Anyone who believes the Acura ILX is merely a badge-engineered Honda Civic might want to rethink their point of view.  First off, since the 10th-generation Civic arrived for 2017 the two don’t even…

Acura ILX gets significant refresh for 2019

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
The 2019 Acura ILX gets a major refresh, and looks especially nice in sporty A-Spec trim. (Photo: Acura)

Anyone who believes the Acura ILX is merely a badge-engineered Honda Civic might want to rethink their point of view. 

First off, since the 10th-generation Civic arrived for 2017 the two don’t even share underpinnings, with even this latest 2019 upgrade riding on the previous ninth-gen Civic platform architecture, not that this really matters to those behind the wheel, who no doubt will continue to enjoy rewarding driving dynamics and extremely good efficiency. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
The ILX continues to be a fun car to drive thanks to a standard 201-hp 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddles. (Photo: Acura)

Despite getting a dramatic refresh that brings it inline with the rest of the Acura lineup, the 2019 ILX continues forward with a wonderfully rev-happy 201-horsepower, 16-valve, DOHC, i-VTEC-infused 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine borrowed from the previous Civic Si albeit refined for this car’s more luxury-oriented gateway-to-premium role. As part of its repurposed application the potent engine joins up to an automated dual-clutch eight-speed transmission with paddle-shifters, providing both smooth ease of use and quick-shifting performance, while its front-wheel drivetrain aids fuel economy. If it seems familiar, this formidable powertrain is also used in the base TLX. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
The ILX is the most popular car in its class with millennial buyers, no doubt because of its stylish, sporty character and excellent value. (Photo: Acura)

The most notable update is the Japanese luxury brand’s new trademark Diamond Pentagon grille up front and centre, complemented by a new front bumper and lower fascia. The latter is made more dramatic in new A-Spec trim, while the rest of the car gets minor updates from front to rear. Truly, only the seven-element Jewel Eye LED headlamps look unchanged, although Acura points out the 2019 ILX is entirely new from the A-pillars forward, with even the hood more sharply sculpted. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
Now the entire Acura line-up (NSX aside) has been transformed with the new Diamond Pentagon grille design. (Photo: Acura)

The shape of the LED taillights appear totally new, while the rear bumper and apron are revised as well, once again more significantly in A-Spec guise. No doubt if you like the look of the new TLX you’ll also appreciate the changes made to the ILX, and no one should argue that the updated 2019 version is wholly more upscale looking than the car it replaces. Of course, no mid-cycle update would be complete without new wheel designs, which means lower end models get fresh sets of 17-inch split-five-spoke alloys with trim-specific finishes, and the new A-Spec sports exclusive 18-inch rims. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
All 2019 ILX trims get attractive new LED taillights, while the A-Spec features a more aggressive rear apron. (Photo: Acura)

Changes inside are less noticeable at first glance, with many of the same high-quality finishings remaining for 2019, albeit Acura talks of “more luxurious and sporty cabin appointments” too, which we’ll report on in an upcoming road test. Acura also highlights new silver-finish dash trim featuring a new chrome insert, plus a machine-finished ignition button. Even more consequential to real-world comfort, the reworked ILX receives “more intricately styled and reshaped sport seats, front and rear, with available high-contrast piping and stitching.” Driver’s seat power-adjustable lumbar support is standard across the line as well, making comfort priority one. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
Once again, full LED headlights are standard. (Photo: Acura)

Additionally, the dual-screen On Demand Multi-Use Display (ODMD 2.0) infotainment system gets a much-needed update with fresh graphics, new software, a faster responding operating system (by up to 30 percent), more intuitive menus and command structures, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Acura says the 7.0-inch touchscreen portion of its dual-screen setup features a capacitive display that’s “more responsive to touch and is positioned within easy reach of the driver and front passenger,” so we look forward to testing this out in an upcoming review. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
Acura has improved interior refinement and significantly upgraded the infotainment system. (Photo: Acura)

The new 2019 ILX gets five new exterior colours as well, including Platinum White Pearl, Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, Canyon Bronze Metallic and A-Spec-exclusive Apex Blue Pearl, while Lunar Silver Metallic and Modern Steel Metallic carryover. Likewise, Ebony and Graystone colourways continue forward inside, although take note new Espresso provides some upscale colour to the ILX cabin, while the sportier A-Spec model gets exclusive Ebony on Red or Red on Ebony combinations, mixed with soft, grippy Ultrasuede seat inserts. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
Acura’s dual-display infotainment setup carries forward into the refreshed model, but the graphics are new, it’s faster, and better organized. (Photo: Acura)

Speaking of the A-Spec upgrade, along with the exterior enhancements mentioned earlier, which also include distinctive styling with more aggressive aero components, plus dark chrome grille and lower fascia trim, darker headlights and taillights, LED fog lamps, a gloss-black rear deck lid spoiler, and unique new 18-inch alloys in a Shark Gray finish, the A-Spec gets a special graphite-silver dash accent with chrome insert, an A-Spec badged steering wheel with contrast stitching, and aluminum sport pedals. The aforementioned sport seats feature high contrast stitching as well. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
The top display is not touch capacitive, but instead is controlled via a knob below the bottom display. (Photo: Acura)

Additionally, the 2019 ILX joins every other model in the brand’s lineup in providing the AcuraWatch suite of active safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, including Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
The graphics certainly look better, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (shown) now come standard. (Photo: Acura)

Acura is the only premium brand to provide such standard advanced safety features to all of its models, and this focus has pushed it up the U.S. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s (IIHS) rankings, resulting in three of its recently updated models receiving Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick + scores. The 2019 ILX should benefit from the AcuraWatch upgrade too, as the 2018 model already earns 5 safety stars from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), plus zero complaints, zero investigations and zero recalls. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
ILX A-Spec trim gets the choice of either black leather with red highlights or this bold red on black theme. (Photo: Acura)

The current ILX’ high NHTSA score results from Acura’s Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure as well as other standard safety and driver assistive features, such as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control, an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, advanced front airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), not to mention pedestrian injury-mitigation exterior design elements, while the new 2019 ILX will also be available with blind spot information (BSI) and rear cross traffic monitoring. 

2019 Acura ILX A-Spec
The A-Spec sport seats are upholstered in perforated leather with a grippy suede-like Alcantara insert down the middle. (Photo: Acura)

Also notable, the outgoing 2018 ILX earned a top Initial Quality Study (IQS) ranking for its segment this year. In more detail, it received a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and a quality award in the Small Premium Car segment. The ILX also earned the top position in the entry-luxury car category of Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Luxury Brand Awards, while Acura was the top ranked brand for the third consecutive year. 

Will the redesigned 2019 ILX continue to attract more millennial buyers than any of its compact luxury competitors? It’s been the class leader amongst young millennials every year since 2013, so only time will tell if the refreshed model continues this trend. Still, the new ILX’ more distinctive styling, continued strong performance, and high quality, comfortable interior should help it maintain a steady influx of new and repeat customers. 

The new 2019 Acura ILX will go on sale later this month.

