COVID-19

These vehicle debuts have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic

The debut of the Infiniti QX55 has been delayed because of the global health event.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti

Vehicle sales have come to a near standstill compared to their normal rates. However, the product cycle continues to move. Billions of dollars are tied up in plant retooling, worker training, and supplier materials.

With normal plant activity halted and auto shows cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, product debut and production timelines have shifted. Below are the vehicles that have had their product debuts pushed back due to the pandemic.

Cadillac Lyric

2022 Cadillac LyricPhoto courtesy of Cadillac

The Lyric is Cadillac's new all-electric SUV. It was slated to be shown off in early April ahead of the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), ushering in the new era of General Motors electric vehicles. Read more about the Lyric here.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is ready for a redo. The new model, which was to have debuted in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in June is said to have three rows. The SUV will be built on Alfa Romeo's rear-wheel drive Giorgio platform, which in 2017, was planned to be shared with Dodge and Maserati as well.

Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna was supposed to be unveiled at NYIAS. No new date has been made public for when the new version of America's beloved minivan will debut has been made public. Want to know what to expect from it? Take a close look at the 2020 Toyota Highlander, especially its powertrain options.

Nissan Rogue

As of last week, Nissan is still deciding on plans for the debut of the redesigned Rogue SUV after its NYIAS debut was scrapped. While the outside isn't expected to be drastically different, there will be a complete interior redesign, including a fresh shifter. Nissan's ProPilot Assist driver assistance technology and Safety Shield 360 safety technology will also likely come on the model.

Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda released a photo of the refreshed 2021 Odyssey before time was called on the NYIAS. The model has gotten the updates it needs to say competitive. Click here to read all about it.

Ram 1500 Rebel TRX

This Ram pickup is designed to be a Ford F-150 Raptor-fighter. It is slated to have impressive off-road prowess and plenty of power. Oh, and a fantastic interior. Rumor has it that this truck was supposed to be unveiled at NAIAS.

Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport

Ford was set to unveil the Bronco and Bronco Sport this spring. Now, the plans have been scuttled, but the thirst for everything Bronco hasn't subsided. The automaker has endured (facilitated?) a series of leaks to keep the models front of mind. Word is that plans still aren't solid on when the veil(s) will be lifted on the models, which were already slated to be in production by now..

Infiniti QX55

2020 Infinit QX55Photo courtesy of Infiniti

The Infiniti QX55 is the model that the automaker is relying on to spur brand enthusiasm ahead of the redesign of the QX60 and an infusion of electrification into the Infiniti lineup. It was supposed to debut at NYIAS and then go on sale later this year. The small SUV is designed to bring forward the Infiniti FX DNA that grew a legion of brand enthusiasts.

With the NYIAS slated to go on in late August and the Los Angeles Auto Show tipped for late November, it's still possible that some of these debuts will take place on U.S. soil before the end of the year.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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