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Thunder Power Unwraps Electric SUV at Frankfurt Motor Show

thunder power suv (1)

Hong Kong-based electric car company Thunder Power came to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show not only to update us about its Zagato-designed sedan EV, but also to unveil a new one—an electric SUV.

Willem Sham, the CEO of Thunder Power, revealed the Thunder Power SUV, which was designed in-house in Milan, Italy and uses the brand’s modular platform. It has an electric powertrain fitted, so the car can maximize its interior space and still maintain a low center of gravity.

To reduce drag time, the automaker said it tweaked the car’s aerodynamics. The company, however, is still tight-lipped about what the electric SUV has in store for us once it reached production.

On the outside, the electric SUV is attractive enough, minus the grille’s design. The interior is comfortable and there’s ample space on the cargo area, thanks to rear doors that open rearward. It also has a panoramic roof and a large digital screen that stretches across the dashboard.

But before the unveiling of the electric SUV, Thunder Power updated its audience that the designing and the possible production of the sedan is going well. In fact, a production-spec prototype was onstage with camouflage that resembles a topographic map. The sedan is reportedly undergoing testing for battery performance.

Sham revealed that the sedan EV will have a driving range of up to 650 kilometers on the NEDC cycle. He also announced a Launch Edition Coupe with only 488 examples available. The coupe will produce 654 horsepower on its electric powertrain. It will be paired with a four-wheel-drive system and uses a torque vectoring system.

The overall design of the Launch Edition Coupe will depend on the customer’s taste, but it will have an engraved plaque of the car’s serial number. The coupe will enter production soon, but deliveries will begin on the second quarter of 2019.

3 Key Features of the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (5)

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, which is a midsize member in the Land Cruiser range, just got updated. It’s a far cry from the massive Toyota Land Cruiser that is being sold in other markets. For this year, as shown Tuesday during the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Land Cruiser Prado is made more refined.

Promising to bring safer tech features, the Land Cruiser Prado that made its debut at Frankfurt also received a modernized exterior and cabin.

1. Exterior

For a sharper and more modern look, the Land Cruiser Prado’s grille and headlights have been revised with the headlights’ main beams being repositioned to avoid damage from obstacles presented by off-road driving conditions. The hood and front fenders also received some treatment as they have been reprofiled to aid visibility.

The lower corners of the front and rear bumpers are now angled upwards to improve off-road maneuverability. The redesigned rear also has new lamp clusters.

2. Interior

The cabin of the Land Cruiser Prado is definitely more refined and upscale than previous generations of the Land Cruiser, thanks to the upgrade on the instrument cluster, the switchgear, and the center stack. The seats are covered in a luxurious cream-colored leather that goes well with the steering wheel wrapped in black and tan. The interior definitely spells luxury and comfort.

3. Drivetrain

The powertrains available for the Land Cruiser Prado will depend on the market you are coming from. It will be offered in either turbocharged inline-4 or V-6 engines. The inline-4 can be paired together with gasoline or diesel while the V-6 engines will be matched with gasoline only. Buyers can choose between a manual or an automatic transmission.

The safety features are the ones the Land Cruiser Prado is boasting about. The technology includes autonomous features (depending on the market), collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitor.

Expect the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado to start its deliveries this November.

2018 Porsche Cayenne To Be Revealed On August 29

2018 porsche cayenne

The debut of the much-awaited 2018 Porsche Cayenne will be on August 29. By the end of this year, it is expected to start production for a possible 2019 market release.

Why are we not surprised? It has long been rumored that there will be a 2017 introduction of the all-new Cayenne, along with some more information about the SUV’s diesel powertrains. During the debut, the 2018 Cayenne will be expected to unveil a single- or twin-turbocharged V-6 engines while a turbocharged V-8 engine will make rounds during the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Porsche will make use of Volkswagen’s highly-touted MLB platform for the 2018 Cayenne, which it will now be sharing with other VW Group products such as the 2017 Audi Q7, the Bentley Bentayga, and the 2018 Audi Q5. Luxury car Lamborghini Urus SUV is also expected to use the MLB architecture.

What’s good about the MLB platform? It offers lighter weight, improved fuel efficiency, and greater rigidity. Because of the architecture, the 2018 Cayenne is expected to shed off around 220 pounds in curb weight.

