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Big, brash, rough and not always tough, they have, over the last four decades, become an institution in the Land of the Free with sales last year of 8.2-million units.
Along with their pick-up siblings, the SUV has become the modern era staple of North America and like the drawn of the muscle car in the 1960s, the type of vehicle most Americans aspire to own no matter their size or if they can go off-road or not.
In the second part of the spin-off of America’s most wanted SUVs in South Africa series, The Citizen Motoring looks at another four SUVs, this time from Ford and General Motors (GM) that takes luxury, excess and opulence to another level in a uniquely Americana way.
Last year, it become the first inanimate object to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and arguably rates as the most recognise presidential motorcade vehicle in addition to being a FBI favourite.
More importantly though is the fact that the Chevrolet Suburban is the oldest uninterrupted nameplate in the world having first debuted in 1934. While other manufactures have used the designation before, it has been solely used by the bowtie since 1978 with its unveiling earlier this year marking twelve generations of what is still viewed as the quintessential big SUV.
Still based on a body-on-frame platform, in this case the GMT T1XX used by the Silverado and GMC Sierra as well as the Tahoe, the 5.7 m long Suburban follows its smaller sibling in being offered in six trim levels, LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier and High Country, but with a choice of seven, eight or nine-seats.
Able to swallow a maximum of 4 097-litres of luggage, it also has the same choice of engines as the Tahoe; a 265kW/519Nm 5.3-litre V8, the High Country exclusive 6.2-litre V8 that produces 313kW/623Nm and, for the first time in nearly two decades, a turbodiesel in the form of the 206kW/624Nm 3.0 Duramax straight-six. Also retained are the low-range transfer case and the Ford co-developed push-button ten-speed automatic gearbox.
With a resume of recent new SUVs consisting of the new Explorer, Expedition, Mustang Mach-E, revived Bronco and the Bronco Sport, it is somewhat easy to forget about the Edge that sits above the Escape (Kuga) in Ford’s line-up.
A starring role in the rather forgetful James Bond film Quantum of Solace aside, the now five year old Edge is currently in its second generation and apart from debuting in Europe four years ago and in 2018 as the Endura in Australasia, has been a solid performer for the Blue Oval with sales in the States last year of 138 514.
Updated two years ago, the Edge comes in four trim grades; SE, SEL, Titanium and ST-Line with motivation being derived from a 2.0 EcoBoost that sends 184kW/350Nm to the front or all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Introduced last year, the ST gets a twin-turbo 2.7 EcoBoost V6 rated at 250kW/515Nm that is sent to all four wheels through a recalibrated version of the mention ‘box.
On the Old Continent and Australasia, the Edge/Endura is an all-diesel affair with the 2.0 EcoBlue offering four outputs; 110kW/370Nm, 140kW/400Nm and with an additional turbo, 175kW/500Nm. Of these, only the mid-range derivative is equipped with a six-speed manual as the eight-speed auto is standard on the remaining pair.
Very much a nondescript brand outside North America, the upscale division of Chevrolet’s commercial and SUV business often has the dubious honour of producing vehicles much softer on the eye than their siblings.
While its name might sound like an ‘r’ is missing, the Acadia became a key model when it was chosen to replace the Holden Captiva in Australia two years ago, a move which ultimately fell flat after General Motors’ decision earlier this year to disband the Lion brand.
Despite the flop, the five, six-or-seven seat Acadia still found 99 430 homes last year in the US with a recent updated seeing the introduction of a new face, equipment and a 169kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol that joins the 144kW/258Nm normally aspirated 2.5 and the 230kW/367Nm 3.6-litre V6.
Available in SL, SLE SLT, off-road focused AT4 and top-range Denali guises, the Acadia’s sticker starts at $29 800 (R519 685) with all-wheel-drive being optional on the SLE and SLT but standard on the latter pair. A nine-speed automatic gearbox replaces the pre-facelift model’s six-speed.
When it came to replacing the Kuga-based MKC last year, Lincoln opted to forgo its use of alphanumeric nomenclatures, in this case MK with a different letter at the end, for more conventional names some scribes have described as a veiled swipe at arch rivals Cadillac.
The surprise though was the decision to use the Corsair name used most famously by Dearborn for its Cortina step-up in the 1960s, but less fondly between 1958 and 1959 on a version of the ill-fated Edsel brand. Although the new name has so far generated less of an impact than the MKC with sales of 25 816 units last year compared to 2018’s 26 241, the Corsair nonetheless appears completely different from the Kuga with the same being said of the Navigator inspired interior.
Priced from $35 945 (R626 848), the Corsair comes in three trim levels; Standard, Reserve and Grand Touring with a choice of three engines; a 184kW/373Nm 2.0 EcoBoost, a 2.3 EcoBoost rated at 206kW/420Nm and in the Grand Touring, a plug-in hybrid normally aspirated 2.5 that delivers a combined output of 198 kW and a 40 km all-electric range.
Standard on the former pair is an eight-speed automatic gearbox with all-wheel-drive being optional, while the plug-in hybrid comes with the all-paw gripping system as standard hooked to a CVT, as well as five driving modes dubbed Conserve, Deep Conditions, Excite and the less humorous Normal and Slippery.
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