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Radical look pegged for compact crossover

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Kia Habaniro Concept, 2019 New York International Auto Show

A prototype for a redesigned Kia Niro has been spotted for the first time.

The new compact crossover is expected to arrive at dealerships in the second half of 2022 as a 2023 model, and its reveal could take place around the end of the current year.

The prototype is heavily camouflaged but we can already see that the designers have given the new Niro a radical new look similar to what’s round on the recently revealed 2023 Sportage.

Kia Habaniro Concept, 2019 New York International Auto Show

Kia Habaniro Concept, 2019 New York International Auto Show

Kia Habaniro Concept, 2019 New York International Auto Show

Key design traits include a clamshell hood, low-set headlights, and a tailgate with a pinched leading edge that resembles a ducktail spoiler. The vehicle also sports vertical taillights. Interestingly, Kia hinted at the design of its new Niro as early as 2019 with the Habaniro concept car.

It isn’t clear what Kia has planned for the powertrain lineup. A hybrid powertrain is likely to be standard, at least here in the United States, and we should also see a repeat of the plug-in hybrid and battery-electric options. Expect the electric version to better the current Niro EV’s 201 hp and EPA-rated 239 miles of range.

Stay tuned for updates as development continues.

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Redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra coming soon with new iForce Max powertrain

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2022 Toyota Tundra's new iForce Max powertrain

A new generation of the Toyota Tundra is coming up shortly.

Toyota in May released a teaser image of the redesigned Tundra and confirmed an arrival for the 2022 model year, and on Tuesday the automaker said the full-size pickup truck will feature a next-generation iForce powertrain, dubbed iForce Max.

The iForce branding was first used for a 4.7-liter V-8 in early Tundras. The V-8’s displacement measures 5.7 liters in the current Tundra, though its basic design hasn’t changed much over the years. As a result it’s not only one of the most reliable V-8 engines ever built but also one of the most reliable internal-combustion engines of any type used in a production vehicle. The downside is that its efficiency and 381-hp peak power rating are a tad underwhelming compared to some of the newer competition.

It isn’t clear what the new iForce Max powertrain will be but we’ve heard that a twin-turbocharged V-6 will be offered in the new Tundra, possibly as a replacement for the current V-8. A hybrid option is also likely at some point. Toyota has pledged to fit every vehicle it sells in the U.S. with some sort of electrification. Keep in mind, electrification can be as simple as a mild-hybrid system. We definitely don’t expect the Tundra’s hybrid option to be a plug-in hybrid setup.

2022 Toyota Tundra’s new iForce Max powertrain

Not much is known about the rest of the mechanicals either, but we’ve heard the redesigned Tundra will introduce a new modular platform that will eventually underpin future versions of the Hilux and Tacoma, as well as the 4Runner and Sequoia SUVs.

The image teasing the exterior of the truck hints at a tougher design for the new generation, with some elements expected to be influenced by the recent update to the Hilux mid-size pickup truck sold overseas. The Tundra is also expected to grow in size. Those marker lights you see on the grille and flanks are required for wider trucks in the United States.

With the bigger size, you can count on there being bigger cabin options and possibly bigger bed options, too. Towing capacity should also match or exceed the current truck’s 10,200-pound max rating.

Stay tuned.

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2021 Ford Bronco production is underway

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2021 Ford Bronco

The agonizing wait for reservation holders of Ford’s reborn Bronco is almost over as the first customer examples have rolled off the line at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant and are already on their way to dealerships.

The plant, located in Wayne, Michigan, has been home to the Bronco since the original launched in 1965, and it’s also home to the Ford Ranger pickup truck, which features an earlier version of the Bronco’s body-on-frame T6 platform. The Ranger will move to the updated platform when it undergoes a redesign later this year.

Ford invested $750 million in the plant to upgrade it for the new Bronco and future Ranger, adding approximately 2,700 direct jobs in the process. Part of this investment has gone toward constructing a separate modification center where a range of accessories are fitted, such as sport bars, roof racks, graphics packages, and much more. Ford has also added pre-wired switches to the Bronco to make adding electronic accessories easy.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the 2021 Bronco was first shown. Deliveries were due to start in the spring but supplier delays related to coronovirus shutdowns meant Ford needed to push the start to summer.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

It means some reservation holders already promised their Bronco in 2021 will have to wait until 2022 to receive their vehicles. The delays have also seen manual-equipped Broncos with the Sasquatch package pushed back to the 2022 model year.

The 2021 Bronco is offered with a base 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 rated at 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque (with premium fuel), and an available 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between a 7-speed manual or 10-speed automatic, as well as between two- and four-door body styles. A pickup body style is also a possibility at some point.

More powertrain options are also coming. A high-performance Raptor-like model has been spotted testing, and Ford has also hinted at a battery-electric version.

The starting price for the 2021 Bronco is a very reasonable $29,995, including destination.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe becomes more practical with seating for five

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 4-Door Coupe gets an update, but it’ll take a keen eye to spot the changes.

On Monday, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe was unveiled with a tweaked look, an updated suspension, more seats, and more customization options to better stand out at the golf club.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

The most significant change to the latest four-door AMG is an upgrade to the available three-chamber air suspension. Two pressure limiting valves have been added to the outside of each damper. One valve controls the rebound while the other controls compression and each is continuously variable. AMG said the new valves provide a wider spread between ride comfort and performance damping forces.

The engine hasn’t changed. It’s a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system breathed upon by AMG for 429 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. An AMG-tuned all-wheel-drive system directs power to the ground via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes-Benz said the large hatchback can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.

The V-8-powered 63 and 63 S models, along with the plug-in hybrid 73e model, haven’t been detailed yet.

The only ways to spot a refreshed 2022 AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe from the outside will be by a variety of new paint colors and the newly the available red brake calipers, which are optional for the standard iron brakes. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes continue to feature bronze-painted calipers.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

Buyers will be able to customize their AMG 53 4-Door Coupes with four new matte finish paint colors, five metallic colors, and two solid colors. A new AMG Night Package II has accents finished in a dark chrome or black. A new Manufaktur Exclusive Edition indulges those looking for the most luxurious model with a V8 Styling Package, exclusive paintwork, and 21-inch AMG forged wheels.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

Inside, the leather-lined interior is carryover except for the steering wheel. The new twin-spoke AMG-specific steering wheel found in the latest E-Class has made its way to the AMG GT 4-Door. It has two round digital dials to enable quick changes between drivetrain, stability control, and AMG programs. The dashboard carries over with its 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system. For those looking to carry more than four, a new rear bench seat option will allow seating for five along with the ability to fold the rear seat flat to expand cargo space. Like the exterior, the interior also adds new color choices.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t said how much the 2022 AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe will cost when it arrives in dealers later this year, but the current model costs $99,995.

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