• Toyota reveals RAV4 Sapphire Hybrid

    March 5, 2016

    While the Toyota C-HR headlined the automaker’s display at the Geneva Motor Show, it also showed off with less fanfare the RAV4 Sapphire Hybrid.

    It’s not billed as a production vehicle, but Toyota has stated that it showcases some changes that may soon be available on the production RAV4. The differences appear to be an effort to make the RAV4 look more upscale. In Europe, a vehicle of this class is much larger than the typical vehicle and is considered to be more upmarket than it would be in the US.

    The first thing to catch the eye is a new dark blue color that extends all the way to the side sills. It’s a departure from current RAV4 vehicles, which have a wisp of black plastic cladding hugging the wheelbase. There’s an added sliver of chrome trim, which boasts a Hybrid badge.

    The grille, too, receives some chrome trim, while 20-inch black alloys complete the exterior. The theme continues on the interior, which boasts new piano black trim and bright “hybrid blue” vents. The attractive, diamond-quilted leather upholstery is already available on European RAV4 models.

    Toyota says that the RAV4 Sapphire Hybrid has been put out there to gauge customer reaction, though a full-body color RAV4 is already in the works. There was no word about whether these options would come to the US.

  • Euro-spec Hyundai Tucson gets 1.7-liter diesel, 7-speed dual-clutch

    March 5, 2016

    Hyundai has made a couple of powertrain modifications to the Euro-spec Tucson.

    Buyers on the other side of the pond will soon be able to order the soft-roader with a new 1.7-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that generates 141 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 250 lb-ft. of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. Called CRDi in Hyundai-speak, the oil-burner sends the Tucson from zero to 62 mph in 11.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 114 mph.

    The only transmission offered is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that can be shifted manually using the gear lever, and front-wheel drive is the only configuration available; buyers who want all-wheel drive need to step up to the bigger 2.0-liter oil-burner. Fuel economy checks in at 43 mpg in the city and 48 mpg in a mixed European cycle thanks in part to a standard start/stop system.

    Pricing information hasn’t been published yet. The new oil-burner will likely trickle down to other members of Hyundai’s European lineup in the coming months, but at the time of writing the South Korean firm isn’t planning on selling a Tucson with a 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine on our shores.

  • Volkswagen announces Golf Sportwagen Limited Edition

    March 5, 2016

    Volkswagen has introduced a new version of the 2016 Golf SportWagen called Limited Edition.

    Positioned between the S and the SE trims, the Limited Edition comes with an array of electronic driving aids including adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system, forward collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking. The list of standard features includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, chrome trim around the windows, and discreet edition-specific “Limited” emblems on the front fenders. Inside, Limited Edition cars ship with leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a push-button ignition, and Volkswagen’s new MIB II infotainment system.

    The only engine offered is a 1.8-liter TSI four-cylinder that’s both turbocharged and direct-injected. Bolted exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, it generates 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 199 lb-ft. of torque at just 1,600 rpm. Fuel economy checks in at 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

    The 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Limited Edition is on sale now for $24,995, and deliveries are scheduled to kick off later this month. Volkswagen hasn’t announced how many examples it plans on building, or if the Limited Edition model will simply join the SportWagen lineup as a regular trim level.