Infiniti has been electrifying its luxury car lineup since 2011, but so far it hasn’t gone so far as to bring a full EV to market, instead relying on hybrids to fill the bill.
This said its mid-size E-segment Q70 Hybrid is no longer available in Canada and appears to have disappeared from its U.S. division’s website for 2019 as well, but the smaller Q50 Hybrid remains a formidable challenger in the D-segment thanks to a brand-wide focus that’s always been as much about efficiency as performance— seven years ago the original M35h set an official Guinness world record for fastest acceleration from a production hybrid. Still, while a strong effort so far, these two models only represent the beginnings of Infiniti’s road to electrification.
Such was made clear by Nissan chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa who, as part of his address at the Automotive News World Congress in January, told the audience that the Infiniti brand would almost entirely be comprised of electrified vehicles after 2021, and furthermore he predicted that half of the luxury division’s sales would either feature a hybrid or a pure electric powertrain by 2025.
Based on calendar year 2017 sales of 153,415 units globally (which was an increase of 11 percent over 2016), this means about 75,000 new Infiniti vehicles will be rolling off of Infiniti production lines with electrified powertrains in just seven years.
According to Saikawa, Infiniti will rely on parent company Nissan’s new range-extending electric motor-powered technology dubbed ePower for future hybrid powertrains, a system that applies a unique EV strategy.
First off, unlike plug-in hybrids that are gaining popularity today, the ePower system can’t be plugged in. What’s more, it doesn’t use its gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) for propulsion, but rather it merely recharges the battery, which in turn powers an electric motor that drives the wheels.
Infiniti’s future electrified vehicle platform architecture, announced in April during a special Auto China preview event at the Infiniti Brand Experience Center in Beijing, has been heavily inspired by the recent Q Inspiration concept first shown at January’s Detroit show. Infiniti plans to produce an electrified vehicle on this new platform as one of five upcoming models to be built in China.
“Infiniti is developing a new platform for electrified vehicles inspired by the Q Inspiration concept car, which shows the new design language for the age of autonomy and electrification,” said Infiniti chairman and global president Roland Krueger. “We very much had China in mind when designing the Q Inspiration, which shows a very sporty, performance-oriented electric concept, with a much bigger interior space.”
While China has become a global leader in automotive powertrain electrification in recent years, new trade disputes between the second-largest global economy and the current U.S. administration governing the world’s largest economy, may result in strategies changing for Infiniti and other manufacturers already importing vehicles across the Pacific or considering doing so.
Of note, the Q Inspiration concept is not only being touted as inspiration for future Infiniti electrified vehicles’ platform architectures and powertrains, but is also said to be reflective of future Infiniti styling.
“The Q Inspiration concept car takes the traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution,” said Karim Habib, Infiniti executive design director. “A shift towards smarter, more compact and less intrusive powertrains; We were able to create an alternative form with flowing gestures, more engaging in character and more enriching in experience. With its long cabin, balanced proportions and muscular stance, the concept heralds in a new era for Infiniti models.”
Considering that Honda was one of the first automakers to arrive on the market with a modern-day hybrid, all the way back in 1999 with the first-generation Insight, it’s had spotty success in its quest…
Considering that Honda was one of the first automakers to arrive on the market with a modern-day hybrid, all the way back in 1999 with the first-generation Insight, it’s had spotty success in its quest to electrify the world’s highways and byways.
The original Insight actually beat the Toyota Prius to North American markets, but Honda’s unusual choice of equipping that early model with just two seats meant that it didn’t meet the needs of most buyers. Its lack of an automatic transmission during the first year didn’t help matters either, both shortcomings allowing the four-door CVT-equipped Prius that arrived here the following year to steal the hybrid show. The rest, as they say, is history.
On that note I won’t go into too much detail about Honda’s unenviable HEV past, all of which was covered in my otherwise positive Accord Hybrid review last year, but despite its hit and (mostly) miss two-decade electrification strategy we’ve all got to give the Japanese brand big points for courage.
Such steely nerve is especially true of its recent decision to once again dust off the aforementioned Insight nameplate for the upcoming 2019 model. After all, Honda’s Insight not only failed from a commercial standpoint from 1999 to 2006, but also suffered a second unceremonious death after a short-lived attempt at resurrection from 2009 through 2014. Still, the upcoming 2019 Insight looks like a winner.
The Insight prototype was introduced at Detroit’s 2018 North American International Auto Show in January, followed by simultaneous introductions of the production version in March at the 2018 New York International Auto Show and 2018 Vancouver International Auto Show, with most pundits giving it two thumbs up for styling.
“The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn’t mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance,” said Jean Marc Leclerc, Senior Vice President of Honda Canada Inc. “The Insight is another symbol of a new era in the evolution of Honda electrified vehicles, where customers can have everything they want with no compromises.”
The Insight doesn’t stray too far away from the new 2018 Accord when it comes to styling, but it shares some design elements with the compact Civic as well, while it’s also sized much closer to Canada’s best-selling car. In fact, the new Insight shares its platform architecture with the current 10th-generation Civic, not to mention many of that car’s hard points like the entire roof section, so all of Honda’s HEV fans who are still patiently waiting for an update of the previous-generation Civic Hybrid can now rejoice—this is it.
