New Model News

2021 Lexus IS gets a performance-focused full body makeover with soft filter looks

Lexus gas completely redesigned the IS sedan for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The Lexus IS has done more than be redesigned. It serves as the nexus of sport and performance, inspiring Lexus to not just build a new sedan, but also a race track to test it on.

Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama is a new test facility for the Japanese automaker. It is an asphalt track that tests even the most expert driver, allowing research and development teams to hone a vehicle's chassis and interaction with control surfaces. Toyota's chief engineer has been tasked with "elevating the vehicles to a new standard of performance and handling" with the ultimate goal of delivering "a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before."

2021 Lexus IS The IS has a large grille, just like the ES before it.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota says that this is more than just a vision. It's an evolution that uses what has been learned by the company through the design of the F brand variants of their vehicles and applies it to the future to help push the envelope.

With its redesign, Lexus has taken the edge off the exterior of the IS like putting a soft filter on a photo, but still manages to beef it up. The model is longer, wider, and taller than it was before with a more athletic stance. The grille is large and in charge up front. Traditional models get a three-dimensional polyhedral structure while F Sport cars have block forms that make a mesh pattern and a grille-bottom air intake.

Slender headlamps flank the grille with a new L-shaped signature. Triple-beam LED headlights are available. Side mirrors are clearly influenced by the design of the Lexus LC.

At the back, the car's rear deck has been lowered for the new generation and a blade-style light bar extends across the entire rear of the model.

2021 Lexus IS The car has a bit smoother of an appearance than its predecessor.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Lexus will offer the car in five new exterior colors: Cloudburst Gray, Matador Red Mica, Infrared, Grecian Water, and Iridium. They join Ultra white, Eminent White Pearl, Atomic Silver, Caviar, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 as paint options. Infrared and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 are only available on the F Sport version of the car.

The new, rear-wheel drive IS is more rigid than before and had a weight reduction for this generation. It features coil springs that are 20 percent lighter and A-arms that are made of forged aluminum instead of steel that are 18 percent lighter. The stabilizer bar is 17 percent lighter thanks to a materials change as well.

It rides on standard 18-inch wheels while F Sport grades get the buyer's choice between two different 19-inch varieties. All-wheel drive is available.

2021 Lexus IS The taillights now consist of a longitudinally stretched LED strip across the rear of the car.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In addition to the unique wheels, F Sport models get a unique front bumper, rocker molding, cool air vintage with sound generator, unique exhaust and diffuser, carbon fiber rear spoiler, carbon fiber side mirror caps, and F Sport badging.

Lexus will sell the model in five variants: IS 300, IS 300 AWD, IS 350, IS 350 AWD, and IS 350 F Sport.

The base model IS 300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated to deliver 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The IS 300 AWD gets down the road thanks to a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 236 pound-feet of torque. With all-wheel drive, the model drives 30 percent of its power to the front and 70 percent to the back under dry road conditions. Up to 50 precent of the car's power can go to the front wheels when conditions require it. The engine is mated to a six sped automatic.

IS 350, IS 350 AWD, and IS 350 F Sport variants have a 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood. It achieves 280 pound-feet of torque. The IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport have an eight-speed automatic transmission while the IS 350 AWD has a six-speed automatic.

2021 Lexus IS The car now rides on standard 18-inch wheels. Nineteen-inch are available.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Lexus has given the IS F Sport a Torsen limited slip differential. Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Custom drive modes are available depending on trim level.

The seats of the IS are covered in NuLuxe trimmed upholstery in the buyer's choice of Black, Glazed Caramel, or Roja Red. The driver has a 10-way power-adjustable seat while the passenger's is 8-way power-adjustable. Dual-zone climate control, push-button start, an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.

The Lexus track pad remains.

Available features include a power moonroof, 10.3-inch infotainment touch screen and navigation. The car is also available with a Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System that includes 17 speakers and 1,800 watts of sound. That's two speakers more than the 2020 IS has and more than double the watts.

