Corolla Cross airbag recall, Scout poaches key Stellantis designer, Ultimate Range Rover Sport
Toyota recalls 96K Corolla Cross models for faulty airbags
Intake: Toyota Motor North America has announced a recall for about 96,000 units of its Corolla Cross compact crossover SUV for a front passenger airbag that might not deploy. The recall covers non-hybrid models from model years 2022 and 2023. Toyota recommended that owners not allow anyone to sit in the front passenger seat until an affected vehicle is inspected and the repair is completed. According to a statement from Toyota, the faulty airbag stems from a manufacturing error in the instrument panel. A Toyota spokesperson declined to comment on whether there have been any reported injuries, accidents, or deaths related to the issue. Vehicle owners will be notified by late July, according to Toyota, and the fix will involve a dealer inspecting and replacing the instrument panel if necessary.
Exhaust: Oh boy, more airbag issues. Because of the faulty airbag, the affected Corolla Cross models might not meet a very basic federal safety standard. The bit about declining to mention whether any injuries, accidents, or deaths are related to this issue gives us pause; normally that’s one of the first things an automaker makes clear when they announce a recall. If you own one of the affected models, please don’t let anyone ride shotgun until you get it fixed. — Nathan Petroelje
Scout hires key designer from Stellantis
Intake: Stellantis interior design chief Chris Benjamin has joined Scout Motors to lead design for the EV-focused Volkswagen brand that will specialize in utility vehicles and trucks, according to Automotive News. Benjamin becomes the chief design officer for Scout, which plans to begin vehicle production at a plant near Columbia, S.C., by the end of 2026. The brand said the first retail sales of its electric pickups and SUVs will start soon after.
Exhaust: “Chris’ work is prolific. For nearly 25 years, he’s brought to life vehicles that stand out on the road,” Scout CEO Scott Keogh said in a statement. “His thumbprints are all over many of the most beloved off-road vehicles in the market today. I’m confident that Chris will build on that experience as he defines the next chapter of design for Scout and electric utility vehicles.” — Steven Cole Smith
The ultimate Range Rover Sport gives good vibrations
Intake: If the rumble of its 626-hp 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 engine isn’t enough, then owners of the 2024 Range Rover Sport SV can fire up “Body and Soul” front seats that are tuned in to the car’s 1,430-watt, 29-speaker Meridian Signature sound system. Artificial Intelligence-optimized software controls seatback transducers for what Land Rover calls “a multi-dimensional audio experience with wellness benefits.”
For more traditional seat-of-the-pants excitement the BMW-sourced eight-cylinder will power the SV to 60 mph from rest in just 3.6 seconds, with no letting up until 180 mph. It’s more than just a point-and-shoot SUV, however, with a 6D Dynamics active suspension system comprising pitch control, height-adjustable air springs, and interlinked hydraulic dampers which do away with the need for anti-roll bars. In the bends the SV achieves a “near-level body stance,” says Land Rover, while grip and comfort levels are also increased. New subframe and suspension links are fitted, and a revised steering rack has the fastest ratio of any car to wear the Range Rover badge. The SV rides lower than the regular Sport, even on optional, industry-first, 23-inch carbon fiber wheels, which are said to save 20 lbs per corner. Carbon ceramic brakes are also available for the first time on a Rangie. Externally the SV is distinguished by a new bumper with wider air intakes and a smattering of carbon detailing. Inside, the car can be completely customized, of course, and is offered with the brand’s new Ultrafabrics PU leather alternative.
Exhaust: Now fitted with the same motor as the latest BMW X5 M and X6 M, the Range Rover Sport really does live up to its name and might even give the updated Porsche Cayenne a run for its money. — Nik Berg
Alfa Romeo Tonale has a 33-mpg electric range
Intake: The plug-in hybrid Alfa Romeo Tonale has completed final EPA testing that shows an electric range of 33 miles and MPGe rating of 77. Total range of the Alfa Romeo Tonale with a full battery charge is 360 miles. Combined fuel economy is 29 MPG. “We are happy to announce the official EPA electric range of 33 miles and 77 MPGe for the Alfa Romeo Tonale, which will allow many of our customers to drive their daily commutes without tapping the fuel tank,” said Larry Dominique, SVP, Head of Alfa Romeo North America. “The Alfa Romeo Tonale represents the beginning of our transformation to greater electrification while staying true to the performance characteristics our customers expect from the brand.”
Exhaust: The Tonale’s performance is bolstered by a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery that drives a 90-kW electric motor on the rear axle with 184 lb.-ft. of torque from 0 rpm. Total output, says Alfa, is a best-in-class 285 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque with the 180-horse, 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine. The 2024 Tonale is shipping to dealerships now, with a starting price for the Sprint model set at $44,590 including a $1595 destination charge. — Steven Cole Smith
Honda announces new SCL500, a middle-weight do-it-all machine with retro flair
Intake: Honda just announced the new SCL500 model being added to its already diverse motorcycle lineup. This new machine borrows the engine of the Rebel 500—and a lot of the chassis too—with a dose of vintage styling to make for a welcoming bike to riders of all skill levels. The long flat seat and high exhaust pipes call back to the original Scramblers of the 1960s. Honda is also saying that a robust factory accessories catalog will allow buyers to make the SCL500 their own without resorting to aftermarket parts, and with the MSRP set at just $6799, it is easy to see buyers opting for a few new parts right off the showroom floor.
Exhaust: Did the motorcycle market need another mid-displacement scrambler-style motorcycle? Probably not, but Honda’s reputation sells bikes and this parallel twin is approachable for new riders and has enough ground clearance that exploring beyond paved roads is possible. That’s a lot of utility and capability for the price. — Kyle Smith