Aggressive Electric Crossover Coupe Previews Future Products
The pure-electric, four-wheel drive Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept made its world debut at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday. Mitsubishi said the coupe-styled crossover SUV concept previews future electric powertrain technology and the ability to reach Level 4 autonomy, allowing drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel.
Not many details, but it looks like an off-road capable EV
The crossover is also a heritage play for Mitsubishi, as it leverages one of the automaker’s most notable models—the Lancer Evolution (Evo for short) high-performance sports sedan. Built for more than two decades, the rally-inspired Evo was discontinued in 2015 amid Mitsubishi’s focus on crossovers.
No Powertrain Details
Powertrain details were not released for the e-Evolution though Mitsubishi did say the concept uses three high-torque, high-performance electric motors: one at the front axle to move the front wheels, and a pair of electric motors at the rear wheels. The four-wheel drive system is complemented by a new Dual Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) system that couples two rear motors through an electronically controlled torque-vectoring unit. Batteries are integrated into the floor in the middle of the vehicle. That helps provide a low center of gravity, while stopping power gets help from electric calipers instead of conventional hydraulic ones, according to the maker. No range or power numbers were announced.
With help, all-electric e-Evolution could become a reality
Styling of the vehicle is on the wild-side aggressive and foreshadows a design theme called “Robust & Ingenious” that will be seen on future production models. The show car’s black grille is shielded under glass, which protects the cameras and sensors for autonomous driving. Large air intakes are located beneath the headlamps to cool the electric brake calipers; the air passes jet tail fins on the C-pillars before exiting on either side of the rear bumper. The back gets a large hexagon shape flanked by Y-shaped taillights that Mitsubishi said will appear on future models. It appears to have a high ground clearance, but no dimensions have been provided.
Inside, the e-Evolution features a large digital screen that runs the length of the dashboard just below the windshield. Mitsubishi wants to get in on the artificial intelligence (AI) game, so the screen can use cameras mounted on the front of the vehicle to display augmented reality over an image of the road. A “coaching function” is also designed to send relevant information to the driver, so the vehicle’s abilities in a given situation are made clear.
The concept’s design cues are headed for production
It would seem that, for a small automaker like Mitsubishi, all of this electric and AI tech promises are little more than a dream. But now that the company is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will share its electrification efforts, some of the tech previewed on the e-Evolution could begin to appear in production Renaults, Nissans and Mitsubishis in the next few years.
Mitsubishi executive vice president Mitsuhiko Yamashita described the e-Evolution at its Tokyo unveiling as a “new evolution of the SUV” that proposes “a new direction for Mitsubishi Motors.”
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Kia’s Feature-loaded Midsize CUV
The all-new and completely redesigned 2016 Kia Sorento fits nicely, size-wise, between a compact CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and a midsize SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) such as the Toyota Highlander or Jeep Grand Cherokee. Price wise, when considering the standard and optional equipment, the Sorento is very attractive for cost-conscious consumers that also want a nicely equipped CUV that can seat five or seven.
The 2016 Kia Sorento comes in either FWD or AWD with three engine choices—a 2.4L non-turbo four-cylinder, a 3.3L non-turbo six-cylinder or what was powering Clean Fleet Report’s test car,
Style in an SUV–what a concept
the new-for-2016 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder DOHC engine with direct electronic fuel injection. Our 2.0L turbo All Wheel Drive Sorento, running on unleaded regular, put-out 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque through Kia’s electronically-controlled six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic shifting. This drivetrain combination is EPA rated at 21 City / 26 Highway / 23 Combined, and in 874 miles of 75-percent highway /25-percent city driving we averaged 25.4 mpg. The 2.0L turbo is actually quite peppy and, with a peak torque kicking-in at a low 1,450 rpm, highway onramps and passing big rigs is a breeze. The 2.4L turns in an EPA rated 29 mpg Highway, which based on our experience with this model, would probably deliver more than 30 mpg in real world highway driving.
