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Toyota Corolla in high safety, fuel-economy record

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Toyota is not ready to give up its much cherished high records of being an inexpensive, safety-minded and well-equipped compact car maker. This is demonstrated in the engineering of its latest Corolla, the 2021 model.

Available as either four-door hatchback or sedan, the new Toyota car is said to offer a variety of personalities. Both body styles feature a pair of dutiful four-cylinder engines, and are offered with an extremely frugal hybrid powertrain.

Special edition

Toyota has added a limited-production Special Edition to the 2021 Corolla hatchback lineup.

Interior

The new car comes with 10 airbags. Every Corolla hatchback adds rear-seat-mounted side airbags, which bring the car’s total to 10.

Its cargo volume can also be expanded by six cubic feet (23 total) with a new no-cost option that deletes the spare tyre and adds a tyre-repair kit.

The sedan adds a limited-production trim level called the Apex Edition. Along with a unique appearance and a specially tuned chassis, it is available with summer tyres.

However, there will only be 120 stick-shift models available; the others have a CVT.

Every Corolla is said to come with Android Auto, too. Both body styles are once again available with black exterior accents courtesy of the Nightshade model.

Engine, transmission and performance

Except for the sportier SE and XSE models, the Corolla sedan uses a 139-hp 1.8-litre four-cylinder that sends power to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The zestier versions have a 169-hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder that pairs with a CVT or optional six-speed manual.

While all hatchbacks have the larger engine, only the sedan offers a hybrid powertrain. Reviewers note that the tests of the 2019 Corolla SE hatchback and the 2020 Corolla XSE sedan proved even the strongest engine doesn’t deliver adequate acceleration. The Toyota twins were prudent around town and steady on the highway.

Both the Corolla sedan and the hatchback are said to have a pleasant ride quality that adequately isolates all but the worst bumps. Their controlled body motions also provide better agility than previous iterations.

The Corolla SE and XSE further separate themselves with a stiffer sport-tuned suspension and the latter’s larger 18-inch wheels (everything else rides on either 15- or 16-inch rims).

Compared with athletic and engaging rivals, such as the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf, the Corolla’s progressive steering is found to be satisfactory.
While neither Corolla body style is found to have impressive results in a 70-mph-to-zero braking test—requiring between 174 and 183 feet—their brake pedals are described as dependable and easy to operate.

Fuel economy

According to new car reviewers, including motor1.com and Motor Trend, coming long with two fuel-efficient four-cylinders, the 2021 Corolla sedan offers an immensely thrifty hybrid model.

The EPA estimates the hybrid will earn 53 mpg city and 52 highway.

It is estimated the non-hybrid sedan’s 2.0-litre engine will earn up to 40 mpg highway while the 1.8-litre is rated up to 38 mpg highway.

A driver said, “The hybrid we tested exceeded its highway rating by 3 mpg on our fuel-economy test route, earning 56 mpg over 200 miles at a steady 75 mph. The only other sedan we tested—a Corolla XSE—saw 41 mpg. The 2019 Corolla hatchback (automatic transmission) earns up to 32 mpg city and 42 highway, according to the EPA. The manual version receives significantly lower estimates at 28 mpg city and 37 highway. We tested the hatch with both transmissions on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route; the automatic earned 40 mpg, and the manual got 36 mpg.”

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Tesla driverless car explodes after crashing into tree

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Two men have died after a Tesla vehicle, which was believed to be operating without anyone in the driver’s seat, crashed into a tree on Saturday night north of Houston, authorities said.

After the fire was extinguished, authorities located two occupants in the vehicle, with one in the front passenger seat and the other in the back seat of the Tesla

The accident came amid growing scrutiny over Tesla’s semi-automated driving system following recent accidents.

The US auto safety agency said in March it had opened 27 investigations into crashes of Tesla vehicles.

“There was no-one in the driver’s seat,” Sergeant Cinthya Umanzor of the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 said.

The 2019 Tesla Model S was travelling at high speed when it failed to negotiate a curve and went off the road, crashing into a tree and bursting into flames, local television station KHOU-TV said.

Tesla and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in January that he expected huge profits from the company’s full self-driving software, saying he was “highly confident the car will be able to drive itself with reliability in excess of human this year”.