Let’s be clear, mid-size family sedans aren’t exactly selling as well as they used to. Nevertheless, this category still represents one of the largest market segments in the auto industry, so it hardly…

Nissan Canada puts price on all-new 2019 Altima

2019 Nissan Altima
The new 2019 Nissan Altima’s frontal design won’t go unnoticed. (Photo: Nissan)

Let’s be clear, mid-size family sedans aren’t exactly selling as well as they used to. Nevertheless, this category still represents one of the largest market segments in the auto industry, so it hardly make sense to abandon it despite falling sales. 

Then again, such is what Ford recently announced with the upcoming cancellation of its Fusion sedan, a car that was once a thorn in the side of key rivals that still include the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and yes this Nissan Altima, amongst others. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The new Altima’s sleek, sporty styling looks as if it should be priced much higher. (Photo: Nissan)

The Altima sits third in the U.S., yet placed only sixth in Canada at the close of 2017, beaten by that Fusion despite it being on death row, plus the Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Sonata. For reasons having nothing to do with this fully redesigned sixth-generation 2019 Altima, as the new car hasn’t gone on sale yet, the current model’s year-to-date Canadian sales as of August 2018 have boosted it to fifth out of 11 mid-size family sedan competitors, and its 4,323 deliveries are getting mighty close to the Malibu’s 5,054 and Fusion’s 5,622. Could this new redesign push Altima sales into third here too? 

2019 Nissan Altima
The deep and wide Vmotion 2.0 grille provides plenty of drama up front. (Photo: Nissan)

The new 2019 Altima certainly has a lot going for it. First off, Nissan just announced a competitive price of $27,998 plus freight and fees for the base Altima S, which while a tiny bit more expensive than the Camry’s $27,850 retail sticker, and somewhat more than the Accord’s $26,590 MSRP, the 2019 Altima comes standard with all-wheel drive, a feature that’s only otherwise standard with the Subaru Legacy and rarely even optional with mid-size sedan rivals—AWD is only optional with the aforementioned Fusion, and therefore we should now appreciate that its availability will hardly be permanent. Nevertheless, standard all-wheel drive makes a great deal of sense in most of Canada, as it combines the safety of all-weather traction with improved performance. 

2019 Nissan Altima
These unique 19-inch alloys are part of 250-unit limited Altima Edition ONE trim. (Photo: Nissan)

Named Intelligent AWD, the Altima system utilizes an advanced torque split design that automatically distributes power from 100 percent up front and zero at the rear, all the way to an even division of 50 percent front to rear. The bias depends on road conditions and resulting wheel slippage, with the default system being front-wheel drive to save on fuel and reduce emissions. Nissan claims its new Intelligent AWD works seamlessly with the Altima’s standard limited-slip differential too, as well as its Hill Start Assist system. 

2019 Nissan Altima
LED headlights and taillights come standard across the Altima line. (Photo: Nissan)

Performance in mind, the 2019 Altima comes standard with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine good for 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, which is a 9 horsepower and 3 lb-ft increase over the engine it replaces. Reportedly it’s smoother, quieter, and more efficient than the outgoing four-cylinder too, while the revised Xtronic CVT gets an expanded lock-up area for improved fuel economy, plus paddle shifters are available. 

Speaking of available, the new Altima comes in three trims, starting with the aforementioned S model, which is followed by the SV for $31,498, and the Platinum for $34,998. Additionally, a 250-example limited-production launch version dubbed Edition ONE gets unique design elements such as special 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, an Edition ONE exterior badge, illuminated kick plates, and floor mats with the Edition ONE logo, along with Platinum model’s standard feature set, and will be available for the 2019 model year only at a price of $35,998, while freight and PDI will be $1,795 for all Altima trims. To find out all the 2019 Altima pricing details, including dealer invoice pricing and rebate info that could save you thousands, check out CarCostCanada.com.

2019 Nissan Altima
The new Altima gets a clean, uncluttered interior design that should appeal to most people. (Photo: Nissan)

Despite being a base model, standard Altima S features are plentiful and include the aforementioned automatic Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), an electromechanical parking brake, advanced LED headlamps, LED taillights, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free smartphone connectivity with streaming audio, hands-free text messaging, Siri Eyes Free voice recognition, and more, while the standard menu continues with heated front seats, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, and advanced driver assistance systems such as Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), Rear Door Alert (that reminds you of anything/anybody left in back), Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW), and Intelligent Driver Alertness (I-DA). 

2019 Nissan Altima
This 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen comes standard, and with it Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a backup camera and more. (Photo: Nissan)

We can expect the usual improvements in upper trims too, such as proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, nine-speaker Bose audio, an Intelligent Around View Monitor (I-AVM) (standard with Platinum trim), a powered moonroof, SiriusXM-powered NissanConnect Services featuring compatible smartphone and smartwatch access to functions like remote engine start/stop, remote door lock/unlock, valet alert, etcetera, and ProPILOT Assist semi-automated driving, an exclusive Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology that will be standard on Altima SV and Platinum trims. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The new Altima grows its interior for more spaciousness and comfort. (Photo: Nissan)

ProPILOT Assist is now available on a number of new Nissan models, but the Altima will only be second behind the new 2019 Rogue to receive the Japanese brand’s new Nissan Safety Shield 360, which is a suite of six advanced driver assistance systems including Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Intelligent Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and High Beam Assist (HBA). 

2019 Nissan Altima
The 2019 Nissan Altima promises to make quite an impact on the mid-size sedan class when it arrives in November. (Photo: Nissan)

As for styling, the new 2019 Altima’s exterior design speaks for itself, and most should find its assertive new face to their liking. Its predominant feature is a go-big-or-go-home version of the brand’s Vmotion 2.0 grille, surrounded by those sleek new LED headlamps mentioned earlier, while the rest of the car portrays an athletic stance from front to back.  

Inside, the look is clean and contemporary, while Nissan promises more premium materials used throughout. A highlight feature includes what the automaker calls a “wide ‘gliding wing’ instrument panel – which accentuates the exterior’s low cowl and hood, helping create an open, airy environment.” 

The 2019 Altima will go on sale this coming November at Nissan dealers across Canada.

With Tesla hemorrhaging from its inability to hit Model 3 build targets (have you noticed the 53,239-unit third quarter number TSLA bulls are currently celebrating is less than the 5,000 units per week…

Mercedes reveals new Tesla Model X-fighting EQC SUV

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The 2020 EQC is Mercedes-Benz’ first modern-day dedicated electric vehicle, and it looks like a winner. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

With Tesla hemorrhaging from its inability to hit Model 3 build targets (have you noticed the 53,239-unit third quarter number TSLA bulls are currently celebrating is less than the 5,000 units per week we were all told was the key must-do target in Q2? It was actually about 4,100 per week); the latter numbers partially impacted by Tesla’s operations having “gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell”, as per a tweet by Musk, followed up by another tweet citing “an extreme shortage of car carrier trailers. Started building our own car carriers this weekend to alleviate load.”, which was refuted by Guy Young, general manager of the Auto Haulers Association of America, who would know, as well as Antti Lindstrom, a trucking analyst for IHS Markit, saying, “I have never heard of a situation like that…”; the fallout from CEO Elon Musk’s inane “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” tweet that opened up a second Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into the irresponsible way the public company conducts business and caused Musk to personally dole out a $20 million USD fine, resign as chairman, and ordered the board to add two unrelated (to Musk) impartial members (who knows what “best practices” issues they’ll uncover?).

