There appears to be no saturation point for new SUVs and crossovers and at this year’s Geneva auto show, there were some notable high-riding debutants. We look at the five most important SUVs to make their appearance on the display stands at Geneva, and why they could become of interest to buyers soon.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
A vitally important car for the Italian brand, which has made more comebacks than Schalk Burger. Built on a Jeep Renegade platform, which means it is closely related to the Fiat 500, the Tonale will blend 1.3-litre turbopetrol power with hybridization to generate 177kW.
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That should guarantee tidy performance for the Italian compact crossover. That configuration will also gift it adaptive on-demand all-wheel drive, with the 1.3-litre engine powering its front wheels and an electric motor spinning torque onto the rear axle.
Much like the Stelvio, Alfa’s first and larger SUV – the Tonale is named after a famed Italian Alpine mountain pass.
Image: Geneva Motor Show
Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain concept
Bizarre as it might sound, Aston Martin remains the only traditional British elite automotive brand without an SUV.
Keen to emulate the success Bentley and Rolls-Royce have achieved with Bentayga and Cullinan, Aston Martin is being particularly bold by reviving its Lagonda luxury nameplate with battery power and all-terrain ability.
Due for delivery by 2022, the Lagonda All-Terrain’s most distinguishing feature are its enormous doors, which span most of the SUV’s side-profile and are rear-hinged for ease of access to second-row passengers.
Enabling the Lagonda’s huge doors are its overall platform stiffness. Although most of the SUV’s side-surfacing isn’t structurally fixed, there aren’t any rigidity issues – because of the inherent stiffness provided by Lagonda’s floorplan, reinforced by the vehicle’s battery packs.
Maserati Levante Trofeo
If you don’t wish to wait for Ferrari’s promised V8-powered SUV, here is a solution. It’s the first 100 units of Maserati’s high-performance SUV, based on the Levante. Powered by a ‘Ferrari-built’ turbocharged 3.8-itre V8, good for 440kW, the Trofeo edition Levante is a true supercar rivalling SUV: capable of 0-100kph in 3.9 sec and a top speed slightly beyond 300kph.
If you look beyond the marketing double-speak, this is effectively a Ferrari SUV without the prancing horse badge. The cabin also features bespoke leatherwork by Italian menswear specialist, Ermenegildo Zegna. It claims to be the first vehicle in the world to have Zegna’s new interwoven Nappa leather as an upholstery material.
The crossover which they should simply have called CX-4, but didn’t. Mazda’s new CX-30 sizes between CX-3 and CX-5 within the Japanese brand’s product portfolio and has already been confirmed for its South African market debut early in 2020.
A blend of all the attributes which have brought Mazda much success, the CX-30’s most innovative feature is its compression ignition petrol engine. Part of the brand’s Skyactiv-X engineering development, the CX-30’s engine theoretically combines the performance and throttle response of a petrol engine with the economy of a diesel.
The ‘third’ Korean automotive brand and one which is conveniently forgotten. SsangYong has a long history of building SUVs. Some might remember those Mercedes-Benz powered SsangYong Mussos that were gravel traveling around South Africa in the late 1990s.
At the Geneva show SsangYong revealed the fourth-generation of its Korando SUV. The styling is a conventional blend of C-segment SUV creases and relatively tidy detailing.
Powering Korando is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, boosting 120kW and driving through a choice of six-speed gearboxes, either manual or auto.
SsangYong will also market a 1.6-litre turbodiesel Korando too, for those buyers who require long-range driving endurance and mild off-road ability, where the diesel’s 280Nm torque peak should provide handy.
Inside there is sophisticated media convergence, thanks to a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Korando is expected to be at dealers later this year, with the promise of an all-electric version following in 2020.