For the 2021 model year, the Subaru Crosstrek is getting some mechanical and aesthetic updates, along with a new Sport trim (pictured above).
The biggest difference you'll find for 2021 is the addition of a new engine to the lineup. While the base and Premium trims will continue to use the 152-horsepower, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder carried over from 2020, the Sport and Limited trims will employ a new-to-Crosstrek 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. Borrowed from the Forester, and also found in the Outback, this naturally aspirated 2.5-liter provides 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. That power is put to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Subaru's torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. The base and Premium trims, with the holdover motor, still come with either a six-speed manual or optional CVT.
Toyota updated its popular Hilux pickup with a new look, a more car-like interior, and a more powerful engine. The changes reflect the fact that, even overseas, motorists are increasingly buying trucks as daily drivers.
In the United States, the Hilux is a forbidden fruit. It's tremendously popular in many global markets, however. It has stood proud as Australia's bestselling vehicle regardless of body style since 2016, for example. The competition is getting fiercer, so it needs to stay fresh to remain on top. Although it's not entirely new, the 2020 model receives a long list of visual updates that include a redesigned front fascia with a new grille and LED lights, plastic cladding over the wheel arches, and, on the Invincible X trim, INVINCIBLE lettering on both sides of the bed and on the tailgate, a proclamation that we imagine many owners will gladly put to the test.
A report in the Japanese business daily Nikkei, picked up by Automotive News, said Mitsubishi anticipates using a Nissan engine in the next-generation Outlander headed our way later this year. If the report comes true, the engine swap would be a first for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance partners outside of Japanese kei cars. Mitsubishi engineers will have an easier time slotting in a Nissan engine as the next-gen Outlander gives up its GS platform — an architecture Mitsubishi co-developed with Daimler Chrysler almost 20 years ago — to move to a modified version of the CMF platform that supports the Nissan Rogue and Qashqai, our Rogue Sport.
Last December, Auto Express spoke to Ponz Pandikuthira, Nissan's European vice president of product planning. The exec said Nissan had two hybrid powertrains under consideration for the next-generation Qashqai, the first being Nissan's serial hybrid ePower system that's fared well in Japan where overall speeds are low, but that might not be suited to Europe's higher average speeds. As for a PHEV, Pandikuthira said, "We're not pursuing a big plug-in hybrid strategy. On some car lines we'll try it out, but the business case for plug-in hybrids is not very good."
Subaru quietly confirmed the Crosstrek will receive a bigger, more powerful 2.5-liter flat-four engine for the 2021 model year. It hasn't released technical details yet, and it kept its silence when Autoblog reached out for more information, but fuel economy figures reveal buyers who order the new four won't spend more time at the pump.
Searching for the 2021 Crosstrek on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website shows two engine choices: a 2.0-liter, which has been available since the model went on sale, and a 2.5-liter, which is new for 2021. The latter's fuel economy checks in at 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg on a combined cycle. For context, the 2.0 posts 28, 33, and 30, respectively. These are tiny differences that most motorists won't notice in real-world conditions, because fuel economy also depends on a variety of factors (like driving style).
In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale and Associate Editor Byron Hurd. They discuss news about the 2020 and 2021 Nissan Frontier, as well as a mystery Mustang and classic luxury coupes. After that, they talk about cars from the fleet including Chevy Silverados and the long-term Volvo S60 T8.
On February 18 this year, as picked up by The Truth About Cars, Toyota submitted an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure the term "i-Force Max." The paperwork requests the mark for "automobiles and structural parts thereof." It's thought the moniker will be applied to the rumored new engine headed for the next-generation Tundra pickup, expected next year, perhaps for the 2022 model year. The i-Force name is as old as the Tundra, appearing in 2000 on the first-gen model powered by the 4.7-liter V8 that produced 245 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque. When Toyota overhauled the truck in 2007, the i-Force name migrated to the new 5.7-liter DOHC V8 that made 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. At the time, that was more than could be had with any V8 from the Big Three competition, the Chevrolet Silverado's 6.0-liter Vortec Max V8 topping the challengers with 367 hp and 375 lb-ft. The Tundra hasn't moved on since then, its i-Force V8 making the same 381 hp and 401 lb-ft. in 2020.
Years of rumors have pointed to the third-generation Tundra getting a top-trim 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 hybrid built off the same motor used in various Lexus models. Predicted output is 450 hp and 500 lb-ft., worthy numbers for the i-Force Max name if that's what ends up happening. That would put the Toyota right behind the high-output version of Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 450 hp and 510 lb-ft., if the Tundra came out right now. We'll need to see what Ford reveals with the 14th-generation F-150 later this year, and how the domestic competition responds before the Tundra hits the market. Full-size truck buyers don't generally concern themselves with gas mileage, but the Tundra should destroy all comers if rumors of 30 miles per gallon on the highway prove true. And with a purported new chassis under the 2020 Tundra dubbed "F1," it's likely the payload and tow ratings will receive a generous increase from the current 1,660 and 10,100 pounds, respectively, in SR5 trim.
The next-generation Subaru WRX STI may boast as much as 400 horsepower from a re-tuned, 2.4L turbocharged boxer engine, making it the most powerful factory STI ever to be offered in America.
Forbes reports that an upgraded version of the engine currently offered in the three-row Subaru Ascent crossover will power the new model, rather than the 2.0-liter unit that powers the current WRX or the 2.5L found in the current STI.