The Summer Heat Is Definitely On, Including Across the North American Auto Industry

Usually, in July, we have many summer road trips and vacations and a lot fewer (automotive) novelties of any kind. This week wasn't the case, though, with interesting news in abundance, especially across the American market.
Mercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & Hornet 7 photos
Photo: Mercedes-Benz / Dodge / Toyota
Mercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & HornetMercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & HornetMercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & HornetMercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & HornetMercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & HornetMercedes-Benz CLE & Land Cruiser & Hornet
If you want the niched announcements first, the 2024 BMW XM Label Red costs no less than $185k in the United States, but the online configurator tool from BMW of America that now also includes the fancy schmancy XM Label Red doesn't give too many additional reasons to worry about the final bill – all options added and you're still below the $200k threshold. As an alternative, BMW has quietly updated the online portal to include the MSRPs for the 2024 5 Series – a "four-door sedan where sport and luxury intersect" in 530i or 530i xDrive guise with 255 hp on tap from $57,900 or $60,200, respectively.

Just in case the MSRPs seem high, you'd better not think how much the 520i and i5s cost in the Land Down Under – Australia is not a good place to get your latest all-new Bavarian model, for sure. Lots of stuff happened in Europe, too, like the fourth-generation Kia Picanto city car or the arrival of the 2024 Fiat 600e as the Jeep Avenger's posh EV Italian cousin that also costs an arm and a leg (€35,950 – which is over $39k in hard-earned US greenbacks).

But I am not going to talk about those or the introduction of the quirky little Fiat Topolino because a mountain of 2024 model year arrivals has piled up on the US market. The 2024 Ford Maverick (with very few hybrids and higher MSRPs plus additional standard features and two new hues) was announced, the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y swapped white for a Midnight Silver Metallic exterior paint color, and the 2024 Chevy Equinox is now also available to configure from almost $28k. Speaking of General Motors, for unknown reasons, the Blazer EV SS introduction was delayed to next spring – but that's not entirely surprising considering the lackluster sales of the company's EVs.

In short succession, we might also want to remember that the entire 2024 lineup of Mitsubishi models comes with three oil changes for free, meaning they are trying to lubricate the dwindling sales in any way possible. Jokes aside, I would instead jump on board a new 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT, even though the new rugged trim level costs almost $40k. Oh, and speaking of rising costs, the 2024 Buick Enclave build and price went live, and the most affordable version is over $45k, while the Avenir asks no less than $59k of you. No, thank you if you ask me.

Anyway, if you want a podium for this week's novelties, in third place sits the 2024 Dodge Hornet R/T that just debuted (finally) with plug-in hybrid turbo muscle. This is the American automaker's first-ever electrified performance model, and the specification packs 288 horsepower, 383 lb-ft (520 Nm) of torque, and a 15.5-kWh battery pack that's said to be enough for up to 32 miles (51 km) of zero-emissions driving. And you want to know the best asset it has? Well, that would be the MSRP, which is a tad friendlier to your pocket than the Alfa Romeo PHEV sibling – by around a couple of thousand bucks, that is.

Now it's time to move to the runner-up position for the most essential automotive novelty of the week – the all-new, first-ever Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class. The new two-door Benz came around the block with a major responsibility – Mercedes wanted to simplify the model range and resorted to introducing the CLE as the indirect successor to four models, the C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet along with the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet. The new CLE will naturally clash with the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series, and the entire powertrain lineup was electrified to give it a jolt of advantage when the moment of reckoning arises.

Looking like a shrunken S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, the CLE is relatively compact indeed - 191 inches (4,850 mm) in length and sporting a 112.8-inch (2,865-mm) wheelbase. Inside, the modern arrangement is jam-packed with tech features coming from the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 11.9-inch touchscreen that seems to float just above the center console. MBUX is on point with 5G, so Zoom conferences, TikTok videos, and Angry Birds are a go (among many others). Created around the MRA II architecture, the CLE will only feature electrified engines, and of course, we don't care as much about the European diesel as we do about the upcoming Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 4Matic set to arrive in 2024 with a M256 3.0-liter turbo six churning out 429 hp (435 PS) and 413 lb-ft (560 Nm) from under the hood.

Last but not least, the most important reveal of the week is just a teaser, sadly. Toyota again subtly aroused everyone with confirmation that, indeed, a rugged Land Cruiser model is coming to America – and also put it face-to-face with one of its ancestors (most likely an FJ40 two-door). There is no timeline for the introduction just yet, no confirmation if this will be a Land Cruiser Prado (250) or something else, and not even a name was flaunted. But we did see the profile, and the silhouette mirrors the side design of the 2024 Lexus GX 550, so the bar has been set pretty high for the upcoming reveal, indeed.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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