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2017 Toyota Highlander Will Get Stop-Start Function


2017 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum edition. (Photo via Autoblog)

The stop-start technology is nothing new in the world of cars and SUVs. However, Toyota hasn’t introduced the feature yet in its North American vehicles. All that is about to change as the 2017 Toyota Highlander will come equipped with that system.

Simply put, the stop-start technology works by shutting off the engine of the vehicle when it is stationary. Brian Williams of Toyota explained that the integration of the function in their vehicles will allow the Highlander to have a fuel efficiency of one mile per gallon. It will also improve the EPA fuel economy of the SUV.

Even after turning off the engine, the stop-start functionally will still feed electric supply to the vehicle for at least two-minutes during a complete halt or when stopped under a traffic light. The engine is configured to be turned on by default every ignition cycle. Customers can choose to manually shut it off though with a push of a button. The auto stop-start operation is overridden too when the air conditioning unit of the auto is at a maximum or on a grade higher than eight degrees.

Williams revealed that more Toyota models will get the stop-start technology after the Highlander. However, he remained mum though about the specific models that will get it. The report claimed that the larger vehicles of the brand will most probably have it because those are the ones that could benefit more from it. The upcoming 2018 Toyota Sienna is a likely recipient of the system.

Williams estimated that around 85 percent of all 2017 Toyota Highlander SUVs will get the stop-start tech. He added eight percent of the Highlanders that will be sold to customers this year will be the LE trim while seven percent will come from the hybrid variants of the range.

Previewing The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg

2016 volkswagen touareg

Volkswagen just announced a series of updates for the 2017 edition of the Touareg SUV. The big differences can be seen in the interior details since the V6-powered midsize SUV will unfortunately remain unchanged mechanically at least.

It is renamed the Wolfsburg Edition, and includes a variety of upgrades, according to a report. The mid-level Lux trim level includes these features for 2017: a new brushed aluminum trim inside, stainless steel for the door entry sills and pedals, black headliner, standard heated and ventilated front seats, choice of all-black interior or two-tone Vienna leather seating, and contrast stitching on floor mats, steering wheel and shifter.

A Wolfsburg Edition badge is, of course, also included in the update.

For the wheels, Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition buyers can opt between the 20-inch “Tarragona” alloy wheels with a diamond-turned finish or the 20-inch “Mallory” wheels finished in all black. In terms of trim level, another one exists just below the Wolfsburg Edition—the Sport with Technology Package trim level.

For the 2017 model, the Sport with Technology Package trim level includes the following: adaptive cruise control, a lane change assist system, forward collision warning with automatic braking, park distance control, and a heated steering wheel.

If you want something more from the mid-size SUV, you can splurge on the Executive trim level, which, above all of the mentioned upgrades, adds 21-inch alloy wheels.

However, if you’re expecting some upgrades under the hood, you’ll be sorely disappointed as the 2017 Touareg will share the same powertrain as its predecessor. All Touaregs will remain powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower, and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

For now, Volkswagen has yet to release details and pricing for the 2017 Touareg, so you have to check back for that. No images have also been revealed, unfortunately, so we have to be contented with some classic renderings.

Rolls Royce’s SUV Is A Daily Car, Not A Monster Truck

rolls royce phantom prototype

There were rumors that Rolls Royce’s new 4×4 SUV was going to be a monster truck. Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. BMW’s design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said that it would be “daunting” to build an SUV for RR.

He promised in an interview though that Rolls Royce’s new 4×4 will be “a truly special car,” and that it won’t be a monster truck.

This is certainly good news for everyone who thought that RR’s Project Cullinan would be going toward the direction of building an SUV monster truck. Project Cullinan can be previewed through the Phantom prototype seen in these photos.

The “not monster truck” design has already been approved, and it will assuredly be one drivers can use as an everyday car.

Hooydonk explained that there are a lot of considerations need to be made when building a new model for RR. When the brand started, it had huge wheels that covered a lot of ground clearance because they were used by the Maharajas to travel from Europe to the Far East.

