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2022 Acura MDX reveal date confirmed – What to expect

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Acura is on a roll right now, with the unexpectedly-capable 2021 TLX under its belt, and now we know when the next big launch, the 2022 Acura MDX, is taking place. The automaker’s three-row SUV is already one of its most important vehicles, but with this fourth-generation update it’s set to double-down on the concept of pairing rewarding dynamics with plenty of space.

We’ve already seen some heavy hints of what Acura has in mind. The MDX Prototype shown off in October gave a thinly-veiled preview of the upcoming production SUV, with bolder creases, a more muscular body, and high-end detailing.

At the front, the MDX Prototype featured the Diamond Pentagon grille and JewelEye LED headlamps that Acura launched with its head-turning concepts over the past few years. It’s also a bigger car, with a longer dash-to-axle distance to emphasize the hood, and a stretched wheelbase for more cabin space.

The engineering tidbits Acura dropped for the MDX Prototype should be carried over to the 2022 MDX, too. That means a new light-truck platform, with double wishbone front suspension on the MDX line for the first time. Fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) will, unsurprisingly, be available too, with torque vectoring for the rear wheels.

Under the hood there’ll be a 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. No word on power figures there, yet. Inside, there’ll be more space and an uptick in both quality and technology, Acura promises. The prototype had more room in all three rows, along with new sports seats with integrated massage, Milano leather with French stitched detailing, and an ultra-wide panoramic moonroof covering all three rows overhead.

The analog gauges are gone, with a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument binnacle in their place. Another 12.3-inch screen sits in the center console for infotainment duties; it’s the interface for a new “Signature Edition” ELS STUDIO 3D premium audio system as well, boasting 22 channels, 25 speakers, and 1,000+ watts of power. Figure on plenty of active safety tech as well, including the multi-segment front passenger airbag that made its debut on the 2021 TLX.

Perhaps most exciting is the promise of an even more potent version. The MDX Type S will follow on in summer 2021, Acura says, and be the first such sports SUV that the automaker offers. It’ll have a special 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, good for 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, and come with SH-AWD as standard.

We’ll see the 2022 Acura MDX officially on December 8, with a livestream kicking off from 11:30am PST. It’s due to arrive in dealerships from early 2021, meanwhile.

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Kia confirms talks for cooperation on electric cars with foreign firms

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Not long ago, a rumor surfaced that Kia and Apple would be working together on an autonomous electric vehicle. Neither company confirmed they were working together on a car. However, Kia has confirmed that it is reviewing cooperation on self-driving electric vehicles with multiple foreign firms.

The Korean automaker did not confirm that it was working with Apple. Kia confirmed it was working with foreign firms on electric vehicles in a regulatory filing. Kia’s stock price increased nearly 20 percent since rumors of it working with Apple began. Kia’s parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, has reportedly decided Kia will be in charge of cooperation with Apple on electric vehicles.

The most recent report cited unnamed industry sources claiming to be familiar with the deal. While Kia hasn’t confirmed that it would be working with Apple, Hyundai Motor Company did confirm that it was in early talks with Apple after rumors first surfaced that discussions for electric cars and batteries were happening. That rumor pushed shares in Hyundai up nearly 25 percent, but there has been no confirmation by Apple.

This all comes after reports last month that Apple was moving forward with its own vehicle using its own breakthrough battery technology. That report claimed vehicle production could happen as early as 2024. Other reports have indicated that vehicle production could start much later than 2024.

Apple has been working on autonomous electric vehicle technology for a long time. It was believed that Apple had abandoned the project for a while, but it now seems those reports were incorrect. One question that remains is if Apple is providing autonomous and battery technologies to other automakers or if the vehicle will be an actual Apple product.

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Dacia Bigster Concept is a bigger and more stylish Duster SUV

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Most US buyers are not privy to Dacia, a Romanian car brand and Renault subsidiary, known for making affordable, reliable, and quirky vehicles like the Sandero and Duster SUV. Most recently, Renault unveiled the 5 concept electric vehicle to coincide with the brand’s ‘Renaulution’ business strategy, and it seems Dacia is along for the ride with its newest Bigster concept SUV.

