Autoblog wasn't around for the literal first drive review, but as they say, it's better late than never. Take a trip down memory lane in our latest retro first drive.
"Designed to be an aggressive sports coupe with superior handling, the Prelude is intended to appeal to drivers who will appreciate its high level of performance and refinement," the press release for the 1997 Honda Prelude reads.
The Xperia 1 II (Mark 2) has now been out for a few days, so it's a perfect time to ask new owners what their impression of Sony's flagship has been so far. For those lucky owners, please let us know how you are finding the device so far in the comments below. What do you like, and what has you frustrated? If you have previously used a Sony Xperia device, how does the Xperia 1 II compare? Or, if you're new to Xperia, is it living up to expectations?
Sony is rolling the first firmware update for the Xperia 1 II, its newest flagship device. The update moves the build number to 58.0.A.3.31 and the latest June 2020 Android security patches. This update hit dual SIM devices (XQ-AT52) around a week ago, but is only rolling out to single SIM devices (XQ-AT51) today.
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.
There's a sea change of performance occurring over at Lexus these days. At least, that's what the Japanese luxury automaker claims. Lexus has made plenty of excellent performance cars in its past, but the brand has never been known for performance. Instead, Lexus has produced some of the most comfortable, reliable and serene automobiles to ever come out of Japan, and it's found success in doing so. The brand has a clear identity, but it's looking to massage that identity.
"Moving forward, the efforts of the CE (chief engineer) will be focused on elevating the vehicles to a new standard of performance and handling as developed by Lexus International President Koji Sato and Chief Branding Officer Akio Toyoda," Lexus said in a statement. "The ultimate goal is to deliver a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before."
With roughly 7.5 million sold in 20 years, it's safe to say people love the Honda Fit, or as it's called in Europe and elsewhere, the Jazz. "Elsewhere" would be the key term since Honda's versatile subcompact hatchback is not only sold all over the world, it has also been built in 10 plants in eight different countries, including China, where the authorities were so honored to have a Fit factory within their borders, they allowed Honda an unprecedented larger share in the joint venture.
A major reason is safety, which was highlighted from the very beginning. I attended the original launch at Honda's Tochigi R&D center in Japan, which started with a crash test. The 2,535-pound Fit was subjected to an offset impact with a six-year-old, 4,030-pound Honda Legend sedan at a closing speed of 62 mph. When our ears stopped ringing, the Fit's crash-test dummy passengers were shaken but intact, the doors opened and the passenger cell retained its shape. The Legend's passengers didn't fare so well, with the pedal box detaching from the firewall taking the driver dummy's feet with it.
Nissan released a video today previewing and confirming the next-gen Z car. We got to see a shadowy silhouette of Nissan's upcoming sports car — find all the details on that here — but we also got a preview of many other future Nissan products. Most notable among the line of products rolling by us was the first look at Nissan's next-gen Frontier pickup.
We've heard scads of information about this truck coming our way, but this is the first time Nissan has shown what it's going to look like. The differences are clear as day. The front nose no longer slopes downward when viewed in profile, appearing like most upright truck faces do these days. Two proud twin strips of LED lighting bring it up to date with a signature look, and the hood features multiple muscular lines. Viewed from the side like this, we're getting Toyota Tacoma vibes from its blocky shape and brawny lines.
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.
Consumer passenger cars aren't the only vehicles undergoing electric transformations. We've seen the introduction of early electric fire trucks, and now Japan is getting its first electric ambulance. It's a Nissan NV400, and it will be used by the Tokyo Fire Department at the Ikebukuro station.
Though badged as a Nissan, the NV400 is at its heart a Renault Master Z.E. electric van. The powertrain is the same as the French van with a 33-kilowatt-hour battery (7 kWhs less than the base Nissan Leaf) and a 55-kW motor driving the front wheels. That translates to 74 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. That doesn't sound like much, but in as dense a city as Tokyo, it's not likely the NV400 will be able to reach high speeds at all, even if it had a Hellcat engine.