Back then, car companies have yet to categorize cars into sedans, SUVs or trucks. They were just cars, Hooydonk said. Roads back then weren’t smooth, too, so Rolls was built on that premise.

The idea for the new 4×4 is not to interpret the old Maharaja car. Rather, it will be built on the idea that RR cars were used for daily activities across rough roads.

What Hooydonk plans for the 4×4 is to completely move it away from the predicament RR has—that they are too elegant and too sophisticated to be driven. For this “SUV,” Royce wants something that drivers will want to use, instead of to look at only.

To do this, Rolls decides to sit the model on an all-new aluminum space frame structure, which is currently undergoing road testing to ensure a perfectly capable driving experience.

The result? Hooydonk hopes it’s an all-terrain SUV that is fun to drive every day, but not a monster truck, that has a likely V12 engine and the “magic carpet ride.”

Mercedes-Benz To Introduce Four Electric Vehicles By 2020

mercedes-benz glc fuel cell

Mercedes-Benz is looking at releasing four electric vehicles by the end of the year 2020. Sources said the company will be producing two sedans and two SUVs to comprise the first tranche of electronically powered vehicles Merc is looking at developing.

Each electric vehicle model will share the basic elements of models already part of Merc’s current lineup, but the company also promised that the models will have distinct designs to set them apart from their conventionally powered counterparts.

This move came on the heels of the German government’s announcement of sales subsidies for all EVs priced at less than €60,000, or $67,150 based on current exchange rate.

This German government policy is part of the bigger scheme to attract would-be buyers to consider EVs instead of gasoline- or diesel-powered engines.

Of course, such a decision from Merc can also be seen as the company’s attempt to keep up with the fast-rising EV market, something other automakers have taken advantage of in the past months. Tesla Model 3’s 370,000 orders certainly made an impact.

Merc has reportedly taken a €500 million expansion of their existing battery production facilities in Germany to prepare for their EV plans.

Although not a surprise, Merc’s move is still a welcome development. There are no details released regarding this new direction the company is taking, but R&D chief Thomas Weber hinted that the current C-Class and S-Class models, as well as the GLA and GLC SUVs, will be the templates for the four EVs planned.

In particular, the GLA-based SUV model will tap the reworked version of the MFA platform that Merc is already using on its B-Class Electric Drive, which is technically Mercedes’ first EV. The other three models, on the other hand, will probably use the evolved version of the MRA, which was developed particularly for electronic vehicles.

Spy Shots Reveal the 2017 Peugeot 3008

peugot 3008 (7)

We are now seeing the new 2016 Peugeot 3008 ahead of the September 2016 Paris Auto Show, where it is scheduled to have its world debut. For this year’s 3008, the French automaker decided to drop the minivan body style and embrace the SUV bandwagon. So, say a long and sad goodbye to the 3008 minivan because we will be seeing the last of its production run.

The second-generation 3008 looks like a better compact crossover SUV than most of the models we now see in the market. The exterior design in the spy shots appears to be based on Peugeot’s Quartz concept that was unveiled in 2014. On the other hand, its interior is probably derived from the same EMP2 platform used in the French auto’s 308 compact hatchback.

The interior is going to be upgraded as proven by the new spy shots revealed of the 3008. It will be getting a new digital instrument cluster in front of the new steering wheel, which is similar to the Peugeot 308.

The reason for the more elegant interior is Peugeot’s aim to be recognized apart from its rivals.

Reportedly, the new 3008 will have a couple of powertrain options. There’s a range of turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. In particular, the 2017 model will have the 1.2-liter three-cylinder petrol that features in the 308 SW.

However, the new 3008 will not carry the diesel hybrid, which was recently dropped from the current 3008 range. What it would probably have is the petrol plug-in hybrid.

You can opt to pair these engines with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Combine these engines and transmission choices to either a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, then you’ve got yourself quite a good crossover SUV.

Peugeot will start delivering the new 3008 in early 2017 in markets where the French brand is available.

