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The Friday Five:The 5-Star Palisade, Cheap Lotus, High-Tech Vintage Porsche Edition

Beverly Braga | Apr 24, 2020

This past week, we’ve continued to report on how automakers are intensifying global and regional humanitarian efforts toward fighting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We’ve also covered new-vehicle updates like how the Polestar 2’s competitive pricing is a direct challenge to Tesla and how the special-edition GS Black Line adds luxury and luggage to the Lexus lineup.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Hyundai Palisade Earns 5-Star NHTSA Crash Rating 

Hyundai’s largest vehicle is now officially one of the safest. The Hyundai Palisade earned a 5-star crash safety rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is the highest possible vehicle safety rating awarded by the federal agency. 

Hyundai Palisade Earns 5-Star NHTSA Crash Rating

All-new for 2020, both the front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions of the Hyundai Palisade earn top marks in frontal and side-crash testing. The Palisade also receives a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, the distinction applies only to models equipped with LED headlights.

Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of safety technologies is standard on every Palisade. It features forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and more. Available safety features include blind-spot warning, rear-cross traffic warning, and a semi-autonomous Highway Drive Assist system.

An Entry-Level Lotus Is in the Works

In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham revealed that the British sports car company is developing an entry-level daily driver. If that’s not enough to pique the interest of Lotus dreamers, the vehicle is said to be styled similar to the Evija all-electric hypercar. 

The 2021 Lotus Evija starts at about $2.3 million, produces almost 2,000 horsepower, and will be limited to a production run of 130 units. In contrast, the yet-to-be-named “affordable” Lotus is estimated to start at $67,000 and have an internal combustion engine. That’s significantly less than the current Lotus Evora GT, with a base price around $97,000.

What design cues are carried over from the Evija remain unknown, but the manufacturing plant in Hethel, England, has been adapted to accommodate production of new model whose unveil is slated to be no later than early next year. Lotus factories can build up to 5,000 vehicles a year, which is a sales goal the automaker hopes to eventually reach.

Kia’s U.S. Manufacturing Plant to Produce Up to 200,000 Medical-Use Face Masks

Kia announced that manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) at its U.S. production plant has begun, and the company has shipped a first batch of 15,000 medical-use face shields.

As part of the automaker’s comprehensive Accelerate the Good program, the company adapted Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) for PPE production and will gradually increase to a monthly capacity of 200,000 face shields. To offer support to the nationwide shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic, initial donations are planned for hard-hit areas in Alabama, California, Georgia, and New York.

All face shields are assembled by KMMG employees who volunteered for the paid position using components sourced from rapid-response manufacturers like 3-Dimensional Services Group in Michigan. Under normal operations, KMMG builds the Optima sedan, Sorento SUV, and Telluride SUV, and has an annual build capacity of 340,000 vehicles.

Old-Model Porsche 911s Get New-Model Tech

Owners of the classic Porsche 911 needn’t go without touchscreen infotainment any longer. According to Car and Driver, 1960s through 1990s models can be retrofitted with vintage-appropriate, from-the-factory Porsche Classic Communication Management (PCCM) devices. 

Two PCCMs are available based on DIN (the standardized size regarding radio head units) with features like a USB port, auxiliary input jack, digital radio station reception, Bluetooth, and an SD-card based Porsche navigation system. 

The single-DIN size with its 3.5-inch touchscreen supports Apple CarPlay and is available for cars from the 60s through the early 90s. The double-DIN version is for late-90s models and features a 7-inch screen as well as Android Auto capability. The caveat, however, is that when you install this new system the original equipment CD changer is rendered inoperable (if it hasn’t already been considered obsolete).

Pricing is $1,563 for the single-DIN and $1,745 for the larger unit. Although currently only available via Germany’s Porsche Classic online store, the automaker confirmed arrival in U.S. Porsche dealerships this summer.

Toyota Yaris Cross Makes World Debut

Another week, another digital vehicle premiere. The latest unveil was of the Toyota Yaris Cross, an all-new subcompact crossover SUV that was to originally slated to debut at the suddenly cancelled Geneva Motor Show. 

Based on the Yaris small car, the Yaris Cross will launch in Japan later this year with Europe and other markets to follow by mid-2021. To be available in front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions, the Yaris Cross can also be had with either a gas or hybrid powertrain. Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the new Yaris Cross is diminutive by American standards and not related to the Mazda-based Yaris sold here. 

Toyota reportedly will not bring the Yaris Cross to the U.S. However, the name Corolla Cross name has been trademarked in the U.S., so perhaps something resembling this rugged little Yaris may cross over to our shores after all.

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