Toyota's lifted Minivan, Ken Block goes Quattro, Lotus' new EV architecture
Intake: Toyota will add a special-edition Sienna minivan targeting outdoorsy adventurers. The Sienna Woodland Edition packages the standard minivan's electronic-assisted all-wheel drive system with a host of outdoor-focused bits, including increased ground clearance, a 1500-watt inverter with a 120V outlet, a tow hitch with a 3500-pound towing capacity, and roof rails with crossbars. https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/the-manifold/2021-09-23/
That Sienna was lifted? Good for hauling kids, but the tow capacity is a joke (remember to reduce that for additional people and gear), even with a lift it is too long and too low, and the bulbous weight makes it rather underpowered for towing a folding camper.
I came to make a joke about how dumb it was to add a lift to a minivan, but when I saw the Toyota, I realized that it's not actually lifted, it's just one of those "in name only" trims. Ground clearance going from 4" to 5" doesn't count as lifted. 😄
It’s not dumb to lift a minivan - see the Mitsubishi L300 and then Delica of the 80s and 90s. The irony is these would be amazingly effective on the islands around Bali, but the locals manage to navigate unbelievably broken dirt roads in FWD vehicles half the size - with 7-8 tourists on board!
The big automakers brought the chip shortage on themselves. Going with specialized vs. general processor chips, negotiating on the cheap and unwilling to invest with a chip foundry on capacity for themselves. Oh well car executives, you lose.
Try to get a semiconductor part for any car more than 15 years old. You can't. You better hope that some circuit board you buy at salvage doesn't have the same failure mechanism that yours failed from. What a joke if it wasn't today's reality.