The Rev Up – Car News #7

Full details on the GR Yaris, a $1.1 million fire truck and hot news on the 508 Peugeot Sport in this edition of The Rev Up. We’ve also got some insights into Kia’s plans for a fully electric SUV and a glimpse into the not-so-distant future of autonomous delivery vehicles.

Full Details: Toyota Yaris GR Prototype Driving Impressions

In the last issue of The Rev Up, we shared some leaked images and somewhat speculative info on the 2020 Toyota GR Yaris.

This week we can share first driving impressions as Toyota hands the keys of their Prototype over to the automotive media. And we use the term Prototype loosely, as all indicators lead us to believe that what we see now will be very close to the production model.

Let’s start with the drive-train. The GR Yaris will not only feature All-Wheel-Drive as standard but will also incorporate an adjustable dial which allows the driver to choose the power split between front and rear wheels. That’s a considerable development for such a small car.

The engine specs are now confirmed as 3-cylinder, turbo-charged variant, producing a claimed 185 kw (250hp) of power and 350nm (260 ft-lbs) of torque which should be good for a sub-6-second 0-100km/h (0-62mph).

Driving impressions from journalists that have had some seat time in the GR Yaris have been overwhelmingly positive. The variable drive-train option adds a whole new dynamic to the Yaris. It may be one of the smallest cars on the market, but it packs enough punch to go head-to-head with the likes of the Subaru WRX and other cars in more premium segments.

The GR Yaris represents so much more than just another hot hatch for both Toyota and consumers alike. What we see here is at the very least an homage to the homologation era of motor-racing. This was a time where manufacturers were forced to build limited numbers of a particular vehicle in order to qualify for a specific racing series. We have homologation rules to thank for the likes of the Subaru WRX 22B STI, BMW M3, Ford GT and the Lancia Stratos among others.

At the very most, we see Toyota paving the way for more exciting cars in the future, with other manufacturers to surely (hopefully) follow suit.

California has Given the Green Light to Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

Recently, there has been quite a lot of talk about how far away we are from sharing the road with fully autonomous vehicles. However, it looks like California will start issuing permits from January onwards for both backup driver-assisted and fully-autonomous delivery vehicles.

The permits are issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles in the region and comes after years of stringent testing in controlled environments including requirements for the human back-up element. But these permits should see the next step in the process meaning you may soon be sharing the road with robots.

Currently, the permits are only available for commercial applications as well as for further testing, so it will be interesting to see what the next 12 months yields in terms of data and public feedback.

$1.1 Million Fire Truck may Represent the Future of Firefighting

An Austrian company named Rosenbauer Group will begin production of what they say will be the future of firefighting, recently offering their concept to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, in San Franciso for the price of $1,112,900.

Despite Rosenbauer Group’s pitch to the Californian based unit, the decision to add the vehicle to their fleet was not voted favourably by the board of directors. The main issue came down to cost, with standard trucks costing on average well under $100,000.

Rosenbauer claim that the concept was created to adapt to the changing trends in technology surrounding fire and rescue services globally, some of which include a shift in the age and gender of firefighters.

Some of the features of the all-electric truck include adjustable height for traversing rough and unpredictable terrain, rotating internal seating for improved collaboration of firefighting teams, onboard Wi-Fi and four-wheel steering for greater manoeuvrability.

The most noticeable change is the switch from the traditional red colour, to a more visible lime green.

All-Electric Kia SUV is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen

Kia have been stepping up their game recently with the release of some really tasty performance-focused models (Kia Stinger, anyone?) as well as dipping their toes into the technology pool.

The company is looking to double down on the tech focus by teasing their next generation of SUV, announcing a big step towards full electrification of their range.

COO of Kia Europe, Emilio Herrera, recently spoke about their current SUV concept named the “Imagine Concept” and how the company plans to put this platform into production in the next 2-3 years.

Details are scarce at this point as you can imagine, but Herrara did mention that Kia plans to build their own EV platform for the Imagine, hinting at a potential for more EV Kias in the next few years.

Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered to Begin Production in 2020

Peugeot got everyone excited at the recent Geneva motor show by unveiling their concept “Sport Engineered” 508 sedan.

It certainly looked the goods with incredible styling, which says a lot for this edition, because Peugeot seem to be hitting home runs in the styling department recently, concept model or not.

The great news this week is that CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato has officially given the thumbs up to put the concept into production.

The even better news is the performance figures that the Sport Engineered edition promises to deliver. This hot 508 will be powered by a combined 1.6-litre 4-Cylinder petrol engine with electric motor driving the front wheels PLUS an additional 150 kw (200 hp) electric motor powering the rear wheels.

This combines to give the 508 Sport an impressive o-100km/h time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. The part that a lot of consumers will also like is the fact that it will feature a 50km (30 miles) range on pure electric power.

No time frames are confirmed for when the 508 Sport will be available, but production is likely to kick off in 2020.