The nightshade family of plants includes eggplant and potatoes, which have been used to feed humanity. In deadly nightshade form, the plant's uses have included killing people, or seducing them. Toyota has the latter purpose in mind yet again for the 2021 C-HR and Avalon; based on a document CarsDirect says the automaker sent to fleet managers, the dinky crossover and the big sedan will join the Nightshade Edition family next year. The 4Runner, Camry, Corolla sedan and hatchback, Highlander, and Sienna already offer the dark-themed package. The Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra are going to join the dark side this summer for very limited engagements. Nightshade versions of the C-HR and Avalon will take the tally to an even 10 models.
The fleet document didn't detail the package changes for the two new fraternity members. On the Camry, Nightshade means a black grille, window molding, mirror caps, door handles, shark fin, spoiler, badges, and 18-inch black wheels. The Corolla twins expand that with black rocker panels and diffuser inserts, and the Corolla hatch goes all the way with a black inner headlight frame and black lower spoiler.
In the motorcycle world, Scramblers are all the rage. Rugged-looking street bikes that also perform well off-road. The Triumph Scrambler kicked off the craze in 2006, with its high pipes and knobby tires. It was a modern take on a model it offered in the 1960s, and now many other manufacturers have followed its lead, including Ducati, Indian and BMW.
In stark contrast to the gaggles of car-based crossovers roaming our streets, the SUV world also has its fair share of Scramblers. Trucks like the new 2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Special Edition: rugged looking, full frame 4x4s that perform well both on- and off-road. And like the bikes, they're all the rage. Jeep Wrangler sales are through the roof. There's a new Ford Bronco on the way. Finally. And last year Toyota sold more than 130,000 4Runners.
Honda is adding a few updates to its Pilot three-row crossover for 2021 that include introducing a new mid-level trim designation, making the nine-speed automatic transmission that was previously available on higher trim levels standard across the range, and giving the family hauler a $725 price increase. The entry-level LX now starts at $33,370, including the $1,120 destination fee. All-wheel-drive versions of each trim, which feature Honda's torque vectoring system, remain a $2,000 option, as before.
The new trim level is called Special Edition, or SE as it will appear on the liftgate badge. It builds on the EX-L grade, which adds features that include leather seats, second-row sunshades, a power liftgate and sunroof. Step up to the SE and you get 20-inch black wheels and trim like roof rails, grille, and front and rear skid garnishes. The only actual equipment upgrade is wireless phone charging. The SE grade is positioned exactly midpoint in the Pilot trim spectrum and starts at $40,080, including destination, for front-wheel-drive versions and $42,080 all-inclusive for all-wheel drive.
Sony had previously confirmed that they are working on the PS5 and revealed the console’s new DualSense controller, but stopped short of revealing the design of the console itself or providing more details. However, for those who have been eagerly anticipating the console, here it is.
During Sony’s PlayStation event, the company officially unveiled the PS5 console which will be launching in two editions – the regular PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. Both consoles will be more or less identical in terms of performance, with the main difference being that the Digital Edition will not come with a disc drive, meaning that it will be purely for digital downloads.
As the top-of-the-lineup performance variant, the Civic Type R is already a rarified vehicle, and Honda added to the car's legendary mystique with a limited-edition model for 2021. The Canadian market was restricted to only 100 examples of the special edition, and all 100 recently sold out within four minutes of the order books opening. That's quicker than the 2017 Type R's Nürburgring lap record.
The 2021 Type R LE, which is offered exclusively in Phoenix Yellow, offers slight apperance tweaks, as well as a lighter overall package. It features 20-inch BBS lightweight forged aluminum wheels that reduce unsprung weight by 18 pounds total, and those wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. Weight has further been cut by reducing the use of sound-deadening materials, though Honda does not get into details about where the materials were affected.
The 2021 Toyota Corolla hatchback doesn't see many updates for the new model year, but it does get a spiffy new limited edition with the unimaginative "Special Edition" moniker. Despite the name, the car is rather bold looking, gaining a unique front spoiler, side skirts and rear bumper. And we're pleased to report the rear bumper does away with the silly fake chrome tailpipes. Besides the lower body additions, all painted black, it gets a black rear spoiler and black 18-inch wheels. The Special Edition goes on sale later this summer, and only 1,500 examples will be built, all of which come in Supersonic Red. Bizarrely, this very sporty looking Corolla is only available in the SE trim level with a CVT. You'll have to stick with a regular SE or XSE if you want to pair the 2.0-liter 168-horsepower four-cylinder with a manual transmission.
