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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
And with talk of adding a new edition to the Nissan lineup of crossovers in Europe, namely the Juke, Murano and Qashqai, that means a production version of the Hi-Cross will pick up where the boxy X-Trail left off.
As for the US, well Nissan dealers said they didn’t want the X-Trail when it was first introduced in 2005, but given how fast things change in the auto business, what might have seemed like a good idea then, probably isn’t now or in the near future, so such a vehicle might have a fighting chance this time around.
Nissan says the Hi-Cross showcases the future direction of corporate vehicle design, though it does have an aura of Infiniti FX about it, thanks to its coke bottle contours. Although a compact, the Hi-Cross boasts three-row seating, giving it considerable interior flexibility as well as great potential sales appeal.
Utilizing a development of Nissan’s new Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) drivetrain, the Hi-CROSS combines a 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and compact lithium ion battery system. The result is said to provide the performance of a 2.5-liter motor with the fuel economy and emissions of a much smaller engine.
As for the transmission, well it probably isn’t surprising that a version of Nissan’s XTRONIC CVT is employed, though smaller pulleys and a new belt have been incorporated to improve efficiency, while a “one motor, two clutch” system allows the gasoline engine to be engaged and uncoupled at will.
Although Nissan’s Deputy Division General Manager of Product Strategy François Bancon, says the Hi-CROSS is “purely a concept car, exploring potential ideas for the future,” it does seem rather advanced for such a machine, plus the segment it’s aimed at is currently one of the most lucrative of all, which begs the question; could a production model be announced in New York or Paris? Watch this space.
GALLERY: Nissan Hi-Cross Concept
At this week’s SEA All-Wheel Drive Symposium in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, OEM supplier BorgWarner will show off its next generation of AWD systems including a new hybrid-electric setup. The system, known as eAWD, will be fitted to a Saab 9-3 and BorgWarner claims it will offer, “superior stability and traction with lower emissions and up to 20 percent better fuel economy.”
Saab announced a similar system on its Phoenix Concept (above) at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year. Calling its version eXWD, the setup makes use of a 200-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine and 34-hp hybrid system with power constantly going to the front wheels, while sending power to the rear wheels when necessary. Saab claims the setup would be able to deliver a 50-mpg rating.
In addition, BorgWarner will display new single and multi-gear eGearDrive transmissions for electric cars.
GALLERY: Saab Phoenix Concept
Ferrari will offer a special winter driving course in Aspen, Colorado, with the goal of elevating driver skill and enhancing appreciation for the all-season FF GT, which hits dealerships this fall.
The program stems from the “Pilota on Ice” program recently offered in Italy, and the all-new and all-wheel drive FF will be the star of the program. Sessions will begin in January, and will run for 6-7 weeks, exclusively for Ferrari owners. The program will allow owners to experience the FF’s AWD system in snow and icey conditions. The 4RM all-wheel drive system was designed to retain the sporty dynamic driving characteristics of a traditional Ferrari, in low grip situations. Aspen offers a beautiful setting to test out the vehicle on a custom-made snow and ice course, where the FF truly comes to life.
More information on the winter driving program will become available in late summer.
[Source: Team Speed]
Yoichi Yokozawa, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America confirmed that a new Lancer SE model will be arriving this fall as a 2012 model. The SE model will receive all-wheel drive, like its Ralliart and Evolution siblings, however it will be powered by the naturally aspirated engine found in the DE, ES and GTS trims.
The SE model will likely sell for around $20,000 and is expected to account for 15-20 percent of all Lancer sales. Mitsubishi plans to sell 100,000 units in the U.S again and hopes adding the SE to the Lancer lineup will boost sales – and stay competitive with long-time rival Subaru. Mitsubishi last sold over 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2007, with 128,993.
[Source: Automotive News]
ZF, a leader in automotive tranmissions, has announced a new nine-speed automatic gearbox for passenger cars. This gearbox was designed for a transverse mounted engine and will provide up to 16 percent better fuel economy compared to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The nine-speed is referred to as the 9HP and is extremely flexible, capable of being used in front and all-wheel drive platforms. This gearbox is also compatible with stop-start technology and hybrid drivetrains.
