Regarding compact SUVs, it’s often difficult to find that sweet spot between utility and style, fuel economy and performance. Yet, the 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan seems to have found a comfortable niche in the market. As the SUV market in Canada continues to grow, consumers are spoiled for choice. But where does the Tiguan fit in?
The Tiguan rests under VW’s larger Atlas model, boasting European elegance, agile handling, and a thoughtful design. While it may not be a speed demon, the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion All Wheel Drive ensure an efficient and confidence-inspiring ride. The interior balances function with understated style, and for those who need extra seating, a third row is available, albeit with limited legroom.
Interior and Cargo
The Tiguan is one of the few compact SUVs that offers an optional third row of seating. Note this feature is best reserved for people with smaller bodies. With the third row folded, expect about 33 cubic feet (roughly 935 litres) of cargo space, placing it in the middle of the pack against competitors.
The Tiguan’s Place in the Market
With its performance, feature set, and balanced demeanour, the Tiguan makes a compelling case for its strong position among compact SUVs in Canada. It maintains a highly competitive position when compared to the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-50, with a starting price of $34,495 CAD MSRP.
Here is some more context on where the Tiguan fits into the overall Compact SUV Market
Under the hood, a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine offers 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. This power is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard 4Motion All-Wheel drive. Although the 0-100 km/h time is a modest 9.1 seconds, the vehicle excels in everyday drivability, particularly in city and winter driving conditions.
Regarding fuel efficiency, the Tiguan delivers 24 mpg (around 9.8 litres per 100 km) in city driving and 31 mpg (roughly 7.6 litres per 100 km) on the highway. The combined Transport Canada rating is 8 litres per 100 kilometers. When you consider the standard all-wheel-drive system, these fuel consumption numbers are good.
Infotainment and Connectivity
While its infotainment system may not be universally praised, standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base S trim gets a 6.5-inch screen, whereas higher trims have an 8.0-inch display. An 8.0- or 10.3-inch digital gauge display is standard on all trims.
What’s New for 2024?
New this year is VW’s IQ.DRIVE driver-assistance suite, which is standard even on the base S trim. Enhancements include lane-centering and adaptive cruise control, along with rain-sensing wipers, a faux-leather steering wheel, wireless charging, and an infotainment upgrade.
Safety gets a boost in 2024 with the standard inclusion of the IQ.DRIVE adaptive cruise control system. This comes on top of pre-existing features like a forward-collision alert with automatic braking and a blind-spot warning system. Four-wheel disc brakes, with anti-locking technology, are also standard equipment.
The 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan makes a compelling case for Canadian consumers searching for a balanced compact SUV. Although it doesn’t dominate in any area, its synthesis of features, comfort, and driving dynamics place it as a worthy contender. If you seek versatility and refinement, consider putting the Tiguan on your shortlist.
We’re here to show you some automotive excellence with the 2024 Ram 1500. In this feature-packed article, we’ll take you on a thrilling ride through the heart of this vehicle, exploring its superb…
We’re here to show you some automotive excellence with the 2024 Ram 1500. In this feature-packed article, we’ll take you on a thrilling ride through the heart of this vehicle, exploring its superb design, next-gen technology, unmatched capabilities, and unwavering commitment to safety. Buckle up as we unravel the secrets behind this automotive masterpiece, tailored for the Canadian marketplace.
Captivating Design: Turning Heads at Every Turn
The 2024 Ram 1500 has mastered the art of making an entrance. With an exterior that demands attention and an interior that pampers, this truck strikes a perfect balance between rugged and refined. A winner of design accolades, it transforms the ordinary into extraordinary. Luxurious interiors, genuine leather, and Class Exclusive rear reclining seats redefine comfort and elegance.
Technology That Takes the Lead: Where Innovation Meets Intuition
Step into the future with the advanced Uconnect® 5 multimedia system in the 2024 Ram 1500. Boasting a colossal 12-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, and custom user profiles, it’s more than just a screen; it’s your digital co-pilot. Don’t miss the Head Up Display that brings critical information to your line of sight. And let’s not forget the Ram App, turning your smartphone into a command center for your truck, wherever you are.
Unmatched Capabilities: Power, Performance, and Precision
Beneath its striking exterior lies a true powerhouse. The 2024 Ram 1500 offers a trio of legendary engines, including the formidable 5.7L HEMI® V8 engine with eTorque. This beast commands a staggering towing capacity of up to 12,750 lbs, giving you the edge to conquer any challenge. The eTorque Mild Hybrid Technology System amps up performance while conserving fuel, proving that brains and brawn can coexist.
Safety First: A Shield of Confidence on Canadian Roads
In the world of automotive, safety is king, and the 2024 Ram 1500 wears the crown with pride. Armed with over 100 standard and available safety features, it’s a fortress of protection. The 360° Surround View Camera System ensures you’re the master of parking and towing maneuvers. Multiple airbags envelop the cabin, while the Digital Rearview Mirror adds an extra layer of clarity to your rearview.
Conclusion: Embrace Excellence on Canadian Roads
As we wrap up this exhilarating journey through the 2024 Ram 1500, it’s clear that this truck is more than a vehicle; it’s a statement. With captivating design, cutting-edge technology, unwavering safety, and unmatched capabilities, it’s poised to be a game-changer on Canadian roads. So, if you’re in search of an automotive companion that blends style, power, and intelligence, the 2024 Ram 1500 is waiting to redefine your driving experience. Get ready to hit the road with the future of Canadian automotive excellence!
Welcome to a deep-dive into the much-anticipated 2024 Chevrolet Silverado, a vehicle that brings together heritage and modernity. In the world of heavy-duty, hard-working trucks, the Silverado lineage…
Welcome to a deep-dive into the much-anticipated 2024 Chevrolet Silverado, a vehicle that brings together heritage and modernity. In the world of heavy-duty, hard-working trucks, the Silverado lineage stands tall, and the 2024 model aims to uphold this tradition.
