Mazda Teases Upcoming Three-Row CX-90

Mazda is moving to new platforms and engines for its latest SUVs, and the automaker just teased the upcoming CX-90 three-row. 

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That Stings: 2023 Dodge Hornet

The self-proclaimed muscle car brand is finally dipping a toe into the ultra-hot (and ultra-competitive) compact crossover market. It will launch as a 2023 model – the first new Dodge in recent memory, it should be noted – with the choice of a gasoline powerplant or a plug-in hybrid. 


And as part of the festivities, Dodge is bringing back a trio of consonants from their history books: GLH.


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Dodge Hornet to Debut This Summer, Maybe

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has effectively indicated that the brand will be rebadging Alfa Romeo Tonale to better tackle the subcompact crossover segment. Called the Hornet, the vehicle harkens back to the miniature MPV (pictured) that debuted back in 2006 of the same name. At the time, the plan was for Dodge to release the model in Europe in 2010. However, the financial crisis forced Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to restructure, with the boxy hornet Hornet being one of several casualties.

The concept has since been revised, with Kuniskis confirming the vehicle’s summer debut with The Detroit News. While the CEO said the company would like to introduce the model in August between the Dodge-sponsored Roadkill Nights and Michigan’s annual Woodward Dream Cruise, he noted that supply chain disruptions could force a revised timeline.

“This gray hair that I’m getting? It’s not COVID, it’s not lockdowns, it’s supply chain, man,” Kuniskis said during a virtual news conference. “But every single thing we’re doing is like in Jell-O right now, because it’s so hard to plan anything.” At this point, it’s getting hard to drum up sympathy for the industry. People are paying out the nose for vehicles because of the automotive sector’s collective inability to manufacture at scale. Granted, not every setback can be pinned on the manufacturer. But we’re over two years deep into constant disruptions, relentless product delays, and dealerships robbing people blind with very few tangible solutions being offered. Though even if Dodge continues having problems, you may still be able to nab something closely related to the Hornet. Alfa Romeo has already revealed the Tonale and it looks as though Stellantis plans on using it as the template for the similarly small Dodge. From The Detroit News:

He declined to confirm where the vehicle will be built, but it’s set to be assembled alongside the Alfa Romeo Tonale at Stellantis’ plant in Pomigliano, Italy, according to AutoForecast Solutions LLC. In February, Alfa revealed the four-door Tonale, its first subcompact SUV that launches in June with deliveries to the United States expected to arrive before the end of the year. It comes standard with a gas-powered 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, but also is available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with 272 horsepower from twin electric motors mated to a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine.

Previously, the Hornet was a concept, two-door small SUV that Dodge revealed in 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show. The brand at the time said it combined American attitude with European function. Dodge trademarked the name for passenger vehicles in March 2020.

The upcoming Hornet is also said to come with a PHEV option, which Kuniskis suggested could launch in 2023. Expect it to be more-or-less identical to Alfa’s crossover with fewer creature comforts and a slightly lower price tag.

“The Dodge brand needs something,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions. “They can’t survive the brand on muscle cars. Making a fun-to-drive compact crossover fits into the Dodge brand.”

“You kind of have to move up a price class to get to the real fun-to-drive ones,” he continued. “If it’s under $30,000, it’s usually packaged and sold as transportation, lifestyle vehicles with price being key and fun-to-drive being secondary. It could potentially break open a market for Dodge, especially if they can keep the price low enough.”

Dodge is also supposed to be launching an all-electric performance car the company has cringingly dubbed “eMuscle” in 2024 with its planned debut preceding the Hornet introduction. Mr. Kuniskis suggested this could also be delayed, however. Apparently, the manufacturer is waiting on an important piece he said was “outside of my control, it’s outside our industry, quite frankly” before the car should be shown.

“I’m pushing to get it in the public view and show you what we’re doing and how we’re doing it different as fast as I can,” he said. “Because it drives me crazy that other people are way out in front of their headlights, and I’m not.”

Kuniskis also issued an ominous warning to dealerships and the aftermarket community after musing about electrification and evolving business models.

“There’s a change going on in the industry that’s going to affect our retail partners, our dealers, our partners in this business, and when we go to full electrification across the industry, they’re going to lose a revenue stream that they have today,” he elaborated. “They’re going to see a decrease in revenue and parts and service and maintenance. That’s just a fact.”