2021 Lexus IS The cabin of the IS is still wholly recognizable as being from Lexus DNA.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Inside the cabin, F Sport modes get standard heated and ventilated sport seats (available in a new Circuit Red color). They feature two-way power-adjustable lumbar support and four-way headrest adjustment. F-Sport models also have a unique accelerator and brake pedal, and footrest as well as a console kneepad with contrast stitching and a Lexus card key.

Each new Lexus IS comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, which includes a forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, bicyclist detection, adaptive cruise control (above 30 mph), lane departure alert, lane trace assist, intelligent high beams, road sign assist, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert.

The car's adaptive cruise control system, called All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, includes a new feature. From Lexus:

"DRCC also includes a new feature that allows for smooth overtaking of slower vehicles. If traveling behind a vehicle traveling slower than the preset speed, once the driver engages the turn signal the system will provide an initial increase in acceleration in preparation for changing lanes; after changing lanes, the vehicle will continue acceleration until it reaches the original preset driving speed."

The 2021 Lexus IS will arrive at dealerships this autumn and will be available for sale in approximately 40 counties around the world.

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The Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition is a new addition to the lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of GMC

Truck drivers are no stranger to the challenges of towing. With updates to the GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra Heavy Duty pickup trucks for 2021, the premium division of General Motors is adding a suite of customer-focused technologies to the make trailering easier.

"Trailering is essential for pickup truck customers. More than half of our Sierra customers use their trucks to primarily tow equipment for outdoor adventures," said GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek. "We continually listen to customer feedback, which tells us they want class-leading safety, technology and comfort to tow what they need, whether it's a boat, an RV or a trailer hauling off-road toys."

2021 GMC Sierra: Jack-Knife Alert

Photo courtesy of GMC

New or enhanced trailering tech available on both 2021 GMC Sierra light-duty and heavy-duty models includes:

  • Trailer Length Indicator - New for 2021, when enabled and driving forward with the turn signal activated, the center console screen displays a red overlay twice the length of the compatible trailer and shows when other vehicles are present and may interfere with a lane-change maneuver.
  • Jack-Knife Alert - New for 2021, Jack-Knife Alert tracks the position of the compatible trailer in relation to the vehicle. If the front of the trailer approaches the rear of the vehicle, an alert is displayed when there may be a potential jack-knife situation.
  • Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator: Rear Trailer View has been enhanced to include guidelines that assist when backing a trailer into place and a Trailer-Angle Indicator to show the relationship between the truck and compatible trailer. Rear Trailer View requires the customer-installed available GM auxiliary accessory camera.
  • Rear Side View enhancement - When driving forward on the 2020 GMC Sierra, Rear Side View provides a split view of the left and right sides of the truck and compatible trailer that is automatically biased based on the trailer's angle. In the 2021 GMC Sierra, drivers will have access to this view while driving in reverse, making it easier to see surrounding vehicles and objects while positioning a trailer.
  • Cargo Bed View enhancement - New Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are now available, which can be helpful for aligning and hooking up a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer.

Select trailering features require a conventional-hitched box or camping trailer and additional setup may be required. Customers can see their dealers for full details.

Additionally, GMC is expanding the availability of their MultiPro Tailgate to Sierra 1500 SLE and Elevation trim models, which will also be offered in a number of new paint colors. The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 will be available with 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and off-road high-clearance step.

GMC is also reducing the price of its available 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine by $1,500 for 2021 making it just $995 above the the Sierra 1500's 5.3L V-8 with Dynamic Fuel Management.

The 2021 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty Denali gets new standard equipment including HD Surround Visionn and Bed Video camera technology. The new Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition will have several unique features, including exclusive 20-inch high-gloss black wheels and new power-retractable assist steps. Similar to the Sierra 1500, the Sierra Heavy Duty AT4 will now have available 18-inch Mud Terrain tires and an available off-road high clearance step accessory.

Other additions to Sierra HD include the MultiPro Tailgate standard on the SLE grade and three new available paint color options.

