Archive for SUVs/Crossovers

Chevrolet HHR

Chevrolet HHR

Chevrolet HHR (Photo: JB Car Pages)

The styling of the Chevrolet HHR (short for Heritage High Roof) was purportedly inspired by the 1949 Chevy Suburban. Indeed, the HHR’s hemispherical grill and squarish flared wheelwells harken back to that post-war, working man’s icon. Yet the concept of the HHR was unbashedly “borrowed” from Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, whose runaway success in five years earlier was too much for General Motors to ignore.

The PT formula? Take the underpinnings of a fuel-efficient car (in the HHR’s case, the Chevy Cobalt), and put on top of it a body that offered ample room for both humans and cargo. Inject some styling cues harkening back to the 50′s hot rods—big grills, chrome door handles, etc.—all while engineering in some nifty features like flat-folding seats, flat cargo areas, etc. Then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, slap on a price tag no higher than most humble, insipid compact cars. How ingenious is that? » Read more..

Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford Escape, first generation (Photo credit: Sharon Richard, Milpitas, CA)

So you are active, have to haul a lot of gear, and/or have an especially large family. Once in a while you even travel off of paved roads (unlike most SUV owners) to, for example, reach the base of a mountain you are going to climb up (in rock climbing shoes), and you actually need the ground clearance of an SUV. Yet, it hurts to think about how much gas money you’d need just to drive from San Francisco to Yosemite in a Toyota Sequoia, which only achieves 16 or 17 mpg on the highway. » Read more..

Chrysler PT Cruiser

2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser

2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Perhaps we already have you convinced that SUVs for most people are needless gas-guzzling machines that are hard-to-park, a whale to drive and expensive to maintain. You definitely want something a bit sportier, though you have family, or friends, whom you often need to shuttle around. Room for their gear is needed. A 2-seat sports car, or a Corbin Sparrow just won’t do. Yet you want something with style, an attitude… not your dad’s most uncool station wagon. » Read more..