Autoblog Podcast #590: Subaru Outback, Cadillac Xt6, Mercedes-amg C63 S, Hyundai Palisade

Autoblog Podcast #590: Subaru Outback, Cadillac XT6, Mercedes-AMG C63 S, Hyundai Palisade

In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Green Editor John Snyder and Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale. This episode is all about driving, on- and off-road, and in a variety of vehicles. In particular, the trio are talking about recent experiences in the 2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Cadillac XT6, 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S and 2020 Hyundai Palisade. At the end, they tackle an interesting and particularly tough "Spend My Money" question involving whether or not to put off purchasing a Jeep Wrangler in favor of a sensible daily driver. Autoblog Podcast #590

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2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition Debuts In All Black Everything - Autoblog

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition debuts in all black everything - Autoblog

The Honda Pilot isn't a shouty SUV, but this 2020 Pilot Black Edition is aiming to change your mind. All black everything is the theme here, and we think Honda has captured the look successfully with this Pilot. Honda is positioning the Black Edition as the absolute peak of luxury for the Pilot lineup, with the MSRP being even higher than the Elite. With the $1,095 destination charge added in, you'll be paying $50,715. So yes, there's finally a Pilot for over $50,000. That's expensive, but even a fully-loaded Explorer is about $60,000. For your hard-earned dollars, Honda provides blackout treatments to the grille, headlight trim, side trim, door handles, window trim and fog light trim. The 20-inch alloy wheels are also painted in black. Basically, if it could be done in black, Honda has done it. There's a striking surprise waiting on the interior, though. Instead of a bland black interior, Honda is sprinkling in red accents throughout. You get red stitching on the front and second-row seats, door panels and the steering wheel. Red accent lighting can be found on the doors, cupholders and dash. Then, you get a sweet, red center console lid that looks shockingly cool. Black Edition logos can be found on the grille, tailgate, front seats and floor mats. Maybe it'll all be cool enough to wrangle folks into a more expensive Pilot over a Passport. The rest of the 2020 Honda Pilot lineup increases in price ever so slightly. Front-wheel-drive models see an increase of $100 in MSRP, whereas all-wheel-drive Pilots are $200 more expensive than an equivalent 2019 Pilot. This means the cheapest Pilot LX with front-wheel drive now costs $32,645. Honda says the 2020 model year Pilot will begin to arrive in dealerships tomorrow.

Honda Civic Type R Tcr | Race Car Review - Autoblog

Honda Civic Type R TCR | Race car review - Autoblog

PONTIAC, Mich. — The Honda Civic Type R is a wonderful machine. While the exterior design is not for everyone, there's no arguing about how well the car drives. We love its sharp steering, slick six-speed manual and nimble chassis, making it one of the best hot hatches of all time. On a sunny afternoon at M1 Concourse, an 11-turn, 1.5-mile road course in Pontiac, I was given a brief opportunity to sample something even hotter: Todd Lamb and Atlanta Speedwerks' No. 84 Honda Civic Type R TCR. The Type R TCR is a fully-prepped, factory-backed spec racer ready to compete in a number of global series. The TCR formula is FIA sanctioned, with races found all over the world, the most notable of which is the World Touring Car Cup, where you'll see Type R TCRs battle against models like the Audi RS3 LMS, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Honda HPD even provides support at certain races. You still have to field your own crew, but Honda is there to help. And it's available to anyone with enough cash. For $172,238, you get the car, complete with an XTRAC sequential gearbox, a MoTec ECU, Ohlins dampers, 18x10-inch O.Z. wheels, stainless exhaust, an FT3 100-liter fuel tank and an adjustable differential preload. Other features include a cage, an air-jack system, an OMP seat and harness, and a multi-function quick-release steering wheel. You can purchase set-up tools – a quick-filling fuel system, toe setting equipment, clutch centering tool, footrest assembly, shock pump, set up wheel, front pads changing spacer tool and side impact panels – for $13,298. Spare suspension components, brake discs, a front splitter and wheel spacers are another $21,402. An upgraded ABS system is $12,768, a data and scrutineering logger is $4,664 and homologation documents showing the car meets TCR regulations is $1,344. Final assembly for the car is handled in Italy by J.A.S. Motorsports, but, like the regular Type R, the engines are built in Ohio while bodies-in-white come from England. The front and rear bumpers are both composite, as are the significantly wider front and rear fenders meant to cover the 10-inch wide wheels. The front fenders in particular look massive, but they only add 2.9 inches to the Type R's width. The adjustable rear wing makes the standard car's aero look paltry by comparison, but the whole thing comes together in a purposeful sort of way. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's pretty, but – especially when viewed from the front – it's quite intimidating. The gutted interior means every rock or pebble snaps, pings and reverberates throughout what amounts to a giant metal and composite can. The doors and dash are both black plastic, meaning the only things to really look at inside are the digital display and the smattering of buttons and toggles where the center console used to be. The display itself shows tons of data, from individual wheel speed to steering angle to temperatures for just about everything on the car. You're locked in tight thanks to the six-point harness, but visibility is still pretty good. After all, this is still a Civic. On the track, the Type R TCR drives like a single-minded Civic with all semblance of comfort stripped away, leaving you with a very loud and very fast hot hatch. It still feels like the same basic car, but everything has been dialed to 11. The standard Civic Type R's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four sends 306 horsepower to the front wheels, but the TCR turns things up a bit thanks to a modified intake, exhaust and a unique engine map. Output is around 340 horsepower, though that can be adjusted to keep parity within the racing class. It's not the most explosive thing I've ever driven in a straight line, but, outside of some wheelslip in the track's tightest corner, the Type R TCR puts the power down with ease. There's a clutch, but you only use it to get rolling in first gear. Beyond that you only need to pull one of the wheel-mounted paddles to shift the six-speed sequential gearbox. Shifts are sharp and aggressive, cracking off with a loud bark from the engine. The steering feel is excellent. It doesn't take much movement from the small wheel to bend the Civic around a corner. There's a slight tug if you get on the power too early, but wind things out and the car points straight and true. The brakes require a bit more pressure than I expected, but when the calipers do clamp, they clamp hard. There's no drama or protesting squeals from the tires, just a bit of a dip in the nose and a little pressure in your chest as the harness holds you down. We only had 10 laps in total and I could have gone for 50 more. It was a riot, but not in the same way as something like a Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren. Those cars are brutally quick and could easily outgun the Type R TCR in a straight line. But the raw sensations are what make the Civic Type R TCR so enjoyable. It cuts through the fat and delivers the single most exhilarating experience I've ever had in a front-wheel-drive car, and one of the most enjoyable I've had in any car. Sure, you can buy a sleek, leather-lined mid-engine Italian supercar for roughly the same money, but this is a real racecar prepped to compete in a professional series, complete with spare parts and factory support. Trust us, that's sure not something you get if you spend a quarter million on a Lamborghini, nor will you get the same steady dose of adrenaline handing the keys off to a valet as you will dicing it up with WTCC competitors turning laps in anger. There are cheaper ways to go racing, but considering what the Civic Type R TCR provides, it seems like a bargain to us.