In a press release that came out as part of its Vancouver launch, Honda called the new Insight a “premium compact sedan,” and while the term premium is normally reserved for luxury branded models like Acura’s ILX, such could just as easily be said for the current Civic in top-line Touring trim. Still, Honda promises “premium cabin appointments” such as “a soft-touch instrument panel with real stitching, ergonomically sculpted seats,” and more.
Honda also touts a number of premium-level Insight engineering enhancements such as better ride quality, a quieter cabin, and, of course, gains in efficiency.
Aiding overall lightness, the Insight’s Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure gets an exclusive aluminum hood, while extra sound insulation in the engine bay, behind the front firewall, inside the fenders, and under the front and rear floor improves noise, vibration and harshness levels.
Like the Civic, the new Insight benefits from a fully-independent suspension system with Macpherson struts up front and a multi-link design in the rear, improving ride quality and control during performance driving or accidence avoidance, while the top-tier Insight Touring will benefit from liquid-sealing compliance bushings front and back to further refine the ride.
The Insight also utilizes the Civic’s variable-ratio dual-pinion electric power steering system, causing less drag on the powertrain than hydraulic designs, yet still providing direct response to input to satisfy performance fans.
Unlike the Civic, the new Insight will adapt regenerative braking to a mechanical (friction) electro-servo braking system, harnessing some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost, and repurposing it to the ancillary electrical system.
The new Insight is powered by Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid system, consisting of a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle internal combustion engine (ICE), an electric propulsion motor, plus a 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack, resulting in 151 net horsepower and 197 lb-ft of electric motor torque.
Honda says the Insight mostly operates like a regular series hybrid, which means that its gasoline-powered ICE connects to the generator motor to produce electricity that’s not only directly used to energize the electric propulsion motor, but also stored in the battery pack, after which such stored energy can be used as needed to assist the ICE for powering the wheels. Additionally, the Insight is capable of driving on 100-percent electric power for short distances at slow speeds.
While nothing said so far is particularly new or unique, the Insight also features steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter-style deceleration selectors that let you choose among three levels of regenerative braking performance, depending on driving conditions, while the new model also gets three selectable driving modes, including normal hybrid mode that defaults upon startup, plus “ECON” and “SPORT” modes that require the press of a console-mounted button. There’s also an available “EV” mode button that lets you to drive about 1.5 km (1 mile) at low speeds under electric-only power. This wide variety of settings allows the ability to personalize a driver’s experience to maximize efficiency or performance.
On that note, Honda promises the Insight will deliver the “best power-to-weight ratio in its class,” this partially due to its aforementioned lightweight body structure.
Interestingly, while some competitors place a transmission between the ICE/electric propulsion motor and the drive wheels in order to regulate speed, Honda’s two-motor hybrid system doesn’t require one, but instead the drive axles are powered directly from the electric propulsion motor. At higher speeds the engine and drive axles are connected by a lock-up clutch, which Honda says is most efficient during highway and freeway operation. Also notable, Honda incorporates its unique pushbutton gear selector for getting underway.
Of course, Transport Canada hasn’t provided any official fuel economy estimates yet, and neither has the U.S. EPA, but Toyota’s U.S. division is claiming mileage of “up to 55 mpg” in the city and “50 mpg or better” combined, which when converted to metric equals 4.3 L/100km city and 4.7 or better combined. As expected these are similar fuel economy numbers to official 2018 Prius ratings, so the new Insight is in good company.
Being that Honda is now a leader in advanced driver assistance systems and active safety, the new Insight will come standard with a full suite of Honda Sensing equipment, including forward collision warning, autonomous collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and traffic sign recognition. For this reason and more, Honda expects the Insight will achieve best-possible safety ratings from the IIHS, NHTSA, and Euro NCAP.
Standard features in mind, the Canadian-spec Insight will be available in two trims dubbed Hybrid and Touring, with the former including full LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, 17-inch alloys, pushbutton ignition, a 7.0-inch TFT digital primary instrument panel, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch Blind Spot Display that projects a rearward image of the blindspot onto the centre touchscreen when selecting the right-side turn signal, dual-zone automatic climate control, heatable front seats, eight-speaker audio, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, and more.
Additionally, the top-line Insight Touring will include rain-sensing wipers, perforated leather seating, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, heatable rear seats, navigation with detailed mapping, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, next-generation HondaLink subscription services, 10-speaker premium audio, a HomeLink garage door opener, a powered moonroof, and more.
While the new Insight appears long, lean and sleek like a four-door coupe, Honda says the rear seating area is generous with “best-in-class rear legroom of 949 mm” thanks in part to a considerable 2,700-mm (106.3-inch) wheelbase, which incidentally is identical to its Civic Sedan donor platform. Likewise its wide track should result in good side-to-side roominess, just like the Civic, making the new Insight comfortably and easy to live with.
