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The automotive news has been packed with interesting stories lately. It's interesting how a class of vehicle that started out as something utilitarian has morphed into a new genre of its own and is even considered to have real style!

First up today, it seems the trend in automotive is to make everything as automatic as possible, even cars that can drive themselves.

Check out this story of a Mazda SUV, a CX-5, was in the process of testing automated braking when things didn't do exactly as planned...

Mazda SUV With Automatic Braking Crashes in Japan Drive Test (1) The Mazda CX-5 was being driven by a prospective buyer on the dealership's parking lot when it crashed through a urethane barrier set up to demonstrate the SUV's automatic braking feature... www.businessweek.com

Next up is a very popular brand of upper end SUVs, Infiniti. The model QX56 has become the QX-80. It's not just a new name.

The QX80 is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports, where reliability is listed as above average. Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $62,345 for a base, 2014 QX80 with rear-wheel drive and automatic transmission. Starting retail price, including destination charge, for a base, 2014 QX80 with all-wheel drive is $65,445. Check out more details in the article below.
Infiniti SUV has new name: QX56 becomes QX80 With the new name of QX80 for 2014, Infiniti's largest sport utility vehicle packs some of the softest-feeling leather, shiniest burl wood and a host of other luxury items into a big, nicely crafted interior. www.theindependent.com
And as mentioned at the beginning of this article, SUVs aren't just for utilitarian tasks any more. Style is a big factor in purchasing decisions. Check out the article below to see how the 2013 Santa Fe Scout recently won accolades for its style, inside and out.

SUV wins award for best interior Sport utility vehicles are noted for their cargo space and family-hauling abilities, however Hyundai's all-new 2013 Santa Fe Sport grabbed top honors for its stylish interior. www.fijitimes.com

And, ending on a "that's so weird it has to be true" note...enjoy the story of the platypus that hitched a ride in an SUV in Australia. Around here it's good to check for rattlesnakes, scorpions and black widows trying to get a free ride. :)

Platypus takes ride under hood of sport-utility vehicle An Australian man who heard scratching noises from beneath the hood of his sport-utility vehicle said he was shocked to ... www.upi.com

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