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
AMG Line trim provides a sportier look to go along with larger wheels and additional modifications. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

More Tesla executives (just two of many who have recently left) leaving after a video of Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whisky on a popular podcast went viral on social media; the even more insane “pedo guy” tweetstorm initiated by this obviously unhinged social media (and who knows what else) addict, which has resulted in an ongoing defamation suit; plus let’s not forget about the initial SEC/Justice Department investigation into reported production numbers compared to actual numbers, which may also end up implicating the company, the board, as well as Musk; and the list goes on and on about the mismanaged, unprofitable, overvalued California company, and all the while luxury auto industry stalwarts have been quietly reinventing themselves with enticing electric vehicles of their own. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The new EQC shows off a fairly traditional crossover SUV design, but under the skin it’s 100-percent new EV. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Certainly Tesla enjoys a fervent cult following, many of which would never consider switching to a more established, stable luxury brand, even if that carmaker offered better built cars with greater EV range, more features, greater practicality, and arguably more prestige (cults are like that), but then again others have been waiting for something competitive from more mainstream premium marques before taking the plunge into electrification. Many of these buyers smartly want to know their carmaker of choice will still be in business in order to allow for a strong resale valuation, fulfill their warranty, provide parts and software upgrades, support dealerships for service requirements, etcetera. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The new EQC combines high style with electrifying performance. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

The first of these heritage rich legacy luxury brands to arrive on the EV scene was BMW with its i sub-brand, particularly the compact i3 that showed up in May of 2014, but that, and the i8 plug-in hybrid that followed in August of that year, was merely dipping a toe into the water for the Bavarian powerhouse, there’s much more to come. Porsche has long been teasing us with its Mission E four-door coupe that arrived earlier this year in production trim along with a new Taycan nameplate, while more recently we’ve seen Jaguar raise eyebrows with its ultra-quick and very stylish full-production I-Pace crossover. Likewise, Audi just pulled the cover off its new E-Tron electric SUV, and not to be outdone by its European peers Mercedes-Benz recently unveiled its new EQC 400 crossover SUV. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The EQC could easily pass for a conventionally powered luxury SUV, but it’s pure plug-in under the hood. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Those keen on things green have been patiently waiting to learn more about Mercedes-Benz’ new EQ sub-brand, and now with the introduction of this EQC 400, such anticipatory angst can be released. The new plug-in electric SUV appears similar in shape to the current Mercedes GLC, but don’t let its looks fool you into believing it’s merely a rebadged version of that compact luxury SUV, as the EQC 400 rides on a completely unique chassis architecture designed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle, while it also receives frontal styling that’s unlike anything ever offered by the Stuttgart-based brand. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The AMG Line certainly adds an aggressive element to the EQC’s smooth sheet metal. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Before delving into design, the EQC 400’s new underpinnings support an all-new powertrain that’s can only be called a radical departure from previous Mercedes-Benz models, or at least anything offered here. South of the border our American friends have benefited from the B-Class Electric Drive for the past four years, an EV that actually sourced its Lithium-ion battery pack from Tesla after using the same company’s electric motor for prototype development (TSLA’s technology is respected even if its business acumen may be suspect), but the new EQC 400 is a wholly modernized Mercedes-powered EV with an in-house developed and produced battery and drivetrain to boot. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
With a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 5.0 seconds, the EQC is as much about performance as it is about clean efficiency. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

While we’re on the subject of past Mercedes plug-ins, the German automaker has long been electrifying versions of its C-Class, E-Class and S-Class sedans, plus two of its more popular sport utilities. The GLC 350e 4MATIC compact luxury SUV and the GLE 550e 4MATIC mid-size luxury SUV are still available in Canada, but the new EQ sub-brand will soon be the sole face of EVs for Mercedes-Benz, an automaker that actually claims its first hybrid hit the road back in 1906 (they should seriously consider bringing back that car’s “Mixte” nameplate for future M-B EQ hybrids as it’s a great moniker). 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
So far the EQC 400 is the only model being touted for 2020. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

As it stands, the new EQC 400 continues to wear a big, bold, chromed Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star on its front grille and rear liftgate, not to mention each wheel cap, while making a large semicircle below its grille is a big black moustache shaped panel, formalizing the look so to speak. 

The EQC 400’s frontal appearance gets slightly augmented depending on trim, the classier Electric Art version modified with a thinner moustache and a more aggressive lower apron in the sportier AMG Line, and despite being a zero-emissions vehicle with environmental stewardship high on its agenda, sporty is the predominant theme. Keep in mind this is a five-person luxury crossover SUV, yet it can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 5.0 seconds, or alternatively if attempting to go farther on a single charge can manage up to 450 kilometres (279 miles) of EV range on the NEDC test cycle (although we shouldn’t expect such optimistic Transport Canada or EPA numbers). 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The EQC can be recharged in short order. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

You’ll be able to monitor range, performance and other parameters via two massive tablet-style 10.25-inch media displays, which are uniquely placed ahead of louvred panels that look like high-end stereo amplifier heatsinks. It’s not uncommon for an automaker to pull styling cues from audio design, like Porsche’s previous ultra-techy button-overload Nakamichi Dragon-like centre console design, but in alignment with modern tastes and sentiments the EQC maintains a minimalist approach to switchgear, with a centre stack made up of a long horizontal line of aluminized rockers that’s complemented by another row of glossy black buttons below. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
Partnerships with charging infrastructure brands are essential to increasing electric market penetration. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

That’s not to say it’s understated to the point of boredom, the EQC’s big centre vents stylishly eye-catching for their unique shape as well as some oh-so trendy rose gold accenting, and while the colourful metal decorates other key points through the cabin take heed that it’s specific to the aforementioned Electric Art trim, with the AMG Line getting a decidedly sportier motif in its place. Motive power source aside, the “Electric” part of the equation gets its name from plentiful blue accent lighting, which looks like an appealing combination. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The EQC’s interior appears roomy, comfortable, filled with features, well-designed, and beautifully made. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Speaking of colourful, the Stuttgart brand’s MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system features some EQ-specific functions such as range, charge status and energy flow information, plus a navigation system that optimizes route guidance to maximum that range via an Eco Assist feature, directs you to a charging facility when required, while the MBUX system manages charging current and departure time and more. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
You’re looking at two 10.25-inch displays seamlessly fuzed together for a massive tablet effect. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Additionally, the EQC gets its own Alexa-inspired personality that only needs a “Hey Mercedes” prompt to call up most any request your heart desires. For instance, if you say, “Hey Mercedes, I’m cold” it will increase the automatic climate control system’s temperature by one degree, but this capability raises the question of data mining and who might be listening in on all of your personal conversations. After all, the “Hey Mercedes” system utilizes a remote server via internet connection for most requests, and only relies solely on its onboard computer if outside help can’t be found. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
Get ready for spaciousness, because the EQC offers a lot of SUV goodness for the EV class. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

