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Volkswagen introduced the Modular Electric Drive System (MEB) at the end of 2019 with the arrival of the ID.3. Since then VW has unveiled other EVs, like the ID.4 and ID. Buzz, which are also based on the same platform. But now VW has announced the next-generation MEB platform, called MEB+.

Volkswagen ID. Buzz

The new MEB+ platform will offer longer driving ranges, faster charging times and automated driving capabilities. VW says that the MEB+ platform has a driving range up to 700 km or about 435 miles. The charging times will also improve, which will be rated up to 200 kilowatts. The platform will also use VW’s new unit cell batteries.

VW plans to launch 10 new models on its MEB platform by 2026, which includes a new entry-level model.



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General Motors has unveiled several new EVs over the past year and with the arrival of more electric vehicles on the road, there have been questions if the existing charging infrastructure will be able to support them. Well GM knows that there still aren’t enough charging stations, which is why it has announced plans to install 40,000 Level 2 chargers across the U.S. and Canada.

2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV 3LT

Last year GM announced the Dealer Community Charging Program, which includes working with dealers to expand charging access in communities, including underserved rural and urban areas where EV charging is often limited or non-existent. Participating dealers are eligible to receive up to 10 19.2-kilowatt Level 2 charging stations.

The program will eventually see the installation of 40,000 Level 2 chargers, nearly doubling the number of chargers available. They will also be able to be used by all EVs.

“Nearly 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a GM dealership. Our dealers are deeply involved and trusted in their communities and are well positioned to determine locations that expand access to EV charging, including at small businesses, entertainment venues, schools and other popular destinations,” said Hoss Hassani, vice president of GM EV Ecosystem. “Our dealers are an important enabler of our all-electric future and in many cases will be the catalyst for EV adoption in communities that would otherwise have limited EV infrastructure. Combined with their exceptional ability to service EV drivers across North America, our dealers are now helping to make charging possible across much of the continent.”

Nearly 1,000 GM dealers have enrolled  in the program, which represents almost a quarter of all GM dealers in North America. The program initially opened to Chevrolet dealers earlier this year and will expand to Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in January 2023.



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The Honda HR-V shows that family life can be charming, even on a budget. The HR-V epitomizes the crossover segment by straddling the style difference between a hatchback and SUV, while prioritizing  affordability. The small crossover competes against the Volkswagen Taos, Subaru Crosstrek, and Hyundai Venue. For 2023, the second-generation HR-V grows into a space once occupied by the CR-V in all but height. There’s something about its roofline and profile that says hatchback much more loudly than SUV.

2023 Honda HR-V Review

There’s no bold statement here; it’s charming and uncluttered. The profile and proportions of the HR-V blend into the sea of small crossovers, but small details flaunt the HRV’s charm. For that, we rate both the exterior and interior styling a step above the norm. The HR-V sheds the gawky, creased look of the outgoing model, in favor of a design that’s cleaner and visually lower, thanks to the long hood and mostly car-like proportions. It reflects design elements elsewhere in the Honda stable, such as a roofline like the new Acura MDX, and tail lights shared with the forthcoming CR-V.

Each trim level does the design details a little bit different. Sport models have a blacked-out look, plus black 18-inch wheels. Base LX and top-trim EX-L models get 17-inch gunmetal wheels and a honeycomb look to the grille. Some of the details borrowed from the HR-V’s distant Honda E cousin overseas, like the round of the hatch, help the design pop.

The HR-V won’t satisfy speed freaks, but its ride and handling take the edge off the daily grind. The HR-V isn’t all that quick or fast, but it makes up for that with exceptionally well-tuned ride, handling, and braking attributes, and all the sensory pieces that go along with it. The HR-V is front-wheel-drive by default, but for $1,500 extra its all-wheel-drive setup employs hydraulics to operate a clutch and direct nearly half of torque to the rear wheels when needed. At 3,333 pounds, the top HR-V weighs about the same as a base CR-V. So what the HR-V has under the hood is adequate but it never feels frisky.