On this note, Honda places the Insight’s lithium-ion hybrid battery pack below the rear seats, which still allows for standard 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks to increase its passenger/cargo flexibility, while trunk space behind those rear seats measures the same sizeable 427 litres (15.1 cubic feet) as the conventionally powered Civic Sedan.
As would make sense, the new Insight is being manufactured next to the Civic, as well as the CR-V, at American Honda’s assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana, which will no doubt please President Donald J. Trump. Improving its chance of U.S. success yet further, its hybrid battery unit is made in the automaker’s Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio, while the ICE gets produced in Honda’s Anna, Ohio engine plant, which also builds the engine for the Ohio-made 2018 Accord Hybrid.
The new 2019 Insight will arrive at Canadian retailers this summer, at which point it will become the most affordable HEV amongst Honda’s three-strong electrified lineup that currently includes the $39,900 mid-size 2018 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and more recently launched $33,090 2018 Accord Hybrid. Expect pricing to start below the Accord Hybrid.
Porsche is now a septuagenarian, with Ferry Porsche, the well-schooled son of the already acclaimed engineer, peoples’ car creator and past Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Porsche, having put the brand’s…
Porsche is now a septuagenarian, with Ferry Porsche, the well-schooled son of the already acclaimed engineer, peoples’ car creator and past Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Porsche, having put the brand’s first car on the road in 1948.
It all started with the original Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster, which received its operating permit 70 years ago on June 8. Speed ahead seven decades and we now have the stunning 911 Speedster Concept that was created to commemorate the momentous occasion.
The 356 was highly advanced for its time, yet by today’s standards it’s as pure as sports cars get. The 911 Speedster Concept is a modern interpretation of that same undefiled spirit, created to provide a purely visceral driving experience, even eschewing a convertible top for a lightweight tonneau cover.
Unveiled at the ‘70 years Porsche sportscar’ anniversary celebrations in Zuffenhausen, Germany, the 911 Speedster Concept’s sheet metal wears a classic two-tone racing livery design that was often multi-coloured yet looked handsome in white on traditional German silver.
The paintwork and everything else came care of the Porsche Motorsport Centre, which is more notably responsible for the 911 GT2 RS, and more recently the GT3 RS. Good company for this 911 Speedster Concept to be rubbing shoulders with, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if Porsche decided to give us a series-production version of this new roadster.
Porsche says the “decision on whether to move ahead will be made in the coming months,” with any result of such choice not materializing until 2019. No doubt it’ll be worth the wait.
Like production 911 Speedsters that came before, the first modern interpretation arriving in 1988 and the most recent example based on the 997 from 2010, the 2018 version gets a set of abbreviated A-pillars set on more of a rearward incline than the current production model, resulting in a shorter more sweptback windscreen frame. The side windows are correspondingly shorter as well, the combination giving the Speedster a “stockier profile with a very low fly line,” says Porsche.
Of course, this is not only reminiscent of both 1988 and 2010 911 Speedster homage models, but more so the original 356 1500 Speedster. That model actually came along in late 1954, after U.S. importer Max Hoffman advised the powers that be in Stuttgart that a lower-cost, decontented open-top model could become a sales success in the American market.
While that original 1955 model had a fabric tonneau cover snapped onto its back, the new 2018 version receives a special one-off carbon fibre ‘double bubble’ cover in similitude of the 1988 and 2010 cars’ designs. The new version covers the area behind the front row where the rear jump seats normally reside, and also masks the rollover protection structure that was never part of the 1988 or 1955 model, while a glossy black backing wraps overtop the front portion of the cover to create a shortened Targa-like look. Just behind, the set of contrasting black slats straddling the buttresses are in fact aerodynamic elements, while a Plexiglas wind deflector is set in the middle, highlighted by an engraved ‘70 years of Porsche’ plaque.
Just in case a downpour threatens to ruin the prototype’s beautiful cognac coloured Aniline leather hides, the Porsche Motorsport Centre team has provided a lightweight tonneau cover that, when attached via eight Tenax fasteners, can protect the 911 Speedster Concept’s cabin from inclement weather, but only when parked. When on the road you’d better keep moving.
The interior in mind, Porsche has kept the true spirit of the 911 Speedster intact by removing weighty features like the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems. Even the steering wheel is purely minimalist thanks to the elimination of ancillary switchgear, while the full bucket sport seats are framed in lightweight carbon.
If you’re wondering what the Porsche Motorsport Centre used for a donor car, look no further than the brand’s 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, although the concept’s hood, rear cover and aerodynamic components are made from carbon fibre reinforced composite.
Some stylistic links to Porsche’s motorsport past include headlamp lenses imprinted with “X” markings to denote tape that was often used to preemptively prevent broken glass from littering the racetrack and puncturing tires, while the 911 Speedster Concept also features a 1950s-style gas cap placed in the middle of the hood for quick refueling directly above the tank. Additionally, the side mirrors pay homage to the classic Talbot design that was popular when the 356 was created, while the milled, gold-plated “Speedster” lettering on the thick B-pillars and rear engine cover direct their tribute to the original ‘50s-era 356 Speedster.
