What can I say about a car that’s on its deathbed, and minimizing trim and powertrain offerings as it quietly fades into history? Get it while you can. Despite having been announced for cancellation,…

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD Road Test

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The elegant MKZ is even nicer in upscale Reserve 3.0L AWD trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

What can I say about a car that’s on its deathbed, and minimizing trim and powertrain offerings as it quietly fades into history? Get it while you can.

Despite having been announced for cancellation, the MKZ wears Lincoln’s newest design language from the outside in. It took on the domestic luxury brand’s much more upscale chrome-laden frontal design for 2017, and blended it with rear styling that was already very unique and attractive. It even looks kind of aggressive with its optional dark grey matte-metallic 19-inch alloys wrapped in 245/40 Michelin rubber, although an upward glance reminds that the MKZ is mostly about artful elegance.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
Even after all these years the MKZ’s rear design remains fresh and original. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

For those still enamoured with four-door mid-size luxury, and your numbers have been steadily shrinking across the entire Canadian market, now is the time to act before more good cars like the MKZ whither away into oblivion. Lincoln Canada has done fairly well with this model, achieving a sales high of 1,732 units in calendar year 2006, although after a lull to accommodate the 2007/2008 financial crisis and another drop in 2012, it’s been a gradual downward slide from 1,625 units in 2013 to 1,445 in 2014, 1,130 in 2015, 1,120 in 2016, 994 in 2017, 833 in 2018, and finally 367 examples sold last year, the latter number representing a 55.9-percent year-over-year plunge. No doubt other factors have played into the MKZ’s most recent downturn, parent company Ford’s announcement of the model’s demise last year potentially doing the most damage, but none of this takes away from the essence of the car itself. 

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
Some of the MKZ’s details are actually quite sporty. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

New for 2018 was the very same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that wowed me in the larger, heavier Continental, which means the 400 horsepower velvety smooth beast of an engine, making an equally impressive 400 lb-ft of torque, hustles down the road even quicker. With this much thrust and twist on tap, there’s really no need for an eight-, nine- or 10-speed automatic, so Lincoln was content to leave its smooth and reliable six-speed transmission in place, complete with paddles to extract as much sport out of the potent drivetrain as possible.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
One of the most artful side mirror designs in the industry. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Like all Lincolns the MKZ uses a pushbutton gear selector located on the dash, this one on left side of the centre stack beside the centre touchscreen. The vertical row of buttons incorporates the usual PRND controls sandwiched between an engine start/stop button up top and an “S” or sport mode button at the bottom. Once acclimatized to the layout it’s as easy as any other type of gear selector to use.

The smooth gearbox is more engaging in sport mode, particularly when the just-noted steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are employed, but even so I found upshifts took about two seconds and downshifts about a second and a half to complete, which isn’t quick enough to call it a sport sedan, but the well-proven transmission was very smooth and should be reliable. The MKZ was never designed to be a sport sedan anyway. It’s certainly capable when called upon, with loads of power off the line, real automatic feel when pulling its paddles, and capable control around tight, quick corners, but this car was primarily designed for comfort.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
Nothing looks like an MKZ from the rear. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

That means it’s wonderfully quiet and blissfully smooth riding. Still, when making serious speed down a winding rural road near my home, the midsize sedan provided good grip and capable control, as long as you don’t temporarily lose your sense of reality by thinking it has Mercedes-AMG-, BMW M- or Audi RS-like handling chops. Its advanced electronics and as-tested torque-vectoring AWD make it stable in slippery conditions nonetheless, while it comes well loaded with additional safety features.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The MKZ Reserve’s interior is impressive in every respect. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

As well as it drives, and as attractive as its exterior styling is, the MKZ’s best asset is the interior. It really can’t be faulted, other than sharing some design elements, switchgear and underlying equipment with the Ford Fusion it’s based upon. This is most noticeable with the steering wheel, IP/dash and centre stack, with respect to their design layout, as well as the door panels regarding handles and switchgear. Lincoln takes the MKZ’s finishings up a considerable notch from the Ford, of course, with a completely soft-touch instrument hood and dash-top that even extends all the way down to the lower knee area, plus pliable composites down each side of the centre stack and along the lower console, even including each side portion of the floating bottom section.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
High-quality materials, a good layout, excellent electronics and more make the MKZ a great luxury car. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

While I’m nowhere near finished extolling the merits of this interior, storage space is another MKZ attribute. That floating centre console is home to a large area for stowing smartphones, tablets, or what-have-you, while Lincoln also provides a large glove box, a big bin under the centre armrest, another smaller bin integrated within the folding rear armrest, most of these lined with a rich velvety material no less, and bottle holders in each lower door panel, plus a large trunk measuring 436 litres that’s expandable via 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks or alternatively a handy centre pass-through.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
This mostly digital gauge cluster is wholly advanced, modernizing the MKZ driving experience. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The MKZ Hybrid model’s trunk is just 314 litres, by the way, and that’s the only model available for 2020. Yes, the fabulously fast V6 is now history, or at least you can’t buy a 2020 MKZ with this ultra-potent engine, but some 2019s are still available, so make haste to your local Lincoln retailer if you want serious performance as part of your luxury experience, while saving up to $7,500 in additional incentives according to CarCostCanada’s 2019 Lincoln MKZ Canada Prices page. Lincoln is offering up to $1,500 in additional incentives for the 2020 MKZ, incidentally, and up to $13,000 in additional incentives on a 2018 model if you can possibly find a new one that meets your requirements (there probably is one out there).

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
To the left of the infotainment touchscreen is a row of buttons for starting the engine, selecting gears and choosing sport mode. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Model year changes in mind, the move from 2018 to 2019 left mid-range Select trim behind in the non-hybrid car, leaving only Reserve trim with the base 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, this engine good for a spirited 245-horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, plus the Reserve model as-tested with the 3.0-litre V6. The hybrid’s combustion engine makes 141 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, but its net output is much stronger at 188 horsepower combined, the electric motor making 118 horsepower (88 kW) and 177 lb-ft of torque (don’t try to add them up, because quantifying hybrid output figures is not so easy).

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The infotainment touchscreen is easy to use and filled with features. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

More easily calibrated is fuel economy, and considering constantly fluctuating Canadian gasoline prices, which will no doubt be affected by our government’s unwillingness to enforce trespassing, jaywalking and now arson regulations, amongst others, in our evermore lawlessly protesting nation, pump prices could skyrocket like they did last year, so choosing a more fuel-friendly car isn’t a bad idea. To that end the MKZ Hybrid’s 5.7 L/100km city, 6.2 highway and 5.9 combined rating is twice as efficient as the performance variant being reviewed here, the hybrid model’s continuously variable transmission aiding efficiencies, albeit not as much as the electrified powertrain. As it is the MKZ 3.0-litre V6 AWD is good for 14.0 city, 9.2 highway and 11.8 combined, whereas the same car with the non-hybrid 2.0-litre four manages a slightly more efficient 12.1, 8.4 and 10.4 respectively.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The centre stack provides all the hands-on switchgear you’ll need via high-quality buttons and knobs. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I previously mentioned not being finished with my MKZ interior accolades, as it truly is impressive for its modest $47,000 to $53,150 price range (the Reserve AWD starts at $52,500, by the way, with the 3.0-litre V6 adding $6,500 to the window sticker). Like the instrument panel, the door panels receive high-quality stitched composite door uppers, inserts and armrests, while the lower panels are also soft to the touch. You could compare the MKZ directly against some of the much higher priced compact-to-midsize segments’ German rivals and they won’t improve on its level of fine detailing, not to mention the Lincoln’s real hardwood trim and beautiful perforated aluminum speaker grilles that feature a lovely spiral pattern, while the quality of the car’s switchgear matches many in the premium sector too, this also praising Ford that often punches above its weight in the mainstream sector.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
This two-tiered shelf below the centre console provides a lot of useful storage. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The same is true for in-car electronics, specifically the beautiful new mostly digital gauge cluster that includes the usual two circular primary dials with a multi-information display at centre, or at least that’s what it initially looks like. To be clear it’s not so simple. Instead of a big screen with all dials and other functions shown graphically, Lincoln houses the digital interface within gauge-like frames, the left side showing an analogue-style tachometer around the outer edge and multi-info display within, or alternatively a much larger MID. The speedometer on the right side of the cluster features a digital needle and dial markers, plus other gauges. This gives the MKZ a modern up-to-date look that’s complemented by a centre stack-mounted infotainment touchscreen that was already very good.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The multi-contour seats are fabulous, even boasting massage function. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The MKZ uses Lincoln’s version of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment interface, with an earthy brown and gold colour treatment in place of the mainstream brand’s sky blue and white design. It’s an excellent system in both brands, and needs no updating in the MKZ. It features full audio controls, a dual-zone automatic climate control interface with three-way front heated/cooled seat controls (that are duplicated within a separate set of analogue HVAC controls lower down the centre stack), Bluetooth phone/audio streaming connectivity via Sync, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, an easy-to-use navigation system with good accuracy, an app menu that comes stock with Sirius Travel Link and allows you to download additional mobile apps as well, plus a comprehensive car settings menu with two full panels of functions as well as a third panel boasting ambient lighting choices and multi-contour seat controls.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The panoramic sunroof really opens up the cabin. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

