It’s no secret why the RAV4 is such a global hit. Beyond its obvious style, this is a model that carries a lot of gear, gets excellent fuel economy, and exhibits the traditional high standards for fit and finish found with Toyota products. What’s not to like? Toyota's latest variation, the RAV4 Prime, brings a plug-in hybrid variant to the model that adds to its appeal with 42 miles of all-electric driving range and 600 miles of total range.
RAV4 Prime is powered by the automaker’s 177 horsepower, four-cylinder DOHC engine and a pair of electric motors, one at the front and another at the rear, for on-demand four-wheel drive. Total combined power is a stunning 302 horsepower, which Toyota points out makes it the second-fastest car in its lineup behind the marque’s Supra sports car.
Available in two models, SE and XSE, RAV4 Prime combines lessons learned with Toyota’s other hybrid success stories like the groundbreaking Prius. While many competitors have focused on moving toward all electric power, Toyota has opted to focus on refining hybrid technology to motivate its electrified models. The RAV4 Prime presents an excellent example: Simply, it’s a popular and appealing plug-in crossover SUV offering on- and off-road capability with exceptional drivability, handling, and performance.
There’s a wealth of technology at work beneath the skin in the RAV4 Prime that makes it not only powerful, but exceptionally functional and efficient. Its 18.1 kWh battery is positioned beneath the floor, so it doesn’t impact interior and cargo space. Beyond its truly usable all-electric driving range, the RAV4 also delivers a 94 MPGe rating while operating on battery power. Recharging the battery is handled via a 240-volt home or public charger in about 4 ½ hours, or in about 12 hours when plugging into a conventional 120-volt AC outlet. When faster 6.6 kW charging is available, the RAV4 Prime can charge up in about 2 ½ hours.
Inside, driver and passengers enjoy heated and cooled leather seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, JBL audio, and a handy conductive phone charging pad. The RAV4 Prime also comes will all the advanced safety and driver assist systems desired these days including Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0, which includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. Also available is front and rear parking assist with automated braking, and rear cross traffic braking.
On the outside, the Prime edition features special badging and 19-inch alloy wheels, the only indications that call out this new and advanced version of the RAV4. Cost of entry for the RAV4 Prime is $38,100.
Somewhat smaller than Lincoln’s first plug-in SUV, the Aviator Grand Touring, the Corsair is a luxury-oriented, two-row crossover that injects comfort and class into a compact premium crossover segment dominated by European offerings. It's offered in both conventional gas- and plug-in hybrid-powered variants.
When one looks to Corsair, its distinguishing characteristics and luxury appointments mean there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a Lincoln. Its attractive design features creased and organic dynamic bodylines, a Lincoln-esque diamond patterned grille, and oversized alloy wheels. Inside is a premium leather-upholstered, wood-accented, and tech-rich cabin. The compact Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring lives large enough for four to five well-sized adults and a complement of weekend luggage.
At the heart of 2021 Corsair Grand Touring beats a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder, Atkinson cycle gas engine and a twin electric motor planetary drive system. A constant variable transmission transfers torque to the front wheels. A third motor producing 110 lb-ft torque is dedicated to driving the rear wheels, bringing the confident traction of all-wheel drive. Combined, this powertrain delivers an estimated 266 horsepower.
EPA fuel efficiency is rated at 33 combined mpg and 78 MPGe when running on battery power. It will drive 28 miles on its lithium-ion batteries with a total range of 430 miles. Conventionally-powered Corsairs net an estimated 22 city and 29 highway mpg, and 25 mpg combined .
A driver-centric cockpit offers infinitely adjustable and heated leather seating surrounded by wood and burnished metal accents. A comprehensive dash and infotainment display, back-up dashcam, pushbutton drive commands, head-up display, parking assist, and smartphone keyless access are standard or available. Top-of-the-line Co-Pilot 360 driver assist, electronic safety, and personal connectivity features are offered. Corsair Grand Touring’s 14.4 kWh battery module is located beneath the model’s body pan, resulting in a lower center of gravity and unobstructed rear deck cargo space.
The Corsair Grand Touring has an MSRP of $50,390, about fourteen grand more than the conventionally-powered base model. It's expected to make its way to Lincoln showrooms sometime this spring.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E, a slick crossover SUV with a name harkening back to the marque’s performance-based Mustang Mach 1 that debuted some five decades back, presents a new twist in Mustang heritage. Unlike the Mach 1, there’s no rumbling 428 cubic-inch big block V-8 and no emissions…because there’s no tailpipe. That’s because the Mach-E is powered by an all-electric powertrain that provides zero-emission driving.
As a five-door crossover, The Mach-E is far afield from the two-door Mustang coupe it joins in the Ford lineup. But key Mustang influences throughout let us know this is indeed of Mustang lineage, even as Mach-E exhibits more futuristic DNA. Among its signature Mustang styling cues are a long hood, aggressive headlights, tri-bar taillights, and of course all the expected Mustang badging. What’s different is decidedly a departure from the familiar Mustang form, most notably a silhouette that blends elements of crossover and coupe design.
The Mach-E is available as Standard Range and Extended Range variants featuring differing battery capacities, with rear- or all-wheel drive. The Standard Range version uses a 75.7 kWh lithium-ion battery that’s expected to offer a 230 mile range in rear-wheel drive trim. Up to 300 miles will be delivered by the Extended Range version with its larger 98.8 kWh battery. A single permanent magnet motor is used on the rear axle of the rear-wheel drive Mach-E and one on each axle for all-wheel drive models. Performance specs for these Mach-E models range from 255 to 332 horsepower and 306 to 417 lb-ft torque.
A Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition slated for next summer raises performance levels with 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft torque that should deliver 0 to 60 mph sprints in the mid-three second range. This performance model is equipped with a MagneRide Damping System, an adaptive suspension technology that enables the car to hug the road while delivering an exciting and comfortable ride
Batteries are located inside the underbody of the Mach-E between the axles. Liquid cooling optimizes performance in extreme weather. Positioning batteries outside the passenger and cargo areas allows ample room inside for five adults and 33.8 cubic feet of cargo, with capacity increasing to 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Mach-E buyers can opt for a 240 volt Ford Connected Charge Station for home charging. A 120-volt mobile charger included with the Mach-E conveniently plugs into a standard household outlet, but charges considerably slower. The Mach-E can handle 150 kW fast charging at public charge stations offering this capability.
Three Mach-E models are currently available to order – Select, Premium, and California Route 1 – priced at $42,895 to $49,800. The Mach-E GT coming later next year can be pre-ordered at an entry price of $60,500.
Toyota presents a reimagined, bullet train-inspired minivan in its all-new 2021 Sienna. The fourth-generation Sienna family hauler boasts greatly improved drive dynamics, interior comfort, and a Toyota estimated 33 combined mpg, an impressive efficiency number thanks to its standard gas/electric hybrid powertrain. An all-wheel drive option is available in all trim offerings.
Taking design cues from the Toyota Avalon, Sienna’s dynamic bodyline lends an aerodynamic elegance generally reserved for premium sedans. Longer, wider, and visually lower to the pavement, in any trim level Sienna gives the competition a run for the consumer dollar. This is especially true since a standard hybrid drivetrain means Toyota effectively broadens Sienna’s market appeal.
Built on Toyota’s TNGA-K world car platform, the 2021 Sienna blends the latest technology with much-improved ride comfort in five available trim levels. Toyota Safety Sense is standard, offering a comprehensive active safety suite that includes Automatic High Beams, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Trace Assist, Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detection/Low Light Detection, and Road Sign Assist. Additional active safety and driver assist technologies are available throughout the trim walk.
Innovations for the new Sienna include kick-open and closing sliding side doors and rear gate, a four-zone climate control system, optional heated captain’s chairs with ottomans and a super-long adjustment range in the second row, plus an onboard vacuum and refrigerator. The Sienna LE and some XLE models come equipped with eight seat configurations overall. Some XLE models, as well as the XSE, Limited, and Platinum, afford comfortable seating for up to seven and feature the Super Long Slide second-row captain’s chairs, with the Limited and Platinum FWD models further equipped with ottomans.
Sienna offers a segment-first power tilt and telescoping steering column with a heated steering wheel, along with a digital rearview mirror, 10-inch color heads-up display, and a 12-speaker JBL Premium Audio system. Minivan buyers wishing for more of an all-weather SUV utility experience will appreciate that the 2021 Sienna is available as an all-wheel-drive variant with a stated towing capacity of 3500 lbs.
For the adventurous, 2021 Sienna comes to market with a full line of dealer-available accessories designed and manufactured by Yakima, including a rooftop carrier, cross bars, bike rack, and more. Also offered is an available tow hitch and factory optional, 1500-watt inverter with 120-volt AC outlets to power camping equipment.
The fourth-generation 2021 Toyota Sienna is a milestone for Toyota. It blends minivan utility with SUV all-weather capabilities and premium sedan ride and drive comfort. Plus, its standard hybrid power provides for a fuel-efficient minivan ownership experience, further representing Toyota’s commitment toward fleet-wide electrification to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact.
Today there are certainly more SUVs around than ever before, but the vast majority are mid-size, compact, and subcompact models that continue to offer the functionality of an SUV, but with the improved fuel efficiency and driving dynamics of a crossover vehicle built on a very un-truck-like unibody platform. Kia’s all-new 2021 Seltos compact SUV is the latest from this automaker to join in on this competitive market.
Appealing Design, Off-road Capable
The Seltos enters Kia’s lineup positioned between the Soul and Sportage models. It offers a handsome design that blends hard angles with flowing contours, featuring a long hood, wrap-around LED headlamps, a chiseled lower front bumper design, and Kia’s signature grille. Seltos rides on either 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels to reinforce its upscale and somewhat aggressive look. While drivers may rarely, if ever, venture off-pavement, the Seltos clearly hints at its off-road capability with integrated front and rear skid plates and black wheel arch cladding. Those wishing to further distinguish their ride can opt for an available two-tone roof treatment.
Fuel-efficient power choices include a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that brings 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft torque, and connects to a constantly variable transmission. Also available is a turbocharged 1.6-liter GDI engine offering 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. torque, which delivers power to the road through a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
Tailoring the Driving Experience
All-wheel drive is available that pairs torque vectoring control to optimize traction at each wheel, along with differential lock control that splits power equally between front and rear wheels for driving in severe weather. Normal, Eco, and Sport driving modes can be selected to tailor the driving experience by adjusting engine, transmission, and steering characteristics as desired.
Inside, driver and passengers find a surprisingly roomy cabin with an array of thoughtful touches that enhance the drive. A leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and leather shift boot speak to a driver’s sensibilities, as does an asymmetrical OLED instrument cluster that angles slightly left for a driver-centric cockpit feel. A 7-inch center display is standard with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display available. Passengers enjoy a two-step reclining rear seat, rear air vents, and USB ports for comfort and convenience.
An array of Kia Drive Wise driver-assistance systems are available including blind spot collision warning and collision avoidance assist, forward collision avoidance, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop-and-go, and more. A rear occupant alert feature reminds a driver to check the rear seats for young passengers if the driver door is opened and a passenger door had been opened and closed. Seltos will offer a base price of about $22,000 when it arrives in dealerships after the first of the year.