Peugeot is looking to rival Ford Motor Company’s Kuga (sold as the Escape in the United States), the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Updated 2017 Subaru Forester Is A Bargain

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester made a name for itself in the past years, especially with the completely revised 2014 version. For next year, Forester is getting a few updates for a mere $200 on top of the current prices according to a report.

It’s a bargain from Subaru considering that the 2017 Forester is getting these slew of new features: a revised front grille, bumper, and new headlights.

Also upgraded is the EyeSight system. It now includes a Lane Keep Assist while Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Reverse Automatic Braking have become standard.

In particular, the Forester 2.0XT Touring offers an available Active Torque Vectoring system.

Basically, we can expect everything in the 2014 Forester being carried over, except it’s so much better. The engines and transmissions remain unchanged, too.

Base models still get the 2.5-liter flat-four mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which is good for 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. CVT is optional.

There’s the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four engine too that is capable of 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. If you want the turbo, you have to choose the CVT option.

Trim levels still include 2.5i, Premium, Limited, and Touring for the 2.5-liter while the more-upscale 2.0-liter turbo is adorned with the Premium and Touring trims.

In all, the new Forester is a kill in terms of performance, although you have to look pass the very generic exterior.

There are a few changes on the front end—grille, lower fascia, and the headlights with LED accents main beams. The taillights also have that C-shaped LED element to tie it together with the headlights.

On certain trim levels, there are new alloy wheel designs that contribute to the Forester’s more mature and sculpted look.

Both wheel designs have a high-contrast black and machined finish look. The 2.5i Premium models get the 17-inch wheels while the 2.0XT receives the 18-inch rollers.

The base model 2.5i starts at $22,595 while the 2.0XT Touring begins at $33,295, both including an $850 destination charge.

Choosing the CVT in either the 2.5i or 2.5i Premium costs $1,000 or $500 more, respectively. Otherwise, the CVT’s cost is included in the other 2.5i trim packages.

Spy Shots Of 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport are Out

2018 land rover range rover sport svr (2)

Spy shots revealed that Land Rover is currently working to update its Range Rover Sport for a 2018 launch. This was proven when photos were taken of the new Range Rover Sport roaming in camouflaged prototypes in Europe.

This is an upgrade car experts have been talking about for months as rumors fly around the industry of a new Range Rover Sport getting ready to wow us all. It will likely be the second-generation model’s mid-cycle update, so the changes will be minimal.

As revealed in the prototype, the model has a new bumper design and a new shape for air intakes and license plate support.

The spy shots also revealed revised grille surround and a more likely new hood, one that would probably fit the revised grille in terms of design.

So, how did we know the prototype we just saw is for the 2018 model year? The second-generation Range Rover Sport was released back in 2014. The original model had a lifespan of eight years. Assuming the second-gen model has the same lifespan, this prototype—an updated model—is just in time for a 2018 model year.

Of course, we should also take note that a 2016 Range Rover Sport was just announced, and it received a number of updates such as a new diesel-powered HSE Td6 variant and some new technologies for the cabin.

The same updates you’re currently seeing here are set to be the same ones that are going to be installed in the flagship Range Rover SUV, the current generation of which was launched a year before the second-generation Range Rover Sport.

Speaking of that, the high-performance Range Rover Sport SVR was also spotted in updated form.

More details are bound to come out as developments continue, and as Land Rover tests more of these prototypes on the road.

Source: Motor Authority

Audi To Launch 300-Mile Fully Electric SUV In 2018

audi electric suv

It’s that time of the year again when Audi starts churning out reports on deliveries—said to be 1.8 million cars in 2015 and 620,100 in the first quarter of this year)—as well as big investment plans for the future. Prospective plans will start at €3billion in property and technology in 2016.

Then, of course, there’s also news of a new car. Audi revealed it will begin launching a new EV every year starting 2018. The initial plan is to launch a sporty SUV that claims to have a range of more than 500 kilometers (310.69 miles). That’s more than what the Tesla Model S, which currently stands at a highway range of 303.2 miles, can do. That is according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

But this isn’t much of a surprise since Audi announced at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show the arrival of the E-ton Quattro Concept, which will be in production in a few months’ time. What’s even better is that the production car will be patterned perfectly after the concept, which will have two electric motors—one for each axle with a combined 503bhp.