On that note, the driver’s seat is extremely comfortable and provides excellent support, even laterally, which takes us back to the MKZ’s performance mentioned earlier. My favourite seat feature, however, is its four-way lumbar support, a good reason to consider this Lincoln over the Lexus ES, which only provided two-way powered lumbar (in and out) in the 2019 model I recently tested. Then again, before I committed to four-way lumbar as my favourite MKZ feature, I probably should’ve mentioned the little button at the centre of the lumbar controller that turns on the massage feature. Pressing it immediately pulls up a panel within the centre display to customize the multi-contour seat controls, some of which allow for a relaxing massage that’s especially soothing on a long drive or when stuck in traffic.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The rear seating area is spacious, comfortable, and finished as nicely as the first row. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

This said you’d be comfortable no matter where you’re seated. The rear passenger area is finished just as nicely as the one up front too, with the same high quality, soft touch door panels, including their beautifully finished aluminum speaker grilles. Of course, the folding centre armrest includes the usual dual cupholders, while Lincoln also supplies rear air vents on the backside of the front centre console, plus buttons for two-way heatable outboard cushions, two USB-A charger points and a three-prong 110-volt household-style plug.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
Heated seats plus dual USB ports and a three-prong household-style power outlet make for a well stocked rear passenger compartment. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The aforementioned trunk is accessible via a powered lid, and it’s nicely finished with carpeting on the cargo floor as well as the sidewalls, plus under the bulkhead and of course on the backsides of the rear folding seatbacks. Unfortunately they’re divided 60/40, which isn’t the most convenient compared to the 40/20/40-split European models, but Lincoln does provide a centre pass-through for loading longer items like skis. Still, you’ll probably be limited to one set of skis as it’s a fairly small enclosure.

You certainly won’t be limited when it comes to features, mind you, the MKZ Reserve standard with the aforementioned multi-contour front seats for 2019, plus rear window sunshades, active motion and adaptive cruise with stop-and-go, and 19-inch satin-finish alloy wheels. What’s more, Lincoln added a windshield wiper de-icer as standard on all trims, plus standard rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist, while the options list grows to include a new package featuring premium LED headlamps, a panoramic glass sunroof, and a 20-speaker audio system.

2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 3.0L AWD
The rear seatbacks fold 60/40, but Lincoln also provides a small pass-through. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

In the end, the only issue standing in the way of purchasing a Lincoln MKZ instead of its the most common competitor, the Lexus ES noted earlier, or another large family sedan from a non-premium maker like Toyota and its Avalon, Nissan and the Maxima, or Chrysler and its 300, is the fact that it’s already slated for cancellation, as noted earlier. It’s not alone, of course, as a host of large sedans have recently been kicked to the curb as well, including Lincoln’s own Continental (a car I like a lot) and Ford’s Taurus, plus a couple of Buicks and Chevys, so it’s possible that any new sedan you choose could get the boot in the near future if Canadian consumers’ lack of interest continues and/or the economy goes south. So, like I said at the beginning of this review, get it while you can.

Are you a wing spoiler or a lip spoiler person? That’s a question you’ll need to ask yourself when purchasing a new Subaru WRX STI. It might come down to your age, or how fast you plan on driving…

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport Road Test

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The 2020 WRX STI gets some styling tweaks, but the 2019 still looks fabulous. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Are you a wing spoiler or a lip spoiler person? That’s a question you’ll need to ask yourself when purchasing a new Subaru WRX STI. It might come down to your age, or how fast you plan on driving your new ride. If you’ve got a race course close by, choose the wing as it adds significant downforce at high speeds.

Being that Vancouver doesn’t have a decent track within easy distance I’m personally torn, because the big aerofoil on the backside of this high performance Subaru actually has purpose, unlike so many of its contemporaries. The WRX STI’s predecessor, after all, won the FIA-sanctioned World Rally Championship (WRC) three years in a row from 1995 to 1997, amassing a total of 16 race wins and 33 podiums, no small feat. Of course, that was a long time ago and Subaru hasn’t contested a factory WRC team for more than a decade, but the road-going rally race replica before your eyes is a much better car than the one I tested in 2008 in every way.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The STI features some aggressive lower aerodynamics plus this sizeable rear wing on Sport and Sport-tech trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Competitors have come and gone over the years, the most saddening being the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (EVO) that was cancelled at the end of 2015, and no doubt sport compact enthusiasts are also lamenting the more recent loss of Ford’s Focus RS that went wayward with the demise of the model’s less potent trims at the end of 2018. Still, the segment isn’t down and out. Volkswagen raised its Golf R from the dead for 2016 and it’s still running strong, while Honda’s sensational Civic Type R hit the streets with front-wheel screech for 2018, and Hyundai is getting almost as serious with its new Veloster N for 2020, although these last two are front-wheel drive entries and would therefore rally in a different class than those mentioned previously.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
All the scoops and ducts are functional, the WRX STI one of the most purposeful performance cars in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The WRX STI being reviewed here is a 2019, which means it’s devoid of the styling enhancements available with the 2020 model, but both receive the 5-horsepower performance boost added last year. What styling enhancements? To be clear, the regular WRX looks the same for 2020, at least externally, although its interior gets some red stitching on the door trim and its engine bay comes filled with a retuned 2.0-litre boxer, while the differential receives some tuning too. This said only the STI receives any styling upgrades, which include a new lower front fascia and redesigned 19-inch aluminum machined alloy wheels for Sport and Sport-tech trims. Additionally, 2020 Sport trim gets proximity-sensing keyless entry with a pushbutton ignition system.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
LED headlights add sophistication to the STI’s raw power. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

This 2019 WRX STI was tested in Sport trim, which sits between the base and top-line Sport-tech models. The base STI starts at $40,195 plus freight and fees, with the Sport starting at $42,495 and the more luxury-trimmed Sport-tech at $47,295. Incidentally, the wing spoiler comes standard with the Sport and Sport-tech, but can be exchanged for the aforementioned rear lip spoiler with the Sport-tech at no charge.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The STI Sport gets new 19-inch alloys wrapped in grippy Yokohama rubber. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Your pickings are slim for a 2019 model, but I scoured Canada’s Subaru dealer websites and found plenty for sale. Still, don’t expect to be picking and choosing trims or options. At least you’ll save if opting for the 2019, with CarCostCanada reporting up to $2,500 in additional incentives available at the time of writing, seen on its 2019 Subaru WRX Canada Prices page where you can also get complete trim, package and option pricing for the WRX and WRX STI, plus info on special offers like financing/leasing, notices of manufacturer rebates, and dealer invoice pricing that will help you secure the best deal possible when it’s time to negotiate. On that note, if you don’t find the trim or options you’re wanting from a 2019 model, make sure to check out CarCostCanada’s 2020 Subaru WRX Canada Prices page that was showing up to $750 in additional incentives at the time of writing. 

