Tiny Autos Are Back in Fashion, and I'm Not Even Going to Lament About the 2024 Camaro

Small was (almost solely) the name of the game across the automotive industry this week, from the departing 2.0-liter turbo engine of the 2024 Chevy Camaro to the first-ever Lexus LBX hybrid subcompact CUV and also to the astonishing US price of the all-electric Volvo EX30.
Volvo EX30 & Lexus LBX & 2024 Camaro 14 photos
Photo: Lexus / Volvo / Chevrolet
2024 Chevy Camaro Collector's Edition2024 Jeep Wrangler family2024 Lexus LBX2024 Lexus LBX2024 Lexus LBX2024 Lexus LBX2024 Lexus LBX2024 Lexus LBX2024 Lexus LBX & Camaro & EX302024 Volvo EX302024 Volvo EX302024 Volvo EX302024 Volvo EX30
Look, I know that Lexus also premiered the 2024 TX (aka the ritzy 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander) and 2024 GX (aka the next iteration of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado), but for this discussion, I want to focus on how automakers are going back to smaller vehicles to put things into a more sustainable perspective.

So, chronologically, the highlights of the automotive week kicked off with the equally 'astonishing' news that GM's head honcho, Mary Barra, thinks that an affordably-priced (for an EV) 2024 Chevy Equinox EV will lose a lot of money for the company because of how unprofitable the current battery-related costs are. Sheesh, and here I was, thinking that saving the planet was more important than making a big buck from EVs. Silly me. By the way, keep in mind the tentative $30k to $40k bracket of the upcoming American crossover SUV.

Then we moved for a quick stint across the Old Continent because Lexus premiered the initial hero of its trio of mega introductions for the week – the first-ever LBX subcompact premium crossover SUV in Milan, Italy. This is its smallest CUV to date, which will slot under the compact UX in places like Europe, Japan, and other markets. Pricing, which should be announced closer to the intended third quarter of the year release date, is less important for US-based Lexus fans because this posher Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid is not coming to America any time soon.

Still, it's an interesting take on badge engineering since Lexus is also preparing to sell the 2024 TX, which is the reworked 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander! Oh, the powertrain is not too shabby – a 134-hp hybrid setup with CVT and front- or all-wheel drive. Oh well, Europeans are used to high quotations, so I wouldn't hold my breath for something around the same coordinates of a $23k Corolla Cross. No matter, because we need to turn our attention and shed a tear for the outgoing sixth-gen Chevy Camaro. Already the final model year (2024) is shaping up as a loser – it just abandoned the ways of the 2.0-liter turbo mill, and even the last hurrah, a Panther-themed Collector's Edition, is not necessarily something to write home (happy) about.

After all, in the 650-hp 2024 Chevy Camaro ZL1 form, the Collector's Edition will be produced in just 350 examples for the US market. If that's GM's way of saying they don't care about the slow sales anymore, I must say it's a bad marketing decision. They should have at least given fans more than the 3,300 units of the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 'Last Call' edition, even if they don't compare to the latter's 1,025 hp on E85 and quarter-mile dragstrip prowess. With the Panther Black Matte theme, that's one way of saying they nailed the last bolt in the nameplate's coffin…

2024 Volvo EX30
Photo: Volvo
Let us get a little more cheerful, a lot more colorful, and ready for diversity and inclusion. Back in Europe, Citroen premiered the 'Ami for All' project to help disabled people get around town with their tiny EV mobility solution, and Skoda even showcased a splashy Enyaq Coupe electric CUV dubbed 'Respectline' that is ready to battle with zealotry in a fun and colorful way. Some folks might also want to hear a thing or two about the new Cupra Formentor VZN. Still, I'm blocking that out of memory because it's too darn expensive, and I want to make a point that automakers can still find the resources to attract people with affordable models.

For example, the facelifted 2024 Jeep Wrangler family – comprised of two body styles, eight trim levels, and four powertrain options with the V8-powered 392 Rubicon sitting on top – kicks off from an MSRP of almost $32k stateside. And that's not too shabby, either, as the rivaling 2-door Ford Bronco Base starts at nearly $35k, and the four-door Toyota 4Runner is even more expensive at over $40k! But the week's superstar has to be a crossover SUV that no one expected to feature supercar-like performance and an ultra-affordable (by EV standards) starting price of just $34,950 MSRP! The model we are talking about, of course, is the all-new, first-ever Volvo EX30, which – coincidence or not, was also revealed to the world in Milan, Italy, just like the hybrid Lexus LBX.

As opposed to the little Japanese CUV, the Volvo EX30 not only has cutting-edge all-electric technology and the usual flex of Scandinavian-focused design, but it's also available for pre-order in the United States from the moment of its reveal. By the way, let the $35k pricing strategy sink in – this premium all-electric SUV is offered for about the same price as an internal combustion engine-powered equivalent. As a comparison, the C40 Recharge starts at $56,395, and the similarly compact XC40 Recharge is only a tad 'cheaper' at an MSRP of $54,645. In fact, even the ICE-powered XC40 starts from a higher quotation of $37,645! That's simply astonishing, frankly. It's like, all of a sudden, the EV revolution finally struck – now even the Tesla Model 3 seems too expensive at over $40k since the EX30 has comparable range and performance figures.

For example, the Model 3 RWD has an estimated EPA range of 272 miles (438 km), and the Single Motor Extended Range variant from Volvo with an NMC battery (lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt) tops that – even if only slightly – with an estimate of 275 miles (443 km) between charges. The second powertrain option, dubbed the extended-range Twin Motor variant, then flaunts AWD, 422 hp, a zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in 3.4 seconds to become Volvo's fastest-accelerating vehicle and a recharging capacity of up to 153 kW. That's pretty bonkers, and it might give us the perspective of some cool heads-up quarter-mile dragstrip encounters with the $53,240 Tesla Model 3 Performance after it hits the market!

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
Aurel Niculescu profile photo

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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