possible Redesign/All-new
2012 GMC Terrain -- Minor Updates
2012 GMC Yukon/XL -- Minor Updates
2012 Honda Accord Crosstour -- Minor Updates
2012 Honda CR-V -- Minor Updates
2012 Honda Element -- Gone
2012 Honda Odyssey -- Minor Updates
2012 Honda Pilot -- Minor Updates
2012 Honda Ridgeline -- Refreash ??
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe -- Possible Redesign/All-new
2012 Hyundai Tucson -- Minor Updates
2012 Hyundai Veracruz -- Minor Updates
2012 Infiniti EX35 -- Minor Updates
2012 Infiniti FX35/50 -- Minor Updates
2012 Infiniti QX56 -- Minor Updates
A compact Jeep crossover, as small as the Mini Countryman or smaller, is reportedly in development and is expected to arrive by 2013. Speculation on underpinnings is still up in the air, but it will most likely be based on the Fiat Panda platform, which is popular throughout Europe and is as competent off-road as any small, unibody front-driver can get.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- Minor Updates
2012 Jeep Liberty -- Refreash
2012 Jeep Patriot -- Minor Updates
Is Jeep preparing to add a pickup to its stable in the near future? Representatives continue to tease the press. So far, the strongest sign was at a recent dealer meeting where Jeep CEO Mike Manley unveiled, yet again, the Gladiator concept pickup. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne also recently fanned the flames and said there's room for something like the Gladiator in the Jeep lineup. A Wrangler-size rugged truck would seem a natural fit for Jeep, and as rumors continue to swirl, we wouldn't bet against it.
2012 Jeep Wrangler -- Minor Updates
Kia Compact Crossover
At the 2011 Detroit auto show, Kia showcased a crossover concept called the KV7. Although officially a concept, Kia officials loudly hinted at the show that a production version along the lines of the KV7 could become a reality. The concept has a completely realistic powertrain under the hood -- Kia's new turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter I-4 as found in the Kia Optima SX. It reportedly produces 285 horsepower -- 11 more than in the Optima -- and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. According to Kia, this combination is good for more than 30 mpg highway.
2012 Kia Sedona -- Minor Updates
2012 Kia Sorento -- Minor Updates
2012 Kia Sportage -- Minor Updates
2012 Land Rover LR2 -- Minor Updates
2012 Land Rover LR4 -- Minor Updates
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The Evoque will be a third model for Range Rover, fitting below the stately, eponymous RR and the Range Rover Sport. It goes on sale mid-2011 at prices running about $40,000-$50,000. A five-door with the same wedge silhouette, which debuted at the 2010 L.A. auto show, will follow half a year after. Under the hood, there's a new 240-hp version of Ford's 2.0-liter Ecoboost four. Range Rover remains serious about off-roading, despite the positioning of the Evoque, and claims it will be class-leading -- though this presumably means the crossover class rather than SUV. Clearly the Evoque a departure for the British manufacturer: a lot more light-footed than the Range Rovers, a lot less utility than the Land Rovers. But that's the point. The company is sure it will open new markets and end up as its biggest-selling model of all.
2012 Land Rover Range Rover -- Minor Updates
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport -- Minor Updates
2012 Lexus GX 460 -- Minor Updates
2012 Lexus LX 570 -- Minor Updates
2012 Lexus RX 350/450h -- Minor Updates
Lincoln Compact Crossover
You can't have too many compact luxury crossovers, right? Lincoln's entry to this oversaturated segment will reportedly be based on the next-generation Ford Escape/Kuga, with unique sheetmetal and luxury touches. Once this Lincoln MK-something crossover arrives, don't be surprised to see the MKX grow in price and size.
2012 Lincoln MKT -- Minor Updates
2012 Lincoln MKX -- Minor Updates
2012 Lincoln Navigator/L -- Minor Updates
Per Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler-Fiat is going to be converting the Jeep Grand Cherokee into a made-in-the-USA Maserati that should arrive in 2013. While the Grand Cherokee is a good starting point, it will have to be heavily refined and gussied up for trident duty.
Mazda Compact Crossover
From the looks of the development mule our spy shooter found testing in the Alps, Mazda is eying the compact crossover segment. This junior CX-7, which probably will be called CX-5, will likely ride on a plus-sized Mazda3 platform, offering front- and all-wheel drive, powered by the automaker's new Sky series low displacement gas and diesel engine options. Mazda is showcasing a concept called Minagi at the 2011 Geneva auto show in March, which could serve as the basis for the small crossover. It is expected to arrive late in 2011 or early 2012.
2012 Mazda CX-7 -- Minor Updates
2012 Mazda CX-9 -- Minor Updates
2012 Mazda Tribute -- Possible Redesign/All-new
2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class -- No Change
2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class -- Minor Changes
2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class -- Minor Updates
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class -- Minor Updates
2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class -- Minor Updates
2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter -- No Change
2012 Mini Countryman -- Minor Updates
Resembling a cross between the Mini Coupe and Countryman, the Paceman is built on the same platform as the Countryman and designed to use the 211-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.6-liter I-4 engine from the John Cooper Works model Minis. The adaptation of Mini's ALL4 all-wheel-drive system allows owners to feel as rugged as a flannel shirt while cruising mall parking lots in washed-silk comfort. The suspension system is also lifted from the Countryman using a MacPherson strut in front with a multi-link system in back. Mini states that the Paceman delivers typical Mini agility and confidence while maintaining the compliant and comfortable ride customers expect in this segment. Mini announced at the 2011 Detroit auto show that the Paceman will see production. Expect it sometime in 2012.