2021 Toyota Sienna Spy Photos From Death Valley - Autoblog

2021 Toyota Sienna spy photos from Death Valley - Autoblog

It seems like we've been writing "the Toyota Sienna enters yet another year without a full redesign" forever at this point. The current generation dates back to 2011 and is continuing into year 10 as we detail in our 2020 Toyota Sienna review. Now, there was a substantial overhaul of its interior and structure for 2015, while the powertrain was replaced two years later, and other important updates to its feature content made thereafter. In the meantime, though, the Kia Sedona and Honda Odyssey were completely redesigned and the Chrysler Pacifica became a thing. The Nissan Quest was reborn and died again. Nobody seemed to notice. Anyway, the Toyota Sienna is extremely long in the tooth, but these fresh spy photos would indicate it's finally going to see the dentist. That's how that metaphor works, right? Though covered in copious black plastic, this is most definitely not yet another warmed over version of the current van. Note the door mirrors migrating to the doors and the little quarter window above it now residing adjacent to the main front side window rather than within the A pillar. The rear quarter also appears quite different, possibly indicating some sort of rising element not unlike the Lexus RX. Of course, that bit of camouflage could also be a leftover from an old RX test vehicle being used to throw us off, but it seems likely that Toyota would try to make that area more interesting given its recent over-the-top styling as well as what was done with the past two Honda Odysseys.   The big wheels, lower grille mesh and flared rocker panels suggest that this particular next-generation Sienna is an SE, the "sportier" trim level that boasts tighter suspension and steering tuning (current version shown above). Much like it did with the recently redesign Camry and Avalon, it seems reasonable to assume that the dynamic gap between the Sienna's LE and SE trim levels would narrow given the handling improvements inherent to Toyota's TNG platform that assuredly underpins its new minivan.  Despite the new platform, we expect the current powertrain to carry over mostly unchanged apart from perhaps a minor power bump. We also wouldn't be surprised to see a new Sienna Hybrid, as most TNG cars are available as hybrids. Would it be a plug-in as the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid is? That's questionable.  Given how comprehensively wrapped this test vehicle is, it seems like the next-generation Sienna is awfully close to completion. We wouldn't be surprised to see it shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November or even earlier. Sales probably wouldn't be too long after. That would certainly help explain why the 2020 Sienna was announced so early. 

