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The Friday Five: The Safe Highlander, Hopeful Hyundai, Insightful Change Edition

This past week, we updated our resource detailing how automakers are helping existing customers and enticing new customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, reported on how automakers are helping to manufacture or obtain important medical equipment for front-line healthcare workers, and introduced you to a new electric VW Bus that is, sadly, not for the U.S.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Is the 2020 Toyota Highlander Safe? Yep

Redesigned for 2020, the Toyota Highlander is a midsize, 3-row, crossover SUV. In other words, it is the ultimate family vehicle, and ultimate family vehicles must protect the people you love the most in the world.

2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum Moon Dust Front View

According to new crash-test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2020 Highlander excels when it comes to protection in a collision. However, only the most expensive trim levels, the Limited and Platinum, earn a Top Safety Pick (TSP) rating.

Why? They have the best headlights, and impressive headlight performance is required for a TSP rating. Limited trim gets an Acceptable rating on this front, while Platinum trim earns a Good rating. Other Highlanders are rated Poor for headlight performance.

Don’t Panic. Real ID Deadline Pushed to 2021

Soon, in order to board an airplane in the U.S., you’re going to need a passport or something called a Real ID. Issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state, the Real ID requirement stems from a 2005 Congressional act passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the original deadline for people to obtain one was October 1, 2020.

That’s been pushed back a year, to October 1, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around the country, DMVs were overwhelmed by people seeking a Real ID in advance of the original deadline. Now, with an additional 12 months to get one, the crush of citizens seeking compliance ought to subside, reducing lines and wait times.

Just don’t wait until the last minute a year from now.

Hyundai and Hope on Wheels Partner on COVID-19 Testing

Since 1998, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has served as a non-profit organization supporting children diagnosed with cancer through funding for pediatric cancer research. This week, it announced $2 million in additional funding to create drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers at children’s hospitals around the U.S.

“In the last few weeks, our society has been challenged with a major pandemic that has had significant consequences to life, safety and well-being,” said Jose Munoz, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America, in a statement. “Children who are diagnosed with cancer are particularly at high risk. Through our Hyundai Hope On Wheels program, we are committed to being a strong partner on behalf of children’s health and assisting during this time.”

Supported by Hyundai and its dealers, Hope on Wheels is offering $200,000 each to 10 children’s hospitals around the country. Visit the Hyundai Hope on Wheels website for more information.

2021 Mini Sidewalk Edition Arrives in Time for Summer

Last offered in 2007, the Sidewalk Edition was one of the most popular Mini special editions in the company’s history. Now, it returns to the lineup just in time for the summer of 2020.

Based on the 2021 Mini Convertible Cooper S, the Sidewalk Edition comes in Deep Laguna Metallic or Enigmatic Black Metallic paired with an Anthracite (dark gray) convertible top. Sidewalk logos and special two-tone 17-inch wheels complete the look, and standard equipment includes LED headlights, LED fog lights, and auto-dimming and power folding side mirrors. Inside, the 2021 Mini Convertible Sidewalk Edition features Anthracite leather, unique ambient lighting, and special steering wheel and floor mat details.

The price for this 189-horsepower Mini is $38,400 (plus $850 for the destination charge.) Swap the manual gearbox for a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, and the car costs $1,500 more.

2021 Honda Insight Changes Announced

Honda’s affordable, stylish, and thrifty Insight hybrid sedan is getting a couple of changes for the 2021 model year. The new Radiant Red paint color is not the important thing to note here. Rather, the 2021 Honda Insight ditches its camera-based LaneWatch technology for a radar-based blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning system.

LaneWatch used a camera mounted to the right mirror to show the driver what was in the Insight’s right-side blind spot. The video image showed on the car’s infotainment screen when the driver signaled a lane change or a turn, or when manually activated to simply check traffic. Unfortunately, it worked only for the right side of the car, and the camera, mounted on the end of the right mirror housing, was susceptible to damage.

The switch to a conventional, radar-based blind-spot warning system that works for both side of the car is a welcome change. And as an added bonus, it comes with a rear cross-traffic warning system, previously unavailable for the Insight.