SUV/TRUCK REVIEWS

The 2019 Cadillac XT5 is a segment leader in terms of safety, design and overall drive quality.

The only thing constant about the Cadillac vehicle lineup lately is change. Beyond the news that its flagship CT6 is going away after this year, the brand’s crossover lineup is getting a major revamp.


Brand new for 2019 was the XT4, Cadillac’s entry in the hot category of compact crossovers. Then the three-row crossover XT6 (a 2020 model) was just unveiled at NAIAS in January.

Right in the middle is the OG of the crossover lineup, the XT5 (known in its former life as the SRX), a midsize luxury crossover competing against heavy hitters like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus RX.

I recently spent some time in a 2019 XT5 and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up to the competition.

A redesign does wonders to improve the stock of the 2019 Infiniti QX50.

In the packed SUV battlefield, if you’re not keeping up you’re falling behind fast. This is true across the board, including in the realm of luxury SUVs.


Take for example the the Infiniti QX50, a compact luxury SUV that has been in need of an update for a couple years. Prior to the arrival of the redesigned 2019 version, this vehicle had fallen behind most of its rivals.

The good news for Infiniti fans, and car buyers in general, is the second-generation edition of the QX50 has arrived, and immediately moves the vehicle several rungs up the ladder in the battle for supremacy in this tough segment.

Storage space is abundant in the 2019 GMC Yukon

Crossover is the buzzword of the past decade (even Lamborghini made one, for chrissakes), but body-on-frame SUVs have not yet gone the way of the dodo bird.


Yes, these massive relics live on, including the GMC Yukon, due to their extreme storage capacity and versatility.


There’s a limited number of contenders here, and the Yukon is primarily taking on its own GM brethren (Chevy Tahoe and Chevy Suburban) as well as the Ford Expedition and some foreign entrants that are smaller players in the segment (Lexus GX, Infiniti QX80, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada).

 

I recently tested a 2019 Yukon — which saw its last major design overhaul back in 2015 and sees only minor changes for the 2019 model year — and I’m back with an update on how it competes in this old-school segment.

 

The Nissan Kicks is a new entry in the subcompact SUV battlefield, which seems to grow every year.

Subcompact SUVs seem to be growing on trees lately, and there’s yet another one in town. The Kicks is the latest vehicle in Nissan’s lineup, replacing the Juke at the low end of their SUV lineup.

I recently spent time in a Kicks and I’m back with a full report on what this little lifted subcompact has to offer.

LOOKS

By the very nature of being a subcompact SUV, the Kicks is small and the back seat is tight. It’s best for people who don’t plan to have a lot of folks in the back seat regularly. Storage space is decent for the class if you put down the rear seats. The materials used inside were pretty basic, nothing fancy, and the comfort level of the driver’s seat was a bit disappointing.

Exterior design looks sharp on the Kicks, much better than the funky-looking design of the Juke. The Kicks comes with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Two-tone color schemes are offered to attract more buyers.

The 2019 Chevy Equinox sees only minor changes from the redesigned 2018 model, and remains one of the better SUVs you can buy.

There’s a seemingly endless list of SUVs out there to choose from, in case you haven’t noticed.  But a handful of them rise to the top of the sales charts every year, and for good reason, as they’re the real deal.

One of those is the Chevy Equinox, which underwent an attractive redesign for 2018 and sees only minor changes for the 2019 model. I’m here with a full report on what it has to offer and how it holds up to the competition.

LOOKS

While most SUVs aren’t too thrilling to look at, the Equinox’s look is one of the better designs in class, and my test vehicle was helped along by its sharp “Orange Burst Metallic” paint scheme.

The Equinox is classified as a compact SUV (the Trax being the subcompact in the Chevy family, the Traverse the midsize). I found the space situation in the Equinox to be roomy, but not a class leader. You get a grand total of 63.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.

The 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee has some off-road capability and also handles well on the beaten path.

With more than 200,000 vehicles sold each year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the best-selling SUVS in the U.S. every single year. And while there aren’t many changes for 2019, it remains a powerful, high-class and tech-savvy SUV option for those who don't need a third row.

