2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, 2023 Honda Accord top new car news

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander

February 11, 2023

The 2023 Chicago Auto Show kicked off this week, and showcased the reveal of several new 2024 crossover SUVs. The 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, 2024 Subaru Crosstrek, 2024 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, as well as the 2024 Chevy Trailblazer debuted this week. Additionally, we had a first drive in the 2023 Honda Accord hybrid sedan.

Here’s what made headlines at The Car Connection this week.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander preview

The three-row SUV comes in two body styles for 2024 including a new, larger Grand Highlander with two hybrid powertrain options.  

2023 Honda Accord review

Redesigned this year to mark the 11th generation, the 2023 Honda Accord mid-size sedan sports a new look, updated cabin, and modern take, as well as an excellent hybrid model. 

More info: thecarconnection.com/news/

Perseverance rover marks 1 Mars year on Red Planet

NASA’s Perseverance rover took this selfie on Mars on Sept. 20, 2021. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is wrapping up its prime mission on the Red Planet. 

The car-sized Perseverance rover landed on the floor of Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, kicking off an ambitious surface mission designed to last one Red Planet year, which is about 687 Earth days.

That time is now up; the Mars calendar turned for Perseverance on Friday (Jan. 6). But don’t fret: The six-wheeled robot will transition seamlessly into an extended mission on Saturday (Jan. 7).

More info: space.com/perseverance-one-mars-year-on-red-planet

Source: Space.com

2023 Volkswagen Golf

The 2023 VW Golf GTI and Golf R are two takes on a sporty hatchback with impressive turbocharged power and real-world utility thanks to a spacious cabin. Shop it against the Subaru WRX and the Hyundai Elantra and Kona N models. 

The Golf GTI and Golf R laugh in the face of bulky SUVs. These low-slung hatchbacks contain enough retro cues to link them to the original Golf that replaced the iconic Beetle the better part of a half-century ago. We appreciate the consistency, so we give them a 6 on the TCC scale.

It’s plenty quick. Base GTIs come with a 241-hp, 273 lb-ft of torque version of the company’s venerable 2.0-liter inline-4, which is smooth and strong after a hint of low-speed lag. The manual gearbox is sublime, while the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission works even better for rapid-fire shifts under pressure. Less impressive is the dual-clutch’s propensity to stumble at lower speeds, which can exacerbate the turbo’s immediate lag off idle. 

More info: thecarconnection.com

2023 Nissan Ariya

The Ariya is new for 2023, and it represents Nissan’s second and best electric vehicle behind the aging Nissan Leaf hatchback that started this whole electric thing more than a decade ago.

Nissan welcomes electric vehicle shoppers with a five-seat crossover meant to behave as familiarly as an internal combustion car but without all the tailpipe emissions. Sized like the compact Nissan Rogue, the Ariya has a cabin as spacious as the mid-size Nissan Murano, and it takes advantage of the clean sheet approach afforded by its electric platform. With wood trim, twin 12.3-inch screens, and an uncluttered dash, it’s also the nicest Nissan interior on the market. 

More info: thecarconnection.com

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 

Newer versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport small crossover SUV are being recalled for a software glitch that can make the engine stall at high speeds, the NHTSA disclosed Monday. 

The issue effects vehicles with a continuously variable transmission and a mechanical key instead of a push button starter. In those 2019-2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport models, software in the electronic processor of the transmission control unit can reduce the gear ratio to its lowest ratio at high speeds, resulting in a blown engine.  

Mitsubishi found that at speeds exceeding 62 mph, the engine could rev too high because of the programming error, and the high revving at high speed could damage the engine. That could result in a stall, which could result in a crash. 

Mitsubishi reported 21 field reports and 29 warranty claims, but said it was not aware of any reports of fire, injuries, or crashes. The recall encompasses 76,508 Outlander Sports. The 2011-2018 Outlander Sport has a CVT and mechanical key, and even though it’s «substantially similar» to the recalled model, Mitsubishi says it’s aware of no issues from that generation. A software change to the transmission control unit made at the beginning of the 2019 model year might have made the difference. The automaker is still investigating.  

Owners will receive notification by mail as early as Aug. 24, and will be encouraged to bring their affected vehicle to a Mitsubishi dealer for reprogramming of the transmission control unit free of charge to the owner. If vehicle work related to the recall has already been performed at the expense of the owner, the notification letter will inform owners how to apply for reimbursement. For more info, contact MMNA customer service at 1-888-648-7820 or visit Mitsubishi’s recall website

Source: thecarconnection.com

2023 Subaru Ascent

The big news for Subaru for the 2023 model year is the launch of its first global electric vehicle, the 2023 Subaru Solterra. Yet, the small automaker with an outsized presence in the U.S. will cap sales here at 6,500 units in the first year. Instead of pushing its one electric car, the Japanese brand relies on the formula that has made its limited lineup so popular in the States: standard all-wheel drive, superlative safety ratings, and a reputation burnished by outdoor enthusiasts. 

