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Car news, 07 June ’24: Isuzu teases facelifted MU-X, Fiat to start production of combustion 500 in 2026, and more


Every important car news story breaking today, one convenient read

Thanks for joining us this Friday, June 7th 2024. Notably in car news today: Isuzu Thailand teases the next iteration of the MU-X, and Fiat will commence production of its ICE 500 hatchback in Italy in 2026 as global EV demand slows. 

Browse this issue:

Isuzu teases facelifted MU-X SUV 

2024 Isuzu MU-X facelift thailand teaser image
Isuzu Thailand has teased us with the silhouette of the next MU-X
  • Isuzu Thailand has officially teased its upcoming, facelifted MU-X large SUV which is based off the popular D-Max ute.
  • Although it’s hard to see from the teaser image, expect this facelift to be a lot more substantial than what was done in 2022, with new LED headlights and a redesigned grille among the changes.
  • Powertrains are very likely to remain as they are today in Australia, with buyers able to choose between 1.9-litre or 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines. 
  • However, if the MU-X is at all to follow its D-Max ute sibling, we will very likely see a mild-hybrid diesel engine within the next year or two. 
  • A pure-electric D-Max has been confirmed for a future Australian release in 2025, so we expect a fully-electrified MU-X to follow soon after. 

Fiat to build hybrid combustion 500 hatch, first new ICE variant in 18 years 

2024 Fiat 500e Mirafirori Edition at the plant shot 2
Fiat will put an engine into the electric 500e, a powertrain which will be a mild hybrid
  • Fiat has announced it will begin production of a combustion hybrid 500 hatch in 2026 and it’s, rather strangely, set to be based heavily off the electric 500e platform. 
  • The news comes after Fiat originally committed to an EV-only 500, including for markets such as Australia, but has since reversed its course of action as demand for EVs has in most recent times softened. 
  • According to reports from Autocar, the new combustion Fiat 500 will be built in Italy and will use a 1.0-litre mild-hybrid three-cylinder petrol engine
  • Autocar called the move to reintroduce a combustion engine into an electric vehicle is “unprecedented in the European car industry”. 

Toyota continuing to develop ICE powertrains, even as EVs take flight 

Toyota new 2.0-litre combustion engine red top
Toyota is continuing to develop combustion engines, despite stricter emissions laws
  • Toyota has announced it has successfully developed a new internal combustion engine that can run not only on petrol, but also synthetic e-fuels, biodiesel and hydrogen
  • Both 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines have been produced which Toyota engineers have stated are much more fuel efficient and powerful. 
  • As no great surprise, Toyota plans to introduce the new engines paired with its renowned hybrid electric system.
  • The news originally surfaced in January 2024, with Automotive News and several other publications reporting that Toyota has started a new combustion project with the full support of the automaker’s CEO Koji Sato.
  • The Japanese automaker remains hopeful with the possibilities of hydrogen, too, however much work still needs to be done. 

Toyota Celica could make a return to battle Honda Prelude: report  

1992 Toyota Celica GT4 side angle static shot
The Toyota Celica could one day return…
  • Toyota is reportedly thinking of reviving its iconic Celica nameplate for a new sporty model, according to reports from MotorTrend
  • In Toyota’s internal news outlet, known as the Toyota Times, Akio Toyoda requested to bring back the Celica as a separate project to the existing GR86 and Supra and that could possibly compete with the likes of the Honda Prelude.  
  • Other reports from Carscoops and BestCar  have indicated that Toyota, Subaru and Mazda are jointly developing new 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines.
  • A 298kW, all-wheel drive vehicle has been rumoured which would tie in well with the renowned rally-bred GT-Four of the fifth-generation T180 which was produced between 1989 and 1993.   
  • A Celica performance model could also use the existing 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder used in the current GR Yaris and GR Corolla all-wheel drive hot hatchbacks.  

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon reviewed

  • Chasing Cars contributor Iain Curry’s review of the 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon was published, including his findings on how Jeep has updated its iconic model for 2024 despite lacking its long-standing V6 engine.
  • On the positive side of things, Curry praised the new 2.0-litre engine’s torque, superb off road hardware and quality of the 12.3-inch touchscreen. Curry also praised the ‘tough guy’ good looks of the model.
  • In terms of things to improve, Curry noted that the Wrangler still remains to be a thirsty offering, has high levels of road noise and has a poor safety rating of just three stars, referencing the 2019 test conducted by safety authority ANCAP.
  • Curry concluded his review by recommending the Rubicon grade as the Wrangler to buy in 2024, stating that “it’s a genuine and hard-core mud lover with deeply impressive adventuring hardware”, with his last line being that “the Wrangler remains a lovable icon that’s at its best in the rough stuff”

READ: Link to written review

The next issue of Car News Today will be published on Monday 10th June at 4.30pm Sydney time.