Toyota’s Highlander will be saying sayonara to its V6 for 2023, and hello to the same 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder currently found in Lexus’ NX 350 and other performance-oriented compacts…

Toyota swaps out V6 for torque-rich new turbo-four in 2023 Highlander

2023 Toyota Highlander is mostly carryover, except for what's under the hood.
The updated 2023 Toyota Highlander will receive a new turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine with 265-hp and 309 lb-ft of torque.

Toyota’s Highlander will be saying sayonara to its V6 for 2023, and hello to the same 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder currently found in Lexus’ NX 350 and other performance-oriented compacts from the Japanese luxury brand. Lexus announced the same engine swap for its larger mid-size 2023 RX 350 as well, so it’s quite possible we’re witnessing the dying days of Toyota’s venerable 3.5-litre “GR” V6.

In Lexus tune, the 2.4-litre puts out 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, which is 20 hp less and 50 lb-ft stronger than the outgoing RX’ V6, a fair trade-off that should satisfy the majority of customers when fuel economy savings are factored in. The new Highlander version loses 10 horsepower from the Lexus, understandably, but just eight lb-ft of torque, for maximum thrust and twist numbers of 265 and 309 respectively.

Likewise, the new 2023 Highlander is down on horsepower when compared to the 2022 model’s V6, albeit the former is a significant 30-hp less. Fortunately, torque is up by 17 percent and 46 lb-ft, so therefore, with the right gearing it should perform similarly to the 900 cc larger lump. In a press release, Toyota is saying the new engine’s increased torque actually makes for “better everyday responsiveness,” “especially when taking advantage of the Highlander’s 7- or 8-person seating and generous cargo capacity,” while the updated model’s tailpipe emissions are also cleaner, with more than a 50-percent reduction in NOx and NMOG, plus less CO2.

Fuel economy should cause most 2023 Highlander buyers to smile

The 2023 Toyota Highlander looks good from the side.
Most 2022 and 2023 Highlander trims will look identical from all sides, but fuel economy improves.

Aside from Highlander owners who love the outgoing model’s 295 horsepower and are willing to pay more despite today’s unprecedented fuel prices, most consumers will be happy to hear about an estimated rating of 9.8 L/100km combined city/highway. This compares well against the current V6-powered model’s 10.3 L/100km rating, while also using standard auto idle stop/start to minimize fuel use and reduce emissions when at standstill.

The new engine is once again joined up to Toyota’s eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, a combination that provides ample efficiency and smooth daily operation with performance-focused gear changes when pushed hard, plus excellent traction in the majority of road conditions, plus most light-duty off-road situations.

Towing capacity remains a Highlander strong point

The Highlander Hybrid is good for a claimed fuel economy rating of 6.7 L/100km city/highway.
The Highlander Hybrid is the way to go for ultimate three-row fuel economy.

All the extra torque doesn’t translate into more towing capacity, but the 2023 Highlander will still haul up to 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg) of trailer, making it ideal for a small boat or camper. It features standard Trailer Sway Control (TSC) too, which utilizes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to minimize side-to-side trailer movement.

Of course, the Highlander’s best pump gains will be from its carryover hybrid powertrain, which continues forward with the current 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and dual electric motor-generator set-up. Toyota hasn’t mentioned any 2023 fuel economy estimates for the Highlander Hybrid, but it will likely be similar if not identical to the 2022 model’s rating of 6.7 L/100km combined city/highway, while its trailering capacity is reduced to 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg).

Of note, Lexus will be introducing the new RX 450h+ later this year, the plus referring to a new plug-in hybrid version of Toyota’s well-proven electrified drivetrain, so it only makes sense that a version of this powertrain will eventually find its way over to the Highlander, making it capable of going up against the Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid and Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, amongst others.

Dual 12.3-inch displays come standard in 2023 Limited and Platinum trims

Highlander Limited and Platinum trims will now come standard with a 12.3-inch centre touchscreen.
An updated 12.3-inch main display will now be standard in the 2023 Highlander’s Limited and Platinum trims.