2020 Subaru Outback First Drive Review | The Big Payoff - Autoblog

2020 Subaru Outback First Drive Review | The big payoff - Autoblog

NEWPORT, Calif. — The 2020 Subaru Outback marks the sixth generation of a vehicle, first introduced for 1994, that is in no small part the lynchpin to its company's current success. The Outback's sales have increased in every generation, with more than 700,000 sold in the most recent generation that started with the 2015 model year. Subaru doesn't expect things to slow down as it introduces the all-new 2020 Outback, which has undergone a major overhaul despite its familiar sheetmetal. The Outback has moved to the Subaru Global Platform (SGP), joining the Impreza and Forester on lighter, stiffer, and stronger underpinnings. If the 2019 Forester is any indication of how the SGP can improve a vehicle, this would mean the new Outback will also be calmer, quieter and more refined. Staging from the Inn at Newport Ranch on Northern California's "Lost Coast," with a day full of driving both on- and off-road, we were about to find out for ourselves if this would live up to our expectations. Our first driving stint was in an Outback Touring equipped with the lesser of two available engines. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer-four, with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, feels perfectly adequate for the driving we did at or near sea level, and climbs competently on steep grades. While it didn't perform passing maneuvers with a sense of urgency, we still felt comfortable overtaking slower vehicles when we had to. For daily driving somewhere like the California coast, or the suburbs of the Detroit, the more economical 2.5 (26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined) would be our choice to live with. This is mated to a CVT, one programmed to "shift" like a traditional automatic, staying out of its own way, and providing a nice linear pull — without a rubber band type of feel — when you need to climb a hill. Paddle shifters on the back of the wheel give you a sense of more control, if that's something you need. We rarely used them. If you live at higher elevations, need to tow up to 3,500 pounds, or just really miss the days of a turbocharged Outback, there's now a 2.4-liter turbo-four available in the resurrected XT models. You sacrifice some fuel economy — 3 mpg across the board, 23/30/26 mpg — but get a significant power boost, with hardly any turbo lag and satisfying response. We're certain customers who've graduated from the likes of a WRX to something that can better accommodate kids and dogs will appreciate the boost. As we had hoped, the SGP platform quiets down the ride considerably – we didn't notice any squeaks or rattles, and tire roar was only apparent on rougher pavement. Wind noise is low, too, even without the acoustic glass on the front doors — a feature standard on the Limited XT and Touring XT models. On narrower, curvier mountain roads, the Outback handles surprisingly well. The steering is particularly good, with just-right weighting, and offers the perfect amount of resistance as you dial in more angle. The ratio is quick enough that juking from corner to corner ad infinitum is done with very little hand-over-hand shuffling or unnecessary grabwork. There's just enough feedback to give you a sense of what's going on between the tires and the road surface while filtering out most of the vibration. This Outback is seriously easy to drive, and more important, it's enjoyable. Additionally, it behaves much more like a passenger car than its size and height would suggest — and it's easy to forget that the Outback is essentially a lifted wagon when it competes against the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and even the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Despite its ample 8.7 inches of ground clearance (more than most compact SUVs), there's minimal body roll, which means less stress for passengers who don't have to brace against it. When we did just that on some dirt roads, the all-wheel drive, brake-based torque vectoring and other stability systems help keep the Outback pointed where we wanted to go. Despite its sedan-like behavior, it's not confined to the pavement, and feels at home on terrain where other soft-roaders would lose their footing. A good part of our day was spent off-road, climbing mountain trails overlooking the coastal plains below. Between the Outback's standard hill descent control and all-wheel-drive grip, climbing steep, muddy trails was essentially drama free. When we couldn't see over the crest, we displayed the feed from the front camera (a feature standard to the Touring trim) to see which direction the trail led. It's no trail-rated Jeep, though, and is limited by specs like its 18.6-degree approach angle. Deeper ruts led to some scraping at the front fascia. Subaru reps told us that their team is discussing a quick-release lower front fascia that could help avoid such scrapes, but no final decision has been made. In this Outback, the EyeSight driver aid system has been improved to include lane centering assistance, bringing it to parity with the Touring Assist we tested out on a WRX in Tokyo last year. Subaru refers to the system here as EyeSight Driver Assist Technology with Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Centering. We found it to work well, with some limitations. While it will certainly make congestion or stop-and-go traffic less stressful, on sharper curves, the lane following system would reach some limit, chime at us, and turn off momentarily. It's certainly not the best or most robust driver aid suite we've used, but we're glad that not only has the technology improved, but that it comes standard in all Outbacks. In contrast to the outside, the interior has been massively overhauled. Front and center, literally, is a huge, vertical 11.6-inch touchscreen, which is standard in all but the base trim. It fits surprisingly well into the cockpit's overall design, and moreover we appreciate that it bucks the "floating tablet" trend. It's straightforward to use, and if you don't like Subaru's native UI, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. The screen's size and orientation make it easy to glance over and see the information you need. Subaru maintained hard buttons for a number of functions, including redundant temperature controls, for which we are thankful. This is the second Subaru vehicle to use the company's DriverFocus monitoring tech using facial recognition and biometrics. This driver-facing camera keeps a digital eye on you making sure you're not getting groggy or distracted, and will chime a gentle reminder to keep your eyes on the road. What's even niftier, DriverFocus will also recognize the faces of as many as five registered drivers, and welcome the individuals with their own settings as they slide in behind the wheel. The new Outback provides a number of other conveniences, like a hands-free proximity tailgate that opens up when you approach the rear logo with the key fob on your person. With hands full, you can even nudge the flap on the cargo cover with your elbow to get it to retract. Cubbies abound, and the front cupholders are massive. The Outback also retains the nifty "Swing-n-Place" roof rails, and adds tie-down spots at the ends. And this is a bigger Outback than before, at least inside. It's only 1.4 inches longer and 0.6 inches wider overall than the outgoing model. Inside, there's a little over 3 more cubic feet of cargo space than before, rear legroom increases by 1.4 inches, and headroom increases by 1.8 inches in front and by a fraction of an inch in the rear. This go-around, Subaru offers a version of the Outback called the Onyx Edition, with the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine, and is targeted toward younger buyers (in a car whose average customer is 45 years old). It features blacked-out (well, dark-gray-ed out) wheels, grille, mirrors and badging. Inside, it features water-repellent interior trim called Startex, which actually feels quite nice for a synthetic material, though certainly not as plush as our Touring model's Nappa leather. While other Outbacks have a donut in reserve, the Onyx has a full-size spare tire. It also features an upgraded version of the X-Mode system, with a setting for sand and mud, and has the 180-degree front monitor featured on the Touring trim. The Subaru Outback starts at $27,655, including destination, for the base trim with the 2.5-liter engine, and goes up from there. Premium starts at $29,905, and adds the 11.6-inch head unit, all-weather package, power driver seat and dual climate control. The Limited adds 19-inch wheels, leather seats, blind-spot monitoring and reverse auto braking for $34,455. Touring costs $38,355, and adds Nappa leather, ventilated seats, DriverFocus, power folding mirrors and 180-degree front monitor. The XT turbo models start with the Onyx Edition at $35,905. Limited XT costs $38,755, and the line-topping Touring XT has a price of $40,705. We came to California expecting a better, more refined Outback with updated tech features. We would have been happy with that. But the 2020 Outback isn't just competent, it's actually a pleasure to drive – a tall wagon with stellar handling, which makes it a standout against the crossovers it competes against. It does that while maintaining the utility and charm we've come to expect from the brand. Just as it did with the Forester, Subaru applied a practiced, winning formula for the new Outback, then refined it. When Subaru sales keep climbing, bolstered in no small part by the Outback, we won't be surprised.

