What’s happening in the auto world? The Auto Sleuth shares all the intel…
Hyundai rocks the midsize-utility-vehicle class
The 2024 Santa Fe looks nothing like the outgoing version. The squared-off body with chunky fender openings reminds the Sleuth of the Ford Expedition blended with overtones of the Land Rover Range Rover.
The Santa Fe’s interior, which seats five, is equally appealing, with a curved instrument cluster and infotainment display. Sustainable and recycled materials are used for the door panels and seat coverings.
* * * * *
Chevrolet toughens the Traverse for 2024
The brand’s full-size utility vehicle with seating for up to eight passengers will enter its third generation as mostly new. The front design displays Chevrolet Silverado- and Blazer-looking grilles that will vary depending on the trim level.
Every Traverse will employ a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes an estimated 315 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The engine, linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission, replaces the current 3.6-litre V-6 rated at 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet. All-wheel-drive will continue to be available.
New for 2024, the off-road-oriented all-wheel-drive Z71 trim will have a unique suspension, special terrain mode powertrain setting with hill-descent control, increased ride height and off-road tires mounted to 18-inch wheels.
* * * * *
Ford’s upcoming ‘Flash’
It’s a well-guarded secret for now, but it appears that the automaker’s battery-electric F-150 Lightning pickup will eventually spawn a special high-performance version.
Ford CEO Jim Farley teased the idea when he and Formula One Red Bull driver Daniel Riccardo partially unveiled what appeared to be a modified F-150 Lightning.
Ford also recently registered the Flash name with the U.S. patent office, leading to further speculation that an EV pickup is in the works that will produce more than the Lightning’s optional 580 horsepower.
* * * * *
Is Mazda planning a rotary-engine sports car?
Speculation is that the automaker will at some point install such a powerplant in the next-generation MX-5 (Miata) roadster.
There are plans for a rotary engine that will function as a range-extending generator for the Mazda MX-30 EV. Mazda’s R&D people are developing an updated version of the rotary that will improve fuel efficiency and reduce tailpipe emissions.
It’s speculated that a redesigned rotary engine could also be part of a coming plug-in hybrid system for Mazda’s mainstream models.
* * * * *
Surprise, more Polestar EVs
The electric-vehicle brand, a subset of Volvo, is expanding its current lineup – the Polestar 1, 2 and 3 – to include the Polestar 4 hatchback-sedan for the 2025 model year.
For 2026, the automaker will launch the Polestar 5, a luxury-oriented sedan based on the 2020 Precept concept car. It will use the platform developed for the Volvo EX90 electric utility-style vehicle.
The Polestar 5’s all-wheel-drive power system consists of front and rear electric motors with a projected net output of 884 horsepower. Details about maximum range and battery charging times are unknown. Following the 5’s arrival, a Polestar 6 roadster is expected to debut for the 2027 model year.
* * * * *
Reeves Callaway III,
Electric Triumph sports car – The brand, which was once known for its TR-series of roadsters, is now owned by BMW. Makkina, a London, England-based design company that works with BMW, recently showcased the TR25 concept.
The single-seat vehicle is inspired by a modified version of the TR2 that attained a class-record top speed of nearly 125 mph 200 km/h) back in 1953. The new TR25 uses a BMW-supplied 184-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels. Production is doubtful, but The Sleuth can hope.
– written by Wheelbase Media