Posts Tagged ‘hybrid cars’

2016 Nissan LEAF To Get Triple-Digit EV Range

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, June 6th, 2015

2015 Nissan LEAF

Nissan has a problem. The next generation of their all-star EV, the Nissan leaf, isn’t due out until the middle of 2017 at the earliest. But, many of the car’s competitors are starting to rise in popularity, due in large part to their new model offerings.

For example, BMW’s new i3 (which can be had as a PHEV or EV) doubled its sales in May. The car’s biggest competitor, the Chevrolet Volt, just had its best month of sales ever in May with 1,618 deliveries, less than a thousand short of the Leaf’s May sales… And Chevy’s bringing their next-generation Volt out at the end of this year, not next.

If something doesn’t change soon, there’s a very good chance that the Volt will outsell the Leaf for the first time ever before the end of 2015. Unacceptable!

So, what’s Nissan going to do?

According to a recent report from InsideEVs, Nissan plans to offer an upgraded battery on the two higher trims of the Leaf for the 2016 model year. The SV and SL trims will both come with a 30 kWh battery, while the baseline S trim will retain the 24 kWh unit that’s used in all Nissan’s EVs now.

A 30 kWh battery would represent a 25% increase in the Leaf’s power storage capacity, which would allow the EV to finally hit triple-digit range numbers… According to the anonymous dealerships cited by InsideEVs, Nissan estimates the new Leaf will get a range between 105 and 110 miles per charge. Of course, Nissan’s official spokesman, Brian Brockman, is adamant that these are not to be taken as official specs. He told Autoblog, “We have made no public announcement about the 2016 Nissan LEAF. We do not comment on future product details.”

Also, keep in mind that this new expanded battery is still only a shadow of the potential that Nissan has hinted at for the next-gen model due out in mid-2017. Current rumors state that the next-gen Leaf will have a range beyond 200 miles, which would put it unquestionably ahead of even the Tesla Model 3, much less the 50-mile range of the next-gen Chevy Volt.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Nissan Leaf

2014 Nissan LEAF

Since it’s going to still be at least a couple more years until the next-generation Nissan Leaf hits the market, now is the perfect time to pick up an affordable first-gen Leaf from the auctions in Japan.

2014 Nissan LEAF rear

What we have here is a 2014 model year in a Deep Blue Pearl, which we expect to be added to the lineup as a standard color option for the 2016 model year.

2014 Nissan LEAF interior

Other than that, you probably already know if this car is for you. It’s a standard 2014 Nissan Leaf in spectacular shape with less than 7,000 kilometers on the odometer. A 5 auction rating, A-grade interior and exterior, barely a scratch or blemish across the entire car. Learn more via the auction sheet translation below:

2014 Nissan LEAF auction sheet

Interior A, exterior A, first registered April 2014, X 80th Special Color Limited model, FAT, AAC, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, original navigation system and TV, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratches, front windscreen scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map


Suzuki iM-4 Concept Confirmed for Production

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, May 16th, 2015

2015 Suzuki iM-4 Concept news

Remember the Suzuki iM-4 Concept we saw earlier this year at the 2015 Geneva motor show? It was shown alongside the iK-2 Concept. Well, according to a recent report from Automotive Express, Suzuki executives have finally given the official go-ahead for production. That means the 4×4 crossover concept will hit the market in production form either at the end of 2017 or at the beginning of 2018, offered as a 2018 MY in both cases.

As a quick refresher course, the iM-4 Concept we saw in Geneva had a number of cool features that we hope to see in the eventual production model. For one, the retro-styled design is actually very eye-catching, and we hope to see the concept’s quirky aesthetic carried over to production. The concept was shown in Geneva with a new 1.2L DUALJET engine and an all-new platform unique to any other Suzuki models. It also used a SHVS hybrid system, but AE said that a hybrid production model isn’t guaranteed.

2015 Suzuki iK-2 Concept news

In the meantime, Suzuki plans to roll out a new Suzuki Swift and Suzuki Swift Sport for the 2017MY, although a definite launch date hasn’t been set. All we know is that they’ll be much like today’s Swift models, but lighter and with a bit more oomph in the Sport model. These cars will NOT be based on the iK-2 Concept though… The iK-2 will come to market as a slightly longer hatch to appease the consistent customer complaints of the Swift not having enough rear legroom.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2015 Suzuki Jimny

2015 Suzuki Jimny

Interestingly, we’d suspected that the iM-4 may come to market as a replacement for the near-twenty year-old Suzuki Jimny. Turns out, Suzuki is planning to launch a new generation of the Jimny sometime in the next few years, but it the iM-4 won’t be that car. Instead, the new Jimny will maintain the same customer intent as the current one – a back-to-basics off-road-ready crossover built on a ladder chassis and AWD.

