Mugen S660, future Nissan cars, Toyota GR Hilux

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“Here’s some exciting kei-car news from Japan! This is a Honda S660 modified by Mugen, and we need little else in our lives. Any possessions that won’t fit in its diminutive storage areas aren’t worth hanging onto. Let’s call it the Marie Kondo car.

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“This being a kei car—and thus limited to 660cc of engine capacity and a 63hp peak output—Mugen hasn’t suddenly thrown a ginormous turbo at it and freed up proper Boxster-bashing performance. Rather, the tuner has given the already striking S660 a further does of aesthetic aggression and a bit more dynamic edge.

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“A new set of bumpers and side skirts are made from vacuum-formed plastic, while there’s a rear spoiler (of probably negligible aero benefit) and a set of forged alloy wheels, staggered in size and measuring 15 inches up front, 16 inches at the rear. It’s like it’s a baby supercar. Cute.”

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Top Gear wants to talk about the new Nissan GT-R and Z. The boss of Nissan wants to talk about his new Ariya electric crossover. Okay, Uchida-san, you go first.

“It’s not easy being Makoto Uchida. He took over as president and CEO at the turn of 2020, as the company plunged towards a colossal loss of £5 billion (over P321 billion) for the year. He soon announced an intention to close factories to try to save some dough.

“To bring money in, he plans to concentrate on what he believes Nissan is good at. That means crossovers, electric cars, advanced driver assistance, and sports cars. So, the Ariya is an electric crossover with driver assistance. As we’ve reported, it looks good, has a swish modern cabin, and does entirely competitive range and performance numbers.

“‘We would like to have this car as a kind of game changer, starting with Japan, US, Europe, and China,’ Uchida says. ‘It’s an EV, of course—we also have ProPilot 2.0 autonomous drive, great connectivity, and OTA upgrades. So, this is the representative model of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.’ Housey-housey on this year’s buzzword bingo card, then.”

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“The refreshed Toyota Hilux is coming. Now, we don’t know exactly when it will arrive or exactly how much it will cost (although we do have some idea), but the updated pickup truck is definitely here alright. And if you like its tough new appearance, you’re going to like it even more covered from roof to tread in Gazoo Racing (GR) parts.

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“Yes, what you see here is the hot-selling truck clad in GR goodness. Let’s take in the more obvious upgrades that make up the basic GR styling package first. For ¥305,800 (just under P140,000), you get a hard cover for the bed, GR sports bars, an electronic step board, and an underguard in red. Alternatively, you can buy each of these parts separately.

“After that, you can add less obvious bits like GR mudguards, door handle protectors, and a stainless steel dual tailpipe. These upgrades cost ¥40,700 (P19,000), ¥6,600 (P3,000), and ¥104,500 (P48,000), respectively. Owners can also replace the vehicle’s stock sound system with JBL speakers for ¥46,200 (P21,000).”

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“Well, the Toyota Urban Cruiser has finally dropped in the Indian market, and it’s indeed a rebadged Vitara (or Vitara Brezza, as the subcompact crossover is called over there). Minus the shadows draped over the teaser released earlier this month, it’s also kind of reminiscent of the Fortuner.

“We say this, as you’ve probably noticed by now, in reference to the Urban Cruiser’s familiar grille design. Frankly, the grille—which the brand calls a two-slat Wedge Cut Dynamic Grille (yes, it’s a mouthful)—here looks like it’s been lifted straight from Toyota’s midsize SUV and planted on the face of the smaller Vitara. Other design bits worth noting include LED daytime running lights and attractive 16-inch alloy wheels.

“But enough with the looks. The Urban Cruiser, as previous local reports have stated, comes equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder K-Series engine that can be mated to either an automatic or manual transmission. Some of the crossover’s listed features include rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, and an Android Auto- and Apple CarPlay-capable infotainment system.

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“No specific performance numbers or details have been released, however. No pricing is available yet, either, though the vehicle is already available for reservation.”

