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Mercedes-Benz Previews X-Class Pickup Truck with Two Concepts

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After announcing back in April 2015 that it was working on a pickup truck, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled two concepts that previews the upcoming model. It will be called X-Class.

Based on the Nissan NP300 / Navara, the so-called Mercedes-Benz X-CLass Powerful Adventurer and X-Class Stylish Explorer concepts are two versions of one truck, the former aimed at those who like off-road adventures and the latter directed at those who put luxury and a refined ride above all else.

As such, the Adventurer evokes a traditional pickup with a focus on off-road capabilities and rugged styling, while the Explorer goes for a more upscale look with a white metallic paint and 22-inch chrome wheels.

The exterior will be toned down a bit for the production X-Class, while premium interior will feature high-quality materials and borrow components from the C-Class and V-Class.

Mercedes has confirmed that the top spec models will be powered by a V6 diesel engine paired with the company’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system and should be able to tow up to 7,000 pounds.

Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, stated:

“Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us.”

The latest Navara is offered with several four-cylinder engines, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the German automaker gives the X-Class a four-banger or two.

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class goes on sale by the end of 2017 and will be available in Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Mercedes hasn’t announced whether the model will come to the United States and Canada.

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Infiniti Previews Its Future Design And Technology With Q Inspiration Concept

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Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti took the wraps off a concept vehicle that it says previews its future.

Not only does the so-called Q Inspiration Concept preview Infiniti’s new design direction, but it also ushers in a new era of technology for its vehicles.

It features the company’s next-generation ProPILOT system, which supposedly “liberates the driver from mundane and stressful driving situations.” However, because it can be overridden at any time, it doesn’t completely cut the driver out of the equation.

Power is provided by by Infiniti’s new Variable Compression (VC) turbo four that is said to continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency. The VC also powers the new QX50 crossover, where it produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque in the

Jumping to styling, the Q Inspiration Concept is a four-door sedan with coupe-like profile that’s sleeker, more sculpted and more flowing than any of Infiniti’s current models, even Q60 coupe. Rear-hinged rear doors give excellent access to a futuristic interior.

Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President, stated:

“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”

Although the Q Inspiration Concept is only a design study and isn’t destined for production, there is a chance it will influence the next-generation Q70 sedan or even a spiritual successor the Q45 flagship sedan.

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Kia Niro EV Concept Previews Kia’s Long-Range Electric CUV

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Kia Niro Electric Crossover Concept

For those that like or are even considering getting the Kia Niro plugin hybrid, but want more electrification, the Kia Niro EV Conept is a preview of what’s to come.

Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, the full-electric crossover is just a concept, but Kia has already stated a specific range of 238 miles (383 km), which, as it turns out, is the exact same range that the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched with. A coincidence? The Korean automaker isn’t the type to play games, so likely not.

The elimination of an international combustion engine renders a traditional grille unnecessary, with the Niro EV featuring a smooth interactive display panel instead. It is powered by powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain that pairs a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack with a 150 kW electric motor.

Designers opted for a minimalistic interior boasting new technologies, including an advanced pedestrian warning system that uses multiple front-view cameras, object-recognition technology and front speakers to detect and alert pedestrians or cyclists of the car’s presence. The system also uses the grille-mounted display to provide visual communication.

The production Kia Niro EV will be one of the first long-range crossovers available when it launches, as well as just one of 16 new green vehicles that Kia will introduce by 2025, including a new hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell electric vehicle sometime in 2020.

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Honda Reveals ‘3E’ Robots Called Empathy, Experience And Empower

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New Honda 3E Robots

It’s a little known fact that Honda makes more than just cars, with its expertise extending to motorcycles, aircraft, power equipment and robots. The Japanese automaker has now broadened its vision for robots.

At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, Honda unveiled a series of robotic concepts termed 3E — represents ‘Empower,’ ‘Experience’ and ‘Empathy’ — that serve public, workplace and consumer purposes and can operate autonomously.

The Empathy robot is a creepy-looking bugger called 3E-A18, and it’s optimized for supporting people in their daily lives, such as serving as a guide at airports or shopping malls. Honda says the 3E-A18’s soft-touch skin “invites people to touch or hug” it.

Second up is the 3E-C18 — the Experience robot. It can supposedly learn by observing peoples’ action and features a cart-like design optimized for carrying spaces, as well as a canopy combined with a compact-sized vehicle body base with a driving function.

Last but not least are the 3E-B18 and 3E-D18, the Empower robots. The former is a chair-type mobility concept designed to help support people with baggage carts or strollers, while the latter is an autonomous off-road vehicle with AI designed to support people in a broad range of work activities.

The robots utilize Honda’s Mobile Power Pack World concept, a swappable battery system with detachable power modules that can be charged using renewable energy and then placed into a robot or vehicle for power on the go.

Honda R&D chief Yoshiyuki Matsumoto stated:

“We have entered an era when robotics will become increasingly visible and essential in our everyday lives and have the ability to unlock human potential.”

While Honda hasn’t confirmed if any of the concepts will be produced, is there any particular one you want to see?

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