Honda Sports Ev Production Car May Be Previewed In Patent Drawings - Autoblog

Honda Sports EV production car may be previewed in patent drawings - Autoblog

Honda showed the Urban EV concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, then showed the Sports EV concept at that year's Tokyo Motor Show. Built on the same electric platform as the Urban EV, Honda designers showed how much classic sports car elan they could work into a diminutive package. The Urban EV has since become the production Honda E, due on sale later this year. Autoweek.nl recently dug up Japanese patent office images filed last December that show a potential production version of the Sports EV. The images show a redrawn coupe, the long hood and erect, aft-set glasshouse giving way to a more modish, elegant line. And we'd still rock it until its range ran out. Styling similarities with the Honda E and the original concept remain, such as the round headlights, bulging front fenders that arch above the hood, wide rear haunches, and black decorative panels. Yet within the fastback profile, the corners are much squarer, the cabin's been moved forward, and the taillights are triangular. Along with a shorter hood, the effect is that of a pure mid-engined silhouette, complete with what look like functional vents ahead of the rear wheels. Assuming the dimensions aren't vastly different from those of the show car, we're talking about a product around the size of a Mazda MX-5 Miata. It's not the "backyard custom car feel" that designer Makoto Harada aimed for with the concept, but it puts a lot of pert confidence in a small footprint. At that Tokyo show, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the chances of a production Sport EV concept "depend on feedback from Europe and Japan." Based on our own reading, the feedback's been outstanding, and we know Honda plans to expand use of the Honda E's platform into other vehicle classes, including a commercial vehicle. Of course, patent drawings are nothing more than bookmarks notating a particular piece of intellectual property. However, if Honda put its 35.k-kWh battery and electric motor with 148 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque into the car in these images, we think we'd be looking at another electric hit.

Honda E's Full Dashboard Of Screens — Here's How They'll Work - Autoblog

Honda E's full dashboard of screens — here's how they'll work - Autoblog

We are captivated by everything about the Honda E, from its "friendly and sympathetic" exterior lines to its living room interior to its turning radius of just over 14 feet. The dashboard topped with pillar-to-pillar screens is another attention-getter. Honda released a video showing how a driver can interact with this wall of video, which is composed of five high-definition color displays. The two six-inch screens on the edges show feeds from the exterior camera mirrors. The 8.8-inch TFT screen in front of the driver shows the digital instrument cluster. The two 12.3-inch LCD screens in the middle are where infotainment happens, and it looks like anyone who can work a smartphone can work the functions in a Honda E. Customizing the screens is as easy as swiping tiles to the left from an option menu, onto a column of favorites. A button above the favorites menu cascades the open tiles so a passenger can quickly get back to a previous screen. For information-dense menu options, the input portion appears on the left screen, the display portion on the right screen; for instance, when programming a charge time, the clock to set the time shows up on the left, the schedule calendar shows up on the right. A driver and passenger can also use each display separately, the driver working navigation on one side while the passenger plays DJ on the other side. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will mirror on the devices when a phone is plugged in, and when the Honda E stops, the dash screens can be used to play video streamed via phone over the E's wi-fi hotspot. The included Honda Personal Assistant joins the growing mob of AI-powered butlers. Saying "OK Honda" calls the assistant to attention, and it understands natural speech when requesting changes in the cabin or online services. When away from the hatchback, a smartphone app enables using a phone as a digital key, setting safety alerts and geofencing, and preconditioning. Not every function is left to digital devices — the instrument panel presents a row of buttons and a knob on the horizontal surface just in front of the displays, a row of climate control buttons graces the center console, and there are more hard inputs on the steering wheel and the center tunnel.  Honda says it's had more than 36,000 expressions of interest for the E so far, and the carmaker's taking reservations for priority ordering in the UK, Germany, France, and Norway. We'll go on record again saying we want the Honda E here, too.