Driving Experience: On the Road
The Kia Sorento’s 3,840 lbs. were well-suited to its length, width and height. Some CUVs and SUVs can get top heavy, especially while cornering, but this was not the case with the Sorento. The weight distribution on our full-time AWD Sorento was easy to maneuver thanks to the column-mounted, motor-driven power steering, the Michelin Premier LTX 235/55R19 all-season tires on 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and its independent front and rear suspension with stabilizer bars and dual-damper shock absorbers. The 2.0L turbo has a tow rating of 3,500 lbs. If you step-up to the V-6, the Sorento is rated to tow up to 5,000 lbs.
Power for the highway
Many cars are now equipped with eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions, but the Kia Sorento’s six-speed transmission was completely sufficient with smooth shifts and no hunting for the correct gear. To get the most performance from the engine you have choices of ECO, Comfort and Sport settings. ECO will be used on long stretches of road to squeeze-out every last drop of fuel; Sport holds the transmission in each rev band a bit longer. But have no misconceptions – the Kia Sorento is not a sporty vehicle to drive and to Kia’s credit, even though there is a Sport transmission setting, they do not advertise the Sorento as being sporty. Comfort (AKA Normal) was the around town choice, but once on the highway, ECO was the way to go.
Clean Fleet Report’s 2016 Kia Sorento had solid and consistent stops with a power-assisted braking system consisting of vented front and rear discs, an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD, which adjusts brake proportioning to compensate for added weight from passengers or cargo, and even adjusts as fuel is consumed).
Driving Experience: Exterior
Kia uses words like “passionately designed” and “obsessively crafted” when describing their designer’s vision for the 2016 Sorento. To be “all-new” from the previous version, Kia looked for
Style down to the shoes
inspiration from their Cross GT Concept Vehicle that was shown at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. From this concept, the 2016 Sorento design carried-through a more rugged yet refined look and stance. The most recognizable part of the Sorento is its sloping hood leading into the upright but right-sized honeycomb grill with narrow headlights that have a swept back look. In the front end fascia is an aggressive air intake opening with quad LED fog lamps. I felt that the Xenon HID headlights on the Kia Sorento were the best of any car I have tested, providing for a wide, bright almost daylight-like vision.
Design-wise, Kia did a very good job carving-out a vehicle that stands out in its class, with an aggressive stance from the 19-inch wheels, sloping windshield leading to a roof featuring a panoramic power tilt-and-slide sunroof, chrome roof rails and ending with an integrated spoiler over the smart “Hands Free” power liftgate. The lack of cladding or other unnecessary trim pieces only add to a look of sophistication, lending to a premium feel.
Driving Experience: Interior
Class up works for us
I was immediately impressed with what Kia calls the Sorento’s “Class-up” interior, starting with the whopping 14-way power driver seat (including four power lumbar adjustments) and eight-way power adjustable front passenger seat. Both are leather-trimmed, heated and ventilated, with the driver seat also having memory. With this many settings, it was easy finding a comfortable driving position, which was aided by the tilt-and-telescopr steering column.
Sorento models with the four-cylinder engines have seating for five adults, with a seven-passenger option when ordering the six-cylinder engine. Our Sorento sat five adults comfortably with the outbound rear leather-trimmed seats being heated. There was ample storage space behind the rear seat, but when the 40/20/40 split-folding seat was in the full down position, the storage space could handle pretty much whatever you like. Additional nice touches are the underfloor cargo storage beneath the second row of seats and the rear A/C controls.
Up front, the soft-touch material dash has a simple layout, starting with the deep-set analog tachometer and speedometer gauges, which are easy to read
Tech inbedded and at arm’s length
with white lettering on a black background. Operating the sound system was easy and met Clean Fleet Report’s minimum requirement for a driver-friendly system as it had knobs for the channel and volume functions. Our Sorento came with the eight-inch HD color display panel with a capacitive touch screen with navigation and Kia’s wonderful Around View Monitor.