Like decades of Honda non-turbo inline-4s before it, the 158-hp, 2.0-liter is a smooth but vocal engine when pressed into its upper reaches to extract the most acceleration. The engine and CVT aren’t a great pair for drivability. In ‘D’ the CVT tries to keep the revs as low as possible, which regularly leaves the engine feeling winded, waiting for a “downshift” to lower ratios. Push harder and the CVT accesses ratios that mimic those of a traditional automatic transmission. Shift to ‘S’ and the CVT makes more of those ratios, improving on drivability in case of hills and curves.

Core underpinnings for the HR-V are borrowed from the Civic and the CR-V, but it drives far more like a somewhat higher-riding, more softly sprung Civic, a Civic Outback, if you will. But compared to the Subaru Crosstrek, the HR-V is a wonderfully refined machine on the road. Honda borrowed the CR-V’s rear floating subframe and independent multi-link suspension layout. With steering stability specially tuned for this vehicle it amounts to a very confident feel around tight corners and over harsh pavement surfaces or on gravel roads. There’s no dedicated off-road mode here, but Snow mode allows more slip from the stability system and distributes torque a little more evenly by default. There’s also a descent control setting for helping control a low-speed crawl down a steep trail.

2023 Honda HR-V Review

Efficiency is no hallmark here. All-wheel-drive versions of the HR-V are rated 25 mpg city, 30 highway, 27 combined, and front-wheel-drive versions get ratings of 26/32/28 mpg. Not only is it less efficient than rivals, it’s 2 mpg lower than last year’s HR-V, and lower than Honda’s larger CR-V. That said, we did better than the HR-V’s official figures, averaging around 30 mpg in a range of rapid road-trip conditions. Those seeking to make the most of HR-V efficiency can select the Econ mode, which softens accelerator and shift behavior somewhat and sends the climate control system into a somewhat more efficient mode.

The HR-V borrows from other Hondas, though there are only partial crash-test ratings yet since both the NHTSA have yet to test the new HR-V. Meanwhile, the IIHS awards the new 2023 Honda HR-V it’s highest Top Safety Pick+ award receiving Good ratings in every measure except Headlights which were rated Acceptable. The entire HR-V lineup includes 10 standard airbags plus automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. There’s also a road-departure mitigation feature that fine-tunes steering and/or braking to help prevent a loss of control. These systems are part of a new single-camera Honda Sensing system. The only safety features omitted on lower-trim versions are blind-spot monitors and a low-speed braking control feature (added in EX-L versions).

2023 Honda HR-V Review
The interior design stands out for what it’s missing, as much as the theme itself. Thanks to some smart engineering and design, you won’t find thick front pillars, unnecessarily complex interfaces, or a lot of bright, reflective surfaces (those with migraines, rejoice). Otherwise, it adopts much of the latest Civic’s interior, with a metallic honeycomb beltline spanning the vents and dash. The dash itself sits low, allowing lots of outward visibility. Above it stands an infotainment screen while below it are simplified climate controls. The only complex design item carried over from the outgoing HR-V is the bridge-like center console, which allows a mounting point for the shifter, drive mode buttons, and storage space beneath.

 

The new HR-V might not fit your dog and gear as well as last year’s model, but it fits people better. The HR-V is bigger and more comfortable than the previous HR-V. It’s nudged cleverly close to the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, and others that now epitomize the heart of the U.S. affordable family car market, but it sketches out the proportions just a bit differently.

To that, the interior shows some dramatically different priorities. There are no more flip-upright Magic Seats, like you have in the previous HR-V or Fit, which allowed you to fit a very big dog or a very tall potted plant in the HR-V. No cargo hooks for carabiners, or carved-out spaces for muddy boots or gear, either. Instead the HR-V swaps in a larger cargo area, a more comfortable back seat, and the independent rear suspension that helps enable better ride quality.