While the Highlander’s engine is getting smaller, the standard infotainment touchscreen in upper-crust Limited and Platinum trims will grow by more than four inches for 2023. These models adopt the previously optional, and Platinum-exclusive 12.3-inch display, which is a move up from the regular 8.0-inch colour touchscreen that remains the only centre display available in LE and XLE trims.

Toyota also promises quicker response times to infotainment system inputs and a more intuitive interface layout, with more features as well, such as an intelligent voice assistant, a number of cloud-based functions and services, over-the-air software updates, plus the ability to pair two different smartphones via Bluetooth simultaneously, while content reportedly utilizes the entire 12.3-inch screen, unlike the outgoing version.

Wireless smartphone integration makes better use of improved wireless charging

The 2023 Highlander now gets optional wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus the available wireless Qi-compatible wireless charging tray has been moved.
New wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay means that available wireless charging is more useful, while the tray has been moved to a handy shelf on the instrument panel.

Additionally, the updated infotainment system allows for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which means the available Qi-compatible wireless charging tray (currently standard on XSE and above) can now be used together with full smartphone integration. Toyota also made the intelligent decision to move that wireless charging pad from the lower centre console to a device shelf that’s long been a clever addition to the Highlander’s instrument panel.

Refocusing ahead of the driver, Toyota will be doing away with the 2022 base Highlander LE’s remedial 4.2-inch multi-information display when the 2023 model arrives, and replacing it with the 7.0-inch display currently available in XLE and XSE trims. Even better, Limited and Platinum trims will now get a fully digital 12.3-inch driver display as standard equipment, with four visual themes no less, including Casual, Smart, Tough and Sporty.

Additional upgrades round out the 2023 improvements

The Highlander remains capable of towing up to 5,000 lbs.
The new 2.4-litre turbo-four provides ample torque for towing up to 5,000 lbs.

Other upgrades include a standard foot-actuated hands-free power liftgate for XLE models and above, while the sportiest XSE trim now boasts black-painted 20-inch alloy rims inside 235/55R20 all-season rubber, these bolted to the same sport-tuned suspension system from the 2022 model, which still features high-rate springs and a stiffer rear stabilizer bar plus low-friction dampers working together with a specially-tuned electric power steering system.

Once again, the sporty XSE receives an exclusive front fascia design, incorporating a unique grille, an air splitter down below, and modified headlamp clusters, while a special set of rocker panels add more flair to the Highlander’s sweptback look. Blackened mirror caps, window moldings and roof rails add to the XSE’s performance-first appearance, while the rear design is capped off with dual exhaust tips.

XSE trim also adds a sportier theme inside, where black SofTex seat surfaces with cloth inserts combine with carbon-fibre-look inlays and cool ambient lighting. Additionally, Toyota makes an even more performance-oriented two-tone red and black leather-trimmed cabin available at no additional cost, featuring a red-stitched instrument panel bolster.

Hybrid Bronze Edition makes a return with exclusive Cement paint

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition receives classy bronze trim and wheels, plus more updates inside.
The 2023 version of this 2022 Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition shouldn’t be much different.

Moving up through the 2023 Highlander line, Limited and Platinum models will receive power-folding side mirrors for 2023, and lastly new Cypress green exterior paint will be available, as will Harvest Beige and Glazed Caramel interior colour themes that now feature Black as the accent colour, instead of Noble Brown.

Last year’s XLE Hybrid Bronze Edition makes a return to the electrified Highlander for 2023, along with exclusive Cement, and Wind Chill Pearl exterior colours. The Bronze Edition gets special bronze-coloured accents from front to back, as well as bronze-tone 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the Bronze Edition features “mid-century modern-inspired” SofTex-trimmed seats with fabric inserts and bronze-coloured stitching that Toyota says are “like something from a concept car,” which is “amplified by the Captain’s Chair’s layout.” Illuminated bronze door sills and special floor and cargo mats embroidered with a unique bronze-stitched logo enhance the “designer look.”

Bronze Edition upgrades include rain-sensing wipers, two 120V/1,500-watt power outlets, a hands-free power liftgate, and the list goes on.

