We’ve got the lovely Jaguar XF in our garage this week, and despite its elegantly classic sport sedan lines, beautifully deep, rich Rossello Red metallic paint, luxuriously appointed Ebony leather and…

2019 Jaguar XF S

2019 Jaguar XF S
The beautiful XF S fits its majestic background perfectly, and thankfully it’s in our garage this week. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

We’ve got the lovely Jaguar XF in our garage this week, and despite its elegantly classic sport sedan lines, beautifully deep, rich Rossello Red metallic paint, luxuriously appointed Ebony leather and Light Oyster grey contrast-stitched cabin with beautiful Grey Figured Ebony veneers, full assortment of standard and optional features, some of which are new for 2019, and the list goes on, it’s difficult to be 100 percent positive. 

The truth of the matter is, no matter how entertaining and informative I try to make this review out to be, you are one of a very small number of Canadian consumers showing any interest in this car at all. It’s partially a sign of the crossover SUV times, the success of Jaguar’s E-Pace and F-Pace plus interest in its new I-Pace EV verifying that, but to be totally honest, it’s also due to Jaguar’s declining fortunes overall. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
The XF S is long, low and lean, making a nicely proportioned mid-size statement. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

This is where I give kudos to Jaguar for sticking to its guns in the luxury car business, “car” being the key word I’m referring to in this respect. The brand grew legendary thanks to classics like the forever-beautiful Mk II and XJ Series I, II and III that followed, not to mention the B-Type, C-Type and E-Type sports cars that were the inspiration behind today’s fabulous F-Type, but times are tough for all but a few luxury sedans these days. 

Jaguar designers Ian Callum and Adam Hatton did a momentous job reinvigorating the XJ nameplate back in 2009, the first one I saw in the metal while descending the baggage claim escalator at Pearson International literally dropping my jaw in dumbfounded adoration, but that was a decade ago and as much as I still love that big, beautiful and surprisingly agile car the full-size luxury F-segment hasn’t exactly been twiddling its thumbs while waiting for Coventry to show us all something new. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
Lacking some distinctive character from the rear, at least when compared to the lovely Jaguar XJ, the XF’s backside is certainly tasteful. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

In the meantime, Jaguar introduced the Callum-designed compact D-segment XE in April of 2015 (a 2020 refresh was just revealed), designed to fight it out with the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and the like, plus the second version of its mid-size E-segment XF later that year, also penned by Mr. Callum—he does have a way with sculpted aluminum panels and composites. They’re all beautiful, more than capable of receiving compliments from true enthusiasts who appreciate special cars made by an even more endearing brand, but thumbs up and nods of appreciation from enthusiasts won’t pay the bills. 

As it is, Jaguar’s Canadian sales aren’t exactly on fire. Jaguar sold a grand total of 188 XJs in Canada last calendar year, representing 17.5 percent fewer than in 2017, while year-over-year XF sales were down a staggering 63.5 percent to just 173 units throughout all of 2018. The smallest XE was the only bright spot amongst Jag’s four-door sedan lineup with 571 sales and a downward trend of just 27.8 percent. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
That’s a powerful looking front fascia, backed up by 380-hp in top-line S trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Making matters worse, if it weren’t for the Alfa Romeo Giulia the just-noted XE would be dead last in its class, while the XF has the Acura RLX and Infiniti Q70 to thank for not bringing up the rear in the E-segment. On that happy note I’m glad to report my favourite XJ had a more respectable showing amongst its peers last year with the Audi A8, Maserati Quattroporte and Genesis G90 left far behind, but factoring in that Mercedes sells nearly five times as many S-Class models as XJs, and more than 20 times as many C-Class and E-Class variants than XEs and XFs, makes even this tiny positive a tad disconcerting. 

Year-over-year F-Type sales were down in 2018 too, but just by 4.8 percent to 373 units, causing the still gorgeous sports car to slip from fourth to fifth amongst its premium rivals (when including the Corvette), but take heart the F-Pace saw growth of 2.3 percent to 2,419 units last year, while the E-Pace found 572 new buyers despite only arriving on the scene in, um, February (of last year). 

2019 Jaguar XF S
Full LED headlamps boast auto high beams and more. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Yah, not quite the compact crossover SUV response Jaguar was hoping for. Interestingly, the new plug-in electric I-Pace might actually become the major league out-of-the-ballpark grand slam hit Jaguar’s been longing for, but we’ll have to wait and see as the 41 units they managed to sell toward the end of last year was hardly a sizeable enough sample to make judgement on. Overall, the 4,349 Jaguars sold in Canada throughout calendar year 2018 (the vast majority F-Paces) represented a 5.9-percent decline from the year before, and if it weren’t for the F-Pace, E-Pace, and an 11.5-percent gain experienced by Land Rover, resulting in JLRC growth of 5.7 percent overall, this wouldn’t be a positive story at all. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
This is one seriously sporty looking luxury sedan. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

To be fair the BMW brand only saw Canadian sales growth of 1.2 percent, Audi grew by just 2.5 percent, and Porsche by a pretty impressive 7.9 percent, while Mercedes-Benz sales actually fell by 4.8 percent. Last year’s biggest luxury brand success story goes to Volvo, mind you, but its amazing 29.8 percent growth is more representative of a phoenix rising from the ashes than anything resembling market dominance. Likewise, Alfa Romeo’s sales are up 26 percent thanks to its new Stelvio SUV, but with 1,402 total units (compared to Mercedes’ 49,413) it’s not causing many competitors concern. The same goes for Genesis, up 174.5 percent to 1,441 total cars sold (they don’t have any SUVs yet), but Tesla’s 386.4-percent year-over-year rise should cause brands like Jaguar to quake in their Doc Martins, if the California-based brand’s numbers can be trusted, and its completely unhinged, egomaniacal CEO doesn’t drive the “tech” company’s valuation underground one idiotic, questionably drug-induced “funding secured” tweet at a time. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
These glossy black twinned five-spoke alloys cost another $770 over the XF S trim’s standard 20-inch rims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

So to make a short story long, the XF is Jaguar’s slowest selling vehicle in a market segment that’s also losing ground, which makes me (crossing my fingers) hopeful that we’ll be fortunate enough to lure in 10 percent of this model’s current ownership base (Jaguar sold 2,242 XFs over the past five years) for a total of 224 readers, plus another 100 or so interested lookie-loos, so that advertising can pay for our efforts (fat chance, I know). 

Of course, if we were to base our coverage on this type of business model I’d only be writing about full-size pickup trucks, plus a few compact sedans and crossover SUVs, so suffice to say the XF is worthy of much more attention than it’s currently receiving in this country, and no doubt Jaguar hopes that changes made to this 2019 model will help increase sales back to its 2013 levels at best (604 units), or 2017 levels at least (494). 

