BMW Shows Off the EV i4 and iX, Ford is About to Unveil a Hybrid Compact Pickup, and Toyota Introduced Another Small SUV
Remember the BMW i3? It’s a quirky little EV from BMW that looks like the automaker just put a concept car on the road and told the world to deal with it. It’s wonderful and weird and totally underpowered for America’s vast highway system overflowing with large SUVs and mighty pickups.
Well BMW is back with two new (and larger) EVs, the i4 sedan and the iX SUV. Both will be available at the beginning of next year and both will target a range of 300 miles. But just take my word for it, watch a video of me saying important car things.
Ford’s next pickup will be compact and hybrid and have a car’s name
A long time ago (the 70s) there was the Ford Maverick. It was a compact car and pretty much for the crowd that couldn’t afford a Mustang. Pour some motor oil onto the curb for the Ford Maverick. Actually don’t do that. That’s a very bad idea.
Well, Ford’s not a company to waste a good name, the Maverick moniker has returned, and now it’s a small pickup. The automaker will do a proper reveal of the new pickup on June 8 but while we wait, it released a teaser video where the hybrid logo is right there in the left-hand corner of the tailgate. The tinier-than-a-F-150 pickup will battle it out in the market with the Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline. Both of which are pretty great pickups. It’ll also have to contend with the upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz, yeah Hyundai is also making a truck because America loves trucks. USA USA USA!
Toyota introduced another small SUV
Oh, also America loves its small SUVs. USA and all that. Toyota unveiled the Corolla Cross this week. A compact SUV that’ll slot itself between the compact C-HR and the RAV4. Was the market looking for a Toyota between those two SUVs? The automaker seems to think to believe that’s the case. Of course, they also released the Venza SUV a while back that’s essentially just a slightly fancier RAV4 with less room. The automaker didn’t announce pricing but it’ll likely start at about $25,000 with optional AWD costing a few thousand more. It’ll roll with a 2.0-liter inline-four engine with 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The automaker excepts an MPG of 32 which is pretty nice if you’re into not burning through too many dinosaurs while cruising to work.
Essentially it’s a tall Corolla which maybe makes the RAV4 a tall Camry? Who knows, maybe? All that matters is that this vehicle will either cannibalize Corolla sales or eat into C-HR sales. Or maybe America’s lust for the compact SUV will make all of Toyota’s sport utility vehicles winners.
More Toyota SUV news, but this time with electrons
In addition to populating the world with SUVs, Toyota also once again showed off an electric concept vehicle that happens to be… an SUV. The bZ4X BEV Concept got some time in the news, again. No real information was shared other than more information will be shared closer to production. Ok, we do know that it’ll roughly be the same size as the RAV4 (or Venza if you’re paying attention to Toyota’s growing lineup of SUVs) and will go into production in 2022.
If it’s as nice as the RAV4, Toyota has a winner on its hands and we’ll finally have an electric Toyota on our shores.
Ok, one more bit of Toyota news: The likely very awesome 2022 BRZ, I mean GR 86
If you love driving, the Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ fraternal sports-coupe twins have long been the go vehicles for folks too tall for the Miata. This week, Toyota released details about the 2022 Toyota GR 86 which surprise, are the same as the recently launched Subaru BRZ. No seriously, they’re essentially the same car with slightly different exterior designs.
With rear-wheel drive (awesome) and a manual transmission (super awesome), GR 86 will ship with a 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine that’s larger than the previous generation GR 86 and outputs 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. So yeah, more power than the previous generation but also identical to the offering from Subaru.
The BRZ/GR 86 sport coupes have been excellent driver’s machines for years and I’m not just saying that because I own one. Anywho, I expect this version to be just as fun to drive until Toyota turns it into an SUV.
Fiat is going electric, again
The best Fiat of the past decade was the Fiat 500e electric vehicle. Anyone that’s driven the Fiat lineup knows I’m right or at least is trying to come up with an argument that the 124 Spider is better. Let’s just agree to disagree on that one.
Well according to a lot of European news outlets, the Fiat brand is going all-electric between 2025 and 2030. So that’s rad. What’s less rad is we’re not really sure if any of these vehicles will make their way to the United States. I mean look at the Centoventi concept. Look at it! Bring it to America Fiat. We promise no more “fix it again Tony” jokes.
I dare you not to fall in love.
After joining forces with Peugeot to form the mighty European Voltron (the legs are based in America because of Chrysler) of automakers called Stelantis, Fiat went from an automaker that wasn’t too keen on going electric, to becoming part of a larger company that’s all about the future of transportation being powered by batteries. That future is also bad news for Tesla since FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) bought a lot of EV credits from Musk’s company which helped Tesla post profits. Stelantis, as a whole, plans to stop doing that and that could hurt Tesla at least in the short run.
But seriously, bring the Centoventi to the United States.
Nissan’s Ariya EV falls victim to the chip shortage
Nissan’s upcoming EV SUV, the Ariya is the latest victim of COVID and the chip shortage that’s dropped a giant monkey wrench into vehicle production. Originally slated to go on sale in mid-2021 in Japan, the vehicle will now show up in the winter of this year on the island nation with European and US sales following two months later. That sounds like a February thru April timeline to me. The Ariya will likely start around $40,000 and will join the Nissan Leaf in the automaker's EV lineup.
Kawasaki is doing all the green things
Motorcycle maker Kawasaki isn’t just bringing an electric bike to market, it’s apparently also working on hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell bikes. You know, to cover all the green bases.
The bikemaker is already testing an electric bike that’s codenamed Endeavor that will likely ship with a four-speed manual transmission (crazy right!) and roughly the same power as a 400cc motorcycle.
The EV motorcycle would enter the market against the Harley Davidson Livewire and a whole host of EV bike offerings from Zero Motorcycles. Electric bikes are fun, throwing a transmission on one seems funner (is funner a word?).
As for the hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell bikes, other than a mention in a presentation by the company’s owner and a hybrid concept shown off last year, we don’t have too much information. So let’s not hold our breath on these making it to market just yet.