Paris Motor Show SUV Roundup
Crossover Debuts Dominate, Predictably
The Paris Motor Show is known better for supercars, city cars, and funky station wagons than it is for SUVs, but there were a few utility-vehicle debuts in the City of Lights.
This being Truck Trend, it’s likely a lot of Paris’s debuts won’t interest most of you. Even the SUVs debuted here are more like cars in disguise. But still, if we’ve learned anything from the Range Rover or the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it’s that even car-like vehicles can be heaps of fun in the right circumstances.
So without further ado, here’s a quick list of some of Paris’s most interesting truck-like vehicles.
2015 BMW X6 We’ll be seeing this for sale on our side of the Atlantic pretty soon. The 2015 BMW X6 carries on the trend it started, marrying X5-inspired styling with a “Sport Activity Coupe" body style, as the company calls it. Indeed, from the beltline down, it looks pretty much exactly like an X5, but the greenhouse and roofline look a lot like the 6-Series. We’re not sure we’ll ever get used to hearing something with four doors called a coupe, but whatever. This thing will probably sell like crazy, and with a new rear-wheel drive model available, at least it’s not pretending to be an off-roader.
Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L Concept The French don’t sell cars in America anymore, for better or worse. Back in the 1980s, French cars were inventive but problematic. We hope Citroen has those problems sorted out, because the C4 Cactus Airflow 2L is certainly inventive. It’s a hybrid with a conventional gasoline engine, but instead of pairing the hydrocarbons with electrons, as in most hybrids, it gets its secondary propulsion from compressed air. Weird and kinda cool. By the way, that 2L in its name doesn’t denote a 2.0L engine; it stands for fuel consumption of 2 liters per 100 kilometers -- about 117 miles per gallon. Very impressive for a normal-looking four-door.
2015 Fiat 500X The Fiat 500X is the third addition to the 500 family, which includes the standard 500 city car and the four-door 500L microvan. Since the 500X is meant to be a crossover, it’s surprising that it’s actually lower to the ground than the goofy 500L, but it definitely makes the 500X much more attractive than its van brother. The 500X shares its platform with the new Jeep Renegade.
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Red Vapor The Grand Cherokee SRT Red Vapor on display in Paris is essentially the same as the model available in North America. The special edition of the standard SRT is now sold to European customers, and it makes us happy to see that Europe is as interested in Jeeps as we are.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon X Stealth Concept We’ve shown you it before, but it’s so cool that we wanna tell you again. The Wrangler Stealth concept is actually more of a Mopar showcase than a true concept. Most of the parts on the Paris rig are available from the Mopar catalog, including those awesome bumpers and flat-top fenders. The only show-car aspect of the Stealth is its awesome paint, which, sadly, is not available on the production Jeep Wrangler.
2016 Kia Sorento The third-generation Kia Sorento brings predictable styling changes and interior upgrades. It’s a decent-looking crossover that will probably compete very well, particularly if Kia’s famous value equation holds over to the new generation. Yeah, it’s a boring CUV, but it’ll probably be a good car if you need sensible transportation for the family.
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport We’ve already told you a little about the Discovery Sport. It’s the SUV that will be replacing the slow-selling LR2 in American showrooms, and it’s about 400 light-years ahead of its predecessor in terms of refinement and luxury. It has attractive styling inspired by the Evoque and shares quite a few greasy bits with the smallest Range Rover as well. However, like its big brother, the LR4, it can be had with seven seats, and it features a more traditional, upright greenhouse than the low-slung Evoque. The Discovery Sport is the first model in the newly created Discovery family, which will expand to include a replacement for the LR4.
Peugeot Quartz Concept The Quartz concept features angular styling that reminds us a little bit of the Hot Wheels toy that had the body of a sports car and the frame and wheels of a monster truck. As you might expect, the Quartz is all-wheel drive and also has an oh-so-trendy hybrid powertrain. A turbocharged gas engine mates with an electric motor on the front axle, and joining the pair is another electric motor, this time mounted on the rear axle. Peugeot says the Quartz can do 31 miles on a charge, at which time the gas engine wakes up to power the wheels and charge the batteries.
2015 Volvo XC90 Volvo’s first SUV has been redesigned for the 2015 model year, and it’s about time! Although the previous XC90 has always sold well, it’s been on sale for 13 years with only minor updates. Its new, clean-sheet design does away with the five, six, and eight-cylinder engines that have powered the big XC in the past, replacing them with a single 2.0L inline-four in various states of tune. The top-line model is expected to receive twincharging (supercharging and turbocharging) for an output of at least 400 hp. That beats the 315 hp that’s available from the 4.4L V-8 in the current XC90. Pricing for the base model will start at just under $50,000.
It's a brave new world we're living in, a world where SUVs are increasingly based more on cars and minivans than they are on trucks. Even so, today's crop of SUVs offer more space, greater efficiency, and better performance than ever before, and that's something we have to respect.