“Dacia will stay Dacia, always offering a trustworthy, authentic, best value-for-money proposition to smart buyers,” said Denis Le Vot, CEO of Dacia and Lada brands.

Part of ‘Renaulution’ is a new Dacia-Lada business partnership to boost both brand’s competitiveness through shared engineering and manufacturing. “With the creation of the Dacia-Lada business unit, we’ll have everything we need to bring the brands to higher lands, with the Bigster Concept leading the way,” added Le Vot.

This new partnership will enable Dacia and Lada to scale down from eighteen body styles to eleven while moving from four to a single platform to reduce manufacturing and engineering costs without compromising rigidity and design. Dacia and Lada will use the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s all-new CMF-B modular platform, which debuted in the all-new Renault Clio in 2019.

It’s the same platform underneath Dacia’s Bigster Concept SUV, a 4.6-meter long family hauler that paves the brand’s entrant in the highly-competitive C-segment. “Dacia Bigster Concept epitomizes the evolution of the brand,” said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Dacia Design director. “It proves that accessible is not opposed by any means to attractiveness. At Dacia, we believe so, and this car is proof.”

Viewed from the side, the Dacia Bigster resembles a hulked-up version of the Duster. The rear profile in particular, with its rising window line and powerful haunches, is reminiscent of the Mitsubishi Montero or Pajero Sport SUV (remember, Mitsubishi is also part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance). However, the concept has “no bells and whistles, no chrome trim or imitation aluminum,” said Dacia, and the protective exterior panels are crafted from raw, recycled plastic materials.

Powering the Dacia Bigster is a combination of alternative-energy or hybrid powertrains. We’re expecting Bigster to have the same Bi-Fuel (dual petrol and LPG engine) technology as the Sandero and Duster, but an all-electric model is a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, Dacia is set to unveil Europe’s most affordable electric car, the Spring, later this year.

Dacia Bigster Concept Gallery

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Tesla Model S Convertible by Ares Design: Elon Musk will be proud

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Italian coachbuilder and automotive engineering firm Ares Design is on a roll. After unveiling its latest Land Rover Defender Spec 1.2 earlier this year, the company has come up with a Tesla Model S Convertible with two less doors and a retractable fabric roof.

“At Ares, our Co-create philosophy allows clients to work side by side with our designers and engineers to create their very own bespoke vehicle, a service that is unique to Ares,” said Dany Bahar, Co-founder and CEO of Ares Design. “This Tesla project is a superb example of this; it was a pure coachbuilding project which we very much enjoy doing and seeing the results of our uncompromising standards.”

Wow. We never thought the Tesla Model S would look this good as a convertible model, and Elon Musk should be proud. In our opinion, it’s a better project than retrofitting a gasoline engine to what is otherwise a brilliant electric car, and this project is more than chopping off the roof and calling it a day. If you know Ares, the coachbuilder has a habit of going the extra mile in all its creations, like the C8 Corvette-based S1 Project Spyder, for example.

For the Tesla Model S, Ares modified the chassis, body, aerodynamics, and interior as part of the conversion. Ares engineers got rid of the factory roof, the B-pillars, and the rear doors before installing longer front doors. Also new is the trunk, which is now big enough to stow the folding roof. It also gets new 21-inch bespoke wheels wrapped in 245/35 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

The Model S also gets an Ares-designed carbon-fiber aero kit to smoothen the airflow when the roof is down. Meanwhile, the interior has custom rear seats, Ice White leather upholstery, and a dash of color with orange detailing.

An anonymous client privately commissions this particular Model S, but the service is available to other Model S owners for a price. Ares has yet to reveal the project’s conversion costs, but we assume it’ll cost a lot. Least to say, this convertible is one of the best reinterpretations of the Model S we’ve seen so far.

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