Available in various trims and cab sizes, the 2024 Silverado caters to a range of needs and budgets, with prices starting at an accessible $44,899 and going up to $83,999 for the luxury trim. But what else does this incarnation of the Chevrolet flagship bring to the Canadian market?
Under the Hood: Powertrain Options and Towing Capacity
First, let’s explore under the hood. The Silverado offers a wide range of powertrain options, including a 2.7-litre four-cylinder at 310 horsepower and 430 pounds of torque, a turbodiesel 3.0-litre six-cylinder with 305 horsepower and 495 pounds of torque. A 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pounds of torque reflecting its robust capabilities and a 6.2-litre V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pounds of torque. Of these, the 6.2-liter V-8 engine stands out as the quickest, boasting impressive handling and firm brake feedback.
When it comes to towing capacity, the 2024 Silverado outperforms its rivals such as the Ram 1500 with a maximum towing capacity of 13,300 pounds when equipped with the 6.2-liter V-8 engine this stays competitive with the Ford F-150 which clocks a 14,000-pound towing capacity. This makes the Silverado an ideal choice for those heavy-duty hauling tasks.
Off-Road Capabilities: Exploring the Trail Boss and ZR2 Models
Off-road enthusiasts are in for a treat with the Silverado’s two specialized offerings. The Trail Boss model features upgrades that include a 2-inch suspension lift, 275/65R18 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires, a specific steel bumper for better clearance, large tow hooks, Rancho monotube shocks, and a rear Eaton MLocker automatic mechanical locking differential for improved traction. On the other hand, the Silverado 1500 ZR2 brings in 33-inch off-road tires, Multimatic spool-valve dampers, and a distinctive rugged appearance. It can be equipped with either a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 or a 305-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six Duramax diesel, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. Additional off-road enhancements include trimmed front and rear bumpers and a tucked muffler. While not as extreme as some competitors like the Ram 1500 TRX or Ford F-150 Raptor, the ZR2 sits more closely with the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro or F-150 Tremor in its off-road prowess. Adventure awaits with the Silverado, no matter the road conditions.
Technology and Luxury Inside: Infotainment and Safety Features
In terms of updates, the 2024 Silverado comes with a few pleasant surprises. New metallic paint options have been introduced for added visual appeal, alongside an active exhaust system for the 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 models. The luxurious High Country trim also offers the Midnight Edition, adding a new level of sophistication to this hardworking truck.
Inside the cabin, a range of luxury options are available depending on the trim. An upgraded infotainment system is standard across all models, offering wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile hotspot. Higher trims feature a Google-powered voice assistant and Amazon Alexa integration, keeping you connected wherever your journey takes you.
Safety hasn’t been compromised, with standard driver-assistance technology including forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. Additionally, the High Country trim offers GM’s hands-free driving technology, Super Cruise, further enhancing the driving experience.
Looking Ahead: Warranty, Customer Satisfaction, and the Silverado EV
When it comes to warranty, Chevrolet provides three years or 60,000 kilometers of coverage, and a powertrain warranty covering five years or 100,000 kilometers. Complimentary maintenance is also offered for the first visit, showcasing Chevrolet’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
In addition to the remarkable offerings in the Silverado lineup, Chevrolet is also venturing into the future of automotive technology with the introduction of the Silverado EV. This battery electric full-size pickup truck, set to be manufactured by General Motors under the Chevrolet brand, marks a significant step towards embracing sustainable driving solutions. Introduced in January 2022, the Silverado EV is poised to hit the North American market in the fall of 2023 for the 2024 model year. This exciting addition expands Chevrolet’s commitment to innovation, bringing a new dimension to the Silverado’s legacy of power and performance.
In conclusion, the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado marks a significant evolution of this hard-working, reliable truck. Its wide-ranging capabilities, combined with its updated tech and features, maintain its position as a formidable choice in the competitive pickup truck market. So, whether you’re a long-time Chevrolet fan or new to the brand, the Silverado promises something for everyone, and we’re excited to see where this legacy goes from here.
Need detailed information about the Vehicle Specifications? Uncover all of the new features and Discover the Silverado MSRP & Invoice Price right here
In 2023, Dodge has thrown its hat into the ring of the compact crossover segment with the all-new Hornet. Nestled just below the mid-sized Durango in Dodge’s lineup, the Hornet is set to compete…
In 2023, Dodge has thrown its hat into the ring of the compact crossover segment with the all-new Hornet. Nestled just below the mid-sized Durango in Dodge’s lineup, the Hornet is set to compete with the likes of the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-50, and the Volkswagen Tiguan. Available in several trims, including the GT AWD ($38,770 CAD), GT Plus AWD ($44,770 CAD), R/T PHEV EAWD ($53,295 CAD), and the R/T Plus PHEV EAWD ($59,295 CAD), there’s a Dodge Hornet to match various budgets and preferences.
Trims and Technology:
The Hornet’s entry into this competitive segment marks a significant step for Dodge. Its GT model, available in both base and GT Plus trims, comes well-equipped with a host of standard features. Among them, a large 10.3-inch infotainment display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17-inch aluminum wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and dual-zone automatic climate control set the stage for a tech-rich experience. For those seeking an added touch of comfort, options include heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a remote start feature.
Engine and Performance:
At the heart of the Hornet lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering a punchy 268 horsepower. This power is delivered to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission, offering peppy acceleration from 0 to 96.56 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in an estimated 6.5 seconds. Despite this performance, the Hornet doesn’t sacrifice efficiency, with Environment Canada estimates clocking in at 11.2 L/100 km (21 mpg) city and 8.11 L/100 km (29 mpg) on the highway.
Inside the Hornet, you’ll find a cabin that blends comfort with contemporary design. The front seats provide ample space, while the rear might be snug for some. Black upholstery with red stitching lends a sporty aesthetic, with the option to upgrade to leather or faux-suede for a premium touch. Meanwhile, the infotainment system, powered by the latest Uconnect 5 system, offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Amazon Alexa connectivity.