The passenger compartment of the HR-V isn’t technically that much larger than that of its predecessor, but it feels among the roomiest and most comfortable in its class, especially in back. A new generation of seats helps optimize posture and more evenly distribute support. From seating to door cuts, this is a subcompact vehicle that doesn’t feel so compact inside for passengers, even for 6-foot-6 passengers. The HR-V is also fairly quiet in a way that’s rare in this class. Honda boasts of additional sound insulation in the doors, dash, floor, and trunk lining, plus an acoustic windshield, and it all pays off.

You won’t find a power tailgate release in the HR-V, but you don’t need one. It’s all down at a level most people will find easy to grab and lift, and the 27-inch liftover height for the long cargo floor provides an easy 24.4-cubic-foot space for lugging luggage or getting a big tray of plant starts back from the garden store. The 60/40-split folding rear seats fold almost fully flat, allowing 55.1 cubic ft, enough space for small pieces of furniture or some of that outdoor gear. A wide hatch opening helps.

 

The HR-V is a tremendous value. The 2023 Honda HR-V adds up to something even more value-focused. For its low base price and strong value, its long list of base features, and excellent infotainment systems, it’s tops for value. Automatic climate control, power windows, alloy wheels, and a full set of Honda Sensing driver-assist items are included in all HR-V versions, including base LX, mid-range Sport, and top-trim EX-L. All three versions include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, with wireless versions supported by the larger 9.0-inch system found in EX-L versions.

The base LX is looking like the best bargain to us. We can’t think of a single crossover that feels so refined and “together” and costs less than $25,000 for the 2023 model year. Unless you love the look of the Sport, you may want to look beyond its added heated seats and moonroof to the top EX-L for all of its extra tech and bigger infotainment screen. The top-level EX-L version costs $30,195 with all-wheel drive. In addition to wheel and trim upgrades, it has dual-zone automatic climate control, LED ambient lighting, leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, and a larger 9.0-inch infotainment system with wireless smartphone compatibility,  satellite radio, and a volume knob.

 

Honda’s all new HR-V for 2023 is all grown up now. The new HR-V is an impressive cute ‘ute that now upped the ante for every other competitor. The HR-V driving manners are now one of the best in its class. It has room for four, styling that won’t offend, and can economically get you from A-to-B with most of your stuff while venturing casually offroad. All the while the HR-V does one thing no others can match; it’s a Honda with great value, top safety ratings, and with years of reliability ahead of it.



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Polestar has announced that it has released a new performance software upgrade for  Long range Dual motor Polestar 2, which adds 68 horsepower for a total of 476 hp.

Polestar 2 performance upgrade

The upgrade also adds an additional 15 lb-ft. of torque, to give it a total of 502 lb-ft. Since the upgrade is software-based, the performance boost can be downloaded directly to the Polestar 2 without having to visit a service station. The upgrade costs $1,195.

The performance upgrade gives accelerates the Polestar 2 faster to 60 mph, in only 4.2 seconds. Polestar says that the additional power and torque are mainly felt at speeds between 44 and 80 mph. With this upgrade, accelerating from 50 to 75 mph takes just 2.2 seconds – half a second quicker than a standard dual-motor Polestar 2.



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Last month Volvo unveiled the EX90, its new flagship electric SUV. But at the debut it also teased a smaller electric crossover, which we expected would be called the EX30. Now we have the official confirmation.

Jim Rowan, Volvo’s CEO confirmed the EX30 in an interview with Automotive News Europe. He also confirmed that the EX30 will be built in China and that it will launch in 2023.

Volvo hopes that the EX30 will help it achieve its goal of increasing sales by over 70 percent by 2025. Volvo wants to deliver 1.2 million cars annually by the middle of the decade.

Rowan predicts that the average EX30 buyer will be 18 or 19 years old, which will buy their first car at the “right price point plus the flexibility, the insurance and roadside assistance that Care by Volvo offers.” That means that the EX39 will be available via a subscription plan, which requires at least a three months commitment.

Lastly the XC90 is going to be sticking around a while, even with the arrival of the EX90. Rowan says that the XC90 still makes sense in markets that still need to improve the charging infrastructure, like in some parts of the U.S. “The XC90 will stay in the range for a while, Rowan added.”