Like Its Partner Nissan, Renault Has Weak 2q, Lowers Revenue Forecast - Autoblog

Like its partner Nissan, Renault has weak 2Q, lowers revenue forecast - Autoblog

PARIS — Renault warned revenue may decline this year, scrapping a previous goal, after first-half profit was hit by weakening car demand and an earnings collapse at alliance partner Nissan in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn scandal. Net income slumped by more than half to 970 million euros ($1.08 billion) in January-June as revenue fell 6.4% to 28.05 billion, the French carmaker said on Friday. Operating profit also dropped 13.6% to 1.65 billion euros. "Given the degradation in demand, the group now expects 2019 revenues to be close to last year's," Renault said — abandoning an earlier pledge to increase revenue before currency effects. A broad-based auto sales downturn has rattled the sector, prompting profit warnings and compounding challenges for Renault and Nissan as they struggle to turn the page on the Ghosn era. Their former alliance boss is now awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges he denies. Renault's bottom line was hit by an 826 million-euro drop in earnings from its 43.4%-owned partner. Nissan is cutting 12,500 jobs globally after an earnings collapse that it is keen to blame on Ghosn's leadership. But Renault's own performance - reflected in an operating margin that declined to 5.9% from 6.4% the year before - compares less favorably with domestic rival PSA Group. The Peugeot maker bucked the downturn with a record 8.7% profit margin unveiled on Wednesday. Alliance tensions flared after Ghosn's November arrest, worsened when Renault tried in vain to merge with Nissan then Fiat Chrysler, and may be affecting operational performance, investors fear. Citi analyst Raghav Gupta-Chaudhary flagged a lower-than-usual 258 million euros in joint purchasing savings for Renault. "We thought this would be weak in light of the well-documented difficulties with the alliance," he said. Renault blamed falling sales in France, as well as Turkey and Argentina, for a 7.7% revenue drop at its core automotive business, whose profit margin slid to 4% from 4.5%. Operating free cash flow also suffered, coming in at a negative 716 million euros as investment jumped by 742 million euros to 2.91 billion. Renault, which is counting on model launches including a new Clio mini to boost performance in the second half of 2019, nonetheless reiterated pledges to deliver positive full-year cash flow and a margin close to 6%. Renault shares were down 0.5% at 52.02 euros as of 0800 GMT in Paris, after initially falling as much as 2.7%. The stock remains almost 19% below its level on the eve of Ghosn's Nov. 19 arrest in Tokyo.

2020 Acura Rdx Review And Buying Guide | Specs, Features, Photos, Impressions - Autoblog

2020 Acura RDX Review and Buying Guide | Specs, features, photos, impressions - Autoblog

The 2020 Acura RDX is a bold compact luxury crossover that represents a return to its roots – providing some athleticism and adrenaline to a segment not known for either. We think this is a positive development, as the previous RDX lost its way a bit. However, that last RDX's biggest strength was its very spacious interior for its overall size, which carries over to the new version despite the increased athleticism. These aren't usually attributes that go together; sporty vehicles can be smaller, with poor space utilization. That isn't the case here. The turbocharged engine and advanced all-wheel drive system mean the RDX is as lively as any crossover buyer could want. The bottom line is that it has more character and a superior combination of attributes than many of its sport-luxury competitors.

What's new with for 2020?

The RDX carries over mostly unchanged for 2020 after receiving a complete redesign last year. There's a turbocharged engine under the hood again, instead of the V6 in the last-generation model, and the technologically-advanced Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system also makes a return. On the outside, the chrome grille "beak" has thankfully vanished, and there's some nifty tech in the slick interior – although its signature touchpad infotainment controller is a mixed bag. More on that below. You can read about last year's changes more fully in our 2019 Acura RDX First Drive, but in short, it's sportier, more distinctive and more luxurious than its predecessor. Part of that is the fact it's no longer based on the same vehicle platform as Honda's CR-V.  