SafetyFeatures that Inspire Confidence: When it comes to safety, the Hornet doesn’t cut corners. Automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and parking sensors all come standard. Adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature is available as an optional extra.
Covered by a standard three-year or 60,000 kilometers (36,000-mile) warranty, with an extended five-year or 96,560 kilometers (60,000-mile) power train warranty, the Hornet is a testament to Dodge’s reliability. As such, the Hornet isn’t merely a new entry in Dodge’s lineup; it’s a compelling contender in the compact crossover segment set to make waves in the Canadian automotive market.
Discover the Grand Cherokee’s MSRP and Invoice Price right at your fingertips here.
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With a line-up that ranges from the robust Laredo 4×4, priced at $55,045, to the luxurious Summit Reserve 4×4, also offered at $77,045, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee appeals to a broad audience…
With a line-up that ranges from the robust Laredo 4×4, priced at $55,045, to the luxurious Summit Reserve 4×4, also offered at $77,045, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee appeals to a broad audience in the Canadian marketplace. But what makes this vehicle stand out?
Engine: Power Meets Efficiency
At the heart of the 2023 Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s new inline-six engine, aptly named “Hurricane.” This engineering marvel is replacing the old V8 and is expected to deliver between 420 to a massive 500 horsepower in its high-performance version. The familiar 3.6-liter V6, producing 293 horsepower, continues to be a reliable option for base models. The cherry on top is a hybrid powertrain based on a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that offers a combined output of 375 horsepower. Every powerplant in the lineup is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, ensuring smooth and efficient power delivery.
Interior: Luxury Meets Utility
Inside the Grand Cherokee, you’ll find a high-quality interior combining classic elements and modern technology. Quality materials and attention to detail create a luxurious cabin that accommodates passengers comfortably. The standard model comes with two spacious rows of seats, while the optional Grand Cherokee L model features a stretched wheelbase and a third row of seats.
Technology: Intuitive and Up-to-Date
Standard tech includes a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The Grand Cherokee supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ensuring your devices can easily sync with the vehicle. Additional standard features include a Wi-Fi hotspot, a six-speaker audio system, USB ports, Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Jeep has also provided a variety of optional features like a 10.1-inch touch screen, a 10.25-inch passenger-side touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, and a top-notch 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.
Design: Timeless and Refined
From a design perspective, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee stays true to its roots. The exterior design is attractive and functional, with the potential for new color options. Despite having a smaller cargo area than some rivals, with about 37.7 feet of space behind the second row and 70.8 cubic feet total, the SUV remains a practical choice.
Performance: Off-Road and Beyond
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to impress with its off-road capabilities. Composed handling and strong performance make it an attractive option for those who crave adventure. However, potential buyers should be aware that with these impressive attributes comes a relatively high starting price.
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers Canadian drivers a blend of power, luxury, and cutting-edge technology. Despite the high starting price and smaller cargo area, the numerous benefits may tip the scales in favor of this impressive SUV. As always, it’s essential to research, compare, and test-drive to determine if this vehicle meets your needs and preferences.
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Let’s delve into the world of electric trucks, focusing on a new electrifying addition to the Canadian marketplace, the Ford F-150 Lightning. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a sense of the pricing:
XLT 4WD SuperCrew 5.5′ Box:
LARIAT 4WD SuperCrew 5.5′ Box: $90,000
Platinum 4WD SuperCrew 5.5′ Box: $121,000
Remember, you can also uncover the Invoice Price for free, giving you even more control over your purchasing decision. Now, onto the good stuff!
The Electric Revolution: F-150 Lightning:
With the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), Ford has stepped up with the F-150 Lightning, bringing together the ruggedness and reliability of the classic F-150 with the eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of electric power. The Lightning defies typical F-150 expectations. Floor the accelerator and you’ll encounter an instantaneous, forceful torque that pulls you back into your seat as if you’ve been rear-ended by a Peterbilt truck.
Power and Performance Under the Hood:
Underneath its familiar exterior, the Lightning is an all-wheel-drive powerhouse with an Extended-Range battery that supports up to 580 horsepower. At the test track, this super truck went from 0-60 mph in a lightning-fast 4.0 seconds. EPA estimates suggest a driving range between 370 Km with the standard battery and up to 514 Km with the larger one.
Economic and Environmental Impact of EVs:
Now here at the Car Magazine we have crunched the numbers on the cost of travelling 100 Km in Canada in 2023 with an average gas price of 1.60$ a Liter. Currently a normal 2023 Ford F-150 will cost roughly 16$ in gas for 100 Km whereas the lightning cost only 2.37$ per 100 Km, over a couple of years those are some huge savings!
The Pros and Cons of an EV:
One cannot ignore the holistic benefits of an electric vehicle (EV) like the Ford F-150 Lightning when considering its impact on both your wallet and the environment. Operating an EV typically leads to lower costs over time, thanks to cheaper maintenance, no oil changes, and reduced fuel costs. In fact, the cost of ‘refueling’ an EV can be significantly less than filling a gas-powered vehicle. Moreover, EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to cleaner air and a healthier environment. However, it’s important to also consider a potential downside. While the F-150 Lightning boasts impressive ranges under normal driving conditions, it’s worth noting that towing heavy loads over long distances can significantly decrease the battery range. This could result in more frequent stops to recharge during lengthy trips, which could potentially extend your travel time. That said, as charging infrastructure continues to improve across Canada, the inconvenience of finding a charging station is becoming less of a concern.
Value and Practicality in Design:
The Lightning is not all about raw power. Ford has crafted this vehicle with practicality in mind. Even with the steep price increase over last year’s model, the XLT trim provides substantial value. The Extended-Range battery pack adds $10,000 to the total, but it’s a worthy investment for long-distance journeys or regular towing. The XLT model, coupled with the 312A High package, boasts a variety of desirable features, including adaptive cruise control, the Pro Power Onboard generator, heated front seats and steering wheel, a power-operated tailgate, in-dash navigation, and much more.
