Toyota's Euro and Asian market Yaris is an interesting kettle of fish; affordable, cheerful but not so much fun behind the wheel. Supermini's like Ford's Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo have it licked for driving pleasure and sheer appeal. Luckily for Toyota fans this could all about to change with the Japanese carmaker putting the finishing touches on its all-new, TNGA-based replacement for European and Asia Pacific regions. About time you say?
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.
In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder and Assistant Editor Zac Palmer. The episode begins with a conversation about driving the Nissan Murano and the BMW X5. Then they discuss the news, including the latest Honda E specs, a hybrid cruise ship and Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 pricing. Finally, they take a "Spend My Money" question about convertibles from the U.K.
Acura is coming back to Pikes Peak for the 2019 edition of the hillclimb, and it's bringing four vehicles to attack the mountain. Not the fastest, but perhaps the most interesting of the bunch is a race-prepped 2019 MDX Sport Hybrid. Engineers took the 3.5-liter V6 from the non-hybrid version (Hybrid has a 3.0-liter V6) of the MDX and bored it out to 3.7-liters. It then works together with Acura's three-motor hybrid system for a combined 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Shifting is still done by Acura's 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The extra power is thanks to the larger displacement and special tuning for the engine and electric motors.
Further upgrades to the MDX include a race-tuned active-damper suspension system and a roll cage. Acura says it goes a long way to increase structural rigidity. Additionally, Acura removed most of the vehicle's interior, including every seat but the driver's seat. Piloting the MDX is Jordan Guitar of Acura R&D's chassis development team.
A new Toyota Tundra is around the corner, and our spy shooters think they caught a hybrid model out testing. We previously wrote about a rumor that the truck would get a hybrid powertrain, but there was no evidence of it at that point. Now, we feel a bit more confident that Toyota is at least testing the Tundra with a hybrid powertrain.
The photographers say they heard the hum of the electrics, followed by the noise of an engine kicking on around 25-30 mph on multiple occasions while tailing the truck seen here. Our previous story speculated that Toyota could use a hybridized version of the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 we saw make its debut in the Lexus LS500. Another possible powertrain option could also be borrowed from the LS500h. That one uses a naturally aspirated V6 and an electric motor for a total system output of 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. If it's the former, we'll expect significantly more power, with the powertrain likely being considered for a flagship version of the truck. Our guess would put a hybridized version of the twin-turbo V6 at about 450-500 horsepower.
Thanks to an interview Automotive News Europe conducted with Mazda president and CEO Akira Marumoto, we have more insight on Mazda's plans to lower its vehicle emissions in Europe. This will undoubtedly bring changes to the U.S. lineup, too, but The Continent sees the first fruits in part because Mazda is well over the European Union's fleet CO2 emissions target for 2021 of 95 g/km. In response to how Mazda plans to achieve the necessary reduction, Marumoto said the carmaker will launch its first EV in 2020 and have a plug-in hybrid on the road in 2021 or 2022.
First, some clarification on the emissions numbers and timeline. The 95g/km figure is based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) emissions schedule being phased out next year; the AN piece cites JATO Dynamics findings that Mazda Europe's fleet CO2 average is 135.2 g/km.