2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross picks up substantial style in refresh – Roadshow

Sharper all around.

Mitsubishi

In September, Mitsubishi previewed updates to its newest crossover, the Eclipse Cross, by way of a shadowy teaser. We could tell the body had been updated substantially, but we weren't sure of specifics at the time. Well, now it's time to learn a little more.

Mitsubishi on Thursday unveiled the 2022 Eclipse Cross SUV. The biggest updates to this little utility vehicle come by way of styling. The front end looks much more aggressive, with a dark grille flanked by two strong chrome trim pieces that connect the running lights to the lower fascia. Out back, the light bar spanning the width of the vehicle has been eliminated in favor of two distinct taillights that look less… I don't know, weird?

Strangely, the Eclipse Cross is right-hand-drive only.

Just kidding, Mitsubishi only had pictures of the Australian model.

Mitsubishi

The cabin is more evolution than revolution, with small tweaks such as a door trim that now matches the color of the seats. The most important addition is a new 8-inch display that rests atop the dashboard, and even better, it's standard across the lineup. The display itself is now closer to the driver for easier access, and a physical volume knob is always a welcome addition. The touchpad on the center console has been banished to the ether, giving the center console a smidge of extra storage.

The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rocks the same powertrain as before, consisting of a 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 making 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which marries to a continuously variable transmission with eight simulated "gears." A plug-in hybrid variant will be made available in some markets, but Mitsubishi says it has no plans to bring the PHEV to the US. Shame, that.

The new Eclipse Cross will make its debut in Australia and New Zealand in November, and the US will get a crack at it in the first quarter of 2021.

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2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross picks up substantial style in refresh – Roadshow

Sharper all around.

Mitsubishi

In September, Mitsubishi previewed updates to its newest crossover, the Eclipse Cross, by way of a shadowy teaser. We could tell the body had been updated substantially, but we weren't sure of specifics at the time. Well, now it's time to learn a little more.

Mitsubishi on Thursday unveiled the 2022 Eclipse Cross SUV. The biggest updates to this little utility vehicle come by way of styling. The front end looks much more aggressive, with a dark grille flanked by two strong chrome trim pieces that connect the running lights to the lower fascia. Out back, the light bar spanning the width of the vehicle has been eliminated in favor of two distinct taillights that look less… I don't know, weird?

Strangely, the Eclipse Cross is right-hand-drive only.

Just kidding, Mitsubishi only had pictures of the Australian model.

Mitsubishi

The cabin is more evolution than revolution, with small tweaks such as a door trim that now matches the color of the seats. The most important addition is a new 8-inch display that rests atop the dashboard, and even better, it's standard across the lineup. The display itself is now closer to the driver for easier access, and a physical volume knob is always a welcome addition. The touchpad on the center console has been banished to the ether, giving the center console a smidge of extra storage.

The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rocks the same powertrain as before, consisting of a 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 making 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which marries to a continuously variable transmission with eight simulated "gears." A plug-in hybrid variant will be made available in some markets, but Mitsubishi says it has no plans to bring the PHEV to the US. Shame, that.

The new Eclipse Cross will make its debut in Australia and New Zealand in November, and the US will get a crack at it in the first quarter of 2021.

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Mercedes pivots, will use EQS to begin US EV onslaught – Roadshow

The EQS will draw most of its inspiration from the wild Vision EQS concept car seen on the left.

Mercedes-Benz

Late last year, it was announced that Mercedes-Benz would delay introducing its EQC electric crossover in the US until 2021. Now, it appears the automaker has further shifted its strategy to introduce its EQ sub-brand to the States.

The first Mercedes-EQ vehicle to launch in the US will be the EQS large electric sedan, Automotive News reports, citing its interview with Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius. "We said that for positioning the EQ brand in the US, start from the top and then go from there," Kallenius told AN. According to the report, it will launch in the coming summer.

Originally, the EQC crossover was slated to be the US' first new electric Mercedes. We took our first drive in this GLC-sized SUV in mid-2019, and at that time, it was expected to launch in the US in early 2020. However, plans changed that December when Mercedes said it was delaying the EQC's US debut until 2021 due to growing demand in Europe.

The Mercedes EQS will be built in Germany, and it'll run on a new platform dedicated to electric vehicles, unlike the EQC, which is based on a modified internal-combustion platform. It's believed that the EQS will have a battery capable of more than 430 miles per charge, according to the European WLTP testing standard. The EPA obviously hasn't evaluated the car yet, and Mercedes has remained mum about most of the car's specs -- heck, nobody even knows what it looks like yet, as every iteration shown to the public thus far has been covered in thick vehicle camouflage.

