The Friday Five: The Mazda Centenarian, Mini Saves the Manuals, Kia Wins Again Edition

Beverly Braga | April 10, 2020

This past week, we reported on Polestar’s vision of a sustainable car-building future with its Precept concept, added new reviews on the 2020 GMC Acadia and 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, and continued to update our resource hub for coronavirus-related news.

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

Mazda Celebrates Centennial with 100th Anniversary Special Edition Models

This year, Mazda crosses the century mark. To celebrate, the company is offering 100th Anniversary Special Edition trims for its entire lineup.

Mazda 100th Anniversary Special Edition Models

Although model selection will vary by market, all will feature a two-tone palette as homage to the brand’s first passenger car, the R360 Coupe. A Snowflake White Pearl exterior is paired with a burgundy interior and, in the case of the MX-5 Miata, a deep red soft-top. Also expect a tasteful dose of “100th Anniversary” badging.

No word yet on availability, vehicles, or pricing for the U.S market, so stay tuned.

Mini Gives a Shift

Spring means a bloom of flowers and, for Mini, a boon of manuals. Following a delay in availability during the 2020 model year, Mini will offer a manual transmission on a wide range of its 2021 models. This includes the hard- and soft-top variants of the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S as well as the John Cooper Works 2-door hardtop—which enjoyed a 45% take-rate for manuals on 2019 models.

Excluded from the stick-shift society are those equipped with all-wheel drive like the Clubman and Countryman. John Cooper Works convertible and GP models also will continue to exclusively feature their respective 8-speed automatic and 7-speed dual-clutch transmissions.

Redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue Leaked

There has been no official word regarding even the existence of an all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue, but leaked images of a patent filing suggest otherwise.

In a Motor1 news report, included with documents submitted by Nissan to Brazil’s Ministry of Economy, are model renderings of a crossover resembling the Rogue. Auto enthusiasts and pundits alike have used the gray-clay featureless designs to create their own vision of what the production version might look like.

The Nissan Rogue has been the automaker’s best-selling vehicle since ousting the Altima from its sales throne back in 2016. The compact crossover has not experienced a major redesign since the 2014 model year. Based on the fan-created fill-in-the-blanks, an all-new, 3rd-generation model would be a welcome sight to the lineup. A formal debut is not expected earlier that the latter half of this year.

Kia Telluride Named World Car of the Year

The World Car Awards (WCA) has named the Kia Telluride the World Car of the Year via a global livestream. An international committee of 86 automotive writers representing 24 countries awarded Kia its first-ever World Car accolades. The Kia Soul electric vehicle also earned the World Urban Car crown.

Traditionally, the WCA are presented during the opening press day of the New York auto show, but with its cancellation amidst the coronavirus pandemic came a presentation adjustment.

The Kia Telluride has garnered more than 70 distinctions since its introduction last year, including sweeping the North American podium by being named the North American SUV of the Year, MotorTrend SUV of the Year, and a Car and Driver 10Best.

Jeep Cherokee Quietly Adds Latitude Lux Trim, Drops Overland

Eagle-eyed fans noticed something amiss on the 2020 Jeep Cherokee build-and-price page: the appearance of a mid-priced Latitude Lux trim and disappearance of the top-tiered Overland.

According to Mopar Insiders, some 44% of Cherokee sales are entry-level Latitude and Latitude Plus models. The base Latitude starts at $26,085 while the Trailhawk Elite, now the priciest Cherokee, starts at $38,195. The new Latitude Lux sits comfortably in between at $30,145, and offers premium amenities without the heavy price tag or extra chrome.

The Latitude Lux swaps out the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder for a 3.2-liter V-6. Horsepower increases by 91 to 271 hp; torque jumps by 68 to 239 pound-feet. Other standard features include Nappa leather seats, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, remote engine start, rain-sensing wipers, and additional safety technologies like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assistance.

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