Tag: hybrids

By on November 20, 2019

toyota

It seems the automotive industry has learned that the instant torque and potency potential afforded by electric motors can be a selling feature all its own, relegating the usual save-the-planet messaging to the back burner. Even the traditionally staid and sensible Toyota is getting in on the game.

Not just Toyota, but even the RAV4 — a compact and newly revamped crossover most often associated with placid nuclear families boasting at least one parent who works for the public sector. Toyota is eager to tell you that an upcoming variant, revealed this week at the L.A. Auto Show, will get you to 60 mph quicker than any RAV4 that came before.

And it’ll do so without using gas. (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2019

Image: Honda

Count Honda among the dwindling number of automakers that believe a sudden market shift to electric drive technology is little more than a pipe dream. As you read yesterday, the company’s CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, is on the record as saying, “I do not believe there will be a dramatic increase in demand for battery vehicles, and I believe this situation is true globally.”

While rival automakers like Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru have teamed up to advance their electrified ambitions, Honda chose to take it slow and go its own way. Its efforts have already born fruit, and continue to do so. Honda was the first automaker with a mass-market hybrid, but the ensuing two decades has seen the automaker temper its expectations of a fickle, gas-loving public. The brand’s product reflects its outlook.

So, how’s that product doing? (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2019

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Far be it for us to foist accolades on a modern production car, but the current-generation Lexus ES is a taut, well-behaved sedan that feels like a quality item. It’s also front-wheel drive, which might be a no-go proposition in your books.

If those rear wheels aided in propelling the ES forward, would it change the equation? Because that’s what Lexus might have in mind. It’s a big might. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2019

A slew of changes are on the way for the Honda CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh, though you might not be able to spot them from across a parking lot. For sure, there’s the obligatory tweaks to the compact CUV’s front and rear fascia, but the big news lies in its powertrain.

There’s still a choice of two propulsion sources, just not what greeted buyers for 2019. It seems Honda’s run away with the hybrid crown for too long. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

Admit it — you weren’t aware Chevrolet made a hybrid version of the midsize Malibu. You’d be forgiven for replying in the affirmative, as the variant introduced for the 2016 model year sported a profile lower than that of an SOE agent in occupied France.

And yet the Malibu Hybrid lived. But now it must die. (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2019

Image: Ford of Europe

As it restructures its European business and rejiggers its lineup for greater sales, Ford believes a new product push will reverse the trend of tepid volume. The automaker has already culled certain slow-selling products, promising more SUVs and putting much effort behind its crossoverized “Active” small car variants. Now, electricity will do the rest of the work.

The Blue Oval plans to introduce eight electrified models on the continent this year, with nine more arriving by 2024. Within a few years, Ford predicts sales of purely gas and diesel models will take a backseat to its green offerings. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2019

2019 Lexus ES 300h

Automotive journalists have long labeled the Lexus ES, and especially the hybrid version, as “boring.”

Count me among that number.

To its credit, Lexus has worked to remedy that reputation. The current-gen ES is still no sex machine or thrilling sports ride, but it’s more engaging than before without sacrificing the isolating comfort Lexus is known for. A new F Sport model does provide a bit more pizzazz, but even the fuel-saving hybrid is less of a snooze-fest than before.

I got my hands on one in North Carolina earlier this year, just to get a sense of how much less yawn-inducing it is than before.

(Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Image: Lincoln

Got your eye on Lincoln’s upcoming Aviator? You’ll be pleased to learn the brand’s premium midsize crossover will enter your driveway with more bragging rights than previously thought. Specifically, more power for the same price.

As Lincoln doles out a small fleet of 2020 Aviators to a cabal of shrimp-loving auto scribes, the provided spec sheet held a surprise. The model’s certified power figures are not the same figures listed during the Aviator’s 2018 LA Auto Show reveal. (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2019

Nissan announces U.S. pricing for 2018 Rogue Hybrid

It was a vehicle seen as barely there. Something of a ghost, really, given how unlikely a person was to actually spy one with their own eyes.

The Nissan Rogue Hybrid.

Last year, we told you that the well-camouflaged Rogue Hybrid had not disappeared — after showing up for 2017, the automaker briefly vanished it in order to incorporate mid-2018 updates bound for the Rogue model line. Well, we’re now here to tell you the Rogue Hybrid will disappear for a much longer period of time. (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2019

ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to supply Fiat Chrysler with its second-largest order to date. While top honors belong to BMW, FCA will be using the same eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced for the Bavarian-based applications. “Optimized for electrification” as per ZF’s press announcement, the gearboxes are designed for longitudinally mounted engines ⁠— including those utilizing hybrid systems.  (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2019

fca

Fiat Chrysler is no stranger to paying the piper when it comes to its less-than-stellar fleetwide emissions, with steep fines and pricey regularly credit deals keeping the automaker’s accountants busy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some sort of relief is on the way in the form of a $10 billion electrification plan, the results of which will see 17 electrified (electric, plug-in hybrid) models enter the fray by 2022. That’s the intent, anyway. To give the looming crop of green Fiats and Jeeps a better chance of success, FCA has partnered with a pair of European utilities — providing customers with a way of fueling their vehicles. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2019

Car manufacturers don’t always strike a chord with consumers, and even studious brand Lexus is not immune from model flops. Back in 2012, the company offered three compact vehicles nobody wanted.

Today you’ll select one to take home for keeps, whether you like it or not.

(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

Despite the recent development of a high-MPG, low-emission gasoline four-cylinder, Mazda’s future depends on lowering its emissions footprint even further. With regulators — especially those in Europe — backing ever more stringent environmental standards, Mazda hopes to avoid Fiat Chrysler-like penalties by adding a product at odds with the brand’s heritage. An electric vehicle.

With the help of its partners, Mazda’s new EV will make an appearance next year, followed up with a crop of plug-in hybrids buyers are more likely to take home. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2019

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e blue - Image: Toyota

The proliferation of hybrid vehicles has relegated the venerable, once-dominant Toyota Prius to a lesser plane of influence. This isn’t breaking news, as Toyota has seen the volume of its Prius family slide since 2012, falling below the six-figure mark last year for the first time in 14 years. Volume in 2018 was less than half of the number sold just six years earlier.

Still, the model’s decline stings. As May sales numbers roll in, the former darling of the green crowd finds itself outpaced even by a Ford sedan with no future. (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2019

On Wednesday, Ferrari introduced the SF90 Stradale — the Italian marque’s first plug-in hybrid.

The car, which represents a changing of the guard for exotics, starts with an F154 V8 engine that the company claims has been worked over to a point where it can no longer be directly compared to the exiting architecture. While the twin-turbo V8 produces 769 horsepower by itself, three electric motors lend a further 216 ponies, making for an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a grand total of 986 hp.  (Read More…)

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