The off-road-ready Wilderness trims clamber through Subaru’s most popular crossover SUVs, but the brand hasn’t abandoned its rally-car roots and performance background. Subaru’s partnership with Toyota extends beyond the BRZ sports coupe—the only Subaru without AWD—and the Solterra EV, to a rumored hybrid Forester anticipated for the 2024 model year. 

For now, most 2023 Subaru models come with more sophisticated technology and, in most cases, at least a $1,000 price increase. Here’s what’s new for the 2023 Subaru lineup, except for final details on the Forester that was refreshed last year and the WRX redesigned last year.

More Info: thecarconnection.com

2023 BMW X1

Built in Germany, BMW’s smallest crossover SUV grows longer (by 1.7 inches), wider (by 0.9 inches), and it rides on a wheelbase that is 0.9 inches longer. The dimensions suggest a roomier interior for up to five passengers, but final specs won’t be available until nearer its on-sale date of October 2022. 

More Info: thecarconnection.com

All-Electric Alice Airplane Expected To Fly this Summer

Eviation’s Alice all-electric airplane is designed to carry nine passengers. [Courtesy: Eviation]

Eviation’s sleek, all-electric airplane demonstrator–dubbed Alice–reportedly completed a low speed taxi testing program this month at Arlington Municipal Airport (KAWO), in Washington, north of Seattle, and is “gearing up” for its first flight “this summer.”

The FlightGlobal report, from the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE 2022) in Geneva, quotes interim CEO Gregory Davis, who said low-speed ground testing finished on May 2, with Alice achieving a maximum speed of 86 kts. High-speed taxi testing won’t be attempted until Alice has received an experimental permit to fly, Davis told FlightGlobal Tuesday.

In April, Eviation told FLYING it was conducting a parallel process of ground testing and safety board reviews. Based on the ground test results—Davis told FlightGlobal that Eviation has slowed down its timeline.

“When we completed the ground-test program, we found some things that we needed to tweak and that’s what we are working on as we prepare the aircraft for first flight,” Davis told FlightGlobal. 

Source: flyingmag.com

2022 Acura MDX

The MDX’s fresh shape elevates its former good looks into something higher-wattage on the glam scale. It’s a sinuous shape, with a broad grille that leads into swole fenders and a leaner look that belies its chunkier curb weight. The cabin’s swept up by a ribbon of wood or metallic trim that dodges below a big central display, surrounded by synthetic leather on base cars and real hides on all other models. 

Acura’s 290-hp V-6 couples to a 10-speed automatic in the new MDX, and steps off from stoplights and through interstate passes with authority. The power’s similar to the 2020 model, but ride and handling have made a quantum leap: A stiffer body lets even the MDX A-Spec ride on 20-inch wheels and still quell big bumps with deft control. New for 2022 is a performance-oriented Type S variant that features an even more powerful 335-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 with standard all-wheel drive, as well as an adaptive air suspension, larger brakes, and interior upgrades.

More info: thecarconnection.com

2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Eclipse Cross comes with standard all-wheel drive this year, but the base model lacks key features.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a small crossover with more interior space than many subcompact rivals. It vies for sales with other entry-level crossovers such as the Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona, and Nissan Rogue Sport..

More info: thecarconnection.com/overview

2023 Subaru Solterra, Acura Integra top this week’s new car reviews

The new, the old, and the confusing topped this week’s new car headlines at The Car Connection. We test drove the 2023 Subaru Solterra, the brand’s first global electric car, in the desert beyond Scottsdale, and we got the scoop on what exactly the resurrected Acura Integra will entail when it launches later this spring. 

GM was coy about the end of the Chevy Trax and Buick Encore small crossovers, and it befuddled us with two different iterations of the 2022 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, one carryover, one new. 

More info: thecarconnection.com/news/

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL Class

A V-8-powered 2+2 convertible, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class is a sports car that puts more focus on performance than the two-seater it replaces, while still retaining the brand’s signature luxury. It competes against the BMW 8-Series, Jaguar F-Type, and Porsche 911.

It’s a blast to drive thanks to strong V-8 power, adept handling, open-top fun, and a smooth ride. It looks great, too, though space and fuel economy suffer at the altar of power and style. We rate it a 6.2 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Everything, including the philosophy of what the SL should be. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL-Class changes from a rear-wheel-drive two-seat roadster with a hardtop to an all-wheel-drive four-seater with a soft top. For the first time, it’s developed entirely by Mercedes’ AMG performance arm, and that gives it a new and much stiffer structure. 