Experts say the self-driving technology must overcome safety and regulatory hurdles to achieve commercial success.

-Reuters

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Mercedes-Benz stuns with another seven-seater crossover SUV

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A few days after Mercedes-Benz revealed what it calls the mother of all electric vehicles in the form of the sophisticated EQS luxury sedan, it has added another stunning product to the Mercedes-EQ family of cars, the EQB.

This is a seven-seater, crossover sport utility vehicle that is to the GLB-class what the EQA is to the GLA.

Car and Driver in a report quotes the premium German automaker as saying the EQB is based on the GLB crossover.

Mercedes-Benz EQ is a series of battery electric vehicles manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. The first model was previewed at the Paris Motor Show in 2016 with the Generation EQ concept vehicle.

The EQB will be launched first in China, where it debuts in a luxuriously equipped all-wheel-drive version with AMG Line styling.

Europe is to have it next in three versions: front- and all-wheel-drive models and a range-optimizing mid-level EQB.

The new vehicle will however not be released to the US market until next year.

While the sheet metal and glass are identical, the styling department under Gorden Wagener has cleaned up the exterior for a more contemporary and sophisticated look.

The front is graced by the trademark EQ headlight/fascia assembly, with a horizontal light bar stretching over the entire width.

This element is reflected on the tail end, which boasts a horizontal light strip as well.

There are EQ-specific colours and wheels, and there will be a choice of regular or AMG-Line front and rear bumpers.

The interior is carried over from the GLB as well, but it comes with EQ-exclusive color and trim options, including rose gold (pictured here), one of Wagener’s favorite colors.

Due to the battery packs in the floor, interior space suffers a bit: Daimler cautions that the third row will only work for people up to 5’5″ and the trunk shrinks considerably.

That said, the EQB is still a crossover SUV that offers more space than usual for its exterior dimensions.

The EQB was unveiled in China, and it will be launched there first as a fully loaded model with a standard AMG Line look, all-wheel drive, and two motors that make a combined 288 horsepower.

Europe will get both the EQB350 4Matic with around 268 horsepower and the front-wheel-drive EQB250 with 221 horsepower; there will also be a mid-level version designed as a long-range model. Both China and Europe will see the EQB at dealers within the 2021 calendar year.

The US will have to wait until 2022, and the company is mum about the possible powertrain options.

Car and Driver says, “What we can deduce from our experience with the EQA is that even the least powerful versions of the EQB will come in at around 4500 pounds, which we hope won’t translate into plodding, cumbersome handling characteristics, even if that would feel a bit less out of place in a people hauler like the EQB than in a compact hatch like the EQA.

“There will be no true AMG version, unlike on the EQS and the EQE. However, we’ll suspend judgment until we can drive it.”

 

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Audi to light up Auto Shanghai with new E-Tron

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Audi has released a first teaser of its new E-Tron sedan ahead of the launch of the lustrous car today April 19 at the 2021 Auto Shanghai.

But it only showed the long front end, though the company is back with a second teaser that reveals much more for the car.

The latest teaser, posted to Audi’s Weibo account, the Facebook-like Chinese social media site, shows the car in profile with dramatic shadows obscuring most of the bodywork. But a little tweaking in Photoshop reveals a bit more of the car’s styling.

One of the first things jumping out is the rear overhang, which looks oddly elongated compared to the front.

Audi will show off the car at Auto Shanghai 2021 on Monday, April 19.

However, while its reveal is imminent, the new sedan isn’t expected to go on sale until the 2023 model year, so it will be a bit before you can buy one.

It should be the first model to ride on the brand’s Premium Platform Electric architecture that Audi jointly developed with Porsche.

The teaser confirms much of what is expected – a sedan similar in size and shape to the Audi A5 Sportback.

However, the new E-Tron does look sleeker than the A5 Sportback, with a lower greenhouse and unique proportions. One can even spot the charging door on the rear quarter panel.

Elections will power the new fastback sedan, though the setup remains unclear. A single-motor model will power the rear wheels, while a dual-motor setup in higher performance trim will power all four.

It should also sport 800-volt charging and offer around 300 miles of range, though that could be less in the US with its strict testing regiment. Inside, people should expect to see a similar design to what’s in the E-Tron GT, though it will be a bit less luxurious as this new E-Tron will likely slot below the GT.

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