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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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

The long process to design, engineer, and award a contract for the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) next-generation mail delivery vehicle (NGDV) has finally come to an end. The government has awarded Oshkosh Defense a contract to produce the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle for service. Oshkosh Defense is a a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK).

The NGDV project is the USPS's first large-scale fleet procurement in three decades. Over the next 10 years, the contract allows for the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles.

"Oshkosh operates with unparalleled commitment to those who depend on our products and services to build, protect and serve communities around the world. We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come," said John Pfeifer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Oshkosh Corporation.

U.S. Postal Service's Next-Generation Mail Delivery Vehicle

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

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The new mail trucks will have multiple powertrain options, just like many passenger vehicles on the road today. There will be a battery electric vehicle (BEV) version that runs exclusively on electric power and a fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) variant.

Under the contract awarded today, USPS has committed to paying Oshkosh Defense $482 million as a first step toward the new vehicles' production. The money will be used to finalize the production vehicle design and complete factory build-out, all of which is necessary before production gets underway. The process is similar to ones mass market vehicle manufacturers use.

"Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS's Next Generation Delivery Vehicles," said John Bryant, Executive Vice President, Oshkosh Corporation, and President, Oshkosh Defense. "Partnering with trusted suppliers, we have developed a purpose-built solution to support the current and future needs of the USPS," Bryant concluded.

In addition to a new exterior and powertrain options, the NGTV also gets modern features and amenities like a rearview camera, walk-in cargo area, air condition, telematics, and a sliding cargo door. There's also a host of safety technology and equipment including airbags, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot warning, a 360-degree camera, and forward collision warning.

Production of the next generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.

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The 2022 Kia Carnival was designed to look more like an SUV than a minivan.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

When is a minivan not a minivan? When Kia's marketing department decides its not. Apparently. The 2022 Kia Carnival replaces the Sedona minivan in the company's lineup and instead of being called a minivan, Kia has decided that it's a 'multi-purpose vehicle' or MPV for short.

Kia says that the new Carnival stakes a claim on the "unoccupied space between SUV and family hauler". It's not the first model in that territory. The Ford Carousel may be considered the first modern model to occupy the space, but it was just a prototype.

The Carnival was designed at Kia's California design studio. It's bold and boxy rather than sleek and function-forward, like the bodies of the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, and Toyota Sienna. The Odyssey and Pacifica were both refreshed for the 2021 model year while the Sienna was redesigned.

2022 Kia Carnival: Exterior

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

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Kia carries over many of the design elements of the Telluride, Sorento, and Seltos into the new Carnival. It has the company's new tiger nose grille and integrated LED headlights. At its sides are substantial wheel catches while two-tone mirrors and and cutlines run the length of the vehicle. At the rear, geometric trail lamps, a rear skid plate garnish, and reflectors are positioned to make the vehicle look like an SUV. The model rides on 17- and 19-inch wheels, which are available in gloss black.

The Carnival is a three-row van that seats seven or eight, depending on the buyer's preference. The vehicle uniquely features Side-Flex seating in its eight-passenger variant that allows for multiple configurations. Kia describes it as including "a sliding second row center seat which, when in the forward-most position, allows the front passenger easy access the baby or child riding in it. This seat also converts into a functional table."

Heated and ventilated second row 'VIP Lounge Seating' with power controls, wing-out headrests, and leg extensions is available for seven-passengers Carnivals.

2022 Kia Carnival: Interior

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

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Kia will offer the model in four trim levels: LX, EX, SX< and SX-Prestige.

Kia has given the U.S.-bound version of the Carnival a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers best-in-class 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain is completed by an eight-speed automatic transmission and provides 3,500 pounds of towing capacity.

The van's dimensions offer best-in-class passenger room (168.2 cubic feet) and best-in-class cargo room (145.1 cubic feet behind the front row in LX, EX, and SX grades). Removable second-row seats and fold-in-floor third-row seats help the model achieve its best-in-class cargo room (second row seats not removable in SX-Prestige) title.

Kia will offer the model in three interior color schemes.

The list of standard features includes hands-free opening power sliding doors with Smart Key, and 8-inch infotainment touch screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2022 Kia Carnival: Details

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

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A hands-free power lift gate with auto close, Smart Key with one-button open/close functionality for rear sliding doors and liftgate, passenger voice recognition (allows second row occupants to control numerous in-vehicle functions through voice commands by pushing a button mounted on the ceiling), the Passenger Talk intercom system, Rear Passenger View in-cabin camera, dual-screen entertainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android screen mirroring, wireless smartphone charging, navigation, full digital instrument cluster, multi-Bluetooth, up to nine USB ports, a Bose premium audio system, and UVO link telematics are available.

The long list of standard advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on the Carnival includes: forward collision warning with collision avoidance assist, blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic warning with collision avoidance assist, rear park assist, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, automatic high beam headlights, and driver attention monitor.

Buyers can add to the safety technology in the Carnival to include the new 'Kia Drive Wise' ADAS, which includes: Blind-Spot View Monitor, a technology that projects live video view of adjacent lanes in the instrument cluster and activated via the turn signal; speed limit adjustment; navigation-based adaptive cruise control; park assist; and surround-view monitor.

It's the first vehicle Kia is selling in the U.S. with the company's new logo displayed on it. It will go on sale in the second quarter of 2021. Pricing is expected to be made public in the coming months.

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