2020 Honda Civic Type R First Drive

2020 Honda Civic Type R First Drive

At three years old, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R is getting its first midcycle refresh. You'll recognize it by its body color grille accents, a bigger grille opening and a little less mesh over some of the fake vents. But it's the mechanical tweaks and added features that make the newest Type R better than before in almost every way, and slightly worse in another.

Under the skin, Honda has focused on brakes and suspension. The new Type R now has two-piece rotors that Honda says dissipate heat better. While we didn't notice any major improvements on the street from the rotors, we were pleased by the new pedal tweaks. Travel has been reduced for more rapid response, which is clearly noticeable. There's basically no dead zone in the pedal anymore. It provides a firm, communicative feel, and it's a breeze to dial in the exact amount of stopping power you want.

2021 Toyota Gr Supra First Drive | What's New, 3.0 And 2.0driving Impressions

2021 Toyota GR Supra First Drive | What's new, 3.0 and 2.0driving impressions

Welcome to 2020, where once again, the Toyota Supra is back. We hailed its return last year when we slid behind the wheel of the first new Supra sold here in the 21st century, and Toyota has gone and changed things up just one year later. Now, there are two Supras: a new, less powerful four-cylinder Supra that'll serve as a base model, and a more powerful version of the previous solo entry that showcases the type of incremental improvements Toyota says we should expect every model year. So, although owners of the 2020 Supra might be miffed by this news, there's a good chance 2021 owners will feel the same way in 12 months. 

For now, though, the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six produces 382 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, increases of 47 and 3, respectively, from the 2020 version. We weren't exactly begging for more power, but aren't going to complain, either. This is the same engine spec that's found in the M40i version of the Supra's sister car, the BMW Z4, which shares a common block and crank as the "lesser" version found in the 2020 Supra. However, it features a totally new head and exhaust manifold design along with new pistons and a reduced compression ratio from 11:1 to 10.2:1 to better handle the boost. Peak horsepower is made at 5,800 rpm now (it was previously 5,000), and carried on to the same 6,500 rpm — redline is 7,000 rpm. The torque band also shifts slightly higher in the rev range, as all 368 pound-feet are available from 1,800-5,000 rpm — in 2020 that range was 1,600-4,500 rpm. Theoretically, this should make the car happier in its mid- and upper-rpm ranges.

Farmers Sell Vegetables At Drive-through Market

Farmers sell vegetables at drive-through market

Farmers in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, have sold vegetables at a drive-through market as many stores remain closed due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Fourteen farmers gathered at a parking lot of the municipal office building in Chuo City on Sunday. Shoppers were waiting for the makeshift market to open at 10 a.m. They bought tomatoes, turnips and other vegetables.

2020 Honda Cr-v Hybrid Second Drive | Fuel Economy, Real-world Mpg, Interior Space

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Second Drive | Fuel economy, real-world mpg, interior space

The marriage seems so right you wonder what took so long. Honda's hybrid powertrain is excellent and the CR-V is its best-selling model, yet the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is only just arriving in dealers now. That's four years after this current CR-V generation was introduced, three years after the hybrid powertrain debuted in the Accord, two years after it was applied to the Insight (which is basically a Civic Hybrid) and five years since the first-generation Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was introduced.

The current RAV4 Hybrid is now Toyota's best-selling hybrid, and it would be shocking if this new CR-V Hybrid doesn't do the same trick for Honda. The powertrain is available on every trim level, effectively an option commanding a $1,225 premium over a comparable all-wheel-drive CR-V. That's impressively reasonable given its fuel economy advantage, added performance, agreeable drivability and lack of practical drawbacks.

Mercedes-benz Vision Eqs Concept Drive | Interior, Technology, Electric

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS Concept Drive | Interior, technology, electric

There is something eerie about driving concept cars. It's not that they're priceless one-offs, painstakingly created by a host of craftspeople. And it's not that they're champingly bridled, powered by a full battery array, yet only able to be driven at 5 mph for safety's sake. And it's not that it's illegal to drive them on public roads, especially in Japan, so you're forced to conduct yourself in an abandoned-looking bay-front industrial parking lot. It's creepy because moving around in a vehicle that is, at heart, nothing but a fantasy, lends credence to the underlying delusion, makes such a car seem possible, real. Driving a concept car backfills the uncanny valley.