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Toyota is currently working on the next-generation C-HR small crossover and it’s previewing it with the C-HR Prologue concept.

Toyota C-HR Prologue concept

Last month Toyota unveiled the bZ Compact SUV concept, which looked like an electric successor to the C-HR. Now the new concept actually bears the C-HR name, but under the hood there’s a hybrid powertrain.

Toyota says that the next-generation C-HR is being designed to offer plug-in hybrid and hybrid powertrains. The C-HR plug-in hybrid will get batteries assembled in Europe, for at least the version offered in Europe.

The Toyota C-HR Prologue was designed at,Toyota’s European Design Development center in the South France, which is where the current C-HR was designed.

“Our mission was to dig deep, to go further than we’d ever gone before. We’re really looking forward to delivering the new Toyota C-HR,” stated Lance Scott, Design Director Toyota European Design Development.

The next-generation C-HR will be offered in Europe soon, but Toyota hasn’t announced any details about it being offered in the U.S.



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Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its latest plug-in hybrid, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance. What makes this S-Class so special? It’s powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that has the most power ever offered in an S-Class.

2024 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E PERFORMANCE

It’s powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and a rear axle mounted electric motor that generate a combined 791 horsepower and 1,055 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power to accelerate the big sedan from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. The top speed is limited to 180 mph.

All that power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic and an all-wheel drive system. The rear axle steering can adjust the wheels 2.5 degrees.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain gets its power from a 13.1 kWh battery pack that’s mounted above the rear axle. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced the EV range, but it probably won’t be much, since the powertrain is designed more for performance than efficiency.

The Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance rides on an adaptive air suspension that can lower the sedan by 0.4-inches at speeds above 75 mph. Active roll stabilization has been added to reduce body roll and there’s an aluminum stabilizer under the V8 to stiffen up the sedan.

 



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Bentley has unveiled a special Flying Spur Hybrid, which is the result of a collaboration with Bentley and custom shoemaker Dominic Ciambrone (a.k.a. “The Surgeon”). The one-off Flying Spur Hybrid is being shown off at Art Basel in Miami.

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid "Surgeon"

This special Flying Spur is painted in a dual-tone Anthracite over Anthracite Satin black paint, with Satin Bronze pinstriping and piping.

The cabin is where there are more distinct changes. The “Surgeon” logo has been applied throughout the interior, like on the dashboard and seatbacks. There are also pirate logos on the headrests. Bentley hasn’t announced the pricing for this bespoke Flying Spur, but the owner will get a pair of limited-edition Bentley/ Surgeon Adidas Forum Low sneakers with the it.



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We’ve been expecting this ever since the Acura Integra returned and now Acura has confirmed that it is working on the highly anticipated Integra Type S.

2024 Acura Integra Type S

Acura has released the first teasers of the 2024 Integra Type S lapping the track at Tochigi. We can see that it will have a slightly more aggressive body than the standard Integra with three exhaust tips centrally mounted at the rear. Acura hasn’t confirmed it, but it’s pretty obvious that the Integra Type S will be closely related to the Honda Civic Type R.

Besides a similar exhaust to the Civic Type R, the Integra Type S will have over 300 horsepower and send its powers to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a limited slip differential. We’ll get all the details in the coming months, since the 2024 Integra is slated to arrive next summer.



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When the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser debuted, Toyota sadly announced that it wouldn’t be offered in the US, marking an end to the iconic SUV here. You can still get it in the form of the Lexus LX, but sadly Toyota no longer offers it here, but that might change.

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

According to Jack Hollis,  executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, the Land Cruiser will likely come back to the US. In an interview with MotorTrend, he stated, “Will we ever? I would say likely yes.” While this seems like an unofficial confirmation about the Land Cruiser’s return, it probably won’t happen for a while, since he also added  “it’s still a ways off.”

We’re excited about the possibility of the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 being offered here, since it has been well received in other markets. So much so that there’s a really long wait list that can last up to four years. For now we’ll just have to wait and see when or if the J300 Series makes its way to the US.



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