Rating 62/100 Background The following review will not utter the word bling. Nor its many derivatives like blinged up, blingification or blingtastic. They’re dreadfully overused and increasingly cliché, especially in reference to the 2008 Cadillac Escalade, which helped put the word into the American lexicon. In its second year since a complete redesign, the Escalade …

Rating 68/100 Background Ten years ago, the idea of a performance SUV would have been sillier than the thought of a hit TV show featuring Wayne Newton and Marie Osmond dancing about in evening wear to Dolly Parton music. Okay, maybe not sillier, but still pretty eyebrow-raising. Yet the BMW X5 has quelled the notion …

Rating 75/100 Background Like FCC indecency laws, the term “crossover” is so vague that it can be interpreted in many different ways. Lately, it has been thrown on just about anything by marketing folks to improve the perception of uncool vehicles like minivans and station wagons. But if the definition of crossover was ever clarified, …

Rating 82/100 Background In the past, BMW didn’t exactly rush in to follow the trend toward larger, more family-friendly vehicles. Like a fashionable latecomer to a cocktail party, the German automaker launched the BMW X5 a few years into the SUV craze. But when the tide turned and the market clamored for scaled-down utility, BMW …

Rating 58/100 Background Given its very athletic personality, calling the 2008 BMW X3 the “3 Series of SUVs” wouldn’t be a stretch. In fact, that statement would be most fitting, as this crossover sport-ute shares its platform DNA with BMW’s perpetually praised compact sport sedan. As with other small luxury SUVs, the X3 is geared …

Rating 63/100 Background If the 2008 Acura RDX participated in a round of speed dating, it’d probably say this: “Hi, I’m RDX. I’m young and active. I’m into high-tech gear and fashion. In my spare time, I like working out and going for long drives in the rain. My family is well-known and famous. I’m …

Rating 72/100 Background Audi introduced its first SUV, the Q7, just last year. Despite its tardiness, the Q7 is packed to its 18-inch wheels with luxury goodies and the type of exceptional quality that has characterized Audis for more than a decade. A crossover SUV, the Q7 is a distant cousin of the Volkswagen Touareg …

Rating 68/100 Background The term “performance SUV” comes very close to being an oxymoron. Really, if your number-one goal is performance, a big and boxy sport-utility is usually a poor choice to go about getting it. But for consumers who really like to drive, yet have certain constraints in their life that require an SUV …

Rating 70/100 Background Toyota’s RAV4 owns the distinction of being the first bite-size sport-utility vehicle. The RAV4 debuted in 1996 when most SUVs were still unwieldy, body-on-frame beasts. In contrast, the car-based Toyota was small and easy to drive. That it was shaped like a jelly bean hardly seemed to matter. With plenty of sales …

Rating 70/100 Background For parents who consider safety the top priority when shopping for an SUV, there are few better choices than the 2007 Volvo XC90. This midsize luxury SUV pioneered rollover avoidance technology when it came to market for the 2003 model year. It was also one of the first to provide side curtain …

Rating 62/100 Background As most people know, Volkswagen translates into English as “people’s car.” For a long time, this meaning has perhaps been too salient for many VW dealers. Despite Americans happily opening their wallets for all things truck and SUV the past two decades, Volkswagen’s lineup has been all about the car. It was …

Rating 80/100 Background Representing the seventh year of the model cycle, the 2007 Toyota Highlander is the oldest midsize crossover SUV on the market. Like most Toyotas, though, it was well designed from the start and has aged gracefully over the years. Key strengths include a cozy ride, easy maneuverability in tight spaces, above-average gas …