The Friday Five:The Hooray for the Mini Cooper Electric JCW, Moose vs. Toyota, and You Get a Miata! And You Get a Miata! Edition

Liz Kim | Dec 04, 2020

This week, we reported that the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has a maximum range of 250 miles on a full charge, shared increased tow ratings for the 2021 Ram Heavy Duty pickups, and explained Hyundai’s new E-GMP platform for its electric vehicle program. 

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

Battery-powered Mini JCW Model in Development - Find the best Mini deals!

The comically belligerent yet charmingly affable Mini Cooper was a natural fit for electrification, so the news that Mini is developing a John Cooper Works version brought some early holiday cheer. The company issued photos showing a prototype zooming around wearing John Cooper Works performance cues but equipped with the Mini Electric’s grille. Mini hasn’t released any specs, but given that the gas-engine JCW GP makes 300 horsepower, we can only speculate that the high-performance electric version will strive toward that figure.

Mini Electric John Cooper Works At Speed on Track

Chevy Tahoe and Suburban Duramax Diesel MPG Figures Released - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

For 2021, GM is adding the turbodiesel engine option for the big Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups to its full-size SUV lineup. The 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six makes 277 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, and, as usual, fuel economy figures vary depending on whether two or four wheels are driving the vehicle. Based on the figures released for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban models, the Duramax will supply between 22 mpg and 24 mpg in combined driving. By comparison, the most efficient gas engine for these SUVs, a 5.3-liter V-8, delivers 18 mpg in combined driving.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Changes - Find the best Subaru deals!

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid returns for 2021 with minor styling changes and tweaked tuning for the suspension and steering to improve driving dynamics and ride comfort. Pricing for the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle begins at $35,345 (not including the $1,050 destination fee). That’s an increase of $200 over the 2020 model.

Sweden Takes Issue with Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Moose - Find the best Toyota deals!

Americans rely on the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for vehicle safety ratings, but neither organization performs a vehicle stability assessment similar to Sweden’s moose test. 

Designed to rate vehicle handling capabilities, the moose test is legendary. During the moose test, a fully-loaded vehicle attempts to traverse an S-shaped obstacle autocross at a speed of nearly 45 mph. This test mimics a scenario in which a driver tries to avoid an object in the road while traveling at modest speeds, such as a child or, say, a moose.

This week, Swedish publication Teknikens Värld reports that three electrified SUVs perform poorly in the examination. The Toyota RAV4 Prime performed the worst of the trio, with plenty of skidding and thudding of cones. Its best performance topped out at 39.1 mph, falling well short of the 44.7-mph threshold for success. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Volvo XC40 Recharge were also unable to reach 44.7 mph, but they performed better than the RAV4 Prime. 

Toyota Motor Europe stated that it would take steps to address the issue.

Free Miatas for Heros - Find the best Mazda deals!

Let’s conclude with a feel-good story. Back in October, Mazda announced that it would give away 50 MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Special Editions to people who “tirelessly dedicated themselves to their communities throughout 2020 through selfless acts, creative thinking, and contributions to the community.” 

This week, Mazda announced the first set of winners, including ICU nurses just trying to keep up, teachers that go above and beyond for their students, and food pantry organizers. In a year fraught with sadness, anxieties, and dangers, a sunset ride in a two-seat convertible is a sure-fire prescription to shed your worries and live your best life. 

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