The Friday Five:The Raptor Rumor, Synthetic Fuel, Facial Recognition Edition

Christian Wardlaw | Sep 17, 2021

The annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study results were released this week. You can get an overview of the 2021 APEAL Study or take a look at the top-ranked models in various market segments in our New Car Shopping Guides section.

Otherwise, we covered news about the start of production for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, revisions to the 2022 Mazda CX-5, and a new special-edition version of the Nissan GT-R. There’s also a new report explaining the importance and effectiveness of crash-avoidance technology to younger, less experienced drivers.

If you’ve ever wondered how a crossover SUV is different from a regular SUV, we explain it. We’ve also got a primer on Mercedes-Benz EQ Boost technology, which electrifies the automaker’s internal combustion engines to make them more efficient and powerful.

Chevrolet revealed changes to the 2022 Silverado this week, including a new off-roader wearing ZR2 badges. The redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX also debuted, adhering to the recipe that has made it a success but wearing lots of gray lower body cladding it didn’t have before.

We’ve also got a Jeep Wrangler vs. Toyota 4Runner comparison and reviews of the refreshed 2022 Genesis G70, updated 2021 Nissan Kicks, and popular 2022 Subaru Ascent.

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

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Confirmed? - Find the best Ford deals!

2022 Ford Bronco Eruption Green Tailgate

Ford is reportedly adding a new Bronco Raptor to its lineup. Based on the 4-door Bronco, the Raptor will come in a base version and a more upscale model with a better sound system, added driving-assistance technology, expanded infotainment features, and more.

Spy photos have shown that a more rugged Bronco is in development, complete with a suspension lift and mud-terrain tires. So, it’s not like the Raptor is a secret. What’s unexpected is the name; many industry observers expected Ford to use Warthog for its off-road performance Bronco, a moniker the automaker trademarked and may still use in another way.

Jeep Gladiator Gets Half-door Option - Find the best Jeep deals!

Half doors are popular with Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts seeking a more open driving experience without removing and storing the SUV’s doors. The Wrangler-based Gladiator pickup truck is getting them as part of a Dual Door Group that includes both the standard full and half doors.

You’ll pay a hefty premium for the upgrade—between $4,500 and $5,000. Also, the half doors don’t include glass windows like the full doors do. Instead, you get soft plastic windows. Otherwise, they play nice with the Gladiator’s power locks and available blind-spot warning system.

Porsche to Start Producing Synthetic Fuel - Find the best Porsche deals!

Thanks to synthetic fuel, the internal combustion engine (ICE) might live on for decades to come.

Porsche is pioneering mass production of the stuff, building a plant in Chile where reliable wind power will make it possible to consistently and sustainably split water into oxygen and the hydrogen necessary to produce the fuel. The automaker will combine the hydrogen with carbon dioxide to create synthetic methanol, crafting the synthetic fuel from the methanol. The result is a replacement for gasoline.

Production starts in 2022, and Porsche will use it to power its Mobil 1 Supercup race cars. By 2024, the automaker will reportedly increase output to 14.5 million gallons on the way to ramping up to 145 million gallons by 2026.

According to Porsche, 70 percent of all the vehicles it has ever produced are still on the road. Most of them use gasoline. Synthetic fuel will extend their life. But it won’t be inexpensive, especially at first.

Ford EcoSport Bites the Dust - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford’s smallest SUV is called the EcoSport, and in the U.S. market, it will cease to exist after the 2022 model year. Why? The automaker is closing its factory in Chennai, India, where the America-bound EcoSports are made. A Romanian-built version of the SUV will continue to serve other world regions, such as Europe.

The EcoSport arrived for the 2018 model year, based on the Fiesta subcompact car platform. Oddly proportioned and underpowered, it was a stop-gap model to plug a hole in Ford’s U.S. lineup. Undoubtedly, a replacement is coming unless Ford intends basic versions of both the Bronco Sport and Escape to fill the role of an entry-level SUV.

Electric Genesis GV60 Uses Biometrics to Unlock, Start - Find the best Genesis deals!

Genesis has a new electric crossover coming out soon. It will reportedly use biometric systems, including facial recognition and a fingerprint reader to unlock and start the vehicle and remember different driver profiles and preferred settings.

In plainer language, when you walk up to the new Genesis GV60, a near-infrared camera mounted to the middle roof pillar will scan your face. If your face is in the car’s memory, it will unlock for you and adjust the seat and other settings to your preferences. Essentially, it works like the facial-recognition technology widely used for smartphones. However, for now, it can only recognize two different faces.

Once you’re inside the GV60, a fingerprint scanner will activate the electric drive system if the driver’s print is stored in the system. Expect similar technology to roll out in the years ahead, potentially rendering keys and key fobs as relics of the past.

The automakers and trusted publications are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on September 17, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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