2019 Jaguar XF S
The XF’s narrow strips of wraparound LED taillights might best be described as tastefully understated. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

So without further ado, new for 2019 is Jaguar’s updated 10.0-inch InControl Touch Pro centre display that provides a lot more area to enjoy its oh-so-British red telephone booth in a field graphics and much easier to see backup camera… but wait… the backup camera is there, but where are the graphics? Hmmm. I suppose most would rather have a larger non-graphical touchscreen than something smaller and more interesting, and you’ll probably have your smartphone hooked up to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto anyway, which are now part of the package. Then again, those who’d rather set their navigation instructions via the InControl Touch Pro interface will appreciate that voice recognition has been added to the mix, both standard in the XF’s second-rung Prestige trim. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
The XF includes all of the premium sector’s requisite ingredients, but what about design, fit, finish, and quality? We’ll tell all in our upcoming road test. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Lastly, Jaguar’s luxurious Suedecloth is now standard for the roof pillars and headliner across the entire XF line, as is a set of aluminum treadplates with illuminated Jaguar branding, premium carpeted floor mats, metal-enhanced foot pedals, chromed power seat switchgear, plus a classy and classic looking frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror. 

Now that we’re talking XF trims, for 2019 they include the $59,100 Premium, $64,500 Prestige, and $67,800 R-Sport when choosing the 247 horsepower base 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder; $67,000 Prestige, $70,300 R-Sport, $72,300 300 SPORT and $79,100 Portfolio with the 296 horsepower version of the same gasoline-powered engine; $66,500 Prestige and $69,800 R-Sport with the 180 horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel; and lastly $75,300 for my tester’s 380 horsepower 3.5-litre supercharged V6-powered model’s sole S trim. All prices, trims and standalone options can be found at CarCostCanada, incidentally, where you can also save thousands by learning about available rebates and otherwise hard to find dealer invoice pricing. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
It looks like an ideal performance driver’s cockpit, but how does it drive? (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Additionally, all XF sedans utilize an eight-speed electronic automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift manual mode, plus all-wheel drive, Jaguar Drive Control with Standard, Eco, Dynamic (sport), and Rain/Ice/Snow modes, and Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVBB), hill launch assist and more, while my XF S tester also included Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) plus Configurable Dynamics and Adaptive Dynamics that let you choose personal engine, suspension, steering, and transmission settings. 

After this ultra-long-in-tooth intro I won’t bore you with too many more details about each and every trim level, other than to say it’s a mid-size E-segment Jaguar so all of these various XF grades are finished to a higher degree than anything in the mainstream volume mid-size class, but I’m not going to go so far as to say the XF is segment leading when it comes to fit, finish, materials quality, digital interfaces, features, roominess, etcetera. It’s very good in all of the above respects, however, and due to offering a wholly unique look and feel, plus a very different driving experience than any rival it deserves your attention. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
This fully digital gauge cluster provides a bevy of bright, colourful information. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

So let’s take a quick look at some of the features found on my specific XF S tester, such as its special “S” body kit boasting a sports front bumper, gloss black side sills and rear valance, plus a rear deck lid spoiler, 20-inch alloy wheels, 350-mm front brakes and red calipers all-round, while inside it receives special metal sill finishers with “S” branding, unique Dark Hex aluminum inlays on the instrument panel, a leather-like Luxtec-wrapped dash top, “S” embossed 18-way power-adjustable sport seats, and more. 

Other features not yet mentioned that are incorporated into the XF S include proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, an acoustic layer windshield, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, an electromechanical parking brake, a power-adjustable steering column, auto-dimming, power-folding, heatable side mirrors with approach lights and puddle lamps, memory for those mirrors as well as the front seats, front seat heaters, mood lighting, a Homelink garage door opener, a 10.0-inch capacitive touchscreen, a rearview camera, navigation with detailed mapping, InControl Apps, Pro Services, Bluetooth telephone connectivity and audio streaming, a USB charge port, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatback, front and rear parking sensors, and more. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
New 10-inch infotainment touchscreen is a big step up in size and functionality. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Additionally, along with all the expected active and passive safety features the XF S comes standard with autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blindspot monitoring, closing vehicle sensing, reverse traffic monitoring, driver condition monitoring, and more. 

On top of the all the XF S standard items, my tester featured $670 worth of gorgeous Rossello Red paint, a fabulous looking $770 set of glossy black twinned five-spoke alloys, a $460 Black package with a gloss black mesh grille and surround, gloss black side vents and the same treatment for the trunk garnish; a $2,200 Comfort and Convenience package with a hyperactive gesture control for that trunk’s powered deck lid (more on this in my upcoming review), as well as soft closing doors, three-way active ventilated front seats, and heatable rear outboard seats; a $1,030 Technology package with 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Pro Services, and a CD/DVD player; a $3,680 Driver Assistance package with a 360-degree surround camera, a forward facing camera, 360-degree Park Distance Control, Park Assist semi-autonomous self-parking, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, blindspot assist, and traffic sign recognition with an intelligent speed limiter; a head-up display for $1,330; a heated windshield and heated washer jets for $410; plus satellite and HD radio for $210. 

2019 Jaguar XF S
Comfortable and supportive? Come back for our full review to find out what we think… (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

All it was missing in order to be fully and completely loaded was a $2,230 Premium Interior Upgrade package featuring four-zone climate control with an air quality sensor and automatic air re-circulation, a lockable cooled glove box, manual side window sunshades, a powered rear sunshade, and configurable interior mood lighting; and optional interior décor trim (the carbon fibre would’ve been nice); yet even as is the base XF S model’s $75,300 asking price moves up $10,550 to $85,850, plus freight and fees of course (again, check out CarCostCanada for details). 

As good as all of this sounds, and the XF arguably delivers a lot of value for the money asked, we need to face the reality that Germany leads this category by a country mile for good reason (as does Tesla for different cult-like electrified reasons), and despite Jaguar investing quid by the whollops into the XF’s lightweight and ultra-rigid bonded and riveted aluminum body shell, which is arguably one of the most attractive in its class, and offering more engine options than the majority of rivals (albeit no longer a supercharged V8), it would need to perform barrel rolls on the spot if it really wanted to get noticed. 

I’ll cover all that’s good and my few gripes in an upcoming road test review, so until then enjoy our photo gallery above. Like I said, it’s a beautiful sedan that deserves a lot more interest than it gets, so thanks for giving it some of yours…

If a 2019 Acura MDX were to follow a 2018 version around a corner it’s unlikely you’d notice the difference, that is unless the second model was updated to new A-Spec trim.  Acura has made some minor…

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
Acura has updated its popular MDX mid-size three-row luxury crossover SUV with sporty A-Spec trim for 2019, and we’ve got one in our garage. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If a 2019 Acura MDX were to follow a 2018 version around a corner it’s unlikely you’d notice the difference, that is unless the second model was updated to new A-Spec trim. 

Acura has made some minor external changes to other trims, such as new wheel designs, but swapping out 95 percent of the chrome and bright metal with glossy black on the new A-Spec branded sport model, and then fitting a near equally darkened set of 20-inch 10-spoke Shark Grey alloy wheels on lower profile 265/45 rubber, makes this new addition stand out in a very positive way. 