Storage Solutions in the Lightning:
And let’s not forget storage. The Lightning pairs its practical cabin with an innovative frunk storage area and continues the F-150 legacy with a 66-inch cargo bed.
Maintaining the Classic F-150 Look:
On the outside, the Lightning retains the signature F-150 look, offering familiarity amidst change. It’s the perfect truck for Canadians keen to join the EV trend without losing the classic design they’ve come to love.
So, from an auto enthusiast’s perspective, the Ford F-150 Lightning offers an appealing blend of power, practicality, and environmental consideration to the Canadian market. It’s a vehicle worth considering if you’re passionate about trucks and open to the undeniable benefits of electric power. A spin in the Lightning feels like a leap into the future of the automotive industry – and it promises to be a thrilling journey.
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It’s been about a year since I got back behind the wheel of Toyota’s completely rethought Venza, and I have to say its styling has grown on me. From seeming to pull inspiration from the previous-generation…
It’s been about a year since I got back behind the wheel of Toyota’s completely rethought Venza, and I have to say its styling has grown on me. From seeming to pull inspiration from the previous-generation RAV4, at least to my mind’s eye, I now see it has having a unique, modern, advanced look all of its own. Funny how taste’s change with familiarity, as there are now plenty more on the road than when initially driven.
It should be said that I normally prefer more truck-like crossover SUV designs, such as Toyota’s current RAV4 and Highlander. These pull a number of heritage design cues from Toyota’s storied 4×4 past, as well as styling influences from the Japanese brand’s more rugged, off-road-ready present-day SUV and pickup truck models, with the current RAV4’s overall look paying homage to the fabulous FJ Cruiser that itself was inspired by the brand’s original Willys/Jeep Wrangler-competitive FJ40, while both the RAV4 and Highlander share the basic shape of their grille designs with the current-generation Tacoma, which most truck fans will agree is one of the best-looking mid-size pickups ever.
Smooth, refined, sophisticated shape and execution
By comparison, the Venza’s smooth, wind-cheating shape seems designed for an altogether different purpose, even though it targets a similar audience to the Highlander, albeit one that doesn’t need as much passenger and cargo space. To be crystal clear, the Venza seats five comfortably in two rows, while the Highlander is good for seven over three rows; the third-most twosome best dedicated to children.
As for the Venza’s cargo capacity, it’s not only considerably less commodious than the Highlander’s, it’s surprisingly down on the RAV4’s too, by a significant 211 litres (7.4 cu ft) with its second row upright, and 417 litres (14.7 cu ft) when laid flat. Specifically, the Venza measures just 816 litres (28.8 cu ft) behind the rear seats and 1,560 litres (55.1 cu ft) when its 60/40-split back row is tumbled forward (and fractionally less¬–0.2 litres (0.007 cu ft)–when its optional Star Gaze roof is included). And yes, Toyota doesn’t offer a centre pass-through either, so rear row/cargo flexibility is limited.
Stacking up against siblings and competitors
So why move up from a RAV4? Sales will indicate not many Canadians do, with Toyota Canada having sold a whopping 67,977 RAV4s last year (resulting in the number one spot in light vehicle deliveries overall, let alone within its own segment; number-two was Honda’s CR-V with just 50,135 deliveries). This compares to a mere 6,249 Venzas, or less than 10 percent. Of note, 19,885 Highlanders were sold in Canada throughout 2021, making it number-one in the entire mid-size SUV segment. Despite being a new model for 2021, the Venza also had the entire year to make its mark, having been introduced in the latter part of 2020, so while sort of holding its own, it didn’t exactly burn up the sales charts.
It’s not too difficult to figure out why Toyota’s mid-size, two-row crossover SUV entry lags behind many competitors, pricing. A base 2022 Venza LE starts at $39,150, which incidentally is up $660 from last year’s starting point. That makes it more expensive than a $33,699 base 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Essential AWD, a non-hybrid model that doesn’t manage fuel as thriftily as this miserly Japanese contender, but you can buy a lot of gas for almost $5,500, plus the more affordable Korean simply fits within more peoples’ budgetary and therefore lending restraints.
On the positive for Toyota, last year’s Santa Fe to Venza price gap was a whopping $7,091, so the step up to this hybrid is no longer as steep. It should be noted that Hyundai offers a Santa Fe Hybrid in this class too, but it starts $2,549 higher at $41,699 than the base Venza, while those wanting a Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid (Toyota doesn’t offer one in this class) can ante up $49,699 for a bit more fuel savings and the benefit of traveling in the HOV lane, depending on local regulations.
Of note, additional electrified models in the two-row, mid-size SUV class include the new Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Plug-In Hybrid, but at $71,005, and sporting serious off-road credentials it’s really targeting the luxury 4×4 crowd, while the electrified mid-size crossover SUV segment’s most affordable $36,695 Kia Sorento Hybrid, as well as the $44,995 Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, which is priced best as far as plug-ins go, come with seating for six via three-rows including second-row captain’s chairs, but deserve a mention due to their value proposition. If you feel the pull to a full-electric EV you may want to consider the competitively priced $51,495 Ford Mustang Mach-E and potentially Chevy’s even better looking (in this author’s humble opinion) and equally nameplate-offending (to classic 4×4 fans) upcoming 2024 Blazer EV.
Dedicated to aerodynamics and hybrid efficiency
Of course, Toyota has its own long-awaited all-electric model coming out too, the 2023 BZ4X. It’s a largish compact crossover, being 94 mm (3.7 in) longer and 5 mm (0.2 in) wider than a RAV4. While we can expect more EVs to come, nobody offers more hybrids than the originator of the species (as far as practical four-door models go). Toyota currently offers no less than nine hybridized models, which is pretty amazing. And that’s only in North America. Toyota makes other hybrid models in other markets, particularly Japan, where this Venza is sold under the Harrier nameplate.