The Detroit News also made mention of the stage kits from the Direct Connection performance parts program Dodge had relaunched to sell certified, factory warranty-backed modifications to boost the power on Dodge vehicles when installed by a dealership. Guess what? They’re delayed, too. Though this was a combination of the absent semiconductors and approval by the California Air Resources Board so they can be sold in all 50 states.

[Image: Dodge]

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NYIAS: 2023 Kia Niro Previewed for U.S. Market

After its debut at the 2021 Seoul Mobility Show, Kia has prepped the second-generation Niro crossover for the New York International Auto Show and indicated that the model will retain its extra-bold styling for the U.S. market.

Directly inspired by the 2019 HabaNiro concept, Kia’s compact crossover features a fat C-pillar in a contrasting color. The low-hanging headlamps have also been pushed out to the side, giving off some faint Telluride vibes. Aspects of the Soul are also present, though that’s likely down to the model sharing some of its aesthetics with the HabaNiro. Kia seems the most pleased with its upgraded powertrain roster, however.

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2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale: Delayed But Drawing Nearer

Delayed by the semiconductor deficit, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is here and nearly ready for production.

It’s gone through some subtle changes since its 2019 debut at the Geneva Motor Show. But the Tonale, which I recently learned isn’t Italian for toenail, has remained true to the concept. The traditional Alfa grille has been retained while the razor-thin headlights have been widened slightly to make the signature LED elements more visible. But it’s otherwise indistinguishable from the concept without popping the hood or examining the non-fungible token (NFT) that comes with the car.

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Rumor Mill: Jeep Gladiator 4xe Could Be Delayed to 2024

If you’re an off-road fan looking to plunk money down on an electrified Jeep with an open pickup bed, you might be hanging onto your cash longer than anticipated. Despite the brand heavily hinting at its existence during presentations earlier this year, rumors have cropped up that the Gladiator 4xe may have been pushed to the back burner in favor of other, more pressing projects.

Like updating the Wrangler to better compete with the Bronco, for instance.

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Do You Care? Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV New for 2022

Let’s assume you’re lost and have made your way to a Mitsubishi dealership to make an emergency phone call and use the bathroom. Suddenly, the urge to buy a hybrid SUV overtakes you and you involuntarily find yourself asking a salesperson to direct you to the nearest model. They have several available and walk you over to the Outlanders, where they totally bypass the new models to show you the previous-generation PHEV.

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Lamborgreeni: Italian Automaker to Become Electric Only by 2024

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann announced on Tuesday that the Italo-German supercar brand will officially be transitioning to electric vehicles, with the last traditional internal combustion model coming before 2024.

But these kinds of proclamations rarely adhere to observable reality, otherwise, we’d all be riding around in flying cars that can navigate autonomously. What Lamborghini is really promising is an intent to abandon models that rely exclusively on combustible fuels while it builds a bunch of them in the interim. It’s kind of like saying you’re going on a diet next month and gorging yourself on chocolate cake as you brag to your friends about how healthy you’re about to become.

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2022 Mazda MX-30 EV Arrives in California This Fall, Rotary PHEV to Follow

Mazda’s first electric vehicle will arrive in the United States later this year, though technically it’s just going to be California while the manufacturer considers the viability of selling to regions beyond the West Coast. The rollout makes sense as America’s 31st state has been hungrier for electric vehicles than other parts of the country.

But the 2022 MX-30 will only begin its life here as a battery-powered product. Mazda has said it’s also planning to sell a plug-in-hybrid version of the crossover equipped with a gasoline-dependent rotary engine/generator sometime in 2022, making it something that might be able to stand on its own in areas where the distance between charging points makes owning a pure EV unpalatable.

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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Fails the Moose Test in Dramatic Fashion

Sweden’s evasive maneuver test, better known as the moose test, is a brutal simulation of what might happen if your lane was suddenly occupied by a giant mammal and you had to get out of the way in a hurry or prepare yourself to become one with the animal. It also happens to be one of the hardest automotive tests to pass, with a long list of models failing to stay on course at highway speeds. In fact, the whole point of the test is to see how fast a vehicle can run the brief gauntlet without running over traffic cones or flipping itself over.

As a result, the cars that typically perform the best tend to be lightweight road huggers with above-average factory rubber. Meanwhile, crossovers and pickups have had particularly poor showings — with Toyota’s RAV4 embarrassing itself rather badly in 2019 after Stockholm’s Teknikens Värld (one of the European publications that made the test world-famous) showed its stability management system was ill-equipped to handle the course. While Toyota went out of its way to remedy the issue with a software update in Europe, recent testing showed the RAV4 PHEV was back to its old tricks… or lack thereof.

