On Motoring Monday, we’ve got a wide array of cars from the 2016 Toyota Prius to the new Rolls Royce Dawn. And somewhere in between falls the 2016 Lexus RX450h Hybrid.
2016 Toyota Prius
If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius, your day has come. This week Toyota revealed it at a special event up in Las Vegas.
The all-new Prius comes on the heels of nearly 20 years of being the number one go-to hybrid car. Like the Ford Mustang, it’s instantly recognizable around the world. And the all-new design of the 2016 Toyota Prius is likely to continue this iconic status.
Styling is more daring than ever. There’s more angles, more creases, and some quite bold origami-like shapes going on. LED headlamps are now standard up front. And at the rear are some wildly conceived LED tail lamps which will give the Prius an unmistakable new signature at night.
The silhouette is familiar, though stretched about 2.5-inches. It’s taller by almost and inch, and about a half-inch wider. The trademark hump in the roof moves forward a bit, making its unique shape even more dramatic.
This extra size Toyota says, all goes into the passenger space. The 2016 Prius is the first car to be built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, which brings a taller belt line and a stronger passenger structure. This along with new Toyota Safety Sense features should make it safer than ever.
The dash retains the center mounted instruments and displays Prius owners are used to. But the rest of the design is entirely new. A more pronounced center pod has the joystick-like drive gear selector, and a new console layout has a dedicated smart-phone space.
The top trim grade here shows polished white plastic and black SofTex trims with blue stitching. And, in addition to expanded infotainment features, the new Prius will also be available with the latest driver assistance technologies.
The big news for Prius is a 10-percent increase in fuel efficiency which sould be about 55 mpg city. This comes by way of smaller hybrid components, a more power dense battery, and a more efficient engine. And they say, an even thriftier ECO version will come later.
The last piece of the puzzle for the 2016 Toyota Prius is a more sophisticated suspension and chassis afforded by the new architecture. This has a new multi-link rear suspension that Toyota says will make it more fun to drive than ever.
So basically, if you loved the Prius already, you will have a lot more to love. If you hated the Prius and everything it stands for, well you’ll likely have more to hate.
Rolls Royce Dawn
Rolls Royce this week unveiled their new Dawn, a car that starts where the Phantom Drophead Coup’e leaves off.
An all new convertible called Dawn will take its place as the new icon of the brand’s open air luxury, effortless performance, and richness of bespoke craftsmanship. It’s a design which comes in lighter and smaller than the Phantom, yet rolls just as large.
Some twelve inches shorter, lower to the ground, and sporting a shorter wheel base the Dawn weighs about 200 pounds less than the Phantom Drophead Coupe. And with its 563 horsepower 6.6 liter twin turbocharged V12, promises more speed.
Rolls Royce says it will accelerate from 0-60 in about 4.8 seconds. But honestly friends all this talk of horsepower and performance is ungentlemanly. The new Rolls Royce Dawn is about the art of motoring, the substance of style, and as they tell us social motoring.
The new Dawn, the company says, was designed for a younger and more social customer. This would be the new generation of well monied motorists who also happen to be steeped in the ways of modern social trends.
Whatever that means, with its artfully conceived lines and curves that bring traditional Rolls Royce design themes and some new shapes and details, its hard to imagine them having a hard time finding buyers for it regardless of whom they are.
The exterior of the launch car you see here mimics the rich and contrasting color of dawn. It starts with a lustrous sapphire exterior along with a dramatic interior. Here, acres of mirrored open pore woods artfully wrap and form alongside bright Mandarin leather hides.
Aside of power and performance you’ll note I didn’t catalog its long list of features and creature comforts. Suffice it to say friends, if you have heard of it, the Rolls Royce Dawn has it – and then some you haven’t even heard of.
Pricing? You know what they say, if you have to ask. And truth be told, it hasn’t been announced yet. What we do know is that it arrives here next spring and if you’re a buyer, you and your Rolls Royce dealer have likely already discussed.
2016 Lexus RX450h Hybrid
Many people don’t know it, but the Lexus RX crossover is the luxury brand’s top selling model. And for 2016 they’ve fortified it with more power, more style, and more efficiency.