The powerful and great-sounding Infinity surround-sound high-definition audio system, with ClariFi, came with an external amplifier, subwoofer and 10 speakers. Sirius Satellite Radio is included (three-month trial subscription) as is the AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio, rapid charge USB ports with iPod connectivity, Aux-in jacks and Bluetooth streaming audio with voice recognition. The UVO Services Telematics includes the color rear camera display and apps such as Yelp, Soundhound, Pandora and iHeart radio as well as features such as Siri Eyes and Local Search by Google.
Adding to the interior comfort and convenience was a power panoramic moonroof with power sun shade, leather-wrapped shift knob, wood-grained and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel with audio controls, one-touch driver seat headrest, remote keyless entry with Smart Key and push button start, dual zone automatic climate control, power windows with one-touch up/down, power door locks, power heated outside mirrors with turn indicators, carpeted floor mats, auto dimming rearview mirror with compass and Homelink, outside temperature display, map lights and rear map pockets, multiple beverage holders, 12-volt accessory outlets and a 110V power inverter.
Safety and Convenience
Room for–what do you have?
The 2016 Kia Sorento comes with safety and convenience features including eight air bags, lane departure warning (LDWS), rollover sensor, blind spot detection, back-up warning, rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), forward collision warning (FCW), Around View Monitor (AVM), tire pressure level monitor, advanced smart cruise control (ASCC), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control system (TCS), hill start assist (HAC), Torque Vectoring Cornering Control, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), Xenon HID headlights, LED fog lights, a vehicle security system (VSS) and anti-theft vehicle immobilizer.
The 2016 Kia Sorento has earned a US Government National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, where 5 Stars is the highest safety rating.
Clean Fleet Report’s 2016 Kia Sorento Limited AWD had a MRSP of $44,200, which included the SXL Technology Package. 2016 Sorento pricing starts at $24,900 with packages and options affecting your final price. All prices exclude the $895 Destination Charge.
The 2016 Kia Sorento comes with these warranties:
- Basic Five-year/60,000-mile
- Powertrain 10-year/100,000-mile
- Roadside Assistance Five-year/60,000-mile
- Anti-Perforation Five-year/60,000-mile
Observations: 2016 Kia Sorento Limited AWD
The 2016 Kia Sorento offers clean, contemporary styling, a comfortable interior with convenient and desirable seating and storage flexibility, which includes the five-passenger or seven-passenger
Ready to ride-work-play
option. Having choices of front-wheel and all-wheel drive is a selling point for Kia as it means everyone looking for a mid-size CUV could be their customer.
My overall impression of the 2016 Kia Sorento is that its size, falling between a small and large SUV, offers benefits of parking and handling as well as the seating flexibility. The Sorento’s high safety rating is also a plus when driving any tall vehicle.
The 2016 Kia Sorento should be on your CUV/SUV shopping list when visiting dealers.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle, which does not address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology, during which we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements. Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class or are among the top mpg vehicles on the market. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at email@example.com.
VW Is Such A Tease!
Looks like it fits right in
Frequently we see photos of cars in Europe and wonder why we don’t get them in the United States. Sometimes these are car brands not even sold here such as Skoda, SEAT, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo and Renault. Then there are the cars sold in Europe that we don’t get here such the one Volkswagen just teased us here at Clean Fleet Report–a very cool 2014 Tiguan TDI Euro Spec.
The gasoline-powered Tiguan is currently sold in the USA with the 2.0L, 16 valve DOHC 4-cylinder intercooled, turbocharged engine puts out 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. The engine runs on premium fuel and gets 21 mph city / 26 mph highway with a combined of 23 mpg. These numbers are with the 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic paddle shifters. Mileage numbers with the 6-speed manual transmission are 18/26/21. The gasoline version is widely recognized as being peppy, built solidly and fun to drive.
The 2014 VW Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Sport: A Sporty Compact Crossover
Let’s set the ground rules when driving a Euro Spec vehicle: at no point should we expect the exact version will hit our shores in the United States. With this disclaimer duly noted, let’s get onto how the Tiguan TDI should be imported and how much fun it was to drive.
