The all-new, all-electric 2018 Jaguar I-Pace is already getting rave reviews from the automotive press, and soon we should be seeing them silently whisking through better neighbourhoods across Canada. …

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 Buyer’s Guide Overview

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
The 2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400, shown here in First Edition trim, promises shockingly quick performance from a 100-percent EV drivetrain. (Photo: Jaguar)

The all-new, all-electric 2018 Jaguar I-Pace is already getting rave reviews from the automotive press, and soon we should be seeing them silently whisking through better neighbourhoods across Canada. 

Part of the praise has been lauded on styling, the compact luxury crossover SUV benefiting from trademark Jaguar design cues currently in use by the new E-Pace sport utility, its larger F-Pace brother, and pretty well every other Jaguar within the iconic luxury brand’s lineup, including the beautiful F-Type sports car. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
Many I-Pace styling cues can be found on other Jaguar models, but some are completely unique. (Photo: Jaguar)

The new I-Pace arrives on the market as one of only two fully electric luxury crossover SUVs available, not to mention the sole compact luxury SUV to be sold without an internal combustion engine (ICE). Its only competitor is the slightly larger Tesla Model X, and both have the clear advantage of targeting the EV marketplace with crossover SUV body styles. This said Audi and Mercedes are preparing SUV EV challengers that could make life difficult for the upstart Jaguar, so it had better get up to speed while it can. 

Get up to speed it will, and quickly. Standstill to 100km/h takes a mere 4.8 seconds, which makes it the quickest of all Jaguar “Pace” models. The fastest new E-Pace R-Dynamic can manage zero to 100km/h in a spirited 6.4 seconds, while the F-Pace S is capable of the same feat in 5.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124 mph), but pegging one’s foot to the floor can seriously impinge on maximum EV range. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
The I-Pace is long, wide and roomy inside. (Photo: Jaguar)

Estimated EV range is a considerable 386 km (240 miles) when driven more modestly, which should allow most users multiple days without the need to recharge, as well as the ability to undertake short road trips. Of note, 386 km (240 miles) is also 5 km (3 miles) farther down the road than the base Tesla Model X 75D. 

As long as you go easy on the go-pedal while maximizing the use of regenerative braking when coasting downhill, and spending as little time as possible at highway speeds, such range would allow someone living in Vancouver to drive all the way to Whistler, tour around a bit, and then come back again with enough battery storage left over for running some errands when you return. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
With a zero to 100km/h sprint time of just 4.8 seconds, get ready to see the I-Pace’s backside more often than not. (Photo: Jaguar)

The new I-Pace houses a 90-kWh liquid-cooled battery in an aluminum casing within the floor’s structure, and requires just 40 minutes to fill from a fully drained state to 80-percent capacity when hooked up to a 100-kW DC quick charger. On a regular 240-volt Level 2 home charger you’ll need about 10 hours to achieve the same results, or slightly less than 13 hours (12.9) to fully top it up. Still, considering the range available, a single night of charging, or alternatively multiple nights during off-peak hours makes the I-Pace easy to live with. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
The I-Pace interior provides the best in genuine materials as well as state-of-the-art electronics. (Photo: Jaguar)

On the other hand, it’s quite possible you’ll appreciate I-Pace performance even more than its range if access to a charger isn’t an issue. As noted earlier, the British premium brand’s newest creation has no problem leaving the majority of stoplight drag racers far behind when red turns to green, this thanks to an electric motor at each axle resulting in the tarmac gripping traction of standard all-wheel drive, plus the accumulated output of 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque. 

Also in the I-Pace corner is the British automaker’s expertise in lightweight engineering, shown in a monocoque body shell comprised mostly of aluminum. This is nothing new for Jaguar, which makes all but one of its production models from the light yet rigid metal. Underpinning this is a totally unique EV architecture that embeds the aforementioned battery within the floor’s structure. This allowed for much more flexibility when it came designing the cab-forward cabin. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
Jaguar dubs the two infotainment touchscreen displays InControl Touch Pro Duo. (Photo: Jaguar)

To put the new I-Pace into a measured perspective within the Jaguar family, it starts out 287 millimetres (11.3 inches) longer than the E-Pace and 49 mm (2.0 inches) shorter than the F-Pace, with a wheelbase that’s 309 mm (12.2 inches) and 116 mm (4.6 inches) longer respectively, for much greater front and rear legroom than either. Additionally, the roof of the I-Pace is 84 mm (3.3 inches) lower than that on the E-Pace and nearly 86 mm (3.4 inches) down on the F-Pace, resulting in a sleeker, sportier profile. Added to this is much greater width for a sportier stance and more interior spaciousness side-to-side, the I-Pace some 155 mm (6.1 inches) wider than the E-Pace and 69 mm (2.7 inches) more so than the F-Pace. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
Jaguar supports the I-Pace’ superb performance with a well laid out driving environment. (Photo: Jaguar)

The unique layout allows for a cab-forward design featuring a windshield that reaches far over the front wheels, as well as a shorter more steeply raked hood, plus shorter front and rear overhangs, with each wheel pushed out as far to its corner as possible, resulting in much greater interior volume and a strong, athletic stance. 

With much of its weight down low, which reduces the centre of gravity, and benefiting from the lower roof height just mentioned, plus the increased wheelbase and more substantive track that comes from the greater width just noted as well, it’s no wonder the automotive press is glowing about I-Pace handling. The standard chassis rides upon an Active Air Suspension featuring auto-leveling as well as the ability to reduce the I-Pace’ drag by automatically lowering a half inch at highway speeds, which reportedly combines for an exceptionally good ride quality and handling compromise. Additionally, the I-Pace achieves ideal 50:50 weight distribution, so expect a particularly well-balanced EV. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV4002018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
This fully configurable 12.3-inch primary gauge cluster is standard. (Photo: Jaguar)

Jaguar’s driver-configurable continuously variable Adaptive Dynamics system is optional, which analyzes vertical wheel positions, vehicle acceleration, steering inputs, plus throttle and braking actuation before it automatically adjusts the suspension damping settings depending on your personal drive mode choice (Dynamic being sportiest), while Adaptive Surface Response is also available, this system harvesting info from myriad sensors in order to calculate approximate adhesion levels on low-grip surfaces, such as ice, before you even apply steering input, and then after making your turn it minimizes understeer and oversteer levels by controlling throttle and braking inputs. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
I-Pace infotainment appears graphically clean and sophisticated. (Photo: Jaguar)

Braking in mind, two levels of regenerative brakes come as part of the standard I-Pace package, with either its high or low settings providing different degrees of “engine braking” when lifting off the throttle. It’s in the nature of EVs to slow down when removing one’s foot from the accelerator pedal, but providing firmer automatic powertrain braking makes using the brake pedal less necessary, easing everyday driving and saving on brake maintenance plus otherwise expensive repair costs. 

While performance is a critical element with any new Jaguar model, anyone familiar with the brand will also appreciate its rich heritage in luxury. Following in this tradition the new I-Pace combines contemporary design with beautifully finished, authentic fabrics, leathers, metals and woods, as well as state-of-the-art digital interfaces. Depending on trim, contrast stitched padded leather covers the majority of surfaces that aren’t finished in standard metals or hardwoods. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
The floating centre stack houses a separate touchscreen for climate controls and more. (Photo: Jaguar)

Specifically, the four leather-covered cabin motifs include Ebony (black), Light Oyster (light grey), Mars Red (crimson), and Siena Tan (caramel/saddle), while light beige and black headliners are available in woven cloth or Suedecloth. Even the steering wheel rim can be had in Suedecloth or traditional leather, while decorative inlays, which highlight key areas on the instrument panel and doors, include Gloss Charcoal Ash veneer, a piano black lacquer Gloss Black, a patterned Monogram Aluminum, and Aluminum Weave Carbon Fibre. 

A head-up display, which projects key information onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, is optional, but get ready to be impressed because a fully configurable 12.3-inch primary gauge cluster is standard fare, as are two infotainment touchscreen displays that Jaguar dubs InControl Touch Pro Duo, the main top screen measuring 10 inches diagonally and second, a 5.5-inch display used primarily for the climate controls, fixed lower on the sloped centre console. Available voice activation comes via Amazon’s Alexa, which was designed to promote the use of hands-free interaction. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
Trim choices are generous and the quality of finishings reportedly superb. (Photo: Jaguar)

Latest tech in mind, I-Pace automatic climate control utilizes an artificial intelligence (AI) system that senses the number of occupants on board before adjusting the temperature, while the AI system is also capable of calculating remaining EV range based on climate control usage, weather conditions, topography, driving style, and traffic conditions. 

