It’s no secret that America — and for that matter, the world — has long harbored a love affair for the SUV. Originally designed as large, boxy haulers for families who were allergic to minivans, they’ve since morphed into capable vehicles which have swung downmarket and now compete with America’s second love, the midsize sedan. Crossovers in particular — small SUVs that are generally built on a car’s frame but offer similar proportions to utility vehicles — have found notably considerable success.
That will be more than apparent at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show next week, when SUVs will be taking the center stage as automakers show off their latest wares. Though the segment was originally developed with utility in mind, the vehicles have been exceptionally strong sellers for luxury brands too — so much so that old-school stalwarts Rolls-Royce and Bentley are jumping into the fray, where they’ll meet competition from Maserati and Lamborghini.
But Frankfurt has more in store than family movers for the ultra-wealthy. Watch for appearances from South Korea’s budget SsangYong brand, a new direction for Nissan, and the anxiously and way-overdue arrival of a replacement for Volkswagen’s aging Tiguan.
Check out what else Frankfurt will have in store for those of us who need more utility for our daily commutes.
1. Volkswagen Tiguan
Though the Golf family, Jetta, Touareg, and Passat have seen relatively recent updates and refreshes, the Tiguan has been left largely alone. In this segment, that’s potentially fatal — compact crossover SUVs are among the highest-volume sellers for automakers, and sitting out could cost a company like VW billions and a hefty competitive advantage. Fortunately, it seems that VW is still intent on playing the crossover game, and a renewed Tiguan is expected to be previewed this year at Frankfurt.
2. Nissan’s Crossover Concept
Nissan has a great, quirky crossover in the Juke, but even its funky styling won’t stay fresh forever. This teaser image — appropriately named “Crossover Concept” — reveals that Nissan is thinking beyond the Juke’s oddball looks and is looking to expand its style strategy based around the prominent V-grille. Nissan said virtually nothing in its release, but looking at the image above leads us to believe that this new crossover will take after the Sway concept that debuted earlier this year.
3. SsangYong XAV-Adventure
Ssanyong is a quirky SUV (and car) manufacturer from Korea that doesn’t sell its products in the States. However, it’s well-known throughout most of the rest of the world for building some seriously strange utilities. For Frankfurt, Ssangyong is preparing the XAV-Adventure, based on the XAV ute that was shown at the Seoul Auto Show earlier this year (pictured). Expect some more rugged bits and less chrome, but all the character and off-beat charm that SsangYong has built its name on.
4. Audi e-tron Quattro Concept
With Tesla’s Model X SUV starting its deliveries this month, Audi’s jumping into the deep end of the pool with the e-Tron Quattro Concept. Production is expected to begin in 2018, and in street-ready guise, will be called the Q6, and carry an all-electric range of 310 miles. “With three electric motors (one front, two rear), the Q6 trumps Tesla’s dual-motor system, and could mean that we could have a serious high-performance EV SUV rivalry on our hands by the end of the decade,” Derek Sapienza wrote.
5. Bentley Bentayga
It won’t be electric, but if a Bentley V12 is more your speed, check out the forthcoming Bentley Bentayga. It’s the brand’s first foray into the SUV world, and it’s already — according to the company — going to be the fastest production SUV ever made with a terminal speed of 187. That bests the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, but it may not stand for long — Lamborghini’s throwing its hat into the ring too with the Urus.