Though there are new information about the diesel powertrains that the Cayenne will come with, the development of these particular drivetrains might have to be delayed. We might not be able to see the option in the United States, but new regulations in the European market would demand for its launch. But since Volkswagen is still dealing with governments and regulators regarding the diesel scandal, Porsche would have to backtrack a bit and push the introduction of the diesel powertrain to the future.

The skyrocketing fuel prices in Europe will, of course, push Porsche to hasten the release of their vehicles’ diesel options. A Porsche source said there’s no way the Europe market would switch to gasoline cars.

In the United States, Porsche is expected to release the 2018 Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which will be able to produce 680 horsepower.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Drops Entry-Level Price To $22,860

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

Since Volkswagen released its premium crossover called the Tiguan, many have criticized it because it’s prices higher than most of its competitors and contemporaries. The German automaker announced, however, that a Limited model of the Volkswagen Tiguan will be selling for $22,860.

The Limited model is based on the previous-generation Tiguan, but will sell alongside the 2018 Tiguan that uses the MQB architecture. The 2017 Tiguan S, which was the base model, has a starting selling price of $25,860 while the new 2018 Tiguan has an even higher price tag of $26,245.

Though the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited has very basic features, it more than make up for the lower price. The 2017 Tiguan Limited model has 16-inch steel wheels, halogen headlights, 5-inch touchscreen display, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and cloth seats.

If you are not contented with these, you can upgrade it with a Premium package for $1,295. They’ll get a 6.33-inch touchscreen, VW Car-Net connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an HD radio. It also has leather steering wheel, keyless access with push-button start, roof rails, and cruise control.

Do you want a 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels? That would cost $495 more.

There is enough power to entice buyers to shell out their money for the 2017 Tiguan Limited. Power is sourced from a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that can produce 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. All the models will be paired with a six-speed transmission (the 2018 model offers an eight-speed transmission).

You should be happy to know that this new-ish model grew 10.6 inches in length and 7.3 inches in wheelbase, meaning an increased cargo space and second-row legroom. The 2018 model is much better with an improved cargo space, thanks to a third-row level.

Finishing these all up is the choice of either a front- or an all-wheel drive. This model, an alternative to the pricier Tiguan variant, will arrive soon in dealerships.

Battle Of The SUVs: Mercedes-Benz Versus Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged SUV

land rover vs mercedes-benz

There’s nothing more experts, analysts, and fans enjoy than a good old competition between the best of the best, or so we believe. German car Mercedes-Benz and British brand Land Rover have always made their marks in terms of luxury, functionality, and even performance.

For many car experts, the Land Rover Range Rover remains to be the world’s best luxury off-road utility vehicle. While there is a strong argument for that, some would say that the Mercedes-Benz is a more desirable four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle. Obviously, there are both truths to these claims based on Autoblog.

Interior

The argument goes like this: For Mercedes-Benz fans, there’s nothing like staying inside the German automaker’s luxurious SUV, where drivers and passengers will usually spend their time in. There’s a point in that, of course, as no one would stand outside an SUV ogling at it for hours in a day.

That’s pretty much a reality because everyone knows that stepping into a contemporary Mercedes-Benz SUV is a “wow” moment. The interiors have always been posh, luxurious, and exclusive. Even Mercedes’ older SUVs have a special and upscale experience, despite the fact that luxury features of yesterday cannot compare to what they are today.

Reliability and Dependability

Based on the latest Vehicle Dependability Study, which rates vehicles after they have reached three years of use, Land Rover is “average” in terms of reliability. On the other hand, the Consumer Reports and others indicate that Mercedes-Benz owners are rated second for the most-expensive repair bills on average. It sits behind BMW. Again, Land Rover was average in terms of repair needs.

Range Rover issues such as check engine lights, air suspension warnings, and the like appear randomly. In time, these issues go away on their own without the owners having to bring the Range Rover to their service centers or to a local mechanic. Mercedes, on the other hand, has to be brought to a mechanic as soon as an issue crops up. Owners also have to prepare for a massive repair bill.

8 Things You Can Expect From The 2019 Toyota RAV4

toyota rav4 7

The Toyota RAV4 is looking to claim the best-selling crossover for the Japanese brand. It has surpassed Camry in sales during the first half of 2017, so we are looking forward to what it has in store when the upgraded 2019 Toyota RAV4 finally arrives.

1. More Powerful

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is going to be powered by a four-cylinder engine though without a turbocharger. The current RAV4 can produce 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, and it is fitted with an eight-speed transmission.

