Mazda’s gorgeous three-row SUV, Nissan’s pole-to-pole EV, Hyundai’s 361-mile Ioniq 6
Mazda shows off all-new CX-90 and its 340-hp inline-six engine
Intake: The 2024 CX-90 is Mazda’s first vehicle to use its all-new large platform that incorporates a longitudinal powertrain layout. Two powertrains are set for the North American market. A plug-in hybrid with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 17.8-kWh battery offers 323 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. An available e-Skyactiv G 3.3-liter inline-six turbo engine provides 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. This engine is paired with a mild hybrid system that places an electric motor between the engine and the eight-speed automatic so that low-speed driving can be handled solely by the electric motor.
Exhaust: We like the sharp, tailored look of the CX-90 and are glad to see a RWD-based crossover from a brand that is so focused on driving dynamics. Besides the rebirth of the rotary engine, this new inline-six is the most anticipated engine from Mazda in ages. With any luck, Mazda will be able to put this lovely powertrain into plenty of enthusiast-oriented vehicles in the future. —Brandan Gillogly
2024 Mercedes GLE adds plug-in hybrid model
Intake: Mercedes-Benz has revealed updates for the 2024 GLE and GLE Coupe, its mid-size luxury SUV. The biggest news is the arrival of a plug-in hybrid model, dubbed the GLE 400 e 4MATIC. It features a 134-hp electric motor that pairs with a 248-horsepower, 295 lb-ft 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for a combined system output of 381 hp and 479 lb-ft. There are two new packages available: on the top-trim GLE 580, you can get a package for off-roading, which will include some underbody armor and an additional 1.2 inches of lift from the air suspension. Across the GLE lineup, you can score a package for towing that can map out a route and take into consideration a pre-defined trailer to make sure that you won’t get stuck or break any weight laws. Styling tweaks include redesigned daytime running lights, extra bits of chrome to the front fascia, and two new wheel designs. Inside, the GLE gets the high-tech multi-spoke steering wheel from the S-class, added dashes of chrome on the air vents, and a few new colors for the interior leather. The 2024 GLE and GLE Coupe will arrive at U.S. dealerships later this year.
Exhaust: The towing package is a bit of a headscratcher; have you ever seen someone towing with one of those? The off-road package makes sense, because everything needs to go off-road right now—even the 911. — Nathan Petroelje
This electric Nissan is aiming to drive from Pole to Pole
Intake: A Nissan Ariya crossover could become the first electric vehicle to drive from the magnetic North Pole to the South Pole. The 17,000-mile journey has been four years in the planning and will take place in 14 countries over ten months. Starting in the very north of Canada, British husband and wife team Chris and Julie Ramsey will then make their way south through the U.S. into Central and South America, eventually running out of dry land in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. From there the car will be loaded onto a ship for its final leg across the Antarctic ice fields. To cope with the highly-varied and super-tough terrain the Ariya has been modified by specialists Arctic Trucks with uprated suspension and 39-inch off-road tires, although the car’s electric powertrain remains standard. You can follow the adventure online here.
Exhaust: A regular Nissan Ariya has a driving range of up to 329 miles, but this adventurous version won’t be able to match that. As high-speed electric charging points aren’t exactly common along the route the Ramseys will be towing a special trailer with its own wind turbine and solar cells that can boost the battery. Good job they’re not in a hurry. — Nik Berg
GM invests $650M into Nevada Lithium mine
Intake: General Motors announced that it will take a $650 million equity position in Lithium Americas Corp. and work alongside the mining company to build out the Thacker Pass Lithium mine in Nevada, according to a report from Automotive News. That will make GM the largest stakeholder in Lithium Americas, with the automaker building a 10 percent stake. The mining company estimates that the Thacker Pass mine could produce enough lithium to help produce the batteries for as many as 1 million electric vehicles annually. GM says that it has the supply agreements to gather all of the raw battery materials needed to produce Ultium batteries for 1 million EVs in North America by 2025, and that this investment will help secure materials for 2026 and beyond. Production at the mine is expected to begin in the first half of 2026, and GM will have exclusive access to the first fruits of the mine, with the agreement also giving GM the right of first offer for the second phase.
Exhaust: There’s been a lot of noise around the raw materials required for the number of batteries that will need to be produced for automakers to hit these grandiose EV production targets and all-electric lineup forecasts that are planned for the coming years. Don’t be surprised if you hear more news about automakers pumping cash into raw material mining operations in the near future. — Nathan Petroelje
Hyundai Ioni6 6 EPA-rated at a range of 361 miles
Intake: The electric 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 has completed final EPA testing with the Ioniq 6 SE Long Range in rear-wheel-drive trim receiving an EPA-estimated range of 361 miles. EPA testing also confirmed a 140 combined MPGe rating for the same model. That matches two Lucid Air models that are at the top of Fueleconomy.gov’s 2023 Top Ten Vehicles list. The Ioniq 6 SE Long Range in all-wheel-drive trim was rated as having a 316-mile range. The model goes on sale this spring.
Exhaust: That 361-mile range is remarkable, considering the fact that the 2023 Ioniq 5 is rated at a still-impressive maximum range of 303 miles. “Continually improving the efficiency of our vehicles is always a top priority for our development teams,” said Olabisi Boyle, vice president of product planning and mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor North America. “Instead of just adding a larger battery to increase the range, we chose to optimize Ioniq 6’s aerodynamic performance and its Electric-Global Modular Platform for efficiency to produce these long driving ranges.” — Steven Cole Smith
NHTSA investigating Kia Telluride headlight issue
Intake: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun an investigation into nearly 87,000 Kia Telluride SUVs from the 2020 model year regarding the failure of high beam headlights, reports Automotive News. NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation said it has received 23 complaints alleging a complete loss of high beams. Some of the complaints reported that replacement of the headlight unit was required.
Exhaust: So far, no accidents have been reported due to a high beam headlight issue, according to NHTSA, which said, “Failure of the high-beam exterior light system results in reduced visibility for the vehicle operator” and may lead to an increased risk of a crash. Kia did not immediately respond to Automotive News’ request for comment. — SCS
I hope the inline 6 makes it’s way into some smaller crossovers as the “90” is bigger than what I would normally want.
The CX 90 is on my short list of replacement family haulers. With the price of 1/2 tons in the stratosphere, a RWD based SUV is a good fit. I would’ve liked to see them push the towing capacity to 6000lbs, but 5000lbs will do. I just need a lighter trailer for my Benz.
That CX-90 looks like a winner.
I sure hope that the Toyota Motor Corporation engineers take a long hard look at their new model Venza headlamp system (2021 – 2022) to be precise. This is ‘not’ due to the high beams ‘not’ activating but rather to the fact that when the high beam mode is deployed there isn’t one iota of difference in road illumination. You can approach an oncoming vehicle at night and never have the opposing vehicle flash its high beams back at you to switch them off. Not sure if it’s related to the headlamp positioning, aiming, or simply a less powerful lamp? It would be welcome if they can come up with a fix before there are any reported incidents due to sketchy illumination.
Big deal. I accomplished the same results with my 2007 Saturn Ion, which much to my dismay. is still on the road. I have done all of my night driving with the high-beams on for the past five years and perhaps two oncoming drivers have noticed.
…the automatic hi-lo beams on our Chrysler Pacifica are astonishingly good. When we first got the car, we wondered why it was switiching to low with nothing oncoming.. Within a second or two, we noticed that we’d been climbing a rise, and an oncoming car, invisible at first to the naked eye, would then appear. It also keeps the low beams on if a stopsign is coming ino view, urbanity is noticed, or during low-speed travel up our long brushy lane.