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Small Lexus SUV Hybrid to Use Rav4 Platform



2013 Toyota RAV4

Having reported earlier that Lexus was working on a small hybrid SUV that will compete with the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, a new report claims the new model will borrow extensively from the Toyota Rav4 and Lexus IS.

According to , the new compact crossover, which will slot under the latest Lexus RX450h, will be based on the Rav4’s platform and use the same hybrid system found in the IS 300h sedan, which pairs a 2.5L four-cylinder engine to an electric motor.

The mid-size SUV (compact crossover in North America) segment is red hot in Europe, with overall sales in 2012 rising by 24 percent to 407,512 vehicles. In response to the popularity of models like the Q3, Nissan’s Juke and Opel Mokka, automakers have been racing to add small SUVs to their lineups.

A concept version of the SUV will be unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show in November, while the production version will bow at Geneva in March 2014.

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Concept Car

VW I.D. Roomzz Concept Previews An Electric Three-Row SUV



Volkswagen ID Roomzz electric SUV, front angle

The latest concept in Volkswagen’s I.D. family is a people-hauler first and foremost.

Volkswagen is cooking up a flagship electric SUV, and the VW I.D. Roomzz Concept is an indication of what’s to come.

Based on a stretched version of the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform that underpins the I.D. Crozz concept, the Roomzz is a full-size SUV with three-rows of seating for up to eight occupants. More than that, the seats can be reconfigured to deliver a lounge-like experience.

Other interior highlights include a digital, glass-front panel, and massive screens for the instrument cluster and dashboard infotainment.

Level 4 autonomous capabilities means the I.D. Roomzz can drive itself in certain areas and under certain conditions without an active driver. Power is provided by two electric motors, one on each axle to provide all-wheel drive capability, energized by a 82-kWh battery.

The electric drivetrain generates a total of 302 horsepower, can accelerate the SUV from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.6 seconds on route to a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h), and provides a driving range of up to 280 miles (451 km) on Europe’s WLTP cycle, or 475 km (295 mi) under NEFZ in China.

The production version of the Volkswagen I.D. Roomzz concept is slated to debut sometime in 2020, around the same time as the production versions of the I.D. Crozz and I.D. hatchback. The Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz and I.D. Vizzion sedan will follow suit in 2022.

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Audi e-tron’s 204-Miles Electric Driving Range Is Disappointing



New 2020 Audi e-tron electric SUV

Audi’s first all-electric vehicle arrives with sub-par driving range.

Audi has announced final specifications and launch details for the new e-tron SUV, and there are some disappointments.

While a 204 miles (328 km) driving range will prove sufficient for most commuters, it is significantly lower than the 295 mile (475 km) range you get with the Model X. According to Audi, average buyers of premium vehicles only travel around 30 miles (48 km) per day, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

The e-tron is also not as quick as the Model X. Its 402 horsepower in ‘Boost Mode’ allows drivers to accelerate to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, but the Tesla has a zero-to-60 mph benchmark of 4.7 seconds in standard form or 3.5 seconds for the Performance.

On a brighter note, it can add 54 miles (87 km) of range in just 10 minutes when connected to a DC fast charge and 163 miles (262 km) in 30 minutes.

Audi e-tron prices start at $74,800 in the United States, which is nearly $6,000 less than the cheapest Model X.

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Saved By Geely! Smart Gets A New Lease On Life



Smart Forease Concept, front angle

It might have been a close call for the struggling city car brand.

The Smart brand never proved popular with buyers, and parent company Daimler was reportedly planning to pull the plug if it couldn’t find a partner. Well, the search for a savior is over.

The German automaker has entered into a joint-venture with China-based Geely to develop the fourth-generation ForTwo and expand the Smart brand’s portfolio with the addition of more lucrative models.

Each company will own a 50-percent stake in Smart. Daimler’ Mercedes-Benz will design the next-generation ForTwo and Geely will provide the engineering and assembly at a brand-new, purpose-built factory located in China.

“For more than 2.2 million customers, smart represents a pioneer in urban mobility. Based on this success story, we look forward to further enhancing the brand with Geely Holding, a strong partner in the electric vehicle segment,” stated Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We will jointly design and develop the next generation of smart electric cars that combine high-quality production and known safety standards for sale both in China and globally.”

Set to go on sale in 2022, the next-generation Smart will be offered only as an electric car and will be sold in every major global market, including Europe.

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