2. Another Hybrid

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will be coming back to compete with the Rogue hybrid and the introduction of the CR-V Hybrid that will be arriving in US shores soon.

3. Fuel Efficient

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 promises to be more economical in terms of its use of fuel. Currently, the 2017 RAV4 is EPA-rated at 23/29-30 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 22/28 mpg with all-wheel drive.

4. TRD Sport Variant

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure introduced a Top Prep package that featured few visual upgrades, making the RAV4 Adventure different from the usual RAV4 though not that much. Toyota is trying to increase the reach of its TRD sub-brand, so we might be seeing a RAV4 TRD Sport trim or another RAV4 Adventure model.

5. Roomy Interior

You will be surprised at how much space the new RAV4 can offer you. It has one of the roomiest interiors ever seen in a crossover, though the RAV4 will begin switching to a new TNGA architecture.

6. Platinum Models

For those who want the Platinum trim, you can expect a premium experience with its rear-seat vents, panoramic glass roof, a color head-up display, and rear cross-traffic braking.

7. Driving Experience is Better

This new midsize sedan was much more improved in terms of driving and handling experience. The competition remains to be the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V.

8. No RAV4 Two-Door

There’s no way the RAV4 would have a two-door version again because Toyota doesn’t look like it would sacrifice the spaciousness we’ve come to love with the RAV4.

BMW X2 Crossover Spy Photos Released

BMW X2 (10)

Apparently, BMW is not yet done with crossovers. We have seen what they did with the X4, the X6, the X3, the X5, and even the X1. While some of us loved the lineup of crossovers from the German automaker, others felt that the brand was trying too hard to compete with US and Japanese manufacturers.

Then, came the BMW X2 crossover. BMW released spy photos of the X2 Crossover in camouflage. Remember this was previewed as a concept during last year’s Paris Auto Show? Back then, there was no excitement surrounding its design, which was actually seen as the more stylish version of the X1.

The BMW X2 was made essentially to provide the same functionality as the X4 and the X6, though the latest BMW crossover exchanged the X4’s and X6’s fastback shape for a more traditional roofline. This significantly ups the X2’s design and style. It also has a lower height and higher window line, allowing the X2 to have a more proportioned and sportier body style than the X1.

To prove its more aggressive aesthetic, the X2 will also have an angry-looking pair of headlights and BMW’s ever-popular kidney grille.

Similar to the X1, the X2 will also use BMW’s front-wheel-drive-based UKL platform. Majority of BMW’s global market will get a front-wheel-drive X2, but the United States may actually expect an all-wheel-drive for its market.

As for the power, BMW will be using a B46 turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine with an output from X1’s 228 horsepower. If you are looking for more power, the X2 might also offer an M Performance variant, which will add power, torque, and even better handling and driving experience.

We don’t have any details yet on when BMW plans to unveil the X2, but  you might be able to see it before the year ends. Maybe the Frankfurt auto show in September is a good event to launch it? Sales and distribution should begin by 2018.

Ferrari To Add Utility Vehicle To Boost Income

ferrari

Luxury sports carmaker Ferrari will soon be adding a roomy four-seat utility vehicle to its lineup to boost its profit by 2022. Ferrari expects that the utility vehicle would double its income and help the manufacturer move along from its supercar niche.

Though there is no confirmation yet from the Italian brand, the people privy to the market said that the current five-year plan under CEO Sergio Marchionne is targeting an increase to the 10,000 units annual deliveries being made. Mr Marchionne will be retiring in 2021.

One of the projects said to be part of the lineup is a four-seat utility vehicle that will be perfect for the whole family. Be careful to see this plan as a way for Ferrari to finally open its doors for an SUV. It still remains adamant that it wants to carve a separate niche from carmakers who have ventured into producing SUVs and crossovers.

The “Ferrari utility vehicle,” as it will be dubbed, will be roomier than the current two-door GTC4Lusso. The segment would target Asian market, particularly car enthusiasts in China. Experts said it could add around 2,000 units of deliveries a year in China alone.

If this will push through, Ferrari is looking at competing with the likes of Maserati, Bentley and Lamborghini, who, like Ferrari, refused to join the fray of SUVs and crossovers in the market.

There is no final word on the model, but Ferrari is working to incorporate its sporty style into this new segment.