Of course, everything is cutting-edge modern under the 911 Speedster Concept’s retrospective skin, its chassis actually pulled from the new 911 GT3, while the low-slung drop-top rides on a set of 21-inch Fuchs alloys featuring “contrasting high gloss polished clover-leaf details,” says Porsche, plus centre locks.
The flat six hidden under the handcrafted rear bodywork spins to 9,000 rpm on its way to making 500 horsepower, while a set of custom titanium tailpipes are put in charge of freeing exhaust gases. And as would only be appropriate, the Porsche Motorsport Centre team made sure a six-speed manual transmission took care of shifting duties.
We’ll soon know if Porsche plans to remove the word “Concept” from the 911 Speedster’s moniker, and thereby provide its legions of sports car fans with a modern-day production version of the storied nameplate. Until then we’ll just have to cross our collective fingers and hope for the best.
There is no striving industry that is not on the web nowadays. Just take a look at giants like Amazon and Alibaba. Wouldn’t you agree that they have profoundly transformed shopping? As people are turning…
There is no striving industry that is not on the web nowadays. Just take a look at giants like Amazon and Alibaba. Wouldn’t you agree that they have profoundly transformed shopping? As people are turning in masses to online shopping for buying even the most ordinary items. It is somewhat surprising that when it comes to buying tires, a lot of people don’t think of online shopping.
In fact, shopping online for tires has so many advantages that once you purchase online, you’ll never buy again from a tire shop!
Online is cheaper
The first thing that jumps out when it comes to online shopping is that it is simply cheaper. In fact, depending on the type of tires you are looking for, you could save between 50$ and 200$. How is that possible, you may ask? Essentially because of two factors: volume and fixed costs.
So, what do we mean by volume? Websites that offer tires sell a lot of them, sometimes even more than car dealerships or specialized shops. The bigger the volume of tires sold on that website, the bigger the discount they can negotiate with the tire manufacturers. Of course, if the website pays less for its tires, so does the customer!
Fixed costs are a bit trickier to understand. In business, a fixed cost is a cost that stays the same, regardless of the quantity of a product you sell. Fixed costs include electricity, rent, water fees, etc. Basically, everything that has nothing to do with tires! Since online stores don’t have to receive clients, and other types of goods, their buildings don’t have to be pretty or welcoming to customers, or capable of receiving a huge variety of stuff. Therefore, they save a lot of money on fixed costs, which means the customer is saving money, in the end.
Online, there are more options!
You like to shop and compare tire models? Shopping online is for you! Online tire shops order their tires directly from the suppliers. If you are looking for a particular tire model, the website can order it in for you. And yes, some traditional shops will do it as well.
However, since most traditional shops have to share their warehouse space between a lot of different products, they can’t keep a big or diverse inventory. Tires websites on the other hand, have the capacity and will have a much bigger inventory. Why? Because 100% of their space is dedicated to storing tires. So, if you are looking for a particular model, chances are that the website will have it in inventory, since it can store so much more.
Online, there is no pressure!
If you go to a car dealership or a traditional store for your tires, there are good chances that the salesman will try to push a particular product on you. Why? Because they have special promotional incentives with certain manufacturers, and in the end, you might not even get the right tire model for your car.
Online, there is no such partnership. You go there, you enter the year, make and model of your vehicle, and you’ll see every type of tire available for your car! You’ll finally be able to shop peacefully, finding the right tire model for you, without any pressure from a salesman.
Still skeptical about online shopping for tires? Go take a look at the low prices we mention for yourself! See all the summer tires deal here at 4Tires.ca or visit other Canadian online website.
Few electric cars have caused as much excitement as the Porsche Mission E, but consider for a moment that one of the German brand’s current hybrids makes 680 horsepower and enthusiasm about an upcoming…
Few electric cars have caused as much excitement as the Porsche Mission E, but consider for a moment that one of the German brand’s current hybrids makes 680 horsepower and enthusiasm about an upcoming EV makes perfect sense.
The hybrid in question is the plug-in Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid that puts 680 net horsepower and 626 combined lb-ft of torque through four wheels via an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox on its way from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds before a terminal velocity of 310 km/h (192.6 mph). It’s the most powerful production Panamera ever made, and is only 20 horsepower shy of the most formidable Porsche ever, the 911 GT2 RS. And you thought the 608-horsepower 918 Spyder was Porsche’s most potent hybrid?
With such an electrified legacy to call upon, thoughts of an all-new fully electric Porsche sports car should cause Elon Musk and his leagues of Tesla faithful to quiver in fear, but first they’ll need to learn how to pronounce the new production model’s name: Taycan.
In a recent release, Porsche clarifies that its “Mission E” concept study isn’t as much a car as it is a name designed to describe the brand’s complete electric offering. This was previously inferred in March of this year when Porsche introduced its Mission E Cross Concept, a crossover-style version of the original 2015 Mission E with a Panamera Sport Turismo style body that Porsche promises to bring to market as well. While we have yet to learn the name of this futuristic electrified SUV, the first of the real-world Mission E offerings will be the Taycan four-door coupe, with series production starting next year.