This gearbox can endure between 206-353 lb-ft of torque, perfect for four and six-cylinder engines. This transmission is not yet being used as an OEM part, however the gearbox was designed for “customers in the USA and the Asian markets.”
There is no official date as to when the new gearbox unit will be on the road, however ZF has just propelled themselves ahead of the pack as the new industry benchmark.
According to the Detroit Free Press, all-wheel drive vehicles are increasing in popularity and could account up to 30 percent of all autos sold by 2015.
Increasing numbers of consumers are opting for all-wheel drive in all segments, with luxury vehicles representing a significant part of the upward trend. Even American car companies are following this trend, as Chrysler, Lincoln and Cadillac are all offering all-wheel drive on many of their vehicles.
Car companies are now responding by building lighter all-wheel drive systems and also by developing systems for hybrid vehicles. With gas prices on a continual rise, efficient all-wheel drive systems could save your life and your wallet.
Jaguar is apparently readying an all-wheel drive version of their XJ sedan and the car should be on the market within 2 years. Jaguar is looking to combat their German rivals, each of which offer an AWD variant of their large sedans.
While only a 20 percent of cars in the United States are sold with AWD, that number skyrockets to 70 percent in the Northeast, which has traditionally been Jaguar’s strongest market. Lexus also offers an AWD variant of the LS460 and Audi’s A8 comes standard with the brand’s quattro system.
Subaru has given us a first glimpse at its version of the FT-86/Toyobaru with one major surprise – the proclaimed rear-drive sports car is actually all-wheel drive.
Sharing a chassis with Toyota’s FT-86, the car was repeatedly rumored to use only a rear-drive system; strange indeed considering it has been adapted from the AWD Legacy.
On display at the Geneva Auto Show a day ahead of it’s official debut, we were disappointed that the architecture was not filled out with some stunning sheetmetal, but this revelation is far more important and certain to appease Suby fans around the globe.
As though the driveshaft weren’t enough, on a display plaque next to a scale model of the architecture it goes so far as to call the vehicle a “rear-wheel drive sports car” and then in the very next sentence states that it features “Subaru’s signature Symmetrical AWD system.” No wonder we were confused.
UPDATE: Upon inspection the vehicle, it most certainly does not have front driveshafts and is a RWD platform, leaving only the question as to why Subaru’s plaque says it does. Sorry to get your hopes up, you fans of Symmetrical AWD.
GALLERY: Subaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture
Volkswagen is apparently engineering their small car PQ25 platform to accept all-wheel-drive. The adaptation would allow for a new range of sporty hot hatches, among them the Audi A1 and Volkswagen Polo R.
The all-wheel-drive modification would also allow for quasi SUV versions of the small hatch platform, such as a VW CrossPolo or even an Audi Q1. Audi decided to abandon the S1 moniker for the A1 1.4TFSI after realizing that the car would only be sold as a front-drive vehicle.
All-wheel drive variants of small cars are quite popular in Europe, and the Fiat 500 looks to be the latest recipient of an extra drive shaft and differential.
An eagle-eyed car enthusiast spotted this lifted Fiat 500 in Italy, and went to investigate. Looking under the car, he found all the hardware needed for a compact all-wheel drive system tucked into the undercarriage. According to reports in the Italian motoring press, the car is slated to arrive in 2o12, and we could see the AWD 500 being a great seller here in North America.
Get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com
[Source: Autoblog via alVolante]
First the Mazda2 Yozora, then the Chevrolet Orlando. Now Acura has its own Canada-exclusive model with the TL A-Spec. Canada has gotten previous iterations of the TL in A-Spec trim, but this marks the second time the A-Spec is exclusive to the Great White North.
Available with all-wheel drive and either an automatic or manual gearbox, the A-Spec is basically an appearance package that adds 19″ wheels with summer tires, a body kit, darker chrome grille and A-Spec badging. While Honda says that the A-Spec won’t make it to America, optional Acura accessories like spoilers and wheels can emulate the look, minus the badging. The TL A-Spec retails for $51,290 CAD.
Press release after the jump