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Abarth Tram (credit: PR)

Fiat 500e: Electric missile

Category: Sporty, electric

When in the country: January

After Fiat converted its small retro car to electric propulsion, it was time for the sports version to say goodbye to petrol. The sporty look is preserved, the electric version has received an improved power output of 155 hp, allowing 0-100 km/h in 7 seconds.

However, the electric car weighs about 1.4 tons, a lot for a small car, one of the reasons for the short range of 255 km in the regular version and 244 in the convertible.

The price is also heavy: from 220,000 shekels for the regular model.

ORA 07 (credit: PR)

Ora 07: Second model test

Category: Executives, electric

When in Israel: First quarter 

The electric car with the most charming name on the market, the Chinese ORA Funky Cat, finally gets a big brother and variety in the showroom.

The ORA 07 indeed gets a more standard name, but the new competitor to the Tesla Model 3 is an electric sedan in a retro design, which is well-felt in the rear and around the driver, with the round indicators and the brown leather that radiate more luxury and character from Tesla.

An 83 kW battery, dual drive, and 400 hp power enable a range of about 480 km and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. The dimensions are similar to those of the Tesla Model 3, and the price is expected to be similar to that of the Model 3 Long Range.

BYD Seal (credit: PR)

BYD Seal: the sales queen closes the gap 

Group: Managers, electric cars 

When in Israel: February 

After a year and a quarter of activity in Israel, the Chinese BYD managed to become the fourth best-selling manufacturer, right after Hyundai, Kia, and the veterans Toyota, and its Hato 3 is the best-selling car in Israel. Now it closes a gap in its model offering and lands the first sedan in Israel, which also boasts the title “a competitor to the Tesla Model 3”. Its weapon is a new and advanced platform, a modern design, plenty of equipment, including the 15.6-inch rotating screen known from the Atto 3, and an 82.5 kWh battery. In the basic rear-wheel-drive model, it registers 5.9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and 570 km range, and with dual drive 3.8 seconds and 520 km. The price should be very competitive against the Model 3.

BYD Seal U (credit: PR)

BYD Seal U: Looking up

Group: Executive crossovers, electric cars When in Israel: Second quarter

Competing with the Model 3 is important, but competing with the Model Y and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is also familiar. The Seal U is the export version of the Sung Plus, one of the best-selling electric cars in China. It is built on an older platform than the sedan, but it will probably also help to make it cheaper when it comes with front-wheel drive, 218 hp, and two batteries: 72 kWh in the base version with a range of 420 km, or 87 kWh and a range of 500 km. The equipment is generous, including a high-end display in the expensive version and a 15.6-inch multimedia screen, navigation, and operation in both.

BYD Tang (credit: PR)

BYD Tang: Facelift

Group: Large crossovers When in Israel: Second half

After selling almost 300 units in Israel in 2023, despite a price tag of over 300,000 shekels, the Chinese 7-seater crossover will arrive this year after a facelift. Besides a new front, reminiscent of the BYD Eto 3, the Tang received an active suspension system that should refine the clumsy road behavior of a 2.5-ton crossover. Although in China, it also exists in a discounted rear-wheel drive version, the export version will continue to be based on the dual-wheel drive version.

Jeep Wrangler (credit: PR)

Jeep Wrangler: safer

Group: off-road vehicles When in Israel: first quarter

After five years, the current Wrangler undergoes a much-needed facelift. The classic grille is slightly less prominent on the outside, and the interior passenger cabin has been improved with a higher quality feel and an expanded 12.3-inch multimedia screen. The diesel version is no longer offered, and in its place, a discounted plug-in version has been introduced, with the Rubicon version receiving reinforced differentials. Following the previous Wrangler’s poor one-star rating in the European crash test, the redesigned model has received structural reinforcements and curtain airbags to protect passengers’ heads.

Dacia Duster (credit: PR)

Dacia Duster: new and hybrid

Group: Family Crossover

When in Israel: Second half

Joining the array of crossovers sold in the country this year is the next generation of the Duster, which includes Renault’s hybrid power unit. This unit combines a 1,600cc gasoline engine and an electric motor with a combined output of 141 hp and a unique 6-speed automatic transmission – four for the gasoline engine and 2 for the electric motor, but with front-wheel drive only.

There will also be a manual version with a 1,200cc engine, available with front or dual-wheel drive. The new Duster is tougher and more handsome than its predecessor, with a raised seat and increased interior space by 22 cm. The trunk is large (472 liters), the driver’s environment is also more modern, and the active safety systems have been upgraded. At the right price, this is an interesting competition for the Hyundai Kona and the Toyota C-HR.

Dacia Spring (credit: PR)

Dacia Spring: The Cheapest Electric Car in the Country?

Group: Mini, Electric VehiclesWhen in Israel: Second HalfDacia’s small electric crossover, which was supposed to arrive in Israel in 2023, faced delays due to dozens of units being destroyed in a Hamas rocket attack on the importer’s storage facility. Thanks to the delay, we will receive the updated version, with 65 hp, a 27 kWh battery, and a modest official combined range of 230 km. Additionally, Dacia continues to produce the base version in China with 45 hp, the same battery and range, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 19 seconds and with a top speed of 125 km/h. The direct competitor will be the Lipomotor T03, sold for around 100,000 shekels, competing with successful models like the Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10.