To give you an idea of what that might look like, what we see here is a 2015 Suzuki Jimny in literally perfect condition. The seats are even wrapped, with only 3 km on the odometer.

2015 Suzuki Jimny rear

It’s easy to see what makes the Jimny so appealing… It’s rugged, clean and extremely capable. This particular Jimny is one of the kei car variants, which means it runs on a small, highly efficient 660cc engine.

2015 Suzuki Jimny interior

With well-rounded interior amenities, a surprising amount of cabin space, a ruggedly retro look and some stylish custom wheels, this auction find is one worth bookmarking. Get more details via the auction sheet translation below:

2015 Suzuki Jimny auction sheet

Grade S, interior A, first registered January 2015, Jimny Land Venture model, 5-speed manual, AC, ABA emissions code, dual airbags, ABS, 4WD, electrical retraction mechanism on mirrors, heated mirrors, indicator door mirrors, keyless entry, smoked glass windows, special chrome grill, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, no stereo fitted, part-time 4WD, special water repellant seats with heaters, special seat covers, leather steering wheel (with stereo switches), special dark silver alloy wheels, front under decorative part, LED ring fog lights, marks as per map


Mazda & Toyota to Swap Green Technology, Including FCV

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Toyota-Mazda

As emissions regulations continue to tighten around the world, Toyota and Mazda are considering expanding their current partnership to include the sharing of more fuel-saving technology. Specifically, the new agreement would involve the sharing of Toyota’s fuel-cell technology. In a surprising turn of events, that could mean we will see a Mazda FCV even before we see one from Honda.

The news of this latest “competitive cooperation” in the auto industry comes from Nikkei. We already knew that Mazda was planning to manufacture a Toyota-badged version of their all-new Mazda2 hatch sometime towards the end of this year in exchange for Toyota’s hybrid technology. Now, as emissions regulations tighten up and development of green technology becomes subsequently more expensive, the two automakers are looking to help each other out.

2015 Mazda2

In exchange for Toyotas hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology, Mazda intends to provide Toyota with the mechanics behind their efficient petrol engine technology – SkyActiv. The result is a win-win arrangement for both automakers:

  • Toyota gets better engines for their own portfolio (which have fallen behind the advancement of their hybrid counterparts, relatively speaking), AND increased proliferation of hydrogen technology.
  • Mazda gets access to the world’s leading FCV technology – development of which they could never do on their own with their limited budget.

Toyota has already made some of their key hydrogen fuel-cell patents available for free to any and all of their competitors. Again, the reasoning is that the more automakers working on fuel-cell vehicles, the quicker the hydrogen refueling infrastructure can grow. As it stands, there are only 12 hydrogen refueling stations in the US.

Meanwhile, Mazda has about one tenth the R&D budget of Toyota, who just announced an $18.1 billion profit for the fiscal year. They’ve spent the past several years focused entirely on fuel-efficient conventional engines, which has left them sorely lacking in the electrification department. The pre-existing technology partnership has helped, but gaining Toyota’s FCV technology would really put them head-and-shoulders above many of their larger competitors.

Although nothing has been put in writing just yet, officials from both automakers have been cited saying that their partnership will only expand with time. In the future, Toyota and Mazda could continue sharing more parts, manufacturing and even commercial vehicles, in addition to green technology. The two automakers have very similar perspectives when it comes to manufacturing and development; they both want to sell simple, clean cars without any real flaws.


The Toyota Mirai: Looking A Lot Less Like Bulls–t

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

2015 Toyota Mirai

The upcoming Toyota Mirai FCV has been a car of some controversy, to say the least. On the one hand, you have Toyota officials and many others in the auto industry (most of whom are developing their own FCVs) claiming that hydrogen is THE answer to clean, renewable fuel. Others, like Tesla’s Elon Musk, say that fuel-cell vehicles are straight-up “bulls–t”.