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
To wing or not to wing? With the Sport you don’t have a choice. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Even though the 2019 WRX STI appears no different than the 2018, it’s still a fine looking sport sedan. Last year’s STI added new LED headlights for a more sophistication look and brighter frontal illumination, while standard cross-drilled Brembo brakes get yellow-green-painted six-piston front calipers and two-piston rear calipers enhanced with four-channel, four-sensor and g-load sensor-equipped Super Sport ABS. Subaru revised the STI’s configurable centre differential (DCCD) so that it’s no longer a hybrid mechanical design with electronic centre limited-slip differential control, but rather an electric design for quicker, smoother operation, while the interior received a set of red seatbelts that, like everything else, also get fitted to this 2019 model.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The STI Sport’s cabin is nicely finished, and filled with a decent assortment of features. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The interior also includes red on black partial-leather and ultrasuede Sport seats, with the same soft suede-like material used for the door inserts, along with nice red thread that extends to the armrests as well, while that red stitching also rings the inside of the leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, the padded leatherette-covered centre console edges, and the sides of the seat bolsters. Recaro makes the seats, and therefore they come as close to race car-spec as most would want for a daily driver. They provide power adjustment for the pilot, including two-way lumbar support. The rear passenger compartment is comfortable too, and gets finished identically to that up front, even including the padded door uppers.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The STI’s cockpit is near perfect for optimal driver control and comfort. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

That rear passenger compartment is one of the strongest selling points of the WRX STI, in that it couples legendary sports car performance with day-to-day practicality. Along with a rear seating area that’s good enough for two regular-sized adults or three smaller folk, upgraded with a fold-down centre armrest featuring integrated cupholders in the 2018 model year, the 340-litre trunk holds plenty of gear, while the rear seat even folds down 60/40 via pull-tab latches on the tops of the seatbacks.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The mostly analogue gauges include a highly functional display at centre. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

All occupants continue to benefit from reduced interior noise too, not to mention a retuned suspension with a more compliant ride, while the car received a beefier battery and upgraded interior door trim last year too. Additionally, the driver received a revised electroluminescent primary gauge cluster with a high-resolution colour TFT centre display that Subaru dubs Multi-mode Vehicle Dynamics Control system indicator, showing an eco-gauge, driving time info, a digital speedometer, a gear display, cruise control details, an odometer, trip meter, SI-Drive (Subaru Intelligent Drive) indicators, and the Driver Control Centre Differential (DCCD) system’s front/rear power bias graphic, whereas the 5.9-inch colour multi-information dash-top display, also updated last year, shows average fuel economy, DCCD graphics, a digital PSI boost gauge and more.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
Base WRX and STI’s include a 6.5-inch centre touchscreen instead of the 7.0-inch unit found in Sport-tech trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Subaru has been updating its electronic interfaces for all models in recent years, and now they’re some of the best in the business. The most impressive, a giant vertical touchscreen, is found in the new 2020 Legacy and Outback, so after experiencing that, the WRX STI’s centre display seems a bit lacklustre. Truly, the base 6.5-inch system found in this 2019, as well as the 2020, should no longer exist in a car that starts at more than $40k. Instead, the top-line Sport-tech’s 7.0-inch touchscreen should at the very least be standard across the line. I wouldn’t care if navigation was included or not, this worth paying more for some and not for others, but a single interface makes sense from a build cost scenario too. Then again the larger display might cost more than the smaller one even after factoring in economies of scale, but both incorporate glossy screens with deep contrast and crisp, bright colours, which is what’s needed to compete in this space.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The multi-information display at the top of the dash is a brilliant bit of electronics. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As it is, the standard infotainment system incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Subaru’s own StarLink smartphone integration that also includes Aha radio and the ability to download additional apps. I like Subaru’s updated interface, which features colourful smartphone/tablet-style candy drop graphics on a night sky-like blue 3D tile-style background, plus the system’s easy functionality that for 2019 includes near-field communication (NFC) phone connectivity, a Micro SD card slot, HD radio, new glossy black topped audio knobs, and more. The standard six-speaker audio system is very good too, but that said I missed the top-line 320-watt nine-speaker Harman/Kardon upgrade tested previously in the Sport-tech package.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The base WRX’ might be a bit on the small side, but it’s an excellent system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Along with everything already mentioned, all STI trims include a glossy black front grille insert, brushed aluminum door sills with STI branding, carpeted floor mats with red embroidered STI logos, aluminum sport pedals, a leather-wrapped handbrake lever, black and red leather/ultrasuede upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera with dynamic guidelines, voice activation, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, an AM/FM/MP3/WMA audio head unit, vehicle-speed-sensitive volume control, Radio Data System, satellite radio, USB and aux ports, plus more.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The STI’s six-speed manual is silky smooth and brilliantly engaging. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

STI trims get plenty of standard performance enhancements too, such as quick-ratio rack and pinion steering, inverted KYB front MacPherson struts with forged aluminum lower suspension arms, performance suspension tuning, high-strength solid rubber engine mounts, a red powder-coated intake manifold, a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox, a Helical-type limited-slip front differential and a Torsen limited-slip rear diff, plus more.

2019 Subaru WRX STI Sport
The STI’s new electric configurable centre differential (DCCD) apportions drive bias to the front, centre or rear. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Sport trim adds 19-inch dark gunmetal alloy wheels wrapped in 245/35R19 89W Yokohama Advan Sport V105 performance tires, the high-profile rear spoiler, light- and wiper-activated automatic on-off headlamps with welcome lighting, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a powered glass sunroof, Subaru’s Rear/Side Vehicle Detection System (SRVD) featuring blindspot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and more.

Lastly, Sport-tech features not yet mentioned include proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, navigation with detailed mapping, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link with weather, sports and stocks info, while the Sport-tech’s Recaro sport seats are only eight-way power-adjustable.

STI’s configurable centre differential (DCCD)
The STI’s Recaro sport seats are fabulously comfortable and ultra-supportive. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Of course, like with almost all Subaru models (the rear-drive BRZ sports car excluded) the WRX STI comes standard with Symmetrical-AWD, its torque-vectoring system continuing to push and pull its way to the front of the sport compact pack. You can pitch it sideways on dry pavement or wet, or for that matter on gravel, dirt, snow or almost anything else, and be confident in its ability to pull you through, as long as you’ve got the right tires underneath as well as the driving chops to apply the correct steering, throttle and braking inputs exactly when required.

STI’s configurable centre differential (DCCD)
The rear seating area is finished as nicely as the front, the seats are comfortable, and Subaru added a folding centre armrest last year. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

On this last note it almost feels redundant talking about WRX STI performance, considering its legendary status noted earlier, but I should point out changes made a couple of years ago to the shifter and suspension, which made it a much nicer car to drive both around town and at the limit. The manual gearbox is much smoother, and clicks into place with greater precision than the previous one. In fact, I’d go so far to say it’s now one of the better six-speed manuals on the market, rivalling the Civic Si manual’s brilliance, which I would place at the top of almost anything on the market. That’s heavy praise to both automakers, but certainly well deserved.

STI’s configurable centre differential (DCCD)
This is as practical as sports cars get. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The six-speed manual connects through to a turbocharged 2.5-litre four that includes stronger pistons, a new air intake, new ECU programming and a higher-flow exhaust system than in previous generations, resulting in the same 290 lb-ft of torque, albeit five more horsepower for a new total of 310, while the just-noted gearbox features a revised third gear for quicker acceleration. This means the new STI feels even more energetic off the line than its predecessor, which was already brilliant fun.

STI’s configurable centre differential (DCCD)
The rear seats fold 60/40, opening up the cargo area for longer cargo. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As anyone who’s driven a WRX STI knows, its handling is outrageously good. Then again the EVO mentioned earlier was capable of outmanoeuvring the previous five-door STI. I’d love to put the new STI up against the final EVO back-to-back, like I previously did with the old models, because Subaru has completely eradicated any handling problems of past STI models. It feels light and lively, yet mostly locked in place through fast-paced corner, whether the road surface is smooth or filled with bumps and dips. I say mostly because the old five-door held on too tight, and a little oversteer in the rear is important when making quick time through particularly sharp curves, such as those found on autocross courses. Braking is stupendous, with incredible bite from high speeds, the meaty 245/35R19 Yokohamas grippy on most surfaces and the majority of conditions, snow aside.

2019 Subaru WRX STI
If you like looking at mechanicals, the STI’s “naked” engine is a thing of beauty. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Fuel economy won’t likely matter much to anyone purchasing an STI, but it’s nevertheless reasonably efficient for its performance at 14.1 L/100km in the city, 10.5 on the highway and 12.5 combined, this number not changing one iota from last year. Subaru isn’t showing any improvement from zero to 100km/h either, its claimed sprint time still 0.5 seconds quicker than the regular WRX, at 4.9 seconds. With only negligible changes to its 1,550- to 1,600-kilo curb weight (depending on trims), plus five additional horsepower joining a stronger third gear, both off-the-line and mid-range acceleration should be quicker, which leaves us to believe Subaru is either being conservative or their marketing department just hasn’t gotten around to changing all the specifications on their website.

If you’ve never driven a WRX STI you should, because it’s one of the best sports cars available in its low- to mid-$40k range, plus it’s a practical everyday road car that can manage an active lifestyle.