While performance and range was mentioned earlier, exactly how Mercedes makes all the electrics keep pace is mostly straightforward as far as modern-day EVs go. It’s a two-motor drivetrain, with the unspecified frontal unit providing the EQC’s most economical operation, meaning that it takes over motive force when cruising and/or under lighter loads. The motor in back, also unspecified, is primarily for performance, supposedly allowing for traditional Mercedes rear-biased get-up-and-go. Combined, the two make a substantial 402 horsepower and a staggering 564 lb-ft of immediate torque. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The EQC boasts stereo amplifier heatsink-style panels that really add a level of 3D depth to the design. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

A lithium-ion battery pack is separated into two modules that contain 48 cells apiece, with the other four packs consisting of 72 cells each, resulting in a total of 384 cells and an 80-kWh capacity. This places the EQC about middle of the road amongst key rivals, with Audi’s new e-tron SUV good for 95 kWh, Jaguar’s i-Pace already offering 90 kWh, and the upcoming BMW iX3 slated for more than 70 kWh when it debuts in production form. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The EQC rolls on its own chassis architecture, completely separate from anything else Mercedes offers. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

In order to move away from stoplights quickest you’ll need to set the EQC’s Dynamic Select driving mode selector from Max Range, Eco or Comfort to Sport, or Individual if you’ve got this setting optimized for performance. 

Stopping power won’t be an issue thanks to sizeable discs at each corner and a bevy of advanced driver assistance systems such as Active Brake Assist, while a Driver Assistance Package improves the brake assist and adds Evasive Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Plus, and Exit Warning Assist to a suite of convenience and safety features like Active Distance Assist Distronic and traffic jam following. 

We can expect the new EQC to arrive in Canada by 2020, but we’ll have to wait until that time draws near before we’ll get an idea about pricing, trims and market-specific features. 

Until then, enjoy the videos Mercedes has provided below…

 

Electric now has a Mercedes: The all-new EQC (0:48): 

 

Electric now has a Mercedes: The all-new EQC | Trailer (1:56): 

 

Mercedes-Benz EQC world premiere in Stockholm | Highlights (2:48): 

 

Mercedes-Benz EQC world premiere in Stockholm | Re-Live (19:20):  

News that Acura would be making a sporty A-Spec version of its four-cylinder powered, front-wheel drive TLX should be well accepted now that it’s available, as the new variant costs thousands less than…

Acura TLX sport-luxury sedan gets four-cylinder A-Spec trim for 2019

2019 Acura TLX A-Spec
Acura is offering a new four-cylinder-powered TLX A-Spec for 2019, which saves thousands initially and plenty at the pump too. (Photo: Acura)

News that Acura would be making a sporty A-Spec version of its four-cylinder powered, front-wheel drive TLX should be well accepted now that it’s available, as the new variant costs thousands less than the V6-powered model and reduces ongoing costs by achieving better fuel economy. 

The new four-cylinder TLX A-Spec looks identical to the V6 version, including its matte-black grille, sportier front fascia design with larger air intakes, dark chrome internal headlights, fog lamps, extended side sills, gloss black rear trunk lid spoiler, dark tinted taillights, special glossy black 19-inch alloy wheels on 245/40 R19 all-season tires, A-Spec branded door sill garnish, red LED ambient interior lighting, thicker-rimmed leather-wrapped A-Spec sport steering wheel, red-accented primary instruments, metallic driver’s foot rest pedal, brushed aluminum inlays, unique heavily bolstered A-Spec leather sport seats, and black roofliner. The four-cylinder-powered TLX A-Spec starts at $39,400 plus freight and fees, which is a $4,365 savings compared to the V6-powered TLX A-Spec. 

2019 Acura TLX A-Spec
The base 2.4-litre four-cylinder provides ample performance for most peoples’ wants and needs, while its 8-speed dual-clutch auto is actually sportier than the 9-speed auto that comes with the V6. (Photo: Acura)

To be clear, the 2.4-litre inline-four may be the base engine, but it’s still a sporty alternative to the 3.5-litre V6 thanks to 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque, an ultra-quick shifting eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission with standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, rear-wheel steering, and a reduction of 123 kilograms in curb weight. 

According to Acura, strong customer demand prompted the addition of four-cylinder A-Spec model, which incidentally is otherwise outfitted in well-equipped Tech trim. Therefore, along with the aforementioned styling modifications, the front-wheel drive model gets rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, a heatable steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, powered front thigh extensions, perforated leather upholstery, navigation, AcuraLink connectivity, a 10-speaker ELS audio system with AM/FM/CD/ MP3/WMA/satellite radio, hard disk drive (HDD) media storage, Blind Spot Information System with Rear Cross Traffic Monitor System, and more. 

2019 Acura TLX A-Spec
Full LED headlamps continue to be standard equipment with all ILX trims.

Additionally, highlights pulled up from the $36,190 base TLX include LED headlights with automatic high beams, passive keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, adaptive cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, a large infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a multi-angle backup camera, a powered glass sunroof, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a four-way powered front passenger seat, heated front seats, and the list goes on. 

Also standard, the TLX features a bevy of AcuraWatch advanced driver assistance systems including Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with autonomous Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with steering wheel haptic feedback, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and more. 

2019 Acura TLX A-Spec
Fog lamps and sportier aerodynamic parts get added to A-Spec trim. (Photo: Acura)

Of course, another bonus that comes with ownership of the four-cylinder powered 2019 TLX A-Spec that shouldn’t be overlooked when comparing it to the 3.5-litre version is fuel-efficiency, the new model rated at 10.2 L/100km in the city, 7.4 on the highway and 8.9 combined, which is only 0.2 L/100km more city/highway combined fuel consumption than the base TLX due to its larger wheels and tires, yet it’s also 1.4 L/100km combined city/highway more efficient than the V6-powered car. 

That V6 makes a substantive 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, and couples that performance to a sophisticated nine-speed automatic transmission and Acura’s renowned torque-vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). While the nine-speed autobox doesn’t shift as quickly as the four-cylinder model’s eight-speed unit, the former includes faster reacting quick-ratio steering, stiffer springs, and an upgraded rear anti-roll bar, enhancing high-speed handling. 

2019 Acura TLX A-Spec
A-Spec trim allows the option of sporty red leather upholstery. (Photo: Acura)

With the recent announcement of the redesigned 2019 ILX sedan, and the all-new 2019 RDX A-Spec and updated 2019 MDX A-Spec, all of which come with A-Spec variants, the only models left in the lineup to receive the sporty trim level are RLX flagship sedan, which may not receive it, and the NSX mid-engine sport car, which surely doesn’t need it. 

