The term crossover is applied to a class of vehicle that seems to be the default family car. The “Crossover” label is applied to cars that are nothing more than Station Wagon and Minivan replacements, and are classified as “Trucks” by the automakers and the various Federal Agencies when it comes to safety regulations, emission regulations, and fuel economy standards. This label has been successfully used by the car companies to place these vehicles in the “Truck” classification because the safety standards are relaxed for trucks, the emission standards are less restrictive, and with a lower CAFE fuel economy number that is applied to the entire yearly production cycle. It is no wonder that the number of these vehicles keeps growing. However, there are some of these crossovers that have been recently discontinued, but are still available for now.
First, let’s discuss the Hyundai Veracruz. This was Hyundai’s first attempt at a 3-seat “Crossover” and was introduced in North America in March of 2007. It has been said that it’s based on a stretched Hyundai Santa Fe platform, which was nothing more that the Sonata Platform in the first place. The only engine offered for North America is the 3.8L Lambda II V6, that produced 263HP. An Aisin sourced 6-speed transmission was the only transmission available. FWD was standard, but an AWD system was available, which is currently a $1,900 option.
Unlike past Hyundai’s, the Veracruz was rather bland when it came to styling. No goofy side scallops, no oddly proportioned grill, no outrageous fender flairs. It also didn’t carry the latest Hyundai styling clues either, so it was lost between two different design paradigms. The interior was rather handsome, with a light gray/dark gray two tone in the GLS, and a choice of Beige or Black if you chose the Limited. So far this year, Hyundai sold 1,800 Veracruz models, which is exactly the same number for this time last year. It is among the slowest selling Hyundais, with only the old Azera sedan and the new Equus selling in lower numbers.
Next, let’s explore the Mazda CX-7. This midsized crossover was introduced to the public at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, with production starting in February of 2006. It was introduced during the spring selling season as a 2007 model year. This was Mazda’s definition of a Sporty Crossover, since Mazda likens itself in offering sporty, fun to drive cars. Two engines are offered; A 2.5L 4-Cylinder with a 5-Speed Automatic, that produced 161HP, and available only in FWD, and the 2.3L Turbocharged 4-Cylinder with a 6-Speed Sportronic Automatic, producing 244HP, with either FWD, or AWD. The MZR 2.3L engine is in the Mazdaspeed3 and Mazdaspeed6, but has been retuned in the North American-Spec CX-7 to deliver torque at a lower RPM for less turbo lag off the line.
Styling wise, the Mazda CX-7 is unusual for a crossover. It has a windshield with one of the steepest rakes in the industry. It is also one of the heaviest smaller crossovers, and no wonder. The CX-7 shares the front suspension of the Mazda MPV minivan and the rear suspension from the Mazda5. It shares nothing with it’s bigger brother, the CX-9. Mazda has been disappointed with the sales of the CX-7, compered with the Honda CR-V, and the Toyota RAV-4. According to the sales charts released by Mazda, the CX-7 replacement (CX-5) has already sold more units than the CX-7, by 1,600! So, now it’s your turn… Were these two crossovers ever on your shopping list of cars you would own, or even cars that you wold recommend to anyone?