A peek at Toyota’s new Grand Highlander, solar car goes on sale, Ozzy’s ATV goes on the block
Toyota teases new Grand Highlander
Intake: Toyota has been missing out on sales to manufacturers who build big SUVs capable of seating as many as eight people in comparative comfort, as so many three-row sport-utes have a third row good only for children or the Munchkin cast of The Wizard of Oz. That changes at Toyota with the all-new, extended-wheelbase Grand Highlander. “Equipped for family adventures, the Grand Highlander will be the perfect addition to the lineup,” Toyota says. Lexus will get a three-row version called the TX. Both are expected to be hybrids.
Exhaust: Sorry about the lousy photo, but that’s what Toyota gave us. Spy shots of the Grand Highlander show about what you’d expect, with a pretty significant rear overhang compared to the regular Highlander. —Steven Cole Smith
Enjoy the art of endurance with this full-size Porsche 917 sculpture
Intake: After The Race, a Belgian collective specializing in motorsports-inspired art, has unveiled a stunning 1:1 scale Porsche 917 sculpture. Just 12 will be made from hand-laid fiberglass with a welded aluminum frame to support the structure and allow it to be strung from a ceiling or mounted to a wall. Each example will be painted by street artist Edmond “Pogo” Thonnard, and four themes are being offered—each with a perfect post-race patina, just as the name suggests. Buyers can pick from the 1970 Daytona-winning number two Gulf-liveried car, the red Salzburg number 23 which won Le Mans in 1970, the Martin-clad number 22 1971 Le Mans winner, or the number 20 Gulf car which featured in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans. Art lovers can also commission a psychedelic look, should the idea of a 917 on the wall not be unusual enough. Founder Jean-Denis “JD” Claessens says, “This artisanal, handmade design is the culmination of research, development and production work that spans 4 years and 4,000 hours of work.” Each sculpture will take six months to make, and the price is on application.
Exhaust: If you don’t have room for a whole car, After The Race also offers artwork based on the frunk lid or door of a G-Series Porsche 911 or a McLaren F1 GTR nose, with prices from around $4000 to $25,000. —Nik Berg
Lightyear solar car production starts
Intake: Dutch startup Lightyear has begun building its 0 EV, fitted with enough solar cells so that, given ideal conditions, it might never need to be plugged in. The Lighter 0 has a 60-kWh battery pack and a range of 388 miles on Europe’s WLTP test cycle (closer to 300 miles on the EPA method). In direct sunlight the 53 square feet of solar panels can generate electricity at the rate of 1.05 kW, adding six miles to the battery in an hour. So if you live somewhere sunny and don’t drive more than a few dozen miles a day, you might never have to go new a mains charger. The car’s sleek shape has a drag coefficient of just 0.17 which is a production car record. The 0 weighs 3,470 lbs thanks to mass-saving measures such as using in-wheel motors and a structure that’s a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber.
Exhaust: Saving the planet doesn’t come cheap. The Lightyear 0 costs around $260,000 and is only available in Europe. The company does have plans for a more affordable model to arrive in 2025, but that will depend on wealthy early adopters buying into the debut. —NB
Honda will have a fuel cell electric vehicle in 2024
Intake: Honda announced that it will produce an all-new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) based on the recently launched 2023 Honda CR-V starting in 2024 at its Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. PMC is a small-volume facility that most recently produced the Acura NSX. The new CR-V-based FCEV will mark “North America’s first production vehicle to combine a plug-in feature with FCEV technology in one model, which enables the driver to charge the onboard battery to deliver EV driving around town with the flexibility of fast hydrogen refueling for longer trips,” Honda says. It replaces the Clarity, which was marketed in California through 2021.
Exhaust: The plug-in feature should help sales considerably, as it lessens the range anxiety felt when you can’t find a working hydrogen station, which has been a big problem in California. It’s getting better, we’re told, but buyers on the fence should be impressed with Honda’s innovation. —SCS
Ozzy Osbourne’s almost-killer Banshee sold at auction
Intake: One day in 2003, musician Ozzy Osbourne was riding his Yamaha Banshee ATV when he crashed, and crashed hard. Apparently, it has pretty much been sitting since and was available to the highest bidder. To wit: “Fitted with a powerful 350cc two-stroke engine the Yamaha Banshee has earned the title of King of the Dunes, due to this power and off-road-only nature it is not to be messed with, this was put to the test by the previous owners rather famously. The previous owner was, of course, Ozzy Osbourne, who fell from this very quadbike cracking a vertebra, breaking eight ribs and his collarbone, it left him unconscious, and he even stopped breathing. But this didn’t stop the Prince of Darkness. Over the past 20 years the quad has been left untouched as part of his Estate, today it still sits with several of the scars it gathered on that day in 2003.” It sold yesterday for $12,817.
Exhaust: These ATVs are pretty rare now, and this one appears to be in decent condition, despite Ozzy’s crash. We’d say well bought. —SCS
News flash: Loud music can be distracting
Intake: A British study of 1,004 motorists, commissioned by “the UK road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart,” suggests that loud music inside the car may not be commensurate with safe driving. The study “revealed that two-thirds (69 percent) of motorists believe that having loud music on while driving can be distracting. The survey also revealed that 36 percent of motorists believe that listening to music while driving has an impact on how fast they drive. Meanwhile, two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents said that they turn off music when confused or stressed. Despite drivers reporting such issues, nearly nine-in-ten (89 percent) of survey respondents stated they listen to music while driving – meaning potentially millions of UK motorists’ ability to drive is being negatively impacted by music.”
Exhaust: What are the odds Ozzy was listening to loud music when he crashed? —SCS