The 2019 Acura TLX A-Spec is available now, along with mostly carryover versions of the TLX Tech, TLX Elite, and top-of-the-line TLX SH-AWD A-Spec Elite.

For complete pricing information on all 2019 Acura TLX trims, plus important dealer invoice pricing and model rebate program information that could save you thousands off your next car purchase, make sure to check out CarCostCanada.com.

A key selling point amongst family buyers is safety, and there’s no safer minivan than the new Honda Odyssey.  This point was made clear after the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)…

Odyssey beats Sienna and Pacifica in IIHS crash tests

2018 Honda Odyssey
No one wants to experience a crash in their car, especially if their family is onboard, but if you’re at the wheel of a new Honda Odyssey you’ll be safer than if driving any other minivan, says the IIHS. (Photo: Honda)

A key selling point amongst family buyers is safety, and there’s no safer minivan than the new Honda Odyssey. 

This point was made clear after the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test results were tallied up and the Honda Odyssey earned highest marks for the critical passenger-side small-overlap front test. 

To be clear, the Odyssey achieved best-possible “Good” scores for all Crashworthiness categories, also including the driver-side small-overlap front test, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, plus head restraints and seats, while the ease of use of its child seat anchors (LATCH) was rated Good + thanks to extra latch locations. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey does a better job of protecting all family members than the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica. (Photo: Honda)

Also impressive, under the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation category the Odyssey achieved a best-possible “Superior” rating for front crash prevention when outfitted with optional equipment. 

The Odyssey’s only area of weakness is minor, its headlights having earned a second-best “Acceptable” score with “only certain trims/options.” 

Only the Kia Sedona achieved a higher headlight rating, with the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica also managed Acceptable scores for headlights. This said the Sedona showed “not rated” for the passenger-side small-overlap front category, which is probably better than the Pacifica’s Acceptable grade and the Sienna’s second-from-bottom “Marginal” rating. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey’s LED headlamps are impressive, but they still didn’t earn the brand a “Good” rating in the IIHS’ tough new testing process. If they did, the van would be given a Top Safety Pick + rating overall. (Photo: Honda)

To clarify what this means, the Pacifica and Sienna didn’t achieve as high a rating because the structure around their front passenger compartment collapsed inward during the crash test, resulting in parts of the body structure entering the passenger area. According to the IIHS report, the structural deformation with the Pacifica didn’t intrude inward enough to harm the front passenger, which allowed for its Acceptable rating, but the Sienna’s body structure intruded far enough into the front passenger compartment to potentially injure legs and feet, resulting in the below standard Marginal ranking (check the video below for actual footage of the crash tests to see how each van fares). 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey comes equipped with all the latest advanced driver assistance systems, most of which go a long way to improving safety. (Photo: Honda)

Speaking of Marginal scores, the Pacifica got the “M” word for the ease of use of its child seat anchors, whereas the Sienna improved on the Pacifica by getting an Acceptable ranking for child seat anchors yet only managed to eke out an Acceptable score for the driver-side small-overlap front test. 

That equals six Good, one Good +, and one Acceptable rating for the Honda Odyssey; six Good and one Acceptable ranking for the Kia Sorento; five Good marks, two Acceptable and one Marginal for the Chrysler Pacifica; and lastly four Good scores, three Acceptable, and one Marginal for the Toyota Sienna. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
Front passenger seat crashworthiness is where the Odyssey beats its competition so dramatically. Make sure to watch the video below for details. (Photo: Honda)

The system the IIHS uses for tallying up its totals resulted in a second-best possible Top Safety Pick rating for all minivans except for the Toyota Sienna, which didn’t earn any special accommodation. 

Thanks to IIHS crash tests, it’s clear to see which minivan delivers the best possible safety for you and your family. With some minor improvements to its standard headlights, we can be certain the Honda Odyssey would easily attain revered Top Safety Pick + status, and in the process become the only minivan to do so. 

Before you go make sure to watch this excellent video put out by the IIHS, showing the actual crash tests of the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica minivans: 

 

New crash tests and LATCH ratings for minivans – IIHS News (6:32):  

The 2019 Acura RDX just received the best safety rating of any vehicle in its compact luxury SUV segment from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as the highest award possible from…

IIHS awards new 2019 Acura RDX with best possible safety rating

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec
The 2019 Acura RDX, shown here in its sportiest A-Spec trim line, is now the safest new compact luxury SUV, says the IIHS. (Photo: Acura)

The 2019 Acura RDX just received the best safety rating of any vehicle in its compact luxury SUV segment from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as the highest award possible from the U.S. government agency. 

The 2019 RDX achieved a Top Safety Pick+ rating due to a best-possible ranking of “Good” in all crash tests, while standard AcuraWatch advanced driver assistance/safety systems helped it earn a “Superior” rating, plus it received another Good score for its optional headlights. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
The new RDX, seen here in top-line Platinum Elite trim, certainly has attractive styling on its side. (Photo: Acura)

“The 2019 Acura RDX excelled in our six crashworthiness evaluations, including the roof strength test,” stated the IIHS in a press release. “Our testing apparatus applied over 21,000 lbs of force to the RDX’s roof before it crushed 5 inches. That’s more than 5 times the weight of the vehicle.” 

In comparison, the competitive Mercedes-Benz GLC also received Good marks in crashworthiness, but its Superior optional headlight rating was down one notch on the IIHS scale, plus the German competitor only managed an Acceptable rating for the ease of use of its child seat “LATCH” anchors compared to the RDX’ ideal Good rating. Worse yet, the BMW X3 only received at Marginal rating for its child seat anchors, although did well in all other tests. 

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec
Standard full LED headlamps have long set the RDX apart from key rivals. (Photo: Acura)

“The 2019 Acura RDX offers the highest level of standard safety and driver-assistance features in its class, so earning class-leading safety ratings is a strong proof point of the technology and design innovation we’re bringing to the game,” said Jon Ikeda, Acura vice president and general manager. 

The 2019 RDX was developed by Acura’s U.S. research and development team, and therefore was designed to exceed stringent IIHS safety tests from onset. The new model incorporates the latest generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which includes new high-strength steel door stiffener rings, and for the first time, eight standard airbags, including new driver and front-passenger knee airbags. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
The RDX gets LED lighting elements all-round, plus a longer, wider and roomier body shell that’s big on performance. (Photo: Acura)

Additionally, the new RDX features the AcuraWatch suite of advanced driver-assistive and safety systems in all trims, these technologies including Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. The new RDX also comes standard with Acura’s easily recognizable JewelEye LED headlamps, which helped it achieve its best-in-class ranking. 

