The Friday Five:The Defender Gets Bond-ed, Bronco Says Whoa, and Solterra Shows More Edition

Beverly Braga | Sep 03, 2021

This week, J.D. Power released the results of the 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS). For the first time in the study’s 35-year history, Ram tops the list as the highest-ranked overall brand while Lexus ranks highest among luxury makes.

This year’s study also finds that mass-market brands continue to outperform luxury automakers in initial quality and that technology features such as infotainment systems and smartphone connectivity remain problematic for consumers.

Other news includes Mercedes-AMG unveiling its first-ever performance hybridAudi showcasing its Grandsphere concept car, and Subaru debuting its new Forester Wilderness trim. Unfortunately, the ongoing microchip shortage continues to hamper assembly plants, and the Ram 1500 is the most recent model to halt production.

How does the Ford Bronco stack up against the Jeep Wrangler? Find out in our latest SUV comparison. We also review the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas and explain how Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist works.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Land Rover Unveils James Bond-Approved Defender V8 - Find the best Land Rover deals!

2022 Land Rover Defender V8 Bond Edition Front Quarter View

If you prefer an off-road adventure more shaken than stirred (Wait, what?), Land Rover just unveiled a James Bond-inspired version of its Defender 110. Following the specs of the vehicles appearing in the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, the Defender V8 James Bond Edition is decked out in a black finish further accented with the Extended Black Pack.

Limited to 300 examples, each SUV features “Defender 007” badging throughout and “007” puddle lamp graphics. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, which produces 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Pricing for the special-edition SUV starts at $114,000. The movie premieres on September 30.

Subaru Shares More Solterra EV Specs - Find the best Subaru deals!

The upcoming 2023 Subaru Solterra will not only be the automaker’s first all-electric SUV but its most technologically advanced model. In new images released this week, the Solterra features a spacious interior layout and a large infotainment system—almost identical to the Toyota bZ4X with which it is being co-developed.

Both SUVs share the same platform, powertrain, and overall design. One difference we are aware of is that the Solterra will offer all-wheel drive as standard because that’s Subaru’s calling. The Solterra will go on sale in mid-2022 and have an estimated range of at least 250 miles.

2022 Toyota 4Runner Adds TRD Sport, More Standard Features - Find the best Toyota deals!

Mostly a carryover model for 2022, the Toyota 4Runner does gain a few updates. A new TRD Sport trim enters the lineup with seven other choices, including the TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro. Toyota says that the TRD Sport is tuned for the road rather than off-roading, offering a more compliant chassis and suspension.

Available in either 2-wheel or 4-wheel-drive configurations, the TRD Sport features color-keyed accents on the grille, rocker panels, and side moldings, as well as a TRD-style hood scoop and front spoiler. The interior features plenty of TRD badging, too.

For the 4Runner lineup, standard across the board is LED illumination for the high beams, low beams, and fog lamps. A rear-seat reminder system is also standard. And for all but the entry-level model, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are now included.

Hold Your Horses! Ford Pauses Bronco Orders - Find the best Ford deals!

The Ford Bronco has broken the internet. Or perhaps just Ford’s online reservation system because the automaker has temporarily suspended new Bronco orders. According to the Detroit Free Press, production issues and high demand means not enough vehicles. Not that the Bronco launched on time, anyway.

Before the shutdown, prospective buyers could make reservations with a refundable $100 deposit, of which Ford says 190,000 have been received. The automaker also asked dealers to refrain from advertising the online reservation system. Customers will have to work directly with dealerships to secure a new Bronco (Good luck!). Or you can simply wait because, at this point, you’re looking at a 2022 or even 2023 model-year Bronco as the 2021 models have long been sold out.

BMW Boss Confirms New “High-End” SUV - Find the best BMW deals!

BMW’s manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is a big deal. It’s the automaker’s largest plant globally and also the United States’ top vehicle exporter in terms of value. Spartanburg is where every BMW X3X4X5X6X7, and their M variants are born. And, per BMW AG Chairman Oliver Zipse, the upcoming X8?

Zipse confirmed that BMW would add a new “high-end” vehicle to the Spartanburg production schedule in an interview with CNBC. He also clarified that this model would be an addition to the lineup and not an all-new design. Considering that the X1 and X2 exist (and are built in Germany), the X8 is what comes next, right? A formal announcement will be made later this year, with sales starting in 2022, likely as a 2023 model.

The automakers are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on September 3, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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