“Land Rover only introduced us to the second generation Evoque in 2018, but it’s already given the baby of the Range Rover family a mid-life update with a new Autobiography spec and some fresh diesel engines.

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“Let’s start with those engines. Part of the Ingenium family of JLR power units, both are 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesels with mild-hybrid technology in the form of a 48-volt battery and regenerative braking.

“The first is the D165 with 163hp and 379Nm of torque. As with all Evoque specs, it’s available with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, but this one can actually be had with front-wheel drive and a manual if you so desire.

“The second engine is a more powerful D200 with 201hp and 429Nm of torque. CO2 emissions are 170g/km, and it’ll hit 100kph from a standstill in 8.5 seconds. Nae bad. Those two join the petrol-engined P200, P250, P300 and the plug-in hybrid P300e in the Evoque line up.”

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“Hyundai has had its hands full as of late with the unveiling of the all-new Elantra and Elantra N Line. There’s also the newly launched Ioniq sub-brand as well as the facelifted Santa Fe that’s currently in the works. Now, it appears the Korean carmaker’s to-do list has gotten even longer, as it has just teased the new Kona and Kona N Line crossovers.

“These initial images of the refreshed Kona preview a face that looks a lot sportier than before. The redesigned front fascia is highlighted by a more streamlined-looking grille and slim, angled headlamps with stylish DRLs. There are also sleeker foglamps, while a new front skid plate and revised front bumper add to the updated Kona’s overall appeal.

“This front end is all we can talk about at the moment, though, because Hyundai is so far refusing to give us a glimpse of the vehicle’s rear end. No word if the Kona will see any changes under the hood, either, or what engine the Kona N Line will pack. That said, Hyundai has promised more details about the two models in the coming weeks.”

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“In March 2019, Toyota announced its new partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), an alliance that would see the two entities collaborate on international space exploration.

“With that announcement, the Japanese carmaker treated us to some sketches of what could be the first six-wheeled Toyota to ever reach outer space. And now—over a year since the project’s inception—we’ve just received some important updates on the upcoming manned pressurized rover.

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“Not regarding the specs, figures, and whatnot, though, but on the vehicle’s nickname. The two companies have now agreed that the vehicle will be called the Lunar Cruiser—the origin of which we believe needs no explanations whatsoever. The name was decided upon based on the quality, durability, and reliability that will be seen from the upcoming lunar rover.”

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“Did you hear the one about the Range Rover Evoque and its updates for the 2021 model year? Well, it’s probably best to click here if you didn’t, because this is the freshly updated Land Rover Discovery Sport, and there’s a remarkable number of similarities between the two facelifts.

“Like with the Evoque, the seven-seat Disco Sport has been given two new 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engines, both with 48V mild-hybrid technology—meaning all engine options are now electrified in some way. The two diesels will come in the same D165 (163hp and 379Nm of torque) and D200 (201hp and 429Nm) flavors as the baby Range Rover, and both are more powerful and more efficient than those that went before.

“There’s also a new trim level for the Disco Sport. Whilst the Evoque gets an Autobiography spec, the Disco now has a ‘Black Edition’ that boasts darkened exterior accents and a 286hp turbocharged gasoline engine. What do we think of the look?”

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“Mazda is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and it announced back in April that it will be releasing several special-edition models in Japan to commemorate the occasion. Well, it turns out the carmaker will be bringing these models to other markets after all, and ours is included in that list.

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“Consider our market blessed, as only 700 units of these 100th Anniversary Special Edition models will be produced and sold around the world. From this, 15 Mazda 3s and 24 Mazda MX-5s have been allocated for the Philippines.

“The Mazda 3 100th Anniversary Special Edition is priced at P1,670,000 and can be had with a Mazdaspeed body kit for an additional P75,000. The new MX-5, on the other hand, is available as a soft top with an automatic gearbox for P2,335,000, as well as a manual or automatic retractable fastback for P2,390,000 and P2,480,000, respectively.”

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