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec
No matter the trim level, the new RDX receives a high-quality interior that’s sportiest in its A-Spec variety. (Photo: Acura)

To earn the 2018 Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must achieve Good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as an Acceptable or Good rating in the passenger-side small overlap test. Additionally, the top rating requires available front crash prevention that earns an Advanced or Superior score, plus available Good-rated headlights. The RDX’s base headlights are rated Good, while the curve-adaptive headlights added to its top-line trim are rated Acceptable. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
The RDX Platinum Elite not only provides real wood and supple leathers, but features every available safety feature too. (Photo: Acura)

The RDX was completely redesigned for the 2019 model year, and thanks to a positive response from long-time owners trading up from the outgoing model and new customers to the Acura brand, it was the best-selling vehicle in its compact luxury SUV class during its first month of availability in June. The RDX has long been one of the segment’s top sellers, dueling it out over first place with the Audi Q5 for nearly a decade, and this new redesign should certainly keep it ahead of most peers. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
Apple CarPlay is standard with the new 10.2-inch high-definition infotainment display. (Photo: Acura)

Along with appealing design and quality that surpasses many of its rivals, the new 2019 RDX continues to deliver plenty of value to its luxury clientele. Priced at $43,990 plus freight and fees (detailed pricing covering each trim line, options, dealer invoice prices and rebate information can be found at CarCostCanada.com), the redesigned Acura features a new turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine good for 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which is similar in power to the outgoing 3.5-litre V6 although delivers better straight-line performance due to 40 percent more low-end torque. 

This advantage is complemented by the compact luxury SUV segment’s only 10-speed automatic transmission that simultaneously improves acceleration and fuel-efficiency, allowing the RDX to continue outperforming many key challengers. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
This large panoramic glass sunroof is standard across the entire RDX line. (Photo: Acura)

With respect to fuel economy, the 2019 RDX achieves a claimed Transport Canada rating of 9.9 L/100km combined city/highway for all trims excepting the sportiest A-Spec model that gets an estimated 10.3 L/100km combined, whereas last year’s claimed rating was 10.7 L/100km combined city/highway. 

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec
Whether bright red and black, black or light tan, the RDX rear seating area is spacious and feature filled. (Photo: Acura)

The new RDX rolls on a brand new Acura-exclusive body and chassis architecture that’s much more rigid and therefore provides better handling and crashworthiness than the outgoing model. It’s also 78 mm longer with a 65-mm gain in wheelbase, the latter making a major difference to rear seat roominess, 46 mm wider, and 31 mm taller than the model it replaces. Still, despite its increased dimensions, the new RDX is only 86 kilos heavier, which aids aforementioned fuel economy and performance. 

Along with greater interior comfort, the RDX’ increased size provides 142 litres more cargo volume behind its 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks and 82 additional litres when the 60/40-split second-row is lowered via handy cargo wall-mounted levers, while the load floor is flatter and therefore better for hauling items that might otherwise tip over. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
Cargo capacity has grown with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks up or down. (Photo: Acura)

Together with its more roomier and more refined interior, the new RDX incorporates a bevy of new standard features and technologies, such as the aforementioned full LED headlights with automatic high beams, a remote engine starter, proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, ambient lighting, a 7.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display within the primary gauge cluster, driver recognition, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, dual-zone automatic climate control, a HomeLink garage door opener, an 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, an ultra-wide panoramic glass sunroof, and a powered tailgate. 

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec
The load floor is now mostly flat, which makes for a much more utile SUV. (Photo: Acura)

Also standard, a new 10.2-inch high-definition infotainment display is controlled by Acura’s exclusive new True Touchpad Interface. The system features a standard multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, Apple CarPlay, 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, nine speakers audio, and more. 

2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite
Now that it’s proven to be one of the safest SUVs in its class, the RDX is an even better choice for family buyers. (Photo: Acura)

Options include adaptive cornering headlights, LED fog lights, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, Blind Spot Information with a Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, traffic sign recognition, a surround view parking monitor, a colour head-up display, a heatable steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, voice recognition, 12-speaker or 16-speaker Acura ELS audio, dual rear USB ports, genuine Olive Ash hardwood trim, perforated leather upholstery, metal sport pedals, sport seats with 16-way power adjustment, and much more, while a sporty new A-Spec trim line provides styling and performance improvements.

Just in case you missed the July issue of Parents Magazine and a concurrent posting in Edmunds.com, the conjoined publications recently named the 2018 Honda Accord and Odyssey to their “10 Best Family…

Honda Accord and Odyssey earn best family car awards

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
Parents Magazine and Edmunds.com added the 2018 Honda Accord to their list of best family cars, and we agree. (Photo: Honda)

Just in case you missed the July issue of Parents Magazine and a concurrent posting in Edmunds.com, the conjoined publications recently named the 2018 Honda Accord and Odyssey to their “10 Best Family Cars 2018” list. 

The Accord and Odyssey, both redesigned for the 2018 model year, were chosen from 300 new vehicles after taking into account “safety ratings, car seat installation and other family-friendly features,” stated a press release from Honda. 

Along with its family-oriented attributes, the 10th-generation Accord offers today’s consumer a much more modern and more premium take on the mid-size sedan, while providing a thoroughly reimagined interior with greater spaciousness, comfort and refinement, not to mention much more advanced infotainment. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The two publications also chose the 2018 Honda Odyssey as one of their 10 best family cars. (Photo: Honda)

The previously base 2.4-litre four-cylinder and upmarket 3.5-litre V6 engines are now gone, replaced by a duo of turbocharged and direct-injected fours displacing 1.5 and 2.0 litres. The smaller engine makes 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, while the new 2.0-litre four produces 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission can still be found mated to the base engine in lower trims, but most customers will opt for the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that is available across the line and comes standard in upper trims, whereas the new top-tier 2.0-litre features an all-new 10-speed automatic that Honda says is a first for front-wheel drive cars. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
The new Accord provides families with more style, performance, fuel economy, spaciousness, plus convenience and safety features. (Photo: Honda)

With ever-rising gasoline prices affecting budgets, families will be especially happy with improvements made to the Accord’s fuel efficiency, thanks to the base engine rated at 8.9 L/100km in the city, 6.7 on the highway and 7.9 combined when mated to the manual transmission, or 7.9 city, 6.3 highway and 7.2 combined when the same engine gets matched to the CVT. This compares to 10.4 L/100km city, 7.4 highway and 9.0 combined for last year’s four-cylinder and manual combination, whereas the outgoing CVT-equipped 2017 Accord was claimed to achieve 9.2 city, 6.9 highway and 8.2 combined. 

Compared to last year’s V6 that was Transport Canada rated at 11.4 city, 7.2 highway and 9.5 combined with its sole six-speed automatic, the new 2018 Accord’s 2.0-litre engine makes impressive gains thanks to a claimed rating of 10.7 city, 7.3 highway and 9.2 combined with the manual (standard in Sport trim), or 10.4 city, 7.4 highway and 9.1 combined with the new 10-speed auto. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
The new Odyssey continues to be one of the best performing minivans on the market, not to mention one of the most refined. (Photo: Honda)

Additionally, the all-new Honda Accord Hybrid gets a highly advanced two-motor hybrid-electric powertrain capable of a claimed 5.0 L/100km in the city, 5.1 on the highway and 5.1 combined, making it one of the most economical large family vehicles available today. 