The heating and ventilation controls sit atop a centre console that slants up toward the main display upon two flying buttress-style supports that house controls for the gear selector and driving mode switchgear, this paying respect to a design theme used by Jaguar in its F-Type sports car and new E-Pace utility, although the overall look of the new climate control interface, which incorporates large dials that appear as if they’re floating on top of a digital background, is even more futuristic. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
I-Pace interior roominess is more like a mid-size SUV than anything compact. (Photo: Jaguar)

Follow that centre stack down to rearmost portion of the console and you’ll find 12.2 litres (0.43 cubic feet) of storage space under the centre armrest, its generous capacity due to the absence of a transmission tunnel, whereas the rear seating area incorporates trays for tablets and laptops, similar in concept to what Jaguar has long offered in its top-line XJ. 

A panoramic sunroof sheds light over both rows of occupants, with those in the rear having the option of another two automatic climate control zones for a total of four. Back passengers can also benefit from Jaguar’s “Click and Go” front seatback attachment system, which allows features such as display screens to be mounted quickly and easily, while plenty of cargo area add-ons help enhance load space functionality. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
The new I-Pace houses a 90-kWh liquid-cooled battery in an aluminum casing within the floor’s structure. (Photo: Jaguar)

That cargo area measures 656 litres (23.1 cubic feet), which makes it considerably larger than the E-Pace’s 577-litre (20.4 cubic-foot) rearmost compartment and similar to the F-Pace’s 685 litres (1,510 cubic feet) of usable luggage space when the rear seats are upright. The cargo area is finished as expected in the premium class, with high-grade carpets, chromed tie-down hooks, and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks that expand on its usability, the centre portion folding separately to allow a couple of rear passengers the benefit of window seats while longer items like skis are stowed down the middle. 

As far as trims go, Jaguar Canada is offering the I-Pace in S, SE, and HSE trims, plus a one-off First Edition that will only be available for the 2018 model year. Pricing for the base S model starts at $86,500 before provincial government incentive programs in Quebec and BC (Ontario no longer offers plug-in rebates), with some yet to be mentioned highlights from its long list of standard features including 18-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels, auto on/off LED headlights with automatic headlight levelling and follow me home lighting, LED taillights, heated side mirrors with approach lights, rain-sensing wipers, and more. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
The I-Pace comes standard with LED headlamps. (Photo: Jaguar)

Preset your desired temperature via electric cabin pre-conditioning ahead of climbing over the standard metal treadplates with Jaguar script and taking hold of the soft grain leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, at which point you’ll also find the aforementioned standard Interactive Driver Display, as well as an electromechanical parking brake, JaguarDrive Control mode selections, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink garage door opener, an always welcome sunglasses holder, a fixed panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, voice control, Navigation Pro GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, a Meridian audio system, satellite and HD radio, six USB power points, eight-way semi-powered front seats, Luxtec upholstery, storage under the rear seats, and more. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
These 20-inch Technical Grey split-spoke alloy wheels are exclusive to the I-Pace First Edition. (Photo: Jaguar)

Standard advanced driver assistance systems including autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, a Driver Condition Monitor, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Traffic Monitor, Clear Exit Monitor, and Park Assist semi-automated self parking, while the I-Pace is also filled with the usual types of active and passive safety equipment expected in this class. 

Options with the base S model include the Adaptive Dynamics, Configurable Dynamics and Adaptive Surface Response noted earlier, plus premium LED headlights with signature DRLs, fog lights, various alloy wheels measuring 18 to 22 inches in diameter, gloss black or carbon-fibre exterior trim, auto-dimming and power folding side mirrors with memory, a wearable Activity Key, a heatable steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, a head-up display, a 360-degree surround parking camera, four-zone climate control, a cooled glove box, configurable ambient lighting, cabin air ionization, Meridian surround sound audio, a powered liftgate, the same with keyless gesture control, as well as various metal, hardwood and woven carbon-fibre inlays, interior materials and colours, a cargo net, storage rails, a luggage retention kit, etcetera, while available advanced driver assistance features include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High-Speed Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Assist, Steering Assist, and more. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
Aerodynamic details help keep the I-Pace glued to the road at high speed. (Photo: Jaguar)

Moving up to $92,500 SE trim adds standard 20-inch alloy wheels, premium LED headlamps, auto-dimming power folding side mirrors, a powered tailgate, grained leather upholstery, and a Drive Pack consisting of Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High-speed Emergency Braking, and Blind Spot Assist, while $96,500 HSE trim ups the ante with a different set of 20-inch alloy wheels, plus Windsor leather upholstery, Meridian surround sound audio, a powered gesture tailgate, and a Driver Assist Pack that adds the surround parking camera and steering assist to the SE’s Drive Pack. 

2018 Jaguar I-Pace EV400
This I-Pace First Edition, looking fabulous in exclusive Photon Red, is shown here breaking the Laguna Seca track record for EVs. (Photo: Jaguar)

A fully loaded I-Pace First Edition, like the one that just set a production EV lap record around California’s famed Laguna Seca racetrack, will set you back $103,500, but for that money you’ll get everything from the HSE as well as design details inspired by the stunning I-Pace Concept, including Photon Red exterior paint, 20-inch Technical Grey split-spoke alloy wheels, the choice of Ebony or Light Oyster interior colourways, an exclusive Suedecloth headliner, Gloss Charcoal Ash veneer inlays, unique First Edition branded floor mats, metal treadplates with First Edition logos, and more. 

If the new 2018 I-Pace sounds like your type of EV, make sure to contact your local Jaguar retailer to learn how you can put your name on one. It’s a very special electric crossover SUV from a brand that’s steeped in performance and luxury heritage, and therefore deserves your attention.

The Santa Fe is one of the crossover SUV sector’s most popular entries, and it’s entirely new for 2019. We’ve got it in our garage this week, and without saying too much we’re impressed.  First…

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe takes on an entirely new look for 2019, appearing best in top-line 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The Santa Fe is one of the crossover SUV sector’s most popular entries, and it’s entirely new for 2019. We’ve got it in our garage this week, and without saying too much we’re impressed. 

First off, let’s clear up some confusion. The Santa Fe started life as more of a compact SUV than anything truly mid-size, but like so many other vehicles it has grown over the generations to the point that it now leans more towards mid-size than compact. Despite coming close to matching the length, width and height of a five-passenger mainstays like the Ford Edge, some industry insiders still call it compact and therefore muddle the marketplace, so I’m here setting the record straight. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The regular five-occupant Santa Fe is longer than it was before, now unquestionably in the mid-size camp. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

To be even more specific, at 4,770 millimetres (187.8 inches) long and 1,890 mm (74.4 in) wide the 2019 Santa Fe we’re testing here is a considerable 246 mm (9.7 in) longer than the current Ford Escape compact SUV yet only a fractional 9 mm (0.3 in) shorter than the Edge, while it’s 52 mm (2.0 in) wider than the former and only 38 mm (1.5 in) narrower than the latter. To be fair, the new Santa Fe is actually a full 70 mm (2.7 in) longer and 10 mm (0.4 in) wider than the outgoing model, this improving interior roominess. So while I’ve long considered the Santa Fe a mid-size crossover SUV, now we can all safely categorize as such and call it a day. This becomes even clearer when factoring the size of the three-row Santa Fe XL, which I’ll cover in a future review. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe gets some sophisticated exterior detailing that elevates the look to premium levels. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

This being a Garage piece, I won’t go into too much detail about the Santa Fe’s interior quality, fit, finish, styling, etcetera, or my experiences behind the wheel. Anyone who has read my reviews of previous Santa Fe Sport models, the vehicle this model replaces, will know I was a fan, so suffice to say this one is better in every respect. I’ll leave it there for now. 