2020 4runner First Drive Review | Photos, Specs, Impressions - Autoblog

2020 4Runner First Drive Review | Photos, specs, impressions - Autoblog

MOAB, Utah – I'd love to put random SUV owners inside the 2020 Toyota 4Runner, and point them toward the console lever inside. No, not that one, the familiar automatic transmission lever – I'm talking about the stubby, silver-capped lever positioned around two o'clock. It's the transfer case selector, of course, but I'm wondering what percentage of today's crossover owners would know what to do with it, or what "L4" stands for. Toyota must have thought the same thing, because they put together a brief video tutorial for the 4Runner's manually operated, two-speed transfer case. It lets you shift the truck between two- and four-wheel-drive (at speeds below 50 mph); or to its low-range 4WD for low-speed rock crawling, driving in soft sand – or wherever you want, frankly. Yanking that high-effort lever into L4 – don't forget to stop and shift the transmission lever into Neutral first – is essential on the beautiful desolation of the Hell's Revenge trail, a slick rock jaunt in Moab. The Toyota's outstanding Crawl Control can automatically trigger brakes at individual wheels to walk you up or down hills with no human throttle or brake inputs, if those inclines seem beyond a driver's skill grade. By now, serious off-roaders – can I get a show of dirty hands? – are rolling their eyes and asking why I'm bothering to explain the obvious. But that's the point: The 4Runner, and vehicles like it, were once synonymous with the SUV: a steel-frame, truck-based vehicle with genuine four-wheel-drive. Today, the 4Runner is a niche vehicle, including features and capabilities that can seem odd or superfluous to the crossover-driving masses. If your lifestyle and geography favors off-road adventure, the 2020 4Runner is as charming and trustworthy as ever. If your lifestyle leans toward commuting, family chauffeuring, or road trips on the Interstate, well, let's put it charitably: The 4Runner is not the ideal tool for the job. Besides the inherent detriments common to truck-based SUVs, the 4Runner was last full redesigned for 2010. As such, its ride and handling, interior and fuel economy especially (you won't see 20 mpg on a bet) have fallen behind the competitive curve. To address some – but not all – issues, Toyota has mildly updated this 2020 version. Grilles are slightly revised, in part to accommodate a new front radar sensor for the previously unavailable but now standard Toyota Safety Sense Plus suite of accident avoidance features: automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automated high beams and lane-departure alert with trailer sway control. The 4Runner also adds new wheel designs, including the TRD Pro's black 17-inch TRD alloys with Nitto Terra Grappler tires. That top of the line trim can also now be had in "Army Green" paint, which like 2019's Voodoo Blue, was last seen on the FJ Cruiser. Toyota says the resurrected Army Green "will bring out your inner drill sergeant." Preferably not this drill sergeant. Inside, a new driver's instrument panel is more handsome and informative, including a chrono-style speedometer and tach. Toyota has also managed to shoehorn in its 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Alexa. The 4Runner previously had a tiny 6.1-inch touchscreen and none of those smartphone connectivity features. Should you choose a TRD Pro or Limited model, the new system adds a 15-speaker, 550-watt JBL audio unit. In another nod to modernity, back-seat riders get a new pair of USB ports that fans have been demanding (the old 4Runner had one). Proximity entry with push button start also becomes standard on nearly all models. Mechanically, the TRD Pro adds a cat-back exhaust system with a slightly huskier growl. Though it's questionable whether anyone really needs to hear the 4Runner's ancient, 4.0-liter V6 groan its way to high revs. That V6 delivers an unchanged 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says it's good for a 0-60 mph run in a reasonable 7.5 seconds, which is a touch quicker than a burly Dodge Durango with its 293-hp V6. Unfortunately, the five-speed automatic transmission remains on hand from Toyota's old soldier's home. In theory, the shift lever's manual function should make things snappier, but the 4Runner's transmission often ignores downshift commands, with annoyingly tardy upshifts in manual mode. While the 4Runner remains roomy and relatively comfortable, it's looking as tired your grandpa's Barcalounger. Inside, plastic imitates seemingly every conceivable natural material: There's plastic that looks like leather, plastic as rubber, plastic as metal or carbon fiber. Fold the seats, including the optional, child-sized third row (only on SR5 and Limited models), and the 4Runner can swallow an expedition's worth of gear. Its maximum capacity of 90 cubic feet is actually comparable to three-row midsize crossovers, although it does have a higher liftover. As noted, nothing announces the 4Runner's authenticity like the manly-man transfer case once found on every four-wheeler. (You might crawl beneath the TRD Pro version to spot its 2.5-inch-diameter Fox shocks, or its expanded skidplates, but that would take more effort). Today, even most Jeeps (or the 2020 Toyota Tacoma pickup we tested at Moab) have replaced manual transfer cases with electronic knobs or switches, which are easier to operate but not nearly as tactile and cool. Toyota's Multi-Terrain Select system and Crawl Control are still operated with knobs, though they're oddly located on the ceiling forward of the rearview mirror. With all the above off-roading weapons loaded, the 4Runner proves to still have the Right Stuff, from the Flintstones-like landscapes of Moab, which instantly expose any SUV poseur, to hours on dirt roads through the high passes of the LaSal and San Juan ranges toward Ouray, Colorado. And it wouldn't be a Toyota review without a fond mention of the 4Runner's reputation for bulletproof reliability: It's something that could save your relationship, or your bacon, on lonely trails and in the wilderness. Realizing that we've spent most of the past two days on boulders, sand and dirt-roostertail roads, I take a pre-dinner solo run from Ouray on actual pavement. On these everyday roads, there's just no getting around the 4Runner's antiquated state: The placeholder powertrain, the sloppy and disconnected steering, the way the 4Runner wanders in its lane. It's here that 4x4 fans may do a facepalm, and say something like, "C'mon! It's an off-road truck. What did you expect, a Bentley?" Sure, the Toyota's off-road chops help explain its on-road shortcomings, but no longer excuses them here in 2020. For proof, look no further than the latest Jeep Wrangler, the (also aging) Grand Cherokee, or at higher price points, any Land Rover or the Mercedes G-Class. That Wrangler JL's all-new (cough, cough) design has proven that even a hardcore off-roader can achieve a respectable level of civility. While the current 4Runner is more livable than the Wrangler, considering how far that Jeep has come, couldn't Toyota do better? Toyota hasn't divulged pricing for the 2020 4Runner that goes on sale this fall, but cost increases should be negligible. For reference, a rear-drive, 2019 SR model starts from $36,405, while the TRD Pro goes for $47,910. Analysts' crystal balls do see Toyota bringing an all-new 4Runner to showrooms, finally, around 2022. It seems likely that the 4Runner can withstand market pressures until that sixth-generation model arrives, especially with its antiquated infotainment and missing safety tech features being corrected for 2020. Its market niche is also showing surprising endurance, thanks in part to Americans' increasing demand for SUVs with authentic design and rugged personality. This old soldier actually sold nearly 100,000 more units in 2018 than it did when it was brand new in 2010.   Still, if you couldn't care less about four-wheeling and have no idea what that other shifter does, you might wait for another SUV that's also tripled its sales since 2009: The Toyota Highlander, whose all-new 2020 version goes on sale late this year. Choose that family favorite over the more purpose-built 4Runner, and Toyota won't mind a bit.

