The Friday Five:The It’s-Not-A-Minivan Kia, Lower-Price-More-Power Toyota, and Big-Bigger Mini Edition

Beverly Braga | Jun 19, 2020

This week, new car debuts kept rolling with the previews of the 2021 Lexus IS and 2021 Nissan Rogue. Also making headlines were the all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1, refreshed 2021 BMW M5, and 400-mile Tesla.

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

Next-Generation Kia Sedona Unveiled in Teaser Sketch

In a newly released sketch, the redesigned Kia Sedona is seen mostly shrouded. Not hidden is its more upscale and decidedly less frumpy profile. Also, don’t call it a minivan. Just as “[station] wagon” triggers an automatic cringe-reflex, “minivan” is equally a sales killer. No matter the real-life usefulness, practicality, and even *gasp* need of these vehicles, this is how “crossover” entered automotive jargon.

2022 Kia Sedona Gray Front View

Now, per Kia, you can add “grand utility vehicle” to the list. Progressive sounding? Yes. Innovative in design and function? Er, that remains to be seen. The fourth-generation Sedona is expected to go on sale later this year in Korea with global markets to follow. No specific timeline was given for this GUV’s North American debut, but industry pundits anticipate sometime by next summer.

2021 Toyota Supra Gets More Power, Models, Affordable

After a nearly 20-year hiatus, Toyota revived the haloed Supra name for 2020. For 2021, in what is usually an easy-peasy carryover year for new models, the GR Supra gets some refreshing updates.

The 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine will remain for 3.0, 3.0 Premium, and limited-to-1,000-units A91 Edition models, but the retuned powertrain now produces 382 horsepower (a 14% increase) and 368 pound-feet of torque (up by 3 lb.-ft. but at a higher rpm band). The GR Supra 3.0 trim also sees tweaks to its chassis for improved roll resistance and cornering stability.

The biggest news for the Supra lineup is the addition of a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder model. Positioned comfortably between the Toyota 86 and Supra 3.0, the Supra 2.0 produces 255 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Equipped with the same 8-speed automatic of the 3.0 model, the 2.0 is projected to reach 60 mph in 5 seconds.

Also, with the new entry-level trim, 2021 Toyota Supra prices technically decrease. The Supra 2.0 will start at $42,990, which is about $8,000 less than the 2020 Supra 3.0. The 3.0-liter models receive price bumps of $500 to $1000 versus their 2020 versions.

Ford Freebie: DC Fast Charging for Mustang Mach-E Owners

When the all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E arrives in driveways early next year, away-from-home charging will be complimentary up to a limit. Ford is including 250 kilowatt-hours of free DC fast charging via Electrify America. For the standard-range battery models, this translates to at least five full-charging sessions or, for extended-range models, at least three “fill-ups.”

The free Mustang Mach-E charging has the potential to save owners a couple hundred dollars based on EA’s standard rate of 99 cents per minute. The Mustang Mach-E extended-range model can recover 61 miles of range with 10 minutes of fast charging. All models can reach up to 80% battery life within 45 minutes.

Mini to Grow Lineup, Add More EVs

In a recent report by Autocar, Mini is said to be working three new models, including an all-electric vehicle. The full-battery EV will be co-developed with China-based joint-venture partner Great Wall, feature a new platform, and be manufactured in China for domestic and global markets. A five-door crossover with dimensions similar to the BMW X1, the vehicle will come out of the new Zhangjiagang factory near Shanghai that is slated to start production in 2022.

The second model, which is to be offered in gasoline and possibly electrified versions, will be the largest Mini yet, positioned above the existing Countryman model. To be built using BMW’s CLAR modular architecture, there is potential that the big new Mini could be produced in the U.S. to join the lineup in 2024.

But it’s not all growth spurts for Mini. A fourth-generation compact hatchback is also in the works that will feature a range of powertrains, including a mild-hybrid. This signature model is expected to arrive in dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2022.

NYC Fleet Study Finds Hybrids Vastly Outperform Non-Hybrids in MPG

Even during a pandemic, New York City is always on the move. And with a fleet of 4,062 non-emergency vehicles, its carbon footprint does not go unnoticed. In a department newsletter from the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the fleet’s hybrid vehicles returned a real-world fuel economy of 36.6 mpg over the course of 9.1 million miles driven. Non-hybrids, which also put in more than 9 million miles on the road, returned a meager 14.3 mpg.

Although both figures are below the EPA’s estimated mpg, the hybrids saw a minus-12% difference versus the non-hybrids’ minus-24% discrepancy. Interestingly, hybrid SUVs (which include the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander, and Toyota RAV4) returned 30.8 mpg, a minimal 4% EPA drop. Non-hybrid SUVs fared poorly by comparison with 14.1 mpg, a 26% decline from EPA numbers.

The data does not include electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, however, of which the city operates nearly 1,800. Nevertheless, all the factors of city life — stop-and-go traffic, idling, short trips — would account for how well the hybrids did overall. And with a calculated savings of 10 cents per mile, those wheel spins certainly add up to big dollars.

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