Well you’ve gone and done it now Canada. You lost your love for the Hyundai Accent Sedan and now its gone. It could be worse. Our American friends felt similarly about the hatchback and now they’ve…

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate Road Test

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The smart looking Hyundai Accent subcompact doesn’t visually change from this 2019 model to the new 2020, at least from the front. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Well you’ve gone and done it now Canada. You lost your love for the Hyundai Accent Sedan and now its gone.

It could be worse. Our American friends felt similarly about the hatchback and now they’ve lost the more versatile five-door variant that becomes Hyundai’s sole subcompact car offering here in Canada for 2020. The U.S. market loves four-door three-box models a lot more than we do, and with car sales slipping as crossover SUVs rise, it was only a matter of time before something gave way.

Hyundai’s U.S. division will fill the void left by the Accent Hatchback with the same entry-level Venue sport utility we’re getting for 2020 (I just picked one up for a weeklong test and so far I’m impressed), while the slightly larger Kona has been selling like gangbusters for nearly two years, resulting in significant sales leadership in the same subcompact crossover SUV segment.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The trunk will disappear for 2020 in Canada, with only the Accent Hatchback being available from now on. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

A quick glance at sales numbers makes Hyundai Canada’s decision to trim the fat easy to understand. The Kona, which went on sale in March of 2018, sold a phenomenal 25,817 units during its first full calendar year of 2019, by far the best any subcompact SUV has ever done and more than 7,000 units ahead of the second-place Nissan Qashqai. Bolstering its entry-level SUV roster, Hyundai just added the even smaller Venue to the mix, which found 456 buyers in its first month of January 2020 alone. While that number didn’t come anywhere close to the Kona’s 1,651-unit tally during the same month, it nevertheless outsold the Accent’s 202 sales by 225 percent. It’s hard to argue against those numbers, which is why cars like the Accent are slowly fading away and small SUVs, like the Venue and Kona, are taking over.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
LED-enhanced headlights, fog lamps, and stylish alloy wheels help the Accent Sedan Ultimate stand out in the subcompact class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

To be fair, at least amongst subcompact cars, the Accent has long been number one in its entry-level segment, only beaten by the Toyota Yaris for the first time last year. The Yaris, by the way, only sold 190 units last month, which is 12 fewer than the Accent, but this said last year’s third-place Kia Rio actually stole the show with 243 deliveries so it’s anyone’s guess as to the subcompact car category’s top dog in 11 months’ time.

One thing’s clear, the Accent Sedan won’t help push that tally up by much. Plenty of dealers across the country still have this great little four-door available, although most have made their farewells and ushered in the 2020 Accent Hatchback, which continues forward looking the same, albeit updated with a new engine and new optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), the latter replacing the six-speed automatic tested in this 2019 model.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The Accent’s LED taillights look great. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I’ve got mixed feelings about the 2020 updates, as the changes were all about fuel economy. This 2019 Accent sports a fairly punchy 132-horsepower 1.6-litre four-cylinder with 119 lb-ft of torque, whereas the new 2020 model gets an identically sized four utilizing Hyundai’s new Smartstream technology, but the result is just 120 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. It wouldn’t have been long ago that losing 12 horsepower and six lb-ft of torque would be a nail in the coffin for a new model, but now that improvements at the pump and emissions reductions are so important, at least in this entry class, the update seems like progress.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The Accent is devoid of soft-touch composite surfaces, but it’s comfortable and big on features. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

To be clear, the Smartstream G1.6 DPI engine used in the new Accent has very little in common with the Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi engine found in the new Sonata. The former is a naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder with dual-port injection (DPI), continuously variable valve timing, and a new thermal management module that helps warm the engine up faster for optimal performance and efficiency, whereas the latter is a radical turbocharged V4 making 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque thanks in part to industry-first Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) that ups performance by four percent, improves fuel economy by five percent, and reduces emissions by 12 percent (I’ll go into more detailing when reviewing the new 2020 Sonata Turbo), while Low Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (LP EGR) particularly helps Hyundai to achieve the last figure.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The attractive Accent interior is well built and filled with top-tier features in Ultimate trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

While the Sonata Turbo’s new Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi is a significant progression in engine technology, a mechanical rethink that will allow for myriad packaging benefits and potentially shrink the size of future engine bays while making hybrid tech easier to adapt for existing models, plus it also stands as a witness to the importance of the internal combustion engine (ICE) in future products (why would Hyundai invest so heavily in a dying technology if hey didn’t believe it had decades of life left), the Accent’s Smartstream G1.6 DPI should be seen as more of an upgrade to an existing powerplant rather than anything revolutionary.

Then again, factor in the gains in fuel economy and the word revolutionary might be apropos. The 2019 model on this page is good for a claimed 8.2 L/100km in the city, 6.2 on the highway and 7.3 combined whether using its standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic, whereas the new 2020 model ekes out 7.8 L/100km city, 6.1 highway and 6.9 combined with its six-speed manual or 7.3, 6.0 and 6.6 respectively with its new CVT. That latter number represents a 12-percent improvement in fuel economy. 

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
A simple analogue gauge cluster is good looking and highly legible, although Hyundai should provide a colour multi-info display at centre. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I like the six-speed automatic in the current Accent as it shifts smoothly, provides good mechanical feel and even comes across quite sporty when slotted into manual mode and operated by hand, but with more of its mission focused on fuel economy the 2020 Accent’s optional CVT, dubbed ITV by Hyundai for “Intelligent Variable Transmission,” should be considered an upgrade. Hyundai claims it simulates shifts well, so I’ll be sure to report back on that when tested, and most CVTs are smoother than conventional automatics, unless those simulated shifts aren’t executed ideally. I won’t go into much more detail about this gearless box right now, but will say it incorporates a wide-ratio pulley system claimed to provide a broader operation ratio when compared to rival CVTs, this improving fuel economy when higher gear ratios are in use and benefits performance when using its lower ratios.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The centre display is good for the class, and filled with high-end features in Ultimate trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

As it is (or was) for 2019, the Accent sedan provides relatively sporty performance from its more potent engine and at least equally engaging transmission, while its ride is good thanks to a well-calibrated front strut and rear torsion beam suspension, and should continue being so moving into 2020 as the two model years are identical other than their powertrains. Likewise handling is about average for the class, its electric power steering providing good directional response yet only moderate feedback, but it’s still fun to fling through corners. The standard four-wheel disc brakes provide strong stopping power too, the Accent always feeling safe and stable even when practicing emergency manoeuvres.

Another positive is interior roominess. For such a small car it certainly feels spacious inside, particular for headroom. Front legroom is good and it should be more than adequate for side-to-side hip and shoulder room too, unless those inside are particularly large folk. It’s easy to get the driver’s seat into a good position, thanks to ample steering column rake and reach, while fore and aft seat adjustment is excellent. The backrest reclines, of course, but there’s no way to adjust the lumbar. Fortunately the seat is well designed for good support all-round, so shouldn’t be a problem for most body types.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
Ultimate trim includes an accurate navigation system. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

It’s fairly small in back, but it should be suitable for two average sized adults or three slender passengers, kids included. With the front seat positioned for my five-foot-eight longer legged, shorter torso frame, which meant I had to push it further rearward than most measuring my height would, I had about two inches remaining between the seatback and my knees, plus enough space for my feet while wearing winter boots. Fortunately the seatbacks get finished in a nice cloth, which would be a bit more comfortable if touching the knees, but no one likes to experience that either way. I had a reasonable room from my small-to-medium build torso to the door panel, measuring about three to four inches at the hips and slightly more next to my left shoulder, while approximately two and a half inches of air space was left over above my head (but remember I’ve got a shorter than average torso).

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
Three-way heated seats and a heatable steering wheel make the Accent a really nice car to live with during cold winter months. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Unfortunately Hyundai doesn’t include a folding centre armrest in back, and there were no vents on the backside of the front centre console to keep the rear quarters aerated, but at least Hyundai provides a rear USB charge point for powering passengers’ devices.

As far as interior finishings go, Hyundai has eschewed the latest subcompact trend to soft-touch surfaces, which I found both disappointing and odd. Touch the dash, the instrument panel, the door panels or anywhere else and, other than the leather-wrapped steering wheel of this top-line model, fabric door inserts, centre armrest, plus of course the seats, there isn’t a single pliable composite surface at all. Most unusual are the hard shell plastic side armrests, that I have to say are very uncomfortable. In this segment I’m able to accept a lack of soft surfaces elsewhere, such as the dash top and door uppers, but using hard plastic for the armrests is going too far.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
This optional six-speed automatic gearbox gives way to an available CVT for 2020. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

This oversight is a shame because most everything else about the new Accent is praiseworthy. I say most because it only included a monochromatic trip computer in this top-tier model, which should really have a full-colour TFT multi-information display in this day and age. Again, I don’t mind the analogue gauges, although some competitors are starting to digitize more of their primary clusters.

