Canyon AT4X eyes Ranger Raptor, next-gen Mustang’s face leaked, three-pedal Supra (finally)
GMC readies Canyon AT4X to take on Ranger Raptor
Intake: This summer, GMC will unveil a new trim for its Canyon midsize pickup—the AT4X. We first saw this trim on the 2022 Sierra half-ton, pitched as the most off-road worthy Sierra you could get from the factory and packed with trick Multimatic dampers, serious underbody armor, e-locking diffs, and meaty Goodyear mud-terrain tires. Expect the same recipe for the Canyon, whose styling will likely borrow heavily from that of the Colorado ZR2 but whose interior will be much nicer, in true GMC fashion. The teaser photo shows new 17-inch wheels wrapped in chunky Goodyear rubber, some shapely fender flares, and rock sliders to protect those pinch-welds and rocker panels. No powertrain details are provided yet, but we’d be surprised if a new engine bowed here; both the 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and the grunty 369 lb-ft 2.8-liter Duramax diesel four would serve perfectly. (We don’t expect the lowly 2.5-liter four-cylinder to be offered on the AT4X, as all but the most basic of Canyons get either the six or the diesel already.)
Exhaust: With the likes of the forthcoming Ranger Raptor headed to our shores, it’s a logical move for GM to give the Canyon an extra jolt of off-road energy to keep it competitive. Our (slightly unorthodox) test of a 2022 Colorado ZR2 Bison revealed much to like about GM’s midsize truck platform, but you won’t hear us complaining if GMC’s variant offers more luxe interior. Expect that sort of luxury to come at a cost, however. Given that a V-6-powered, crew cab, short-box Colorado ZR2 can clear $45,000, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Canyon AT4X’s window sticker started with a five.
Bentley breathes life back into the oldest T-Series
Intake: The very first Bentley T-Series is back in the British brand’s hands for a total restoration. The car originally emerged from the factory in September 1965 and was dispatched for various trials and tests around the world. Lost in storage for many years the car was discovered and a team of apprentices stripped it back in 2016, but the revival was short-lived as Bentley put the project on hold. Now, however, its 6.25-liter V-8 engine has been fired up for the first time in more than 15 years and the bare chassis has been driven, to prove that its ingenious self-leveling suspension, Hydramatic gearbox, and four-wheel brakes are functioning. The next phase will be the coachwork, which Bentley says will be completed in 2023 when the car will be added to its heritage collection.
Exhaust: While some brands are selling off their heritage collections it’s brilliant to see Bentley adding to its own moving museum. T-Series VIN 001 marked the beginning of big things for Bentley, with 1,868 examples sold, and its long-lasting V-8 engine would only be retired in 2019.
2023 Outback wears edgier suit, offers smart rearview mirror
Intake: If you’ve been wishing your Outback had a little more attitude but can’t justify the $40K Wilderness, Subaru sees you. For 2023, all Outbacks except the Geolandar-equipped Wildy get more plastic war paint: a bigger grille atop a more rugged lower bumper framed by black plastic blades, plus the prominent wheel-arch cladding flaunted by the new WRX. The top Touring trim gains a snazzy digital rearview mirror, which relays the feed from the existing rear camera suite to the “smart” glass. The Onyx Edition, previously only available with the higher-output, 260-hp turbocharged engine, can now be specced with the other Outback powerplant, the 182-hp naturally aspirated boxer-four, reducing its unique offerings to water-repellant, grey upholstery and dark exterior trim.
Exhaust: Subaru, like every other automaker, sees the popularity of dark appearance packages and doesn’t want to exclude more frugal buyers. An extra piece of safety-minded kit on the Touring model is wise, given its $38K starting price, and consistent with the brand’s safety-minded ethos. Otherwise, the 2023 MY updates prove that Subaru’s smart enough to not fix what ain’t broken in its trademark offering.
Next-gen Mustang’s schnoz leaked by forum
Intake: The face of the refreshed Ford Mustang previously seen only behind heavy camouflage has now been unearthed in its (likely) production form by a Mustang forum. The new pony car sports a front fascia that has the grille and headlights sharing the same contour as the hood’s shutline, and the grille/lower bumper vents are significantly larger than before. A new set of six-LED headlights also appears to be part of the equation.
Exhaust: While the current-generation Mustang is a retro-inspired looker with the subtle profile and proportions of an Aston Martin touring coupe, this redesign is angrier, more in-your-face. The larger grille looks like an evolution of the outgoing model, as if “S650” Mustangs will be able to unhinge their “jaws” to eat bigger prey. Which begs the question: How much more aggressive must the next-gen Cobra look to out-gun a mere EcoBoost ‘Stang?
Honda confirms Civic Hybrid, plus all-new hybrid versions of CR-V, Accord
Intake: Earlier this week, Honda unveiled a long-term plan to unveil 30 EV models globally before the decade is out. In the short-term, however, the big H is focusing its might on something more immediate: its hybrid portfolio. Honda will unveil battery-aided versions of its “core models,” the CR-V, Accord, and Civic. This is the first we’ve heard of hybrid plans for Honda’s handsome 11th-gen Civic, although it will be the last of the three nameplates to get the powertrain overhaul. An all-new CR-V hybrid will arrive later this year (replacing the existing model), with a new Accord hybrid following close behind. Honda is swinging big with forecasts here, too; it expects hybrid versions to eventually make up half of the sales mix for each model. With a Civic hybrid on the horizon, Honda will also cease production of the Insight, an efficiency-minded hybrid based on the last-generation Civic.
Exhaust: Since the forthcoming Civic hybrid will compete for the same customers as the Insight, but offer a newer platform and tech, it’s only logical that the Insight will exit stage left. The current, fifth-gen CR-V debuted in 2017, so it’s already due for a makeover. A hybrid CR-V debuted in 2019 but, given the rate at which battery tech has developed in the past three years, we’d expect what’s coming to be far more efficient than 25/33 city/highway. Ditto for the Accord. That 50 percent sales mix is a big deal, too; Honda sold over 361,000 CR-Vs and more than 202,000 Accords in 2021, a decidedly down year. If it could achieve a 50/50 mix with hybrids, that would be a serious boost for its CAFE numbers.
Toyota to save the manual with a three-pedal Supra
Intake: Toyota has confirmed that a stick-shift Supra is on its way. “Toyota Gazoo Racing sports car customers and fans have spoken and we’ve listened. A Toyota GR Supra with an all-new, tailor-made manual transmission is coming soon,” says a very short press statement. Teaser images show that the manual Supra will wear red badging to distinguish it from the standard eight-speed automatic. It’s not clear whether three pedals will be available on both four and six-cylinder Supras, but BMW only mates a manual transmission to a select few straight-sixes, including the M2, M3, and M4 (in select regions). “Developed to meet the demands of driving purists, the Toyota GR Supra Manual Transmission has been engineered to offer enthusiasts something that is closer to the Gazoo Racing DNA and will enhance the driving experience,” says Toyota.
Exhaust: Now that’s what we call a Good Friday! The announcement is hot on the heels of the reveal of the GR Corolla, and is another example of how Toyota making a strong-case as the go-to brand for gearheads.