Off-Roading

North Korea leader Kim Jung-un does something few Lexus owners do

North Korea’s leader took a spin in a Lexus LX today and made news.

Photo courtesy of Twitter

The Supreme Leader of North Korea has done something few owners of a Lexus LX 570 do - gotten it dirty off-roading. Technically though, given North Korea's... we'll call them infrastructure challenges ... it might just be muddy on-roading. Still, it's a rather filthy LX 570 and that's a taste of something the model rarely gets.

Photographs of Jung-un driving the LX 570 recently appeared on Twitter via an article on nknews.org.

The LX 570 is the flagship SUV in the Lexus lineup. It has two or three rows of seating (the two-row option was new for the 2018 model year). While it's not immediately clear which model year Jung-un was driving in the photo opp, it's clearly one from the last few years as it shows several of the updates the LX has received over the last few years.

It's also not immediately clear how Jung-un got his LX though it's likely that it came from China. There are no Lexus dealerships in North Korea.

When contacted, Lexus refused to assist with information for this story. Despite that, given what we know of the pricing and body style of the LX 570, there's some things we can infer about LX buyers.

It's safe to say that the same vehicles that are frequently parked at Whole Foods with a level of sheen that can only come from a car wash on them rarely see a dirt path, let alone a trail. In truth, despite the fact that the LX 570 is nearly as capable as the Toyota Tundra, its 6,000 pound curb weight is a lot of body to haul up a trail.

2020 Lexus LX 570 For the 2020 model year, Lexus introduced a Sport version of the flagship SUVPhoto courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Lexus has given the SUV 8.9 inches of ground clearance (about the same as a Subaru Outback), a 25-degree approach angle, 20-degree departure angle, and 23-degree break over angle. Those numbers are comparable to the Ford Expedition and best the prowess of the Nissan Armada.

With a starting price close to $90,000 in the U.S. when destination charges are added in, LX 570 customers are undoubtedly affluent. According to CarFigures.com, the starting price of the LX in China is equal to about $180,000 USD.

Reliability is likely important. J.D. Power rates the LX as having extremely high reliability and the models are typically the subject of very few recalls.

Buyers are probably also boastful and prefer showing off their ability to afford the model over the practicality of it. The LX achieves miserable fuel economy - its 5.7-liter V8 is more fuel-inefficient than the similarly powered BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS achieving just 15 mpg combined. There's also other models with far more cargo space - the three-row Land Rover Range Rover has nearly the double the cargo are the LX does.

The 2020 Lexus LX 570 is on sale now.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The front of the concept is very EV in its design.

Photo courtesy of Honda

The Honda SUV e:concept debuted in China this week signaling what's ahead for a future mass-production model of the Honda brand's first electric vehicle to be introduced in China. While what's sold in China doesn't always make it to American shores, there are a few things to be learned by taking a closer look at the concept.

We know that the vehicle's powertrain is electric. How many motors? What type of battery? How much power? In a nutshell, we have no idea. However, that could be where Honda's relationship with General Motors kicks in. A recent agreement to share platforms and co-build future vehicles builds on the electric vehicle platform sharing agreement the two automakers signed in April. In the first agreement agreement, Honda agreed to work with GM to develop two new electric vehicles based on GM's global EV platform powered by Ultium batteries.

Honda SUV e:concept The sloping roofline of the concept is indicative of another Honda model.Photo courtesy of Honda

The concept's sweeping looks are more crossover than SUV. While there's plenty of doubt that the model will be a two-door vehicle when it arrives in showrooms, its overall aesthetic is new for Honda, though it has hints of the current-generation CR-V and Accord in its nose.

The roofline of the SUV and side profile look a lot like the 2020 Honda Avancier, a true crossover that got its start as a station wagon and now sits as the company's flagship in China. If indeed this model is an electric Avancier, it means that the U.S. market is unlikely to see it.

From a business perspective, this makes sense. Electric vehicles are not nearly as popular in the U.S. as they are in China and Europe, where they have been regulated into residents' lifestyles. Additionally, the U.S. electric vehicle charging infrastructure leaves much to be desired.

2020 Honda Avancier

Photo courtesy of Honda

Cars built for the Chinese market also do not have to meet the same strict safety testing standards as American vehicles so they can be made for less and sold for less. Upping to U.S. standards costs more and, when shipping and taxes are added in, the model may be priced out of sensibility for American Honda customers.

Wherever it's destined to go, the Honda will be a mass-production electric vehicle.

The company is committed to equipping the car with a number of safety technologies including omnidirectional advanced driver assistance systems, the next-generation Honda SENSING safety and driver-assistive system with improved recognition, predication and decision-making performance, as well as the next-generation Honda Connect, which features an AI assistant interface, smartphone link, and wireless updates.

Honda SUV e:concept The model features a unique black end with slim lights.Photo courtesy of Honda

Expect to see the next steps in the evolution of this concept in the coming year, even if it's just in spy photos.

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The Polestar Precept is moving forward into production.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

The Polestar Precept was one of the first models unveiled as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Now, things begin to go back to normal, the automaker has confirmed that the Precept is set to join the Polestar stable as a production car.

Though the Polestar name may ring a bell, this isn't the same brand it used to be. Polestar, now a division of Geely, is a Swedish electric performance brand that only recently brought the Polestar 1, its first auto, to market.

Along with a cabin filled with sustainable materials and an Android operating system, the Polestar was revealed featuring sleeker design features than the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 models that currently complete the company's lineup.

Polestar Precept

Photo courtesy of Polestar

"'Stunning. Spectacular. Cutting-edge. We'd like to see it on the road!' – this is what the press wrote about Precept and the public said, 'We want it', so we decided to build it," comments Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO.

"Consumers want to see change from this industry – not just dreams. Now, Precept becomes an even stronger statement. We are committed to reduce the environmental impact of our cars and our business. The aim has to be climate neutrality, even though I recognize that is a long-term goal."

Further testing and product development of the Precept is currently underway. When it's ready for production, the Precept will be produced in a new factory the company is building in China. The factory is designed to be carbon neutral and technologically intelligent.

"China is a home market for Polestar and we recognise the increasingly important drive for greater sustainability here," continues Thomas Ingenlath, speaking at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition 2020. "With this new factory, we will again raise the bar, aiming to produce the most advanced and premium electric car in China with the lowest carbon footprint."

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