Hyundai hopes such shortcomings are forgotten quickly when adding up all the other standard and available features, plus this car’s fairly low price point. Just for a sampling, on top of everything already mentioned my top line Accent Sedan featured proximity-sensing entry with pushbutton ignition, a nice infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, plenty of apps, a backup camera with active guidelines, and more. The climate control system is automatic, albeit single zone, while this model includes three-way heated front seats as well as a heatable steering wheel, the former capable of getting warmer than the class average (it can get very cold in Korea) and the latter downright hot.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The driver’s seat is comfortable, but Hyundai does not provide lumbar adjustment. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The just-noted leather-wrapped steering wheel rim is nicely finished and padded for extreme comfort, while the switchgear on the 9 and 3 o’clock spokes is superbly done with voice activation, audio controls, and phone prompts on the left side, plus multi-information display and cruise controls on the right. The turn signal/headlight and windshield wiper stalks are upscale too, these, along with most of the cabin’s switchgear making its owner feel as if they’ve paid more than they really have. Likewise for the overhead console that incorporates old-school incandescent lights, yet features one of the nicest most luxuriously finished sunglasses holders I’ve ever felt, not to mention controls for the powered glass sunroof.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The rear seats are quite comfortable, but legroom is tight and there’s no centre armrest. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The rear seatbacks are split 60/40 for stowing longer items via the trunk, and dedicated storage space is fairly generous at 388 litres (13.7 cu ft), but take note the lid is very short so you’re limited as to how much you can angle in. A hatchback would remedy this, of course, so be glad Canada chose to keep the more versatile of the two body styles moving into 2020. A benefit to trunks over hatches is security; a trunk being more difficult to access by would-be thieves and therefore passed by more often when easier prey is available, but a simpler solution is to bring valuables inside. Hyundai provides a fairly large compartment underneath the trunk’s load floor, mostly filled up with a compact spare tire and tools, but there’s space around the edges for small items.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
The trunk is fairly large, but the opening is a bit narrow. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

So there you have it. If you must have a new Accent Sedan, start calling around to your local Hyundai dealers to find one. I’ve checked, and there are some available, but you’ll need to act quickly. According to the CarCostCanada 2019 Hyundai Accent Canada Prices page, the base Essential with Comfort Package Sedan starts at $17,349 plus freight and fees, while this top-line Ultimate Sedan starts at $21,299. Of course, discounts will be available, as retailers are motivated to sell, and information about any manufacturer rebates will be available to CarCostCanada members, plus deals on factory leasing and financing rates, which were available from zero-percent at the time of writing (and 0.99 percent for the new 2020 model), and as always dealer invoice pricing that can potentially save you thousands, depending on the car being purchased.

2019 Hyundai Accent Ultimate
A 60/40-split rear seatback provides the ability to pack in longer items. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

As an alternative you can also walk over to your local Kia dealership for a 2020 Rio sedan, which is basically identical to the U.S.-market Accent Sedan under the skin, drivetrain upgrades and all. Interestingly, the Rio is now the only new subcompact sedan available in Canada, so Korea’s other auto brand has an opportunity to pull in a few sales it might not have been able to earn previously (they also have a 2020 Rio Hatchback).

So go ahead and snap up this 2019 Hyundai Accent Sedan while you can, opt for a new 2020 Accent Hatchback if its more functional cargo area suits your lifestyle, or choose the Kia Rio Sedan (or hatch). Then again, you might want to try a new Hyundai Venue or Kona on for size, as they’re great subcompact crossovers for not much more investment. No matter what you want, it appears Hyundai Motor Group has you covered.

Thirty-seven years ago a skunkworks division at Porsche transformed a 409-horsepower Type 935 race car into a handcrafted, slant-nose, big-winged, one-off road-going supercar filled with cream coloured…

New Taycan EV available with Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur upgrades

2020 Porsche Taycan Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
The new 2020 Taycan Turbo EV can now be enhanced with special Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur features. (Photo: Porsche)

Thirty-seven years ago a skunkworks division at Porsche transformed a 409-horsepower Type 935 race car into a handcrafted, slant-nose, big-winged, one-off road-going supercar filled with cream coloured leather and rich hardwood inlays. It was exclusively made-to-order for Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) owner Mansour Ojjeh, a company now best known for its popular TAG Heuer luxury wristwatch brand.

This innovative team became known as Porsche’s “Personalisation Programme” as it continued building unique versions of its iconic 911 sports car for individual clients, one of which was a wealthy sheikh that ordered six identical custom 959 super cars, plus this division also created low run special editions before being renamed Porsche Exclusive in 1986. They developed a special Panamera Exclusive series soon after, plus a modified Macan, a special version the new Cayenne Coupe and more, while in 2017 they took on the name of the Zuffenhausen-based special projects team’s headquarters, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.

2020 Porsche Taycan Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
These 21-inch wheels include stunning carbon aeroblades. (Photo: Porsche)

Now, at the beginning of Porsche’s era of electrification, it makes perfect sense to provide Exclusive Manufaktur upgrades to its upcoming Taycan electric four-door sports car, with this first foray resulting in in 90 customization options including three different Sport Design packages.

These packages “differ with respect to the inlays in the lower front apron, in the sill panels and in the side fins of the diffuser,” said Porsche in a press release. A bigger aero piece than previously shown was added under the headlights, while each Exclusive Manufaktur model also showed a more sculpted front fascia. The side fins can be painted body-colour too, or, depending on the package chosen, left as woven carbon fibre.

2020 Porsche Taycan Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur offers a host of specialty paint options. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur will also provide Taycan owners with LED matrix headlights featuring “a three-dimensional circuit board graphic in the headlight housing as well as daytime running light elements in Glacier Ice Blue or other colours,” continued Porsche, while the headlamps will also include Porsche’s Dynamic Light System Plus. Enhancing the exterior design further, gorgeous 21-inch Exclusive Design wheels boast aeroblades formed from forged and milled carbon, these chopping 3.2 kg (6.6 lbs) from each standard alloy wheel’s weight.

Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur offers modifications to the Taycan‘s interior too, one of which is a Carbon Interior Package featuring a variety of contrasting colour motifs, seatbelts available in eight different colours including Blackberry, Bordeaux Red, Crayon, Graphite Blue, Lime Beige, Meranti Brown, Slate Grey, and Truffle Brown, and matte carbon fibre trim on the front and rear doors plus the centre console.

2020 Porsche Taycan Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur
A Carbon Interior Package adds matte carbon fibre inlays and more. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, Porsche announced an expansion of its Exclusive Manufaktur factory so as to manage expected growth. The once 2,000 square-metre (21,528 sq-ft) facility has increased in size by a third, with the updated floor plan now including four new lifting platform workstations, increased storage space, and a direct line to the finished-vehicle loading platform.

So if you’d like to have your new Taycan, or any other Porsche model “painstakingly hand-finished with high-quality components and special equipment packages for the exterior and interior to achieve an even higher degree of personalization,” make sure you talk to your local Porsche retailer about the Exclusive Manufaktur program.

Pricing and features information for the new 2020 Taycan can be seen at CarCostCanada, where you can also learn how to save on available manufacturer rebates, in-house financing/leasing options, and access otherwise difficult to find dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands on a new vehicle. Check out CarCostCanada for all the details.

Together with the Mini Countryman being reviewed here, BMW group dominates Canada’s subcompact luxury SUV segment. In fact, with 8,078 collective sales last year, comprising 4,420 examples of the X1,…

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4 Road Test

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
The cute little Mini Countryman S E ALL4 plug-in hybrid provides equal amounts of efficiency and driving pleasure. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Together with the Mini Countryman being reviewed here, BMW group dominates Canada’s subcompact luxury SUV segment. In fact, with 8,078 collective sales last year, comprising 4,420 examples of the X1, 2,275 of the Countryman and 1,383 of the sporty X2, the thrifty threesome more than doubled everything Audi and Mercedes-Benz individually had to offer.