New updates should keep the Highlander number one in its mid-size SUV class

2023 Toyota Highlander Limited and Platinum models to receive a 12.3-inch configurable driver's display.
Limited and Platinum Highlanders will receive a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster as standard equipment in 2023.

Toyota Canada will release 2023 Toyota Highlander and 2023 Highlander Hybrid pricing closer to the model’s availability this fall, at which point the order books will be open. Due to its many improvements, it should remain as Canada’s most popular mid-size SUV.

It’s held the position of best-selling three-row mid-size SUV for six year running as well, which is an impressive feat considering just how competitive its market segment is. Last year Toyota sold 19,885 Highlanders in Canada, resulting in its best year by a long shot, improving on its second-best sales year of 2020 by almost 21 percent.

The next-best selling Ford Explorer didn’t achieve anywhere near the same year-over-year (YoY) growth with sales of just 16,388 units in 2021, while Volkswagen’s Atlas came third with 13,491 deliveries last year, although this number also included the German automaker’s new five-seat Atlas Cross Sport model, which would be the equivalent of combining Highlander and Venza sales into one, that number being 26,134 units for an even more impressive total.

Competition is heated in the mid-size three-row SUV category

The 2022 Ford Expedition Stealth Edition with an optional Performance Package.
The Ford Expedition remains second-most popular in the mid-size three-row SUV segment.

To be fair to Ford, its Explorer and Edge twosome combine for yet more mid-size SUV deliveries at 28,218 units, so the blue oval isn’t exactly hurting, and that tally doesn’t even include new Bronco sales that totaled 10,204 units last year, compared to 8,293 deliveries for Toyota’s increasingly popular 4Runner, which incidentally saw a YoY bump of six percent after its best-ever calendar year.

Additional three-row SUV segment competitors included the Kia Sorento (with 10,275 deliveries in 2021), the Honda Pilot (with 7,398), Hyundai Palisade (6,739), Dodge Durango (5,764), Chevrolet Traverse (4,704), Mazda CX-9 (4,530), Kia Telluride (4,270), GMC Acadia (3,485), Subaru Ascent (3,359), Nissan Pathfinder (3,243), and the all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer (which was introduced toward the end of the year and therefore only achieved 300 deliveries in 2021).

Three-row SUV alternatives keep getting added to the mix

The 2023 Grand Wagoneer L Series III parked in front of a beautiful farmhouse.
Jeep just introduced a longer “L” version of their new Grand Wagoneer (shown), Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee for 2023.

On that note, the Grand Wagoneer and its less luxurious Wagoneer sibling are much larger utilities based on the full-size Ram 1500 pickup truck, so maybe shouldn’t be included on this list. Either way, it will be interesting to see how these big three-row prospects fare, not to mention the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, plus the new extended Wagoneer L/Grand Wagoneer L models, just introduced for 2023 a couple of months ago.

The just-noted Jeeps more directly go up against Toyota’s Sequoia and Chevy’s Tahoe/Suburban, et al, but Toyota is reportedly preparing a larger Grand Highlander to slot in between the current model and just-noted Sequoia, which should more directly take on Hyundai and Kia’s respective Palisade and Telluride models. Stay tuned for an update on this new model when Toyota reveals its plans.

Lastly, it should be noted that Dodge’s Canadian division sold off its final allotment of 2020 Journey crossovers last year too, that total being 90 units. We can expect something new from Dodge in the mid-size crossover categories soon, not to mention all of the Stellantis brands not yet mentioned, all of which will take their bites out of the total market. Certainly, Toyota’s Highlander should continue to do well, but staying number is no easy feat and hardly happens by chance.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Toyota

Amid the best month of Outback sales Subaru Canada has ever had, resulting in 3,455 units down the road in April for a 21.4-percent gain over the same month last year, the refreshed 2023 model was revealed…

Subaru reveals refreshed 2023 Outback including new Onyx trim

A 2023 Subaru Outback going up a hill on the trail.
Other than more rugged looking fender flairs and new wheels, changes to the Outback’s rear are less noticeable than those up front, but its new bumper is visually cleaner.