The MDX has long been the sportiest Japanese luxury utility, but new A-Spec trim now puts styling on par with performance. Specifically, the new MDX A-Spec gets gloss-black and dark-chrome detailing for the grille, headlamps, window surrounds, and rear tailgate spoiler, a more aggressively formed front fascia design, painted front and rear lower skid garnishes, body-coloured exterior door handles, body-colour lower side sills, and larger-diameter exhaust finishers, and those aforementioned wheels. 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
The MDX is a street fighter first and foremost, especially in A-Spec trim, but we think it looks great mucking it up in the dirt too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Climbing over exclusive A-Spec door step garnishes to get inside, Acura has positioned a special set of A-Spec gauges above metal sport pedals, while adding a thicker-rimmed A-Spec-badged steering wheel, unique carbon-look console trim, and sport seats upholstered in “rich red” or black leather with black suede-like Alcantara inserts plus high-contrast stitching. 

This being more of a sport styling exercise than any true performance upgrade, the larger wheel and tire package aside, it won’t be causing owners of the 567 horsepower X5M and 577 horsepower Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 (or 362-hp GLS 450/449-hp GLS 550) to contemplate their next SUV in Japanese. Acura does make a more potent MDX Sport Hybrid that can give some of the lesser Germans a run for their money thanks to 377 horsepower and 341 lb-ft of torque, but so far the sportier A-Spec trim will only be applied to the conventionally powered MDX, which continues forward into 2019 with a much more modest 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
A-Spec trim means dark chrome around the grille, plus lots of glossy black accents, especially around the redesigned lower fascia. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

As with all MDX models in Canada, the new A-Spec comes standard with Acura’s torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), and utilizes a nine-speed automatic with steering wheel paddles and multiple driving modes dubbed Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), which include the same Comfort, Normal and Sport settings found in all other MDX trims. 

I’ll comment on how all of this kit meets the A-Spec model’s sporting pretensions in my upcoming road test review, not to mention my views on styling and interior design, fit, finish, materials quality, comfort, utility, and how this trim specifically measures up to some key competitors, so for the time being I’ll just cover what you can expect with respect to features. 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
The A-Spec’s 20-inch 10-spoke Shark Grey alloys on lower profile 265/45 rubber look fabulous. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For the most part the $60,490 A-Spec is built upon the MDX’ second-rung $57,890 Tech trim, yet despite only costing $2,600 more and featuring the previously noted styling upgrades, it incorporates a few features shared with the $66,990 Elite version that aren’t available with the two trims below, including LED fog lamps, auto-dimming power-folding side mirrors, perimeter/approach puddle lights, keyless access buttons on the rear doors, and ventilated/cooled front seats. 

As for features pulled up from Tech trim, the list includes navigation with voice recognition, a sun position detection system for the climate control, a 10-speaker ELS Studio surround audio upgrade, hard disk drive (HDD) media storage, AcuraLink subscription services, front and rear parking sensors, and Blind Spot Information (BSI) with rear cross traffic monitoring. 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
Discreet A-Spec badging can be found all-round and inside too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If you’re wondering about all the other advanced driver assist systems that would complement those above, take heart that all Canadian-spec MDX trims come standard with AcuraWatch, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), plus Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with low-speed follow and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM). 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
A revised rear bumper with a diffuser-style gloss black centre panel and bigger, fatter chromed tailpipe finishers at each corner round out the MDX A-Spec look. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Additional standard features pulled up from the MDX’ $54,390 base model to A-Spec trim include unique Jewel Eye LED headlamps with auto high beams and washers, LED taillights, acoustic glass, a heated windshield, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access, ambient front footwell, door handle and cabin lighting, pushbutton ignition, two-position memory for the driver’s seat, steering column, side mirrors and climate control, an electromechanical parking brake, a powered moonroof, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated power-adjustable side mirrors with driver recognition, reverse gear tilt-down and integrated turn indicators, a colour TFT meter display, a power tilt and telescopic steering column, a heated multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, rain-sensing wipers, multi-angle rearview camera with active guidelines, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, Siri Eyes Free, SMS text message and email reading capability, satellite radio, four USB charging ports, tri-zone front and rear synchronized automatic climate control with humidity control and air-filtration, Active Noise Control (ANC), Active Sound Control (ASC), heated 12-way power-adjustable front seats with four-way powered lumbar support, seven-seat capacity, a powered tailgate, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring with location and pressure indicators, all the usual active and passive safety features including a driver’s knee airbag, trailer stability assist, a 1,588-kilo towing capacity (or 2,268 kg with the towing package), and more. 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
Those are perforated suede-like Alcantara inserts on the seats, adding plush all-season comfort and lots of backside grip. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Incidentally, all trims, packages, and options are detailed out at CarCostCanada, where you can also find important rebate info as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.

All MDX trims get the same 3.5-litre SOHC V6 with direct-injection, i-VTEC, and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) that shuts one bank of cylinders down during light loads to save on fuel, which together with a standard engine idle stop-start system and the previously noted nine-speed automatic helps the MDX achieve a claimed 12.2 L/100km in the city, 9.0 on the highway and 10.8 combined in its regular trims, or 12.2 city, 9.5 highway and 11.0 combined in A-Spec guise, the difference coming down to the grippier tires, while it should also be noted that the more powerful two-motor hybrid version mentioned earlier is good for an even more agreeable 9.1, 9.0 and 9.0 respectively. 

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
Here’s a better shot of those Alcantara and leather sport seats. Check out all the photos in the gallery above… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Once again, this thriftier yet more potent powertrain can’t be had with the A-Spec’s sportier styling and upgraded wheel and tire package, while that model’s active damper system is also unavailable below Elite trim that also makes them standard. As it is, the A-Spec makes do with the standard amplitude reactive dampers, which along with standard Agile Handling Assist and the SUV’s front strut and rear multi-link suspension design, has long provided strong performance through the corners. 

Once again you’ll need to come back to find out how the MDX A-Spec’s lower profile rubber performs, and to see if the rest of this well-seasoned model’s features are still up to snuff amid a very competitive three-row mid-size crossover SUV segment. Until then, enjoy the photo gallery above…

It might look the same from the outside, but Nissan has nicely updated the 2019 Qashqai despite only arriving on our market two years ago.  As noted most changes go unseen, such as the adoption of Intelligent…

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
In our garage: the 2019 Nissan Qashqai in top-line SL Platinum trim. So what do you think? (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

It might look the same from the outside, but Nissan has nicely updated the 2019 Qashqai despite only arriving on our market two years ago. 

As noted most changes go unseen, such as the adoption of Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Nissan’s smart Rear Door Alert (RDA) system (that reminds if you’ve left something or someone in the back seat), across the entire Qashqai line, while the little utility’s interior now benefits from a new NissanConnect centre touchscreen that’s now 2.0 inches larger at 7.0 inches and features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, live navigation, plus mobile apps and services, while the base Qashqai also includes a second USB port within the centre console, and Nissan’s useful Divide-N-Hide cargo system in the storage area. 