Toyota has heard their critics, and they have answered in perhaps one of the cleverest marketing stunts of the past decade – they partnered with Morgan Spurlock to create this video, called “Fueled by Bullsh*t”. Check it out if you haven’t already seen it:

The video demonstrates how one could, if one were so inclined, extract hydrogen from cow manure. The video ends with a Toyota Mirai literally running on bull hockey. It is the first in an ongoing series of videos called “Fueled by Everything” which Toyota will use to promote their upcoming commercial FCV.

Meanwhile, first drive reviews of the Toyota Mirai are starting to roll in, such as this review from The Washington Post. WP’s Drew Harwell had the chance to ride around D.C. behind the wheel of the four-door sedan, and his conclusion is candid, but optimistic.

“Riding this, it really feels like something that could be the future, but until there’s that hydrogen infrastructure, it’s really going to be hard to see this getting in everybody’s garage, at least in the short-term,” Harrell said at the end of his review.

The Toyota Mirai will go on sale for $57,500 when it launches in California later this year, and Toyota only plans to sell 3,000 units in the US by the end of 2017. For that price, you’ll get a completely emissions-free car with a 300-mile range – more than any plug-in electric vehicle currently on the market – and a 5-minute refuel time, just like petrol. Harrell was adamant that the car itself is a blast to drive with great steering and responsive acceleration, along with all the creature comforts one could ask for in a modern-day interior.

Meanwhile, the Toyota Mirai and FCVs in general still have plenty of critics. For example, Clean Technica points out that even though the Mirai itself may be emissions-free, the processing and transportation of hydrogen – the well-to-wheel emissions, if you will – still requires lots of natural gas. But, Toyota isn’t just thinking about the next five years or even the next decade… They really believe the FCV will be the car of the future; the car we’ll still be driving in 100 years.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Realistically, most of us won’t have access to the Toyota Mirai for several years yet. We’re stuck with plain old hybrid cars like this 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid until the hydrogen infrastructure is more widely adopted around the world. But, there’s nothing wrong with that – the Camry is a great car that needs no introduction.

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid rear

This Japanese car auction find is particularly reminiscent of the Toyota Mirai with its pearl white paint job (which is one of only two colors we’ve ever seen the FCV depicted in), but of course it is a much more affordable car, even new. The Camry is reliable, fun to drive and has great fuel-economy… All things you probably already knew, since it is after all one of the most well-known and beloved cars of all time. For a detailed rundown of this specific car’s auction sheet, keep reading below:

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid auction sheet

Interior C, exterior condition C, first registered May 2012, Hybrid G Package, DAA emissions code, FAT, AAC, first time in auction, HDD navigation system, rear view reversing camera, TV, smart entry and start, original navigation system, original TV, ABS, airbag, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, FAT, AAC, console scratches, carpets have medium stains, interior grime, scratches under bumpers, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map


New Honda S2000 or CR-Z to Sit Between S660 & NSX

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 1st, 2015

Pikes Peak Honda CR-Z

Honda has been perhaps the most exciting Japanese automaker to follow in 2015. First it was the news of the S1000, a ‘hot’ version of the turbocharged S660 roadster kei car that’s currently available in Japan. Then it was the new Civic Type-R. Then it was the Acura NSX Concept which previewed a new hybrid supercar that’s likely to make its production debut at the beginning of next year.

Now, according to Motoring, we’ve learned that Honda plans to introduce not one, but possibly TWO more sports cars in the near future. The first will be a successor to the S2000 that got axed back in ’09. The second will be a performance-tuned CR-Z. Both cars could sit between the S660 / S1000 and the NSX as mid-level sports cars. They’ll be bigger and faster than the kei car roadster, but much more attainable than the six-figure supercar.

Let’s start with the S2000. According to the report, the new S2000 would feature a mid-engine hybrid layout that’s similar to the one showcased in the NSX. Motoring’s Honda informant says that their engineers “are currently evaluating a detuned version of the Civic Type-R’s 2.0L turbo.” He went on to say that a more efficient 1.5L turbo is on the table, and that he believes that such a car could output a minimum of 300hp with a price tag somewhere in the mid $60k. This would put the car in prime position to take on the likes of the Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMW Z4 and even Nissan’s Fairlady Z.

As for the CR-Z, details are even sparser. Motoring’s insider offered barely two sentences about the possibility of the compact coupe’s return: “We still need to evaluate exactly where a new CR-Z would fit into our sports car hierarchy … We are looking at the potential of electric 4WD [like] the Pikes Peak CR-Z.” However, he went on to say that, “The powers that be in our R&D section are leaning strongly towards channeling development funds away from the CR-Z and into an S2000 successor.”