Amid the best month of Outback sales Subaru Canada has ever had, resulting in 3,455 units down the road in April for a 21.4-percent gain over the same month last year, the refreshed 2023 model was revealed at the New York International Auto Show.

This mid-cycle update integrates the brand’s new WRX-inspired grille design, showing a wider, happier grin-like shape that should put a smile on the faces of brand loyalists, plus even more radical (although not as aggressive) front fascia updates than outgoing Wilderness trim, which include massive matte black end pieces that square off the frontal design as they wrap upwards to underscore a complex set of new multi-angle LED headlamp clusters. Additionally, new fog lights are integrated within a tougher looking lower fascia below.

The edgier new fender flares look as if they’re pulled right off of 2022’s Wilderness model, which ironically sees no visual updates for the new model year, while the rocker panel cladding appears unchanged. The meaty roof rack and sizeable rooftop spoiler look the same too, but the new Outback’s matte black rear bumper shows a less aggressive design, incorporating smaller horizontally positioned reflectors to each side in place of the outgoing model’s vertical set that featured larger, angular bezels. A variety of new wheels round out the updates.

New Onyx trim follows the popular blacked-out trend

The black-painted wheels from new Onyx trim.
Black-painted alloy wheels come as part of a new Onyx trim line (also shown above), which includes more blackened elements as well.

A new Onyx Edition, previously only available in the U.S., will be positioned just below Wilderness trim for 2023. As the name implies, exterior elements that might otherwise be bright metal are finished in black, including the 18-inch gunmetal alloy wheels, while Subaru has even gone so far as to apply black badging, and an exclusive grey two-tone cabin. The seats are covered in a soft-touch, all-weather water-resistant material to enhance comfort and durability, while other features added over Touring trim include alloy foot pedals, heatable rear outboard seats, and dual-function X-MODE.

Unlike the American-spec version, which solely utilizes the optional XT powertrain, which is a 2.4-litre turbocharged boxer-four that’s good for 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, the Canadian iteration gets built upon naturally-aspirated Touring trim, which includes a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine making a more modest 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.

All 2023 Outback models, which remain five-seat crossovers in all trims (Subaru buyers that need more seating will want to look to the larger Ascent), come standard with Subaru’s Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) touting eight-speed manual mode, complete with steering wheel paddles. Subaru Canada estimates 9.0 L/100km in the city, 7.1 on the highway and 8.2 combined for the base engine, or 10.1, 7.9 and 9.1 respectively for the XT turbo, while the Wilderness is separately rated at 10.9 L/100km city, 8.9 highway and 10.0 combined.

Subaru adds new standard and optional features across the Outback line

2023 Subaru Outback cockpit showing the updated infotainment system.
The Outback gets plenty of technology updates for 2023, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus USB-C ports and a wireless charging pad in Touring trim.

All 2023 Outback trim levels, including Convenience, Touring, Onyx, Limited, Wilderness, Limited XT, and Premier XT, receive plenty of interior updates including new four-way adjustable power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, plus a rear USB-C port, while all the standard features from the previous base model continue forward, including heated side mirrors with welcome lighting, LED interior dome lights, a full-circumference heatable steering wheel rim, heated front seats, automatic climate control (dual-zone in second-rung Touring trim), a power-adjustable driver’s seat, front and rear USB-A ports, and one-touch folding rear seatbacks.

Of course, Subaru’s symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive is standard too, as is active torque vectoring, Vehicle Dynamics Control and X-MODE with Hill Descent Control. Of note, regular Outback models get 220 mm (8.6 in) of ground clearance, while Wilderness trim adds another 10 mm (0.4 in) to 230 mm (9.0 in). Notably, this is more ground clearance than many so-called SUVs, yet Subaru keeps the Outback’s overall ride height closer to terra firma in order to provide easier access via a lower step-in height.

EyeSight safety and convenience tech has been improved for 2023

A 2023 Subaru Outback driving through heavy rain.
Safety is still ultimate important in the new 2023 Outback, causing Subaru to add many new features.

