This Week in Cars: a New Civic, a New BRZ, and a 470-HP Wrangler

Image credit: Jeep
From the car and driver
ups and downs
Elon Musk suffered a setback when a COVID-19 diagnosis prevented him from participating in NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 launch, which brought four astronauts to the International Space Station. The launch was a success, and four astronauts were safely shipped to the ISS, and Musk's luck continued when Tesla stock rose 8.2 percent when it was announced that the automaker would be in the S. & P 500 index would be included. It's all about the silver lining.
This week in sheet metal
In a perfect world, the 2020 Los Angeles Auto Show would have taken place this week. In this imperfect world, we were forced to enjoy the flurry of new products revealed by the safe removal of our home offices. Here's the bounty:
Honda unveiled a prototype for the 11th generation Civic, which will be available at dealerships for the 2022 model year. The design is more refined, the active safety features are more numerous, and the Si and Type R models are alive and well. The same does not apply to the Civic coupe, which made its final arc in 2020 and will not return with the new generation.
The Subaru BRZ will finally enter the second generation with the 2022 model, which will be on sale in the fall of 2021. The new car will feature significant design changes and a new naturally aspirated, 2.4-liter, 228 hp four-cylinder, but the BRZ retains its rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.
The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus has been revamped and heavily adopted by its siblings Aviator and Corsair. Expect the updated Nautilus to arrive at dealers in early 2021.
GMC gave us our first glimpse into the SUV variant of the Hummer EV (previously shown in pickup form) during a video call for investors. General Motors also gave us a look at an as yet undisclosed Chevrolet EV pickup truck that was parked in the shade behind Chief EV Officer Travis Hester during the call.
Infiniti first showed us its QX55, essentially a coupe variant of the 2022 QX50.
Photo credit: Infiniti
Jeep announced the 470bhp Wrangler Rubicon 392, powered by a 6.4-liter V-8 and expected to start to 60mph in 4.5 seconds. This is even more impressive given its standard 33-inch off-road tires. The 392 will go on sale in early 2021.
Mercedes gave us the Maybach version of the new S-Class sedan, called the Mercedes-Maybach S580, which is available with a noble (we suspect) two-tone paintwork and equipped with unimaginable luxury. Mercedes plans to double sales of Maybach, which was around 12,000 units last year, and promises to build more Mercedes vehicles in the future. Wake us up when you get to the e-car.
We knew it!
We drank deep from the keg of glory this week when a study by the Road Safety Insurance Institute (IIHS) confirmed what we've been saying all along: Autonomous driving technology could lead to a less engaged driving population. IIHS gave 20 drivers a month the chance to get used to driving with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) or with ACC and Lane Centering technology. At the end of the month, those with lane centering technology were twice as likely to "disengage" while driving and take both hands off the wheel 12 times more often than before.
Big data is watching you
General Motors announced that after leaving that arena during the Great Recession, it will be back in the insurance game. The new product, which will be available under the OnStar brand, offers driver tariffs based on data about their driving habits - how many kilometers the car is driven and how fast, how often the car's automatic safety features are activated, and even when Tires are properly inflated. Anyone who has given an insurance company access to their OBD-II port knows that getting a behavioral discount is a lot easier said than done.
It's been a busy week at GM with a call to detail the company's updated EV plan for investors and financial analysts - they'll build more of them faster - somewhat undermined by the recall of more than 50,000 bolts for a company at risk of battery fire . Hyundai, which shares battery supplier LG with GM, is facing a class action lawsuit related to EV battery fires.
Photo credit: General Motors
further reading
Like it or not, there will be a new sheriff in town in January. This is a car type, a train type, and an advocate of electric vehicles. What does a Biden administration mean for transport policy? Only time will tell, but the Wall Street Journal has some predictions.
In case you missed it, how could you miss it? - Car and Driver announced the winners of our annual 10 Best Cars and Trucks Awards this week. If you buy a car or know someone who it is, you must read this.
If you have big plans for your retirement years, take inspiration from George Poteet, who set a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats this year at the age of 72. What have you been doing lately?
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