Also important to families, standard Honda Sensing advanced driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow when upgraded to the CVT), forward collision warning, autonomous emergency mitigating braking, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation, while additional standard safety features include full LED headlights for better nighttime visibility, a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, traffic sign recognition, a driver attention monitor to warn of possible fatigue, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, front knee airbags (an Accord first), the HondaLink Assist automatic emergency response system, and more. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
The Accord delivers one of the most appealing interiors in its class, big on comfort and advanced technology. (Photo: Honda)

Also notable, Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch blindspot display system comes standard with Sport and EX-L trims, but this gets replaced by blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert in Touring trim. 

The fifth-generation Odyssey is also new for 2018, and like its predecessors it’s raised the minivan bar when it comes to performance, interior quietness, family-friendly cabin space, comfort, and in-car connectivity. 

While it’s built in vacuum remains a popular option, CabinWatch is the auto industry’s first in-vehicle rear seat camera, while the aforementioned Honda Sensing suite of active safety and driver assist systems is optional. Also notably innovative, the Odyssey’s exclusive multi-configurable Magic Slide second-row seats offer an entirely new level of cabin flexibility to the minivan sector. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The newest Odyssey impresses in every respect, and therefore fully deserves accolades. (Photo: Honda)

The 2018 Odyssey’s bevy of intelligent family-first features were named as reasons for it winning a 2018 ALG Residual Value award, which means Odyssey customers have a much better chance of retaining more of their investment over three years of ownership than buyers of competitive minivans. Just as notable the 2018 Accord won its class as well, with the subcompact 2018 Fit hatchback taking home the ALG honours amongst small cars. 

The Accord also won North American Car of the Year and the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Canadian Car of the Year award, so placing first is nothing new for the popular mid-size sedan.

The completely redesigned 2019 Forester, now in its fifth-generation, is just arriving at Subaru dealers nationwide, with a new price of $27,995.  In case you were wondering that’s $2,000 pricier than…

Redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester goes on sale from $27,995

2019 Subaru Forester Sport
The all new 2019 Forester, shown here in new Sport trim, appears to be a big improvement over the outgoing model. (Photo: Subaru)

The completely redesigned 2019 Forester, now in its fifth-generation, is just arriving at Subaru dealers nationwide, with a new price of $27,995. 

In case you were wondering that’s $2,000 pricier than last year’s base Forester, but it now comes standard with a host of features that should make the bump in MSRP well worth it. 

First on the list is a set of stylishly safer LED headlamps, a technology that previously required a move up to Limited trim in order to partake, and one that’s still optional with most of its rivals including the totally redesigned 2019 RAV4 and recently redesigned Honda CR-V—the Mazda CX-5 already comes standard with LED headlights and refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee now does as well. 

2019 Subaru Forester Limited
Full LED headlamps set the fifth-gen Forester apart from most peers. (Photo: Subaru)

The Forester’s new LED headlamps also feature automatic on/off so you won’t always have to remember to turn them on and off manually, this standard feature part of last year’s Convenience upgrade, while new standard automatic climate control gets pulled up from 2018’s Touring trim. 

Additionally, a new electromechanical parking brake replaces the old handbrake, freeing up space between the front seats and modernizing the driving experience, while new auto vehicle hold replaces the old hill holder system that previously only came with the manual transmission that’s now been discontinued. In its place, Subaru’s Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is now standard across the line, which means that Subaru’s impressive X-Mode off-road system with Hill Descent Control, and SI-Drive drive mode selector are now standard too. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
Of course, Subaru’s symmetrical AWD comes standard with the Forester, important for the upcoming winter that The Farmer’s Almanac forecasts will be extremely cold. (Photo: Subaru)

Along with that CVT and Subaru’s much lauded Symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive system that remains standard, the 2019 Forester gets a new direct-injection enhanced 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine that’s good for 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, which is a 12-horsepower and 2-lb-ft advantage over last year’s identically sized base engine. The drivetrain now includes an auto start/stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when it would otherwise be idling, which helps to reduce emissions while improving fuel economy, the latter resulting in a 0.2 L/100km savings despite the increase in performance, from 9.2 L/100km city, 7.4 highway and 8.4 combined to 9.0, 7.2 and 8.2 respectively. 

2019 Subaru Forester Limited
Need to ford a river on your way to camp? No problem for the new Forester. (Photo: Subaru)

The big change for 2019 isn’t what comes with the Forester, but rather what’s no longer on offer being that Subaru has discontinued the SUV’s optional 2.0-litre turbocharged engine upgrade that previously put out 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and still managed a relatively thrifty 10.2 L/100km city, 8.6 highway and 9.5 combined. Granted, few vehicles in this class offer such a potent optional engine, but nevertheless it was an important differentiator in a market segment that’s rife with competition. 

The aforementioned base model is once again simply called 2.5i in reference to its engine designation, and along with everything already mentioned includes standard power-adjustable heated side mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, steering wheel controls, cruise control, filtered air conditioning, backup camera with dynamic guidelines, Bluetooth with audio streaming, StarLink smartphone integration with Aha radio, HD and satellite radio, two USB ports/iPod interfaces, an aux input, heatable front seats, roof rails, the usual active and passive safety features including an airbag for the driver’s knees, and more. 

2019 Subaru Forester Sport
Sport trim gets a black and orange trim treatment for a truly unique look. (Photo: Subaru)

Regarding infotainment, the standard infotainment touchscreen is now 0.3 inches larger in diameter at 6.5 inches, and now features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility that wasn’t even optional before. 

Above the base 2.5i, features become even more generous in second-rung Convenience trim, while the 2019 Forester can also be had in Touring, new Sport, Limited and new top-line Premier trims. 

2019 Subaru Forester Sport
The new Forester’s styling and trim options should make it very popular. (Photo: Subaru)

Convenience trim, at $30,295, includes everything from the base model plus fog lamps, a rear rooftop spoiler, 17-inch alloys replacing the standard 17-inch steel wheels with covers, a windshield wiper de-icer, silver finish interior trim, chrome interior door handles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, a colour TFT multi-information display within the gauge cluster, a 6.3-inch colour multi-function display atop the dash that’s controllable via steering wheel-mounted switchgear, two more stereo speakers for a total of six, dual-zone automatic climate control (the base model is single-zone), sunvisor extensions, illuminated vanity mirrors, premium cloth upholstery, a 10-way powered driver’s seat with lumbar support, a flip-down rear centre armrest with integrated cupholders, and more. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
Unique satin-silver details provide a classy touch to the top-line Forester Premier. (Photo: Subaru)

For a reasonable $1,500 you can add Subaru’s EyeSight suite of advanced driver assistance systems that includes pre-collision braking, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, lead vehicle start alert, lane departure warning, lane sway warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, while the upgrade also includes reverse automatic braking, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, and a retractable cargo cover. 

2019 Subaru Forester Limited
Limited trim allows for this classy cream coloured leather interior. (Photo: Subaru)

EyeSight comes standard with all other trim levels, including the $32,995 Touring model that gets everything already mentioned as well as automatic high beam assist, a large power-sliding glass sunroof with a sunshade, and a powered tailgate with memory function. 