The rough translation of Taycan is “lively young horse” says Porsche, a theme chosen from the Porsche crest that has featured the image of a leaping horse since 1952.
“Our new electric sports car is strong and dependable; it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomizes freedom”, explains Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG.
In sync with the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, Porsche promises the Taycan will be capable of zero to 100km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, with 200 km/h arriving in less than twelve seconds.
Such performance will be possible due to a pair of synchronous motors developing more than 600 combined horsepower, while its maximum range will be greater than 500 km in accordance with the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
Reports are pegging the strongest Taycan closer to Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s net horsepower, while two additional power outputs will also be available starting at just over 400 horsepower and another in the mid-500 horsepower range.
What’s more, the new Taycan will be built off of a unique EV platform architecture dubbed J1, with its lithium-ion battery built right into the floor.
Additionally, a Mission E photo showing the charge port reveals an 800-volt capability, which if hooked up to corresponding supercharger would mean that 400 km (250 miles) of electricity could be pumped into the Taycan’s battery pack in a mere 15 minutes.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see how closely the upcoming Taycan resembles the Mission E prototype. We certainly hope Porsche manages to keep true to the concept car’s design roots.
Larger, roomier, faster, more efficient, higher tech, more luxurious, more refined and arguably better looking, the 2019 Acura RDX hits the road this week at just $43,990 plus freight and fees, only adding…
Larger, roomier, faster, more efficient, higher tech, more luxurious, more refined and arguably better looking, the 2019 Acura RDX hits the road this week at just $43,990 plus freight and fees, only adding $1,000 to the price of the outgoing model that enjoyed a very long and successful run.
“The 2019 Acura RDX is a pure expression of Precision Crafted Performance. This is a development philosophy that puts the driver at the centre of it all,” said Emile Korkor, Brand Leader, Acura Canada. “Our goal from the beginning has been to deliver a perfect balance of engineering, performance, design and luxury to create a truly uncompromising and joyful experience.”
Acura brings the 2019 RDX to the Canadian market with five trim levels, including an unnamed base model, the $46,490 Technology, $49,990 Elite, $50,290 A-Spec, and finally the top-line $54,990 Platinum Elite.
No matter the trim, the new 2019 RDX relieves the old 3.5-litre V6 in place of a much more efficient 16-valve, DOHC turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with direction injection and, of course, VTEC. Output is rated at 272 horsepower, which is down 7 horsepower from the old V6, but more importantly for an SUV torque is up 28 lb-ft to 280. The end result sees the new 2019 RDX with the strongest base horsepower and torque in the compact luxury SUV class.
The RDX performance advantage is partially due to a low-inertia mono-scroll turbocharger that promotes a wider, fatter torque curve resulting in 40 percent more low-end torque than the outgoing engine, while dual variable timing cams do their part as well.
Connecting the new engine to the standard torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system is an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission with performance-enhancing Grade Logic Control. The new transmission uses Acura’s unique pushbutton gear selector, which is now more fully integrated within the centre console than ever before. Shifting is automatic, or for a more hands-on experience you can shift its gears manually via standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Also standard, Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) lets you to choose between Snow, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes to enhance electric power steering feel and Drive-by-Wire throttle response.
With a smaller displacement engine and four more forward gears it only makes sense that emissions and fuel economy have made gains too, the latter rated at 11.0 L/100km in the city, 8.6 on the highway and 9.9 combined for all trims but the A-Spec that gets an estimate of 11.3, 9.1 and 10.3 respectively, these numbers comparing favourably against last year’s claimed fuel economy rating of 12.4 city, 8.7 highway and 10.7 combined.
The new drivetrain’s efficiency improvements are further aided by a new idle stop-start system that automatically shuts the engine down when it would otherwise be idling and then immediately reboots it when ready to go.
Standard with 19-inch alloy wheels and available with 20s as part of the sportiest A-Spec package just noted, the new 2019 RDX rides on a totally new Acura-exclusive platform architecture featuring electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, a fully independent MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension system with 30 mm front and 23 mm rear stabilizer bars. Additionally, the top-line Platinum Elite model receives an Active Damper System to further enhance performance and comfort.
As noted, the new RDX is longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces, its dimensions measuring 4,744 mm (186.8 inches) in length, with a 2,750-mm (108.3-inch) wheelbase, 1,900 mm (74.8 inches) in width, with 1,631- and 1,643-mm (64.2- and 64.7-inch) front and rear tracks, and 1,668 mm (65.7 inches) in height.
This makes the 2019 model 78 mm (3.1 inches) longer than the outgoing RDX, with a 65-mm (2.5-inch) gain in wheelbase that should make a big difference to rear seat roominess, while it’s also 46 mm (1.8 inches) wider for added shoulder and hip space, not to mention a wider track for improved handling, whereas it’s only 31 mm (1.2 inches) taller, improving headroom yet not upsetting manoeuvrability by increasing the centre of gravity. Despite the new SUV’s increased size it’s only gained 86 kilos (189 lbs) of curb weight, so the aforementioned performance gains should still be easy to feel.