Earlier this month, Mercedes rolled out a large teaser campaign for its upcoming EQ sub-brand. In addition to further previewing the EQS sedan, the automaker also showed off early (and also camouflaged) versions of the EQE sedan, which will act as an electric analogue to the E-Class, and the EQS SUV. In all, Mercedes-Benz hopes to launch five new electric cars through 2022, so the public should be learning much more about these EVs in the months to come.

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Ford delays Escape PHEV to 2021 model year after EU recalls – Roadshow

See you... soon, I guess? Maybe? Ford wasn't exactly clear.

Ford

Delays are never fun, but sometimes, they are in the best interest of every party. After having to recall some of its plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe, it appears a hotly anticipated US model will show up to the party a little later than Ford had hoped.

Ford is shifting production of the Escape Plug-In Hybrid until the 2021 model year, according to the automaker. "We are moving full scale production of Escape PHEV to the 2021 model year," a Ford spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Roadshow. "The first Escape PHEVs will be sold next year."

That's not necessarily the interesting part. As of two weeks ago, Ford Authority reported that Escape PHEV models would begin production in January 2021 while, according to the report, still being sold under the 2020 model year. It's unclear whether or not January is the new or old date for production. Ford only sent over that two-sentence statement and did not answer questions pertaining to Ford Authority's report, so there are still some unanswered questions here.

The interesting bit is why the Escape PHEV was delayed. According to a report from Reuters, which spoke with a European spokesperson as well, production was kicked down the road to address issues with a vehicle that shares parts with the Escape PHEV. The Kuga, as the Escape is known in Europe, has been recalled over possible concerns with the high-voltage battery, which "could result in a fire," according to Reuters. Ford's European spokesperson told Reuters that the automaker is working with its suppliers to fix the issue at hand, which currently affects more than 20,000 crossovers.

Now playing: Watch this: 2020 Ford Escape: For the masses

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It makes sense, then, that the Escape PHEV would be delayed. The last thing Ford would want to do is recall a vehicle shortly after its debut; not only would that cause more headaches for Ford, it wouldn't exactly boost consumer confidence in the vehicle. Escape PHEV production has already been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Ford likely wants to make sure everything is pitch-perfect before assembly begins in earnest at its Louisville, Kentucky facility.

The Ford Escape PHEV is part of the auto industry's push to electrify its mainstream offerings. Competing with the likes of the Toyota RAV4 Prime, the Escape PHEV packs a 14.4-kilowatt-hour battery that should provide 37 miles of electric range on a full charge, which takes 3.3 hours on a 240-volt Level 2 charger. It's also going to be pretty darn affordable, with the base model sliding in under $35,000 including destination.

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Waymo One driverless ride-hailing service opens to the public in Phoenix – Roadshow

No driver? No problem.

Waymo

Waymo One, the Alphabet subsidiary's self-driving ride-hailing service, has been operating in the Phoenix, Arizona area for a couple years. Through its app, the public has the opportunity to hail a ride in a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan, albeit with a safety operator in the driver's seat, just in case. Now, though, it appears Waymo is ready to drop the training wheels.

Waymo announced on Thursday that it will begin offering fully driverless rides in the Phoenix area through its Waymo One service. This year so far, Waymo says that up to 10% of its rides have been sans safety operator, with a select few members of the service taking these rides under a non-disclosure agreement. These folks gave Waymo the feedback it needed to feel confident enough to bring more riders into the fold.

This service won't be available to every Phoenician immediately. Waymo is taking a graduated approach to its driverless rollout, starting with people who are already signed up for the Waymo One service. The company will also expand the number of people who can join the program through its app, although it did not offer specific numbers.

Waymo said in its press release that, for the time being, 100% of its rides will be fully driverless. While that's definitely a leap forward compared to even a few days ago, there's a pretty good reason for it: The novel coronavirus. Over the rest of this year, Waymo will outfit its fleet with barriers between the front and rear rows "for in-vehicle hygiene and safety," as the press release notes. Once that happens, the company will reintroduce safety operators for some of its rides, which should increase both overall capacity and the area in which Waymo One operates.

Currently, Waymo One works within a 50-square-mile area of Phoenix, larger than the city of San Francisco. Operations were paused briefly after the pandemic hit and CEO John Krafcik said that since then, riders have not been in any situations where they would be in close proximity to a safety operator.   

Roadshow's own Tim Stevens took a very early ride with Waymo One back in late 2018, when the service was just getting started. With a safety operator in the driver's seat, the Pacifica handled traffic, pedestrians and cyclists "cleanly," albeit creating plenty of leeway between the van and anything around it. Safety first, after all. The vans are outfitted with displays that help translate what the vehicle "sees" into something the riders can visualize for additional peace of mind. It's some very cool stuff and we're excited to see where Waymo One goes next.

Now playing: Watch this: A ride on public streets in Waymo One

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Audi confirms hopped-up RS E-Tron GT electric sports car – Roadshow

I don't know how Audi could fit larger wheels into the equation, but where there's a will...