Audi’s Q3 managed a respectable 3,734 deliveries for a solid second place in the class throughout 2019, and Mercedes’ 3,689 GLA sales made sure it secured third, but BMW still managed to clobber both challengers despite rather poor year-over-year results. Believe it or not, its SUVs’ stellar performance was after the X1 shed 16.7 percent of its 2018–2019 calendar year sales, while the Countryman did likewise by 8.2 percent, and the X2 by a somewhat concerning 25.5 percent.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
Classic Mini styling from front to back makes the Countryman stand out from its subcompact luxury SUV peers. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Audi Q3 sales were down just 1.2 percent through 2019, but losing ground at all is strange being that it was an all-new model last year. Instead it should have at least reacted like the GLA’s 3.4-percent growth, this achieved after six-plus years of more or less producing the same SUV. Rounding out the subcompact luxury SUV category is the all-new Lexus UX that actually bumped the Countryman from fourth in the segment thanks to 2,683 deliveries, while the still reasonably new Volvo XC40 took sixth place with 2,132 sales for 70.3 percent growth, albeit its 2018 calendar year numbers were only low because it arrived on the scene partway through the year. Moving on, a redesigned Range Rover Evoque grew by 29.8 percent resulting in 1,788 deliveries, while Jaguar’s E-Pace sales collapsed by 27.1 percent to a scant 417 units. Then again, all looked good next to the 93 QX30s Infiniti said goodbye to, this model cancelled, however, but its best-ever year never managed to surpass four figures.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
Evidence of the Countryman’s quality is found in the details, which include LED headlamps and fog lights plus 18-inch alloys as-tested. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The second-generation Countryman arrived for the 2017 model year and therefore has been with us for three years already, or four if we include 2020. Only minor changes improve the 2020 version, or at least this is true for the conventionally powered model. It gets the usual wheel upgrades and other small enhancements, with its standard eight-speed automatic being the most dramatic update. This means the six-speed manual is no longer available due to a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox becoming standard for front-wheel drive trims in the U.S. market, and the eight-speed auto now standard with all-wheel drive south of the 49th (plus west of the 123rd longitude in the south, 130–142 longitude or so in the north, and don’t make me figure out Windsor/Detroit and the rest of the east coast).

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
The S E ALL4’s plug can be found under a stylish garnish on the driver’s side front fender. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

This change wouldn’t be a problem for most brands, even BMW, but Mini attracts a more engaged SUV driver than the norm, especially those opting for the Countryman’s sportiest John Cooper Works trim, so I could imagine some complaints coming from JCW performance purists. The Countryman S E ALL4 remains the same with respect to its transmission, soldiering forward with a six-speed Steptronic automatic that, together with its gasoline-fed 136-horsepower (100kW) 1.5-litre three-cylinder Twin Power Turbo internal combustion engine (ICE) drives the front wheels. The rear wheels are powered solely by an 88-horsepower (65kW) synchronous e-motor via electricity stored in a 7.6 kWh Li-Ion battery.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
Mini provides the Countryman S E ALL4 with a premium quality interior with wonderfully unique character traits. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Depending on need the front wheels can be employed for most of the work, or torque can be divided as needed for slippery conditions via Mini’s drivetrain management system. The Countryman S E ALL4 can also run on electric power alone, but don’t get too excited, as it’s only good for plus/minus 19 kilometres after a full charge.

This brings up the Countryman S E ALL4’s big change for 2020, more EV range. Again, don’t get excited as Mini has only upped its ability to solely run on electric power by 30 percent, or 29 kilometres total, but that near 30-km of maximum EV range might make it worth the hassle of charging up. After all, it doesn’t take much time to top up a 10-kWh battery, so it’s quite possible to use it for running errands while charging it along the way. The benefit can be more available parking spaces/charge stations closer to the entrances of shopping malls and other destinations. Then again, I’d make sure you have some gas in the tank, because as plug-in electrics have become more popular you can never rely on a charge station being available.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
The Countryman’s cockpit is well organized and extremely well made. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Interestingly, the S E ALL4 can manage speeds up to 125 km/h (77 mph) under electric power alone, but this said the little PHEV’s range will likely drop down to a few kilometres at such speeds, meaning that this SUV’s top-EV-speed isn’t a specification worth bragging about. This said, the Countryman S E ALL4 manages a top hybrid speed of 220 km/h (137 mph), which is very impressive and would likely land you in the slammer (or at least cause your car to be impounded) anywhere in Canada and in most U.S. states.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
Mini uses plenty of classic touches inside, but it’s mostly the latest up-to-date tech. This in mind, they may have to change up this gauge cluster when introducing digital instruments. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

During my weeklong test I made a point of topping up the battery whenever possible, outside of a local McDonalds when grabbing a cappuccino with a friend, at the mall when available, and once at Ikea, plus of course overnight. Still, the novelty quickly wore off as it quickly de-juiced and I was left running on hybrid power. Of course, this is no bad thing, thanks to 8.4 L/100km in the city, 8.8 on the highway and 8.6 combined. If able to plug it in for much of your driving, Transport Canada gives this 2019 version an equivalent rating of 3.6 L/100km combined city/highway.

At least as important for any Mini, the Countryman S E ALL4 is fun to drive. I can’t think of many hybrid SUVs that include a manual mode shifter, let alone a Sport mode (that actually does something), but flick the slider at the base of the gearbox to the left and this plug-in scoots away from standstill with plenty of gusto, taking just over 7 seconds to hit 100km/h thanks to 221 net horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque (the electric motor good for an immediate 122 lb-ft of torque on its own), and while it can’t quite manage the 301-horsepower JCW Countryman’s levels of get-up-and go, the sportiest Mini SUV doing the deed in just over 6 seconds, this 1,791-kilo (3,948-pound) utility still feels enthusiastic about getting you where you’re going.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
The Countryman S E ALL4 provides an excellent infotainment system with plenty of useful functions. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The Countryman S E ALL4 manages curves with the same level of spunk, turning in aggressively and tracking brilliantly. Again, it’s not as rigid as the JCW, but on the positive its ride is more comfortable, which probably matters more to most compact luxury SUV buyers. Likewise, the S E ALL4 is a joy on the highway, providing good stability at high speeds and easily capable of managing unexpected crosswinds, my tester’s thick 225/50R18 rubber maintaining a good contact patch with the pavement below.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
Details like this set of toggle switches on the centre stack, the yellow one for starting and shutting off the engine, are fabulous. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

A comfortable driver’s seat made longer stints more bearable too, my test model’s sporting excellent inherent support for the lower back and thighs, the former benefiting from four-way lumbar support and the latter from a manually extendable lower cushion. Roominess is good too, whether in front or back, with the rear seats spacious enough for large adults as long as the middle position remains unoccupied. A wide armrest folds down from centre, incorporating the usual dual cupholders, while ventilation is provided from the backside of the front console. A classic 12-volt charger made me wonder when Mini plans to add USB ports as well, while this particularly trim didn’t include rear seat warmers, but the large powered panoramic sunroof overhead made the Countryman’s compact dimensions seem larger, more open and airy.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
These seats are superb, complete with four-way lumbar and extendable lower cushions. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The dealmaker for me, and my fairly active outdoor lifestyle, is the Countryman’s cargo compartment. I’ve read/heard some critics complain that the Countryman doesn’t offer enough cargo space, but newsflash friends, it’s a Mini. If you want something roomier (and this is really big for a Mini), buy a BMW X1, X3, X5, X7, or something else. On the positive, the S E ALL4 loses nothing to the conventionally powered Countryman’s cargo capacity thanks to 487 litres (17.2 cubic feet) of available space with the rear seats upright and 1,342 litres (47.4 cu ft) when they’re both lowered.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
This is how a sunroof should be done, the Countryman’s panoramic roof capable of being powered open for fresh air too. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Even better, this electrified Mini continues to use the industry’s most practical 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatback configuration, which is especially important for smaller utilities that can’t carry longer items inside, such as ski, watersports or hockey gear, without forcing one of the window seat passengers onto the less comfortable centre bump. The quality of the folding mechanism will impress as well, while the Countryman’s cargo compartment is also finished nicely, helping to make its premium argument clear.

Yes, some don’t consider Mini to be a premium brand, while others automatically relegate it within the ranks of its parent, BMW, as well as the other luxury nameplates noted earlier in this review. While BMW purposely places the Mini brand below its namesake marque, the Countryman’s price range of $31,090 to $44,390, the latter for this top-line S E ALL4, puts it well above mainstream volume branded subcompact SUVs that range in price from about $18,000 to the mid-$30,000s when fully optioned out. Add options to the Countryman S E ALL4, such as the aforementioned sunroof, LED cornering headlamps and fogs, a head-up display, navigation, real-time traffic info, Harman/Kardon audio, a wireless device charger, etcetera, and that price goes even further into premium territory, in fact topping $50k (see pricing for trims, packages and options at CarCostCanada, plus get money saving manufacturer rebate info, deals on financing, and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands). 