This is especially true if the concept in question is a Mercedes-EQ sedan, an elegantly ovoid, full-size, battery-powered, ultra-luxury four-door. Mercedes has not made any secret of the fact that it plans to grow its all-electric EQ sub-brand to include an entire vehicle line. And one of them must necessarily be an S-Class-like sedan, a marque signature for decades. In fact, the brand has officially stated that it will sell an all-electric vehicle very much like the Vision EQS Concept, alongside a new gasoline- or hybrid-powered S-Class, starting in the early 2020s.

Mazda6 Rumored To Get Straight-six And Rear-wheel Drive

Mazda6 rumored to get straight-six and rear-wheel drive

Last June, Japan's Best Car magazine laid out what we considered a whopper series of rumors about future Mazda developments. The mag said it had been speaking to a Toyota source on an unrelated matter, and found out that Mazda's work on a straight-six Skyactiv engine was predicated on that engine's use in Toyota Group vehicles, including Lexus models. Car and Driver has apparently consulted its own sources, and in a new report utters many of the same pronouncements as Best Car. The next-generation Mazda6, due around 2022, will molt out of its transverse engines on a front-driver platform, and be the first home for the longitudinally-mounted straight-six on the automaker's new rear-wheel drive "Large Architecture." 

The gas-powered Skyactiv-X six-cylinder, a shade under 3 liters of displacement, will get help from a 48-volt hybrid system, and top output could hit 350 horsepower. A second straight-six will come in an oil-burning Skyactiv-D flavor, and PHEVs are certain to eventually factor into the equations.

2020 Honda Cr-v Hybrid First Drive | What's New, Fuel Economy, Driving Impressions

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid First Drive | What's new, fuel economy, driving impressions

TUCSON, Ariz. – The CR-V has been the segment's top seller since its introduction, moving more than 5 million units in the past 23 years. For Honda, its sales juggernaut accounted for more than a quarter of the automaker's 2019 total and a whopping 60 percent of its CUV sales. With the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid, however, the brand is stepping into territory where few have ventured before.

The Nissan Rogue Hybrid has come and gone. The Ford Escape Hybrid first arrived way back as a 2005 model, but disappeared for a generation until returning this year. The Toyota RAV4 waited 20 years to debut its hybrid, but now in its second generation, has actually become Toyota's best-selling hybrid model. That alone represents a strong case for the CR-V Hybrid, not to mention the dearth of competitors.  

Toyota Gr Yaris All-wheel-drive Hot Hatch Price Less Than Gti In U.k.

Toyota GR Yaris all-wheel-drive hot hatch price less than GTI in U.K.

The Toyota GR Yaris is incredibly awesome. It's a specially designed version of the global Yaris with all-wheel drive, a whopping 257 horsepower from just a 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine, and it will be the basis for the upcoming rally car. While exciting, it also left us wondering how expensive it might be, since so much of it isn't shared with other models. Now we have pricing, and it starts at at 29,995 pounds in the U.K., and 33,200 Euros in Germany. Adding front and rear limited-slip differentials bumps the U.K. price to 33,495 pounds (German option pricing wasn't announced). Regardless, at current exchange rates that comes to about $37,000 to $38,000 for the base model and $43,355 for the high-performance variant.

Now that does sound pricey for such a tiny car, even with its wicked powertrain, but direct currency conversions don't tell the whole story. When compared to U.K. and European prices of other hot hatchbacks, it's actually a bit of a bargain. In fact, in the U.K. the 2020 VW GTI, only available with a dual-clutch transmission and performance package for this last year of the current model, starts at around 33,000 pounds. The Honda Civic Type R starts about 32,000 pounds. Only the Hyundai i30 N, comparable to our Veloster N, is priced under 26,000 pounds, but to get the high-output one with limited-slip differential you'll need about 29,000 pounds. In Germany, the gulf is even larger between the Yaris and the Civic Type R and i30 N, which start at 38,000 Euros and 35,000 Euros respectively.