Looking specifically at the top of the line 2016 Lexus RX450h Hybrid, it gets a lot more appeal this year, the most powerful and also the most fuel efficient version of the RX you can get.
And this year it gets more of everything. Performance is up, now with 308 combined system horsepower between its 3.5 liter gasoline V6 and its electric motors. And finally the F Sport performance package is available with the Hybrid.
But first, the styling has gotten a complete makeover that takes the RX450h from what might have been a somewhat bland and homely looking vehicle in the showroom – a wallflower, to something you cannot ignore.
The front end gets a sharp and angular new variation of the brand’s Spindle Grille. LED lighting is found everywhere from headlamps and fog lights, to the equally striking new tail lamps out back. And, a look down the side shows new creases and curves that all point your eye to that new floating roof.
An all new interior is much improved over the current RX in design. Vibrant leather trims and a wide variety of new wood veneers are available that richen up the look and feel substantially. And an array of new infotainment technology is here too, but luckily the trademark Lexus control puck that we love still remains.
The chassis is enhanced across the board, but particularly with the F Sport which has an adaptive variable suspension. This can automatically adjust stiffness and response on the fly, and can be adjusted with the console drive mode selector.
Add in the new Lexus Safety System + to the new styling, powertrain enhancements and options – well RX fans are gonna have a lot to look at next time they come to Lexus showrooms. It’s arrival there, is expected very soon.
Final fuel-economy specs or pricing haven’t yet been announced but we expect them to be more than the current Lexus RX450h on both counts. You can count on it.
Test Drive: 2016 Scion FR-S
In our test drive this week, we spent time with an old friend, the Scion FR-S. And while we’ve tested them many times before, this one was a little different.
Our 2016 Scion FR-S was equipped with an six-speed automatic transmission. This makes it much a different animal in day-to-day driving than the manual shifting FR-S. In fact, while I don’t usually prefer autos in a sports car, this one I think makes the FR-S more enjoyable as a daily driver.
This is because it not only works exceptionally well, but will shift the noisy and harsh 2.0 liter boxer engine a lot lower in rpm than you might with the manual. Thus, you don’t hear as much racket from the thing.
Additionally, our tester had the loud and resonant tone of the optional TRD exhaust system, which made the whole thing sound a lot better. It’s an expensive piece, but well worth it I think to make this car more enjoyable to the ears.
And with handling that’s world class, a great interior with some downright stellar seats, and an overall simplicity that’s a standout in today’s market of techno-crazed cars, I just really enjoyed the week with it.
You can get our full and detailed review on the Scion FR-S by clicking on the link below in the information section. Or, you can log onto our website at TestDriven.TV.
Reality Check: Los Angeles Police getting BMW’s
In our Reality Check, an announcement came down this week that the Los Angeles Police Department will be driving BMW. And I’m not talking about motor cycles.
BMW i has announced they’ll be loaning the Los Angeles Police Department a new BMW i3 electric vehicle for a year to test in various ways on the streets of their fine city.
Sporting the famous LAPD black and white livery, and outfitted with a bright LED light-bar, the BMW i3 cruiser will see some real world duty, but for the most part will be a PR toy sent to high profile public events.
So when you go to the LA Marathon, Cinco De Mayo at Olvera Street, or even the Los Angeles International Auto Show you’re likely to see the BMW i3 on site showing you how green and conscious the city really is.
And honestly, while it might seem almost laughable a $50,000 electric car with half the range a Ford Explorer cruiser would be practical, its tight turning circle and inexpensive fuel likely make it well suited for downtown duty.
The test program only lasts a year, and the costs of which are not at all on the hands of tax payers. So don’t worry the LAPD is squandering money. At least on on this.
Would it be bad of me to suggest this thing seems like the perfect vehicle for the meter maid? I mean it sure looks the part.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take the best photo from this week’s automotive news and we show it to ya!
Making its official debut this week at the Frankfurt International Auto Show is the Nissan Gripz Concept. The vehicle is believed to show us what the replacement for the Nissan Juke might look like. Can’t wait to see the whole thing.
Well that’s it for Motoring Monday. The Frankfurt International Auto Show is this week, and expect lots of news on what’s revealed there in the coming days.