19 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Like its subcompact crossover SUV peers, the Qashqai offers a little more ground clearance than a regular sedan or wagon, ideal for trips to the cottage. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Even more impressive, all of these new features have been added without impacting the base Qashqai S model’s base price that still starts at just $19,998 plus freight and fees, making it the second-most affordable sport utility available in Canada behind Nissan’s own Kicks. 

19 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
No doubt, styling has helped the Qashqai jump into first place in its class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Standard features that continue forward into 2019 and by doing so make the latest Qashqai seem like an even better deal include projector headlamps with integrated led daytime running lights, heated power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, power windows, power door locks with a switchblade-style remote key fob, an electromechanical parking brake (which oddly reverts to a foot-operated one on S CVT and SV CVT trims), a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a colour TFT multi-information display, variable intermittent wipers, sun visors with extensions and integrated vanity mirrors, overhead sunglasses storage, micro-filtered air conditioning, a rearview camera that’s now easier to use thanks to the larger centre display, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, text message read and response capability, Siri Eyes Free, four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with illuminated steering wheel controls, speed-sensitive volume, Radio Data System (RDS), fabric upholstery, two-way Quick Comfort heatable front seats, a rear-seat centre armrest, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, a cargo cover, six cargo area tie-down hooks, tire pressure monitoring with Easy Fill Tire Alert, all the expected passive and active safety and security features, plus much more. 

19 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
The top-tier SL Platinum comes stocked with some upscale features. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The Qashqai is once again available in three trims, the aforementioned base S model joined by the SV and SL, my tester being in the latter. Before delving into its new upgrades, standard features list and various options, the $25,998 SV is a good choice for those not needing the premium-level pampering offered by the SL, thanks to 17-inch alloys replacing the base model’s 16-inch steel wheels with covers, automatic on/off headlights, plus fog lamps, roof rails, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, high beam assist, rear parking sensors, illumination added to the vanity mirrors, a powered moonroof, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, a leather-wrapped shift knob, cruise control, two more stereo speakers, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear passenger air vents, etcetera, while a host of new advanced driver assistance systems get added including enhanced autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Intelligent Lane Intervention, and Rear Intelligent Braking (R-IEB). 

19 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
We’ll talk fit, finish, materials quality, and how all the features work in our upcoming road test review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester’s top-line SL trim starts at $31,198 yet really helps to make it feel like a mini luxury ute thanks to standard 19-inch alloy wheels, the electromechanical parking brake again (the only trim that mates it to the CVT), a 360-degree Intelligent Around View Monitor, navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver’s seat including two-way powered lumbar, and a front driver’s seatback pocket, while Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), enhanced rear auto braking with Moving Object Detection (MOD), and ProPilot Assist semi-automated self-driving capability are new to the SL’s standard list. 

19 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
A sporty leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel is just one element of the Qashqai SL Platinum’s comprehensive feature set. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, my tester featured the $2,100 SL Platinum Package that includes LED headlights, an auto-dimming interior mirror with an integrated Homelink garage door opener, plus a nine-speaker Bose audio system, and NissanConnect Services. 

By the way, all pricing for the 2019 Qashqai, including trims, packages and individual options, was sourced at CarCostCanada, where you can also find money saving rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.

SV and SL models also come standard with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), not to mention Intelligent Engine Braking, and while this will likely be preferable to the majority of Qashqai buyers you may enjoy the six-speed manual that comes standard in base S trim. I tested it last year and came away smiling, as it’s a well sorted manual gearbox that adds a lot of sport back into this utility’s character, which is more about smooth, quiet, comfort in its higher trims. 

19 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Infotainment has become a key decision making differentiator in today’s new vehicle market. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I won’t go into too much experiential detail in this garage report, being that we just brought it home from Nissan’s detail team today and haven’t spent anywhere near enough time in it to comment, but this is hardly the first Qashqai at our weeklong disposal so already have a good idea of what we’re about to live through. Suffice to say the 2019 Qashqai SL hasn’t disappointed us thus far, but rather reminded us why Nissan is quickly taking the lead in this all-important entry-level crossover SUV segment. 

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Here’s a close-up of the top-line 360-surround parking camera. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Qashqai is Nissan Canada’s second-best-selling vehicle behind the larger compact Rogue, and quite frankly its growth in popularity throughout 2018 has been staggering. Sales were up by 119.2 percent to 19,662 units last year compared to just 8,970 in calendar year 2017, making it tops in its segment and after passing the Subaru Crosstrek that’s been on a 30.2-percent sales surge of its own, albeit with only 14,539 units down the road, while the new Hyundai Kona is close behind at 14,497 deliveries. Interestingly, Mazda’s CX-3 grew sales by 13.8 percent to 12,445 units, while the redesigned Jeep Compass found 46.4 percent more buyers in 2018 for a total of 9,434. 

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Make sure to come back to read our road test to find out how the Qashqai SL Platinum’s standard CVT measures up. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Trending the other way is the once best-selling Honda HR-V that saw its sales fall by 35.9 percent to 9,071 units (although some of this results from a flood in its Mexican plant that shut down operations for quite a while), whereas the recently introduced Toyota C-HR made significant gains of 57.8 percent yet only managed a rather lacklustre 6,819 deliveries, and the entirely new (to us) Ford EcoSport enjoyed its first full year of sales, but found just 6,315 takers. 

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Comfortable and roomy enough? We’ll comment on both in our upcoming review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Moving in the opposite direction, a subcompact crossover SUV segment loser was the somewhat stale Mitsubishi RVR that experienced a sales decline of 17.5 percent to 5,750 units, while the Chevy Trax lost 25.1 percent to post 4,465 deliveries, which is just ahead of the aforementioned Nissan Kicks’ 4,362 sales despite that model’s mid-year arrival. The final two to make gains were the new Kia Niro, in hybrid and plug-in forms, with 2,659 deliveries for growth of 67.2 percent, and the Mini Countryman that’s also available in plug-in guise, and possibly due to this saw its sales rise by 36.9 percent to 2,479 units. 

Lastly, the biggest losers are Jeep’s Renegade with a downgrade of 60.4 percent to 1,193 units, and that same model in Fiat 500X form that saw its sales jump off the proverbial cliff by 90.8 percent to a completely pathetic 79 units, despite being a nice little SUV that I quite liked last time I tested it. 

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Here’s a look at the Qashqai SL Platinum model’s rear quarters. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Qashqai makes more sense though. It costs less, and provides a lot more comfort and size. It’s actually quite large for its subcompact SUV class, reason enough for Nissan to slot the Kicks in down below, yet compared to the Rogue it’s a small fry, despite riding on a version of the same chassis architecture, complete with a fully independent front strut, rear multi-link suspension setup with stabilizer bars front and back. 

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
Cargo space is a big consideration in this small SUV class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Under the hood is an efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine good for 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, while its previously noted CVT drives the front wheels or all four. To reiterate and clarify, base S trim makes the CVT optional, while SV and SL trims include it as standard equipment, whereas AWD is optional with both lower trims and standard with the SL. 