The test 2014 VW Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec we drove is powered by a European version of the engine currently available in the U.S. Jetta, Passat and Beetle models: a 2.0L, 16-valve direct injection, turbocharged 4-cylinder which is rated at around 30 City / 42 Highway in those passenger cars, with a combined average of 34 mpg, delivering 600+ miles on a tank of clean diesel. If this engine were in a U.S. version of the Tiguan a 42 mpg
Moving through bad weather in LA
highway rating would be the best in the Small Crossover class. (And we think this is feasible since the Passat TDI and gas Tiguan have identical curb weights.) The turbodiesel produces 174 hp but delivers 280 lb-ft of torque. In Europe our Tiguan comes standard with a 6-speed manual and has an option of a 6 or 7-speed automatic with Tiptronic. Our test Tiguan had the 7-speed (with paddle shifters) mated to the optional 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive.
The big question (other than if VW will bring a diesel Tiguan to the US market at all) is what engine will be in it? VW has developed a new World diesel engine for the 2015 Tiguan TDI. It will appear in the U.S. first in the 2015 Golf TDI, which hits US VW dealerships mid-year 2014, will have this new, World-standard engine.
The Driving Experience: On The Road
The 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic with Tiptronic has a Drive and Sport mode, with the ability to manually go through the gears with the paddle shifters while in either setting. The suspension is strut front and multi-link rear with an optional European feature–Adaptive Chassis Control, DCC. It has three settings–Normal, Comfort and Sport–that are selected by a button on the lower center stack near the gear shift lever.
I had the opportunity to drive the 2014 VW Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec in the heaviest rain storm Southern California has experienced in several years. Selecting the Sport setting on the transmission and suspension delivered an unexpected driving experience. The transmission shifts in Sport automatic were smooth and in the right place for the rpms and driving conditions. The steering in Sport DCC was tight and precise with little body roll and, even in driving rain, the small crossover felt secure and confident. This excellent driving experience in Sport DCC is the result of the dampers being firmed-up, the steering assistance reduced and the throttle response sharpened. The Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec easily handled better than many passenger cars and probably as good as some sports sedans.
The 280 lb-ft of torque is a blast when in the Sport DCC mode or using the paddle shifters where the rpms can be stretched. The engine really shines when kicking-in around 25 mph and staying on it to 70+ mph (freeway of course); the payback is a big grin!
A note about the other suspension and transmission setting options. The Tiguan TDI 4Motion is designed to deliver high fuel economy, so the Drive DCC mode resulted in some high gearing at low speeds. I felt it did not shift to keep the powerband where it was needed for city driving, therefore I opted for the Sport DSC mode which kept it in each gear just a bit longer and down shifted at the right place. Regarding the suspension settings: You can noticeably feel the difference between Normal, Comfort and Sport. Again, I opted to leave it in Sport which provided the best feel for the road with crisp handling but no loss of comfort.
The 2014 VW Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec came with Start/Stop technology, which is common in Europe but not on U.S. VW diesel models. It is set to turn-off the engine within 2 – 3 seconds of coming to a full stop and then kicking in again when your foot is released from the brake pedal. I like this feature and believe it will become more prevalent in the United States. But before it does, VW needs to tweak it just a bit for two reasons:
• When the engine starts back up it does so with a noticeable jerk and rumble. This may be acceptable in Europe but not to drivers in the United States as we like our cars smooth and quiet.
• When at a red traffic light with the engine off and your foot on the brake, when the light turns green the immediate action is to step on the accelerator pedal. With Start/Stop and the slight turbo lag (a common turbo reality) this results in a momentary acceleration delay. Again, maybe this is acceptable in Europe but it will not be in the USA. It is a minor issue and, once I drove the Tiguan TDI for many miles, I adjusted to it. My guess is this is something that VW will fine-tune when the Tiguan TDI comes to the USA.