Either way, the good news is that another sports car is definitely on the table for Honda. We just don’t know exactly which one it’ll be. And, we should make it clear that neither car is anywhere close to production. Honda’s first priority is boosting sales of their high-volume models in two primary markets – the US and China. They believe that a focus on those markets is the key to higher profits, which would then allow them to devote research and development into lower-volume models like a new CR-Z coupe or S2000 roadster.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evo to Return as a Hot Hybrid Crossover

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Touring

Most of us already know that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo is on the way out the door. Mitsubishi has already released a final limited edition of the vehicle to commemorate its exit from their lineup. However, as expected, they do in fact have plans to bring the Evo back to their lineup in the future. What we didn’t expect is the type of car they’re going to do it with.

According to a recent interview with Autocar, Mitsubishi boss Testsuro Aikawa says that the revived Evo would most likely be a performance-oriented hybrid crossover.

Pretty big jump, right?

Aikawa’s justification is simple. He envisions the Evo tagline coming to mean something entirely new for the automaker. He explained it like this: “In Japanese, when you pronounce ‘Oh’ [in Evo], it means ‘king’. So we would like to launch this type of [performance] car, featuring EV and PHEV technology, which is the ultimate of its kind. ‘EV’ for electric vehicle, ‘O’ for king – Evo.”

See how that works? It’s a clever bit of wordplay, and a good way to market the next Evo as the king of electric vehicles.

But what car would receive the Evo treatment?

Mitsubishi XR-PHEV II Concept

When you consider that Mitsubishi’s been building up the release of their next-gen Outlander Sport / ASX PHEV for almost a year now with their XR-PHEV II Concept, it seems reasonable to expect that this would be the next Evo vehicle. In other words, instead of the Lancer Evo, it will be the ASX Evo (or the Outlander Sport Evo, depending on your market).

Keep in mind, the next Evo will definitely not come anytime soon. It won’t be in 2016, and there’s actually no guarantee that it’ll come before 2020. Aikawa was very careful to not give a hard and fast ETA. Instead he simply said, “to develop these kind of vehicles, we have to sell a lot of the base models so we can cover the research and development costs.” In other words, they’re not going to force the next Evo into their lineup; they want it to be a natural evolution of a well-established model.

That being said, Autocar claims that Aikawa isn’t the only Mitsubishi rep. envisioning the ASX as the next Evo. Kaneroi Okamato – the guy who’s in charge of product development – is also on record saying the Evo will eventually be “replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance.”

Together, they make a pretty compelling case, right? Regardless of how you feel about the EV king wordplay, it’s good to hear that Mitsubishi (A) has a plan for future performance models and (B) that they’re being prudent enough to make sure it pays off.


Refreshed 2016 Lexus ES Debuts in Shanghai

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

2016 Lexus ES 300h

The refreshed 2016 Lexus ES has finally made its debut at this week’s Auto Shanghai 2015. Lexus says that they have taken their best-selling ES premium sedan to “the next level of elegance and progressive luxury.” You can be the judge of that as we continue reading.

2016 Lexus ES 200

As we suspected from the teaser we saw last week, the front clip of the Lexus ES has been re-sculpted to better fit with the rest of the automaker’s lineup. That means the new front fascia is even more aggressive with a bolder pinched spindle grille that no longer has a horizontal crossbeam splitting the grille in half. The extra-large grille is framed by a pair of arrowhead daytime running lights, new LED high-beams and triangle-shaped fog lights.

2016 Lexus ES 200 rear

In the back, Lexus has brought the same new L-shaped theme to the taillights, and you’ll find new chrome-tipped exhausts below the bumper, plus a new chrome license plate garnish.

Oh, and you can’t forget those new 17-inch alloys with directional spoke patterns. The standard ES sedans come with a 20-spoke dark grey wheel design, while the hybrid gets 10-spoke medium gray alloys. Plus, Lexus will offer four new colors for the 2016 model year – Amber, Nightfall Mica, Caviar and Eminent White Pearl.

Under the hood, our US readers will be offered the same powertrain options available in the current model year’s basic ES 350. That means a 3.5L V6 as standard, with a 2.5L variant used in the ES 300h’s hybrid system. However, international readers in markets like China, Russia and Taiwan will enjoy a new baseline model – the ES 200 – which uses a 2.0L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with unspecified output. However, in all markets the 2016 Lexus ES will run on a stiffer chassis than its 2015 predecessor.