That last point may be why this new mid-size crossover SUV appears so different from its more rugged-looking stable mates. Rather than give the Harrier a makeover for its new Venza role, it was merely rebadged for our market, and does what it needs to do for the most part. Still, I can only imagine it would appeal to even more buyers if it pulled more of the brand’s North American styling influence onto its front fascia, at least. Sure, the RAV4 is more or less the same in Japan as it is here, but Toyota’s domestic market doesn’t get our Highlander, 4Runner, Sequoia, Tacoma or Tundra. Alternatively, their Fortuner (GR) and Land Cruiser series (including the 4Runner-sized Prado) take care of mid- and full-size SUV duties in Asia, while the Tacoma-sized Hilux oversees all truck responsibilities. These are looking a lot bolder than they did in the past, but still not as aggressive as their North American counterparts (new LC aside).
Refined style and luxe interior appeal to plenty of new buyers
To this latest Venza’s credit, it had plenty of admirers throughout my test week. Whether viewed from up front, where its wind-cheating design once again reminds me of the old RAV4, or taken in at the rear, which I particularly like thanks to its sliver-thin taillight clusters and connecting centre reflector, the latter giving it a unique character when put side-by-side to its myriad mid-size competitors, the new Venza is an attractive mid-size crossover. If the overall design had sharper edges, those taillights could even be mistaken for Lexus’ latest tail lamp designs, but the Venza’s are more organically shaped like the rest of the SUV, so its rear styling is more visually comparable to luxury utilities from Lincoln, Infiniti and even Porsche, albeit once again it provides enough uniqueness to stand out on its own.
Step inside and that premium-brand cache continues. Yes, this new iteration is much more luxurious than the first-generation Venza, which is important in a segment that’s steadily refining new model after new model. Likewise, for the Highlander, which provides similar levels of luxury as you go up through the trim lines, such as more soft-touch surface areas, fabric-wrapped roof pillars, and the list goes on, resulting in a very pleasing cabin.
Interestingly, there are no simulated or genuine wood inserts, but instead Toyota covers much of the instrument panel in a soft-touch padded leatherette, featuring a thin grey corded strip with attractive metal ends. This can be found to the left of the driver and ahead of the front passenger, plus across the front two-thirds of each door upper. Following this pampering theme, an angled piece of padded leatherette folds down into comfortable armrests just behind, at which point some decorative trim might possibly be mistaken for the just-noted missing wood inlays when glanced at quickly. This trim piece supports the window switches, power locking buttons, and on the driver’s side, power mirror controls.
Easy to navigate digital interfaces set the Venza apart
Framed by a comfortably padded leather steering wheel is a semi-digital gauge cluster complete with two analogue dials. The left side is for hybrid info, including Eco, Power and Charging gauges, plus one for the engine temperature, while the right side is filled with a speedometer with a fuel gauge. At centre is a large 7.0-inch multi-information display that includes hybrid info as well as most other features found on the infotainment system.
Speaking of that large centre touchscreen, the high-resolution display measures a significant 12.3 inches. In default mode, it’s split into a larger two-thirds section on the left and a smaller one-third section to the right, but you can push a set of double arrows on the far right to reverse the layout if desired. The system comes stock full of features too, with the default main page incorporating climate control, audio functions, and quick calling pre-sets to the left, these divided in half so they look like three separate tiles, while the rightmost third displayed the navigation map as a default. Again, this section can be reconfigured depending on what you need or prefer, with a long list of variables.
You can access Home, a menu page, an audio page, or the map with navigation controls via touch-sensitive quick-access buttons just below the screen on a separate section of the centre stack. This interface also incorporates a touch-sensitive audio volume controller and a similar tool for tuning radio stations or tracks. A separate panel is dedicated to the dual-zone automatic climate control system, and was as easy to operate as it was attractive to look at.
Well-organized centre stack and console aid in driving experience
All of the above features hover over a carved-out section of the lower console, which integrates a sideways-mounted wireless phone charger, separate USB-A ports, and an auxiliary port for powering devices. Additionally, Toyota hangs its ignition button just below the upper centre stack. Being this is in a different place than usual, I kept pressing the odometer trip reset button instead, which is where most vehicles have their ignition switch, although it’s completely hidden by the right side of the steering wheel spoke, so it makes sense why Toyota would place the start/stop button within eyesight on the centre stack. I eventually familiarized myself to the new location.
Moving downward, the lower centre console gets a traditional shift lever with manual mode, but that comes after an electronic parking brake with a hold function, plus an EV mode switch for driving under pure-electric power over short distances at low speeds, and lastly a drive mode selector that can be swapped between Eco, Normal and Sport settings.
I quickly learned that I didn’t need Sport mode to get it off the line quickly. When wanting to accelerate fast out of my local side street, due to a near constant four-lane stream of traffic, the Venza jumped forward with an immediacy I didn’t expect when in set an Eco mode. This said, Sport makes it all that much more energetic when taking off or passing, giving the SUV more zip all-round. More often than not I drive vehicles like the Venza in a calm and relaxed fashion, so I kept it in Eco or Normal mode throughout the week. This still allowed for all the performance I needed when called upon, plus all the fuel-efficiency I could want. Comfort for five aside, that’s really what the Venza is all about.
Hybrids are still the value leaders initially and over the long haul
In fact, at $1.82.9 per litre when needing to fill it up, a busier than average week behind the wheel only cost me $55. This is a great deal less than in any other vehicle I’ve driven recently, even including compact four-cylinder economy cars. Toyota claims a fuel economy rating of 5.9 L/100km in the city, 6.4 on the highway and 6.1 combined, which is mind-blowingly good for the Venza’s size and weight, so this SUV makes sense for those wanting to save money on fuel, even if they’re considering an all-electric SUV like Tesla’s smaller Model Y or similarly sized (to the Venza) Model X.
After all, you can drive a long way with savings of about $46k and $117k respectively when compared to the Venza’s base starting price of $39,150 (plus freight and fees). Even fully loaded in Limited trim with a window sticker showing $48,550 like my tester, it’s a relative bargain. Of course, Hyundai and Kia offer similar sized electrics in the $45k to $60k range, while Cadillac’s upcoming Lyriq will provide luxury SUV duds for not much more at a base of less than $67k, but once again the overall frugality price would go to Toyota’s Venza.
