If you want the sportiest compact luxury SUV on the market, look no further than the 2018 Porsche Macan. Its quick in all of its trims, blisteringly fast in some, and handles like you’d expect from the quintessential sports car brand—brilliantly. It’s also stylishly sleek, roomy and comfortable, and beautifully finished inside.
At just $54,100, the Macan is also the most affordable Porsche model available in Canada. Entry trims feature a spirited direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with VarioCam technology and kinetic energy recovery that’s good for 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, the latter number more than most competitors have on offer. This allows an energetic sprint from zero to 100km/h of just 6.7 seconds, or 6.5 with the $1,500 Sport Chrono Package that features Sport and Off-Road buttons within the drive mode selector, as well as launch control and a unique performance display within the infotainment touchscreen. No matter whether the base Macan is standard or equipped with the Sport Chrono Package, it tops out at a speedy 229 km/h.
Those wanting more straight-line performance can opt for the Macan S with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 boasting 340 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque, this choice resulting in a standstill to 100km/h sprint time of just 5.4 seconds, or 5.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, and a new top speed of 254 km/h.
Most brands would be satisfied with this impressive level of performance, but most brands aren’t Porsche. Enter the Macan GTS, featuring an extra 20 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque for a total of 360 of the former and 369 of the latter, resulting in a zero to 100km/h time of just 5.2 seconds, or 5.0 seconds flat with the Sport Chrono Package, and an improved terminal velocity of 256 km/h.
Lastly, the Macan Turbo (Turbo being a designated model name despite all Macan trims featuring turbocharged engines) leaves all other compact luxury SUVs in the proverbial dust thanks to a larger 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 that’s good for 400 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a zero to 100km/h launch time of 4.8 seconds, or 4.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, plus an even faster top speed of 266 km/h.
Not quick enough? Porsche being Porsche means that you can always count on some upgrades and special editions, the Performance Package, or alternatively the Exclusive Performance Edition adding a substantive 40 horsepower and 36 lb-ft of torque to Turbo trim for a new total of 440 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, and a resultant response off the line of just 4.4 seconds to 100km/h—the Sport Chrono Package is standard with both.
All Macans come standard with a quick shifting yet smooth and refined seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters plus fuel-saving and emissions reducing auto start/stop with coasting capability that shuts off the engine when it would otherwise be idling, while Active all-wheel drive keeps all four wheels firmly planted on the tarmac.
Likewise, all Macan trims feature an aluminum double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup, although an optional air suspension with adaptive dampers (standard on the GTS) improves both ride, handling and off-road capability via adjustable ride heights and various suspension stiffness settings.
Wheel sizes range from the base model’s 18-inch alloys to larger diameter 19- and 20-inch alloys with upper trims, while optional rims and rubber are available up to 21 inches. The standard brakes include four-piston front calipers and single units at the rear, but these can be upgraded to larger discs with beefier six-piston calipers up front, while the standard rotors measure 345 mm at the front and 330 mm in back, and increase to 360 mm front and 356 mm at the rear in GTS and Turbo trims.
Of course, the four-cylinder is the fuel miser of the bunch, with a Transport Canada claimed rating of 11.6 L/100km in the city, 9.3 on the highway and 10.5 combined, but the single-turbo V6 is hardly a guzzler at 13.7 L/100km city, 10.4 highway and 12.2 combined, and the slightly more powerful GTS good for an estimated 13.8 city, 10.3 highway and 12.3 combined. Even the ultra-potent Turbo isn’t punishing at the pumps, with a rating of 14.2 L/100km city, 10.1 highway and 12.4 combined, while the most powerful Turbo with the Performance Package is actually thriftier than the Turbo at just 14.1 L/100km in the city, 10.1 on the highway, and 12.3 combined.
Of course, the various trims’ mechanicals are only one aspect of all that’s on offer, with the base model also featuring standard 18-inch alloys, fog lamps, LED taillights with adaptive brake lights, heatable powered side-mirrors, an electromechanical parking brake, a heatable leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a colour multi-information display, rain-sensing wipers, a HomeLink garage door opener, tri-zone auto climate control with active carbon and pollen filtration, a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, eight-speaker 150-watt audio with digital signal processing, a single CD/DVD drive, dual SD card slots, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, an AUX/USB/iPod interface, HD and satellite radio, a backup camera with active guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, eight-way powered and heated front seats, a powered liftgate, a removable cargo cover, optimally flexible 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks expanding a 500-litre (17.6 cubic-foot) cargo hold up to 1,500 litres (53.0 cubic feet), tire pressure monitoring, lane departure warning, all the usual active and passive safety features including rear side-impact airbags, and more.
Above the base model, Porsche offers very well equipped $68,100 Sport Edition trim that adds a host of performance upgrades including Porsche Traction Management (PTM) with an electronic, map-controlled multi-plate clutch for the AWD system, a sport exhaust system featuring specially designed silver tailpipes, the Sport Chrono Package, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) via an air suspension with self-leveling and ride-height adjustments that include a reduction in height of 10 mm, and larger 20-inch RS Spyder Design alloys with full colour Porsche crest wheel centres, while additional features include unique exterior styling, HID headlamps with four-point signature LEDs and dynamic cornering capability, auto-dimming side mirrors, glove compartment cooling, a panoramic sunroof, Porsche Connect Plus including Apple CarPlay, a telephone module, wireless internet access, and Porsche Car Connect services, a 14-speaker, 14-channel, 665-watt Bose Surround audio upgrade, leatherette and Alcantara upholstery, heated rear outboard seats, an aluminum cargo area sill protection plate, and more.
The Macan S is actually considerably less expensive than the Sport Edition at just $61,400, because it builds on the base model’s standard features simply by upping performance via the aforementioned 340 horsepower V6.
The GTS, priced at $76,000, adds power to the Macan S package as noted earlier, plus benefits from a beefier set of brakes from the top-tier Turbo line with red painted calipers, while adding the option of carbon-ceramic discs. The GTS also gets a unique SportDesign package with blacked out styling details, the aforementioned HID headlamps, which include the larger 20-inch alloys noted earlier, plus a special red on black interior design including leather and Alcantara upholstery with red embroidered GTS logos, unique black-faced primary instruments with GTS graphics, and more.
The Macan Turbo model lineup starts at $87,200 and includes the previously noted performance upgrades as well as more aggressive front and rear fascias, standard HID headlamps, 19-inch alloys framing the larger brakes mentioned earlier, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), power-folding side mirrors, while inside it gets aluminum front door sill guards with “Macan turbo” script, upgraded materials including brushed aluminum inlays, a leather package featuring smooth-finish leather upholstery, 18-way adaptive front sport seats with memory, an Alcantara roofliner, navigation, the Bose surround audio system, and more.
Lastly, the Macan Turbo with the Performance Package, which starts at $99,000, adds the previously noted power upgrades as well as the Sport Chrono package, quicker-shifting transmission settings, the 10-mm lowered air suspension, a sports exhaust system, and more.
Of course, no matter the trim level Porsche offers a long list of options and packages, which, depending on the model in question, allows standard white or black exterior paints, along with a wide assortment of optional colours ranging in price from $790 for metallics to $7,440 for custom bespoke hues, plus you also get the choice of up to 16 different interior colourways.
Likewise, one of three seat types can be ordered, 14- and 18-way adjustability, while ventilated front seats are also available. Additionally, performance options can include adaptive power steering, an active suspension, an active air suspension, torque vectoring, a sport exhaust, and the list goes on, while available advanced driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, plus lane change and lane keeping assist.
Additional options can include full LED headlights, roof rails, proximity-sensing access with pushbutton start, piano black lacquer, hardwood or carbon-fibre interior inlays, a surround parking monitor, a 16-speaker, 1,000-watt Burmester audio system, one of two different rear entertainment systems, and much more.
In summary, the 2018 Macan is a no-compromise compact luxury SUV that’s capable of serving all types of premium buyers with various levels of performance and features. Its diverse powertrain lineup starts quick and efficient before finalizing as fastest in the class, while its suspension sublimely delivers a comfortable ride and otherworldly handling. Such performance combines ideally with a cabin made from high quality materials, resulting in a compact SUV that’s impressive in most every way, while Porsche didn’t forget to design the Macan from onset to be as everyday practical as this class gets.
Canada’s subcompact SUV segment has been growing like gangbusters in recent years, and the highly successful Mazda CX-3 is one of the key reasons it’s doing so well. The CX-3, in fact, is one of…
Canada’s subcompact SUV segment has been growing like gangbusters in recent years, and the highly successful Mazda CX-3 is one of the key reasons it’s doing so well.
The CX-3, in fact, is one of the class bestsellers, sitting third out of 16 entrants at the end of 2017 (there are now 17 competitors). That’s a truly impressive feat, while it’s also one of just three challengers to bypass five figures in annual sales.
Having been on the market since May of 2015 and therefore mostly unchanged, Mazda felt it was time for a mid-cycle update and therefore we’ve got the new and improved 2019 model in our garage this week. Changes to the exterior include a revised grille, new taillights and updated wheels, while the cabin gets some nicer materials, a new set of seats, plus a redesigned centre console that incorporates a de rigueur electromechanical parking brake switch replacing the previous model’s old-school mechanical brake lever, and by doing so frees up significant space between the front seats while helping to modernize the driving experience.
Additional 2019 updates include advanced blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), the latter utilizing a near infrared laser to detect vehicle activity up to six metres ahead before applying the brakes automatically to avoid a potential accident, all of which even gets added to $20,795 entry-level GX trim (see CarCostCanada.com for all the trim, pricing and options details, plus rebate info and dealer invoice pricing), while the as-tested top-line GT model now comes standard with genuine leather upholstery in place of the outgoing model’s leatherette.
What’s more, 2019 GT models also come standard with all of the features in last year’s optional Technology package, which means that features like satellite radio, automatic high beam assist, and lane departure warning no longer need the addition of an upgrade.
While I’m tempted to tell you more, additional details plus my impressions will have to wait for a full road test review that will be available here soon…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)…
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.
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.
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).
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.
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):
So here it is, the first application of Acura’s new Diamond Pentagon grille on a vehicle that was designed to incorporate it from the ground up. Together with a more fluidly shaped set of Jewel-Eye…
So here it is, the first application of Acura’s new Diamond Pentagon grille on a vehicle that was designed to incorporate it from the ground up.
Together with a more fluidly shaped set of Jewel-Eye LED headlamps to each side and a more progressive front fascia down below, not to mention plenty of chrome thanks to my tester’s top-line Platinum Elite trim, the new 2019 RDX is one eye-catching luxury SUV.
The sharp creases and shapely folds continue down each side of the redesigned model, providing a wedge-like profile and muscular, sporty stance, while the roofline up top culminates into now popular floating D-pillars above an attractive set of pointed LED taillights. Again, the new RDX design is pleasing from front to back.
Those who found the previous RDX a bit too budget-oriented when compared to some of its peers should welcome the new interior as well, as it’s really hard to fault it on styling or materials quality. The top half of the cabin is primarily composed of high-end, soft-touch synthetics, contrast-stitched padded leathers, and real hardwood inlays on the upper edges of the dash top, flowing into the door panels, and extending across the mid portion of the instrument panel, plus the lower console as part of a scrolling lid that accesses the cupholders and large cell phone bin/USB charger below.
Acura has done a great job with metal accents too, tastefully detailing the steering wheel, column stalks, gauges, vents, centre stack, door handles, power seat controls, and overhead console, and then stepping things up another notch by trimming the handle on that aforementioned centre bin lid and the ELS Studio 3D speaker grilles with an even nicer grade and finish of aluminum. Impressive.
A large infotainment display with superb definition, clarity and depth of colour is now perched atop the dash, providing easy visibility from a quick glance, while other functions can be sourced from a sizeable multi-information display within the otherwise analogue gauge cluster.
Also notable, the centre stack actually floats above a large open compartment featuring a rubberized base for holding personal devices that can be conveniently plugged into a USB charge point, an auxiliary plug or a 12-volt power outlet.
The sides of that floating centre console’s upper portion are finished in padded leatherette with nice contrast stitching that continues all the way back to the centre armrest/bin lid cover, and some of that soft-touch material wraps over to the edge of the steering wheel column where the engine ignition button sits, as well as to the right side to the glove box lid. You’ll be hard pressed to find as high a level of luxury finishings amongst RDX competitors.
Common in this class, however, the lower door panels are made from harder plastic, as is most of the lower dash and lower console. Nevertheless, the RDX is finally in the same league as its compact luxury SUV peers when it comes to interior fit, finish, refinement and features, which means it can now command the higher price point this Elite Platinum trim requests.
My top-line tester is available from $57,160, my example actually priced at $57,660 due to White Diamond Pearl paint. That’s $2,770 into MDX territory, but as noted the RDX is more than ready to do battle with the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, et al, and feels like a much more complete package than the Lexus NX and some others in the class, with better switchgear refinement and a more solid, substantive feel all-round.
The RDX is a lot sportier than I expected too. Initially factoring in a displacement drop from 3.5 to 2.0 litres and the elimination of two cylinders, from six to four, straight-line performance was a pleasant surprise. In fact, the new RDX feels even quicker off the line than the old model and is now one of the sportier SUVs in its segment. Along with 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which is a generational bump of 7 horsepower and 28 lb-ft, the engine also makes wonderful noises, its soundtrack just enhancing the experience enough to excite without overwhelming conversations within.
The new 10-speed automatic, a significant two forward speeds more advanced than most premium challengers, allows the engine to rev up to its maximum between shifts, and swapping cogs via the steering wheel paddles happens instantaneously when in Sport or Sport Plus modes. It’s wonderfully smooth too, especially in its Normal default mode, this new engine/gearbox combination delivering one of the best refinement/performance compromises in this class.
Choosing driving modes is accomplished by rotating a massive knob placed square in the middle of the centre stack (more on this in a moment), while Acura has also made its class-exclusive button/rocker switch-actuated gear selector standard across the RDX line. It’s slightly different than the one used for the MDX, for instance, but it didn’t take long for me to acclimatize. My advice to those taking the new RDX out for a test drive is, be patient and give it time. You’ll get used to it and might even like it more than a shift lever after settling in, while you’ve got to admit it’s a pretty futuristic looking human-machine interface.
The RDX has always been a strong performer, but this new model feels lighter up front and more responsive around fast-paced corners than its predecessor, with easy, reactive turn-in and rock-steady grip when snaking through circuitous backroads. Acura’s highly touted torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is standard, and as with the previous model provides excellent all-weather control, while braking is linear and fully up to the task of scrubbing off speed quickly with confidence, all adding up to a new RDX that once again feels more capable than the outgoing one, as well as many of its peers.
With a much smaller displacement, more advanced engine and four additional forward gears it only makes sense that RDX emissions and fuel economy have made gains too, the latter rated at 11.0 L/100km city, 8.6 highway and 9.9 combined for all trims other than the sporty new A-Spec that gets an estimated 11.3, 9.1 and 10.3 respectively, these numbers comparing favourably against last year’s claimed fuel economy rating of 12.4 city, 8.7 highway and 10.7 combined. New idle stop-start, which automatically shuts the engine down when it would otherwise be idling and then immediately reboots it when ready to go, does its part in reaching the improved consumption figures, while making a big difference in reducing emissions.
While its mix of performance and economy certainly gives the RDX an edge over the majority of entry-level luxury rivals, Acura hasn’t forgotten that comfort is king in the luxury SUV class. Therefore, along with all the aforementioned high-end detailing and impressive assortment of premium equipment, the redesigned model is even larger and roomier than the SUV it replaces, which was already quite generous. Specifically, the 2019 RDX is 78 mm (3.1 inches) longer than the old one, with a 65-mm (2.5-inch) increase in wheelbase that makes a significant difference to rear seat roominess, while it’s also 46 mm (1.8 inches) wider for added shoulder and hip space, and 31 mm (1.2 inches) taller, improving headroom. Despite its increased dimensions it has only gained 86 kilos (189 lbs) of curb weight, the previously noted performance improvements partially attributed to this.
When seated in back I could almost completely stretch out my legs with my feet under the front seat, leaving at least eight to 10 inches ahead of my knees, about five inches next to my shoulders, and another three or so between my outside hip and the door panel, while the rear seat is also comfortable. A reasonably sized armrest folds down from centre, exposing two smallish cupholders. Even better, the back padding of the armrest’s alcove is covered in a wonderful soft velvet-like material that does a good job of pampering elbows. Also appreciated, three-way seat heaters warmed rear outboard positions in my top-tier trim, while rear ventilation is good too. Lastly, the rear seating area is finished just as nicely as that up front, with the same high-quality soft-touch door uppers, the same nicely padded leather on the inserts and armrests, identical aluminum speaker grilles, and satin silver finished door pull accents, plus of course the same sumptuous perforated leather upholstery edged out with stylish grey piping and contrast stitching.
The new SUV’s larger size also makes for more cargo room, with maximum space behind its 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks growing by 142 litres (5.0 cubic feet) to 881 litres (31.1 cubic feet), while the new model offers 82 additional litres (2.9 cubic feet) of luggage space when the second-row is folded flat, at 2,260 litres (79.8 cubic feet).
Acura trims the cargo compartment out with premium carpeting that goes all the way up each sidewall, plus of course the backside of the rear seats, while chrome tie-down hooks bling up each corner. The sturdy load floor is removable, exposing large compartments for additional stowage below. Each side of the cargo wall gets a convenient carryover feature, a release lever for laying 60-, 40-, or 100-percent of the split rear seatbacks flat, and yes when I say flat I mean the load floor is now much better at swallowing up cargo than previously. I was disappointed not to see a centre pass-through, however, necessary for loading longer items like skis when the more comfortable, heated window seats are occupied.
Problems? None, but I found the infotainment system’s new True Touchpad Interface a bit disconnected when compared to life with a regular tablet-style touchscreen, like those used for many Honda vehicles. I understand the need for a separate controller when the display is positioned far away from the driver’s reach, but this brings up the question of why it’s so far away, and why Acura chose to fill prime centre stack real estate with the aforementioned massive rotating dial for choosing driving modes. A simple button on the lower console, instrument panel, or better yet the steering wheel, would suffice for driving modes, which would’ve freed space to lower the HVAC interface and pull the infotainment display downward and closer, within easy reach of front occupants. This would have reduced the unnecessary cost of developing such a complex touchpad, which I must say can be a bit tricky to use.
First off, not everyone likes track pads. I use one every day with my MacBook Pro so they’re second nature to me, but my partner uses a mouse with her laptop—enough said. On the other side of the argument, most everyone is familiar with touchscreens due to smartphone and tablet use. Despite my familiarity with the latter, I found even simple commands challenging to implement. For instance, the first thing I wanted to do after setting up my smartphone, which worked easily via Acura’s HandsFreeLink wireless connectivity, was listen to a podcast via Bluetooth audio. With forefinger on the touchpad I repeatedly attempted to slide it along and then press downward once it reached the Bluetooth logo, but each time it initiated a different function and would not select Bluetooth. I kept trying and eventually managed to select Bluetooth, but this was not a good start. It reminds me of a problem Lexus experienced with its first-generation joystick-style Remote Touch Interface controller, which caused enough frustration from customers to cause the Japanese brand to install separate pushbuttons to each side of the main controller. Acura may want to consider something similar, as merely pressing downward on the trackpad isn’t a reliable solution.
The large 10.2-inch high-definition display and graphics within are superb, with main functions divided two-thirds to the left and one-third to the right. This, of course, allows more variety of simultaneously displayed features and therefore provides a more customizable setup, with the ability to show navigation mapping, for instance, on the larger or smaller screen, plus the audio interface, or some other feature, opposite. Choosing the map function, with finger on touchpad you can explore all around by swiping in any direction, pinching or spreading two fingers for a closer or wider view, and tapping to execute commands. While it mostly sounds hunky-dory the touchpad is much smaller than the screen and therefore doesn’t allow for much finger movement. Suffice to say it’ll take a little time to get used to.
Of note, there’s a home button that displays a main screen filled with function links to navigation, phone, AM/FM/HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth audio settings, Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto), Siri Eyes Free, SMS text message and email functionality, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Wi-Fi tethering, AcuraLink Subscription Services, etcetera, and I have to say it works pretty well, other than the system’s aforementioned habit of not keeping its bright orange cursor on a chosen function after releasing one’s finger. You’ve got to be ultra-exact or you’ll miss it, and that’s a lot to ask of someone who should be spending less time concentrating on infotainment and more time focused on the road ahead. My advice to you? Spend time learning how to get the most out of this system while parked in the driveway. Try to be patient and you’ll probably get the hang of it in time. My advice to Acura? Replace the space-depleting drive mode selector knob on the centre stack with a high-quality touchscreen.
On the positive the gauge cluster looks sharp, the multi-information display (MID) at centre is large at 7.0 inches, very high in resolution with deep, rich contrast, and filled with attractive graphics. Still, I found it odd that the gauge cluster was mostly analogue, for two reasons. First, full TFT gauge clusters are all the rage these days, and some are even included as standard equipment. Secondly, it must be less expensive to make a new digital display from scratch than design, produce and assemble all of the mechanical and digital MID components needed for an analogue cluster these days.
Other issues? My tester’s powered tailgate made a strange groaning noise when opening and closing, as if it needed some lubricating oil somewhere within, and when giving my RDX a bath I noticed a six-inch long score in the front portion of the panoramic glass sunroof, likely due to rubbing up against something when being opened and closed. It wasn’t very deep, but over time it could become so. It probably just needs adjustment, but nevertheless these are strange teething pains from a brand like Acura that usually comes to market with its products fully sorted.
According to CarCostCanada.com, which has the latest in new vehicle pricing, including otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that will help you get the best deal on your next car, truck or SUV, plus everything you need to know about the latest manufacturer discounts and rebates (that your dealer may not tell you about), the 2019 RDX can be had as a well-equipped base model for $46,160 including freight and fees, as well as in $48,660 Tech trim, $48,660 A-Spec, $52,160 Elite and $57,160 Platinum Elite trims.
Unlike some competitors, I could see plenty of buyers being very happy in the base RDX thanks to features already noted as well as standard automatic high beams for the aforementioned LED headlamps, proximity access, pushbutton ignition, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, dual-zone auto climate control, a garage door opener, a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, side mirrors with reverse gear tilt-down and integrated LED turn indicators, 12-way powered front seats including lumbar and four-way headrests, two-position driver’s memory, heated front seats, a panoramic moonroof, a powered tailgate, and much more.
Also standard, AcuraWatch includes Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, and Lane Keeping Assist, while all the usual active and passive safety equipment are joined by front knee airbags, hill start assist and tire pressure monitoring, all resulting in a best-possible Top Safety Pick+ safety rating from the IIHS.
Moving up to Tech trim adds Blind Spot Information with a Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, and traffic sign recognition, plus front and rear parking sensors, navigation, voice recognition, and a 12-speaker ELS Studio audio system with dual rear USB ports.
Like with other Acura models, A-Spec trim provides unique front and rear styling, 20-inch alloys, LED fog lights, power-folding side mirrors, a heatable steering wheel, metal sport pedals, unique Alcantara and leather-trimmed upholstery with contrast stitching and seat piping, ventilated front seats, and a 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D audio system.
Elite trim actually results in a step back to the 12-speaker audio system and the removal of ventilated front seats and LED fog lamps, but it adds headlamp washers, auto-dimming side mirrors, perimeter/approach puddle lights, perforated leather upholstery, and heated rear outboard seats.
Lastly, my tester’s Platinum Elite trim adds back the LED fog lamps, ventilated front seats and 16-speaker 3D stereo, while also including adaptive cornering headlights, a colour head-up display, a surround view monitor, a rear camera washer, 16-way powered front seats including lumbar, thigh extensions and side bolsters, genuine Olive Ash hardwood trim, and metal cargo area garnishes.
Yes, loaded up with every possible feature the new 2019 RDX can compete head-on with any premium-branded peer, and no matter the trim should once again be seriously considered when also shopping in this hotly contested segment. There are now 14 entries in the compact luxury SUV class, not including four-door coupe variants, which makes it all the more impressive that the RDX has maintained its near top placement.
As you now know from my criticisms this new RDX is not perfect, but it does most things so very well that it’s easy to look past its idiosyncratic infotainment system and my tester’s few minor problems, which are likely due to being an early production example. In other words, I like it a lot more than I expected to, and can’t help but recommend it highly.
As journalists we get to drive quite a range of vehicles. It is less common be able to drive two variations of a particular model, in this case the 2018 Mazda6, over a couple of weeks. Who could resist,…
As journalists we get to drive quite a range of vehicles. It is less common be able to drive two variations of a particular model, in this case the 2018 Mazda6, over a couple of weeks. Who could resist, especially when the venue was Nova Scotia? Some twisty country roads, superb seafood, cool Atlantic water, and even an occasional dose of Maritime fog, plus enough time to get a really good feel for the cars.
I flew WestJet’s non-stop from Edmonton, which ran through the night and arrived in Halifax before 7:00 am. There, fellow writer Lisa Calvi met me with the first test car, a Mazda6 GS-L, one step above the base GS model. That entry-level version, which retails for$28,920 including freight and PDI (find detailed pricing on each trim level, plus dealer invoice pricing and rebate info at CarCostCanada.com), is already very well equipped, including such goodies as self-levelling LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The GS-L adds leather upholstery, a nice sunroof that is reasonably quiet when open, more electronic driver aids, and a couple of additional features, such as a heated steering wheel and front wiper de-icer, that seem custom made for Canadian conditions.
I loaded my luggage in the GS-L and had a quick look around. Mazda refers to their styling as Kodo design language. The easiest way to understand that is to think of an animal ready to pounce. I like the uncluttered and purposeful appearance, especially in Machine Grey Metallic, a $300 option. The as-tested price, including the aforementioned charges, came to $33,695.
Lisa drove us to town, which allowed me to relax in the passenger seat. The revised interior is nicely finished, punching above its weight in terms of upmarket ambience. The seats do feel as though they were made for wider backsides than mine, but there is adequate support. The information system looks like an add-on, however it works reasonably well once you’ve read the instructions. I must admit that as a racing driver and advanced driving coach, sound systems and such are at the low end of my priorities, so I’m likely not a fair judge.
A day after my arrival, a group of us headed to a seaside resort two hours drive from Halifax. My cousin, Croatia-based photographer Rino Gropuzzo, was with me on the trip. Rino and I are obsessed with finding the perfect seafood chowder, which tends to lengthen our journeys. The restaurant search led us to a twisty, weatherworn two-lane. We weren’t going particularly fast, but enough to let a true driver’s car shine, and this is where Mazda is a solid step ahead of the competition.
When I first worked with the Skip Barber Racing School in the States, we were using M3 BMWs for all our teaching modules, as well as for track days. The cars earned their Ultimate Driving Machine moniker, because at that time BMW driving dynamics were best in class. These days Mazda is as much a clear leader in its sector as BMW was back then. In evaluating dynamics you have to think beyond numbers and specifications, because almost any vehicle in this class will have decent performance. What makes a driver’s car is the combination of ride control, stability, steering feel, and precise response to operator inputs.
On the road, the GS-L, with its 2.5-litre, 187 horsepower engine, is reasonably quick. A manual gearbox would be nice, and oddly enough that’s an option in the States, but not in Canada. I’ve observed that most people who have to shift for themselves are better, more attentive drivers. A quick read of the Mazda owner’s manual reminded me that it is possible to set the automatic so the paddle shifters become useful, holding gears until the driver chooses to shift. Mazda’s base engine has a new parlour trick, cylinder deactivation on a four-cylinder engine. At lower loads, two cylinders work, the others hang around until needed. The switch cannot be felt, except in the pocketbook. On a 150 km run, which included some two-lane road overtaking, I got 5.4 L/100km. That number was courtesy of a very efficient powertrain as well as my sneaky right foot, and better than the official highway rating of 6.7.
My second test car was the Mazda6 Signature, decked out with 19-inch wheels and Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint. All kinds of extra trim, electronic driver aids and so on, but the biggest difference was the turbocharged engine, which puts out 227 horsepower on regular fuel and 250 on premium. More to the point, peak torque, or pulling power, jumps to 310 pounds/feet at 2,000 rpm from the base engine’s 186 at 4,000 rpm. With the turbo engine’s torque coming in so low in the rev range, there is no need to work the engine hard, even when overtaking. All this luxury and performance came in at $41,045 as tested. As with the other test car, the only option was the paint, Soul Red, as a $450 upgrade. All the dynamic goodness of the GS-L was there as well, which made for quite a quick sports sedan. Once again I used less fuel than the official 10.0 city, 7.5 highway rating. My combined score for city and highway, once I discounted the full throttle 60-100 tests that I do by way of assessing overtaking ability, was 8.4 L/100km.
On the last day of the tests, I switched back to the GS-L. Even after being spoiled by the extra horsepower of the turbo, in daily driving the base engine did fine. Mid-size sedans have become a very competitive class, with Honda’s Accord and the Kia Optima/Hyundai Sonata pair on my shortlist. The latter offer excellent quality and good value. For those who are looking for that choice, three Accord models have an available manual gearbox. The latest Camry is a much better vehicle, in all respects, than its predecessors. The Mazda wins in style, poise, and driving manners. Despite the turbo’s seductive thrust, I’d go for the GS-L. Between purchase price and money saved on fuel I’d have enough left over to continue the search for that perfect seafood chowder.
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 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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.