The Friday Five:The Subie Presentation Oopsy, Jaguar Land Rover Cures Queasiness, and Cheaper Volvo PHEVs Edition

Beverly Braga | Aug 21, 2020

This week, we saw plenty of summertime news starting with the unveil of the 2021 Ram TRX. There were 2021 model-year announcements for the Ford Explorer, Lexus ES, Subaru Forester, and Toyota Tacoma as well. We also covered some finance advice for car insurance during the ongoing pandemic.

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

Subaru’s Revamped Tuners Arriving Sooner Than Expected

Despite the fact that tuner twins the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are ending production this fall, it seems word has leaked out regarding replacements for these rear-wheel drive sports cars. According to AutoGuide, Subaru may have divulged more than intended regarding its future product plans during a recent event. One of the presentation slides lists the following tidbits: the BRZ is coming next spring, the WRX in the fall, and the WRX STI the following year. There’s even mention of an EV in between.

2021 Subaru Levorg Front View

Per the automaker, the Subaru BRZ is officially skipping the 2021 model year, but that isn’t to say what’s being announced in a few short months won’t be a 2022 model. The same can be said for the Toyota 86. These vehicles currently sport a 2.0-liter boxer-type 4-cylinder engine good for 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. With Toyota’s Gazoo Racing most likely involved in development of the next-generation rear-drive racers, many are betting the turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four found in larger Subies will come into play. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq EV to Start at Less Than $60,000

Even though the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq won’t arrive for another two years, the automaker previewed the all-electric crossover earlier this month. And during a major automotive conference held last week, Cadillac CEO Steve Carlisle announced pricing would start at less than $60,000 to match “how the industry prices midsize luxury SUVs today.” 

If this holds true, the Lyriq will undercut competitors including the Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model X, all of which have starting stickers north of $65,000. For comparison within the Cadillac brand, the XT5 and XT6 currently start at $45,090 and $53,690, respectively (including destination charges). The Cadillac Lyriq is slated to arrive in dealerships toward the end of 2022.

Jaguar Land Rover Developing Technology to Minimize Car Sickness During Autonomous Travel

Utilization of self-driving vehicles is going to increase whether we like it or not. That means passengers are at the mercy of a computer, so telling the “driver” to slow down or take it easy on corners may not be an option. And that means those prone to car sickness might have little to no recourse when traveling via the autonomous highway. But don’t worry, as Jaguar Land Rover is hard at work on a remedy.

JLR is developing software to work with its self-driving technologies that calculates what conditions lead to motion sickness. Referred to as a Wellness Score, the higher the number, the less likely a passenger will experience that in-car queasy feeling. So far, the automaker’s research includes 200,000 real-world and simulated test miles, and the system has been able to reduce motion sickness by up to 60 percent. With further refinement to driver-assistance technologies, JLR expects to alleviate that dizzying nausea with an even higher percentage of the passenger population.

2021 Mazda CX-9 Adds Standard 10.25-Inch Touchscreen and Carbon Edition Model

The Mazda CX-9 is a carryover model for 2021 but receives a couple of updates, including a standard 10.25-inch infotainment screen and the addition of the newly announced Carbon Edition model. 

The new touchscreen display will feature the latest Mazda Connect interface, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities as well as three-year complimentary access to the full range of MyMazda app connected services. The CX-9 Carbon Edition features 20-inch wheels, gloss-black exterior trim accents, and matches a Polymetal Gray exterior finish with a red-leather upholstered cabin.

There also is a teeny price bump when the three-row crossover arrives in dealerships this month. The base Sport sees a $70 increase to $35,060 while the higher trim Grand Touring jumps $400 to $43,040 (prices include $1,100 destination).

Volvo Drops Prices for 2021 Plug-In Hybrid Models

If you’re shopping for a plug-in hybrid, Volvo might have a deal for you as the automaker has lowered prices for its 2021 model-year PHEVs, which it is branding as Recharge models as a part of its overall electrification plan. 

For example, the S60 Recharge T8 sedan sees the largest decrease thanks to a new base model, the R-Design Expression. Starting at $48,645 (including $995 for destination charges), this new version of the S60 PHEV starts at $7,750 less than the least expensive 2020 S60 T8. This is the most substantial price reduction among members of the Volvo Recharge PHEV family. Others fall between $450 and $3,550, depending on the model.

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