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
The Countryman’s rear seating area is spacious and comfortable too. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

It’s not like the base S E ALL4 is poorly equipped either, thanks to 18-inch alloys on run-flat tires, puddle lights, keyless toggle switch start/stop, a nice sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel, heavily bolstered sport seats with leatherette upholstery, dynamic cruise control, park distance control, dual-zone auto climate control, a large centre touchscreen with high definition and superb graphics, and much more.

2019 Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4
The Countryman provides reasonably good cargo space, but its best feature is a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatback. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

All of these features come in a cabin that’s finished to premium levels too, at least for its compact luxury SUV class, which means that fabric wrapped roof pillars join ample soft-touch synthetic surfaces, while most of the switchgear is high in quality too, not to mention wonderfully retro with respect to the chromed toggle switches on the centre stack and overhead console.

In the end, the Mini Cooper Countryman S E ALL4 is every bit the modern-day Mini the British brand’s ardent followers have grown to love, delivering impressive luxury, plenty of premium features, good space utilization, and oodles of on-road enjoyment, yet it now packs in the ability to drive emissions-free for short durations, access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for potentially shorter commutes, and better than average fuel economy whether you plug it in or not. It doesn’t come cheaply, but there’s always a price to pay for leading edge technology, and those that truly want it are willing to pay.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Prius C was discontinued as 2019 came to a close, with no 2020 models being built. There are still 2019s available, albeit in short supply, plus plenty of low mileage demos…

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology Road Test

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The smart looking 2019 Toyota Prius C looks good in both of its trim lines, although the extras added to this Technology model look great. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

In case you hadn’t heard, the Prius C was discontinued as 2019 came to a close, with no 2020 models being built. There are still 2019s available, albeit in short supply, plus plenty of low mileage demos and pre-owned examples (I searched across the country and found the majority of new ones in the GTA and greater Montreal areas), while the model’s highly efficient hybrid electric drivetrain plus many of its other components will continue being produced into the future for a number of alternative Toyota models.

Toyota is currently offering Prius C buyers factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent, plus all of the examples I found were heavily discounted, while on top of these two reasons it’s also an excellent subcompact runabout, all making a review of a 2019 model relevant despite being so far into the 2020 calendar year. I also want to say goodbye to a car that I particularly like. I consider its loss a step backwards for those of us who appreciate highly efficient small cars that are still plenty of fun to drive.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The Prius C’s rear design is particularly attractive. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

To be clear, the Prius C never reached the enjoyment levels of Toyota’s fun-loving Echo Hatchback RS, the modern interpretation of that 2004–2005 classic being another Canadian-exclusive hatch (with respect to North American markets at least), the now discontinued albeit still available 2019 Nissan Micra, but I liked it more than the current automatic-equipped Yaris. The older Echo Hatch and current Micra are very close dimensionally, but take note the Yaris (which was the Echo Hatchback’s replacement for 2006) has grown considerably in size and weight (after two generations) since its comparatively simple predecessor.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
Technology trim adds LED headlights, fog lamps and 15-inch alloy wheels. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The Prius C actually shares its Toyota B platform architecture with the Yaris, but this said its measurements are slightly different. Specifically, the Prius C’s 2,550-millimetre (100.4-inch) wheelbase is 40 mm (1.6 in) longer than the Japanese automaker’s conventionally powered subcompact hatch, and its 4,059-mm (159.8-in) length makes it a significant 114 mm (4.5 in) longer from front to rear. What’s more, the Prius C’s 1,715-mm (67.5-in) width puts it at 20 mm (0.8 in) wider, while its 1,491-mm (58.7-in) height sees it lose 9 mm (0.3 in) from the base of its tires to the tip of its rooftop.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
Technology trim updates the taillights with LEDs. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Of course, due to the C’s well-proven Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain that not only consists of a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder internal combustion engine (ICE) with variable valve timing and an exhaust heat recovery system, which probably weighs something close to the 1.5-litre four in the outgoing 2019 Yaris Hatchback (the new 2020 Yaris Hatchback is a rebadged Mazda2 that’s otherwise unavailable here), but also adds a 19-kWh nickel metal-hydride battery, a 45kW (60 hp) electric motor, and an auto start/stop system (that shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling and automatically restarts when lifting off the brake), all of which increase this small car’s weight significantly.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The Prius C’s interior is quite refined for its subcompact class, especially in Technology trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

A similarly equipped 2019 Yaris SE 5-Door Hatchback with its antiquated four-speed automatic hits the scales at just 1,050 kilos (2,335 lbs), compared to 1,147 kg (2,529 lbs) for the Prius C, resulting in 97 kg (214 lbs) of extra mass, while its 99 net horsepower rating (the combination of a 73 horsepower ICE and the aforementioned electric motor) is slightly down on the regular Yaris’ 106 horses, yet the electric motor’s 125 lb-ft of instant torque, combined with the ICE’s 82 lb-ft of more latent twist, plus the lack of mechanical drag from the Prius C’s continuously variable transmission, more than makes up for its increased girth.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The 2019 Toyota Prius C Technology includes a soft-padded instrument panel ahead of the front passenger. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Yes it took me a while to get back here, but the Prius C is fun to drive. Its acceleration is surprisingly energetic and its chassis feels just as nimble as the Yaris thanks to a battery that sits quite low, while I’d say the hybrid’s ride quality is even better. It’s a refined little subcompact, with a relatively quiet interior even at highway speeds, and pretty decent comfort over rough inner-city alleyways.

It would be wrong to complain about the fuel economy with either of these cars, the Yaris Hatchback auto plenty efficient at 7.9 L/100km in the city, 6.8 highway and 7.4 combined, but the Prius C’s 5.1 L/100km rating, no matter where it’s being driven, is superb.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The primary instruments are placed on top middle of the dash. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Toyota updated the Prius C for the 2018 model year, and I really liked the changes made to a vehicle that already looked good. Compared to the radical styling of its older, bigger brother, the reworked C is a bit more conservative, including redesigned front and rear fascias plus new LED headlamps, LED taillights, updated wheel covers and optional alloys, whereas the interior received a new steering wheel, updated primary gauge cluster, and a revised centre stack. The updated infotainment system included a standard backup camera, this necessary to comply with then-new Canadian regulations that mandated the technology for safety reasons.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The centre stack is well organized and infotainment system very complete in Technology trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Safety in mind, the updated hybrid included Toyota’s Safety Sense C suite of advanced driver assistive systems as standard equipment, incorporating automatic high beams, pre-collision warning, and lane departure alert. Additionally, the standard Prius C airbag count is nine instead of the usual six, whereas a direct tire pressure monitoring system became part of the base package.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
Toyota introduced a much better infotainment interface for 2018. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Features in mind, Toyota dropped the Prius C’s base model for 2019 and pushed the price up from $21,990 to $22,260 plus freight and dealer fees, but for just $270 they added everything from the previous year’s $900 Upgrade package that included a plush synthetic leather instrument panel, premium upholstery, additional driver seat adjustments, cruise control, two more stereo speakers for a total of six, a rear centre console box, and a cargo cover, to an already generous supply of standard gear including power-adjustable heatable side mirrors, a tilt and telescopic steering column, steering wheel controls for the audio and HVAC systems, a 4.2-inch in-cluster multi-information display, single-zone automatic climate control, a 6.1-inch colour touchscreen infotainment interface, Bluetooth connectivity, an outside temperature gauge, and more.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The front seats are roomy and comfortable, plus upholstered in Toyota’s leather-like SofTex in Technology trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

When searching around for new models still available for sale I noticed a nice mix of both trim levels, by the way, the Technology model I tested swapping out the base 15-inch steel wheels with covers for a nice set of 15-inch alloys, and the premium cloth seats as replaced with Toyota’s Softex breathable leatherette upholstery, while additional Technology upgrades include LED fog lamps, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, Touch Tracer controls on the upgraded synthetic leather-clad steering wheel, a navigation system with detailed mapping, advanced voice recognition, Gracenote connectivity, satellite radio, heatable front seats, a powered moonroof, and more. The Prius C Technology starts at $27,090, which is an increase of just $140 from last year, representing great value for a hybrid. Factoring in the discounts I saw while cruising the interweb, the zero percent financing Toyota is offering, and any other manufacturer rebates available, snapping up a Prius C while you can makes good sense.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
The rear seating area is quite spacious for the subcompact class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

By the way, I found out about the financing rate and pricing at CarCostCanada, where trims, packages and individual option pricing is itemized on most every car available in Canada, plus manufacturer rebate info, financing deals and even dealer invoice pricing that gives you the edge when it comes time to negotiate your deal.