As you may have expected the 2019 Qashqai remains a fuel economy leader with a claimed 10.0 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 9.2 combined with the FWD manual, 8.8 city, 7.3 highway and 8.1 combined with FWD and the CVT, or 9.0, 7.5 and 8.4 with the CVT and AWD. 

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum
60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks come standard. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

As usual I’ll wait to talk about driving impressions, interior quality, fit, finish and everything else in my upcoming road test review, although if you just can’t wait go ahead and check out my review of the 2018 Qashqai S with a manual transmission or my review of a top-line 2017 Qashqai SL, which is much the same as this new 2019 version except for a foot operated parking brake and some additional upgrades mentioned earlier in this garage review. Also, enjoy the photo gallery of this 2019 Qashqai SL above…

Infiniti gave its only relevant sedan a mid-cycle refresh last year, updating the Q50’s grille, front fascia, headlights, taillights, rear bumper and more, so 2019 doesn’t see any visual changes other…

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
The Q50 Signature Edition combines the performance-oriented styling of Sport trim without all of the actual performance upgrades. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Infiniti gave its only relevant sedan a mid-cycle refresh last year, updating the Q50’s grille, front fascia, headlights, taillights, rear bumper and more, so 2019 doesn’t see any visual changes other than a new Canada-exclusive standard “I-LINE” cosmetic treatment specifically for the now renamed I-Line Red Sport 400 model.  

Just like eyeliner, the I-Line upgrade, which was actually derived from “Inspired Line,” blackens the grille surround in the same fashion as last year’s glossy black fog lamp bezels and diffuser-style rear bumper cap, while the rear deck lid spoiler gets upgraded to high-gloss carbon fibre and wheel wells are filled with a special “custom imported” glossy black finish set of 19-inch alloys. I-Line trim further helps to visually differentiate Infiniti’s sportiest 400-horsepower Q50 from lesser trims in the lineup, a smart move considering the $7,700 leap from the already quick 300 horsepower Q50 3.0T Sport AWD. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
The Q50 delivers big on design no matter the angle being viewed. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Both 300 and 400 horsepower versions of the Q50 source their power from the same turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine in different states of tune, while the other big change for 2019 is the elimination of the Mercedes-Benz-sourced 2.0-litre four-cylinder that continues to make 208 horsepower in other markets where it’s still offered, like the U.S. 

All remaining trims utilize Infiniti’s seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and downshift rev matching, the latter a rarity in this class, while Infiniti’s “Intelligent” all-wheel drive system comes standard as well. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
The lower front fascia, particularly around the fog lamp bezels, is a key visual differentiator between the base Q50 Luxe and the model’s sportier trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Keeping up with the Jones’s, 2019’s biggest Q50 addition is the inclusion of Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) as standard equipment, which means these critical accident avoidance systems are now part of the Luxe model, Luxe being the base trim level in the Q50’s recently revised grade structure. 

Without going into detail about each trim, the Q50 3.0T Luxe AWD starts at $44,995 plus freight and fees, and the model in our garage this week, the Q50 3.0T Signature Edition starts just a hair higher at $46,495, whereas the aforementioned Q50 3.0T Sport AWD enters the picture at $48,495, and newly revised I-Line Red Sport 400 starts at $56,195. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
Both Signature and Sport trims roll on these stunning silver-painted 19-inch alloy wheels on 245/40 all-season run-flat performance tires. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With all of that out of the way, there’s nothing remotely base about the twin-turbo V6 behind the Q50’s trademark grille, thanks to the 300 horsepower noted a moment ago, and the direct-injected mill’s equally impressive 295 lb-ft of torque (well, almost equally impressive). I’ve waxed poetic about this engine before, and I’ll probably do so again in my upcoming review, not to mention go on at length about the seven-speed gearbox and “Intelligent” AWD system, that’s actually pretty smart. 

Some upgrades specific to our tester’s Signature Edition trim that you might find interesting include the exact same performance-oriented exterior styling details as the Sport, particularly the sharper gloss black lip spoiler and deeper black fog lamp bezels up front, and a less aggressive version of the black and body-colour diffuser-infused rear bumper mentioned earlier, while both models make use of the same more conventional silver-painted 19-inch alloy wheels on 245/40 all-season run-flat performance tires, an upgrade over the base Luxe model’s 18-inch rims on 225/50 all-season run-flat performance rubber. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
If you want to know if you’re following a Q50 Signature, look for its “Signature” below the right rear taillight. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, both trims get silver “S” badges on the front fenders, but strangely the Signature Edition gets a unique rear deck spoiler just above its own “Signature Edition” decklid badge, whereas the Sport makes do with no rear spoiler at all, although it gets a silver “S” badge next to its Q50 nomenclature. 

Signature Edition and Sport trims also feature the same Sport Type seats with driver-side powered lumbar support and powered torso bolsters, plus manual thigh extensions for both front occupants, while both models’ surrounding decorative inlays are finished in genuine Kacchu aluminum. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
Does the Q50’s cabin measure up to its D-segment peers? Check out the road test review to find out. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Pretty well every other feature is shared with the Q50 Luxe, which is why there’s only $1,500 separating the two trims, so along with all of the items above the Q50 Signature Edition includes standard auto on/off LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps and front turn signals, LED brake lights, aluminum “INFINITI” branded kick plates, proximity-sensing keyless entry, pushbutton ignition, Infiniti’s “InTuition” for storing climate, audio and driving preferences within each “Intelligent Key”, welcome lights on the front exterior door handles, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a garage door opener, micro-filtered dual-zone auto climate control, Infiniti InTouch infotainment with 8.0-inch upper and 7.0-inch lower displays, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite audio with HD playback, RDS and speed-sensitive volume, two USB ports, a heatable steering wheel, heated front seats, powered front seats, a powered moonroof, and more. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
Yes, that’s two centre displays at your service. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of note, a number of features that were previously optional are now standard with the move up to the base V6 powerplant, including remote engine start, Infiniti InTouch navigation with lane guidance and 3D building graphics, the Infiniti InTouch Services suite of digital alerts and remote services, voice recognition for audio, SMS text and vehicle info, power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver, and 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks with a centre pass-through. 

At the other end of the trim spectrum, the only real changes to previously noted Sport trim are actually performance oriented, such as steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a unique sport-tuned dynamic digital suspension, and identical sport brakes to the Red Sport 400, which boast four-piston front calipers and two-piston rear calipers, while the two sportiest trims also get exclusive front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
The Q50’s primary gauge cluster is almost entirely analogue, but that will be a positive to those who appreciate a more traditional look. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Speaking of features not available with this Signature Edition, only Sport trim gets the option of electronic power steering, while Infiniti’s exclusive drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system is available on all trims except for the Signature Edition, as is the auto-leveling adaptive front lighting system (AFS) with high beam assist, a power-adjustable steering column with memory, an Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), premium 16-speaker Bose Performance audio with Centerpoint technology, front and rear parking sensors, Intelligent Cruise Control with full speed range (ICC), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Blind Spot Intervention (BSI), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) with Active Lane Control, and Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA). 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
The top monitor is more of a multi-function display, whereas the bottom one is a capacitive touchscreen. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Features not available with the Signature Edition, optional with the Sport and standard with the Red Sport 400 include auto-dimming side mirrors with reverse link and memory, plus Infiniti’s Advanced Climate Control System with auto-recirculation, Plasmacluster air purifier and Grape Polyphenol Filter. 