Fortunately, along with its forward thrust, which granted, isn’t anywhere near as jaw-dropping as those just-noted all-electric crossovers, the Venza is a commendable handler, but as capable as it is through a curving canyon road, it’s primarily been set up for comfort and ride quality. Smooth is the name of the Venza’s game, to the point that I’m willing to bet that its ride is one of the best in its class.
Venza Limited makes it easy to get comfortable
It helps that the driver’s seat is comfortable too, with plenty of adjustment. I found it pleasantly surprising that this top-line Venza Limited provides four-way lumbar support, plus the three-way heatable and cooling seats worked as needed. The single-temperature heated steering wheel didn’t warm all the way around like some others, but it kept hands toasty from the two o’clock to four o’clock positions on the right side, and the eight to 10 o’clock positions on the left, with some heat bleeding off towards the centres to eliminate any early morning icy chill. Good enough.
The just-mentioned seat ventilation gets forced through perforated SofTex pleather centre front seat panels, incidentally, while solid SofTex covers each bolster and headrest. SofTex is Toyota-speak for breathable man-made leatherette, by the way, looking and feeling so much like the real deal that I needed to verify whether or not it was genuine leather on the automaker’s website.
The three rear seating positions are very accommodating as well, especially the two outboard window seats, which also boast heatable cushions. Additional rear passenger equipment includes air vents on the backside of the front console, plus two USB-A ports for connecting devices. A large centre armrest folds down in the middle, revealing two integrated cupholders.
Cargo flexibility isn’t the Venza’s strongest suit
A powered rear liftgate opens up to a large cargo area, including a sizeable spot to stow items below the cargo floor, next to the compact spare tire. As noted earlier, the rear seatbacks fold down in the usual 60/40 configuration, which once again is my only complaint, being that I prefer a 40/20/40 split so that skis can be laid down the middle and rear passengers more comfortably placed by the window seats, an important issue if you’re a parent and have to coax one less comfortable child into the centre position without heat on the way home from the slopes.
A good way to deal with any backseat complaints is to crank the excellent JBL audio system, something I did regularly despite mostly driving alone, albeit the interior’s pièce de résistance is the fabulously large, slightly opaque powered panoramic sunroof overhead, which features a nifty powered cloth sunshade. Then again, the digital rearview mirror is pretty trick too. I’m seeing more and more of these handy devices on upscale Toyotas, plus with some other brands. It allows you to see past any heads popping up from the rear seating area, not to mention cargo piled behind, resulting in a much clearer view of the rearward road. Just be careful to also use the regular rearview camera in the infotainment system when backing up, as objects in the digital mirror appear closer than they really are, plus low sports cars can disappear altogether. Also, the digital mirror can get overwhelmed by headlights at night, so I switched back to its conventional auto-dimming function when the sun went down.
As you can probably tell, I couldn’t find much fault with the latest 2022 Venza, and like last year’s version, I highly recommend it for those that prioritize comfort, refinement, reliability and fuel economy. That Toyota’s digital interfaces are well designed and easy to use is just another bonus. The Japanese automaker should truly be selling more of these than they do.
Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann
When growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, wagons were everywhere. We always had one in the family, because they were too practical to live without. Flash forward 50-plus years and the auto market has…
When growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, wagons were everywhere. We always had one in the family, because they were too practical to live without. Flash forward 50-plus years and the auto market has segmented into many more niches, with minivans, SUVs and newer crossover utilities taking over for family hauling duties. Nevertheless, some premium brands still produce performance-oriented sport wagons that have proven to make an ideal base for raised crossovers of their own, with Audi’s Allroad and Volvo’s Cross Country virtually owning this fragment of the market since the late ‘90s.
For a bit of background, Volvo arrived first into the mid-size luxury crossover wagon segment in September of 1997 with its original V70 XC or Cross Country (CC), followed by Audi’s Allroad Quattro in 1999, which was an off-pavement version of the Ingolstadt-brand’s A6 Avant wagon. The latter, along with its adjustable air suspension, took on the name of A6 Allroad Quattro in 2006, while the V70 CC had already undergone a name-change to XC70 partway through its second generation in 2003, before undergoing a third and final iteration in 2007, and eventually morphing into two all-new models. These included the more compact V60 Cross Country that hit the scene in 2015, providing Volvo with a direct challenger to Audi’s A4 Allroad Quattro that had already been on the market for six years, plus the V90 Cross Country, a mid-size model that quickly followed in 2016, and the subject of this review, which once again directly challenges the A6 Allroad.
V90 Cross Country has the styling and interior refinement to take on all challengers
As for which of these two can be deemed the best-looking raised luxury crossover wagon on today’s market, the decision is up to you. Volvo should win some sort of award for understated good taste, but now Mercedes’ all-new E 450 4Matic All-Terrain Wagon is vying for your eye as well, and this muscled up Merc isn’t only going head-to-head with the aforementioned segment leaders, but has the ability to scoop up sales on the basis of brand strength alone.
Each of these mid-size luxury crossover wagons carries its trademark design language inside too, with the Merc most dramatic thanks to its double driver display/infotainment touchscreen, bright metal oval vents, and other swoopy curves, while, like it or not, Audi has long since dropped its minimalist perfection for asymmetrical angles all over the place. Similar to its classy exterior, Volvo once again delivers good taste inside, with the instrument panel’s overall design being horizontal, albeit bisected with a vertical centre display and twin vertical vents, plus more upright vents at each corner. Even the grain of the gorgeous open-pore Grey Ash ahead of the front passenger is vertically aligned (alternative hardwoods, metals, leathers, and composite surface colourways are available), this theme continuing over to each door panel as well.
Volvo refinement is amongst the best in class
That wood butts up against generous supplies of satin-finish aluminum, while the centre dash-mounted and front door speaker grilles, proudly stamped with Bowers & Wilkins branding, are especially appealing thanks to their brushed stainless-steel surfaces. Common for any class, piano black lacquered plastic glistens in the light as effectively as this inky surface treatment attracts smudges and dust, but fortunately Volvo has kept the long-term trend to a minimum, mostly around the centre display screen and vents, plus the surface surrounding the lower console controls. The rest of the cabin, mind you, is ensconced in high-grade contrast-stitched leather and soft-touch synthetics.
Of course, each roof pillar is wrapped in the same high-quality woven material as the roof-liner, which frames a well-organized overhead console incorporating LED lighting and controls for the sizeable powered panoramic sunroof, while back down below, the rotating dials amongst those previously mentioned controls appear more like silver jewellery than the ignition switch and audio volume knob they actually are.
New B6 mild-hybrid optimizes fuel economy without sacrificing performance
The T6 designation stamped on the back of the car from two years ago meant that it included the Swedish brand’s venerable 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine paired with a turbocharger and a supercharger, which made it capable of 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This allowed for a claimed Transport Canada rating of 11.6 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 10.0 combined, whereas the new B6 badge denotes that its power unit drops the supercharger and adds a standard mild-hybrid system, resulting in slightly less thrust at 295 horsepower, albeit a bit more twist at 310 lb-ft, with the resulting fuel economy improving to 10.6 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 9.5 combined. This is also a bit better than the six-cylinder-powered A6 Allroad and E 450 All-Terrain, so kudos to Volvo for that.
Like the previous V90 CC, the new hybrid power unit utilizes an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission for shifting duties, which is a wonderfully smooth operator. I’d guess the slight decrease in power, and slight increase in torque is a wash as far as straight-line performance goes, because this sizeable, luxurious wagon pulled off the line with more than enough energy, and performed even stronger during highway passing manoeuvres. It powers through the gears quickly, and while no paddles are offered in this model’s single trim, the leather-clad shift lever works well enough when manual mode is required.
Ample handling prowess with a sublime ride
The Cross Country doesn’t provide the same level of handling sharpness as the V90 wagon, especially when compared to the R-Design trim noted earlier, but it’s no slouch through the corners either. With a substantial 204 mm (8.3 inches) of ground clearance, it’s about 30 percent taller than its tarmac-hugging sibling, so therefore its centre of gravity won’t allow the same lateral grip through fast-paced corners, but I doubt you’ll notice unless pushing it really hard on a serpentine two-laner.
Volvo had given my tester’s wheels a $1,000 upgrade too, from 19s to 20s, which were accompanied by a set of 245/45 all-season tires, enhancing its at-the-limit grip from the base 235/45 R19s. It’s also possible to get a different set of 20-inch alloys as well as sharp looking 21s on 245/40s, just in case you plan on spending a lot of time carving up canyon roads.
Equipped with the 20s, the V90 CC’s ride is absolutely sublime and wholly controlled all the time, plus that extra ground clearance makes it an ideal companion for outdoing fresh dumps of snow in ski resort parking lots, or for that matter trekking up backcountry roads en route to the cottage for that weekend getaway that was supposed to include sunshine. What’s more, it even tows up to 1,580 kg (3,483 lbs), in case that destination includes a large body of water and you want to bring along watercraft.
Solid construction and standard AWD make the V90 CC one tough competitor
If you want to get technical, the Cross Country features an aluminium double wishbone front suspension and an exclusive integral link design in the rear, featuring a transverse leaf spring made from a lightweight composite, while the setup in back benefits further from an air suspension that instantly responds to the road or trail below in order to maintain its optimal height, stability, and comfort. This said, it’s not an adjustable air suspension like that in the A6 Allroad, but the Swede makes use of the same type of high-strength steel and aluminum monocoque body construction as the German, ensuring ultra-tight rigidity for enhancing handling, refinement and safety.
All V90s include all-wheel drive too, with the Cross Country’s system also featuring hill decent control and an off-road mode that provides greater ease and confidence-inspiring control during moderate backcountry excursions. To access this feature, you’ll need to first press settings on the centre display, then select driving, and then activate or deactivate the off-road mode (it also cancels automatically when turning off the engine). I’d rather have a quick-access switch on the lower console to perform this task, but this said, going off-pavement is normally a deliberate choice, and not something that needs to be done on the fly like when using sport or eco modes. When optimized for the wild green yonder, the V90 Cross Country is quite capable of light- to medium-duty off-roading, such as overcoming small stumps and rocks on a logging road, or wading through a shallow river bed.
Comfort is always king in a Volvo
My tester’s driver’s seat was equal in comfort to the V90 CC’s superb ride, which is a Volvo trait, as I’ve learned over the years. It’s truly a car I could drive all day long and never tire of. It helps that the tilt and telescopic steering column provides ample reach for my long-legged, shorter torso body type, and there was no shortage of adjustability options in my upgraded powered Sport driver’s seat.
Before diving into the driver’s seat upgrades, my tester also came with a $1,000 Climate package featuring a heatable steering wheel rim and headlight cleaning system that sprays high-pressure jets onto the front lenses to enhance visibility at night; plus a $2,000 Advanced package was also included, boasting a head-up display system that projects key info onto the windshield ahead of the driver, as well as a special air cleaner for removing fine particulates from the cabin, a 360-degree overhead camera for making parking in tight spaces easier, and high-level interior illumination that includes special courtesy lights for entry/exit, subtle door pocket lamps, mood lights, and more.
Plenty of option packages on offer, but roominess is standard
Back to that driver’s seat, my tester also featured a $3,850 Lounge package that included the special Nappa leather-covered Sport seats noted earlier, with extra upper bolstering and beautiful contrast stitching. They’re superbly comfortable and provided excellent support, thanks in part to a powered lower cushion extension for the driver, which nicely cups under the knees, plus four-way powered driver’s lumbar support, necessary for applying pressure to the exact spot in anyone’s lower back for alleviating discomfort. This upgrade also benefits the front passenger that gets memory function for their powered seat, while four-way automatic climate control is included as well, complete with a separate rear HVAC interface on the backside of the front centre console, which also incorporates heatable seat switchgear for the rear outboard positions.
