The promising alliance between Toyota and Mazda will reportedly spawn several all-new models, including an SUV and an electric vehicle.
Toyota is working on a new compact crossover that will ride on the same platform as the next-gen Prius, one that will eschew the Prius’ gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain for a 1.5-liter SkyActiv-D turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that powers the CX-5 in some global markets.
The turbo diesel will produce 103 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque and should allow the yet-unnamed crossover to travel nearly 500 miles on a full tank.
According to that spoke with Motoring, Toyota and Mazda’s jointly-produced model will be stylistically-inspired by the C-HR concept (pictured above) and offer a “far better driving experience” than the Prius. Instead of two doors like on the concept, it will have four.
In exchange, Mazda will gain access to Toyota’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology, which it will use for a number of its future models.
The two Japanese automakers are also said to be working on a BMW i3-sized EV with a driving range of at least 124 miles and a starting price of approximately $23,000, making them notably less expensive than the more capable Chevrolet Bolt.
Anything to keep little-ol’ Mazda afloat is good news…
New Lexus UX Unveiled , arrives in December
Toyota’s luxury division has bolstered its SUV-crossover lineup with a compact CUV, the new Lexus UX.
Debuting at the 2018 Geneva Motor show and billed as a ‘gateway model’ for new urban customers “in a dynamic and growing” segment, the UX is essentially a Toyota C-HR but, fortunately, looks more expensive and upscale inside and out.
It rides on Lexus’ new GA-C (Global Architecture – Compact) platform — a variation of the Toyota New Global Architecture — and measures five inches shorter than the Lexus NX crossover at 177 inches (4,495 mm) long, which should make it easier to fit into those tight city parking spaces.
The exterior adopts many of the larger sibling’s styling cues such as the polarizing spindle grille and sculpted panels, though the full-width taillights are distinct. The interior is also an upgrade over the C-HR, featuring new seats, new materials, new tech and more refinement.
The Lexus UX launches in two flavors — UX 200 and UX 250h. The UX 200 gets it power from a new 168-hp 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a CVT, while the UX 250h pairs the same engine with a new fourth generation hybrid drive system that produces 176-hp. A new E-Four system grants the UX 250h all-wheel drive capability by using an additional electric motor on the rear axle.
The new Lexus UX goes on sale in December 2018.
What Exactly Is The Jaguar I-Pace? A Hatchback Or An SUV?
When we wrote our preliminary preview of the Jaguar I-Pace, we, just like Jaguar and most automotive outlets, called the peculiar-looking yet attractive electric vehicle an “SUV”, but is it really an SUV?
Technically speaking, if we are to define a Sport Utility Vehicle as one built on a light-truck chassis with respectable off-road and towing capabilities, teamed with higher seating capacity, then the i-Pace is not an SUV. It is built on a car chassis, but I wouldn’t be so quick to call it a crossover (a vehicle based on a car chassis but designed to resemble an SUV) either.
Fellow auto enthusiast Sawyer Sutton didn’t hesitate to point out our misclassification, noting in a post:
“It has the ground clearance of a Camry and less cargo space than a Subaru Outback. Let’s call it a premium hot hatch and stop comparing it to things that it bears zero resemblance to.”
I thought deeply about his critique and couldn’t help but to agree. Unlike the Tesla Model X, a true crossover that Jaguar pegs as the main competitor to its first-ever EV, the i-Pace has a stronger resemblance to a hatchback than it does a crossover, let alone an SUV. A hatchback on some high-quality steroids, but one nonetheless…
Just don’t ask the British automaker to call the i-Pace a hatchback. Crossover and SUVs seem to be the only things with four wheels that car buyers care about nowadays, so it isn’t hard to see why the company might be reluctant to describe it as anything other than a utility vehicle.
As for why auto critics the web over haven’t been calling a spade a spade, chalk one up for laziness. The term SUV is often applied to crossovers (the masses couldn’t be bothered with the technical difference between the two types), and it seems that will also be the case with bulky hatchbacks with the slightest increase in ground clearance moving forward.
Like it or not, the Jaguar i-Pace isn’t the first hatchback to be called an “SUV, and it probably won’t be the last.
2019 Buick Envision Gets Mid-Cycle Refresh
You don’t see many of them on the road, but the unassuming Buick Envision is actually Buick’s third best-selling model in North America. The brand’s push to modernize and overhaul its image has resulted in a few new updates for the compact crossover.
For the 2019 model year, the Envision crossover gets revised styling that’s more inline with the latest LaCrosse sedan and seven-seat Enclave crossover, including the now-ubiquitous two-bar grille and a rear end that’s more sculpted.
The interior remains mostly the same, at least visually, but benefits from some hardware updates, including a better rear vision camera, improved hands-free microphone with better call quality and voice recognition, seat heaters that warm up quicker, and wireless charging for your phone. There is now an in-vehicle air ionizer that helps eliminate odors and reduce bacteria.
The biggest changes are found under the hood, where turbocharged Envision models get a boost in torque from 260 lb-ft to 295 lb-ft. thanks to the application of General Motor’s new nine-speed automatic transmission. Horsepower remains unchanged at 252 ponies.
Pricing for the updated, 2019 Buick Envision starts at $32,990, around $1,000 less than the 2018 model.