2012 Mitsubishi Endeavor -- No Change
2012 Mitsubishi Outlander -- Minor Updates
2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport -- Minor Updates
2012 Nissan Armada -- No Change
2012 Nissan Frontier -- Minor Updates
2012 Nissan Juke -- Minor Updates
2012 Nissan Murano -- Minor Updates
2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
The 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is said to be the world's first all-wheel drive crossover convertible. According to Nissan, it melds the "sophistication of a sedan" with the "utility of a sport utility." Rigidity had to be upped to compensate for the loss of its B-pillars, so the A-pillars gained significant reinforcement. To keep the standard model's profile, the cabrio's two doors are 7.9 inches longer than the standard Murano's front doors. Its canvas roof (available in either black or light brown) employs a glass window for improved longevity. The automaker's versatile 3.5-liter V-6 powers all four wheels. It's rated at 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque and mated to an Xtronic CVT gearbox. Expect it summer of 2011.
2012 Nissan NV
Nissan's foray into the North American commercial van market looks promising thus far. When it debuts later this year, the NV (Nissan Van) will be available in three trim levels with either a standard or High Roof option, powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 or 5.6-liter V-8. We hear a passenger version will also be added to the mix. Look out, Transit Connect and Sprinter.
2012 Nissan Pathfinder -- No Change
2012 Nissan Quest -- Minor Updates
2012 Nissan Rogue -- Minor Updates
2012 Nissan Titan -- No Change
2012 Nissan Xterra -- No Change
Porsche is mum so far about its upcoming compact crossover, other than an announcement that it is building it and that its name is a "working title." Expect Cayenne junior to be positioned as a gateway vehicle to attract younger customers to the Porsche brand, a la Boxster. You can also expect it to outsell the 911 and be loathed by Porschephiles, a la Panamera.
2012 Porsche Cayenne -- Minor Changes
2013 Ram 1500 Diesel
Like Chevy and Ford, Ram has plans for a light-duty diesel pickup, but no one wants to be the first in the pool. Ram 1500 diesel prototypes have been spotted around Detroit, and with the new brand planning to make a name for itself, it's likely Ram will dive in head first.
2013 Ram Dakota
With its pickup finally up to par, Ram is reportedly turning its attention to the Dakota. As compact pickup sales are stagnant, Ram is considering shaking things up with a new unibody Dakota similar to the Honda Ridgeline, but with rear drive and more capability. But with the Ridgeline's monthly sales hovering in the triple digits, Ram could scrap the plan.
2012 Saab 9-4x
The new Saab 9-4x luxury crossover enters a segment ripe with competition, with the best from Europe, Japan, and the U.S. battling for supremacy. As is the case with its platform, the 9-4x's engines are shared with the Cadillac SRX. A 265-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 is the standard engine, offered with a six-speed automatic and a choice of front-wheel drive or Saab's XWD all-wheel-drive system. The system, sourced from Haldex, varies torque between the front and rear axles as needed. The electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential can also transfer up to 50 percent of rear torque between the rear wheels to help maintain grip. Step up to the 9-4x Aero model, and you'll find both standard all-wheel drive and a 300-horsepower, 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6. Expect it in Saab showrooms by early summer.
2013 Spyker D8 Peking-to-Paris
Rumors of the return of this 556-horsepower uber luxury SUV had just started to fade only to resurface with Spyker's recent acquisition of SAAB. The boutique manufacturer of steampunk supercars could take a page out of the Porsche Cayenne playbook by leveraging SAAB's existing platforms and powertrains and covering them in brushed brightwork and quilted leather. It's been done before and could add healthy profits to Spyker's suspect bottom line.
2012 Subaru Forester -- Minor Changes
2012 Subaru Outback -- Minor Updates
2012 Subaru Tribeca -- No Change
2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara -- No Change
2012 Suzuki Equator -- No Change
2012 Toyota 4Runner -- Minor Changes
2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser -- Minor Changes
2012 Toyota Highlander -- Minor Updates
2012 Toyota Land Cruiser -- No Change
2012 Toyota RAV4 EV
Toyota picked the appropriate vehicle to revive an old electric favorite. Developed with Tesla's assistance, the new RAV4 EV will use a lithium-metal-oxide battery and maintain performance comparable to a V-6. Operating range and price are question marks for now, but will come to light by 2012.
2012 Toyota Sienna -- Minor Updates
2012 Toyota Sequoia -- No Change
2012 Toyota Tacoma -- Minor Updates
2012 Toyota Tundra -- Minor Updates
2012 Toyota Venza -- Minor Updates
Newly minted Volkswagen of America president Jonathan Browning has expressed his desire to see a Microbus revival, and he just might get his wish. Rumors are swriling that, if approved, the Microbus would be built on VW's Space UP! architecture, a microcar plaform that would mean the Microbus would truly live up to its name. The UP! platform opens up the possibility of rear engine along with full electric versions and hybrids.
2012 Volkswagen Routan -- Minor Updates
2012 Volkswagen Tiguan -- Minor Changes
2012 Volkswagen Touareg -- Minor Changes
2012 Volvo XC60 -- No Change
2012 Volvo XC70 -- No Change
2012 Volvo XC90 -- Minor Changes