2016 Lexus ES 300h interior

Finally, Lexus ES cabin gets a few new features to go with the additional exterior swag. Drivers will now enjoy an extra-large TFT display on the center console, complete with a Remote Touch controller. You’ll also find a new steering wheel and overall higher quality materials in the 2016MY.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport

2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport

This 2013 Lexus LS would have also been fresh off of a facelift. This is one of the first Lexus models to use their self-repairing clear coat for the exterior paint, as well as the first Lexus to use their now-commonplace automatic high beam technology.

2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport rear

However, as an F Sport there are some other noteworthy features, such as a sport-tuned air suspension, a sporty body kit, paddle shifters with “manual mode”, forged alloy wheels and Brembo brakes all make this car an exciting drive. This also would have been the first year that Lexus incorporated their corporate fascia – the pinched spindle grille – into the LS lineup.

Want to learn more? Just keep reading for a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport auction sheet

“Interior C, exterior condition B, first registered April 2013, LS460 F Sports model FAT, AAC, DBA emissions code, navigation system, leather seats, TRD sports muffler, front sports package, sunroof, original navigation system, ABS, airbag, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, seats have wrinkles, glue marks on dashboard, film on windows, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”


All-New Honda Fit Shuttle Hybrid Coming to JDM

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, April 18th, 2015

2015 Honda Jazz Shuttle Hybrid

Earlier, we learned about the Nissan X-Trail Hybrid set to go on sale in Japan in about a month. Today we have another new hybrid model making its debut in Japan, this time from Honda. It’s the all-new Honda Jazz Shuttle, which looks about exactly like it sounds.

Basically, this is a large station wagon version of the new Honda Fit, or the Honda Jazz depending on where you live. As with the last generation of the Shuttle, you can see that Honda has essentially just stretched out the rear-and of the Honda Jazz to create a substantially longer rear overhang.

2015 Honda Jazz Shuttle rear

In fact, the Shuttle is built on the exact same architecture as the new Honda Jazz, and looks to replicate much of the Jazz’s aesthetic too. You can see the same deep body lines running along the sides of the car, and it adopts Honda’s “solid wing face” front grille. The range-topping version of the Jazz Shuttle pictured here showcases the 16-inch alloys, built-in navigation and the leather-wrapped seats and steering wheel that come with the higher-level trims.

2015 Honda Jazz Shuttle interior

Under the hood, the Honda Jazz Shuttle will be offered with two powertrain options. The first is an AWD hybrid system powered by a 1.5L four-cylinder Atkinson engine with a single electric motor and a dual-clutch transmission. The other option uses the same 1.5L engine but drops the electric motor and AWD for a standard CVT and FWD.

Unfortunately, just like the X-Trail Hybrid, there’s no word that Honda plans to sell a Jazz Shuttle in the US or any other market besides Japan. Our guess would be that they’d launch it in East Asia before the US or UK, but only time will tell.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2006 Honda Airwave

2006 Honda Airwave

Here we have a 2006 Honda Airwave. You can see on the auction sheet below that this airwave is one of the “L” models, which is the more luxurious of the two trimlines, “M” being the other option. As such, this Airwave features a large sunroof, high definition built-in navigation (and this was back in 2006, so that’s actually a big deal), and an exceedingly spacious interior.

2006 Honda Airwave rear

Looking at this auction find, you can see that not that much has changed in the past 10 years. There’s no doubt that this car looks a little bit dated, but it honestly doesn’t look that different in either form or function than the upcoming second-generation Jazz Shuttle.

2006 Honda Airwave interior

Either way, you can get more information via the auction sheet translation below:

2006 Honda Airwave auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition B, first registered July 2006, L Skyroof model, DBA emissions code, FAT, AAC, original Gathers HDD navigation system, original rear and side cameras, discharge headlights, power steering, power windows, original AWs, sunroof, ABS, airbag, original navigation system, original TV, 7-speed paddle shift, keyless entry, spare key, seats worn, door mirrors scratched, wheels scratched, front windscreen scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map, seats stained”


Nissan Rogue Hybrid Possibly Coming to the US

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 17th, 2015

2015 Nissan X-Trail Hybrid

After Toyota showed off their new RAV4 Hybrid at the recent 2015 New York Auto Show, Nissan is chiming in with a new hybrid offer of their own. Nothing is guaranteed yet, but rumors have surfaced that Nissan is considering adding a hybrid powertrain to the second best-selling vehicle in their lineup – the Rogue compact crossover.