More importantly the 2019 RDX’ increase in size makes for a more comfortable, more useful utility, with maximum cargo volume behind its 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks growing by 142 litres (5.0 cubic feet) to 881 litres (31.1 cubic feet), while the new model offers 82 additional litres (2.9 cubic feet) of luggage space when the second-row is folded flat, at 2,260 litres (79.8 cubic feet).
That cabin is not only roomier and more comfortable, it’s also been upgraded with higher quality premium finishings, says Acura, with more high-grade soft-touch synthetics, particularly on the instrument panel, doors and centre console, plus hand-wrapped, stitched leather surfaces as well as real open-pore Olive Ash hardwood or genuine brushed aluminum inlays, depending on trim levels.
Critical to the acceptance of any new vehicle are digital interfaces, the new RDX anteing up with a large standard 10.2-inch display featuring Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto, which is interesting being that the entire operating system is Android-based—evidently Android Auto is to be introduced later pending updates), Siri Eyes Free, SMS text message and email functionality, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Wi-Fi tethering, AcuraLink Subscription Services, HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, connectivity via two front USB charging ports (plus two optional USB ports in the rear), AM/FM/MP3/WMA audio with nine speakers including a subwoofer, plus more. Acura has eschewed a more traditional tablet-style touchscreen for a lower console-mounted True Touchpad Interface, which Acura promises is very intuitive.
Along with the impressive load of standard equipment already mentioned, the base RDX continues Acura’s value theme by including standard full low and high beam LED “Jewel Eye” auto-on/off headlights with automatic high beam control, plus LED daytime running lights, LED brake lights and LED taillights, while additional standard highlights include a remote engine starter, proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, an acoustic windshield, active noise control, ambient lighting, a 7.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display within the primary gauge cluster, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, dual-zone automatic climate control, a HomeLink garage door opener, a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, side mirrors with driver recognition, reverse gear tilt-down and integrated LED turn indicators, a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror, 12-way powered front seats including powered lumbar support and four-way adjustable headrests, two-position memory for the driver’s seat and side mirrors, a large panoramic moonroof, a powered tailgate, a capless fueling system, and more.
Also standard is an extensive suite of active and passive safety features including Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, and Lane Keeping Assist, while all the usual active and passive safety equipment are joined by front knee airbags, hill start assist and tire pressure monitoring.
Opting for Tech trim means that your RDX will receive yet more safety features including Blind Spot Information with a Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, and traffic sign recognition, while Tech trim also includes front and rear parking sensors, navigation, voice recognition, and a 12-speaker ELS Studio audio upgrade with the rear USB ports noted earlier.
Upgrading to A-Spec trim includes the aforementioned styling and performance improvements as well as LED fog lights, power-folding side mirrors, a heatable steering wheel, metal sport pedals, unique Alcantara and leather-trimmed upholstery with contrast stitching and seat piping, ventilated front seats, and a 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D audio system.
The move up to Elite trim means a step back to the 12-speaker audio system and the removal of ventilated front seats and LED fog lamps, but it adds headlamp washers, auto-dimming side mirrors, perimeter/approach puddle lights, perforated leather upholstery, and heated rear outboard seats.
Lastly, Platinum Elite trim adds back the LED fog lamps, ventilated front seats and 16-speaker 3D stereo, while also including adaptive cornering headlights, a colour head-up display that projects key information onto the windshield ahead of the driver, a surround view parking monitor, a rear camera washer, 16-way powered front seats including lumbar support, thigh extensions and side bolsters, the genuine Olive Ash hardwood trim mentioned earlier, complete with contrast stitching and seat piping, and metallic cargo area garnishes.
Of course, exterior styling will be key to sales success, and to that end the 2019 RDX is the first model to fully incorporate the Acura Precision Concept design language. We’ve seen the new grille gracing the front of the larger MDX luxury SUV, the TLX sport sedan, and the brand’s flagship RLX luxury sedan, but these were dramatic mid-cycle updates, not wholesale redesigns.
The Diamond Pentagon grille appears identical in shape if not size to those already in use by the TLX and RLX, both of which were slightly bolder and more pronounced than the MDX variant, but the lower front fascia of the prototype pulls cues from the Japanese brand’s larger SUV, particularly the pointed body-colour strike-through found hovering above each corner vent. They’re much larger and point in the opposite direction, while these, along with the horizontal row of LED fog lamps just below, flow more naturally into the centre portion of the fascia than the MDX’ vertical stack. Overall, the new RDX lower fascia design works well, particularly how it wraps around the sides of the bumper.
Likewise, a more expressive set of headlamps wrap more fully around the sides of the new model’s front fenders before following the curvature of the front wheel cutouts upward to where they finalize at the hood line. Those fenders are rounder and more organically shaped, flowing naturally into more fluidly sculpted door panels, with the arcing greenhouse culminating at the centre point of the rear quarter window instead of the base.
The top corner of the new RDX rear design forms a visual “X” where extended chrome window trim butts up against body-colour rooftop and side panels plus glossy black rear window trim extensions, resulting in a unique take on current floating roof trends, while the multi-angled LED taillights look fresh, modern and harmonious with the rest of the design.
