We publish a ton of car news stories during the working week (70-odd as a rule), and it can be tough to keep up with everything – which is the rationale behind this weekend list.
In short, here are some key articles from our news desk since Monday of this week summarised, just in case you missed them at the time.
Price cuts and ample supply drove the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan to a huge delivery result in January, with 2927 of them getting into customer hands.
As such, the Model 3 was the top-selling passenger vehicle in the market and number-three in monthly sales overall – behind only the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes.
It’s the highest-ever finish for an EV in the Australian market.
The Toyota bZ4x is set to launch in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year, and will be the first of at least three initial electric vehicle launches.
“Starting with the bZ4x, we will launch at least three EVs in the space of three years, with more in the pipeline,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations.
“Toyota is committed to bringing electric vehicles to Australia, in their thousands within a few short years, and ultimately, in the tens of thousands.”
In addition to these three, Mr Hanley says the company is “examining closely” a production version of last year’s bZ Compact SUV concept.
Toyota is aiming for ‘electrified’ vehicles to account for more than half of its sales by 2025, up from 31.5 per cent in 2022 – though it hasn’t specified how much of this will be of pure electric vehicles.
Mazda’s new flagship CX-90 three-row SUV will offer a choice of petrol and diesel engines when it arrives in Australia in the second half of 2023, shortly after the CX-60.
The Australian-market 2024 Mazda CX-90 will be offered with a turbocharged 3.3-litre inline-six petrol with 254kW of power and 500Nm of torque, and a 3.3-litre turbo-diesel inline-six with 187kW and 550Nm – the latter unique to Australia.
They’re mated with a new eight-speed automatic transmission specifically designed for vehicles on this platform, with drive sent to all four wheels via a standard i-Activ all-wheel drive system.
The plug-in hybrid will follow in 2024, and uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and an electric motor to produce 240kW and 500Nm at peak, an eight-speed transmission, and a 17.8kWh battery pack to enable pure-electric driving.
Hyundai Australia has stopped taking orders for the i30 N hot hatch, as it works to clear a backlog of more than 1600 undelivered cars (at last count).
But rumours of its demise appear to be exaggerated, since the plan is to put the pocket rocket back on sale once the outstanding order bank is more manageable.
“To avoid customer disappointment, HMCA will no longer be accepting orders for i30 N [hatch]. As soon as our i30 N production allocation catches up with the order bank, HMCA will start taking orders once again,” the company told us.
FULL STORY: Hyundai i30 N hatch orders are now paused too
The new Honda Civic Type R is more expensive than ever, but demand has never been higher.
Honda has confirmed the turbocharged hot hatch is sold out for the next 20 months, which means anyone who orders one now won’t get the keys until late in 2024 – unless Honda Australia can secure more production.
As is the case across the industry, Honda says it’s “continuously seeking to shorten these wait times”.
The new Volkswagen Amarok has been priced for Australia.
With a starting price of $50,990 before on-roads, the starting price has risen by $5100 for 2023 – although the new Amarok promises to be a much safer, higher-tech proposition than its venerable predecessor.
Three engines will be offered: a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder (in two states of tune), a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, and a 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
The 2.3-litre petrol engine is unique to the Amarok relative to the Ford Ranger with which it shares its platform.
FULL STORY: 2023 Volkswagen Amarok price and specs
The first Lexus electric vehicle built on a dedicated EV platform will touch down in Australia this May.
Lexus Australia hasn’t yet confirmed pricing for the RZ SUV, which is built on a version of the platform debuted under the Toyota bZ4X, nor what supply will look like at launch.
“I think the RZ is going to do very well,” Lexus Australia chief executive John Pappas told CarExpert.
“Whatever volumes we can get, I think will do well on that car. I can’t firm up what that’s going to look like yet.”
The plug-in hybrid RX450h+ has also been confirmed for Australia, but when it will arrive is unclear.
“We will be getting the PHEV RX in Australia. For us at the moment it’s just about timing,” said Mr Pappas.
He said production of the PHEV is being prioritised for markets with strict carbon regulations, where strong PHEV and EV sales can drag down a manufacturer’s average emissions and potentially help them dodge steep fines.
The two-row version of the new WL Jeep Grand Cherokee finally arrives in showrooms this month after a delay, priced from $77,950 before on-road costs.
Three variants will be offered at first: Night Eagle, Limited and Overland, all powered by a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine.
These complement the longer, three-row Grand Cherokee L range launched last year, available in Night Eagle, Limited and Summit Reserve trims and priced from $82,750 before on-roads.
In related news, the Grand Cherokee L in Summit Reserve trim has had its maximum braked towing capacity upgraded to 2813kg, the same as the rest of the L range.
The brand has confirmed the update is due to a change in how it calculates the seven-seat SUV’s towing capacity, rather than due to any physical changes to the vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz Australia has confirmed orders for its AMG G63 are still closed for the foreseeable future.
This comes as the company detailed the on-sale date and pricing for its limited-edition G63 Edition 55 that commemorates the 55th anniversary of the Mercedes-AMG brand.
Orders for the Mercedes-AMG G63 Edition 55 will be treated as separate to the regular G63, according to the Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesperson.
Existing order holders for the regular G63 will be treated on a case-by-case basis, added the spokesperson, and they may be asked by their dealer if they want to get the G63 Edition 55 instead.
FULL STORY: Mercedes-AMG G63 orders still closed
It’s not clear if the Mazda CX-5 will receive a third generation as the company rolls out two separate new mid-sized SUVs.
“I’m not sure whether we are going to introduce a CX-5 or not, so I can’t give you any details,” said the CX-5’s current program manager, Mitsuru Wakiie, through an interpreter when asked about a next-generation model.
The CX-5 only recently received a facelift, suggesting it’ll remain on sale for a few years yet.
The CX-9 may not be around for as long, though Mazda Australia says it will keep selling the large crossover as long as it continues to be made.
“We expect for 2023 we will have both cars selling side-by-side, and then in the future whether that’s in that portfolio will be dependent on whether it continues to be produced,” said Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi.
2023 has only just started but Range Rover has detailed the updated 2024 model year version of its sleek Velar SUV.
There’s a tweaked exterior design, more paint colour options, a larger infotainment touchscreen, and a larger high-voltage battery in the plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
The 2024 Range Rover Velar is on sale now, ahead of customer deliveries expected to commence in the third quarter of this year.
FULL STORY: 2024 Range Rover Velar pricing, updates detailed