Toyota Yaris Cross (credit: PR)

Toyota Yaris and Yaris Cross: Getting Upgraded

Group: Supermini, Small CrossoverWhen in Israel: Q2The successful supermini and its crossover counterpart undergo a mid-life update. The main innovation will not reach Israel: the addition of a hybrid unit with 130 hp instead of 116 hp, slightly improving performance at the expense of a slight decrease in fuel consumption, making both models, which were not inexpensive to begin with, even more expensive.

We will receive other enhancements: improved noise isolation to reduce noise during acceleration, a 9 or 10.25-inch digital dashboard, and a 7 or 9-inch multimedia screen with improved graphics and faster switching between displays. There is also an option to use a smartphone as an entry key through the Toyota app. The active safety system has been upgraded with cameras enabling vehicle detection from a longer distance and wider angle. The adaptive cruise control can follow speed limit signs.

Toyota Urban SUV (credit: PR)

Toyota Urban SUV: Entering the Game

Group: Family Crossovers, Electric CarsWhen in Israel: Last QuarterToyota, known for not rushing to tackle the electric challenge, introduced its first electric car to Europe and for us, the bZ4X, which was sold here for a quarter of a million shekels even before the tax increase. The Urban SUV, presented for now only as a concept, will be smaller: more compact than the BYD Eto 3, but taller and more Jeep-like. There are no technical details yet, but Toyota promises competitiveness in price and value. We would bet on a price tag of about 180,000 shekels, making it accessible to many more customers.

Toyota Land Cruiser (credit: PR)

Toyota Land Cruiser: Loyal to the Source and Terrain

Group: SUVsWhen in Israel: Last QuarterAfter 14 years, Toyota replaces the legendary Land Cruiser with a completely new generation. The design has retro touches, and contrary to the norm, it seems that the Japanese managed not to harm the excellent off-road capability and even improve it. The specification still features a ladder chassis which is becoming increasingly rare, the approach and departure angles have been improved, and the possibility of disconnecting the front stabilizer bar has been added in favor of the suspension travel.

The passenger compartment, with 5 or 7 seats, is modern and of higher quality, while the vehicle is only offered in a long version, which gave rise to rumors of another, smaller off-road vehicle that Toyota is developing. The main engine for us will initially remain a 2,800 cc turbo diesel with 204 hp, and an automatic transmission with 8 instead of 6 gears. In 2025, a light hybrid diesel engine will also be launched. In the USA, a full hybrid gasoline version is offered, which probably will not arrive in regular imports.

Toyota Camry (credit: PR)

Toyota Camry: Aligning the Line

Category: Executives  Arrival in Israel: Second half  

The Japanese did not eliminate all executive cars. The Toyota Camry is one survivor, and soon we will talk about an update of another survivor. A new front declares the update, which includes a renewed driver environment with a 12.3-inch multimedia screen that stands out from the dashboard, and another screen of the same size as a dashboard. There is also a new power unit, the same volume as the previous one (2.5 liters), but with 228 hp in the front-wheel-drive version that will arrive in Israel, with a promise of lower fuel consumption. The suspension and braking systems have been recalibrated, and the active safety system received autonomous emergency braking even in reverse and the ability to cruise even in traffic jams.

Tesla Model Y (credit: PR)

Tesla Model Y: Facelift for the Best-Selling Electric Crossover in the World.

Category: Executive Crossovers  Arrival in Israel: Second half  

As usual with Tesla, there are no official announcements yet, but leaks reveal the “Juniper” project, which is expected to update the popular crossover, just as the “Highland” project updated the Model 3 sedan.

On the menu: range and performance improvements, quality enhancements, and accessories in the passenger cabin, including a screen for rear-seat passengers, as well as an anticipated price increase. Production in China is expected to start in the middle of the year and may precede the production lines in Berlin, where Tesla exports the model to Israel and the USA.

Hyundai Sonata (credit: PR)

Hyundai Sonata: Heading Sporty

Group: ManagersWhen in Israel: Second half

The new and successful front gives a feeling of a new model, but it’s actually a mid-life update for the Korean sedan. Unlike Toyota, Hyundai has an equivalent electric sedan, the Ioniq 6, but for those who still don’t want to deal with charging, it will continue to offer the Sonata, with a hybrid unit including a 2,000 cc engine and an electric motor (192 hp together). Not only the exterior design has been updated. The driver’s environment is now similar to that of the Ioniq 5 and 6, with a pair of large 12.3-inch screens. The gear lever moves to the steering wheel area and frees up a lot of space for storage areas and expanding the space between the driver and the front passenger. Here too it will be possible to enter the car using the cell phone, although it is not clear if this option will be offered with us.

