The 2019 Lexus UX is the smallest and cheapest Lexus you can buy, and the UX 250h hybrid model just barely misses out being the most fuel efficient. As an entry into the Lexus brand, this subcompact crossover is generally an impressive effort, embodying the design, quality, features and driving experience we've come to expect – albeit with understandable cutbacks made to achieve its lower price.
However, the UX faces stiff competition. It has one of the smallest cabins in a segment not known for its spaciousness, and its Remote Touch tech interface constantly frustrates. And while fuel economy is exceptional for the segment, its acceleration is underwhelming regardless of whether you get the UX 250h or gas-only UX 200. Worse still, you can only get the latter with front-wheel drive. In other words, this is a car with distinct highs and lows.
MOAB, Utah — The 2019 Honda Passport graces dealer lots on Feb. 4, and we can pinpoint 35,002 reasons for the debutante's arrival. The blatant, bottom-line rationale was that about 35,000 buyers defected from the brand every year because Honda had nothing to serve "adventure-seekers who want ... the more personal and rugged character of a five-passenger SUV." The Honda Pilot looks too much like it has a large family to support, the CR-V looks too much like the central piece in a My First Family Starter Kit.
Watching the population of a small American city abandon the brood every year is awful enough. Beyond that, according to Honda's numbers, the Passport's segment will grow 25 percent in the next five years to about 725,000 vehicles. At the soft-core end, Ford sold 134,122 Edges in the U.S. last year. Among the hardcore set, Toyota rang up 139,694 4Runner sales in 2018. The Jeep Grand Cherokee triggered the "TILT!" sign with 224,908 sales. Numbers of that magnitude cast a tall shadow, and Honda got tired of living in it.
Sony’s Aibo robot dogs were designed to be “realistic”, but we have to admit that it can come off a bit creepy as smiling robots tend to be a bit disconcerting. However Sony’s latest Aibo, which was launched in the US last year, was a huge improvement over the first-generation model, but over in Japan Sony is trying their hand at making it more “realistic”.
The company has recently launched a new variation of the Aibo where it has a body painted in various shades of brown, giving the illusion that it looks more like a beagle than a robot. This is only a paint job which means that everything we know about the Aibo in terms of functionality and features remains exactly the same.
The problem with most flagship products is that generally speaking they aren’t cheap. The same can be said for flagship cameras which are usually priced rather high, such as the Fujifilm X-T2 which is priced at $1,600. However the good news for those looking to jump into Fujifilm’s system, the rumored X-T3 could actually be cheaper.
In a report from Fuji Rumors, they claim to have heard from a trusted source that the upcoming X-T3 will be priced less than the X-T2. It is unclear as to how much less we are talking about, but given that the X-T2 is priced at $1,600, realistically we don’t expect it to be much cheaper and could be around $1,400-$1,500, or as Fuji Rumors notes, it could have a special launch price of $1,300 which was what the X-T1 was launched at (fingers crossed!).
We've already seen the Toyota Corolla hatchback and you'll be able to read about what it's like to drive April 30, but we still have yet to hear much about the sedan. That's a bit surprising, since the Corolla is Toyota's compact bread and butter, making up nearly 94 percent of the Corolla's almost 330,000 sales in 2017. We may not have much longer to wait, though, since the Corolla prototype in the spy shots above look pretty close to production. Notably, the heavy black plastic of the last prototype we spied has been replaced by camouflage.
The minimal coverings show that the Corolla sedan should be more closely related to the hatchback than the current generation. The headlights look as though they're directly shared with the hatchback. The emblem area also looks similar, and in fact, the area around the A-pillar and mirrors also looks nearly identical. The latter isn't particularly shocking since the Corolla sedan surely uses the TNGA modular platform that also underpins the hatchback, as well as the Prius and C-HR.
Following up on official fuel economy numbers, Honda has announced when the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid midsize sedan goes on sale, and how much it will cost. It goes on sale on March 23, and it could cost you far less than the outgoing model, since Honda says the base model starts at a whopping $4,505 less than the old one.
That specific price is $25,990, which will net you the basic Accord Hybrid and includes destination charge. The base model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and adaptive cruise control, among other features. There are four other trims above Accord Hybrid that all append extra letters or words to the base name (and presumably features), including EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi, and Touring. Pricing for those trims, including destination charge, are as follows: $29,780, $32,330, $33,330 and $35,600.
Finally, the fuel economy for the newest generation of Honda Accord Hybrid has been revealed, thanks to the EPA posting it on its website. The numbers, or number actually, for the electrified Accord is 47 mpg. Whether in the city, on the highway, or something in between, that's the fuel economy the Accord Hybrid returns.
Interestingly, this is actually slightly worse than the previous generation of Honda Accord Hybrid. That model also returned 47 mpg on the highway, but in town, it managed 49 mpg, and the combined rating was 48 mpg. Both cars also produced the same 212 horsepower between the gas engine and electric motor.
Sony may have another flagship smartphone in the pipeline if a new report out of China is believed. The report claims that the company is working on a new device that features a bezel-less 4K resolution display. The device is said to be based on Sony’s new “Ambient Flow” design language that the company talked about last month when unveiling the Xperia XZ2 at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.
The report out of China claims that this unnamed Sony flagship smartphone is going to feature a 5.5 inch 4,320×2,180 pixel resolution LCD display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Other specifications are expected to include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.
TOKYO — Toyota has found a way to reduce the amount of a key rare earth metal used in magnets for electric car motors by around 20 percent, which could tame the cost of producing electric cars and reduce the risk of a supply shortage of materials needed for their production. The Japanese automaker on Tuesday said it had developed a magnet which replaces some of the neodymium, a rare earth metal used in the world's most powerful permanent batteries, with more abundant and cheaper lanthanum and cerium, adding that it aimed to use the magnets in electric vehicle motors within the next 10 years. As production of hybrid and other electric cars is expected to ramp up in the coming years, automakers and electronics companies have been developing new high-powered magnets which require less rare earth metals to reduce costs and trim exposure to possible fluctuations in supply. A temporary export ban of neodymium by major supplier China in 2010 during a territorial dispute with Japan and periodic supply shortages have highlighted automakers' dependence on these materials. "An increase in electric car production will raise the need for motors, which will result in higher demand for neodymium down the line," Akira Kato, general project manager at Toyota's advanced R&D and engineering company, told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo. "If we continue to use neodymium at this pace we'll eventually experience a supply shortage ... so we wanted to come up with technology which would help conserve neodymium stocks." At the moment, magnets used in most automobiles to operate motors for everything from hybrid and other electric drivetrains to power steering systems comprise a total of around 30 percent of the rare earth elements neodymium, terbium and dysprosium. Automakers including Honda have found ways to eliminate dysprosium and terbium, which cost around $400 and $900 per kilogram, respectively, from magnets by increasing the amount of neodymium, which costs around $100 per kilogram. Toyota has come up with a way to cut out the expensive metals from the magnets and also reduce the amount of neodymium in favor of lanthanum and cerium, which each cost around $5-$7 per kilogram. Kato declined to give specific details on cost reductions, but said that Toyota could replace up to half of the neodymium used in magnets for motors which operate conventional vehicle functions like power windows with lanthanum and cerium, and around 20 percent for electric motor magnets. Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu