For the second year in a row, Porsche has been named the 2018 model year luxury brand winner of Kelley Blue Book’s annual Best Resale Value Awards, while Toyota took home the award in the mainstream volume brand sector.
“Once again, Toyota and Porsche earn tops honours in the brand and luxury brand categories, respectively, with the highest average projected resale value among their full model lineups,” said Eric Ibara, KBB’s director of residual values in a press release.
This is the 16th year of the award, which is based on projections from KBB’s Residual Value Guide. Brands are awarded for their vehicles’ projected retained value after five years of ownership.
“You can be confident a vehicle will retain its value well if you pick from Kelley Blue Book’s list of Best Resale Value Award winners,” added Ibara.
On average a 2018 model year vehicle will only will retain about 35.1 percent of its MSRP, but each vehicle named in Kelley Blue Book’s Top 10 for Best Resale Value is projected to retain more than 46 percent of its original value.
The Irvine, California-based third-party analytical firm chose the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman for the “Best Sports Car” category, with the 718 Boxster finishing second in the same category, while the 2018 Porsche 911 earned “Best High Performance Car”, 2018 Porsche Panamera won “Best High-End Luxury Car”, and 2018 Porsche Macan took home the “Best Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover”.
Residual values represent the projected auction values of vehicles with 75,000 miles (120,700 km) on their odometers after five years of use.
According to KBB, the analysts responsible for establishing residual values review statistical model output sourced from millions of transactions.
Also notable, low-volume models are excluded from consideration unless being evaluated within luxury, sports car, high-performance, or electric vehicle categories.
Nissan really should’ve taken advantage of its new subcompact SUV’s name and done a photo shoot on the famed Route 66, that not only became legendary for countless films in which its “Main Street…
Nissan really should’ve taken advantage of its new subcompact SUV’s name and done a photo shoot on the famed Route 66, that not only became legendary for countless films in which its “Main Street of America” appeal proved popular, but for many this near-nationwide highway was made all the more memorable for being the subject of Nat King Cole’s classic jazz song, “Get your kicks on Route 66.”
It just so happens that Route 66 stretches 3,945 km from U.S. 101 in Santa Monica, which is only 25 minutes (on a good day) down the I-10 from the Los Angeles Convention Center where the new Kicks just debuted on November 29 last year as part of the LA auto show, to the Windy City where it will no doubt be shown next month as part of the Chicago auto show in McCormick Place. This month it showed up in multiple colours at the Detroit auto show as well as in Montreal for its Canadian debut, and no doubt will also be on display in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre next month, Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York and Vancouver Convention Centre in late March, etcetera.
The Kicks might be small as far as most SUVs go, but it’s a big deal for Nissan that has more utilities on offer than any other mainstream volume-branded carmaker. The current lineup includes the subcompact five-seat Qashqai (still in 2017 trim), compact five-seat Rogue, mid-size five-seat Murano, mid-size seven-seat Pathfinder, and full-size seven-seat Armada. The subcompact Juke, which was an innovator in this segment when it arrived way back in 2010, was discontinued after a long and successful lifecycle at the close of 2017, and will soon be replaced by the Kicks.
“As the gateway to Nissan’s adventure-ready sport utility line-up – joining Qashqai, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada – Kicks is designed to fit the needs of singles or couples looking for expressive styling, personal technology, smart functionality and advanced safety features,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada.
The transition between the two vehicles has hardly been seamless, with very few new 2017 Jukes still available in Canada and a six-month hiatus currently occurring before the 2018 Kicks arrives in June, but the new entry will likely get a warm welcome when it finally arrives. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it will need to be somewhere south of the current Qashqai’s $19,998 for it to be the new “gateway” SUV into Nissan’s SUV lineup, as Rhind states, despite the outgoing 2017 Juke starting with an MSRP of $20,698.
The Juke filled a funky niche with a focus on performance and wasn’t available with Nissan’s usual base S trim in its latter years (it could only be had in SV, Nismo and SL trims), whereas the Kicks, despite the rambunctious name, is a more mainstream offering that will initially be available in S, SV and SR trims. We’ll need to wait until spring before pricing and packaging details surface, which will probably coincide with the release of the new Qashqai that may increase in price to make way for the Kicks.
“Pricing for the 2018 Nissan Kicks will be announced closer to its on-sale date in spring 2018, but we are expecting to be among the most competitive in the segment,” added Rhind. “Kicks’ unique combination of expressive design, excellent fuel economy, intelligent technology and advanced safety features adds up to one thing – exceptional value.”
Like Ford’s similarly sized EcoSport SUV, which is also scheduled to arrive in Canada and the U.S. this year, the Kicks originated in Brazil before expanding into other markets, although it was completely new in 2016 compared to 2003 for the blue-oval badged utility. The EcoSport has had time to go global, whereas Nissan will ramp up worldwide Kicks sales much quicker, with a target of 80 countries in its short-term sites.
By first impressions the Kicks should appeal to compact SUV buyers in most markets, thanks to a traditionally upright SUV stance yet sporty crossover styling, most notably found in shapely front fenders that form out of the tops of the headlamps. It gets Nissan’s now trademark V-Motion grille up front and a Murano-like floating roof hovering over the rear C-pillars, while the boomerang taillights pay homage to the Z sports car and others within the Japanese brand’s range.
“From a pure visual standpoint on the street, Kicks is a true head turner, especially in the bold two-tone colour combinations,” added Rhind. “Kicks is clearly recognizable as part of the Nissan CUV family, but has a vibrancy and identity all its own.”
Along with the blacked out floating C-pillars Nissan will use colour to differentiate the Kicks from most peers. So far the Japanese brand is showing seven colour combinations, the two-tone versions including Gun Metallic grey for the lower body with a Monarch Orange roof, a Monarch Orange body with a Super Black roof (that melds seamlessly into the roof pillars), Cayenne Red with a Super Black roof, Aspen White with a Super Black roof, and Deep Blue Pearl with a Fresh Powder white roof, while single solid tones include Gun Metallic grey (that still features the black roof pillars) and Super Black (which absorbs the roof pillars).
Similar to top-line versions of its larger Qashqai sibling, examples of the similarly upper-crust Kicks SR trimmed interior currently being shown appears very upscale with plenty of padded leatherette stitched together with contrast orange or white thread, this especially nice across the SUV’s “Gliding Wing” instrument panel and down the sides of the centre console, while the leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel even gets nicely formed thumb spats and a flat bottom for a performance look and feel.
Orange contrast stitching can be found on what appear to be leather-surfaced sport seats too, while the 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, which incidentally includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and the separate single-zone automatic climate control interface that sits below include switchgear with orange backlighting. Orange even gets used for the “Bose Personal” logos on the sides of the front headrests, this top-tier SR model including an impressive audio system featuring lightweight 2.5-inch Bose UltraNearfield neodymium headrest speakers.
The infotainment system will also be available with an Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, while other standard and available features will include Intelligent Auto Headlights with optional LED low beams boasting LED signature accents, fog lamps, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, remote engine start, and heatable seats, while standard safety items are to include Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking, seven airbags, and a RearView Monitor.
Nissan promises plenty of passenger room with no shortage of headspace (the coupe-like profile is an optical illusion), plus one of the larger cargo compartment’s in the class.
Smaller and lighter than the Qashqai, the new Kicks won’t need as much power to get it going so therefore gets an efficient 1.6-litre four-cylinder good for 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque, while Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) should provide smooth operation and competitive fuel economy.
Where the Kicks deviates from the outgoing Juke and all other Nissan SUVs currently on offer, is its lack of all-wheel drive. The Kicks will be front-drive only, which is in line with some other small SUVs in its segment like the well-proven Kia Soul much newer Toyota C-HR. This means it won’t be ideal for winter sports enthusiasts who’d rather not be forced to chain up on their way to the ski hill, but for the majority of city drivers it should more than suffice. Its tall ride height provides the visibility advantage most SUV buyers want, and its raised ground clearance should help it overcome inner-city obstacles like steep driveways, rough laneways and curbs that could otherwise hang up a regular car. Reportedly, its electric power steering and small turning radius make it easy to park as well.
“This emerging CUV class is exploding with new entries for a very good reason – the combination of flexible utility and high value is ideal for active, urban new vehicle buyers,” added Rhind. “Where the new Nissan Kicks stands out is with its bold style, personal technology, value and anticipated excellent fuel economy.”
Again, we’ll have to wait to find out just how good its fuel economy is, but its small, lightweight design, spritely engine, CVT, and FWD layout should make for a cost-friendly commuter.
Honda has dominated the North American Car of the Year award lately, having won in 2016 for the Civic, 2017 with the Ridgeline, and now 2018 with the all-new Accord Sedan. Like the two previous winners,…
Honda has dominated the North American Car of the Year award lately, having won in 2016 for the Civic, 2017 with the Ridgeline, and now 2018 with the all-new Accord Sedan.
Like the two previous winners, the eye-catching 10th-generation Accord represents a completely fresh approach for Honda and the entire mid-size four-door segment.
“Honda took a clean-sheet approach to reinventing America’s most popular car, and we couldn’t be prouder to receive this honour for Accord as the North American Car of the Year,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda Sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We’re especially proud for the production associates in Ohio where Accord has been built to the highest quality standards for over 35 years.”
Like in previous years, the 2018 North American Car of the Year was chosen by a jury of 60 professional automotive journalists from the US and Canada who provide content for independent magazines, TV, radio, newspapers and websites. The results of their findings were presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month. The award, which also includes a Utility and Truck of the Year, honours “excellence in innovation, design, safety features, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value,” stated a press release.
The Accord has been part of the North American automotive scene for more than four decades, with 11 million-plus made in America. The newest 2018 design features a sharply chiseled new shape inspired by the Civic that debuted two years ago, albeit with a more premium presence and luxuriously finished interior. Its new body shell is both lighter for improved performance and fuel-efficiency, plus stiffer for better handling and structural safety, while interior space and comfort has increased and improved respectively.
The new Accord Sedan’s powertrain choices include two completely new, high-torque VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder engines, plus the world’s first front-wheel drive applied 10-speed automatic transmission, while a new generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology is available as well. The Accord also features a bevy of safety, driver-assistive and connected-car technologies, resulting in one of the most advanced mid-size sedans in its class.
The 2018 Honda Accord Sedan is available now from just $26,490 plus freight and fees, while the 2018 Accord Hybrid starts at $31,300.
Volvo Car Canada Ltd. delivered 7,102 vehicles in 2017 compared to 6,103 the year prior, which represents an increase of 16.4 percent. What’s more, with 668 vehicles sold in December compared to just…
Volvo Car Canada Ltd. delivered 7,102 vehicles in 2017 compared to 6,103 the year prior, which represents an increase of 16.4 percent. What’s more, with 668 vehicles sold in December compared to just 433 sales in the same month of 2016, deliveries are up 54.3 percent. In total, Volvo has enjoyed twenty-seven consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth.
“We are thrilled with the double-digit growth of the Volvo Canada brand in 2017,” said Alexander Lvovich, Managing Director, Volvo Car Canada Ltd. “The XC90 continued to account for our best-selling model, but sales of the all-new XC60 and its predecessor were also significant contributors to 2017 sales.”
The XC60 found 2,315 buyers in 2017 compared to 1,526 in 2016, representing a 51.7 percent year-over-year increase. This said the updated XC60 was only introduced last summer, which means a full 12 months of sales should result in a much bigger impact this year.
Deliveries of the S90 mid-size sedan were also strong throughout 2017 at 784 units, after Volvo delivered just 101 in 2016, but the former low number was only because the S90 arrived toward the end of the year. This said when combined with sales of the S80 it replaced, which totaled just 23 units in 2016, Volvo shows 532.2 percent growth in this segment alone.
It’s quite possible the XC60 and XC90’s combined market strength played a significant role in the new V90 mid-size wagon and its raised crossover-style V90 Cross Country sibling’s comparatively slow sales, which despite the latter becoming available in Q1 of 2017 and the former later in the year totaled just 444 units (103 for the V90 and 341 for the V90 CC) over the year. That’s roughly double 2016’s XC70 sales, which was the decade-old model replaced by the V90 CC last year, but the still long-in-tooth XC70 found 426 buyers the year prior, 513 in 2014, 624 in 2013, and steadily greater numbers in years past to the point that together with the long-gone V70 it sold 1,220 units in 2010.
When a completely new model (especially one that’s been very well received by the automotive press and customers alike) can’t even muster enough support to beat previous years’ sales of a very old predecessor it says a lot about the mid-size luxury wagon/wagon-crossover market on the whole. No wonder Audi dropped its once competitive A6 Avant and A6 Allroad in Canada, while Buick’s choice not to bring its stylish new 2018 Regal TourX north of the 49th appears to make sense as well. Still, the V90 and V90 CC improved on 2016 calendar year sales of its predecessor so it’s a narrow win for Volvo Canada, and there’s always 2018, a full year of availability, to improve its sales performance.
Ironically, other than the D-segment S60 and V60, which are yet to benefit from redesigns and therefore saw their sales dip 45.0 and 27.6 percent, from 657 and 627 units respectively in 2016 to 361 and 454 units last year, the only other model to falter in 2017 was the XC90 mid-size SUV that ushered in the brand’s metamorphosis, its 2,650 calendar year total falling from a recent high of 2,951 units in 2016, this due in part to availability of the aforementioned XC60, plus 2017 being the second year of this new generation and pent-up demand now ebbing.
Volvo wasn’t the only brand to experience an uptick in sales last year, the entire Canadian automotive industry having improved 4.6 percent over 2016, marking the eighth consecutive year of sales increases since 2009 and the first time more than 2 million units have been sold over a given calendar year.
Of note, out of 2,038,798 total vehicle sales, light truck sales, which include crossover SUVs, grew 8.7 percent to nearly 1.4 million units in 2017, while passenger car sales fell by 3.4 percent to about 640,000 deliveries, which was their lowest level since 1964 (hence some of the challenges with the V90 series).
This year-over-year growth came despite a tapering of sales in both November and December, which saw declines of 1.1 and 1.2 percent respectively. How this bodes for 2018 is anyone’s guess, although Volvo will probably still experience an upturn due to the entirely new XC40 subcompact SUV arriving in March, plus the redesigned S60 and V60/V60 Cross Country scheduled for summer’s end.
“With the arrival of the XC40 this March, and two more models launching in the second half of the year, our brand is poised to have a strong 2018,” added Lvovich. “We would like to thank our retailer network for their efforts and their commitment to customer satisfaction throughout the year.”
When the XC40 and D-segment models arrive later this this year, Volvo will have completely redesigned its entire model range and bolstered its ranks with a fresh new entry.
Along with a completely new brand-wide design language that’s been almost universally praised by industry pundits and customers alike, the Swedish automaker has one of the more innovative approaches to powertrains in the auto business. No matter the vehicle offered, the same fuel-efficient turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder gets installed, although when moving up through the trim lines it either gets additional supercharging to move performance from 258 horsepower to 316, or a plug-in hybrid system that cranks out 400 horsepower and can also drive about 50 km on pure electric propulsion alone.
On top of all this, Volvo’s interiors are some of the most luxurious in the premium sector, its new tablet-style infotainment system is winning awards for functionality and user-friendliness, its advanced driver assistance and active/passive safety systems are some of the most advanced available, its prices are very reasonable for what you get, and the list goes on.
Needless to say there are plenty of reasons backing up Volvo’s recent sales success.
Acura has long been a performance-oriented luxury brand, and in an announcement made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month it appears to be upping the go-fast ante.…
Acura has long been a performance-oriented luxury brand, and in an announcement made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month it appears to be upping the go-fast ante.
Along with a decision to expand sporty A-Spec styling from the current ILX and TLX sedans to more models in the Acura lineup, starting with the upcoming 2019 RDX compact luxury SUV that was simultaneously soft-launched in “Prototype” guise, Acura will also bring back its once popular Type-S performance sub-brand, to be included as an upgrade to core models as well.
What’s more, with the concurrent announcement of a new high-performance turbocharged V6 powerplant, Acura will also be rejoining the ranks of automakers using turbos to boost performance while reducing fuel economy. The Japanese luxury brand previously offered a turbocharged four-cylinder in its first-generation 2007–2012 RDX, but that engine made way for the current model’s V6, which put an end the turbo in Acura’s lineup until the twin-turbocharged V6 arrived as part of the new NSX Sport Hybrid’s electrified power unit, but that 573 horsepower mid-engine exotic sports car can hardly be called a “core” model.
No doubt some commonalities will exist between the two engines, one certainly being their exclusivity to the Acura brand. That’s right, unlike the 2.4-litre four-cylinder and 3.5-litre V6 engines currently found in most Acura models, you won’t see this new turbo V6 in any future Honda products. Additionally, it will be exclusive to cars and SUVs fitted with Acura’s newest generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which was introduced with the aforementioned 2019 RDX.
“We have made a major commitment to Acura to bring each element of Precision Crafted Performance to life through a new generation of products,” said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Acura will pursue a unique powertrain strategy that underscores the brand’s rightful place as the performance division of Honda.”
We’ll likely see that new turbocharged powerplant in future Type-S models, which will feature unique styling along with their uprated performance. The last time we saw an Acura Type-S was in 2010 on the Canadian-exclusive CSX, which was the predecessor to today’s ILX sedan. The CSX Type-S was a performance enthusiast favourite as it combined Acura’s premium finishings and features with Honda Civic Si performance, making these cars popular amongst collectors and the sport compact tuning crowd.
Sport compact tuning in mind, Acura also used the Type-S nomenclature for the 2002–2006 RSX compact sports coupe, still prized by performance fans, while Type-S versions of the 2002–2003 and 2004–2008 TL mid-size sedan (an A-Spec version of the TL was also available in 2004) and 2001–2003 CL mid-size sports-luxury coupe were offered as well, this past multi-model Type-S strategy executed similarly to how Acura will upgrade multiple core models in high-performance Type-S trim once it rolls out this sub-brand again.
So what exactly is a core model? A dictionary term is “the central or most important part of something,” which if taken literally would mean that along with a Type-S variant of the popular TLX sport-luxury sedan we can also expect Type-S versions of the brand’s even better selling SUVs, the RDX and MDX. This would be a first for Acura, and potentially position these models against Audi’s SQ series, BMW’s M-branded X series SUVs, and Mercedes’ mighty AMG-badged GLC and GLE entries. Alas, if only Acura still had its sensational RDX they might finally have a true X6 M and AMG GLE 43/63 S Coupe fighter.
An RLX Sport Hybrid flagship won’t likely make the Type S grade, as this slow selling luxury sedan doesn’t fall within Acura’s core model specification and is a strong performer already, but an ILX Type S makes sense if Honda once again is willing to lend Acura its Si powertrain and suspension upgrades or, even better, Type R improvements when the next-generation ILX arrives.
Once again Land Rover has earned “Best Premium Brand” in the U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards, this 2018 recognition being the fifth of such awards bestowed on the British luxury sport utility brand.…
Once again Land Rover has earned “Best Premium Brand” in the U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards, this 2018 recognition being the fifth of such awards bestowed on the British luxury sport utility brand.
ALG is considered an industry benchmark for residual value forecasting and other types of depreciation data, in both the U.S. and Canada. Of note, last year Land Rover earned the same award for the Canadian market by taking home a Residual Value Award in every segment it competed in, 2017 being its third consecutive win. The third-party analytical firm has yet to announce its Canadian results, but Land Rover’s success in the U.S. is newsworthy just the same.
As part of its 2018 Best Premium Brand win, Land Rover’s U.S. division was awarded top accolades in four separate categories including “Best Premium Compact Utility” for the Discovery Sport, “Best Premium Mid-Size Utility 2nd Row Seating” for the Range Rover Sport, “Best Premium Mid-Size Utility 3rd Row Seating” for the new Discovery, and “Best Premium Full-Size Utility” for the full-size Range Rover.
This is the eleventh consecutive year for the ultra-popular Range Rover Sport to take home its award, making it an excellent bet for premium SUV buyers who want to retain as much value as possible in their new vehicle purchase after three years of ownership.
The annual ALG Residual Value Awards are given to a vehicle based on its predicted ability to retain its original price after three years of purchase. Awards are meted out in 26 categories, while one mainstream volume brand (Subaru for 2018 in the U.S. and 2017 in Canada) and one premium luxury brand get overall awards too.
“Land Rover continues to push the envelope with innovative new products, and design and technology that keeps the brand at the front of the pack in the competitive luxury utility space,” said Jim Nguyen, president of ALG. “Consumers have responded to Land Rover leadership with demand that continues to outpace supply, resulting in top residual values in the premium space.”
ALG award winners are chosen after carefully studying all the competitors in each category, including their historical performance and industry trends. Other deciding factors include model and brand quality, production levels relative to market demand, plus pricing and marketing strategies.
Jaguar made news last year by introducing its formidable and efficient new gasoline-powered Ingenium turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine to its gorgeous 2018 F-Type sports…
Jaguar made news last year by introducing its formidable and efficient new gasoline-powered Ingenium turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine to its gorgeous 2018 F-Type sports car, which allowed for significantly reduced base pricing of $68,500, a $10k advantage. Now two versions of that new engine are available in the 2018 XE and 2018 F-Pace, which has also allowed reduced pricing that targets a much broader range of luxury consumers.
The 2018 Jaguar XE comes to market with a new base price of $43,900 (plus freight and fees) compared to $45,000 for last year’s base 20d turbo-diesel version, saving entry-level buyers $1,100 off the top, albeit the XE 20d now moves up in price by $900 to $45,900. Likewise, the popular F-Pace compact SUV gets a $650 price drop from $50,900 last year to $50,250 this year, while the 20d turbo-diesel’s MSRP increases slightly by $350 to $51,250.
Along with the reduced pricing comes dramatically improved performance in base trim, the 20d highly efficient yet not as quick as the new gasoline-powered turbo four. The zero to 100km/h sprint time in the base XE 25t AWD drops to just 6.2 seconds from 7.9 seconds for the XE 20d AWD, whereas both are limited to a top speed of 195 km/h, but top speed increases to 217 km/h with the F-Pace 25t AWD compared to 208 km/h in the F-Pace 20d AWD, while sprinting from standstill to 100km/h is reduced from 8.7 seconds to 6.8.
This newfound energy is due to differences in the way gasoline and diesel engines make their power and torque, in this case the 25t good for 247 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque from 1,200 to 4,500 rpm, while the 20d makes 180 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 318 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm, in both the XE and F-Pace.
The tradeoff is fuel-efficiency, with the XE 25t AWD estimated to achieve a Transport Canada five-cycle fuel economy rating of 9.8 L/100km in the city, 6.9 on the highway and 8.5 combined, and the XE 20d AWD good for a claimed 7.8 city, 5.8 highway and 6.9 combined. Similarly, the larger and heavier F-Pace 25t AWD is rated at 10.7 L/100km city, 8.8 highway and 9.9 combined, whereas the F-Pace 20d AWD gets an estimated 8.9 city, 7.2 highway and 8.1 combined.
As part of Jaguar’s value proposition, both the XE and F-Pace receive standard all-wheel drive in Canada, while this all-weather advantage is also joined up to a highly efficient, quick-shifting eight-speed ZF automatic that includes the brand’s unique rotating dial gear selector and shift paddles on the steering wheel.
A further scan of both models’ standard equipment lists adds to the value equation, with base Premium trim including dual tailpipes with chromed finishers, metal treadplates with Jaguar script, an electromechanical parking brake, a HomeLink garage door opener, JaguarDrive Control that adjusts steering and throttle mapping for Normal, Eco, Dynamic or Rain Ice Snow modes, rain-sensing wipers, touch-sensitive JaguarSense switchgear for the LED overhead lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto-dimming and power-folding heatable side mirrors with approach lights, driver’s memory for the powered seats and side mirrors, dual-zone auto climate control, a large 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, a backup camera, 11-speaker 380-watt Meridian audio, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, more convenient 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, hill launch assist, All Surface Progress Control for greater control in slippery conditions, brake-system applied torque vectoring to improve handling and stability, tire pressure monitoring, and much more.
In addition, the base Jaguar F-Pace Premium includes 19-inch alloys instead of 18s for the XE, standard proximity-sensing keyless entry and ignition, a powered liftgate, satellite instead of HD radio, a reversible load floor that switches from luxury carpeting to a rubberized surface, and more.
Both new engines are available with Jaguar’s base Premium, mid-range Prestige and performance-oriented R-Sport trims, with features included in these upper trims including full LED headlights, leather upholstery, a heatable powered steering wheel, heated seats, a head-up display, navigation, advanced driver assistance systems, and much more.
An even more potent version of the 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo-four can be had in all of the above trims as well as with the top-line Portfolio model, this engine putting out 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque for a 5.5-second sprint from zero to 100km/h and top speed once again capped off at 195 km/h in the XE 30t AWD, plus a charge from standstill to 100km/h of 6.0 seconds and top speed of 233 km/h in the F-Pace 30t AWD. Despite the much-improved performance fuel economy is minimally affected, with the XE 30t AWD estimated to consume 11.8 L/100km in the city, 8.2 on the highway and 10.2 combined, and the F-Pace 30t AWD rated at 10.9 city, 8.7 city and 9.9 combined.
Of note, both XE and F-Pace can also be had with a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 that’s good for 380 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, making the so-named XE S AWD a noticeable 0.3-seconds quicker from zero to 100km/h than the XE 30t AWD, with a quickest time of 5.2 seconds albeit no faster in its overall top speed, while the F-Pace S AWD takes a full half-second off of its zero to 100km/h launch time at just 5.5 seconds, before arriving at a higher terminal velocity of 250 km/h.
Like all Jaguars, the XE and F-Pace are built using lightweight, recyclable aluminum body panels, internal framework and chassis components, setting them apart from the majority of their competitors.
The XE is Jaguar’s entry-level sport-luxury sedan, positioned below the mid-size XF, which also gets both base and high-output versions of the new four-cylinder engine, and full-size XJ flagship model, whereas the F-Pace sits above the all-new 2018 E-Pace subcompact SUV, which is now Jaguar’s entry-level model at just $42,700, and also incorporates the two new turbo-four engines.
Winning the Best Large Car category in the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Car and Truck of the Year awards was no easy feat this year, especially considering the qualifying contenders…
Winning the Best Large Car category in the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Car and Truck of the Year awards was no easy feat this year, especially considering the qualifying contenders on hand.
To qualify for entry a vehicle must be entirely new or significantly updated, and the winning 2018 Honda Accord Sedan was up against the completely redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry and refreshed 2018 Mazda6, plus other new four-door offerings that didn’t make the “finalists” cut in December.
Mazda won’t likely complain about losing out to the Accord as it won three 2018 AJAC Car and Truck of the Year categories including Best Small Car with its Mazda3, Best Small Utility Vehicle with its CX-5, and Best Large Utility Vehicle with its CX-9, beating out the renewed Highlander in the latter class, but that last point only rubs salt in Toyota’s wound of the new Camry losing out to the new Accord.
Whether earning the coveted AJAC award will help the Accord surpass the Camry’s current sales lead is impossible to tell, with 2017 coming to a close at 14,574 units to 13,504 in favour of the Toyota, but it certainly can’t hurt matters. More importantly, winning the award is testament to the new Accord’s many positive attributes.
The 2018 Accord arrives on the Canadian market with sleek new four-door coupe styling that should win more hearts than it offends. A dramatically deep black centre grille is positioned below a bright chromed horizontal strikethrough up front, which melds into dazzling LED headlamp clusters up top and an intricate lower fascia with LED fog lamps in just-above-base trims, plus a sweptback rear roofline ending in an abbreviated rear deck lid.
Like its predecessor, the new Accord’s tastefully applied chrome trim, premium LED lighting elements, and stylish alloy wheel designs help it look richer than its value pricing suggests, this upscale styling carried inside where innovative design, premium finishings, and fine attention to detail join an impressive array of digital user interfaces and plenty of features.
Its 55-mm longer wheelbase adds rear seat roominess that includes 75 mm of additional legroom over the outgoing model, whereas 10 mm of extra width allows for more shoulder and hip room front to back.
Accord pricing starts at $26,490 plus freight and fees for the entry-level LX, while the top-line Accord Touring can be had for just $35,790 with the 1.5-litre base engine or $38,790 with the optional 2.0-litre. Sport and EX-L trims are also available, although Sport is the only other trim available with the more powerful 2.0-litre engine.
Both four-cylinder engines are turbocharged and direct-injected for improved performance and efficiency. The 1.5-litre, which makes 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, replaces the naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder in the previous model, whereas the new 2.0-litre four makes 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque and therefore relinquishes the old 3.5-litre V6 to the history books.
The entry-level engine continues forward with a six-speed manual transmission in base LX and Sport trims, or an available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in LX trim that’s standard with the EX-L and Touring, but the 2.0-litre gets an all-new 10-speed automatic that Honda claims as a first for front-wheel drive cars. This said the six-speed manual is also standard when the Sport model gets upgraded to the 2.0-litre engine, Honda clearly aiming to satisfy its many enthusiast drivers with this rare but welcome addition.
Performance in mind, all Accords upgraded to the CVT or automatic transmission get a Sport mode and steering wheel paddle shifters to go along with the Accord’s standard Econ mode button, while both of these sporting upgrades come standard in Touring trim.
What’s more, even base LX and mid-range EX-L trims feature standard 17-inch alloy wheels, although Sport and Touring trims get new 19-inch alloys, while the top-line Touring 2.0 benefits from an upgraded suspension with active dampers.
As for efficiency, the base engine with the manual transmission is five-cycle Transport Canada rated at 8.9 L/100km in the city, 6.7 on the highway and 7.9 combined, while the same engine with the optional CVT gets a 7.9 city, 6.3 highway and 7.2 combined rating. That compares to 10.4 L/100km city, 7.4 highway and 9.0 combined for last year’s four-cylinder and manual combo, while the old CVT-equipped 2017 Accord was rated at 9.2 city, 6.9 highway and 8.2 combined.
Compared to the 2017 V6 it replaces, which was rated at 11.4 city, 7.2 highway and 9.5 combined with its sole six-speed auto last year, the new 2018 model’s upgraded 2.0-litre engine makes considerable progress with a claimed rating of 10.7 city, 7.3 highway and 9.2 combined with the manual, or 10.4 city, 7.4 highway and 9.1 combined with the new 10-speed auto.
Additional features that come standard across the entire 2018 Accord Sedan line include auto on/off headlights with automatic high beams, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, remote engine start (with CVT), proximity keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, speed-sensing variable intermittent wipers, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with four-way powered lumbar support, heatable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, SMS text message and email reading capability, a 7.0-inch colour TFT meter display with a driver information interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, Wi-Fi tethering, two front USBs, illuminated vanity mirrors, a sunglasses holder, active noise control, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and much more.
Along with those LED headlights, all Accords also come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance systems, including 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 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.
Of note, 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.
Options in mind, Sport trim adds fog lamps, dark chrome trim, a rear deck lid spoiler, aluminum-trimmed sport pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather shift knob, leather and fabric upholstery, 452-watt premium audio with 10 speakers and a subwoofer, a powered moonroof, near field communication, and more, while some of the sportier features get replaced by more luxury-oriented finishings in EX-L trim, while this upgrade also adds an acoustic windshield, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a HomeLink garage door opener, a heatable steering wheel, two rear USBs, satellite radio, perforated leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory, a four-way powered front passenger seat, heated outboard rear seats, and more.
Lastly, Touring trim builds on the EX-L by adding LED high beams, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting, a head-up display, navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, wireless device charging, HD radio, an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot, ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, and more.
Additionally, the Accord Hybrid returns for 2018, but has yet to go on sale. It pairs a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with two electric motors that are powered by a new, smaller battery pack housed below the trunk’s cargo floor to improve cargo capacity over the previous model.
We’ll be back soon with a full road test review of a 2018 Accord Sedan Touring 2.0, at which point we’ll give you our take on this award-winning mid-size sedan. Until then, check out these two video overviews from Honda Canada: