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Car of the Year 2023: the seven finalists


NEWS – Two French models are among the seven cars qualified for the most renowned prize in the automotive industry.

Who will succeed the Kia EV6 voted “Car of the Year 2022”? One certainty: the sixtieth “Car of the Year” will be an electrified model. Among the twenty-three vehicles in the running for the final, the jury of sixty-one European journalists, who participated in this election, including a member of the editorial staff of Le Figaro, favored hybrid, rechargeable hybrid or electric vehicles. The results revealed at the Brussels Motor Show on January 13, 2023 will reward one of the seven finalists, which are the Jeep Avenger, the Kia Niro, the Nissan Ariya, the Peugeot 408, the Renault Austral, Volkswagen ID.Buzz and the duo Subaru Solterra-Toyota bZ4X.

Once again, the list is intended to be a snapshot of the market, favoring SUV architecture, apart from the Peugeot 408 which tries a new approach, halfway between the sedan and the leisure vehicle.

Renault Austral. @GREG

If the Renault Austral, the family SUV that succeeds the Kadjar, is the only model not to be offered with an electric powertrain, only with the French manufacturer’s E-Tech Hybrid technology apart from the conventional petrol versions, the Kia Niro is the only offer to be available with the three electrified technologies: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric.

For its part, the Peugeot 408 marketed at the beginning of next year in a Pure tech 130 petrol version and in a rechargeable hybrid (180 and 225 hp) will be enriched in 2024 with a 100% electric version. Also from the Stellantis group, the Avenger is the first electric Jeep in history. It borrows its technology from the DS3 e-Tense but will also be available in a four-wheel drive version.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz. Volkswagen AG/Volkswagen AG

As for the Volkswagen ID.Buzz, it plays on the springs of nostalgia, wanting to be the Combi of the 21st century. Pending an extended version that can accommodate 7 or 8 people, this vehicle appears to be the first electric minivan on the market. Finally, the last two finalists are also electric vehicles. The Ariya is Nissan’s first electric crossover. It shares its Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance CMF-EV platform with the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric. Its range is more extensive than that of the French compact.

Last model in the running: the Toyota bZ4X and its cousin Subaru Solterra. These two SUVs do not shine with their autonomy but can flatter themselves with real crossing capacities. The games are therefore open for this 60th election. Verdict on January 13 in Brussels.

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Jeep Avenger, ready for new adventures


NEW – Developed primarily for the European market, the first electric Jeep will arrive in early 2023.

If no one tells you, it’s impossible to imagine the next Jeep hitting the market early next year running on electricity. Its appearance could almost make it pass for a Renegade evolution. Looking more closely, we observe that the seven vertical bars which act as a grille – the signature of the American brand – are closed, a sign of the presence of an electric traction chain.

The first zero-emission Jeep will be presented as a world premiere to the public at the next Paris Motor Show to be held in Paris, Porte de Versailles, from October 18 to 23. A show that will unfortunately only be global in name due to the disaffection of many manufacturers.

Jeep Avengers. Stellantis/© 2022 Stellantis

Baptized Avenger, the first electric Jeep will position itself below the Renegade in size, the length not exceeding 4.15 m. Produced in the Tichy factory in Poland, this small SUV can flatter itself with attractive lines highlighted by the marked wheel arches.

As the newest child of the Stellantis galaxy, the Avenger bows to the discipline of the group. It is thus based on the redesigned CMP platform of the Peugeot e-2008 and the DS3 Crossback e-Tense. Not only, the Jeep would benefit from a new evolution of the battery but also of the electric machine. Technical information has not yet been disclosed, except for an announced range of 400 km with a full charge. Jeep obliges, the Avenger will also be distinguished from its French cousins ​​by the presence of a small electric motor on the rear axle to provide four-wheel drive. Finally, to know the interior, it will still be necessary to wait a few weeks.

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4×4 dinosaurs convert to electric


Question of survival: the all-terrain emblems have no other choice but to convert to electricity to continue their journey.

Bad times for 4 × 4 legends, mostly born in Grandpa’s time and prized for their ability to defy almost any difficulty. Looked at the wrong way when they are not hated or vandalized, these high-legged vehicles must face regulations and taxation that condemn them to the term. In addition to the planned diesel ban, which powers most of these vehicles, there is a weight tax. This measure proposed by the citizens’ climate convention applies to vehicles weighing more than 1.8 t. The excess kilogram is billed at 10 euros. In short, double the penalty since the weight is implicitly already taken into account in the calculation of CO emissions2. The government is not with a bad turn, which has just decided that the automobile advertisements, as of the 1er next March, will have to promote carpooling, public transport or soft mobility. It would take more to shake these tough guys, tough guys …

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Jeep Grand Cherokee, a well-bred Yankee


NEW – The flagship of the American manufacturer confirms its move upmarket with a quality interior, a plug-in hybrid engine and enhanced road skills.

The next Grand Cherokee, fifth of the name, will cross the Atlantic well to be marketed here. Even without the brand’s logo, with its grille with seven vertical bars, it is still recognizable among a thousand. By changing generation, the lines are stretched, the wheel arches become square, optionally housing 21-inch wheels – a first -, the styling details appear more neat, the tracks widen. Following the current trend, the lights are thinner and the roof appears to float.

Jeep

It is inside that it stands out from the current one and that it will confuse the followers of the model. The more refined ambience is based on a modern design, wooden applications, digital instrumentation and a large center console levitating a 25.6-inch touchscreen. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is controlled by a rotary knob, as with Jaguar.

