Behind The Wheel News

New Corolla, Genesis Awards, Honda and Hyundai Recalls, and a New EV Charger

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing Begins Production on 2022 Corolla Cross

With the push of a button and an engine roaring to life, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) and its team of more than 2,000 members celebrated the start of production of the all-new 2022 Corolla Cross.

MTM, the only North American facility to produce the Corolla Cross, is a joint venture partnership between Mazda Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. MTM is currently hiring more than 1,700 additional employees to join the existing workforce at its Northern Alabama facility, eventually reaching up to 4,000 once production is in full operation next year. The plant has the capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles a year, evenly split between the two nameplates.

The all-new 2022 Corolla Cross will join that legacy when it hits dealerships in Q4 of 2021.

Genesis Earns Top Safety Pick Honors

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that the new 2022 Genesis G70 sport sedan and the first-ever 2022 Genesis GV70 SUV have been designated as Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) for 2021. With these designations, the models complete the Genesis lineup sweep of top honors, joining the GV80 SUV, G80 executive sedan and G90 flagship sedan.

This is the third year in a row that the entire Genesis lineup of eligible vehicles has earned top honors, along with G80 and G90 having received TSP+ designations in 2019, 2020 and 2021. GV80 received its designation earlier this year, following its recent entry into the lineup.

2022 Genesis GV70 Named the 2021 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year

The Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) named the 2022 Genesis GV70 as the top vehicle in its annual Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year competition. The all-new 2022 GV70 all-wheel-drive 3.5T Sport Prestige came out on top with its excellent on-road drivability, surprising off-road capability and premium interior. This newest model from the Genesis brand demonstrated an unbeatable combination of performance, features, capability and technology during the NWAPA’s 26th Mudfest competition, the association said.

NWAPA automotive media professionals spent two days driving 19 vehicles through a mix of on-road handling and off-road courses at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton. Entrants in Mudfest competed in six categories. NWAPA members also selected the Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year as the overall winner.

Winners in the six categories were:

  • Subcompact and compact family: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD
  • Mid- and full-size family: 2022 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392
  • Compact and midsize luxury: 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige
  • Full-size luxury: 2022 Jeep Wagoneer Series II 4X4
  • Pickup trucks: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD
  • Extreme capability: 2022 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392
ABB Terra 360 Charging Stations
ABB Terra 360 Charging Stations

New EV charger Provides 62 Miles of Range in Three Minutes

ABB Ltd. is preparing to roll out the first of its ultrafast charging stations, providing enough power to charge any electric car in less than three minutes to be able to drive 62 miles. The rollout of the Terra 360 stations, where a single charger can feed electricity into four vehicles at once, is starting in Europe before the end of the year and will spread to North and South America as well as Asia in 2022, according to ABB. The company says the technology can fully charge any auto battery in 15 minutes or less.

GM Will Have Cloud-Based Software in Vehicles

General Motors (GM) is getting into software services, announcing that a platform called Ultifi will be in new models starting in 2023. The idea is to use the cloud-based system for over-the-air updates, which Tesla Inc. already does, and to offer new smartphone-like features for cars, such as facial recognition to start the vehicle. The new Ultifi platform will give the vehicle a foundation for a variety of apps and services, according to GM.

Hyundai and Kia Issue Recall Notice

Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 550,000 cars and minivans in the United States because the turn signals can flash in the opposite direction of what the driver intended. The recall covers Hyundai’s Sonata midsize car from the 2015 through 2017 model years and Sonata gas-electric hybrids from 2016 and 2017. Kia’s Sedona minivan from 2015 through 2017 also is affected.

Hyundai says software in a junction box may not be properly interpreting signals. The Korean automaker says it isn’t aware of any crashes or injuries from the problem.

Used Car Auction Prices Rise Again as Chip Shortage Continues

The recent decline in wholesale, used-vehicle prices — hinting, perhaps, at some relief from sky-high retail prices — turned out to be short-lived, as the average used-vehicle price at dealer-only auctions increased again in August vs. the prior month, according to auction firm KAR Global.

Wholesale used-vehicle prices in August (the last month figures are available for) averaged $14,712 — up 3.2 percent compared to July, and up 9 percent compared to August 2020. To provide some perspective, prices were up 30.8 percent compared with pre-COVID/August 2019.