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Auto Sleuth: New Look Land Cruiser; Porsche Panamera & more

The redesigned Toyota Land Cruiser gets a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder hybrid system rated at 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. PHOTO: TOYOTA

What’s new, notable or just plain interesting in the auto world? The Auto Sleuth tells all…

New look and four-cylinder hybrid power for Toyota Land Cruiser

The Land Cruiser hasn’t been sold in Canada for about three decades, but the redesigned off-road-capable vehicle will arrive here for 2024.

The five-passenger Land Cruiser gets bodywork inspired by previous-generation models sold in the United States. Propulsion will be provided by a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder hybrid system — also installed in the Tacoma pickup — rated at 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Power to all four wheels is directed through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Trim levels include the base 1958 (named for the year of the Land Cruiser’s arrival in North America), a mid-level version and the well-equipped First Edition outfitted with additional off-road content, such as more aggressive tires and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system with variable traction settings.

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The Mopar Special Edition Dodge Charger and Challenger are dressed in black with blue brake calipers. PHOTO: STELLANTIS

The retirement party continues for the Challenger and Charger

The Mopar parts division has its stamp all over the final limited editions of Dodge’s gasoline-powered coupe and sedans.

Both Mopar Special Editions are based on the wide-body R/T Scat Pack option that includes the 485-horsepower 6.4-litre V-8. The Charger comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the Challenger can be ordered with a six-speed manual. Each model gets adaptive (variable) shocks, carbon-fibre rear spoiler plus unique interior treatments.

Standard with both variants is a black paint scheme with matte black stripes, black 20-inch wheels and blue brake calipers. The Mopar Special Editions will be limited to 20 vehicles each for Canada. Production is set to begin this fall.

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Porsche preps the third-generation Panamera

What is likely to be the final gasoline-powered version of the automaker’s four-door luxury hatchback will launch for the 2024 model year.

The physical changes are mostly subtle and reportedly include a redesigned grille, bumper and headlights. The interior is treated to a digital driver’s display and enlarged infotainment screen inspired by the Porsche Taycan electric car.

Slated to return is the Panamera’s base turbocharged 2.9-litre V-6 and optional turbo 4.0-litre V-8. There will also be plug-in hybrid variants that offer a choice of turbocharged V-6 or V-8 engines. The Sleuth doesn’t expect a fully electric Panamera anytime soon.

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A midcycle refresh is coming for the F-150

Ford’s popular fullsize pickup will receive a few modest revisions for the 2024 model year, including a new grille, headlights and taillights, plus new dashboard displays.

Although the usual gasoline engines are expected to return, there are rumours that the current 3.3-litre V-6 gasoline-electric hybrid option could be expanded to include a plug-in version.

According to Ford, the current 318-horsepower hybrid powertrain accounts for 10 per cent of total F-150 sales as well as more than half of the compact Maverick pickup sales. There appears to be no plans to update the electric F-150 Lightning that was introduced for 2022.

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If a new Honda S2000 (original model pictured) becomes a reality, it will likely be built on the company’s upcoming EV platform and will be one of 30 such models to be produced for global consumption by the end of the decade. PHOTO: HONDA

Could a Honda S2000 roadster make a comeback?

The Sleuth hears rumours to that effect, but he doesn’t believe a repeat is in the cards for the sweet little roadster that was available here from model years 2000 through 2009.

Back then, early S2000s came with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder linked to a six-speed manual transmission, while the engines in later models were bumped to 2.2 litres. Should a new S2000 become a reality, it will likely be built using Honda’s upcoming electric vehicle platform and will be one of 30 EV models to be produced for global consumption by the end of the decade.

There are also rumours that a battery-electric replacement for the Acura NSX is in the planning stages.


Carlos Ghosn documentary – In 2018, the high-profile former CEO of the Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi Alliance was charged in Japan with financial-related crimes and was free on bail following several months of imprisonment.


While under house arrest, Ghosn was smuggled to his home country of Lebanon where he currently resides. The story of his getaway is the subject of Wanted: The Escape of Carlos Ghosn, a four-part series on Apple TV+.

Ford’s gullwing door plans – A recent patent application filed by the automaker suggests that a future utility-type vehicle could be offered with a passenger side door that swings up above the roof.

Based on Ford’s schematic, the clamshell door would replace both the traditional front and rear openings and would be hinged across the roof’s midsection. Also shown is a fold-down step that’s incorporated as part of the rocker panel.

Schematic for a gullwing door from Ford. ILLUSTRATION: FORD

– written by Wheelbase Media

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