2020 Honda Cr-v Touring Road Trip Drive | Checking Out The Changes For 2020

2020 Honda CR-V Touring Road Trip Drive | Checking out the changes for 2020

Over the past two decades, the Honda CR-V has embodied Honda's reputation for building durable, comfortable and user-friendly family cars that don't require a ton of unscheduled attention (aside from a brief hiccup with transmission reliability). As it has slowly become the automaker's bread-and-butter model, Honda's product planners have put correspondingly increased effort and resources toward keeping the CR-V fresh and competitive.

For the 2020 Honda CR-V, Honda tweaked the styling, added features and simplified its engine offerings in what is the first significant update since this generation dawned for the 2017 model year. There's also a new hybrid offering for those OK paying a Honda a bit more so they can pay oil companies less.  

2021 Toyota Avalon Awd First Drive Review | What's New, All-wheel Drive, Sedan

2021 Toyota Avalon AWD First Drive Review | What's new, all-wheel drive, sedan

PARK CITY, Utah – Adding all-wheel drive to the 2021 Toyota Avalon is pretty much an instance of "Hey, why not?" The latest-generation Avalon, like its Camry platform-mate, was never meant to have four driven wheels when it launched, but here I am less than two years after driving that supposedly front-drive-only full-size luxury sedan for the first time. What's changed? Well, the easiest answer is that the Camry got all-wheel drive, so hey, why not add it to the Avalon as well? All the engineering done to send power to the Camry's back wheels could just as easily be done to the Avalon, as they share the same TNGA-K platform.

Now, the answer as to why the Camry got all-wheel drive is a bit more in-depth, as we describe in its own first drive. In short, customers and dealers were demanding an all-wheel-drive Camry from nearly the second the new generation launched, and people were continuing to leave sedans for crossovers in part due to all-wheel drive. As a result, Toyota of North America tasked its own Michigan-based engineers to create an all-wheel-drive Camry using components from the TNGA-K SUV models, the RAV4 and Highlander. Oh, and while you're at it, they were told, do an Avalon, too.

2020 Toyota Camry Awd First Drive | What's New, All-wheel Drive, Fuel Economy

2020 Toyota Camry AWD First Drive | What's new, all-wheel drive, fuel economy

PARK CITY, Utah – The next-generation Camry was in the bag, on-sale, and receiving positive reviews. High-fives, team. The new car was wildly improved, having adopted Toyota's new TNGA-K platform that would go on to proliferate throughout the lineup, including the all-wheel-drive RAV4 and Highlander. But the new Camry, like every predecessor since 1991, would be front-wheel drive only. That there is a 2020 Toyota Camry AWD shows that something quickly changed.

All-wheel drive had been considered during the development of the new Camry, but was nixed. One gets the impression it was a decision made in Japan. Then the car launched, and almost immediately a vocal group of North American customers and dealers started asking why all-wheel drive wasn't offered and could it be added. This coincided with a continued mass exodus from family sedans to family compact crossovers, at least in part because of the reassurance all-wheel drive provides (even if a good set of tires should functionally do the trick). Toyota of North America made the decision to quickly change course, to offer all-wheel drive on the Camry, and put its own engineers in Michigan to work.

To create the 2020 Camry AWD, those engineers needed to rework almost the entire floor pan to accommodate a prop shaft and rear axle. The only engine paired with all-wheel drive would be the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which in this application produces 202 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque (205 hp and 185 lb-ft in the XSE trim). Besides it being the sole gas-only engine offered by its AWD donor, the RAV4, only 6% of Camrys sold pack the optional V6. On paper, that 2.5-liter would seem to be the same in the Camry and RAV4, but they are in fact different in tiny ways, and it's the RAV4 unit that finds itself in the Camry AWD. The minuscule output difference between the standard Camry (203 hp and 184 lb-ft in all trims but its own XSE) and the Camry AWD is actually the result of a slight restriction in the exhaust caused by the need to package extra hardware at the rear.

The engine is joined by the RAV's eight-speed automatic transmission, which possesses the required output for the prop shaft needed to power the rear wheels. That piece of hardware actually comes from the Highlander, but the rear axle and multi-link rear suspension are modified from the RAV4. To accommodate all of the above, an electronic parking brake was fitted and a new gas tank was created in a saddle design that arches over the prop shaft. To ensure there was enough room for the new tank, engineers turned to the Camry Hybrid's back seat, which is 10 mm higher to accommodate its battery pack. Trunk space remains the same.