All of this seems to place the Q50 Signature Edition in a unique value position, offering plenty of Sport trim features yet limiting its choice of options to colours, of which include the same five offered in Sport trim, and interior themes, which just like the Sport can be had in Graphite (black) and Stone (grey) interior motifs. By the way, the base model can be had with a Wheat (tan) interior, while dark-stained gloss maple hardwood provides a more traditional luxury ambiance, plus you’ll lose the option of Mocha Almond (brown metallic) paint when moving up into the sportier Q50 trims, but you gain Iridium Blue in both Signature Edition and Sport trims, whereas Red Sport 400 buyers get exclusive Dynamic Sunstone Red. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition
What’s the Q50 Signature like from the driver’s seat? Come back for our road test review for all the details… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Well that was a more comprehensive overview than I had planned, so I’d better show a tiny bit of restraint and call it quits for this garage piece until the full road test review gets published later. We’re still driving it after all, so make sure to browse through the gallery provided above, and remember that all of the prices quoted in this review can be found in detail, broken down into trims with packages and options, at CarCostCanada, along with important manufacturer rebate info and dealer invoice pricing (yes, the price they pay) that could save you thousands. Check them out and be sure to come back here soon for the review…

Toyota’s 86 hasn’t changed much since being refreshed for 2017 as part of its Scion FR-S transformation, but it hardly needs any modification. In fact, when its many diehard fans caught wind that…

2019 Toyota 86 GT

2019 Toyota 86 GT
Toyota’s 86 is still one of the best performance car value’s around. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Toyota’s 86 hasn’t changed much since being refreshed for 2017 as part of its Scion FR-S transformation, but it hardly needs any modification. In fact, when its many diehard fans caught wind that it might be getting axed due to ever-slowing sales, the deafening outcry caused a U.S.-market Toyota spokesperson to declare that it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. 

“As [Toyota president] Akio Toyoda said at the reveal of the 2020 Supra, Toyota is committed to building exciting vehicles, including sports cars. The 86 has been in the Toyota family since 2013 and the plan is that it will continue to be a part of Toyota’s sports car line-up.” 

2019 Toyota 86 GT
The 86 still has beautiful lines, despite getting on in years. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

A quick look at sale numbers makes it easy to understand why many were in doubt of its future, with 2017 to 2018 calendar year-over-year deliveries down 40.2 percent in Canada, which was only outdone—to the negative—by Fiat’s 124 Spider that saw a decline of 52.7 percent, while the 86’ near identical Subaru BRZ saw its sales drop by 23.3 percent, but then again it didn’t have as far to fall. Those two models actually switched places for the first time at the close of 2018, with more Canadians choosing the BRZ than 86, the final tally being 604 for Subaru and 550 for Toyota. This last number might not seem like much when compared to the 1,825 FR-S coupes Scion sold in its first full year of 2013, but once again considering that it hasn’t changed all that much since it debuted just prior, and then factoring in that all car sales have taken a beating against the growth of crossover SUVs, the 86 is actually holding up quite well. 

2019 Toyota 86 GT
Toyota added these standard LED headlamps for its 2017 refresh. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Incidentally, the entire front fascia was modified for 2017, and its nicely detailed LED headlamps added for a more sophisticated look. Another change saw the front fender vent elongated and the “86” insignia redesigned and placed lower on the side panel, while revised taillight lenses filled with LEDs modernized the seven-year-old model’s look. 

The interior has always been pretty nice, but the 2013, 2014 and 2015 model year FR-S examples I drove never let me inside with proximity-sensing keyless access, started via pushbutton, kept me warm via dual-zone automatic climate control, skinned their seats in leather trimmed with microsuede, or covered their primary instrument hoods and passenger-side dash sections in padded and stitched microsuede like this 2019 86, while this new model boasts other improvements as well. 

2019 Toyota 86 GT
Make sure to return for our full road test review, but until then check the photo gallery above for loads of detailed images… (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Certainly there are some that petition Toyota for more power, but this lightweight 1,252-kilo (2,760-lb) rear-drive sports coupe makes the most of its 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque with one of the nimblest chassis’ in its price range. 

Make sure to come back for our full road test review to be reminded of why sports car enthusiasts the world over keep the Toyota 86 close to their hearts, even if fewer are anteing up with $30k of their own to take one home. We’d certainly love to keep ours for as long as Toyota would let us.

If you feel like we do, check out CarCostCanada to learn about exact pricing for each trim, package and option, plus don’t forget to check if there are any rebates, and make sure to find out about the 86’s dealer invoice pricing that will help you get the best price when negotiating with your local Toyota dealer…

Infiniti wasn’t the fastest growing luxury brand last year, but then again it gained market share while plenty of others lost ground. What’s more, its best-selling QX60 mid-size crossover SUV increased…

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
Infiniti’s QX60 is one great looking Nissan Pathfinder, the two SUVs sharing most of their underpinnings yet appearing very different from the outside. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Infiniti wasn’t the fastest growing luxury brand last year, but then again it gained market share while plenty of others lost ground. What’s more, its best-selling QX60 mid-size crossover SUV increased sales by more than 17 percent for the strongest result in its mid-size class, when the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE and GLS, plus most others saw their numbers go down. 

That’s an impressive result for an SUV that’s merely a more luxurious Nissan Pathfinder. Ouch, I know, that might sound harsh to some, but really it’s no bad thing. Look around and you’ll see plenty of premium brands that rely on their mainstream volume counterparts for rolling stock and more, and to be fair Infiniti has done a good job visually separating the two when it comes to exterior styling. 

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
The QX60 has long offered up a stylish rear design, much thanks to its trademark kinked rear quarter window. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Inside, however, it’s easy to see where the QX60 pulls more than just inspiration. The gauge cluster layout is near identical, as is the rest of the instrument panel and entire centre stack, not to mention the door panels and the three rows of seats front to back. Still, where the Pathfinder feels a bit less refined than its closest rivals, with way too much hard plastic, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything discomforting in the QX60. 

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
The QX60’s interior design mimic’s the Pathfinder’s cabin to a T, but the quality of materials used and fine attention to detail is much improved. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Our tester is outfitted in the new $4,200 Sensory package, which ups the luxury quotient further by adding maple hardwood inlays to the dash, console and doors, plus special hourglass quilting to the leather upholstery, while the already heated front seats are now ventilated and the second-row outboard positions heated. Additionally, the third row gets a powered return to make loading cargo easier, while accessing the rear luggage area is more convenient thanks to a motion activated liftgate. Back inside, all occupants will enjoy a 15-speaker surround-sound Bose audio upgrade featuring digital 5.1-channel decoding, while appreciate the Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) featuring auto-recirculation, a plasmacluster air purifier and grape polyphenol filter, while second- and third-row passengers benefit from the open airiness of a powered panoramic moonroof overhead, complete with powered sunshades. Lastly, 15-spoke 20-inch alloys on 235/55 all-seasons improve the QX60’s look and driving characteristics. 

