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The News for February 3rd, 2023

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Mazda goes upscale again with the new CX-90, Ford and Red Bull Racing are teaming up for next-gen F1 powertrains, Ford is increasing Mach-E production and slashing prices, the next-gen Toyota Tacoma leaks in patent drawings, and your news for the week.

2024 Mazda CX-90

Mazda’s efforts to trend upmarket continue with the 2024 CX-90, a new flagship three-row crossover/SUV that aims to impress. Targeting a perfect blend high performance and world-class refinement, it debuts with Mazda’s new inline-six engine and a plug-in hybrid option. It’s built for families that want the nicest SUV imaginable on a Mazda-sized budget, and it’s a pretty compelling offer.

It’s built on an all-new platform and doesn’t share very much at all with the similarly-named Mazda CX-9. This platform allows for seating for eight, a larger front engine, electrification, and a rear-wheel-bias longitudinal layout, which Mazda takes full advantage of.

Talks of a Mazda inline-six have been rampant for year, but this is the first time the e-Skyactive G 3.3-liter turbocharged inline six makes an appearance in production. With 340 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s the most powerful mass-produced engine in Mazda history. It wasn’t a very high bar. The “e” in the name correlates to a small electric motor situated between the engine and transmission used for smooth acceleration from a standstill and other mild hybrid functionality. But if mild hybrid isn’t enough for you, the new e-Skyactive PHEV powertrain is also an option. It pumps out 323 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a some sort of electric motor (unknown specs and unknown location) powered by a 17.8 kWh battery.

Regardless of powertrain, the CX-90 features standard all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic, and Kinematic Posture Control, which is software borrowed from the Miata that suppresses body lift on tight corners to enhance grip and cabin comfort.

Design wise, it’s an inoffensive crossover that tries to be more upscale and sleek. It won’t look terribly different from all the other crossovers out there aiming for the same look, except for the fact that the nose is undeniably Mazda. The cabin is also a bit more upscale but done in a way that’s unique to Mazda. Inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics, a combination of Nappa leather, wood, and two-tone fabrics create a comfortable feel and modern look.

Pricing hasn’t been revealed yet. We should know more closer to this car’s introduction later this year.

[Source: Mazda]

Ford returns to F1 with Red Bull partnership

Shortly after Red Bull Racing unveiled the livery which will adorn this season’s RB19 race car, Ford was announced as a technical partner for Red Bull Powertrains from 2026 and beyond. It will be the first time in roughly two decades since Ford was directly involved in F1. Their involvement ended when they sold the Jaguar Racing F1 team to Red Bull.

This reunification sees Ford partnering with Red Bull Powertrains to develop the next-gen hybrid power unit which will be used by Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri from 2026 to at least 2030. Red Bull Powertrains is Red Bull Racing’s inhouse engine manufacturer, born from the Honda powertrain that’s won them two driver’s championships in a row and last year’s constructor’s championships. The super high level overview of RBP is Honda’s indecisiveness about staying in F1 as a supplier spurred Red Bull to take engine development in house. As a result, Red Bull Powertrains will effectively be Honda branded through 2025 as they are now. But from 2026 and beyond, it will be branded Red Bull Ford.

2026 is the date when new powertrain rules go into effect, and that’s exactly why Ford became interested. The highlights of those rules include a 350 kW electric motor and a new combustion engine able to accept fully sustainable fuels, and that’s why Ford became interested. Red Bull Powertrains will be handling all their development in house while Ford will provide technical expertise in all areas where it can add value, but especially as it pertains to the hybrid unit. This will tie into Ford’s push for electrification and hybrid technology while also joining forces with one of F1’s juggernauts.

This decision was no doubt championed by car enthusiast and racer himself, Jim Farley. I have a few contacts within Ford who were legitimately surprised that Ford would even consider a role in F1, even one who may or may not be in a position to lend some of that hybrid/electric expertise. Just a few years ago, the factory-supported Ford GT program in IMSA and WEC was seen as an outlier and a rare example of when the modern-day Ford was still interested in expanding their footprint in motorsports. But now there’s a factory-supported Mustang GT3 effort with customer racing to follow, more rumors of a GTP effort that might still be on the table, and now an engine supplier deal with Red Bull Racing. This is why having a car enthusiast in charge of a car company is good.

[Source: Ford]

Ford increasing Mach-E production, announces price cuts

Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition

As Ford’s EV supply chain is ramping up and becoming more efficient, Ford is significantly increasing production of the not-a-Mustang Mach-E this year to help reduce customer wait times. And to take advantage of streamlined costs, they will be reducing prices across the board.

Tesla did something similar with many of their cars recently, which irked owners who had missed out on thousands of dollars of savings by a matter of days. Ford’s price cuts come with a guarantee that all current Mach-E reservation holders will get the new price and anyone who bought theirs after Jan 1, 2023 will receive a refund for the difference. If you were one of those in the latter group, Ford will be reaching out directly.

Ford did not specify exactly how many new Mach-Es they were aiming to produce this year or by how much the capacity can be expanded. They moved about 39,000 units last year, making it the third-best selling EV in America. As for the price cut, it depends on exact model and specification you choose. The breakdown on that is below.

[Source: Ford]

Patent drawings may have leaked the new Tacoma

Motor1 spotted some rather interesting design patent registration images from Brazil which appear to show the next-generation Toyota Tacoma without any disguise. We’ve been expecting a new Tacoma this year and these drawings, which certainly do appear to be legitimate, may indicate we’re very close to seeing it officially unveiled in the US.

There’s a clear similarity to the design of the new Tundra that’s already on sale. From the headlights, the nearly identical bed, and the flared wheel arches, it really does look like a smaller Tundra. Which is what you’d expect from a Tacoma, right? Anyways, hope you like it, because this will be the Tacoma for the next 12 years.

[Source: Motor1]

What’s your news for the week?

hooniverse news whats your naws

So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

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