The 2021 GMC Sierra goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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The 2022 Hyundai Tucson takes what you know about the model and kicks it up more than just one notch.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai sells more Tucsons than any other model, and not just in the U.S. The global best-seller has been reborn with striking new looks and high-tech innovation that, on the surface, squarely put it at odds with the budget-conscious most of the models it competes against.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson will be sold in short- and long wheelbase models worldwide.

Designers continues the Sensuous Sportiness language first put forth in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata and continued in the 2021 Hyundai Elantra in the new Tucson. At its front are Parametic Hidden Headlights that incorporate the daytime running lights and their housing into the grille of the vehicle. Here, it's realized as a "T" shape the that is similar to the new fascia on the refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe. The automaker says that the lights are only visible when they are illuminated.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Numerous creases are featured on the body of the car.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The crease-heavy body styling continues from the hood and down the sides of the compact SUV giving the model looks beyond your typical jellybean-shaped mommy hauler.

At the rear, a body-width taillight incorporates half-hidden triangular shapes that are only visible when lit. The Hyundai logo has been moved from its traditional place and and is now integrated into the rear glass. In turn, the wiper is now hidden under the car's spoiler.

Hyundai will sell the gasoline-powered versions of the model in seven paint colors: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Gray, Amazon Gray, Flame Red, and Intense Blue, six of which are new for Tucson. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models offer the following four colors: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, and Intense Blue, three of which are new for Tucson.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hyundai's new Tucson design is sleek yet sharp.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson will be powered by a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. It achieves 187 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. These figures give the engine more horsepower than either of the two engines in the 2020 model and 31 pound-feet more torque than that year's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

A more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder will be available. That same 1.6-liter engine is also able to be matched with hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology. Each engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 1.6-liter hybrid engine alone achieves 178 horsepower. When coupled with the battery and elector motor, the overall output increases to 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, far surpassing anything offered in the last-gen Tucson.

Hyundai will employ its first-in-class E-Handling technology for HEV and PHEV models. All-wheel drive is available on the Tucson and comes with a number of drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport, Mud, Sand and Snow (not available in all markets).

2022 Hyundai Tucson The car features very distinct design lines.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The roster of safety technology on the Tucson is impressive. It includes: highway driving assist, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, blind spot view monitor, blind-spot collision warning, surround view monitor, reverse parking collision-avoidance assist, remote smart parking assist, high beam assist, and driver attention warning. Blind spot collision avoidance assist with rear cross-traffic alert and assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and safe exit warning are also available.

Hyundai designers strived to give the 2022 Tucson a serene and spacious interior. Like in the Nissan Ariya, the model was crafted to seamlessly blend space, technology, and information. The layered waterfall effect of the dashboard combines traditional horizontal lines with curves to draw the eye upward and downward without the feeling of space segregation. This space is marked by twin silver garnish lines that flow from the center fascia to the rear doors. Sixty-four color ambient mood lighting is adjustable in 10 levels of brightness.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Angular taillights are a unique design highlight.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The center stack houses twin 10.25-inch touch screens with split-screen and multi-tasking capabilities in the top Tucson trim level. A multi-air ventilation system and a hoodless digital gauge cluster are also present. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen is standard and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology. A Bose Premium audio system is available.

Hyundai has given the Tucson its Digital Key technology, which uses an app to turn a user's smartphone into a smart key. This technology also debuted on the 2020 Sonata.

The company's car-to-home functionality allows customers to control smart home appliances from their car. Similarly, Tucson's new Multi-Command function allows customers to "warm-up the car"— including heating system, heated steering wheel and seat warmers—with a single voice command while at home.

2022 Hyundai Tucson A wraparound dashboard gives the model a sense of spaciousness.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson is the first Hyundai vehicle to have the company's new air conditioning technology.

Hyundai engineers have designed the Tucson's second-row seats to feature fold-and-dive functionality. This allows for 38.7 cubic feet of cargo space. This is about the same amount as the cavernous Honda CR-V.

The first deliveries of the Tucson will happen in Korea in September. The U.S. will have to wait until the first half of 2021 for the model.

Hyundai has plans to introduce a Tucson N Line model globally at a date to be announced.

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