LOOKS

The 2019 Grand Cherokee offers a strong visual package, with my test vehicle (A Grand Cherokee Limited X 4x4) featuring an attractive velvet red pearl exterior paint job, paired with black, leather-trimmed interior seating.

Inside there was comforts including a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated front seats, and an overall roomy and high-class interior featuring quality materials.

The redesigned 2018 BMW X3 is one of the better-looking compact luxury SUVs you'll find, and drives better than most of them.

The BMW brand has a certain mystique about it, but in the end a driver has to like the entire experience for that loyalty to remain once someone picks up one. It’s a fine line between focusing all-out on performance, while also maintaining a comfortable experience for the driver and their family.


With their expansive X line of SUVs (X1 to X6 on sale now, with X7 and X8 coming very soon), BMW is treading that line very closely. I recently spent time in one of their compact SUV offerings, the X3, and I’m back with a full report.

LOOKS

Taking a look at the exterior of the redesigned 2018 BMW X3, including the unique BMW split grille up front, I would easily put it at or near the top of the class when we’re talking about compact luxury SUVs.


Moving inside, it’s also plush and comfortable with attractive wood trim, and the rear seat has decent leg and headroom for the segment, something that’s often missing. You get a heated steering wheel, plus heated front and rear seats.

With fold-down rear seats, cargo space is impressive at 62.7 feet, considering this is a compact SUV, and you get 8 inches of ground clearance.

The 2019 Infiniti QX60 is largely unchanged from the previous model year, and that's not a bad thing.

For the 2019 model year, the Infiniti QX60 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, essentially carrying over from the 2018 design. And that’s fine by me, as I’ve been a big fan of this model since its introduction more than a handful of years ago.


The calling card of the QX60 is that it’s a midsize luxury SUV that’s roomy, comfortable, quiet and family-friendly with superb styling, and skips some of the more sporty setups you’ll find on its luxury SUV competition. Read on for a full report based on my recent experience behind the wheel of the new QX60.


LOOKS

For a vehicle that fits seven people inside comfortably, the 2019 QX60 manages to have a design that looks a bit more svelte on the exterior than some of its competition. The QX60 comes standard with leatherette seating, and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. But you can chose a Limited package upgrade featuring leather seating and a bunch of other attractive tweaks to the interior and exterior design.

A separate options package (the Sensory package) includes the superbly attractive addition of hourglass seat quilting, which is as attractive as any seating design I’ve seen in the luxury realm. Beyond looks, the materials used on the seating materials provide for supreme comfort, even on longer journeys, and other visual accents make the interior shine.

The 2018 Buick Enclave gets a much-needed redesign.

With its first design lasting a full decade (2008 to 2017), after a very long wait the Buick Enclave finally gets updated for the 2018 model year.

And the results are pretty spectacular.

The new exterior look for the entry-level luxury brand’s biggest ride is much smoother looking looking than the previous version, and inside it’s more practical too.
I’m back with a full report after spending some time in the new-look Enclave.

LOOKS

The less bulky, slimmer look of the new Enclave is clear upon first glance and a big improvement on its predecessor. As part of the redesign, the vehicle got slightly longer but still shed weight while increasing interior space.

Inside, the materials in the Enclave are consistently high-end and you get a litany of creature comforts, even if you don’t go for the top trim lines. The three rows in the Enclave can host up to seven people. Third row is easy to access, but best for kids.

 

Among comfort features are heated and ventilated front seats (driver and passenger), tri-zone climate control and heated second row seats.

 

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk performs solidly both on-road and off-road, a rare combination.

Jeeps have a rich history and are known for getting you places other vehicles can’t take you. And even the more pedestrian Jeep offerings have versions that will do just that.

Take the Jeep Cherokee, which in its regular version is a normal compact crossover competing with the likes of the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

But if you go for the Trailhawk version of the Cherokee, which I recently tested, you’re in for a whole different set of capabilities.
I recently spent time in a 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk and I’m back with a full report.


LOOKS

The Trailhawk I tested featured a sharp blue paint scheme and a unique nose design that I liked but might not please everyone, taste being subjective and all

The interior space is pretty tight in rear seat, but you get decent storage space with seats down.  

There are also some clever storage spots, including one atop the dash.

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