More info: thecarconnection.com

Cheops reveals a rugby ball-shaped exoplanet

Artist impression of planet WASP-103b and its host star

ESA’s exoplanet mission Cheops has revealed that an exoplanet orbiting its host star within a day has a deformed shape more like that of a rugby ball than a sphere. This is the first time that the deformation of an exoplanet has been detected, offering new insights into the internal structure of these star-hugging planets.

Source: European Space Agency

Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class overview

What kind of car is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class? What does it compare to?

The GLB-Class taps turbo-4 power and seating for up to seven people to become one of Mercedes’ most flexible crossover SUVs. Competitors include vehicles such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC60, and Mazda CX-9. 

What’s new for the 2022 Mercedes GLB-Class?

Only a few minor features have been added to option packages. Otherwise, the GLB’s charming, spare SUV shape still sports the boxy outline it has since it was new in 2020. It’s graced with a few rounded corners and a glam detail or two, but the GLS-knockoff look gives it just the right hint of ruggedness. That dissipates inside where the flavor’s full-on extrovert, with twin displays atop the dash, colorful ambient lighting, and lots of metallic trim.

More info: thecarconnection.com

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq is a four-door electric hatchback that’s being marketed as an electric SUV. It offers more than 300 miles of range in some versions and arrives to an increasingly competitive cohort including the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Volkswagen ID.4.

More info: thecarconnection.com

2022 Chevrolet Tahoe

The 2022 Chevy Tahoe upgrades to business-class seating and top-tier power, but safety gets smudged in federal testing.

The marvelous 6.2-liter V-8 is more widely available, and an electronic limited-slip differential slots into the Tahoe Z71. The Tahoe LT and higher-spec versions get a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and active lane control and parking sensors now are standard.

More info: thecarconnection.com/overview/chevrolet_tahoe_2022

 2022 Lexus ES

The 2022 Lexus ES is a premium mid-size sedan with good handling and great hybrid gas mileage. It’s a quiet contender in a shrinking class that includes the 2022 Acura TLX, 2022 Genesis G80, and 2022 Cadillac CT5. 

Long a leader in the premium sedan class, the ES does what good sedans do best with efficient and potent powertrain options, and a peerless ride quality ideal for road trips. Its good value and strong safety rating also boost its TCC Rating to 7.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) 

More info: thecarconnection

Consortium Flies Hybrid-Electric Airplane Prototypes

The program displayed the Pipistrel Panthera flown in October to demonstrate the prototype hybrid-electric powerplant in a light single-engine airplane.Joze Kovacic-JUICE

Under the guidance of Pipistrel’s Vertical Solutions, a consortium of eight partners in the European Union have concluded a project designed to advance alternative propulsion and regional air transport.

Its name speaks literally to what the project has achieved: MAHEPA (Modular Approach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture) brought together DLR-German Aerospace Center, H2Fly GmbH, Compact Dynamics GmbH, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft, and researchers from University of Ulm and University of Maribor under the umbrella Horizon Europe.

The goal? To address the drive towards zero emissions in transportation sectors, including regional and general aviation.

Together, the team flew two four-seat aircraft carrying the prototype power systems:

  • A Pipistrel Panthera with a single fuselage, traditionally mounted propeller, and retractable gear
  • A H2Fly Hy4 with a dual fuselage and center-mounted propeller and system

The MAHEPA group delivered the report at a meeting at the Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport in Slovenia, where the consortium also had its Pipistrel Panthera demonstrator on display.

More info: flyingmag.com

2022 Ford Maverick

The 2022 Ford Maverick and 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz resurrect a small truck segment that had been dormant for more than a decade. Both of these crossover-based vehicles give shoppers an open bed and a more adventurous edge than compact crossover SUVs that fill roads like construction zones in summertime. 

Despite their similarities—seating for five, compact crossover platforms, available all-wheel drive, turbo-4 engine options, towing capacity of at least 4,000 lb—the Santa Cruz and Maverick appeal as urban getaway vehicles in completely different ways. As the maker of the bestselling F-150, Ford knows what truck shoppers want. Hyundai positions the Santa Cruz as more of a sport utility vehicle with a bed. Those positions check out, as we’ve found after our initial back to back drives with both.

Both are exceedingly clever tricks to get drivers out of mammoth trucks and into fuel-saving trucklets—it’s like putting the dog’s medication in a chunk of cheese. Everybody wins. But which one wins here? It’s close, but not that close. And in a first for truck compares, it comes down to fuel economy.

More info: thecarconnection.com/news/