Nissan Profit Vanishes, And It Expands Job Cuts To 12,500 - Autoblog

Nissan profit vanishes, and it expands job cuts to 12,500 - Autoblog

YOKOHAMA — Japanese carmaker Nissan said it is axing 12,500 jobs and warned a quick turnaround in its performance was not imminent after reporting its quarterly profit was nearly wiped out. The announcement on Thursday shows how a crisis — brought about by sluggish sales and rising costs — is worsening at Japan's No. 2 automaker even as it tries to recover from a financial misconduct scandal surrounding ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn. Nissan, which said the job cuts will be made globally by 2022, added that it will reduce global production capacity and its product lineup by about 10% by the end of fiscal 2022. The automaker had 138,000 employees globally as of March 2018. Its first-quarter operating profit plunged 98.5% to 1.6 billion yen ($14.80 million) as it continues to struggle in North America, a key market where it has been stung by mounting costs of vehicle discounts to keep up with rivals. Years of heavy discounting to grow sales has left Nissan with a cheapened brand image and low vehicle resale values, while the costs to offer high discounts have hit its bottom line. Nissan had flagged a steep drop in profit on Wednesday. The dismal quarter will add pressure on Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan's embattled CEO, who has been tasked with shoring up the company's performance amid the Ghosn scandal. Ghosn has denied the charges of financial misconduct. The automaker is widening job cuts initially announced in May as it struggles to improve weak profit margins in the United States, where Ghosn for years had pushed to aggressively grow market share during his time as CEO. Nissan's operating profit in the April-June quarter compared with the 109.14 billion yen made in the year-ago period and missed the 39.52 billion yen average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv. The company maintained its profit forecast of 230 billion yen for the year ending March 2020, a 28% drop from last year and its weakest in more than a decade.

Nissan Rogue Hybrid Is Out For 2020 Model Year - Autoblog

Nissan Rogue Hybrid is out for 2020 model year - Autoblog

The Nissan Rogue Hybrid is officially dead for the 2020 model year. Nissan sent out a press release early this morning with pricing for the 2020 Rogue, and we noticed the Hybrid model was curiously missing from the sheet. We dropped a line to Nissan to figure out what was going on. Here's the official word from Nissan spokesperson Kevin Raftery: "Nissan will not offer the Rogue Hybrid for model year 2020. We will continue to focus efforts on the best-selling Rogue and new 2020 Rogue Sport." Nissan's hybrid compact crossover was almost a unique idea when it came out for the 2017 model year. Toyota had the RAV4 Hybrid. A redesigned (much improved) version of that is out for 2019, and the new Escape is getting both a Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid version. We called it "A can't-lose idea" in our First Drive story then, but history has proven our seeing-eye glass wrong. Raftery wouldn't say exact sales figures, but he did say that Rogue Hybrid was "a small part of the overall sales mix for Rogue." If you break it down by cost, the Rogue Hybrid was asking a lot without providing much in return. The base 2019 Rogue Hybrid is a whopping $2,800 more than a regular Rogue. You netted five mpg in the combined EPA rating, which the agency says would save you approximately $200 a year over a normal Rogue in fuel costs. Doing the math, you'd have to drive the car for 14 years before you break even on gas savings. That's a long time driving a Nissan Rogue. Another reason for its demise is the entrance of the new RAV4 Hybrid. The previous RAV4 Hybrid was actually less efficient than the Rogue Hybrid, though it was only beaten by one mpg in comparable all-wheel drive models. A 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gets seven mpg better than the Rogue Hybrid all-wheel drive now. That's a pretty easy decision for folks at the dealership comparing the two side-by-side. You'll still be able to buy the 2019 Rogue Hybrid for some time, but those will be disappearing from lots sooner rather than later. A base Rogue Hybrid SV starts at $28,595, and a fully-loaded SL trim comes in at $33,885. All other non-hybrid models received small price bumps of around $200 in each trim level for 2020.

2019 Infiniti Qx50 Essential Review | Features, Specs And More - Autoblog

2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential Review | Features, Specs and More - Autoblog