The news comes from an interview between the Nissan X-Trail’s chief engineer, Nobusuke Toukura, and Automotive News. For those unfamiliar with Nissan’s nomenclature, the US Rogue is sold in most international markets as the X-Trail. Nissan is getting ready to add a hybrid version of the Rogue/X-Trail to their JDM portfolio, and is mulling the possibility of bringing the same powertrain to the US.

That means that if the US does get a Nissan Rogue Hybrid, it will likely use a 30 kW one-motor hybrid system with two clutches, unlike the multi-motor hybrid systems that have been implemented by both Honda and Toyota. The Rogue’s hybrid system would be paired with a 2.0L four cylinder engine that outputs 145 horsepower, along with Nissan’s standard CVT transmission. AutoNews says that the 2.0L engine is more favorable for the hybrid setup because it offers superior with low-rev torque and acceleration compared to the larger non-hybrid 2.5L engine that’s also offered in the X-Trail.

If Nissan is indeed going to release a Rogue Hybrid, now is definitely the time to do it…

For one, a hybrid crossover would keep them aligned with new competitors entering the scene in the form of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and a possible Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid. For two, US hybrid sales are expected to surge in the next five years as emissions regulations continue to tighten up. Thirdly, the Rogue is on an upswing this year, with a 28% increase in year-over-year sales during the first three months of 2015. When you consider that Nissan estimates that a hybrid option could account for 40% of future sales, it seems like an easy decision to make.

On top of all that, the Nissan X-Trail Hybrid going on sale in Japan next month will get an impressive 48 mpg, which makes it easy to see where Nissan got their expected 40% hybrid sales distribution – who could say no to 48 mpg in a crossover? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for official word from a Nissan USA spokesman to know whether the model is guaranteed to make an appearance on US shores… So far, still no comment.


2016 Lexus RX Cuts to the Chase in New York

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

2016 Lexus RX

This week we’re picking up right where he left off last week with continued coverage of the ongoing 2015 New York Auto Show. Today, our focus is on Lexus and their newest crossover – the 2016 Lexus RX. As you continue reading, you’ll learn all about the fourth-generation Lexus RX and what you can expect from the newest version of the premium automaker’s best-selling model.

2016 lexus RX interior

The Lexus RX is an impressive car by any standard. Lexus has sold over 2 million RX crossovers, making it the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history. For 2016, Lexus is looking to bring the RX up to speed with the rest of their lineup.

2016 Lexus RX interior rear seats

To do that, Lexus has completely redesigned the RX from the ground up to create a completely new model. Don’t get us wrong, this is still a Lexus RX and the fourth-gen model retains the old car’s primary selling point as an excellent all-around premium crossover. But, the fourth-gen offers a little more excitement than the blander 2015MY. The 2016 RX is a full 5 inches longer than the outgoing model, which serves to further differentiate it from the smaller Lexus NX crossover. That extra length is almost entirely felt in the rear seat, where rear passengers will enjoy ample leg- and headroom.

2016 Lexus RX interior sunroof

Speaking of rear passengers, Lexus has put extra effort into rear passenger comfort even beyond the extra space that they’ll enjoy in the 2016 model. Now, the rear passengers will get heated seats and an extended panoramic sunroof. And if you need extra storage room? The rear seats can now be folded down at the simple press of a button.

Rumor has it that Lexus is considering a three-row variant for the 2016 RX, but no official statement was given in New York.

2016 Lexus RX profile

The exterior design of the new Lexus RX speaks for itself, and we’re honestly not too surprised with it. That’s not to say we don’t like it, though; we love the direction of Lexus’ new design language. The 2016 RX gets the hallmark pinched spindle grille and extremely sharp, angular body lines – very similar to the new Lexus NX.

The final major addition that Lexus incorporated into the 2016 Lexus RX is the new Lexus Safety System+. This is basically Lexus’ new name for their collection of safety technologies, including Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Panoramic View Monitor and Lane Keep Assist. Lexus has always had great safety ratings, and in New York they confirmed their intent to remain an industry leader when it comes to standardizing advanced safety features in the premium industry.

All in all, the Lexus RX is a welcome refreshment to an already-popular model. Lexus didn’t announce any specifics, but pricing is expected to take a modest bump. Unsurprisingly, Lexus will continue offering a hybrid version of the RX, and both versions are expected to hit showroom floors in autumn of this year.