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VW I.D. Buzz Concept Signals Return of Iconic Microbus

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Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept, front angle

Volkswagen has hinted at bringing back the iconic Microbus for many years now, and the I.D. Buzz Concept is the latest preview of what might be heading our way.

Unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the VW I.D. Buzz is actually the latest member of the brand’s new family of I.D. electric concepts and follows the debut of the I.D. hatchback that debuted a few months earlier. It is described as “a Microbus for the future.”

The I.D. Buzz rides on a stretched version of the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform called “MEB-XL” and measures 194.6 inches long, 77.8 inches wide and 77.3 inches tall, providing it with enough room to accommodate up to eight passengers. It features two luggage compartments.

Not only does the I.D. Buzz look to the past for inspiration, but it’s also a reflection of the paradigm shift currently taking place in the auto industry. It is a full-electric vehicle powered by two electric motors that are energized by a 111-kWh battery pack, one propelling the front wheels and the other serving the rear.

The electric drivetrain produces a combined output of 369 horsepower, allowing the I.D. Buzz to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds and travel up to 270 miles on a full charge of electricity. It takes only 30 minutes to recharge the battery up to 80 percent when it’s depleted.

With fully autonomous vehicles almost reality, Volkswagen used the I.D. Buzz concept to showcase its new fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” driving mode, which could hit the market sometime before 2025.

When I.D. Pilot is activated, the cabin is turned into a living room on wheels and the center console can be set up as a table when needed. This innovative touch allows the I.D. Buzz to not only seat up to eight individuals, but also to seat four with a table in the middle or two to free up about 260 cubic feet of cargo space.

In fact, the third row can be turned into a bed!

Volkswagen hasn’t announced when its so-called “Microbus for the future” will become a reality, but here are reports that it could arrive by 2022. Would a production I.D. Buzz Concept interest you?

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Toyota FT-AC Adventure Concept Is Rugged And Exciting, Eyes Jeep

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Toyota FT AC Concept

At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota unveiled a rugged ‘Adventure Concept’ that could spice up the company’s high-riding lineup at bit if it were to be produced.

Not only is the Toyota FT-AC Concept exciting and rugged, but it also takes direct aim at Jeep. The rugged look comes in the way of front and rear skid plates, unpainted fenders and bold yellow tow hook.

Toyota’s designers also added LED auxiliary lights above the windshield, a shallow cargo tray with tie-down rings, and a retractable bike rack.

Infrared cameras on the side mirrors can be used to record trail accomplishments, and along with the fog lights, can be removed and mounted on other objects to capture other adventures.

A production Toyota FT-AC could be offered with a hybrid powertrain for competitive fuel efficiency and improved all-wheel-drive performance on challenging terrain.

According to Toyota, the Adventure Concept is a “design experiment,” but — to our eyes –its design looks tame enough to be viable for production. Would you want one?

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Mazda Kai Concept Looks Amazing, Previews New Mazda3

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Mazda Kai Concept, new Mazda3

The current Mazda3 is a great looking hatchback, and if the Mazda Kai concept is anything to go by, the new Mazda3 will be even more attractive.

Unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the Mazda Kai progresses Mazda’s current Kodo design language, strongly hinting at what the fourth-generation Mazda3 will look like. It oozes masculinity, power and sportiness.

The driver-focused interior has a very minimalistic design, featuring an infotainment system that’s integrated into the dashboard for a much sleeker look than the infotainment system in the current Mazda3.

The Kai concept is based on the company’s new Skyactiv-vehicle architecture and powered by its next-generation Skyactiv-X engine, a remarkable piece of technology that will be the first compression-ignition engine to hit the market.

The Skyactiv-X engine will not only be between 20-30 percent more efficient than Mazda’s current engines, but will also have up to 30 percent more torque.

Gorgeous looks and revolutionary technology aside, we can also expect great handling. I have high hopes of the new Mazda3.

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Toyota GR HV Sports Concept Is A Toyota 86 Hybrid

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Toyota GR-HV Concept Hybrid 86

Of the handful of new or redesigned models and concepts Toyota debuted at the 2017 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the Toyota GR HV Sports concept is one of the most interesting. The sports car is essentially a hybrid Toyota 86.

Instead of the 2.0L boxer engine found under the hood of the 86, GR HV is powered by a performance-focused hybrid powertrain benefiting from technology refined for Le Mans racing. Power is sent to the ground via an automatic transmission that can be switched into an automated manual mode with H-pattern shifting. Park, reverse and neutral functions have been moved to buttons on the center console.

Toyota’s engineers improved performance by positioning the hybrid battery in the center of the car.

Visually, the GR HV sets itself apart from the regular 86 with a pointier nose boasting more angular LED headlights, as well as a modified rear end with new taillights and a rear diffuser. The biggest difference, however, is he addition of a targa top that pays tribute to Toyota’s first sports car — the Sports 800 — and the Supra.

Do you like what you see, and should Toyota make it? Let us know in the comments below.


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