Tag: hybrids

By on March 22, 2017

2017_toyota_prius_prime_premium_014_8d5a6573abb048f9ab660135c367b951ccab9f15

Can a hybrid vehicle really shine when there’s a plug-in sibling hogging both the spotlight and the technological podium? For some automakers new to the game, time will tell. But at Toyota, which first made “hybrid” a household word, it seems the introduction of a new Prius variant has tentatively confirmed doubts about the viability of the stock Prius.

We’ll gain better perspective as 2017 plays out, but so far, it’s looking like the Prius Prime plug-in is doing well, and the Prius is maintaining the status quo. Which is to say, it’s not doing well. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2017

2017 hyundai ioniq hybrid

At 30,000 feet above Nebraska, a man who could generously be described as severely corpulent had finally reached the level of personal solace required to allow his mass to spill out of seat 27D and into my own. It was another 1,500 miles to New York, and I could already feel the damp warmth of his body begin to encompass my left side as his sweat began seeping through his pants’ cotton-nylon blend and into my dark denim. Hyundai had invited me out for the introductory press event for its new hybrid/EV five-door, the Ioniq, and I desperately wished I was back in California braving unseasonably heavy rains on low rolling resistance tires as some overfed stranger’s lap oozed across my thigh.

I would have given practically anything to be back behind the wheel of one of Hyundai’s demo cars — not because the Ioniq was the pinnacle of automotive excellence, but because, a day earlier, the company claimed the hybrid version could make the entire transcontinental journey for roughly $100. I’d have gladly paid the Benjamin and spent four headache-free days on the road to avoid four of the most emotionally traumatic hours of my life.

While saying that Hyundai’s new green machines are little more than a preferable alternative to being smothered by middle-aged flesh isn’t the highest praise, I can also say that the Ioniq Electric, Hybrid, and Plug-in Hybrid are all superlatively serviceable — surpassing expectations without ever becoming a sensation. This is adequacy at its most acceptable(Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum - Image: Toyota

For far too long, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has been an especially costly version of Toyota’s popular three-row crossover.

Fortunately, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid’s base price drops by $11,600 in 2017 as Toyota introduces two additional lower trim levels, which have eased the cost burden of upgrading to the hybrid. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2017

2018 Lexus LS

The next-generation Lexus LS flagship’s top-to-bottom revamp took some fans by surprise when it was revealed ahead of the Detroit auto show. Not only did it do away with a formal roofline, a V8 engine — which has powered the model since its inception — was no where to be found, replaced by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6.

It appeared as if convention wasn’t the only thing Lexus planned to ditch, as a hybrid model was neither announced, nor teased. As it turns out, Lexus did tease an upcoming hybrid variant — we just needed to look closer. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

SLS AMG Electric rear

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance AMG division, and the company decided to celebrate by offering a new Anniversary Edition GT Coupe and letting slip that it will build electric vehicles in the future.

While Mercedes-Benz formerly provided an extremely limited-production SLS AMG Electric Drive in 2014, that EV’s restricted functionality and stratospheric price tag left the impression that the technology wasn’t yet ready. The juiced SLS turned out to be more of an experiment than anything but, now that the experiment is over, it sounds like they’ll be taking a serious stab at electrified AMGs.  (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

2017 Ford Mustang - Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company announced today that it is committing itself fully to the development of electric vehicles, including a hybridized Mustang and F-150 pickup, a small electric crossover, and a fully-autonomous hybrid unit. Company CEO Mark Fields expressed his faith in the future of electric cars and Ford’s intention of bringing 13 new electrified models to the global market within the next five years.

“The era of the electric vehicle is dawning and we at Ford plan to be a leader in this exciting future,” Fields said. “Leading in electrification, in autonomy, and also connectivity are critical as we expand to be both an auto and a mobility company.”  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2016

2017 Mazda CX-5 soul red crystal - Image: Mazda USA

Mazda has big aspirations for the future. However, its immediate plans don’t appear to include a successor to the RX-8, despite Mazda’s continued development on its trademark rotary engine and other conflicting information.

Instead, CEO Masamichi Kogai says the company is going to focus on its push upmarket while diversifying powertrains and cementing itself as the sporting choice over its rivals. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

2017 chrysler pacifica hybrid

The Pacifica Hybrid started production today at Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant, alongside the venerable Dodge Grand Caravan and plain-Jane gas-powered Pacifica. It’s North America’s first-ever hybrid minivan and, thanks to that technology, also the most economical.

But will it bolster the segment and restore the minivan’s faded glory in these uncertain times?  (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2016

Volkswagen Atlas, Image: © 2016 Seth Parks/The Truth About Cars

The journey Volkswagen’s uber-American midsize crossover took between CrossBlue concept and Atlas production model was a long one, but it isn’t over.

Though production begins next month in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the model created in the hopes of tapping America’s utility vehicle addiction leaves many questions about its future unanswered. (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius TouringIt’s an all-new version of a car that generally finds 140,000 U.S. buyers per year. But the Toyota Prius is quickly fading from the American mainstream.

There’s no doubt that hybrids, in a general sense, are struggling. Combined sales of hybrids and plug-in hybrids are down 6 percent in the United States this year, according to HybridCars.com.

But the Toyota Prius — the all-new, fourth-generation version of the sector’s progenitor —  is fading at double speed. Despite its newness and its vast objective improvements, Prius sales are down 12 percent this year.

And October was way, way, way worse than that. Much worse.  (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2016

Nissan Note e-power

Nissan has created a strange new backwards working hybrid powerplant that includes an internal combustion engine but doesn’t use it to drive the wheels at all.

It’s called e-Power, it’s going to be in the Japanese-market Note first, and it’s essentially a Nissan Leaf that you don’t ever plug in. It also keeps the oil companies somewhat happy. Allow me to explain…

(Read More…)

By on November 2, 2016

2016 Mazda 3 sedan

Mazda loves its Skyactiv engine technology, as the high-compression fuel-sippers eliminate the automaker’s need for pricey hybrids or battery electric vehicles.

Boasting an increasingly rare all-gas U.S. fleet, Mazda has said it can handle increasingly stringent fuel economy requirements with improved second-generation Skyactiv engines, including their diesel variants.

It now looks like that plan won’t be enough. (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2016

GM Onstar Plus

General Motors is teaming up with IBM to implement Watson’s artificial intelligence so that it can advertise while you are trying to drive. Your dashboard is about to become a billboard.

That, Uber delivers a truckload of beer using a self-driving vehicle, Mini’s Countryman gains size and compatibility with electricity, and Hyundai’s earnings tank… after the break!

(Read More…)

By on October 20, 2016

lynk 01

New car brands don’t come around every day, and when they do, they never launch with a real, honest-to-God, physical car at the ready. I should say “almost never,” as Chinese automaker Geely’s collaboration with Volvo has already yielded automotive fruit.

That comes as a relief after the company told us to “think beyond the car.” Sure, Lynk & Co’s marketing hype is still omnipresent, but now there is something tangible to attach it to. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2016

MINI Hybrid Countryman

Mini has revealed what form its new hybrid will take.

That, the e-tron name lives on in Audi’s first dedicated electric SUV, Unifor squares off with Ford, and hype man Elon Musk reschedules his alleged big announcement … after the break! (Read More…)

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