Hyundai Santa Fe (credit: PR)

Hyundai Santa Fe: Totally New

Group: Large CrossoversWhen in Israel: Third quarter

Just four years after the launch of the current generation, Hyundai has revealed an entirely new Santa Fe crossover, with a completely different design that somewhat resembles the Kia EV9 electric car. In contrast, it is offered with hybrid engines (1.6 liters, 226 hp) and plug-in (1.6 liters, 165 hp and an electric range of over 50 km), although there will also be a gasoline version for markets that prefer one.

Lipomotor C11 (credit: PR)

Hyundai Sonata: Going Sporty

Group: ManagersWhen in Israel: Second halfThe successful and new front creates a feeling of a new model, but it’s actually a mid-life update for the Korean sedan. Unlike Toyota, Hyundai has a similar electric sedan, the Ioniq 6, but for those who still don’t want to deal with charging, they will continue to offer the Sonata with a hybrid unit that includes a 2,000 cc engine and an electric motor (192 hp together). Not only was the exterior design updated. The driver’s environment now resembles that of the Ioniq 5 and 6, with a pair of large 12.3-inch screens. The gear lever now moves to the steering wheel area, freeing up a lot of space for storage areas and expanding the space between the driver and the front passenger. Here too, it will be possible to enter the car using the cell phone, although it is not clear if this option will be offered with us.

MG3 simulation (credit: PR)

Hyundai Santa Fe: Completely New

Group: Large CrossoversWhen in Israel: Third quarterJust four years after the current generation was launched, Hyundai unveiled a completely new crossover, with a design that is entirely different and somewhat reminiscent of the electric Kia EV9. In contrast, it will be offered with hybrid engines (1.6 liter, 226 hp) and plug-in (1.6 liter, 165 hp and an electric range of over 50 km), although there will also be a gasoline version for markets that prefer one.

The length has increased by about 5 cm to 4.83 meters to improve the space in the second and third-row seats. In addition to the space, the second row has been upgraded with a 6.6-inch screen to control air conditioning, similar to the Tesla Model 3. The driver’s environment is now in the spirit of the Ioniq 5 and 6 electric vehicles.

MG4 XPower (credit: PR)

Lipomotor C11: The Next Stage

Group: Executive Crossovers, ElectricWhen in Israel: Last quarterAfter the relative success of the small Lipomotor TO3, the first crossover from the Chinese manufacturer will also arrive. The spacious 5-seat car targets the upper segment of the popular crossover market, with a length of 4.75 meters and a wheelbase of 2.75 meters, featuring three screens for the driver and passengers, ranging in sizes from 10.25-12.8 inches. The performance is good: 4.5 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h in the performance version, with 536 hp, dual drive, and a 90 kWh battery, but a range of only about 400 km.

Aside from initial renderings seeking registration of the manufacturer’s patent in China, there isn’t much detail, but the promise is for a spacious supermini with all the usual active safety systems at a competitive price. The first significant match-up for the Yaris? interesting.

MG Cyberster (credit: PR)

MG4 XPower: Discounted Golf GTI on Batteries

Group: Sportiness, ElectricWhen in Israel: Second or third quarterAfter success with the MG4 in creating a relatively cheap rear-wheel-drive compact that’s fun to drive, something very rare among electric cars, MG is turning to the real challenge: producing an electric GTI. The hot version of the MG4 received dual drive, with the addition of a front engine, for a total power of 435 hp and acceleration from 0 to 100 in 3.8 seconds.

There’s also an adjustment of the control systems, suspension, and brakes. Since the battery is left with 64 kilowatts * hours, the combined range has dropped to 380 km. In Europe, the price tag is tens of percent cheaper than the Golf GTI. The tax increase this year will hurt it, but there is still potential for a price tag of around 200,000 shekels.

MG Cyberstar: Finally an Electric Roadster

Group: Sportiness, ElectricWhen in Israel: Second or third quarterWhen we saw it as a show car, we were skeptical, but it really happened. The Chinese SAIC did not deny the legacy of MG which purchased and launched the first electric roadster.

The dimensions have significantly increased, as have the power outputs, at 310 hp in rear-wheel drive and 536 hp in dual. The weight has also increased accordingly to around 2.5 tons. If we didn’t get an electric competitor to the MX5, at least we have one for the Porsche Boxster. Hopefully, there will be some surprises in the pricing category.

Mazda CX-60 (credit: PR)

Mazda CX-60: The race for luxury

Group: Executive crossoversWhen in Israel: Third quarterA year after the 7-8 seater CX-90, the CX-60 with five seats will land in Israel. The smaller sibling is based on the same new platform with rear and dual-wheel drive, a 2.5-liter engine, and an electric motor with a combined output of 327 hp. The 17.8 kWh battery ensures an official combined range of 63 km. There is also a 3-liter mild hybrid engine available. It features larger dimensions than the CX-5, improved material quality, and an extensive list of equipment.

Alongside a pair of 12.3-inch screens for multimedia and a dashboard, physical buttons are provided for operating the systems. The road behavior has been upgraded, and the active safety systems include emergency braking even in reverse and prevention of door opening if there is a danger to the passenger. The upgrade to a luxury crossover will also be reflected in a price tag of about 300,000 shekels.

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