As mentioned earlier, the Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec feels solid and confident on the road with responsive handling due to all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel vented power-assisted disc brakes and ABS. While not a sports car, the Tiguan lives up to VW’s claim of it having “Track & Style.”
Driving Experience: Interior
The interior appointments are where I can’t get too specific as the Tiguan TDI 4Motion model that comes to the United States will likely not be configured the same as the Euro Spec. While doing fact-checking with the Volkswagen media representative, I asked if the excellent two-toned cloth seats will be standard or an option for the US model. I was told this fabric would not make its way across the ocean, which is a shame as it gripped your body on tight turns and was very comfortable. Who knows, maybe it will.
Classic European Class
The interior has a fit and finish that are German tight with just the right amount of black brushed aluminum trim on the dashboard, center console, doors and steering wheel. I would
Europeans ride in style
assume the U.S. Tiguan TDI 4Motion will come in the R-Line, which will have a very high-end luxury look and feel. The Tiguan TDI 4Motion was quiet on even the bumpiest of roads and was very enjoyable to drive.
There is a good mix of soft and hard plastics with no unnecessary fake woods or plastic chrome pieces. The heated front seats were very comfortable, including a power driver’s seat that was height adjustable and a telescoping steering column. The 60/40 rear seat (with folding arm rest with cup holders) is comfortable for three adults with ample foot room. A cool feature are the airliner-style flip-up trays mounted on the back of the front driver and passenger seats. Along with a 12V and European-style 110V plug (expect this to be the U.S. plug), the back seat is good for long trips in comfort and convenience.
The sound system was good but this version will most likely not be offered in the United States. Specific to this car since it was European Spec, the voice activation included a German language option, a German radio band with no operating Bluetooth or Navigation. Fun and quirky to say the least was the Owner’s Manual, which was printed in German.
If you are interested in learning about the U.S. Tiguan models currently at your local dealer, more information can be found here:
Driving Experience: Exterior
Tiguan TDI 4Motion has clean, Germanic lines with no unnecessary cladding or body panels. The front headlights had the helpful feature of the side markers lighting when turning corners. The headlights would dim automatically when approaching oncoming cars. There were roof rack rails designed to support cross members, rear wiper, dual chrome exhaust tips and the distinctive “2.0 TDI 4Motion” badge.
There is no way to estimate the price of the 2015 Tiguan TDI 4Motion, especially since VW will not commit to it even being on sale in the United States. However, U.S. spec 2014 Tiguans range in price from $23,305 to $32,995 so it is anyone’s guess where a 2015 Tiguan TDI 4Motion would fall. In Europe the TDI models start about $1,000 more than the gas versions, but the variety of engines available over there make comparisons difficult. In the U.S. VW has been pricing its diesel models at about $4 to $5,000 more than the cheapest gas model, but they are not always comparably equipped so apple-to-apple comparisons are difficult.
Observations: 2014 VW Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec
Let’s start with what a kick it is that Volkswagen allowed Clean Fleet Report to drive the 2014 Tiguan TDI 4Motion Euro Spec. Was it a bit of a tease? Yes. Did it accomplish what they were seeking to do: get journalist input on this crossover and our opinions on how it would fit as a U.S. model? Definitely!
The small crossover market is very competitive with a wide array of brands and models from which to choose. Volkswagen knows that if they bring the 2015 Tiguan TDI 4Motion to the United States that its sales need to
Flying Lufthansa style
warrant this decision.
In 2013, 24 percent of Volkswagen’s USA overall sales were clean diesel models. Adding the 2015 Tiguan TDI 4Motion to their line-up (the 2013 Tiguan was fourth in VW sales behind Jetta, Passat and Beetle) Volkswagen would have the fuel economy leader, best handling and highest performance entry in the small crossover category.
I told the VW rep as much and suggested they would have a winner on their hands.
We’ll see, of course, but I am sure they have heard this from other journalists; we’ll have to wait to see what kind of influence we have at Volkswagen HQ in Germany and the United States.
Words and Photos by John Faulkner
Posted April 17, 2014
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