Jeep

Reflecting our times, with us, this new Grand Cherokee will only be available with the plug-in hybrid engine. Goodbye, therefore, to the famous “gurgling” of the V8s. Make way for the four-cylinder 2-liter turbo petrol associated with two electric motors powered by a 400 V battery of 17 kWh. In total, this Jeep boasts a power of 375 horsepower and a torque of 637 Nm. CO emissions2 are not yet known but this large SUV will be able to travel 40 km in electric mode, according to the standards in force in the United States.

While it’s not certain that its owners dare to put the beautiful 21-inch wheels down in sunken and muddy roads, the Grand Cherokee is armed to face the elements. His frankness skills are further strengthened. It combines the latest electronic systems – Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II – to which must be added the air suspension with electronic semi-active damping.

We will have to wait for the second half of 2022 to see this well-bred Yankee arrive on our roads.

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Jeep Gladiator, the pick-up exempt from penalties


NEW – The American brand is trying out the European adventure with its diesel engine pickup.

It changes everything. The Jeep Gladiator pickup is only marketed in a four-seater version. This configuration is non-reversible, that is to say that it is not possible to add a fifth place and its seat belt. Thanks to this scheme, the Gladiator thus escapes the penalty of 30,000 euros associated with 5-seater pick-ups, the “leisure” stamped models. With a VU vehicle registration card, the Gladiator is also exempt from TVS but VAT recovery is not possible. Developed from the JeepWrangler, the Gladiator will not go unnoticed on our roads. Longer than a limousine, this double cabin pick-up is 5.59 meters long, of which 3.48 meters are just for the wheelbase. Fans of the genre will appreciate: the loading platform measures 153 centimeters. It has a washable PVC protective coating and tie-down hooks that will come in handy to prevent loads from sliding from side to side when cornering. All vehicles sold in France are delivered with a flexible removable tonneau cover.

Jeep

This American pick-up is powered by a 264 hp 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 equipped with the Stop & Start system and associated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Like a real Jeep, the Gladiator relies on all-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer box and exceptional attack and flight angles to display great crossing capacities. It can also tow trailers or vans up to 2.7 tonnes.

Jeep

The interior is very similar to that of the Wrangler. It inherits the 8.4-inch multimedia screen giving access to most of the vehicle’s functions.

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Jeep Wrangler 4xe, a clean adventurer on him


NEW – In the year of its 80th anniversary, the American brand launches a Wrangler plug-in hybrid of 380 hp.

We can already imagine tomorrow the dumbfounded faces of urbanites at the silent passage of a Jeep Wrangler 4xe. By the end of the first half of 2021, the mother of all backpackers on the planet will convert to the plug-in hybrid powertrain. An obligation to respect the fixed carbon footprint reduction objectives but also to defend the social acceptance of this type of vehicle.

After the Renegade 4xe and the Compass 4xe, the Wrangler will be the third model in the American manufacturer’s range to be electrified. Developed from the 272 hp 2-liter 4-cylinder turbo version, the Wrangler 4xe displays a cumulative power of 380 hp thanks to the integration of a 145 hp electric motor positioned near the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission and powered by a 17.3 kWh battery. Positioned under the rear seat, the accumulators are of the nickel-maganese-cobalt type. They provide an electric range of 50 km in town (around 40 km in the combined cycle) according to the manufacturer and thus allow the Wrangler to avoid the penalty thanks to an approved consumption of 3.5 liters per 100 km, this which corresponds to CO emissions2 of 79 g / km. The Wrangler 4xe offers three driving modes: hybrid, electric and E-Save. The latter will recharge the battery while driving or save energy in anticipation of crossing a city. Always available in electric mode, all-wheel drive will allow you to cross a forest without disturbing the animals. In addition, the Wrangler 4xe retains the crossing capabilities of other versions. This is how the transmission has a short speed range.

Jeep

The Wrangler 4xe is already available to order, only in the high-end First Edition version, at a price of 71,700 euros.

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Jeep Renegade 4xe, a yankee with green feet


In Europe, its big V8 rolling mechanics are no longer in the smell of sanctity. Jeep, like its competitors, has no choice but to switch to the world of sobriety to meet the objectives of reducing CO emissions.2 imposed by the European Union. Behind an embryo of a mathematical formula on the way to becoming a signature – 4xe – the American manufacturer is taking its first steps on the plug-in hybrid market. To give yourself every chance of going down to 95 g / km of CO2, the two best-selling models, the Renegade and the Compass, benefit.

ACE Team

With its grille reminiscent of the Willys and its compact shapes, the first has an extra soul but the interior, both materials and design, cannot make you forget its age. However, the arrival of the plug-in hybrid engine gives it a new lease of life. This system is as efficient as that of its rivals for a particularly attractive price. From € 38,700 (excluding the € 2,000 bonus) for the 190 hp version.

Four-wheel drive on demand

ACE Team

The better-equipped 240 hp model claims an additional € 3,800. It combines the 1.3 in-house turbo petrol of 180 hp with a 60 hp electric motor installed on the rear axle and allowing the benefit of all-wheel drive. A second electric machine placed at the front acts as a high voltage generator at low speed. A useful 8.9 kWh battery completes the system. The result is convincing. The electric autonomy can exceed 50 km. We thus crossed the island of Ré without consuming a single drop of gasoline. The system also offers a full range of modes to manage energy as well as possible. The fact remains that this technology only delivers its full efficiency when the battery can be recharged as often as possible. Other pitfalls: the whole is ballasted by 200 kg and due to a reduced 11-liter tank, the range does not exceed 400 km.

ACE Team

Technical sheet

Engines: 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 1332 cc3, 180 hp,

+ 1 electric motor 60 hp (cumulative power:

240 hp)

Transmission: Integral, auto. 6 reports

Dimensions: L. 4.23, W. 1.80 h. 1.71 m

Consumption: 2.2 l / 100 km

CO emissions2: 50 g / km

Speed: 199 km / h

Price: 42,500 €

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