As for the rest of the Corolla hatchback lineup, there are a few feature updates. All Corolla hatchbacks now come standard with rear seat side impact airbags. These are the abdominal airbags mounted to the seat, as opposed to the already standard curtain airbags. The XSE trim also picks up blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard, and both features are available on the SE trim as part of the optional SE Preferred Package. There's also the new Enhanced Cargo Space Package. Basically, it's the option to replace the spare tire with a tire repair kit to free up space under the cargo floor. It brings space up to 23 cubic feet over the regular model's 17, and it's a no cost option. Finally, Toyota is adding two new colors to the hatchback, Magnetic Gray Metallic and Wind Chill Pearl.
Everything you're about to see and read about the 2020 Honda Pilot and its interior storage applies to every trim level. However, this test was conducted on the new, range-topping Pilot Black Edition, which as the implies, blacks out virtually all exterior trim and makes the wheels black. Inside, since everything's awfully black to begin with, red is added to the seats and center console tray/cover.
To fully immerse myself in the mindset of a Black Edition owner, I dressed entirely in black (also, why not?) and brought along some suitably black beverage containers to fill the 16 cupholders. Oh and my wife's black purse. She's not using it these days anyway; didn't notice it was gone.
Toyota is marking the 20th anniversary of its groundbreaking Prius hybrid by officially announcing a sportier-looking commemorative edition of the car called the Prius 2020 Edition. It'll be a 2021 model, and Toyota will limit production to 2,020 units.
Also, Toyota divulged that it plans to introduce a pair of all-new hybrid models via a livestream unveiling from its North American headquarters near Dallas on May 18. More on that in a moment.
Datsun's Z-Car turned 10 years old in 1980 (in North America), and so Nissan decided to celebrate by selling a small run of limited-edition 280ZXs commemorating that anniversary. 2,500 Black Gold 10th Anniversary cars were made, plus another 500 Black Red cars. I managed to find a discarded Black Gold 280ZX in California, way back in 2009, and I ran across this Black Red 280ZX last fall in Colorado.
This week, Toyota celebrated selling more than 15 million hybrids worldwide since 1997, 5 million of them in the past three years. It really began in 1993, when Toyota decided to develop a car that would be kinder on the environment. The car those engineers created, codenamed 890T, debuted at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, an event bearing the theme, "Dream the Dream, a Car with That Feel." That car was called the Prius. Who could have known the homely yellow wonder, looking like it had been pulled straight from a Japanese anime of the time, would reshape the automotive industry. The Wikipedia entry for the 1995 show doesn't mention the Prius, although it does mention the Honda S2000 concept and the Subaru Streega concept, which became the Forester. The New York Times wrote, "The concept cars shown this year will probably not make Detroit quake with fear. But they show some flair nonetheless," one of two sentences covering the Prius stating simply, "Toyota is showing a sedan of the future called Prius that should be able to get 70 miles per gallon."
In Japan, the Toyota GR Supra is split into SZ, SZ-R, and RZ trims. The SZ and SZ-R trims use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the RZ trim uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. For 2021, Toyota upgraded the RZ with more power and announced two special-edition models, one in Horizon Blue and the other in Matte Storm Gray Metallic. The Horizon Blue Edition also features new wheels and matching interior accents and is limited to 100 units.
The 3.0-liter engine in the Japanese GR Supra RZ is getting an update for the new model year. The outgoing model produced a claimed 335 horsepower, as does the current U.S. Supra, at 5,000 rpm, and 369 lb-ft of torque at 1,600-4,500 rpm. Weighing in at 3,351 pounds, it could race from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds (American market figure). The new Supra RZ will make a claimed 382 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and keeps the same torque number of 369 lb-ft but at at 1,800-5,000 rpm. It adds 22 pounds for a total weight of 3,373 pounds and can sprint from 0-60 mph in a slightly improved 3.9 seconds.