The car that likely killed the Prius C is the all-new 2020 Corolla Hybrid that starts at a very reasonable $24,790, and is inarguably a better vehicle. Then again if you really need a hatchback Toyota will be happy to sell you its larger 2020 Prius, its starting price not too much higher at $28,550 and now available with eAWD, whereas a 2020 Prius Prime plug-in can be had for $32,990, this model qualifying for some governmental rebates. The Camry Hybrid continues into 2020 as well, available from $31,550, while Toyota’s electrified crossover SUV lineup includes the recently redesigned 2020 RAV4 Hybrid from $32,350, and the all-new 2020 Highlander Hybrid from $45,490.

2019 Toyota Prius C Technology
Maximum cargo capacity is quite generous. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Yes, even without the Prius C they’ve probably got hybrids covered pretty well, although a new RAV4 Prime plug-in will arrive later this year for 2021, while the visually challenging Mirai fuel cell electric, which ended production last year, will arrive this fall with attractive new duds and other upgrades.

As for finally coming to market with a plug-in battery electric vehicle (BEV) like Nissan’s popular Leaf, in June of last year Toyota announced an ambitious plan to include 10 new models worldwide arriving over the first half of the 2020s, all based on a single e-TNGA platform. By 2025 the automaker says that all models will include an electrified variant (at least a hybrid).

Until then, it might be a good idea to grab a great deal on a 2019 Prius C. It’s an excellent little car with impressive fuel economy, good refinement, a roomy interior, and Toyota’s unparalleled reputation for building dependable hybrids.

Only a couple of weeks after Porsche announced Canadian pricing, features and specifications for their new lightweight 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T performance trims, plus all the details for the two…

New 394 hp 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS 4.0 on their way for 2021

2021 Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0
The new 2021 Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 boasts 394 hp from a big horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. (Photo: Porsche)

Only a couple of weeks after Porsche announced Canadian pricing, features and specifications for their new lightweight 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T performance trims, plus all the details for the two 718 models’ new 2020 base, S, GT4 and Spyder variants, news of a fresh new take on the 718 GTS is upon us. 

Up until the current 2020 model year, fourth-generation Cayman and Boxster models were only available with turbocharged four-cylinder powerplants, but thanks to the new GT4 and Spyder a formidable 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine was added to the mix. Now, hot on the heels of those two top-tier 718 models, Porsche is announcing the refreshed 2021 718 Cayman GTS and 718 Boxster GTS with horizontally opposed six-cylinder power as well.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0
A 20-mm lower, performance-tuned suspension makes the new 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 handle better than ever. (Photo: Porsche)

Previous 718 GTS models, available from the 2018 model year up until the end of 2019, already made a generous 365 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, but power came from a 2.5-litre turbocharged H-4. While impressive in its own right, thanks to 500 cubic centimetres of extra displacement, plus 65 more horsepower and 37 additional lb-ft of torque than the 718’s base, S and T trims’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the outgoing 2.5 is nowhere near as formidable as the new GTS trim’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre six.

Those familiar with the just-noted GT4 and Spyder will already be well versed in Porsche’s new H-6, which sports 414 horsepower in these two top-tier models, and while shy some 20 horsepower in the new GTS, the revised 394 horsepower H-6 nevertheless makes an identical 309 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
Both 718 GTS 4.0 models include the same performance and feature sets. (Photo: Porsche)

That’s superb performance from a trim line soon to be positioned between the two $74,400 718 Cayman T and $76,800 718 Boxster T models, and the $110,500 718 Spyder and $113,800 GT4. The new engine, which revs up to 7,800 rpm, produces Porsche’s much-loved six-cylinder growl and therefore will appeal to Porschephiles across the board, while its mechanical delights are improved upon further by a standard dual-tailpipe sports exhaust system.

Also notable, Porsche makes the engine more efficient via an adaptive cylinder control (cylinder deactivation) system that alternately switches off one of its two cylinder banks under low loads, plus its direct-injection system incorporates piezo injectors and a variable intake system to further reduce fuel consumption while enhancing performance.

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
Porsche clothes the GTS interior with plenty of suede-like Alcantara surfaces. (Photo: Porsche)

Just like the sport-tuned 718 T models that arrived earlier this month, new 718 GTS trim adds a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), and the brand’s much-lauded Sport Chrono Package featuring an upgraded Porsche Track Precision App with an integrated lap timer to its standard equipment list.

The Sport Chrono Package incorporates a “push-to-pass” style Sport Response button in the centre of the steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch, plus Launch Control with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission.

The new 2021 718 GTS models launch from standstill to 100 km/h in a mere 4.5 seconds when utilizing their base six-speed manual transmission, slicing 0.1 seconds off of the old 718 GTS’ sprint time, while they’re only 0.1 seconds slower to 100 km/h than the ultra-hot 718 GT4 and Spyder.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0
While more performance-oriented than most others in the 718 lineup, the new GTS is still ultra-luxurious. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, both 718 GTS models improve their top track speeds by 3 km/h (1.8 mph) to 293 km/h (182 mph)—the GT4 and Spyder achieve 304 and 301 km/h (189 and 187 mph) respectively. Porsche has yet to announce performance figures for the new 718 GTS models with their optional PDK transmission, but it shaves 0.2 seconds off the GT4 and Spyder’s zero to 100km/h time, so we can likely expect a similar result for the GTS.

Along with the new 718 GTS models’ improvement in straight-line acceleration, a host of standard features also make for better handling, such as Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) that integrate dynamic hard and soft transmission mounts to reduce vibration and improve performance, while unique Satin-Gloss Black-painted 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in staggered-width 235/35 front and 265/35 rear performance rubber keep the two new cars locked to the pavement below.

2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0
The 718 GTS’ Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel rim frames a red-faced tachometer dial as part of the optional GTS interior package. (Photo: Porsche)

The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic damping system is standard too, and instantly adjusts for road surface conditions and driving style changes, depending on the Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual driving mode chosen.

What’s more, both 718 GTS models ride 20 millimetres lower than regular Cayman and Boxster models, reducing their centres of gravity and therefore improving control. Bigger cast-iron brakes, measuring 350 mm (13.8 inches) up front and 33 mm (13.0 in) in back make for shorter stopping distances too, while composite ceramic brakes are once again available.

So that everyone can differentiate the new models from their lesser siblings, dark grey “GTS 4.0” script can be found on each outer door skin, while just like with other GTS models, more gloss- and matte-black trim bits get added to the exterior, these including the front lip spoiler, the lower front fascia’s all-black Sport Design air intake, darker front fog lights, darkened tail lamps, and a unique lower rear bumper cap, not to mention the aforementioned sports exhaust system’s twin tailpipes finished in black chrome, and those inky black wheels noted earlier as well.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS 4.0
Until you can drive a new 718 GTS for yourself, check out the photo gallery above and videos below. (Photo: Porsche)

A GT sport steering wheel gets added to the new 718 GTS models’ interior, as does a scripted “GTS” logo to the classic three-dial primary gauge cluster’s centre-mounted tachometer, while carbon-fibre trim embellishes the instrument panel and centre console, and dark Alcantara covers the steering wheel rim, centre console, gear shift knob and skirt, the door inserts and armrests, plus the centre sections of the standard sport seats, while the A pillars and roof liner also receive this rich suede-like surface treatment in the 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 hardtop model.

Optional, a GTS interior package provides either contrasting Carmine Red or Crayon chalk grey/beige for the tachometer face, seatbelts, floor mat borders, and decorative seams throughout the cabin, including the embroidered “GTS” emblems on the headrests.

As usual, the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system comes standard, set within a 7.0-inch high-resolution touchscreen display featuring the comprehensive list of infotainment functions found in lesser trims, plus connectivity to the aforementioned Track Precision App. This motorsport-originated application is downloadable to your iPhone or Android device, and shows performance-related data on the car’s centre display for use on the racetrack, while simultaneously recording that data to your smartphone for post-race analysis.

Other PCM features include a navigation system with real-time traffic info, plus available voice control as well as Porsche Connect. What’s more, audiophiles will be glad to hear that an optional Bose surround sound audio system can be upgraded further to an even higher end Burmester surround sound system.

The new 2021 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 and 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 will be available to order from your local Porsche retailer this summer, with deliveries arriving later in the year.

So while you’re waiting, make sure to check out our complete photo gallery above, plus the two available videos below:


The all new 718 GTS 4.0. More of what you love. (1:52):


Porsche GTS. More of what you love. (1:30):