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Gentle Giants

Compact Utility Vehicles: More style. Less consumption



The Porsche Macan has 600 fewer pounds than its brother Cayenne, making it both fast and nimbe.

“Small SUV” is no longer an oxymoron. In fact, it’s a whole new auto segment—the compact utility vehicle, or CUV—and drivers are snapping them up. Sure, behemoths still roam the roads: the Escalade, Navigator, QX80, GL 550, and Volvo’s new XC90. But CUVs combine the versatility of their SUV siblings with the virtues of the car platforms on which most are based—great fuel economy and handling. Plus, parking’s a snap when you’re not docking a yacht.

We sampled some of the latest offerings:

Nissan recently introduced all-new versions of their compact Rogue and mid-size Murano. Along with attractive exteriors and stylish interiors, they’re roomier and ergonomically friendlier than earlier models. The Murano’s design and materials seemingly belong to a more upscale model. The best part, though, is how these two US-built Nissans drive: like comparably sized sedans, with smooth power delivery and good handling on all surfaces. Priced from $23,000 for the Rogue and $29,500 for the Murano.

Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln MKC TV commercials were hilariously bad. But the vehicle itself is nothing to laugh at. Based on the best-selling, and great driving, Ford Escape, this luxury CUV is as handsome as its spokesman. The interior, with its top-shelf fit and finish, is worthy of the Lincoln brand. Options abound, but the hands-free rear lift gate is a must-have. Hands full? Just swipe your foot under the rear bumper and—voilá. The Lincoln MKC starts at $33,100

With the compact Q3 and mid-size Q5, Audi has two hits on its hands. The quattro drivetrain and perfect interior layout are everything you expect in an Audi. Both drive like Audi cars, which is to say, darn near perfect. Crave a bit more “sport” in your CUV? The SQ5 is your answer. As with all Audi “S” models, its interior is designed for the spirited driver. A flat-bottom, thick-rimmed steering wheel, well-bolstered seats and paddle shifters (controlling Audi’s sweet DSG dual clutch automatic transmission) invite you to use all 354 hp of the supercharged V6 engine. Think of it as a high-performance German sports sedan with a supersize trunk. Prices start at $32,500 for the Q3, $39,300 for the Q5 and $52,700 for the SQ5.

In 2002, Porsche rocked the enthusiast world when it introduced the Cayenne SUV. Now they’ve done it again, with the new, smaller Macan CUV. Available in S and Turbo variants (actually, both engines are turbocharged), the Macan feels every bit a Porsche. The sculpted exterior improves on the Cayenne’s proportions. And with 600 fewer pounds to haul around, the Macan feels incredibly nimble. How nimble? I took the 400-hp Turbo to NY’s Monticello Motor Club to see how it would stack up against true sports cars. Let’s just say there were a few drivers on the track who were shocked to be passed by a CUV. Macan prices start at $52,600.

Land Rover is best known for its luxurious, full-size Range Rover SUVs, offering the ultimate go-anywhere capability. In 2011 they boldly introduced the smaller, aggressively styled Evoque CUV. The Evoque, available with two or four doors, is still among my favorites in the category—and is in my opinion the best looking. It’s fun on the road, yet retains the off-road prowess of its big brothers. Land Rover has now expanded the line with the surprisingly affordable and infinitely capable new Discovery Sport.

The “Disco” is less visually extroverted than the Evoque, but offers more room inside and equal off-road skills. Both smaller Land Rovers come with a strong, fuel-efficient 2.0 liter turbo engine, along with paddle shifters for, well, drivers like me. Opt for the ginormous panoramic roof and your passengers can spend evening drives star-gazing. Evoque from $41,100 and Discovery Sport from $37,000.

With more than 20 versions of what they call Sport Activity Vehicles, BMW is trying to fill every SUV niche. Some efforts are more successful than others. My two favorites: The X3 xDrive35i is the 3-series sedan of CUVs, with excellent handling, performance, comfort and a spacious interior. If you have a crazy streak, here’s your ride: the X5M. This M version of the mid-size X5 packs a ferocious 567-hp TwinPower Turbo V8, good for 0-60 in just 4 seconds. With monster brakes and sticky tires, you’ll have no excuse for getting little Johnny to the ballgame late. The X3 starts at $38,600, X5 from $53,900 and the X5M from $98,700.

The new Lexus NX is smaller than the best-selling RX but is arguably the better vehicle—and with its aggressive styling is definitely better-looking. It’s available in 200t, 200t F Sport (performance) and 300h (hybrid) versions. The F Sport is the best looking, especially in lighter colors, with a mean, blacked-out front grill that complements the sharp creases and squinty headlights. Inside, you’ll find all the luxury and features that have made Lexus so successful against the Euro competition. Power delivery is smooth, and the driving experience is more engaging than the softer RX. NX prices start at $34,500. 

Jeep is best known for the go-anywhere Wrangler. The Cherokee is a new take on a revered Jeep model. Its bold, attractive exterior is wrapped around a great chassis. The little Renegade is bulldog cute, yet can go places most bigger CUVs can’t. The Cherokee starts at $23,100 while the Renegade has a base of only $18,000. 

Buick’s Encore CUV is like a tall hatchback. It’s small, fun to drive, fits four comfortably and features a gorgeous interior with available 4G WiFi. The best part? It starts at just $24,000. 

If you need more space, consider Infiniti’s curvaceous QX60. The beautiful interior is well-equipped with seating for seven and the smooth ride of a luxury sedan. With a lower ride height than most large SUVs, getting in and out is a snap. Starting at $42,400.

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December 2018

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

The Sanctuary Series celebrates the Holiday Season on Sunday afternoon, December 16, with "Bach for the Holidays" featuring keyboardist Anthony Newman performing selected works on piano and organ...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: The Sanctuary Series
Telephone: 203-550-5992
Contact Name: Mary Jane Newman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Vanessa Williams, the multi-platinum recording artist and actress from Chappaqua will headline a holiday benefit concert for San Miguel Academy of Newburgh (SMAN) on December 18 at 7:00 p.m. at...

Cost: $100

Where:
Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
480 Bedford Road
Chappaqua, NY  10514
View map »


Sponsor: Orange Bank & Trust Company

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

December 19th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate holiday cookies with icing, candies, and other treats! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS Recreation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

It’s a night of holiday favorites with The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra! This show features classics like “Sleigh Ride,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little...

Cost: $40

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series, Holiday Series
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Create works of art that inspire, awe, and excite in this daylong workshop celebrating the tricks and tools employed by abstract artists. From sculpture to painting, use a number of materials from...

Cost: $75; $67.50 member

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

December 22nd at 1:00 PM. Open to all ages. Create ornaments out of popsicle sticks such as popsicle snowflakes and more! Free and no registration required. For questions, you can email the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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