Like the outgoing model this new one uses the same powertrains, although both receive new variable valve timing for improved response and fuel economy. The base engine remains the well-proven 2.4-litre four-cylinder making 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, while the top-line turbocharged 2.0-litre four increase power to 235 and torque to 260 lb-ft. Astute readers will notice the upgraded engine is down 5 horsepower, and patient readers will come back to find out if that’s noticeable when I cover it in my review. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
LED headlights, LED fog lamps, 19-inch alloys… the Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD has the goods. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

For now, take solace that the outgoing Santa Fe Sport’s six-speed automatic has been replaced by a much more advanced eight-speed auto with standard auto start/stop that shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling to reduce emissions and save fuel. Fuel economy is therefore improved over the outgoing model, with the 2.4 FWD base model now rated at 10.7 L/100km in the city, 8.2 on the highway and 9.6 combined compared to the old model’s respective 11.1 city, 8.6 highway and 10.0 combined; the same engine with AWD now capable of a claimed 11.2 city, 8.7 highway and 10.1 combined compared to 12.0, 9.1 and 10.7 respectively with last year’s Santa Fe 2.4 AWD; and finally 12.3 city, 9.8 highway and 11.2 combined for the 2.0-litre turbo instead of 12.5, 9.6 and 11.2 when compared to the same engine in the previous generation. Yes, a bit surprising that the new eight-speed auto and auto start/stop system resulted in zero combined fuel economy improvement with the turbo, but when factoring in that most mileage is done in the city then it can be seen as a positive. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
This two-tone interior theme adds a rich elegance to the Santa Fe interior. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Like the outgoing Santa Fe, the new one features a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup in the back, plus stabilizer bars at both ends for improved handling. The steering is motor-driven powered rack and pinion, 

Some other changes worth mentioning here in this Garage story include new trim lines, starting with the base Essential, and then upgraded with Preferred, Preferred Turbo, Luxury, and finally the as-tested Ultimate I’m driving this week. First, kudos to Hyundai for ditching the name “Limited” for a trim line they’d sell as many as they could if consumers would buy them, and more praise for not following the status quo and naming their top-line model “Platinum”. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
It’s got style, but is the quality there? Come back for the full review and we’ll let you know what we think of the new Santa Fe’s interior. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

I like the name Essential for a base model, especially one that includes standard heatable front seats and a standard heated steering wheel, not to mention 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a backup camera, dual USB charge ports, Bluetooth, illuminated vanity mirrors, auto on/off projector headlights with LED accents, fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome and body-colour exterior detailing, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, two-way powered driver’s lumbar support, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks with recline, electromechanical parking brake with auto hold, Drive Mode Select with Comfort, Smart, and Sport modes, and much more for just $28,999 plus freight and fees (go to CarCostCanada for detailed pricing, plus rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands). 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Luxury and Ultimate trims include this 7.0-inch TFT LCD multi-information display within the primary instrument cluster. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Ante up $30,199 and you’ll get Hyundai’s suite of SmartSense advanced driver assistive systems including auto high beam assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, forward collision alert and mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and Driver Attention Warning. 

All-wheel drive costs $2,000 with Essential trim or comes standard with Preferred trim, at which point the SmartSense package is included as well, plus blindspot detection, rear cross-traffic alert with collision avoidance, a rear occupant alert system that remembers if you opened a rear door prior to driving and then reminds that someone or something may still be in back when exiting, and finally safe exit assist that warns of traffic at your side when opening your door, for a total of $35,099. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Ultimate trim adds this larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation plus traffic flow and incident data via HD radio. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Additional Preferred features include 18-inch alloy wheels, turn signals added to the side mirror housings, proximity keyless access with pushbutton ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear parking sensors, a Homelink garage door opener, dual-zone automatic climate control with a CleanAir Ionizer, Predictive Logic and auto defog, BlueLink smartphone telematics, satellite radio, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, rear fore and aft sliding seats, and more. The 2.4-litre base engine is still standard in Preferred trim, but the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine is now a $2,000 option. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
As comfortable as they look? Find out in the upcoming review. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Moving up to $41,899 Luxury trim adds the turbo engine and AWD as standard, plus dark chrome exterior door handles, door scuff plates, LED interior lighting, a 7.0-inch TFT LCD multi-information display within the primary instrument cluster, a powered panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree Surround View parking camera, a deluxe cloth roofliner, leather console moulding, memory, four-way powered lumbar support and an extendable lower cushion for the driver’s seat, an eight-way powered front passenger’s seat, perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heatable rear seats, rear side window sunshades, a proximity actuated smart liftgate, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The rear seats slide back and forth and recline. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

My $44,999 Ultimate trimmed tester included most everything from Luxury trim plus 19-inch alloys, satin exterior trim and door handles, LED headlights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display that projects key info onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation and traffic flow including incident data via HD radio, 12-speaker 630-watt Infinity audio with QuantumLogic Surround sound and Clari-Fi music restoration technology, a wireless charging pad, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
This longest ever five-passenger Santa Fe makes for the roomiest ever Santa Fe. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The five-seat Santa Fe boasts interior volume of 4,151 litres (146.6 cubic feet) and cargo capacity measuring 1,016 litres (35.9 cubic feet) behind the second row and 2,019 litres (71.3 cubic feet) with the rear seatback laid flat, a process that is made easier via powered release buttons on the cargo wall. 

Being that this Garage review has turned into a comprehensive buyer’s guide, let’s cap it off here for now and leave something for the upcoming review. Make sure you come back soon for the good, bad and ugly experiential commentary…

Wagon lover alert: In case you hadn’t heard, the all-new 2019 Volvo V60 is now available nationwide from just $43,900 plus freight and fees. That’s only a token $50 more than last year’s base V60,…

All-new 2019 Volvo V60 sport wagon available now for $43,900

2019 Volvo V60
The new 2019 Volvo V60 brings a lot of style, size and luxury to the premium sport wagon sector. (Photo: Volvo)

Wagon lover alert: In case you hadn’t heard, the all-new 2019 Volvo V60 is now available nationwide from just $43,900 plus freight and fees. That’s only a token $50 more than last year’s base V60, and it’s an entirely new car from the ground up, not to mention filled with state-of-the-art standard features. 

The new 2019 V60 sport wagon’s value proposition becomes even more appealing when factoring in its larger dimensions and more accommodating interior. This in mind, the new model probably targets previous V70 customers as much as those who loved the outgoing V60, thanks to a substantive 124-mm (4.9-inch) greater length overall, plus a 9.6-mm (3.8-inch) longer wheelbase that results in the most spacious rear seating area in the luxury D-segment. The new model is 51 mm (2.0 inches) lower than its predecessor too, which adds to its long, sleek visual stance, but nevertheless it provides ample headroom and legroom for a six-foot passenger behind a six-foot driver, or so reports claim, while the new V60 also boasts 20 percent more cargo room than the outgoing car. 

2019 Volvo V60
Hello good looking! Premium sport wagon lovers should unite around this great looking five-door. (Photo: Volvo)

The elegant new design sits atop the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis architecture that underpins the larger V90 sport wagon, not to mention everything else in today’s Volvo lineup other than the compact XC40 crossover that utilizes the brand’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which incidentally will support a new 40 series line of cars in the near future. SPA and the models built upon it have been widely praised by auto pundits and Volvo customers alike, while sales of new Volvo products have been skyrocketing since the brand’s transformation that started with the second-generation XC90 SUV back in 2015. 

2019 Volvo V60
The new V60 shares many of its larger V90 sibling’s styling cues, not to mention the rest of the updated Volvo lineup. (Photo: Volvo)

No one expects this V60 wagon to sell anywhere near as successfully as that XC90 mid-size SUV or the more recently introduced XC60 compact crossover SUV, or for that matter the upcoming V60 Cross Country that adds a little more off-road flair, a la raised suspension and tough looking matte black body cladding, to this sport wagon’s road-hugging handling prowess. Still, it supplies a major dose of Volvo DNA to the entire brand. After all, Volvo has had a wagon in its lineup longer than most people can remember, and now that the larger V90 has been slated for cancellation in Canada (it was only ever available via special order in the U.S.), availability of this V60 is critical for keeping up the Swedish brand’s pragmatic image. 

2019 Volvo V60
Unique City Weave plaid textile upholstery is available on Momentum trim. (Photo: Volvo)

Climb inside and any such practical thoughts may at least temporarily be swept away by feelings of pampering hedonism, being that the 2019 V60 continues Volvo’s new brand ethos of providing more luxury than any rival. Expect to find more soft-touch surfaces, satin-silver trim, jewellery-like detailing, and genuine hardwood inlays than rivals from Germany, Japan or the U.S., while electronic interfaces are some of the best in the business, from its standard 8.0-inch digital driver display within the gauge cluster to the optional 12.3-inch version of those same primary instruments, not to mention its standard 9.0-inch tablet-style Sensus centre-stack touchscreen. 

2019 Volvo V60
The V60 cabin is well laid out, highlighted by one of the best infotainment touchscreens in the industry. (Photo: Volvo)

Sensus boasts one of the auto industry’s most user-friendly and feature-filled infotainment interfaces that includes 50 percent faster processing speeds than previous iterations used in other models for quicker startup, quicker response from the backup camera, much improved voice activation, and faster navigation route calculation. The standard backup camera includes dynamic guidelines and graphics for the standard rear parking sensors, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi, 10-speaker 330-watt audio, satellite radio, a four-year subscription to Volvo On-Call that features remote start and vehicle tracking, plus connects to one of two standard USB charging ports. 

2019 Volvo V60
The V60 boasts a standard panoramic sunroof. (Photo: Volvo)

The base 2019 V60 is dubbed Momentum, and not only includes the aforementioned items but Volvo’s signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlamps as well, plus 18-inch alloy wheels, metal door sill treadplates, rain-sensing wipers, a powered panoramic glass sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a three-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control with a Clean Zone Air Quality system and a humidity sensor, unique Iron Ore decor inlays, Moritz leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated front seats with two-way powered lumbar support and driver’s memory, a 120-volt household-style power outlet in the rear console, a powered liftgate, power-folding rear seat headrests, power-folding rear seatbacks with controls in the cargo compartment, a semi-automatic cargo cover that conveniently slides up and out of the way when opening the tailgate, a metal cargo scuff plate, black integrated roof rails, dual chromed tailpipes, and more. 

2019 Volvo V60
Volvo has made sure the new V60 exceeds all crash test standards, so we should expect stellar safety ratings from the NHTSA and IIHS. (Photo: Volvo)

Of course, this being a Volvo means that safety is of the highest priority, therefore the new V60 features standard City Safety automatic front collision mitigation featuring collision warning, steering support, and full low- and high-speed autonomous braking, plus Driver Alert Control, Run-Off Road Mitigation, Lane Keeping Aid and Oncoming Lane Mitigation, as well as all the usual active and passive safety features including an airbag for the driver’s knees, front seat whiplash protection, and pyrotechnical seatbelt pretensioners in all positions front to rear. 

2019 Volvo V60
LED headlights are standard, as are many of the latest advanced driver assistance systems. (Photo: Volvo)

Of note, the 2019 V60 introduces Volvo’s new Oncoming Braking system, which if sensing an imminent head-on collision will automatically actuate maximum braking force two-tenths of a second before impact. This is said to reduce vehicle speed by 10 km/h (6 mph) before a crash, which could potentially be a lifesaver and certainly help to minimize life-altering injury. 

Momentum trim is available with the choice of two powertrains, the first being the T5 FWD that consists of Volvo’s well-proven 2.0-litre direct-injected and turbocharged engine, good for 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and the second the T6 AWD that costs an additional $4,000 for a total of $48,900 yet adds a supercharger to the turbocharged four-cylinder resulting in 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The former allows for a zero to 100km/h sprint of 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph), whereas the latter cuts standstill acceleration runs down to 5.7 seconds and ups max velocity to 249 km/h (155 mph). 

2019 Volvo V60
A new standard 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster and an optional 12.3-inch version of the same will display the new V60’s performance in full graphical colour. (Photo: Volvo)

Both use a quick-shifting and efficient eight-speed “Geartronic” automatic transmission with manual mode to transfer power to the drive wheels. The new V60 can also be had with available Comfort, Eco, Dynamic sport, and Individual Drive Mode Select driving modes, while fuel-saving and emissions-reducing automatic start/stop, which shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling, comes standard. The V60’s official Transport Canada fuel economy rating is still to be determined, but expect it to be one of the segment’s more efficient packages. 

2019 Volvo V60
Sensus infotainment has been improved to perform tasks up to 50 percent faster. (Photo: Volvo)

Volvo’s Dynamic Chassis is made up of aluminum double wishbones up front and an exclusive integral link rear suspension design that features a transverse lightweight composite leaf spring, the fully independent setup reportedly balancing a comfortable ride with sporty handling. 

Those choosing Momentum trim can swap out the standard Charcoal (black) or Blond (beige) leather upholstery with slick $400 City Weave plaid textile inserts in either colour, while standard Black Stone or Ice White exterior paints can be upgraded to one of nine $900 metallic finishes. Additionally, a set of $1,000 18-inch five Y-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels can be added too, while individual options include a $250 Charcoal headliner, $1,150 graphical head-up display unit, and $1,200 14-speaker, 600-watt Harmon/Kardon audio system. 

2019 Volvo V60
Rear seat passenger space is much improved thanks to a significantly longer wheelbase. (Photo: Volvo)

Momentum buyers can also add a $1,250 Climate Package that includes heated Aquablades windshield wipers, a heatable steering wheel, and heated rear seats; a $1,500 Convenience Package with Volvo’s advanced Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system featuring Adaptive Cruise Control, plus a Homelink garage door opener and a compass integrated into the rearview mirror; an $1,800 Vision Package with a 360-degree surround parking camera, Park Assist Pilot semi-autonomous self parking, front parking sensors, auto-dimming power-retractable side mirrors, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert; and lastly a $3,400 Momentum Plus Package incorporating dynamic cornering headlamps, headlight washers, fog lamps, proximity-sensing keyless access with a hands-free tailgate function that lets you open the liftgate by waving a foot below the rear bumper, the aforementioned 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, Drive Mode Select, four-zone automatic climate control, navigation (that lets the cruise control access map data for adjusting vehicle speed through corners when appropriate), Road Sign Information, and more. 

2019 Volvo V60
Cargo carrying capacity is up by 20-percent over the outgoing V60. (Photo: Volvo)

If you opt for the T6 AWD all of the same standalone options and packages remain, except for wheels that start with a unique set of open-spoke 18-inch alloys as standard equipment and can be upgradable to a set of $1,000 19-inch alloys, while special Amber caramel brown leather becomes an interior option. 

Moving up to $55,400 Inscription trim adds the T6 AWD powertrain as standard equipment, plus a unique chromed waterfall grille, bright metal integrated roof rails, unique 10-spoke 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, fog lamps, cornering headlights, a special leather-wrapped and metal edged Inscription key fob, low, medium or high steering assistance via Power Steering Personal Settings, Driftwood decor inlays, the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, perforated Nappa leather upholstery, four-way powered lumbar support, ventilated front seats, and more. 

2019 Volvo V60
A 400-hp plug-in hybrid V60 may be on the way. (Photo: Volvo)

Option out a V60 T6 AWD and you can have special $1,000 19-inch multi-spoke alloys, the aforementioned Charcoal headliner and graphical head-up display, as well as a $3,750 19-speaker 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio upgrade, and $1,300 massaging front seats. The Momentum Plus Package is no longer offered due to most of it being standard in Inscription trim, but the three remaining Climate, Convenience and Vision packages remain available. 

2019 Volvo V60
Wagon lovers will want to see the new V60 parked in their driveway. (Photo: Volvo)

While Momentum and Inscription are the only two trims currently available, a sportier V60 R-Design is expected at some point in the near future, featuring special 18-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and slightly edgier interior and exterior design, while it will incorporate most of the same features offered in the Inscription. Likewise, the V60 will also be available with Volvo’s T8 Twin-Engine powertrain that uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to increase engine output to 400 horsepower while reducing fuel consumption considerably. 

As it is, 2019 V60 Momentum and Inscription trims are available across Canada right now, so wagon lovers should make sure they head on down to their local Volvo dealer to partake. It certainly appears like the new V60 delivers a lot for its very reasonable asking price, and therefore should be a minor hit for the upwardly mobile Swedish luxury brand.

We don’t get many Minis each year, but when we do it’s always a fun week. Especially if that Mini is tuned to “S” trim and its roof is chopped to make way for a retractable soft top.  In our…

2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible

2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Great looking colour right? Starlight Blue is new for 2019, and it’s exclusive to the Starlight Blue Edition Package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

We don’t get many Minis each year, but when we do it’s always a fun week. Especially if that Mini is tuned to “S” trim and its roof is chopped to make way for a retractable soft top. 

In our garage this week is the 2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible, trimmed out with this year’s special Starlight Blue Edition Package. That means it gets an exclusive and eye-arresting coat of Starlight Blue Metallic paint, unique 17-inch machine-finished Rail Spoke alloy wheels with black painted pockets on 205/45 all-season runflat tires, and Black Line piano black exterior trim replacing much of the chrome, including the grille surround and the headlamp/taillight surrounds, while the side mirror caps are finished in glossy black too. 

2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Mini updated the Cooper line for 2015 and adapted its new platform architecture to the Convertible for 2016, and while larger and roomier it’s still the same fun-loving Cooper that it’s always been. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The upgrade continues with rain-sensing auto on/off LED headlamps featuring dynamic cornering capability, LED fog lights, piano black lacquered interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, Connected Navigation Plus within the infotainment system, Harman Kardon audio, satellite radio, Carbon Black leatherette upholstery, and heatable front seats, while my tester’s only standalone option is its $2,900 automatic transmission, all of which brings the base price of $33,990 up to $38,290, plus freight and fees. 

Just to be clear, you can get into a new 2019 Mini Cooper Convertible for as little as $29,640 plus freight and fees, the higher price just noted due being to my test model’s aforementioned “S” trim. You can actually get into the base 3-Door hardtop for as little as $23,090, while the Mini 5-Door starts at $24,390 and six-door Clubman hits the road for $28,690. There are other Mini models available, but for now I’ll leave it to the car lineup and point you to CarCostCanada for detailed pricing info on every new vehicle available, including otherwise hard to find dealer invoice pricing and manufacturer rebate information that could save you thousands. 

2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Blackened trim, LED headlights and special 17-inch alloy wheels come as part of the Starlight Blue Edition Package. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Something else you should be aware of is the premium level of quality that goes into each and every Mini model. This little Cooper S Convertible is extremely well put together, from its exterior fit to its interior finishings. The paintwork is superb and detailing fabulous, from my tester’s intricately designed LED headlamps and Union Jack imprinted taillights to its high-quality leather-wrapped steering wheel and stitched leather shift knob, not to mention the pod of primary instruments hovering over the steering column, the ever-changing ring of colour encircling the high-definition 8.8-inch infotainment display, the row of dazzling chromed toggles (and red ignition switch) on the centre stack and similar set of switches on the overhead console, these latter two eccentricities happily gracing every Mini model. 

2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible
We love these Union Jack taillights! (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I could go on, but rather than turn this simple “Garage” overview into a full road test, which will be coming shortly, know that one of Mini’s most agreeable attributes is on-road character. Again, we won’t even tease our experiential notes, which aren’t even completed being that we’ve only spent a couple of days with the car, but instead fill you with some nuts and bolts details such as 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque from the 16-valve twin scroll turbocharge 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, a spirited 7.2 seconds from standstill to 100km/h with the six-speed manual or an even quicker 7.1 seconds with the as-tested six-speed automatic, an independent front strut and multi-link rear suspension, and so much more. 

2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible
These heated sport seats come as part of the Cooper S upgrade. Check the gallery for more photos… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The upgrade to Cooper S trim means that a host of performance-oriented features get added, including selectable driving modes including default “MID”, “GREEN” and “SPORT” for enhanced acceleration and steering response, more heavily bolstered heated sport seats, a panoramic sunroof, and more. 

There’s a lot more to the 2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible than I’ll go into here in this Garage review, including how all of these features work, the quality of workmanship inside and out, how the top operates and seals off the outside world, plus of course the way it drives. So make sure to come back to TheCarMagazine for the full review soon…

The Maxima is an anomaly. Certainly there are other near full-size front-wheel drive mainstream branded sedans on the market vying for our attention, but the Maxima gets closest to looking and feeling…

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum Road Test

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
The stylish 2018 Nissan Maxima looks great in all of its trims, but this gorgeous Deep Blue Pearl hue can’t be had with the base SV. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Maxima is an anomaly. Certainly there are other near full-size front-wheel drive mainstream branded sedans on the market vying for our attention, but the Maxima gets closest to looking and feeling like it comes from a premium marque, and it’s one of the sportiest in this category as well. 

The near full-size mainstream family/business sedan category in question has been shrinking over the years too. It wasn’t so long ago that the Maxima was fighting it out against credible competition from Kia and its Cadenza, Hyundai and its Azera and Genesis (the latter now the much pricier G80 within the Genesis luxury brand), plus Pontiac and its G8, while Ford’s Taurus is already slated for cancellation without replacement, and rumour has it the Chrysler 300 will be gone for good in 2020. What does that mean for the Dodge Charger? And will the Buick LaCrosse and Chevy Impala follow? 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
Dramatically designed from front to back, the Maxima really turns heads. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Plenty of unanswered questions regarding the fate of such storied nameplates remain, but like this Maxima the recently redesigned Toyota Avalon continues on undaunted as archrival number one, while Kia recently showed up with the sporty Stinger to lure Maxima SR buyers away from the Nissan fold. 

The Avalon arrived in the mid-‘90s as a replacement for the Cressida that was preceded by the Crown, while the Maxima has been named the same since it was introduced way back in 1981, the year I graduated from high school. That original car looks a lot older than I feel, but the new one has legs that could run rings around my spindly toothpicks despite my daily exercise routine. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
The machine-finished 18-inch alloys are standard, but the LED low beam headlamps are only standard with SR and Platinum trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester this time around was in full-load Platinum trim, which means that an updated review of the sportiest Maxima SR will have to wait for some time in the future. I prefer the more luxurious version anyway, as it delivers plenty of performance with a more pampering suspension setup. Unless they’ve modified the SR’s suspension tuning I must admit to finding it a bit too firm, but the Platinum is just right and the performance all-round just great. 

Let’s be reasonable. No serious performance-driving enthusiast would consider a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for engaging gears, even with the SR’s standard paddle shifters. No, CVTs are most enjoyable when revs are kept low and smooth, linear acceleration is the objective. When used like this the Maxima is a dream, while it still has the chops to handle curves with a high level of athleticism. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
These LED taillights were obviously inspired by the 370Z sports car, but why not as they look stunning? (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course the suspension is fully independent with the usual MacPherson struts up front and multi-link design in the rear, while the Platinum uses the same machine-finished 18-inch alloys within 245/45 V-rated all-season tires as the base model, which are better for ride quality than the SR’s 245/40 19s. 

The standard 3.5-litre V6 has made the same 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque for years, and no one is complaining, as it’s more than adequate. In fact, it pulls strong and matches the aforementioned CVT well, driving the front wheels as per the norm in this class. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
Wide doors open up to one of the most luxuriously appointed cabins in the mainstream volume branded sector. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Maxima shines even more in exterior and interior design and execution. Its outward styling is dramatic to say the least, even looking fresh and alluring after three and a half years of availability. This model arrived in April of 2015 as a 2016 model, and therefore changes haven’t been excessive. 

A new base S model was introduced last year and wasn’t accepted in our “I want it all” market, so it was unceremoniously dropped after a single year. This said Nissan took the opposite approach for 2018 by elevating the base price by $2,600, although they more than matched that increased MSRP with some important new standard content including automatic high beams and predictive forward collision warning with autonomous forward emergency braking, allowing for an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating with its optional LED headlights (it actually had a Top Safety Pick + rating last year when all of the just noted advanced driver assistive kit was added, but the IIHS keeps moving the bar), while the infotainment system now includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
Beautiful detailing, impressive workmanship, excellent materials, the Maxima Platinum is a class act. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It wasn’t as if the previous model year was lacking in standard equipment either, with 2018 base SV trim carrying forward with standard auto on/off halogen projector headlamps, LED DRLs, fog lamps, LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror caps, signature LED taillights, dual chromed tailpipes, remote start linked to Intelligent Climate Control, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton start, heatable powered side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, overhead sunglasses storage, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, front and rear parking sensors, a heatable leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic multifunction sport steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, a 7.0-inch primary gauge display, cruise control, micro-filtered dual-zone automatic climate control, a large 8.0-inch infotainment display, navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, hands-free text messaging assistant, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with an aux plug, two USB ports, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and RDS, plus heatable front seats, leather upholstery, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with powered lumbar and manual extendable thigh support, a four-way powered front passenger’s seat, and lastly all the active and passive safety features, all for $36,990 plus freight and dealer fees. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
A mix of analogue and digital, the Maxima’s stylish primary instrument cluster is nicely laid out. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The next grade of trim is dubbed SL, and for $39,690 includes everything in base trim plus a dual-panel powered panoramic moonroof, adjustable ambient LED interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, active noise cancellation, active sound enhancement, 11-speaker Bose audio, blindspot warning with rear cross traffic alert, and more. 

I’m going to leave the $41,890 SR model and its sport-oriented features for another review as only LED low beam headlamps and ventilated front seats transfer over to the top-line Platinum trimmed model I tested, the rest of its equipment being totally exclusive including the 19-inch alloys and sport suspension noted earlier, plus items like aluminum sport pedals, unique diamond-patterned Liquid Chrome inlays, a special Ascot leather and suede-like Alcantara flat-bottomed sport steering wheel, plus the same material used for the upholstery. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
The centre stack is feature filled and the 8.0-inch touchscreen is really easy to use. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Top-line Platinum trim boasts the two features just noted, everything from the base SV and mid-grade SL models, plus mahogany wood-tone faceted inlays, a premium Ascot leather-wrapped flat-bottomed sport steering wheel (sans Alcantara), perforated diamond-quilted Ascot leather seats, a front passenger’s powered seat lifter, an auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, reverse tilting for both side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, memory for the driver’s seat, the side mirrors and the powered steering column, an Around View parking monitor with Moving Object Detection (MOD), NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM, Intelligent Driver Alertness that monitors a number of parameters in order to figure out if you’re getting tired and may need a break, a powered sunshade for the rear window, and more for $44,150 (find all 2018 Nissan Maxima pricing, plus detailed rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands at CarCostCanada). 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
Navigation comes standard across the entire Maxima line. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It all comes in an absolutely gorgeous cabin with more padded, quilted and perforated contrast-stitched leather than you’ll likely see this side of a Bentley, not to mention enough knurled metal detailing to make you think you’re at the wheel of something classic and British. Of course, from its stunning semi-digital instrumentation, superbly functional and graphically brilliant infotainment touchscreen, excellent audio reproduction, and top-notch driving dynamics you’ll know you’re aboard something wholly modern, not to mention ideally reliable, while the Maxima is wonderfully comfortable from front to commodious back too. What’s more, the 405-litre (14.3 cubic-foot) trunk is more than adequately sized, with 60/40-split rear seatbacks for expanding its usefulness. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
The Platinum upgrade adds these gorgeous quilted and perforated Ascot leather seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Excepting colours, with metallics costing $135 and pearl tones, like my tester’s stunning Deep Blue Pearl, adding $300, plus the choice of Camel or Cashmere Beige leather instead of the usual Charcoal black with SR and Platinum models respectively, all trims come fully featured with no options or packages available, but take note that Nissan provides a bevy of dealer-installed accessories from exterior aerodynamics components to interior trim upgrades, not to mention the usual protective and cargo carrying items. 

Of importance, Nissan was offering a cash purchase discount of $5,500 at the time of writing, or alternatively lease discounts of $1,500 with 2.9-percent interest and a $264 per semi-monthly payment, making this a great time to purchase a new Maxima. 

2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum
The rear seating area is accommodating and comfortable. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Then again the 2019 Maxima will be the first to feature all-wheel drive, following in the tracks of the all-new 2019 Altima that makes it standard in Canada, while the larger model’s fresh new face, said to be even more dramatic than the car it replaces, should make its first appearance at the Los Angeles auto show at the close of next month. You choose, the current version at a discount or the next-generation at, well, less of a discount. 

Either way you should be well served, as the Maxima delivers one of the most dynamic designs, most attractive high-quality interiors, and sportiest demeanors in its class.

Few luxury brands get as much diversity from a given model as Porsche. The sports car of sports cars, for instance, the Porsche 911, is available in eight different models that range from $104,000 to…

2018 Porsche Panamera Buyer’s Guide Overview

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E Hybrid
Porsche’s Panamera offers a diverse range of models, powertrains and trims. (Photo: Porsche)

Few luxury brands get as much diversity from a given model as Porsche. The sports car of sports cars, for instance, the Porsche 911, is available in eight different models that range from $104,000 to $334,000, and within this range of models are multiple body styles, performance grades and trims. The variations seem limitless. 

The Porsche Panamera four-door coupe doesn’t cover quite as much of a price spread and is only available in three models for 2018, but once again within those models are multiple body styles, performance grades and trims, so while the variations don’t appear quite as limitless as 911 permutations, the chances of seeing the exact same Panamera driving down the street toward you is near impossible. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
The new electrified models are some of the most potent, with this Panamera 4 E-Hybrid combining a twin-turbo V6 with Porsche’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain and AWD for 462 net horsepower. (Photo: Porsche)

To help shed some light on the breadth of Panamera models available, Porsche Canada divides its road-hugging four-door coupe into three categories including Panamera, Panamera E-Hybrid and Panamera Turbo, while a fourth Panamera GTS model will slot in between the latter two for 2019. 

Within these classifications are three body styles and various states of tune. The former includes the regular-length Panamera, the long-wheelbase Panamera Executive that adds 150 mm (5.9 inches) between the axles and significantly lengthens the entire car for improved rear legroom, and the shooting-brake, wagon-style Panamera Sport Turismo that uses the regular wheelbase yet increases cargo volume by 27 litres (1.0 cubic foot) behind the rear seatbacks and 51 litres (1.8 cubic feet) when those seats are folded flat, while the latter variances are much more diverse. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive
The Panamera Executive body style provides a 150-mm longer wheelbase for increased rear legroom. (Photo: Porsche)

Base Panamera trim incorporates a 330 horsepower turbocharged V6 with rear-wheel drive (RWD); the numeric 4 designation signifies the same engine with all-wheel drive (AWD); the 4S denotes a twin-turbo V6 making 440 horsepower mated to AWD; the 4 E-Hybrid combines a twin-turbo V6 with Porsche’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain and AWD for 462 net horsepower; the Turbo boasts a twin-turbocharged V8 and AWD for 550 horsepower; and finally the Turbo S E-Hybrid with its twin-turbo V8, plug-in hybrid and AWD combination results in a staggering 680 net horsepower. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive
The Panamera Executive’s rear quarters are limousine-like. (Photo: Porsche)

Connecting powerplant to driveline is Porsche’s new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that works with both hybrid and non-hybrid models, as well as both rear- and all-wheel drivetrains. Introduced just last year with this new Panamera, the new gearbox might just be the most important “cog in the wheel” both literally and figuratively, in that it replaces three transmissions from the previous generation, including a six-speed manual used with base model V6 and naturally aspirated V8 trims, a seven-speed PDK found most everywhere else, and a Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic exclusive to hybrids and diesel models. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid puts a shocking 680 hp through all four wheels resulting in 0-100km/h in just 3.4 seconds and a claimed 4.8 Le/100km. (Photo: Porsche)

The former transmissions did an admirable job, but the performance gained by the new eight-speed PKD has made a significant difference across the line, especially amongst hybridized Panameras that have been transformed from fast fuel-sippers to the dominant forces within the Panamera lineup. 

The new eight-speed PDK transmission builds on the seven-speed original that was already impressive, with better efficiency, quicker shifts, smoother shift intervals, and most importantly greater strength, the new transmission given a torque ceiling that reaches upwards to 737 lb-ft. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the ultimate four-door sports car. (Photo: Porsche)

This last point is critical when fitted to the aforementioned hybrid powertrains that produce immense amounts of torque at a much faster rate than their conventionally powered siblings. To be clear, Porsche didn’t create a one-size-fits-all dual-clutch gearbox solution, but rather a modular design that allows different versions of the same basic transmission to be used for hybrid, non-hybrid, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive applications. 

For instance, the electrified variant fits its hybrid module within the PDK’s bellhousing, while a hang-on clutch transfers torque to the front axle in conventionally powered all-wheel drive configurations. With a focus on efficiency, the eight-speed PDK provides three overdrive ratios, which means the Panamera achieves its terminal velocity in sixth gear. This in-house design certainly serves all Panamera purposes well. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Panamera’s cockpit is driver-centric, much like the 911 in style and design. (Photo: Porsche)

This being a Porsche, performance numbers factor heavily into the purchasing decision for most buyers. The good news is that even the base rear-drive Panamera can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds, whereas the same engine with all-wheel drive can do so in 5.5 seconds. If you’re still yearning for more speed, the Panamera 4S manages the same feat in just 4.4 seconds. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Panamera’s gauge cluster incorporates an analogue centre tachometer surrounded by two 7.0-inch TFT displays. (Photo: Porsche)

You’ll need to add 0.1 seconds for extended wheelbase Executive models, but on the contrary you can enhance acceleration by opting for the Sport Chrono Package that chops 0.2 seconds off of all zero to 100km/h sprint times via sportier engine, transmission and chassis tuning. The Sport Chrono Package also includes a special Sport Plus button next to the regular Sport button, which makes the engine even more responsive than when in Sport mode by adjusting the rev-limiter to a harder setting, plus it sharpens turn-in and overall steering sensitivity, and increases the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) damper rigidity. What’s more, the Panamera’s adaptive air suspension lowers and its spring rate firms up, while the Rear Axle Steering with Power Steering Plus improves agility yet further. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
Just dial in your drive mode from this handy steering wheel-mounted switch. (Photo: Porsche)

The former benefits low-speed manoeuvrability by pointing front and rear wheels in the opposite direction, shortening the turning circle, and also enhancing high-speed stability by steering the front and rear wheels in the same direction, while Power Steering Plus boosts the electric power steering to lighten its load at low speeds and firms it up while responding with more precision at high speeds. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
This might look like a regular Panamera from the front… (Photo: Porsche)

All driving modes, including Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual are available from a new steering wheel mounted rotating switch featuring an integrated Sport Response button, the latter similar to Launch Control albeit even more useful on a daily basis, as it not only primes the engine and transmission for quickest possible acceleration, but works just as well off the line as it does during overtaking moves on the highway or track. Consider it a “push to pass” mode that provides maximum responsiveness for about 20 seconds at a time. 

And yes, Launch Control, which optimizes acceleration from a standing start, is included as well, as is a performance display within the standard 12.3-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment touchscreen, plus an analogue/digital chronograph stopwatch mounted atop the dash top for calculating performance/track lap times. Porsche also adds a graphic within the primary instrument cluster’s multi-information display that shows longitudinal and lateral acceleration. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
…. but the Sport Turismo is really the sportiest five-door sport wagon in existence. (Photo: Porsche)

Back to straight-line performance figures, the first electrified Panamera is the 4 E-Hybrid that moves off the line similarly to the aforementioned 4S despite being more powerful, taking a mere 0.2 seconds longer to hit the 100km/h mark due to 300 kilos (661 lbs) of extra weight. Of course it’s the hybrid’s 5.1 Le/100km (compared to 10.1 L/100km) city/highway combined fuel economy and its ability to run totally on electric power for up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) at speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph) that separates it from the conventionally powered pack. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
All Panamera models and trims are beautifully finished inside. (Photo: Porsche)

Next are the Panamera Turbos. The twin-turbo V8’s 550 horses and 567 lb-ft of twist manage to launch it to 100km/h in a scant 3.8 seconds, or once again 3.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package. 

Lastly, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is why the new eight-speed PDK needed to be so robust. With its twin-turbo V8 and plug-in hybrid combination making a shocking 680 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque it needed to be as strong as possible, its amazing all-wheel thrust capable of flinging it to 100km/h in a seemingly unreal 3.4 seconds despite gaining 315 kilograms (694 lbs) over its Turbo counterpart, let alone 140 kg (308 lbs) more than the lesser 4 E-Hybrid, while its top track speed is a staggering 310 km/h (192 mph). 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Hybrid models get unique gauge elements, plus plenty of information about Porsche’s plug-in electric system. (Photo: Porsche)

Batteries are heavy, not to mention all the compact yet still mass amassing hybrid components, but once again it’s all worth it when passing by the pump, the top-tier Panamera also excelling at efficiency performance with a claimed 4.8 Le/100km rating. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is truly a best of both worlds, have your cake and eat it too kind of car. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
The Sport Turismo offers a little more airspace behind the rear seats, along with a larger cargo area. (Photo: Porsche)

On that note, the base Panamera is good for a claimed rating of 11.0 L/100km in the city, 8.3 on the highway and 9.8 combined, with some thanks to its standard auto start-stop function that not only shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling while stopped, but includes an innovative coasting mode. As you might imagine the more powerful engines use more fuel, but even the most formidable non-hybrid Turbo ekes out a commendable 13.4 city, 10.1 highway and 11.9 combined. 

Once you’ve decided which model, body style and trim you’d like, deciding on options can be an overwhelming prospect. This side of bespoke coachbuilders that make most everything by hand, no other manufacturer offers as many possible build combinations as Porsche. Just go ahead and try to put one together on the company’s online configurator and you’ll quickly figure this out. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
This 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 gets electrified to the power of 680! (Photo: Porsche)

For such reasons there’s no way to provide a full menu of standard and optional features here in this overview, but take note that over and above items already mentioned base model highlights include LED headlamps, Porsche’s quad of signature LED spotlights within each headlight, three-dimensional LED taillights with the same four-point LED signatures, 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive rear spoiler, brushed aluminum door sill guards, an electromechanical parking brake, partial leather upholstery, eight-way powered front seats with heated cushions and driver’s memory, and much more. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
“Turbo S” script within the tachometer lets you know you’re driving the world’s fastest four-door hybrid, just in case your right foot hadn’t figure that out all on its own. (Photo: Porsche)

The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel is heatable in standard trim too, and features paddles shifters on its backside in all trims, while you’ll be looking through it at an instrument cluster comprised of two large 7.0-inch high-resolution digital displays surrounding a large black-faced analogue tachometer, while other standard items include pushbutton ignition, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a HomeLink garage door opener, rain sensing wipers, filtered dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, a powered rear liftgate, tire pressure monitoring, and the large PCM infotainment interface noted earlier, all standard. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive
The Panamera, shown here in long-wheelbase Executive trim, makes a striking pose. (Photo: Porsche)

The infotainment display on the centre stack is filled with functions such as Apple CarPlay iPhone connectivity and a backup camera with ParkAssist, plus plenty of services like Real Time Traffic, News, Weather, Contacts, Calendar, Napster, a vehicle locator, remote door lock, etcetera, an Online Navigation Module, 4G LTE Capability with in-vehicle WiFi Hotspot, 10-speaker 150-watt audio, and more, again all standard. 

As noted, the package and options list is epically long and varied, with dynamic cornering and self-cleaning headlamps, soft-close self-cinching doors, higher grade leathers, myriad seat adjustments with powered massage, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, four-zone auto climate control, Bose surround audio, and an even more potent Burmester 3D surround sound audio upgrade that comes with 21 individually controlled speakers and 1,455 watts of power, while advanced driver assistance systems include Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Change Assist, Night Vision Assist, a Speed Limit Indicator, and more. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
The Executive might offer more rear legroom, and the Sport Turismo more cargo space, but the regular Panamera is plenty roomy all on its own. (Photo: Porsche)

To give you an idea of how wide the Panamera pricing spectrum spans, the base model starts at just $97,300 before freight and fees, while a fully loaded Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo can reach upwards of $300,000 — check CarCostCanada for all retail and dealer invoice prices, plus rebate information. 

Panamera pricing is fair too, because along with exceptional performance and high-end premium features galore its interior is as good as anything available today. The quality of materials is exemplary, craftsmanship exquisite, and detailing superb. Ergonomically it’s far superior to most four-door luxury coupes, with rear seat roominess improved over its predecessor and downright limousine-like compared to some it competes against, while cargo carrying capacity is right up there with the class average. 

You’ll find 493 litres (17.4 cubic feet) of luggage space under the powered liftback, or 405 litres (14.3 cubic feet) in Hybrid guise. Flip down the top halves of its rear seatbacks and the Panamera will accommodate 1,339 litres (47.3 cubic feet) of longer cargo in the former and 1,246 litres (44.0 cubic feet) in the latter, while cargo improvements made by the Sport Turismo were covered earlier. 

To summarize, this has already been an exhaustive overview, but there’s still so much that could be said about the 2018 Porsche Panamera. In top trims it’s easily the sportiest sport sedan currently available, yet its style, quality, workmanship and livable practicality set it apart as one of the best cars in its category as well.

Jaguar installed its potent yet economical gasoline-powered Ingenium turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine into its gorgeous 2018 F-Type sports car last year, with an after effect…

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The F-Type is $10k less expensive thanks to this new 296-hp 2.0-litre turbo powered entry-level P300 model. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Jaguar installed its potent yet economical gasoline-powered Ingenium turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine into its gorgeous 2018 F-Type sports car last year, with an after effect being a significantly reduced base price of $68,500. That was a $10k advantage over the previous base price, and this car, in model year 2019 open-top form, is in our garage this week. 

Pricing for the car in question starts at $72,500 this year, while the Coupe’s price has been raised to $69,500. With such an attainable point of entry the new F-Type P300 Coupe and Convertible models become prime 718 Cayman and Boxster competitors, while pricier more powerful F-Type trims continue to fight it out with the Porsche 911 and others in the premium sports car segment. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
The F-Type is gorgeous from all angles. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The turbocharged four-cylinder should provide more than enough performance for plenty of sports car enthusiasts thanks to a very healthy 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque combined with the F-Type’s nimble and lightweight aluminum chassis and body structure, especially when considering that key competitors Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Alfa Romeo don’t offer anywhere near as much output from their entry-level four-cylinder sports models, with 220 horsepower for the TT, 241 for the SLC, 241 for the Z4, and 237 for the 4C, while F-Type P300 numbers line up right alongside Porsche’s dynamic duo that are good for 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque apiece. 

2019 Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible
Jaguar delivers impressive interior quality and comfortable surroundings. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Jaguar makes its eight-speed Quickshift automatic transmission standard in this rear-wheel driven model, a steering wheel paddle assisted gearbox that delivers ultra-fast shift intervals that result in a particularly spirited 5.7-second sprint to 100km/h before attaining a limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). 

But how does it feel from the seat of the pants? Make sure you check out my full review of the F-Type P300 Convertible shown here in the photos, where I’ll divulge just how well all of this turbocharged four-cylinder goodness comes together. And don’t think for a minute that it’s not going to be positive. 

Even considering all of the other more powerful F-Type iterations available, including the incredible 575 horsepower SRV that I spent a week with over the summer, the new P300 has many attributes that stand out above its low base price, making it worthy of the “Growler” emblem on its grille and wheel caps, plus the “Leaper” atop its rear deck lid…

Power isn’t my thing. Most who have it don’t know how to wield it, and being libertarian in mindset I truly only want enough power to rule over my personal space. The MX-5, with its modest 155 horsepower…

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The MX-5 gets a completely revised 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine for 2019, with 181 hp. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Power isn’t my thing. Most who have it don’t know how to wield it, and being libertarian in mindset I truly only want enough power to rule over my personal space. The MX-5, with its modest 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, has always fit very well into such ideals. 

Over the years I’ve heard some complain that its response off the line is somewhat tepid when compared to other sports cars in the category, and when considering these are the same folks unsatisfied with the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86’s much more potent 200 horsepower engine their frustration probably has some merit. I’d rather have high revs and sensational sounds combined with a light curb weight when piloting a four-cylinder powered sports car, yet even with such reasonable expectations the outgoing mill left me feeling a bit flat. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The RF strikes a unique and attractive side profile. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Enter the 2019 MX-5, with a revised 2.0-litre four-cylinder capable of spinning 700 rpm higher before redline, from 6,800 to 7,500 rpm, while power is up 17 percent to 181 horsepower, and torque has increased by 3 lb-ft to 151. 

How did they do it? A few trick engineering tweaks included lighter weight pistons and a redesigned flywheel, plus Mazda also modified the rear differential ratio for quicker response off the line and faster acceleration overall. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
Sharp coupe-like roofline a real head-turner. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

And what about the dull soundtrack? A new sport exhaust system certainly ups the excitement ante, but rather than spill the entire bowl of beans now in this Garage preview I’ll go into greater detail about all of the above in my upcoming road test review. 

Until then, here’s some background info: a six-speed manual comes standard, while a six-speed automatic featuring manual-shift mode, paddle shifters, and Drive Selection modes is optional. This tester gets fitted with the former, exactly the way I’d choose it if mine, and exactly the way I’ll enjoy it best throughout my test week. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The BBS alloy wheels and Brembo performance brakes aid the MX-5’s overall driving dynamics. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

You might also notice a retractable hardtop, this particular MX-5 being the RF version introduced last year, which gets a sharp looking coupe-like all-weather roof that conveniently powers away when you’d rather feel a wisp of mother nature’s breath in your hair. It’s only slightly easier to live with than the regular soft top, but for those who live, work or just travel through crime-ridden neighbourhoods, it brings an element of security to a car that’s never had such locked down advantages before. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The RF’s retractable hardtop can draw a crowd. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

With a focus that’s never deviated from performance despite the MX-5 gaining refinements with each generation, even this top-line RF GT weighs in at just 1,118 kilograms with the manual and 1,134 kilos with the auto, which is just 53 kg more than the base soft top. I know, to those autocrossing or racing on the weekend, and there are many MX-5 owners that do, an extra 50-plus kilos of mass exactly where they don’t want it, up high over the head, but for the rest of us who simply want to enjoy the fastest way around the highway entrance ramp, it’s also a great way to cloak away the noise of the outside world. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The upgraded Exclusive Package interior, with its gorgeous caramel coloured Chroma Brown Nappa leather, looks fabulous. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with the engine upgrades, Mazda improved the driving environment with a new telescoping steering column, important for setting up your driving position for optimal comfort and control. Continuing on the ergonomic theme, Mazda gave its driver’s seat new easier to use adjustment levers, while the door panels and cupholders are redesigned for 2019. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
Like all Mazda vehicles, the MX-5 delivers a near premium experience for a pauper’s price. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Black metallic painted alloy wheels in 16- and 17-inch diameters are new this year as well, while the 195/50R16 and 205/45R17 tires wrapped around them, the latter standard with the RF, stop better when the MX-5 to new standard Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), while Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) is also new this year, but requires an upgrade to GT trim. Additional advanced driver assistive systems that are standard across the line include Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring (ABSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), while the 2019 MX-5 continues to come with all the expected active and passive safety features too. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The standard infotainment is filled with useful features. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The MX-5 soft top is available in three trims, including the $32,900 GS, $36,900 GS-P, and $39,900 GT, while the RF can only be had in the two upper trims starting at $39,900 and ending at an as-tested $42,900, plus freight and fees of course. See all 2019 Mazda MX-5 prices at CarCostCanada, plus make sure to check the dealer invoice price of the car you choose before buying, as it could save you thousands. 

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF GT
The Nappa leather upholstery is rich and seats very supportive. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

OK, not exactly as tested. My tester also had $200 worth of Snowflake White Pearl paint coating the exterior panels, and instead of standard Black leather with Red Koko stitching, or no-cost Sport Tan leather with Tan Kodo stitching, Mazda had added the $900 Exclusive Package that included a gorgeous caramel coloured Chroma Brown Nappa leather inside plus a contrasting piano black roof top to the exterior. Yes, I think I’d need to spring for this too. 

Interestingly, the aforementioned automatic transmission is a no-cost option despite its many enhancements, with the only other option being a $909 set of 17-inch matte black alloys wheels. 

I won’t go into any detail regarding standard GS-P or GT features in this “Garage” review, but instead I’ll save such commentary and my driving experience notes for an upcoming review. Until then, enjoy the photo gallery that’s a little larger than usual for a Garage story…