When automakers threw sporty badges on SUVs to signify smaller
There have been a few instances over the years where automakers have been deceiving. They varied from subtle at blatant. Often these creative diversions has to do with SUVs And Crossovers, that car manufacturers are increasingly thinking ways to sell to customers in this oversaturated segment.
From time to time, for some reason, a car manufacturer applies a “sport” badge to an SUV or a crossover and that doesn’t mean what we think that would mean. In our passionate minds, we imagine a special suspension package, a more powerful engine or, at the very least, a more aggressive cosmetic set. But once in a while, the “sport” badge just means “smaller or more compact than the original model.” I can think of seven examples from the last few years.
Chevrolet Captiva Sports
The Captiva Sports was a strange offering in the US market with a complicated history. So Chevy is selling a Captiva SUV in various parts of the world; it is It’s been around since 2006. It’s currently in its second generation and looks like a cross between a Chevy Blazer and a Traverse. GM never sold the Captiva here in the US
Other parts of the world, mainly Center and South America has a Captiva Sport based on the Opel/Vauxhall Antara. Saturn received a version of the Antara which was sold here as the second-Vue generation that only existed since two model years – coincidentally the last two years for the Saturn brand, which folded in 2010.
It’s not until the 2012 model year that we get the Mexican-built Captiva Sport, essentially the same vehicle as the Vue but with a few differences. Jhis model was never sold to retail here in the US. GM brought the Captiva Sport for fleet buyers, so you’ve never seen at car rental agencies. This was done to fill the void left when the HRH was discontinued, which is weird.
While Vue buyers had to choose a 250-hp 3.5-liter V6 as an option in the Redline view, there was nothing sporty about the Captiva Sport. These fleet vehicles received only a 2.4-liter I4 or a 3.0-liter V6 paired with a six-cylinder engine.automatic speed. The Captiva Sport was discontinued in 2014 after GM realized, “Hey, we don’tno need for an imported crossover for fleet sales because the Equinox has been around all this time! Shortly after, Captiva Sports began to appear on second-hand lots, and that’s how the normal americanits started driving them.
Although not exactly the same vehicle as the larger Captiva, both rode on the same platform.
Ford Explorer Sports
The Explorer Sport has been manufactured for over a decade, from 1991 to 2003, covering two generations. The first generation arrived with the original Explorer. The second generation differed a bit – around 2001, Ford replaced the Explorer Sport utilize the facade of Explorer Sport Trac. “Sport” here meant that this explorer had two doors. Jthere was no sporting pretension about the Explorer Sport.
The electricity came from the boat-4.0-liter V6 anchor. And while the second-generation Explorer offered a 5.0 liter V8, you couldn’t get that engine in the Sports Explorer. A The Mazda-made five-speed manual transmission was standard in the early years, but you were fooling yourself if you thought it would be any kind of sporty vehicle. At least Ford made enthusiasts a solid lately years, giving us the Current 400 hp Explorer ST.
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
The Santa Fe Sports was actually identical to the regular Santa Fe in every aspect, just with a shorter wheelbase. For a brief moment at the end of his life in 2018, it was sold alongside the new (and current) Fourth-generation Santa Fe. Unlike the other SUVs and crossovers here, Hyundai has given the Santa Fe a touch of sportiness with this Sport badge. But it wasn’t intentional. While the biggest The Santa Fe had optional V6 power, the Santa Fe Sport had a base 2.4-liter I4 or an optional 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Jhe Outlander Sport is the oldest vehicle on this list that is still for sale. If you go to the Mitsubishi site or find yourself in a fever dream and find yourself at one of their dealerships, the vehicle you will see for sale is essentially the same crossbreed (with some updates) which debuted for the 2010 model year. It haits received four facelifts/refreshments since it went on sale.
Prior to the recent redesign, the Outlander Sport was really just a smaller, more compact version of the larger Outlander. Both had old bones, straddling the old GS platform. Any sporting intention with which this model started has long since been abandoned. Power comes from a 2.0-liter I4 mated to a CVT. There is a larger 2.4 liter version of the same engine which is standard on the so called GT trim, but that iss always paired with a CVT.
Jhe is currently non-athletic Outlander rides on a platform jointly developed with Nissan (and shared with the Nissan Rogue). Jhe unfortunately named Eclips Cross was introduced in 2018; despite being newer than the Outlander Sport, the Eclipse Cross still rides on the older GS platform. S0the position of Outlander Sport in the Mitsubishi lineup has somehow become redundant, with so many crosses so close to each other in size. You have to wonder if the days of the Outlander Sport are numbered.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport
The Montero Sports is probably the only SUV on this list that was a real SUV, meaning it had off-road chops. It was the body-on-frame with a 4WD system with low range like a proper Montero should have. It was sold worldwide in various markets and under different names. And although it is still on sale in a few markets, the United States received only the first generation, sold here from 1996 to 2004. Engine choices were either a base 2.4-liter 134 hp I4 mated to a 5-speed manual, or a 3.0-liter 173 hp V6 with a 4-speed automatic. For some reason, the top Limited trim came with an extra 27 hp. I did some research and found that 4WD models could be had with the 5-speed manual, although I couldn’t tell whether it was with the I4 or the V6.
Nissan Rogue Sport
Nissan just recently dropped the Rogue Sport. Another such “sport” model that bears the model name of its big brother but is a slightly different vehicle, the Rogue Sport was a Nissan Qashqai that the brand brought to the United States. in 2017 for more sales volume. It looked like a smaller last-gen Nissan Rogue. But over the years things have changed. Nissan introduced a smaller-that-Thug-sport Cross kicks and the greatest Snape received a a lot-overhaul needed, moving to a platform jointly developed with Renault/Mitsubishi. So the Rogue Sport has somehow become useless, and it was deleted. The worst is that the price has gone up during the last years. It costs more than the Kicked and rode the biggest Rogue in higher versions.
And like all the others on this list, the badge said “SPort” but it lacked sportsmanship. Power came from a 141 hp I4 paired with a CVT. That meant a zero to 60 mph time.
Subaru Outback Sport
The Outback Sport is probably one of the least remembered vehicles on this list. While the regular Outback was based on the Legacy and sold to a more mature audience, Subaru wanted to reach young buyers. This is how the Outback Sport was born. It was sold on the first three generations of the Impreza. Subaru threw in two-tone paint, gave it mud flaps and a roof rack, bigger tires and slightly higher ground clearance.
But basically it was still just one Impreza hatch. Ultimately, Subaru decided to put more effort into a smaller-that-Outback offer for young buyers by replacing the Outback Sport with the Crosstrek in 2012.
Hopefully, with most of these models gone, automakers break this habit and realize that sport doesn’t necessarily mean smaller.