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
If you like real maple hardwood buffed to perfection, the top-line QX60 Sensory is your best bet. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

But wait, there’s more. In order to get the Sensory package you first need to upgrade to the new $5,000 Essential and $4,800 ProActive packages, the first including remote engine start, entry/exit assist for driver’s seat and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, reverse tilt-down side mirrors, two-way power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, two-way driver’s memory with an Enhanced Intelligent Key, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, leather upholstery, Infiniti InTouch infotainment with navigation, lane guidance, and 3D building graphics, voice recognition, an Around View parking monitor with Moving Object Detection, front and rear parking sensors, SiriusXM Traffic, and more. 

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
Roomy and comfortable? Come back for our full review to find out what we really think. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The ProActive package adds auto-dimming side mirrors, high beam assist, full-speed range adaptive cruise control, distance control assist, active trace control, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Blind Spot Intervention, backup collision intervention, front pre-crash seatbelts, and Infiniti’s exclusive Eco Pedal. 

All of this kit gets added to a QX60 that’s already well equipped in renamed base Pure form with features like auto on/off LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights, LED taillights, roof rails, power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, electroluminescent gauges, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power front passenger’s seat, a auto-dimming mirror, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a powered moonroof, micro-filtered tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with a backup camera, SMS/email display, satellite radio, three USB charging ports, a powered rear liftgate, Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection (PFEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and more. 

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
Unless you fear the outdoors, the powered panoramic moonroof found in the Sensory package is a must-have option. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The QX60 also comes standard with all-wheel drive fed by a highly efficient continuously variable transmission with default, Sport, Eco and Snow driving modes, the second mode mentioned making the most of the standard direct-injection infused 3.5-litre V6 that makes a strong 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque while still claiming a very reasonable 12.5 L/100km in the city, 9.0 on the highway and 10.9 combined. 

2019 Infiniti QX60 Sensory
Enough cargo space for you? Find out how it measures up against key rivals in our upcoming review. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

2019 QX60 pricing starts at just $48,695, and take note all pricing for the QX60 and its competitors can be found at CarCostCanada, where you’ll also benefit from rebate information and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.

We’ll have more on how the QX60 drives in our upcoming road test review, along with how the front strut and rear multi-link suspension behaves through town, down smooth freeways, around fast-paced corners, and over bumpy terrain, so make sure to return soon to get our full critique…

Toyota will give its ever-popular Corolla compact sedan a fresh new face for 2020, but thanks to the all-new 2019 Corolla Hatchback there’s no need to wait.  This sporty new five-door variant carries…

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
The great looking new Corolla Hatchback won’t be turning away any potential buyers due to styling. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Toyota will give its ever-popular Corolla compact sedan a fresh new face for 2020, but thanks to the all-new 2019 Corolla Hatchback there’s no need to wait. 

This sporty new five-door variant carries on where the Corolla iM left off, the latter model a superb little car that deserved a lot more attention that it received due to impressive interior quality and adept handling, but alas it struggled from anonymity because it wore a Scion badge. 

Past brand identity problems aside, the real reason the iM was so good had to do with its European roots. The iM, and now the new Corolla Hatchback, are in fact second- and third-generation Toyota Auris models, their more demanding Euro-target audience making them feel more upscale inside than any previous North American-market Corolla, and causing them to drive with greater focus on performance. 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
Toyota calls the Hatchback the Corolla Sport in Japan, a much more suitable name. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The new Corolla Hatchback offers one engine and two transmission choices. The engine, a direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder, incorporates the usual VVT-i as well as VVT-iE, the former electrically powering the variable valve timing system via the intake cam, and the latter via the exhaust cam, resulting in 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, whereas the transmissions include the usual six-speed manual in lower trims and a rather elaborately named alternative dubbed Direct Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (Direct Shift-CVT), which is an automatic CVT boasting a manual mode with 10 forward speeds via Simulated Shift Control. Agreed, it doesn’t sound like an ordinary continuously variable transmission, but does the Direct Shift-CVT live up to the hype of its complex nomenclature? 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
We’ll see a version of these LED headlamps in the next-gen 2020 Corolla sedan too. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, we’ll tell all in our upcoming road test review, including commentary on ride and handling that should continue to be a highlight with the Corolla Hatchback thanks to a variation of the iM’s independent multi-link rear suspension, the sedan outfitted with a less capable rear twist-beam design. 

All of this high-end kit doesn’t come cheap, although the 2019 Corolla Hatchback’s $20,980 starting only seems steep when comparing it to the entry-level Corolla sedan’s $16,790. The new Hatchback comes well equipped for just under $21k, including full LED headlamps with automatic high beams, LED taillights, proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, automatic climate control, a 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information display, an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with a backup camera, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Toyota’s proprietary Entune smartphone integration that also comes with Entune App Suite Connect featuring traffic, weather, sports, stocks, a fuel station locator, Slacker, Yelp, and NPR One, while additional standard kit includes six-speaker audio, power windows with auto up/down all around, all the segment’s usual active and passive safety features plus an airbag for the driver’s knees, pre-collision warning and mitigation with pedestrian and bicycle detection, lane departure alert and road departure warning with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
These 19-inch alloys come standard with the top-line XSE. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Move up to the CVT for a reasonable $1,000 and the list includes full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane tracing assist, and Scout GPS Link navigation/route guidance added to Entune App Suite Connect, while my tester was also outfitted in top-line XSE trim that substitutes Scout GPS Link with its own embedded navigation and otherwise fills the centre touchscreen with Entune 3.0 Premium Audio that includes traffic and weather info, Entune Destination Assist, Entune Safety Connect featuring automatic collision notification, a stolen vehicle locator, an emergency assistance (SOS) button, and enhanced roadside assistance, and otherwise updates infotainment with satellite radio and wireless charging. 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
These LED taillights add a new level of sophistication to the Corolla nameplate. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

What’s more, the base model’s 15-inch steel wheels get replaced by a sweet looking set of machine-finished 18-inch rims on grippy 225/40 all-seasons, while LED fog lamps enhance the front fascia, chrome gets added to the rear bumper, and the interior gets updated with an eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way powered lumbar, front seat heaters, special Sport fabric upholstery with leatherette trim, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel (with paddle shifters when upgraded to the CVT), a 7.0-inch digital driver’s display, dual-zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, and an anti-theft system, all for $26,980 with the manual or $27,980 with the CVT. 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
The outgoing Corolla iM benefited by a much more upscale interior than the Corolla sedan, and so does the new Corolla Hatchback. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Notably, some of that kit gets pulled up from lesser SE and SE Upgrade trims, which are available for $22,580 and $23,980 respectively, but that’s it with respect to factory options except for $225 Blizzard Pearl paint that’s only offered in top-line XSE trim. This means my tester’s Smoked Paprika Metallic is one of six available no-cost standard colours in XSE guise, the seventh a shade dubbed Super White that’s only offered in base and SE trims. 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
This semi-digital gauge cluster modernizes the Corolla’s driving experience. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Some dealer added accessories worth noting include a dash camera for $650, which really should be on everyone’s must-have list, a $155 cargo liner, an $80 cargo net, and $250 worth of door sill plates, while the exterior can be dressed up with a seriously sporty extended rear rooftop spoiler for $535. 