More Hybrid Models to Come

The new business plan, which will expectedly fall under stricter environmental regulations, also detailed how Ferrari will build more hybrid cars to improve fuel efficiency and attract more buyers.

Marchionne has been receiving flak for his plan to increase Ferrari’s deliveries each year because the brand will be losing its exclusivity. However, he tames those sentiments by releasing special or limited edition cars like the $2.1-million LaFerrari Aperta convertible.

This business plan came about as the auto industry is grappling with a new world order where electrified cars are slowly becoming the norm.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan: Is It An SUV Or Something Else?

rolls-royce cullinan (1)

Rolls-Royce is coining a new term for a segment that falls somewhere between a crossover and an SUV. Called the High-Sided Vehicle, the Cullinan isn’t exactly an SUV, as Rolls pointed out. Instead, it’s a “lifted ride” with ample ground clearance, cabin space, and off-road capabilities.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan was spotted while being tested at the Nurburgring, but we don’t exactly know what to call it because categorizing it under the SUV segment would madden car enthusiasts all over the world. And yet, it isn’t a crossover exactly since that would seriously disappoint luxury car dealers because a Rolls isn’t one for off-road tracks.

Still, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Rolls is at least dabbling into developing a luxury SUV-like vehicle and sends it to the Nurburgring for testing. That makes sense. The HSV, as Rolls wants to call the Cullinan, can handle off-road challenges just like any other SUV. It would have a significant ground clearance as opposed to what we see on their luxury sedans, but it still wouldn’t be high enough to make it awkward for passengers to climb in it.

The Cullinan will be based on the platform used on the Phantom VIII, which many of you know uses a new aluminum spaceframe architecture that would make the luxury sedan lighter, stiffer, and somehow, more powerful.

For the powertrain, Rolls-Royce is planning to use BMW’s 6.75-liter V-12 engine in the Cullinan, though it’s quite possible the luxury automaker is also going to produce a plug-in hybrid variant in the future… just to make the Cullinan compliant to current eco-friendly standards.

The Cullinan is riding on an air suspension, much like the much awaited eight-generation Phantom. That would provide seamless driving experience for the driver and the passengers of this HSV.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is set to compete directly with the Bentley Bentayga once it pops in the scene sometime in 2018. No complete details have been revealed by Rolls so far.

 

3 Things To Look Forward To In The Third-Generation 2019 Acura RDX


In 2007, Acura released its first ever true crossover/SUV called the RDX. The Acura RDX came out in 2007 and got a second-generation upgrade in 2013.

When it got its eventual facelift in 2016, many fans were disappointed because of the minimal changes aesthetically. But now that Acura announced a third-generation RDX, it looks like we’re finally going to get the updates we have been craving for.

The competition is tough in this segment, and that’s why Acura has been super secretive on how the RDX will look like for this next major facelift. As for the competitors, get a load of these names: Audi Q5, the BMW X3, Land Rover Evoque, and the Mercedes GLC.

1. Exterior

The spied 2019 Acura RDX was heavily covered with a tent-like tarpaulin, so it’s hard to speculate how different this would be from the second-generation. The very secretive nature on how this was tested tells us it will be very, very different from its predecessors, and that will make Mercedes, BMW, and Audi take notice.

The photos showed that the new RDX will get the same Jewel-Eye headlights, though the unique LED strips will give a sleek-looking fascia below. The grille would probably be similar to the MDX, particularly a larger version of the diamond pentagon grille.

Acura won’t ever go extreme when it comes to the body lines department but still, expect to see a more aggressive styling than the ones on the current generation.

2. Interior

There’s going to be a revamped interior, that’s for sure, with Acura most likely going for a clean dashboard that has all the controls the driver needs—infotainment system, HVAC controls, and a few other buttons. Traditionally, Acura has been left behind in the luxurious interior department by its competitors so hopefully, it will do something radical this time around.

Some of the things we’re expecting from the new RDX are: a new center console, a redesigned shifter, an updated instrument cluster, and a new steering wheel.

3. Drivetrain

Right now, RDX packs a 3.5-liter V-6 engine for all trim levels. It produces a fair amount of power at 279 horsepower, 6,200 rpm, and 252 pound-feet of torque. For the 2019 model, Acura might have to go down to the same engine under the hood of the Honda Civic Type R—a 2.0-liter version with the same output as the V-6 engine. The only difference is that the 2.0-liter version will save more weight and be more economic.

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