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    • By William Maley
      The Hyundai Santa Cruz has been talked about off and on since its debut as a concept in 2015. But it seems the truck is finally coming to fruition as some new spy shots reveal.
      Compared to the concept which was an extended cab, Hyundai is using a crew cab layout. The bed is quite short, possibly around four to five feet being our guess. Up front, the Santa Cruz gets the same front end treatment as the refreshed 2021 Santa Fe - wider front grille and new headlight treatment.
      Following in the footsteps of the Honda Ridgeline, the Santa Fe will be based on a unibody platform. In this case, the Santa Fe. This likely means power will come from either the 2.4L four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque or turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 235 hp and 260 lb-ft. Our money is on the latter engine. 
      Expect more details to come out on the Santa Cruz before its launch next year.
      Source: Autoblog, Car and Driver

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    • By William Maley
      The Hyundai Santa Cruz has been talked about off and on since its debut as a concept in 2015. But it seems the truck is finally coming to fruition as some new spy shots reveal.
      Compared to the concept which was an extended cab, Hyundai is using a crew cab layout. The bed is quite short, possibly around four to five feet being our guess. Up front, the Santa Cruz gets the same front end treatment as the refreshed 2021 Santa Fe - wider front grille and new headlight treatment.
      Following in the footsteps of the Honda Ridgeline, the Santa Fe will be based on a unibody platform. In this case, the Santa Fe. This likely means power will come from either the 2.4L four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque or turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 235 hp and 260 lb-ft. Our money is on the latter engine. 
      Expect more details to come out on the Santa Cruz before its launch next year.
      Source: Autoblog, Car and Driver
    • By William Maley
      2021 is going to be a very interesting year for the Mazda3 as two more engines become available.
      According to separate reports from Jalopnik and Hagerty, Mazda will be dropping in the turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder found in the 6, CX-5, and CX-9. The engine produces 227 horsepower on regular or 250 on premium. Like other Mazda models with this engine, the 3 will have it paired only with a six-speed automatic. Both reports say the engine will have AWD as standard. According to Hagerty's source, the engine will be available on a new trim called Premium Plus - likely taking the top spot in the 3's trim lineup. The source also confirmed this engine will not mean the return of the Mazdaspeed name for a hot variant. 
      The other engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder that Jalopnik reports is only for the sedan. Hagerty believes this engine is the SkyActiv-G used in the previous-generation 3, not the SkyActiv-X with its compression-ignition system.
      Not surprisingly, Mazda said they "“have not announced any details for the 2021 Mazda3," when asked about this.
      Source: Hagerty, Jalopnik

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    • By William Maley
      2021 is going to be a very interesting year for the Mazda3 as two more engines become available.
      According to separate reports from Jalopnik and Hagerty, Mazda will be dropping in the turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder found in the 6, CX-5, and CX-9. The engine produces 227 horsepower on regular or 250 on premium. Like other Mazda models with this engine, the 3 will have it paired only with a six-speed automatic. Both reports say the engine will have AWD as standard. According to Hagerty's source, the engine will be available on a new trim called Premium Plus - likely taking the top spot in the 3's trim lineup. The source also confirmed this engine will not mean the return of the Mazdaspeed name for a hot variant. 
      The other engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder that Jalopnik reports is only for the sedan. Hagerty believes this engine is the SkyActiv-G used in the previous-generation 3, not the SkyActiv-X with its compression-ignition system.
      Not surprisingly, Mazda said they "“have not announced any details for the 2021 Mazda3," when asked about this.
      Source: Hagerty, Jalopnik
    • By William Maley
      Nearly a decade ago, Nissan launched an ambitious assault on the U.S. commercial van market with the launch of their NV vans. It started with the Titan-dervived, body-on-frame NV1500/2500/3500 vans. This was followed by the unibody NV200 van, which was for a time the "Taxi of Tommorow" in New York City. But Nissan is reportedly throwing in the towel.
      Automotive News has learned from a source that it will end production of their commercial vans. No time frame was given.
      "We don't want to go more in the business of vans in the U.S. We will exit," said the source.
      Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman declined to comment about the future of the commercial vans, only saying in a statement that the automaker " is considering a number of opportunities to streamline the product portfolio and drive efficiencies within our manufacturing operations."
      When the NV lineup was launched in 2009, Nissan was hoping to steal away sales from the Detroit Three. At the time, Ford and GM had 97 percent of the large van segment. The NV was positioned as being a more modern option compared to the Ford E-Series and Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana. It was more comfortable with adjustable seats, taller ceiling for easier access to the cargo area, and pre-drilled holes in the body to allow owners to add interior racks easily. But Nissan wasn't able to make decent inroads into this market, only achieving around an eight percent share in the marketplace.
      What was the NV's downfall?
      Brand Loyalty to the American brands Using a modified Titan platform for the larger vans comprised them in urban areas with their extended front nose, and cargo capacity. "A third of the vehicle is dedicated to the engine and passenger compartment instead of cargo. The van takes up more real estate for the same amount of cargo space," explained Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions. NV200 Taxis were dinged by taxi companies poor ride quality, difficulty entering/exiting the van for elderly passengers, and increasing maintenance costs. Proved to a be a difficult sale to fleet buyers due to the automaker lacking the numerous combinations of light-trucks that the Detroit three can offer. Trucks and vans work hand in hand to attract sales in the commercial market. "Chevrolet and Ford can be everything to everybody," said Tyler Slade, operating partner at Tim Dahle Nissan Southtowne in Salt Lake City. "When we went to some of these fleet companies, it didn't make sense for them to have trucks from Ford and vans from Nissan." Add in $2.8 billion in cuts that the company is planning to stay afloat and COVID-19, and the death knell was coming sooner than later for the NV family.
      If Nissan does go forward with dropping the NV family, this will be a major blow to about a forth of Nissan dealers in the U.S. They made various investments such as installing heavy-duty lifts capable of lifting fully-loaded vans and having a dedicated sales staff to handle specific fleet issues.
      "Dealers now have serious concerns about their investments in commercial vehicles," said Slade.
      There is also the question as to whether Nissan may try again. Automotive News notes that in the new business strategy outlined last month, Nissan is wanting more global cooperation with its alliance partner Renault. The French automaker already has a number of vans in its lineup and is quite successful in various markets. Nissan already sells a version of the Renault Traffic, called the NV300 in Europe.
      But getting a Renault van into the U.S. as a Nissan will be difficult and costly in terms of homologation. Also, Nissan would still need to figure out how to appeal to larger fleet buyers that go with Ford or GM.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Drive
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

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