Those rear seats are impressively comfortable as well, particularly the just-mentioned two next to the windows. As far as rear seat room goes, when the driver’s seat was set up for my aforementioned long-legged, short-torso five-foot-eight frame, I had almost 10 inches of space ahead of my knees, plus five inches from my shoulder to the door panel, another four inches or so next to my hips, and at least three and a half inches above my head. Therefore, stretching out my legs was easy when placing my feet underneath the front seats. You’ll never feel claustrophobic in back of this V90 either, thanks to that previously-noted panoramic sunroof, plus vents on the backside of the front centre console, as well as on the midpoint of each B-pillar, while there are LED reading lights just above.
No shortage of innovative safety gear or technology
If you’ve got smaller children, Volvo can outfit those outboard positions with a couple of two-level integrated child booster seats for just $625, while you can enhance rear seat safety further with the Swedish brand’s $600 steel protective grille found in my test car. When lowered via hinges from its stowage space under the cargo area roof (see the photo gallery), it separates the rear passenger compartment from the load-carrying area, keeping passengers and pets safely away from each other when braking hard, or worse, if involved in a collision. Of course, this also keeps rear passengers safe from flying cargo that hasn’t been strapped down, which is a common cause of injury during accidents.
Both front and rear passengers will also appreciate the aforementioned Bowers & Wilkins audio upgrade. It’ll set you back a cool $3,750, but delivers a level of sound quality few will ever experience in a car. This high-end audio system features 1,400 watts of power and 19 speakers, the odd number referencing the cool-looking stainless steel “Tweeter-on-Top” centre speaker that’s been a feature in top-of-the-line Volvos for years. This system also includes an air-ventilated subwoofer in back, plus special silver speaker cones made from a proprietary Continuum material that can be seen through the grilles.
Base V90 Cross Country should be good enough for most
While it might sound like you’ll need to buck up for a lot of options in order to enjoy your V90 CC, nothing could be further from the truth. The standard $65,950 model’s front seats, for instance, are already inherently comfortable, with superb support all-round. This car also comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control featuring CleanZone filtration, which makes sure the air your family breaths is clean and fresh, no matter the surrounding traffic.
A 12.3-inch digital driver display is also standard, featuring the ability to shrink the primary instruments when utilizing the multi-information system at centre, while all the mirrors get standard auto-dimming as well. Rain-sensing wipers are included with the most basic trim too, as are wiper blades with integrated washers, auto-folding heated and powered side mirrors, aluminum tread plates, powered and heatable front seats, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and shifter (even the key fob is a leather-wrapped, metal-adorned thing of beauty), a wireless phone charger, a 220-watt audio system, power-folding rear head restraints, a powered rear liftgate, a stainless-steel cargo scuff plate, an alarm, a whiplash injury protection system, and all the usual airbags including one for the driver’s knees.
Standard safety has always been one of Volvo’s strong points
Additional standard features include road sign information, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking cameras with visual and audible distance warnings as well as Park Assist semi-autonomous self-parking capability, semi-autonomous Pilot Assist steering control, lane keeping aid, oncoming lane mitigation, the BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) and rear cross-traffic alert with mitigation, post-impact braking, all of which helped the 2022 V90 CC to achieve a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), while Volvo’s brand-wide total of 13 Top Safety Pick + winners makes it the safest automaker in the entire car industry.
Volvo also includes an impressive 9.0-inch vertical tablet-style touchscreen display on the centre stack, which I’ve long found to be one of the best in the business. Not only does it use a brilliantly high-definition display, filled with deep, rich colours and attractive graphics, that’s as easy to use as a regular smartphone or tablet thanks to the ability to tap, swipe, or pinch the screen for the majority of functions, but its full list of features makes it very versatile.
New Google infotainment operating system streamlines smartphone connectivity
A recent update means it now processes inputs faster than ever too, thanks to a deal Volvo made with Google to completely integrate Android into the back-end. Now the updated system connects your Android smartphone even more seamlessly than the Android Auto app, but you’ll need to set up a Google account in order to take advantage.
Once done, you’ll have access to built-in Google apps such as voice-activated Google Assistant that lets you call or text friends or business associates, set destinations, modulate the cabin temperature, choose music, inquire about any on-line information, or even control connected home devices just by saying “Hey Google” before your request. The system also integrates Google Maps with real-time traffic info, automatic rerouting, and voice control, while Google Play store is available to download your favourite apps (like CarCostCanada), and more.
As practical as it’s luxurious
That aforementioned liftgate powers open to reveal an accommodating cargo compartment with a retractable cargo cover that automatically lifts up and out of the way. Altogether it measures 714 litres (25.2 cu ft) with the rear seats upright, and 1,526 litres (53.9 cu-ft) when they’re folded flat, making it similar in size to most two-row mid-size crossover SUVs.
The dedicated luggage area is luxuriously finished with carpets that go all the way up the sidewalls and seatbacks, plus of course the load floor. Making my tester even more convenient was a lift-up floor divider with attached grocery bag hooks, as well as a rubber cargo mat, while under the floor is a shallow carpeted compartment for storing ultra-thin items, such as the carpeted floor mats when the all-season ones are being used.
Excellent alternative to a more traditional luxury crossover SUV
I was a bit disappointed to see 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks instead of a full 40/20/40 configuration, but Volvo includes a small, narrow centre pass-through that’s ideal for a couple pair of skis, while each side can flip down further via powered release buttons. These automatically dropped the headrests too, using the same release mechanism that allows them to be flipped down from up front. Once lowered they provide a nice, flat load floor for lots of gear.
And that last point really sums up what the Volvo V90 Cross Country is all about. Carrying loads of gear and family to your favourite destinations in absolute comfort and efficiency, while having fun getting there.
In summary, the V90 Cross Country is an excellent alternative to a more traditional-style luxury crossover SUV. I highly recommend you take a closer look.