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McLaren's Planned Plug-in Will Be Named Artura

McLaren Automotive has decided on a name for its upcoming plug-in hybrid. But we know you don’t care much about premium automobiles reserved for people with more money than sense, so we’ll keep this one brief.

Formerly referred to as the P16, McLaren’s new PHEV will be called the Artura. The name, which is of Celtic origin, is supposed to denote nobility. While we cannot say for sure, the brand may be dropping hints as to the type of customers it’s targeting — because the model will no doubt come with a princely sum.

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Jeep Easing Electrification Into Japanese Market, World to Follow

One of the main reasons Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is partnering with PSA Group is to help soften the financial blows of battery development, we literally just talked about it. But the French automaker has its own reasons for wanting to get into bed with the FCA, namely its rather diverse list of subsidiaries — with Jeep occupying spot número uno.

Despite being offensively American to some, Jeep is the sixth most-popular nameplate in the United States. It also happens to be world-renowned as an off-road brand and had made strong inroads in places you’d never expect. This has forced the brand to rethink its global appeal, requiring Fiat Chrysler to issue some market-specific models like China’s Jeep Commander PHEV and the Renegade 4xe — the latter of which is already sold in Europe and slated to launch this November in Japan. But these models are only the tip of the iceberg as FCA intends on meeting ever-tightening emissions regulations in major markets that aren’t the United States.

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2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe: Over Hill and Dale, Silently

Eager to steal some thunder from Ford’s returning Bronco, Jeep pulled the wraps off its upcoming Wrangler 4xe Thursday, revealing an off-roader that might be able to handle your commute without consuming a drop of gas. Oh, and you could probably cruise quietly through some sort of wilderness terrain, too.

Mating a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors, the Wrangler 4xe is said to be able to deliver up to 25 miles of all-electric driving.

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Plug-in Jeep Wrangler Gets an Arrival Date

Overshadowed lately by a brace of upcoming full-size SUV stablemates, to say nothing of its reborn Ford Bronco rival, the plug-in Jeep Wrangler remains the next big introduction for the off-road brand.

Teased on and off throughout the year, the Wrangler plug-in hybrid, known officially as the Wrangler 4xe (a moniker greeting all hybridized Jeeps), has appeared with an arrival date in tow. Best to get this introduction out of the way before a busy 2021.

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Ferrari's First PHEV Delayed

You’ll be crushed to learn that Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale has been delayed on account of the pandemic.

By nature of being the brand’s very first plug-in hybrid, the SF90 is incredibly complex. The model relies on a trio of electric motors working in tandem with its turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 to achieve a maximum output of 986 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. Electrification also requires the Stradale to have a small, 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, regenerative brakes and a totally new 8-speed transmission.

The grocery list of essential (and novel) items turned out to be problematic as supply chains were disrupted the world over by coronavirus-related lockdowns. Originally scheduled for delivery this summer, the SF90 is being pushed back to the end of the year as Ferrari waits for idled supply chains to catch up. The manufacturer admitted that its own shutdowns haven’t helped it get out the door any faster.

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  • Jeff S Arthur and I might be in the minority but we miss cars like this. We will never see cars like this again and it is what it is. I did like driving my mothers 72 Sedan Deville and her 84 Chrysler 5th Avenue with leather interior and Boise Dolby stereo along with some of the other luxury cars I drove from this era. At least I got to experience them and if I want more I can always read Corey's well written articles and watch Adam on Rare Classic Cars.
  • ToolGuy "Idle," or "Shutter"? Let's don't get completely lazy.
  • Jeff S Might not matter during car shortages. I have a Costco and Sam's membership which I thought about using for buying a vehicle but when the Maverick order banks opened up in June 2021 I went online to built my own Maverick and still had to go to the dealer to order it. With vehicle shortages you might still have to go to the dealer to order but it might be worth it to try to use Costco if you know what you want and are not too picky about colors and options to see what is available now especially if you don't want to wait for a vehicle. I doubt in today's environment that you would save a lot on the purchase of a new vehicle especially since many dealers are adding adjustments to market prices on top of msrp.
  • ToolGuy "adjustable regenerative braking"Yes, please and thank you.
  • MaintenanceCosts This truck could go plenty farther (assuming good basic maintenance) but the price:remaining life ratio still makes me gag a bit. The used truck market remains overheated and the price is probably market correct, but these are the sort of prices that would make me prefer to buy a new truck if I could afford it.