News Roundup: Wilderness, Timberline, Lidar “Breakthrough”, More
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Ford is offering Explorer buyers who want to go a little further off the beaten path a new option that helps give the model one of the widest ranges in the industry. It’s called the Ford Explorer Timberline, and it’s meant to take you, well, past the timberline. The seventh “rugged” model from Ford since 2019, this one offers 19 mm of added ground clearance thanks to shocks from the Police Interceptor model and combines them with new springs as well as thicker sidewall all/terrain Bridgestone tires. Those tires offer more sand, dirt, and mud grip, and helping you take advantage of the tires is a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Steel skid plates underneath protect from damage from obstacles like rocks, ruts, and logs. This contrast to the Explorer ST offers a 300 hp 2.3L turbo-four and can tow 5,300 lbs. It’s recognisable from the outside by the special grey grille with off-road lights, while on the inside is easy-clean ActiveX upholstery and tangerine stitching. The model arrives this summer, from $50,799.
Genesis redesigned the G70 compact luxury sedan for 2022, including giving the car the brand’s current signature double-stack head, side, and taillights and a larger grille. Highway Driving Assist is now standard and there is an all-new infotainment screen, while Genesis has also expanded the number of trim levels that offer the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6. The G70 starts with a 2.0T Select model for $45,000 under the all-inclusive Genesis pricing structure that includes delivery and other fees as well as concierge and five-year service. The 2.0T is also offered in Advanced and Prestige ($48,500, $53,500) while the 3.3T model starts with the Advanced ($45,500) getting drivers into the V6 for $1,500 less than 2021, then Sport for $59,000 and Launch Edition for $61,000. V6 cars can be reserved now, 2.0-litre next month, with the cars expected to arrive later this year.
Subaru has also added an off-road trim for the 2022 Outback, which itself started as an off-road friendly version of the since-departed Legacy Wagon. The $41,995 Wilderness model is taller with a longer-travel suspension than other Outback models, it also has skid plates and a front-view camera for better views of the trail. It replaces the Outdoor XT in the brand’s lineup, with more capability. Non-Wilderness Outback buyers will appreciate that a heated steering wheel is now standard across the line and DriverFocus distraction mitigation (it watches you to make sure you’re watching the road) is now on Limited as well as Premier. Outback starts at $31,995 for base Convenience trim and ranges to $44,195 for a Premier XT model.
Rivian is preparing the R1T electric pickup for a cross-America tour as the upstart automaker readies the vehicle for launch. To go with that, they’ve revealed more specs and details about the truck to help show how it stacks up. At 5,514 mm long, it’s 373 mm shorter than a Ford F-150 SuperCrew with the 5.5-foot box, putting the truck between the full-size and mid-size offerings. Ground clearance is as high as 378 mm for off-road and as low as 221 mm when you want to get in. The front trunk is about the size of a compact car trunk, holding 311 L (Rivian says two full-size coolers) and has a 12V outlet and LED lights. A watertight 1,651 mm long gear tunnel holds dirty gear enclosed under and in front of the box, while the box itself will hold a four-foot sheet between the wheel arches. Also new is a 150 psi-max air compressor in the bed along with an accessory kit and storage. Max towing is 11,000 lbs with a factory-installed Class V receiver. We’re still not sure exactly when the truck will go on sale.
Argo AI, the autonomous driving venture shared by Ford and VW, has revealed what it calls a breakthrough in lidar tech for autonomous vehicles. It is a new 360-degree seeing lidar unit that can detect “the darkest of black-painted vehicles” in pitch blackness at up to 400m. It can also distinguish between small moving objects like animals and vegetation. Their new sensor can detect a single photon of light and needing just one sensor cuts costs. Argo says it is working on series production of the sensor now, with volume production plans with VW and Ford to come “soon.”
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