Audi also claims it would have 4.6 secs to 62 mph, 131 mph and that 310-mile range.

Although this isn’t a surprising development, it’s still nice to see Audi keeping its word.

Audi hinted of a new A8 too, which would be one of the 20 “new or upgraded” Audis to come out this year. The A8 is going to be the first car in the brand’s history capable of “piloted driving.”

Details are not exactly out there yet, but it looks like the A8 will be able to drive itself temporarily on motorways at speeds of up to 37 mph—a technology already available in the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It remains to be seen how Audi is going to utilize this same technology on its cars.

2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR To Come Soon?

2016 jaguar f-pace svr

The 2016 Jaguar F-Pace.

Supercars cannot simply stay as they are. Customers are requiring much more in terms of performance, reliability and technology. Brands such as Porsche, Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini have all answered the call for a sporty SUV. Now, Jaguar has also heard the need for it and recently unveiled plans for the F-Pace SUV.

But rumor has it that there’s a new player in town—a V8-powered called the SVR. This is a quick turnaround for Jaguar considering it has just started production of the SUV.

If it becomes a real thing, we should see the SVR being unveiled as early as next year’s Geneva International Motor Show.

Outside, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR is expected to be more muscular than the existing crossover SUV. The front bumper would have larger intakes with a chrome accent along the lower center grille and a glossy black insert.

Although the LED-equipped headlights would remain the same, the hood would get black vents. The tail-side of the front fenders would also have vents in all-black. Other features would include a front splitter, side skirt extensions and rear diffuser.

Inside, the sporty SVR would expectedly have a luxury-laden cabin that uses high-end materials and high-tech amenities. The infotainment system would include the InControl system—navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and smartphone app support.

To control it, you would have to use the large touchscreen on the center console. There are also some buttons on the three-spoke steering wheel. Options would include new upholstery colors, plus driver’s aides like automatic braking, lane-keep assist, parking assist, and carbon fiber trim.

The current F-Pace has three options, but the SVR would naturally require more in the tune of two additional supercharged cylinders in Jaguar’s tried-and-true 5.0-liter V-8. The output levels should match the Range Rover at 542 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque.

Expect the SVR to hit 60 mph in the low four-second range with a top speed of 160 mph.

The regular F-Pace starts at $40,990 and goes up to $56,700. The SVR would most likely add $20,000 on the base model.

FJ Cruiser To End Production This August

2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota has just confirmed it will end the production of the retro-inspired FJ Cruiser this August. This is a sad news for the handful of markets that still manage to get their claws on the two-door SUV.

If you can remember, the FJ Cruiser was first introduced at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show as an off-roader inspired by Toyota’s cult classic FJ40 Land Cruiser.

Toyota has already pulled out the FJ Cruiser from North American markets about two years ago. But its sales have continued in markets that favor rugged-type SUVs such as Japan, China, Australia and the Middle East, among others.

In the United States and Canada, Toyota decided to focus on its four-door 4Runner, which has surprisingly been popular among North American consumers. The current 4Runner was launched in 2009, but it was updated for the 2014 model.

Both models, the FJ Cruiser and the 4Runner, share most of the designs and performance features—running gear and their body on-frame construction. However, they are assembled in different plants.

In most markets, the two models are priced very close to each other. But in the US, the 4Runner is generally a bit more expensive than the FJ Cruiser.

Usually, when Toyota stops a production for a car model, it first creates a special edition—kind of like a souvenir for that particular model’s fans. In particular, it did that for the high-feature Ultimate Edition offered to American consumers in 2014 before the SUV closed its market.

For the FJ Cruiser, the company has yet to announce any such plans. Of course, how ironic was it that car enthusiasts are mourning the end of the FJ’s production when it didn’t receive that much love when it was first launched.

Remember, we used to think it was a bit on the unsightly side until Toyota made some improvements on it designs?

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