Lastly, the front and rear bumpers differ depending on trim level, with base and luxury models getting splashes of chrome around the corner vents up front and a matte black apron in the back, and A-Spec trim receiving gloss-black for the former details and a diffuser-style design between the exhaust pipes.
“The all-new RDX delivers a powerful statement about who we are and where we are headed as a brand,” commented Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura, when the RDX Prototype was introduced at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year. “For our customers, the new RDX is a quantum leap forward in design, style and performance, with luxury features and technology that will elevate their ownership experience.”
The 2019 RDX is now available at your local Acura retailer.
Nissan Canada just announced that its semi-autonomous “hands-on-wheel” ProPilot Assist technology will be added to its popular Qashqai subcompact SUV later this year, likely as part of its 2019 package. …
Nissan Canada just announced that its semi-autonomous “hands-on-wheel” ProPilot Assist technology will be added to its popular Qashqai subcompact SUV later this year, likely as part of its 2019 package.
“Nissan continues to democratize technology, bringing our most advanced systems to our highest volume models, rather than reserving them for our most expensive vehicles,” said Bert Brooks, senior manager, product planning, Nissan Canada Inc., last year when introducing the technology to the larger compact Roque. “Customers are delighted when they realize they can afford technology usually reserved for high-end, expensive luxury vehicles. Bringing unexpected value is core to the Nissan brand and our Nissan Intelligent Mobility mission.”
ProPilot Assist controls acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving, but take note you’ll be required to remain totally alert and involved during the process, with your hands on the wheel (at least most of the time).
ProPilot Assist is well tested, with Nissan having driven more than 320,000 kilometres of North American roads using the semi-autonomous technology, the automaker stating that it was specifically designed to respond to North American road markings and driving situations.
Nissan also claims ProPilot Assist is more intuitive and user-friendly than other driver-assist technologies, and furthermore that it can help reduce driver fatigue and allow for a more confident driving experience, especially for drivers that regularly experience heavy highway traffic.
Those looking for even more autonomy from their future cars can take heart that Nissan will be evolving ProPilot Assist to include increasing levels of autonomy in future updates, with the ability to navigate city intersections and more.
The news of ProPilot Assist on the 2019 Qashqai comes hot on the heels of January’s milestone announcement of 75,000 global ProPilot Assist sales, when Nissan USA executive vice president Daniele Schillaci added, “ProPILOT is a breakthrough technology and an important building block for fully autonomous vehicles under our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision. It delivers a much more exciting drive, so it’s no surprise that it has received such strong, early customer acceptance. ProPILOT is another example of how we’re delivering exciting technologies today through Nissan Intelligent Mobility that will move everyone to a better world.”
Nissan plans to make ProPilot Assist available in nine more Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance models by 2020, with North America, as well as the European, Japanese and Chinese markets, benefiting from the investment.
As noted in an earlier quote, ProPilot Assist is part of a larger technology suite dubbed Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which the automaker previously described as a “blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.”
“The world is facing serious challenges such as climate change, traffic congestion, road fatalities and increasing air pollution,” said Brooks. “Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are committed to addressing these challenges by making transportation safer, smarter, and more enjoyable. The new ProPilot Assist technology is a perfect example of how we can make drivers feel more confident and more connected to their vehicles.”
Along with the 2018 Rogue SL Platinum, ProPilot Assist is also available with the redesigned 2018 Leaf.
To find out more, check out this short explanatory video that accompanied the initial ProPilot Assist announcement as part of the 2018 Leaf:
Hybrids are boring. Such has been the steady mantra from performance enthusiasts since Honda and Toyota started pairing gasoline engines with electric motors back at the turn of the century. Plenty…
Hybrids are boring. Such has been the steady mantra from performance enthusiasts since Honda and Toyota started pairing gasoline engines with electric motors back at the turn of the century.
Plenty of automakers have joined the fray over the past two decades including Porsche, which introduced its first modern-day hybrid in the 2011 Cayenne, and after that in the 2012 Panamera (auto history buffs would point to the 1899 Lohner-Porsche as the first hybrid ever).
With these two models, and subsequent E-Hybrid replacements, Porsche helped to eradicate the “hybrids are boring” claim, and then totally crushed such rhetoric with the German luxury brand’s first plug-in hybrid, the mighty 918 Spyder that sprints from zero to 100km/h in just 2.5 seconds, can reach a top speed of more than 340 km/h (211 mph), and currently holds the fastest Nürburgring Nordschleife time for a hybrid, not to mention the fourth quickest lap overall. Boring? Hardly.
Last year Porsche adapted the 918 Spyder’s plug-in hybrid technology to a model that more of us could enjoy, the redesigned Panamera E-Hybrid, and now it’s done so to the most popular model in its lineup: Meet the new 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid.
The new model will replace the current Cayenne S E-Hybrid, but don’t let the missing “S” fool you into thinking it’s a less potent derivative, as the new luxury ute boasts higher outputs, quicker acceleration, a faster top speed, and more EV range than the outgoing SUV.
