The Friday Five:The Jeep Gets New Bearings, Lexus Adds New Teammate, and EVs Get New $$$ Edition

Liz Kim | Apr 09, 2021

This week, we reported Chevrolet will build an electric Silverado, Ford is expanding the 2021 Explorer lineup, and Toyota is bringing a new 2022 GR 86 to the U.S. at the end of the year.

If you’re wondering what connected services are, we’ve got a new explainer for you. And if you’re wondering if you can drive an electric vehicle across the country, Volkswagen proves it’s possible.

Additional reporting this week includes a comparison of the Nissan Altima vs. Toyota Camry, details about the new 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV, and a buyer’s guide to 2021 Hyundai cars.

Lastly, we’ve got new reviews of the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1, and 2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition.

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

2022 Jeep Compass Gets Uconnect 5

Jeep revealed its European-specification 2022 Compass, and the changes show a light styling refresh combined with a significant technology upgrade. While the announced modifications are for the European market and the Italy-sourced Compass, they are likely to also apply to the U.S. versions made in Mexico.

2022 Jeep Compass Uconnect 5 Infotainment System

Exterior changes are modest, with revised front and rear bumpers, wheel designs, and trim treatments. The interior receives more finessing, and that’s where this small SUV needs the most attention anyway.

In addition to what Jeep claims are new premium materials, the Euro-spec Compass adds Stellantis’s sophisticated Uconnect 5 infotainment technology with a choice between an 8.4-inch or a 10.1-inch touchscreen. A 10.25-inch digital instrumentation cluster is also available, and Jeep will offer its latest Level 2 advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) for the 2022 Compass.

In Europe, a powerful plug-in hybrid version of the 2022 Compass will be available. Jeep did not confirm that a Compass 4xe is coming to the U.S., but we’ll learn more about that version of the 2022 Compass soon enough.

Honda Heads for Where the Road Ends

Everyone wants a piece of the great outdoors and of the hot overlanding trend among SUV and truck buyers.

Now, Honda appears to be getting into the game by filing a trademark for the Trailsport name and a logo that hints at its off-road aspirations for vehicles like the next generation of its SUVs and Ridgeline truck. Think Passport Trailsport, which has a nice ring to it.

Honda hasn’t released details about whether Trailsport will apply to rough-and-tumble trim levels along the lines of the new Subaru Wilderness line or if the automaker will use it for dealer-installed accessories designed to help owners take greater advantage of their time in the hinterlands.

We’re betting on the former instead of the latter.

Let Your Lexus Do (More of) the Driving

When the refreshed 2022 Lexus LS 500h arrives later this year, it will offer new Lexus Teammate ADAS, including Advanced Drive and Advanced Park technologies. Lexus is clear these are Level 2 systems, which means they’re not quite as sophisticated as the Level 3 technology Honda offers in its Japan-market Legend sedan.

To power Advanced Drive, Lexus Teammate knits together adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane-centering assistance, and lane-change assistance. Lexus says the system also includes the ability to handle lane merges. Because the driver must remain alert and ready to take control, the system monitors driver attention. If the driver falls asleep or suffers a medical emergency, the Lexus will pull itself over and stop.

Advanced Park is a partially autonomous self-parking system that works for parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. The driver must monitor operations and take control if necessary.

Lexus says its new Teammate technology supports over-the-air updates to upgrade the systems in the future. It will only be available in Lexus models equipped with all-wheel drive, such as the 2022 LS 500h.

2021 Nissan Murano and Volkswagen Arteon Receive Top Safety Marks

It’s been seven years since Nissan last redesigned its midsize 5-passenger crossover SUV, but the 2021 Nissan Murano has received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This means the stylish and upscale SUV excels at protecting its driver and passengers in a crash.

The updated 2021 Volkswagen Arteon isn’t quite as accomplished as the Murano but still earns a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS when equipped with specific headlights. The Arteon is a terrific 5-passenger sports sedan with a roomy back seat, a sportback-style hatch, and plenty of cargo room. It deserves more consideration than it gets. Maybe the safety rating will help.

The U.S. Transportation Department Details Budget

We wrote last week that the Biden Administration proposed spending $174 billion on goosing consumer adoption of electric vehicles. Now, plan details show $100B is earmarked for incentives and rebates, while $15B is set aside to create an additional 500,000 EV charging stations.

According to the Department of Transportation memo, an additional $14B will be spent on EV and efficient appliance tax incentives, $25B on public transportation that produces zero emissions, and another $25B to transition 20% of the nation’s school buses to EVs.

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