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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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GM raises production of electric vehicles, repositions Chevrolet Bolt

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General Motors Company says said it is increasing its electric vehicle assembly plans, raising production of the EV Chevrolet Bolt and other vehicles.

GM reported its highest quarterly sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, which totalled 14,709 vehicles. Bolt sales are down by 11 per cent for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.

In June, GM said it would sharply cut Bolt prices after it halted sales for six months following a battery recall.

Autoblog reported the GM as saying on Monday it would specifically boost Bolt production for global markets to more than 70,000 in 2023 from about 44,000 vehicles this year.

Bolt sales in 2021 hit a record annual high of 24,828 vehicles.

The largest US automaker said it was moving up body shop upgrades at its Detroit Factory ZERO for Silverado EV production in 2023 and taking other steps to prepare.

GM will suspend the production of the GMC HUMMER EV pickup for several weeks starting in late November to prepare for that production jump, it said.

Cadillac Lyriq production will increase in the fourth quarter and GM plans additional production shifts for GMC Hummer EVs in 2023, it said.

The automaker stated that its 2023 EV launches, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV and Chevrolet Equinox EV, were on schedule.

GM’s EV sales are still a small fraction of US sales. Out of 1.65 million US vehicles sold in the first nine months of the year, GM sold 22,012 Bolts, 782 Hummer EV pickups and 36 Lyriq SUVs.

GM and LG Energy Solution’s joint venture Ultium Cells LLC is considering a site in Indiana for a fourth $2.4 billion US battery cell manufacturing plant, the venture said in August.

 

-Autoblog

 

 

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Maserati GranTurismo returns, this time with electric folgore model

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Luxury sports car maker Maserati has unveiled its new GranTurismo model ahead of an official launch next year for the brand’s first car fully-electric version.

Maserati, the luxury brand of automaker Stellantis, rolled out the new GranTurismo on Monday, according to Reuters, returning the to sporty coupe which has seen many iterations over the years, but now with the option for 100 per cent electric propulsion.

Folgore is the name that Maserati applies to its electric vehicles and the new GranTurismo Folgore will sit alongside Modena and Trofeo versions, both powered by a 3-litre V6 engine, as you might expect, reports Pocketlint, an online auto journal.

But the Folgore takes Maserati in a new direction and creates something rather unique for those looking for a high-end electric sports car. As this is the GranTurismo it only has the two doors, but there’s four seats, the long, low, body designed for sporty driving in comfort.

 

Maserati, which returned to an operating profit last year, has promised fully-electric or folgore – versions of all its cars by 2025, as part of a wider turnaround plan.

It said in a statement the electric powertrain for the new grand tourer (GT) would be derived from Formula E technology, where the Italian brand will start competing next year.

The automaker said the new GranTurismo will also be available with a three-litre, six-cylinder internal combustion engine (ICE), in two versions capable of 490 and 500 horse powers.

Both the fully-electric and the ICE versions would have an indicative starting price of around 200,000 euros ($195.000), just below the entry price for a Ferrari car.

The GranTurismo will be produced at Stellantis’ Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy.

Maserati will provide further details of the new car at its official presentation in the first quarter of next year, while sales are expected to start in the second quarter.

 

 

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Toyota ending FJ Cruiser production, reveals special Final Edition

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Toyota has announced that it will discontinue the production of the FJ Cruiser in the Middle East by December 2022. But before that happens, the leading automaker says it will introduce a special Final Edition.

The FJ Cruiser has been sold in the Middle East since 2007 and has continued to survive even after being pulled from all other markets. The car was retired from the American market at the end of the 2014 model year but it lived on in several overseas markets. Sales in Australia ended in 2016.

Toyota on Monday said only 1,000 units of the Final Edition model would be produced, each differentiated from the standard model through a host of special touches.

Toyota has not released images of the SUV yet but official importer Abdul Latif Jameel Motors notes the commemorative trim will receive a single-tone beige paint job, beige upholstery, and beige interior trim. The grille, bumpers, door mirror caps, exterior door handles, and spare tire cover will be finished in black to add a touch of contrast, and each Final Edition will wear specific emblems.

Colours and trim aside, the FJ sold in the Middle East looks a lot like the FJ that was available in the United States. The specifications sheet looks similar as well.

Power for the Final Edition model comes from Toyota’s tried-and-true 4.0-liter V6, rated at 270 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, increases of 10 and nine, respectively, compared to the American model. The list of standard features includes Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) technology, a Crawl Control function, and an electronically-locking rear differential.

For the 2023 FJ Cruiser Final Edition, deliveries are expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to multiple sources including Carscoops,Jalopnik and Autoblog.

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