The 2019 Cayenne E-Hybrid gets a single twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre direct-injection V6 making 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, which when combined with the electric motor’s 134-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque results in 455 net horsepower and 516 net pound-feet of torque (don’t try to add them up because net hybrid output isn’t so cut and dry). That’s a sizeable 39 horsepower increase over the outgoing model that uses a less powerful supercharged V6/electric motor combo, plus 81 additional lb-ft of torque.
The most noticeable difference is straight-line acceleration, which sees the new Cayenne E-Hybrid hit 100km/h from standstill in just 5.0 seconds, carving 0.9 seconds out of its predecessor’s sprint time, while the 2019 model’s 253 km/h top speed is 10 km/h faster than the outgoing SUV. This means it’s the quickest Cayenne not wearing the “Turbo” badge off the line, beating the Cayenne GTS to 100km/h by 0.2 seconds.
Standard Porsche Traction Management active all-wheel drive makes sure each wheel optimally grips pavement at takeoff, while a quick-shifting paddle-actuated eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox gives the Cayenne E-Hybrid the type of immediate sporting response and hands-on feel expected of a top-tier performance utility.
As important in this luxury class is smooth, linear power delivery, which has been achieved by sandwiching the electric motor between the internal combustion engine (ICE) and transmission, just like Porsche did with the much-lauded Panamera E-Hybrid.
A state-of-the-art liquid-cooled 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, stored below the cargo floor in back, powers the electric motor. Despite being identically sized to the outgoing battery, the new pack provides approximately 30-percent more energy for up to 44 km of pure electric propulsion on a single charge, or so claims the NEDC European test cycle. Being that Natural Resources Canada’s rating system is less optimistic we can expect an estimated range closer to 35 km. Either way, the new model shows significant improvement in EV capability, being that the outgoing Cayenne S E-Hybrid’s 10.1-kWh battery only gave it 23 km of EV range.
Also notable, the new Cayenne E-Hybrid can reach speeds of 135 km/h solely under EV power, so therefore “zero” emissions driving for short durations won’t be a problem.
According to Porsche, a fully drained battery will only need 2.3 hours with a 230-volt, 32 amp connection and optional 7.2 kW onboard charger, although the standard 3.6 kW charger will require 7.8 hours to fill from empty when plugged into a 230-volt/10-amp connection.
And what about fuel economy? Plug-in hybrids are notoriously difficult to quantify by the usual methods due to their ability to be driven without the need of gasoline at all, but nevertheless Porsche is touting an average of about 3.5 L/100km in combined city/highway driving.
Design differences between the E-Hybrid and other Cayenne trims are minor, with the new PHEV featuring the same Acid Green badge outlines and brake calipers as the current model, while those bright green accents can be found under the hood surrounding the metal plaque atop the engine cover, and also continue inside the SUV, particularly on the E-Hybrid’s tachometer needles and Sport Chrono dial. On the topic of instrumentation, unique battery pack charging and rate of depletion info can be found on the Cayenne E-Hybrid’s gauge cluster and centre infotainment display.
This brings up standard equipment, with the just-noted Sport Chrono package part of the base Cayenne E-Hybrid feature set that also includes six adjustable driving modes for maximizing efficiency, performance, comfort or moods in between.
Other standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, white or black exterior paint, Keyless Drive wireless ignition, leather upholstery, heatable eight-way power-adjustable front seats, power-folding heatable side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a heatable leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, dual colour multi-information displays within the instrument cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a backup camera, Porsche Communication Management (PCM), Connect Plus with online navigation, Apple CarPlay, wireless internet access and more, while the standard list continues with a 10-speaker 150-watt audio system, satellite and HD radio, four USB charging ports, a powered liftgate, ultra-convenient 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks, and much more.
Porsche also includes standard Active Suspension Management (with an option for a three-chamber air suspension upgrade), Integrated Porsche 4D-Chassis Control (introduced on the new Panamera) that centrally networks all the suspension sensors after millisecond longitudinal, lateral and vertical acceleration analysis, regenerative braking, and Auxiliary Cabin Conditioning to help heat or cool the interior while recharging.
Options include a multitude of 20-, 21- and 22-inch alloy wheels, PDLS “bending” headlights, more advanced LED Matrix headlamps with PDLS+, proximity-sensing keyless access, ambient lighting, 14- or 18-way powered front seats with memory and massage, ventilated front seats, heatable rear seats, auto-dimming mirrors, four-zone climate control, Bose surround sound audio, a panoramic sunroof, myriad interior material, colour and trim combinations, plenty of driver-assist technologies such as auto-dimming headlamps, dynamic cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, lane change alert and assist, etcetera.
The Cayenne E-Hybrid also has the option of the first head-up display system incorporated into a Porsche, which projects full-colour readouts of the SUV’s speed, engine revs and navigation information on the windshield ahead of the driver.
Porsche InnoDrive is new as well, the available feature taking adaptive cruise control to the next level by combining real-time traffic info up to 2.9 km ahead and navigation map data, such as speed limits, to preselect gearing and optimize engine/motor power delivery.
Cayenne E-Hybrid pricing will start at $91,700 before freight and fees, while initial deliveries are scheduled for spring of 2019.