Hyundai’s cool Ioniq 5 gets a hotter variant
The automaker’s midsize electric hatchback will soon be available as an N model (so named for Hyundai’s performance division). Among the modifications is a sport-tuned suspension, a lower ride height, larger brakes and low-profile tires. The N will also get unique front-end styling and more distinctive seat coverings and trim. Hyundai hasn’t provided any powertrain specifics, but it’s likely that the two-motor system used in the Kia EV6 GT will get the nod. The platform is shared with the Ioniq 5. The EV6 GT makes 576 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque. Expect the Ioniq 5 N to arrive this summer as a 2023 model.
Volvo XC60 and XC90 to receive battery-electric counterparts
The Sweden-based automaker, which is owned by Geely of China, will introduce electric Recharge versions of the XC60 and XC90 tall wagons for the 2024 and 2025 model years, respectively. The plan is to keep the gasoline-powered variants as alternatives for at least a couple of years following the launch of the Recharge models. The designs will be based on the concept Recharge, which Volvo debuted in 2021. Volvo’s current electric offerings for North America consist of the XC40 Recharge utility vehicle and C40 Recharge hatchback.
Lexus’ first EV goes on sale this year
The compact RZ 450e electric hatchback is about the same size as the 2023 Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra. The reason is that all three use the same platform. The Lexus is expected to receive a more robust version of the available front and rear electric motors that combine to make a modest 214 horsepower in the bZ4X. Prototype versions of the RZ have been spotted with a yoke steering wheel instead of a conventional round wheel, but it’s uncertain which version will arrive in Canada. Other Lexus EVs in the works include a high-end two-seat sports car plus a sport sedan and a sport wagon. Expect the RZ 450e to go on sale this fall.
General Motors and Honda are planning a long-term collaboration
The two automakers recently agreed to work together developing electric vehicles using GM’s Ultium battery platform. The first offspring is expected for 2024. Honda’s version will be marketed under the Acura brand. Now comes word that the companies will co-develop a line of affordability priced EVs that are slated to arrive sometime in 2027. They will get solid-state battery technology, which is claimed to be less expensive than the current lithium-ion batteries. They are also said to offer longer ranges and quicker charging times.
Where is the Civic Type R?
The Sleuth, along with most other hot-Honda fans, shouldn’t have much longer to wait: a prototype of the four-door hatchback was recently spotted testing on the Suzuka race circuit in Japan. The Type R is likely to benefit from the stiffer platform that was part of the Civic’s redesign for 2022, but it’s a guessing game as to what will be under the hood. A best guess would be the previous Type R’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that made 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It would have more grunt this time around, thanks to a larger turbo. Note that the car will be available only with a six-speed manual transmission.
UPS AND DOWNS
Trending up: Jeep brings its toys to the sand box – Participants in the 2022 Easter Jeep Safari held in Moab, Utah, in mid-April, were treated to some specially prepped 4x4s. In the mix was a Cherokee plug-in hybrid, a Wrangler Rubicon 20th Anniversary Edition and a Jeep ’41 Willys concept that pays homage to the original Second World War military version. Jeep Performance Parts also brought along the D-Coder concept, pictured, which was outfitted with 35 specialty items from the company’s catalog.
Trending up: Ford GT Holman-Moody Heritage Edition – According to Ford, this is the last of the special-edition variants before GT production ends in December. The Holman-Moody version honours the race team and its principals, John Holman and Ralph Moody, that campaigned gold- and red GT40 race cars in 1966. Ford will paint about 50 GTs this way.