Audi

After a few months of reports, Audi has finally confirmed that the forthcoming E-Tron GT electric sports car will receive the same trim-level treatment as many of its gas-powered vehicles.

During a digital press conference discussing the E-Tron GT, Audi confirmed that a racy RS variant will launch alongside the standard E-Tron GT. It's very likely that a middle-of-the-road S version will also make an appearance. Whether SUVs or coupes, most of Audi's vehicles follow the same formula: There's a base version, then an S model with sportier intentions, followed by a performance-forward RS.

While Audi didn't mention exactly what the RS-badged E-Tron GT will contain to separate itself from the regular ol' E-Tron GT, we can draw some conclusions from precedent. Other Audi RS models sport more aggressive exterior bodywork and larger wheels, while the interior usually gets a posh treatment with leather extending everywhere the Alcantara doesn't. The seats are typically more aggressive, while unique trim pieces adorn the center console and other corners of the car. Under the body, the suspension will likely be stiffened or otherwise improved for better handling.

Of course, the major point of separation will be output. We don't have any official numbers for Audi's forthcoming EV just yet, but we can look to a vehicle that's built on the same platform -- the Porsche Taycan. The Taycan comes in three distinct flavors: The base 4S has a max output of 522 horsepower, with the Taycan Turbo rising to 670 hp and the Turbo S ringing in at 750 hp. Each version sheds about 0.4 second off the prior's 0-to-60 time, so there's clearly room for this many trims even on electric performance vehicles.

Here's my big question, though: Where does the RS go? Is it the Audi RS E-Tron GT? The E-Tron GT RS? E-Tron RS GT? We'll find out in a few months' time.

Now playing: Watch this: Lucky us: We drive the Audi E-Tron GT concept

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Listen to the Audi E-Tron GT’s all-electric soundtrack – Roadshow

Exhaust notes have always been tricky to get right. An automaker needs to do its homework, because a car that prioritizes performance but sounds like crap probably won't go over very well. This is still a problem for electric cars too, despite not having exhausts, thanks to regulations that require low-speed sounds to alert pedestrians and cyclists. Now, it's time to hear what Audi has in store for its next EV's soundtrack.

Audi on Thursday released a short video detailing the E-Tron GT's sound. The final result is contained in the video embedded above. While it's hard to describe EV sounds, some usual terms come to mind like "futuristic," which is pretty much the same bucket that most EV noises are cast into. It sounds... different than other EVs, but the general idea behind it is the same, if that makes sense. I don't know; I don't write for Pitchfork.

Every Audi E-Tron GT will come equipped with a loudspeaker up front that will transmit the low-speed warning sounds from a stop until either 12.4 miles per hour (in the EU) or 19.9 mph (in the US), with the sound trailing off until it becomes inaudible around 37 mph. An optional upgrade will add a loudspeaker out back, in addition to two more speakers located inside the rear door panels for those looking for a bit more noise -- think of it like an exhaust upgrade, just... not exhaust.

What's more interesting is that the sounds will change based on the E-Tron GT's driving mode. In its most efficient mode, only the front speaker will operate, and it'll do so only at the legally mandated speeds. Bump it up to Comfort mode and the rear speaker chimes in, with the sound remaining active until the vehicle's top speed. In Dynamic mode, the outside sound gets louder while the interior speakers bring a unique note into the cabin for a more enveloping experience. This will be the first Audi to give drivers that level of sound customization.

More goes into the creation of these sound profiles than just slapping some Pro Tools filters on stock noises. Audi's sound designer Rudolf Halbmeir is an actual musician who fiddled with all manner of instruments to find the base for the E-Tron GT's sound profile, from violins to didgeridoos. After striking out with conventional noisemakers, Halbmeir put a fan at one end of a piece of plastic pipe and used that bass-heavy profile as the base for the GT's unique note. Audi's sound designers actually created their own software to help develop the sound, which is actually an amalgam of 32 different sounds, including a cordless screwdriver. 

Now playing: Watch this: Lucky us: We drive the Audi E-Tron GT concept

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2020 Audi SQ8 flies under the radar – Roadshow

Hit a few buttons (or, honestly, just depress the accelerator far enough) and things take on a whole new life of brisk acceleration and deft handling. It's the best kind of two-for-one deal.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Krok/Roadshow

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2020 Audi SQ8 flies under the radar – Roadshow

Hit a few buttons (or, honestly, just depress the accelerator far enough) and things take on a whole new life of brisk acceleration and deft handling. It's the best kind of two-for-one deal.

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Read Full Review

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Krok/Roadshow

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2022 Audi S3 has more character than ever – Roadshow

In Europe, the S3's 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 will put out about 305 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, improvements of 17 and 15 respectively, but the engine has not yet been given an official rating in the US, so Audi can't confirm specific output for the States just yet.     

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