News Roundup: Ram TRX, Last Grand Caravan, AWD Lexus and Acura, More
This week in the news, Ram dominates headlines and off-road with the 700+ hp TRX, the last Grand Caravan rolls off the line in Windsor, Lexus adds AWD to a new four-cylinder ES, Acura gives us power and pricing for the new TLX, and there are a host of other 2021 updates including Honda Odyssey, Mazda CX-9, and Nissan Rogue.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex in the room last week came from Ram. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX (T-Rex, get it? Ford’s Raptor team sure does) boasts the 6.2L supercharged V8 that would be called Hellcat were it installed in a Dodge. Here it makes 702 hp with 650 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to hi 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and run a 12.9-second quarter.
But this isn’t just a hot-rod truck, much like the Ford it’s going after, the TRX boasts loads of off-road features like 13-inches of wheel travel, a Dana 60 solid rear axle with electronic locking, a transfer case special to this model, off-road drive modes that even alter the steering, giant 15-inch front brakes, and Bilstein adaptive off-road performance shocks. Ram wants this to be the ultimate trail runner, and it’s definitely the fastest. We can’t wait for our first chance to jump this dinosaur.
Unifor Local 444 announced on the 21st that the last of the current Grand Caravan models to be produced at Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor plant had rolled off of the line. A white GT model of the body style that has been built at the pant since 2007. Though it’s not the end of the name since FCA Canada announced recently it would call its new entry-level van, set to be badged the Voyager in the U.S., the Grand Caravan in Canada. So, the Grand Caravan is dead, long live the Grand Caravan. No word on when production of the newest version will start.
Lexus is adding all-wheel drive to a new base version of the ES sedan for 2021. The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD adds all-season traction to the 2.5L four-cylinder powered version of the car. It’s already available on V6 grades. Also new is an ES 350 Black Line special edition that offers F Sport-like trim but comes only in ultrasonic blue and ultra white, both with black mirrors, wheels and lug nuts and a rear spoiler.
Acura’s all-new TLX sedan will arrive at dealers next month, beginning with the 2.0L turbo AWD model with 272 hp. The Type S V6 is expected early next year with 355 hp and 354 lb-ft. The new TLX offers a host of new tech and convenience features including newly-standard AWD, but at $43,990 starting the car will be $2,000 more than the model it replaces. Compared with the old AWD V6, at least. The new model is $6,500 more than the previous base car.
For 2021, the Honda Odyssey is dropping the base EX model so the new van will start from $42,805, a big jump over last year. It has a new nose and new safety tech including a rear seat reminder that can be linked with the Cabin Watch camera to show what you’ve left behind. Finally, for 2021, the middle seats fold flat and there are some other trim changes to freshen up the van.
Mazda’s CX-9 adds a 100th Anniversary and Kuro Edition specials, each giving the big crossover some exceptionally nice interior accents like deep red leather seats and special colours (white for 100th, a new grey or black for Kuro). Base GS starts from $39,900 with all of Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features, and it goes to $51,850 for the Signature edition. There are some small trim changes inside to help keep the cabin fresh.
Last but not least, Nissan has an all-new Rogue on the way for 2021, and the company’s best-seller since 2012 will start from $28,498. That’s $1,000 more than the old model, but it adds Safety Shield 360 driver aids in addition to the all-new styling and interior. The new model has a 2.5L four making 181 of both hp and lb-ft with a CVT automatic. Front and all-wheel drive are available, though the top Platinum trim ($39,998) with a larger touchscreen, leather, and three-zone climate is AWD only.