Above this, Sport, Limited and Premier trims get a new two-mode X-Mode off-road system that’s capable of even greater go-anywhere prowess thanks to separate settings for snow and dirt, as well as deep snow and mud, while larger 316 mm front rotors add better braking power over the standard 294 mm discs. 

2019 Subaru Forester Limited
The Limited can also be had with a black interior, while a new 8.0-inch touchscreen now comes standard in upper trims. (Photo: Subaru)

Additionally, these three trims include steering responsive headlights and Subaru’s Side/Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) system as standard equipment, improving safety, plus a leather shift knob and a new 8.0-inch touchscreen adds an inch to the diameter of last year’s top-line infotainment interface, while once again including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto where there wasn’t such smartphone connectivity last year. These upper trims also include dual rear USB ports for a new total of four, plus A/C ducts on the backside of the centre console, and reclining rear seats. 

2019 Subaru Forester Sport
Sport trim won’t be for everyone, but those who like orange will love this edgy new model. (Photo: Subaru)

The new $34,995 Sport is the visual standout of the 2019 Forester lineup thanks to a unique gloss black grille, special front corner grilles, a larger rear spoiler, a blackened out trim strip that runs across the rear liftgate before striking through the taillights, a unique rear under-guard, plus bold orange trim on its front fascia, roof rail posts, side sills and rear bumper, the latter wrapping up and over the exhaust to highlight a chromed tipped tailpipe, while a bright orange “SPORT” badge gets added to the liftgate. The Sport also gets exclusive dark metallic 18-inch alloys with subtle orange accents, while LED daytime running lights, vertically stacked LED fog lamps and LED turn signals integrated within the mirror caps add to its upmarket appeal. 

2019 Subaru Forester Sport
Yes, that’s a lot of orange. (Photo: Subaru)

Inside, the Sport model’s orange theme continues with uniquely treated dash vent surrounds and centre console detailing plus orange stitching throughout, and within the gauge cluster plus some background lighting, while an additional exclusive Sport feature includes an SI-Drive Sport system that provides more immediate throttle response. Lastly, the Forester Sport replaces the availability of Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl, Jasper Green Metallic, and Sepia Bronze Metallic exterior colours with an exclusive Dark Blue Pearl paint finish. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
Stylish camel brown upholstery makes the top-line Premier trim’s interior look downright rich. (Photo: Subaru)

The $37,695 Limited loses some of the Sport’s aesthetic and performance features, but keeps most of its convenience and luxury upgrades while adding unique 18-inch 10-spoke bright-finish machined alloy wheels, a premium grille, chrome detailing around the fog lamp bezels and side windows, auto-dimming side mirrors with approach lighting and reverse tilt (the latter item a Subaru first), an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated compass, chrome trimmed primary gauges, a heatable steering wheel rim, GPS navigation, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link with weather, sports and stock market information, an eight-speaker, 440-watt Harman Kardon audio system with an eight-channel amplifier, leather upholstery in black or platinum, silver contrast stitching throughout, driver’s seat memory, heatable rear outboard seats, and one-touch folding rear seatbacks. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
The Forester now comes standard with an automatic CVT, X Mode off-road capability, and an SI-Drive mode selector. (Photo: Subaru)

New $39,495 Premier trim is top-of-the-line for 2019, and once again includes the vertical LED fog lamps from the Sport within unique satin-silver trimmed bezels, as well as special aluminum-look satin-silver trim on the front fascia, side mirror caps, roof rail posts, side sills, and rear bumper. Additionally, exclusive 18-inch five-spoke machined alloy wheels combine with chromed exterior door handles and a stainless steel rear bumper step pad to spiff up the look further. 

Inside, the Forester Premier features exclusive brown leather upholstery plus an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, while Subaru’s brand new DriverFocus driver fatigue and distracted driving mitigation system uses facial recognition to detect drowsiness or distraction. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
That’s a lot of digital displays, all models now shipping with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Photo: Subaru)

Of note, all pricing was verified at CarCostCanada.com, where you can also find detailed trim and feature pricing, dealer invoice pricing that let’s you get the best deal possible when negotiating for your new Forester, and rebate information on any discounts that might be available to you. 

All of the new 2019 Forester’s features come within a compact SUV that’s been thoroughly redesigned around the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP), which has resulted in greater refinement, capability and dynamic performance, plus considerably more interior space. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
Cargo room has increased, along with passenger space. (Photo: Subaru)

This means it has grown slightly all-round, now measuring 15 millimetres (0.6 inches) more from front to back at 4,625 mm (182.1 inches), with a 30-mm (1.2-inch) longer wheelbase at 2,670 mm (105.1 inches), while it’s also 21 mm (0.8 inches) wider including its mirrors at 2,052 mm (80.8 inches), or 20 mm (0.8 inches) wider not including its mirrors at 1,815 mm (71.4 inches). The new Forester’s front and rear track has widened too, now up 20 and 15 mm (0.8 and 0.6 inches) respectively to 1,565 and 1,570 mm (61.6 and 61.8 inches), which, along with its other dimensional and mechanical changes has caused a one-metre (3.3-foot) larger curb to curb turning circle of 5.4 metres (17.7 feet). 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
Need more luggage space? Check out the new Forester. (Photo: Subaru)

Despite maintaining its minimum ground clearance at 220 mm (8.6 inches), the new Forester is actually 5 mm (0.2 inches) lower in height than its predecessor with its roof rails included at 1,730 mm (68.1 inches), while its base curb weight has increased by a 26 kilograms (57.3 lbs) at 1,569 kilos (3,459 lbs) when compared to the previous model’s optional CVT. This said the fully loaded 2019 Forester Premier now weighs in at 1,630 kg (3,593 lbs), which actually makes this top-line model a surprising 56 kg (123.4 lbs) lighter than the ritziest version of the 2018 model in spite of its greater size and spaciousness. 

2019 Subaru Forester Premier
The new 2019 Forester is one fine looking compact SUV. (Photo: Subaru)

Along with a roomier passenger compartment, the new Forester improves cargo space by 29 litres (1.0 cubic-foot) behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks in base trim, from 974 to 1,003 litres (34.4 to 35.4 cubic feet), and by 40 litres (1.4 cubic feet) in base trim when those seats are laid flat, from 2,115 to 2,155 litres (74.7 to 76.1 cubic feet). When the optional sunroof is added, which encroaches slightly on overhead space, the difference from old to new grows to 43 litres (1.5 cubic feet) behind the rear seatbacks, from 892 to 935 litres (31.5 to 33.0 cubic feet), and 68 litres (2.4 cubic feet) when the rear seats are lowered, from 1,940 to 2,008 litres (68.5 to 70.9 cubic feet). That’s a significant improvement that can really make a difference when faced with a big load. 

A press release about the new 2019 Forester promises “maneuverability that’s synonymous with the popular Subaru,” but we’ll need to properly road test it in order to relay any improvements to its driving dynamics. 

Until then, make sure to check out our photo gallery of the 2019 Subaru Forester above.