By the way, all of the 2019 Corolla Hatchback’s pricing information can be found at CarCostCanada, including trims, packages, and standalone options, plus you can also find out about any available rebates, as well as dealer invoice pricing that could help you save thousands when negotiating the purchase of your new car.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
The Corolla Hatchback delivers big on features, especially in XSE trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The new Corolla Hatchback, which gets the more exciting Corolla Sport nameplate in Japan, rolls on the compact GA-C version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular unibody platform that also underpins current versions of the Corolla sedan and Touring Sports (the latter wagon sadly only available in other markets), Prius/Prius Plug-in/Prime, C-HR compact crossover, and upcoming Lexus UX compact luxury crossover, making it one of the more ubiquitous platforms in existence. 

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE
Are these sporty looking seats comfortable and supportive? Check out our upcoming review to find out. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

I know that most readers will be unfamiliar with the outgoing Corolla iM, but for the interest of the few that are this new Corolla Hatchback measures a full 100 millimetres (3.9 inches) longer than its predecessor at 4,375 mm (172.2 in), while its wheelbase spans 40 mm (1.6 in) farther between the axles at 2,640 mm (103.9 in). The new model has also grown from side-to-side, expanded by 30 mm (1.2 in) to 1,790 mm (70.5 in), while its overall height has decreased by 25 mm (1.0 in) to 1,435 mm (56.5 in). What about mass? The Corolla Hatchback’s curb weight is actually up by a substantive 118 kilograms (260 lbs) to 1,388 kg (3,060 lbs), but this extra girth is more than offset by the aforementioned engine’s increase of 31 horsepower and 25 lb-ft of torque, at least on paper. 

Come back for our review to find out how it feels by the seat of the pants, and whether or not its supercalifragilisticexpialidocious CVT lives up to its longwinded name. Until then, scroll back up to enjoy our comprehensive photo gallery…

The Rogue is Nissan Canada’s most popular model, and one look should make it easy to understand why. It was refreshed for the 2017 model year with Nissan’s wider, more U-shaped Vmotion 2.0 grille…

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
The Rogue moves into 2019 looking just as handsome as it did last year. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The Rogue is Nissan Canada’s most popular model, and one look should make it easy to understand why. It was refreshed for the 2017 model year with Nissan’s wider, more U-shaped Vmotion 2.0 grille that we think is more handsome than the original V, while its then-new quad-beam headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and its updated LED brake lights added premium-level sophistication to the look. 

That facelifted 2017 model included additional styling tweaks on the outside plus updates within, a personal favourite being its flat-bottom steering wheel that still makes a sporty statement in the otherwise elegantly appointed top-line 2019 Rogue SL Platinum trimmed model currently in our garage. So equipped, that steering wheel is leather-wrapped with a heatable rim, a much appreciated mid-winter feature, as are the Quick Comfort heated front seats that come standard across the entire Rogue line, albeit the Platinum’s perforated leather upholstery is exclusive to this model. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
There isn’t an angle that doesn’t look proportional, the Rogue’s sharp styling a key reason it sells so well. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The Rogue in our garage isn’t merely a regular SL Platinum, mind you, but rather includes a $500 SL Platinum Reserve Interior Package that replaces the regular Charcoal black or Almond tan leather seat surfaces with special quilted leather upholstery in an even richer looking Premium Tan hue, that comes across more like caramel or saddle brown. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
LED DRLs are standard across the line, and auto on/off functionality gets added with the SV, but these LED headlights with auto high beams are included with SL Platinum trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

There’s actually more to the seat design than that, the quilting just used for the centre inserts, whereas perforated leather gets added to the inner bolsters and contrast-stitched black leather on top of those bolsters for a little more sport mixed in with the luxury, the seats’ upholstery complemented by the same Premium Tan on the door armrests, centre armrest, padded knee protectors on each side of the lower centre console, and even the dash facing, which gets a similarly classy looking stitched leather pad ahead of the front passenger. 

Icing on the proverbial cake comes in the form of Piano Black interior door inlays surrounding the usual chromed door handles, which match up nicely next to the same glossy black treatment rimming the dash vents, centre console, gear lever surround and otherwise leather-wrapped shift knob. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
SL Platinum trim adds these gorgeous machine-finished 19-inch alloys, while the fog lamps get pulled up from mid-range SV trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The latest Rogue SL Platinum doesn’t just look like a premium ride, its standard feature set is replete with top-drawer gear that one-ups plenty of luxury brands. For instance, the official name given to this trim level is Rogue SL Platinum with ProPilot Assist, the latter technology standard with all SL Platinum models and really quite impressive. It’s a semi-autonomous “hands-on-wheel” driving system, which means it has the ability to completely drive itself, but due to safety concerns only lets you remove your hands from the steering wheel for about eight seconds at a time. Still, it’ll impress your friends and might be useful to those who find highway driving intimidating, as it helps keep the Rogue centered within its lane and, along with its Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Intelligent Lane Intervention systems, may even help avoid an accident. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
Ritzy enough for you? This caramel brown quilted leather comes as part of the $500 SL Platinum Reserve Interior Package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

These latter two advanced driver assistance systems get pulled up to the SL Platinum from mid-range SV trim, as does Intelligent Emergency Braking (P-IEB) with Pedestrian Detection, High Beam Assist (HBA), and Intelligent Cruise Control, while a Rear Sonar System, Moving Object Detection (MOD), Backup Collision Intervention and Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking (R-IEB) join ProPilot Assist as options with the SV and come as standard equipment with the top-line model. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
The SL Platinum’s standard split-screen monitor with its 360-degree overhead view really helps when parking. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with all the usual active and passive safety features, some advanced tech pulled up from the base Rogue S to upper trims include Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with a display showing individual tire pressures and an Easy-Fill Tire Alert, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), plus two features normally relegated to top-line trims, Blind Spot Warning (BSW) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), while Rear Door Alert is an oddly named albeit very welcome feature that actually warns against leaving something or someone in the back seat unattended after turning off the engine, by remembering that you opened a rear door before setting off on your drive. Smart. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
Roomy enough for you? (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I could go on and on listing the Rogue’s myriad features and talking engine, transmission, AWD tech, specifications, etcetera, but will leave such details to the upcoming road test review, at which point I’ll also talk about life with the Rogue during our weeklong test, and of course my driving impressions that included cruising down the highway with ProPilot Assist turned on and my hands off the wheel for longer than the recommended duration. Until then, scroll back up to enjoy our comprehensive photo gallery…