Production

Special Vehicle Operations is Jaguar Land Rover's biggest success story of 2020

Jaguar Land Rover sells high-powered and customized versions of its models for discerning customers.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Want it faster? With more of a growl coming from the exhaust? Incredibly spacious? What you want are Jaguar Land Rover's range of Special Vehicle Operations (SV) models.

You're not alone, that aspect of JLR's business retailed over 9,500 high-performance and luxury SV products in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, up 64 percent from the previous year.

Range Rover Sport SVR Media Drive, March 2018 Models in the Special Vehicle Operations product line wear SV badging. Photo courtesy of Land Rover

"Despite a challenging sales environment for the automotive industry as a whole, we're delighted that the demand for Jaguar and Land Rover SV products continues to grow strongly, just five years after the division was first launched," said Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. "We currently have our broadest-ever range of models offering enhanced performance and luxury, each with its own distinctive personality that resonates with our customers."

The strong demand is well distributed. There are seven SV vehicles offered that have driven the growth, including the long wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography, which offers airline-style Executive Class seating, and the driver-focused 550-horsepower Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic.

JLR's best-selling SV SUV is the 575-horsepower Range Rover Sport SVR, which saw sales growth in its fifth year of production.

The company launched the 550-horsepower Jaguar F-PACE SVR and Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition in 2019.

To capitalize on markets primed for these models, JLR has rolled out SV Specialist Centers in the areas and dedicated SV areas at retailers. The company says that these retailers are specially trained to meet the needs of the SV customer base. SV Specialist Centers have already launched at 100 retailer sites globally, with more to follow.

"We've focused on satisfying demand for existing SV vehicles, while simultaneously expanding into new sectors with models such as the Jaguar F-PACE SVR, which instantly became our second highest volume vehicle," said Mark Turner, Commercial Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. "Developing the SV presence in the global Jaguar Land Rover retail network and on social media, in conjunction with SV Bespoke, is also having a positive effect on our business."

There's another page to the menu. The Special Vehicle Operations SV Bespoke department is available to customize the vehicles from tailoring paint color and finish to interior and exterior trim choices. This area of the business has seen a 20 percent growth in bespoke commissions and Premium Palette paint finishes for a selection of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

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The Bronze Edition model builds on the XLE trim.

Toyota

The Toyota Highlander entered its fourth generation for the 2020 model year, which brought sleek style, updated tech, and a premium-look interior. A new XSE trim joined the lineup for 2021, and for 2022, Toyota is adding a new hybrid-only Bronze Edition trim.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition adds useful features, such as a hands-free power liftgate.toyota

The new Bronze Edition Highlander builds on the XLE trim with:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Memory driver's seat with 10-way power adjustments
  • Hands-free power liftgate

Toyota notes that the Bronze Edition previews features that will show up with the greater 2022 Highlander release. Among them are the new Wind Chill Pearl color, which replaces Blizzard Pearl from the previous model, and height/tilt passenger seat adjustments.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Highlander is a supremely comfortable SUV with room for the family.Toyota

The Highlander carries on into 2022 with a standard 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. A Highlander Hybrid is available, which mates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. Combined system output is 243 horsepower. With the V6 on board, the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition is available for Highlander Hybrid models.Toyota

All 2022 Highlander models get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, road sign assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, a sway warning system, and automatic high beams. Those features and the Highlander's excellent crash testing scores were good enough for the SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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New compact luxury SUV

2022 Lexus NX gets new tech and PHEV drivetrain

The NX is all-new for 2022.

Lexus

The NX may not be Lexus' most popular SUV – that title goes to the RX – but it's got a lot to offer in a compact package. Lexus redesigned the NX for 2022, and the big stories are its new PHEV powertrain, updated tech, and improved safety features.

The 2022 NX 450h+ is Lexus' first plug-in hybrid vehicle. It's expected to deliver 36 miles all-electric range, 84 MPGe combined, a 0-60 mph time of six seconds. It's joined in the NX lineup by the NX 350h hybrid, which uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two high-torque motor-generators that produce a combined output of 239 horsepower. The NX 350h is capable of returning 39 mpg combined and a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds.

2022 Lexus NX New tech and updated safety features are headline changes for 2022.Lexus

A turbocharged gas engine rounds out the NX powertrain selection. It's a 2.4-liter unit that makes 203 horsepower and 184 horsepower. Surprisingly, it's weaker than both of the hybrid powertrains, and is only capable of a 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy lands at 28 mpg combined.

The new NX comes standard with a 9.8-inch touchscreen that employs a new Lexus interface to make interactions smoother and easier. A 14-inch touchscreen is optional, and includes a three-year trial for a bundle of connected services. Lexus offers a new connected smartphone feature that allows drivers to store their vehicle profiles in the cloud and take them to other Lexus vehicles equipped with the tech.

2022 Lexus NX The NX gets a PHEV powertrain option for the first time.Lexus

The Lexus Interface also offers advanced voice controls and a new voice assistant feature. The automaker says that it was designed to recognize natural speech, and uses two microphones with noise cancellation, seat detection, and speaker location capabilities. Drivers can ask for the weather, traffic situations, control the audio system, and more with their voice.

The NX's safety features got a boost for 2022 as well. Standard features now include risk avoidance emergency steer assist, left-turn oncoming vehicle detection and braking, right/left turn oncoming pedestrian detection and braking, and dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management.

2022 Lexus NX F Sport models get sporty interior finishes.Lexus

The 2022 Lexus NX should begin arriving on dealers' lots in December 2021. Pricing for the NX 250 FWD starts at $39,025, which includes a $1,075 destination fee. The range-topping NX 450h+ starts at $56,635.

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