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is the brand's second smallest crossover, and it's fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. Infiniti decided to use the stylish QX50 as a technology flagship, specifically using it to debut its variable-compression engine technology. It has since been shared with Nissan in the new Altima, but Infiniti got the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder first. It makes a solid 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, numbers that are very similar to the outgoing QX50's 3.7-liter V6. However, the 2019 QX50 with all-wheel drive (as our tester is equipped) nets you 26 mpg combined to the old car's 20 mpg combined rating. Infiniti pairs the new engine with its continuously-variable transmission. We happen to be testing the absolute pinnacle of what a QX50 can be: the "Essential" trim level. The base QX50 Pure starts at $37,645, whereas ours towers up to $59,085. That steep price is thanks to the addition of several high-dollar packages, including the $7,500 Sensory Package. This is the price you'll pay to get the ultra-luxe interior that we happened to fall in love with. The Autograph Package added $2,000, netting us white leather with the blue suede accents. Then the ProActive ($2,000) and ProAssist ($550) packages provide all the advanced driver assistance features like ProPilot Assist. Take note that the frustrating steer-by-wire (DAS) system is also included in the ProActive Package. Assistant Editor, Zac Palmer: When fully optioned as our QX50 Essential tester is, this interior can mix it up with the best in the business. You may have to sell a kidney to afford it, but the quilted white semi-aniline leather, soft blue suede and light maple (real) wood is going to make it all worthwhile. Infiniti certainly nailed it on the materials, but the interior design and styling flourishes are executed just as successfully. There's a simplicity to the flatness and gently curving horizontal lines that feels so graceful and luxurious. I feel that I'd never tire of the cream, brown and blue color combination, though that light-colored leather means I'd forever be trying extra hard to keep it clean. All of this interior loveliness was almost enough to make me forget about this crossover's interior tech shortcomings. Infiniti hasn't integrated Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the stock infotainment system isn't nearly polished enough to warrant such an omission. I'm no fan of Infiniti's unusual stacked dual-screen setup, and the newest infotainment systems from the Germans are far more advanced. Even when connected via Bluetooth, the QX50 was unable to tell me the name of the song and artist that was currently streaming from my phone. At least I thoroughly enjoyed that sound quality from the 16-speaker Bose Performance Series speakers. If you're able to overlook the tech issues, then spending time in the most expensive of QX50s becomes a luxury experience right at the top of its class.

Was a bit shocked at how nice the interior can get on a fully-loaded @INFINITIUSA QX50. The quilted stitching, blue suede and brown leather all play together rather nicely. But where's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay? @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/gaGpFWpUXy — Zac Palmer (@zacpalmerr) June 20, 2019 Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I enjoyed my weekend in the QX50. The VC Turbo engine, a finalist for the 2019 Autoblog Tech of the Year Award, sounds good and has plenty of pull. A compact crossover with 280 lb-ft of torque and all-wheel drive feels right. The 268-hp output is middling, but the torque more than makes up for it. The four-cylinder engine is achieving efficacy in the car business. We see it used in everything from sports cars to full-size trucks and it's working. Infiniti spent a lot of time and money developing the VC (Variable Compression) Turbo and it's giving a vehicles throughout the brand's lineup a new energy. Like Zac says, the interior is gorgeous. It's quiet, well-laid out, comfortable and near the top of the class. The only issue I have is with the infotainment. It's fine, but the controls and workflow are a bit nebulous. Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: Zac and Greg went over the best parts of the QX50, so I guess I get to talk about the less stellar ride and handling. The ride itself is fairly good, very smooth and isolating, but handling is pretty disappointing. There's a fair amount of body roll, and not a lot of grip. You wouldn't know that through the steering wheel, though, which is connected to Infiniti's steer-by-wire system known as "Direct Adaptive Steering." It's feather-light and completely uncommunicative. But on the plus side, it doesn't feel nearly as disconcertingly disconnected as Infiniti's past steer-by-wire iterations. Maybe one day it will finally feel decent. Or maybe Infiniti will wise up and just stick to a direct physical connection between the wheel and the steering rack. At least it's an option, so you can skip if you want (and trust me, you do want). All this being said, if you're just looking for something comfortable to get you from A to B, this isn't a big issue, and the engine's impressive power, the Autograph package's spectacular interior, and reasonable pricing for this size of crossover, all make a compelling case for the QX50.

2020 Toyota Supra Owners May Have To Pay For Apple Carplay One Day - Autoblog

2020 Toyota Supra owners may have to pay for Apple CarPlay one day - Autoblog

We got news that the 2020 Toyota Supra was officially arriving in dealerships the other day, which is a good thing. Now, we're hearing about some strangeness going on with the car's Apple CarPlay availability. Motor1 asked Toyota what the deal is when it comes to paying for Apple CarPlay on the Supra. The only reason that's a question in the first place is because the Supra uses a BMW infotainment system. Of course, the BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra have far more than that in common, but you can read all about that elsewhere. BMW recently introduced a subscription service to charge its customers for using CarPlay on a yearly basis. Anyone wanting to use CarPlay is forced to pay $80 per year after the 12-month free trial. Just recently, BMW added the option of paying a $300 fee for 20 years of CarPlay use. That's way cheaper if you plan on keeping the car, but you'll need to own it for more than four years for that plan to make sense. Toyota doesn't charge its customers for use of Apple CarPlay in the few models that offer it, which introduces a bit of a conundrum for the Supra. Instead of Toyota adopting its own policy for its own car, the company is going to offer a hybrid plan to Supra buyers. Motor1 learned that Supra owners will receive four years of Apple CarPlay for free as a "trial period." After that, Toyota doesn't have a straight answer for us. A spokesperson said that "specifics regarding future subscription fees will be available at a later date."  We'll interpret that as meaning you'll have to pay for it one day, but we don't know what to charge yet. It's rather unfortunate to see this bad policy from BMW potentially rubbing off on the Toyota. Every other manufacturer that offers Apple CarPlay makes it free to use for life if the feature is equipped in the car. It's a fantastic option for folks who like the idea of having a phone-like interface on their car's infotainment screen, and it ends up being favored over many in-house designed systems. Supra owners will need to opt for either the Premium or Launch Edition trims to get CarPlay functionality to begin with, as it's only available on the upgraded 8.8-inch screen. The base 6.5-inch screen will not support CarPlay usage.