Subaru’s latest EyeSight driver assist technology is standard too, although the system has been improved for smoother operation under more variable conditions. This is managed by providing cameras with a wider field of view, while the control software has also been updated, and an electric brake booster added. Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering Assist is also included, while Touring trim and above receive Reverse Automatic Braking and Subaru Rear/Side Vehicle Detection {SRVD) with Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

Safety in mind, the 2023 Outback will continue forward with eight standard airbags, including one for the driver’s knees, while all of the above, as well as the Outback’s 2017 update to the Subaru Global Platform, which helped to increase torsional and front-suspension rigidity by 70 percent, front lateral flexural and rear subframe stiffness by 100 percent, and overall crash protection via more than 40-percent more energy absorption in front/side crashes than the prior model, the new model should once again qualify for a another five-star rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as an additional Top Safety Pick+ placement from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

New Outback extras join long list of carryover options

The new LCD Smart Rearview Mirror in the 2023 Subaru Outback Premier XT.
A full LCD Smart Rearview Mirror is new for top-tier Premier XT trim.

Additional new items for Touring trim include wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as part of this model’s carryover upgrade to the larger 11.6-inch high-resolution Starlink infotainment touchscreen (increased from 7.0 inches in the base model), while a front USB-C port and a wireless phone charger is now also included in this trim (which is made more useful thanks to the wireless smartphone integration).

What’s more, an additional bit of Touring (and above) tech dubbed what3words (W3W) could be quite popular once users adapt to it. It’s an innovative location system that allows for easy navigation to just above anywhere in the world via a short three-word prompt. As Subaru explains it, “W3W has divided the world into a grid of 3-metre squares and given each square a unique combination of three words — a what3words address. Customers can navigate to and share trailheads, scenic overlooks and other hard-to-find places with precise accuracy using just three words.” Cool, eh?

Carryover items in this Touring model continue to include proximity-sensing access with pushbutton ignition, a windshield wiper de-icer, an auto-dimming centre mirror with a Homelink universal remote and compass, Subaru Starlink connected services, and a moonroof. Additionally, on Touring trims and above, which come standard with aforementioned SRVD and more, EyeSight includes new Automatic Emergency Steering that works in conjunction with Pre-Collision Braking to help in collision mitigation at speeds below 80 km/h.

Subaru gives customers plenty of good reasons to move up into higher trims

The rear seating area in every Outback is as least as spacious and comfortable as in other five-passenger mid-size crossover SUVs.
The Outback continues to be very roomy in all five seating positions, while access is easier than most SUVs thanks to a lower overall ride height.

Having already gone over Onyx features, next-in-line Limited, plus upper-level Limited XT and Premier XT trims gain a DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System that utilizes a dedicated infrared camera and facial recognition tech to identify signs of driver fatigue, such as tired eyes, or distraction before providing audible and visual warnings to alert the driver and passengers that it might be time to rest.

Moving up, the Outback’s most off-road capable Wilderness trim, along with its top-tier Premier XT model, now have the option of a Front View Monitor, which shows a 180-degree forward video image of the driver’s blind spot ahead of the front bumper on the 11.6-inch infotainment display, increasing safety in all types of conditions, whether parking or off-road.

The 2023 Subaru Outback out on the trail.
The new 2023 Subaru Outback, shown here in Onyx trim, will arrive in Canada later this year.

Lastly, the range-topping Premier XT gets a new Wide-Angle Mono Camera that works in tandem with the Outback’s main dual-camera EyeSight system to further expand its overall field of vision. It now has the ability to more quickly recognize pedestrians and bicycles when entering an intersection at low speed. Once a potential collision is detected, EyeSight alerts the driver, and if required applies the brakes automatically. A full LCD Smart Rearview Mirror is also new for Premier XT trim, complete with auto-dimming capability, a compass, and a Homelink universal remote.

So far Subaru Canada hasn’t announced pricing for the refreshed 2023 Outback, but these should be available on their website fairly soon, with deliveries starting later in the year. Until then, the 2022 Outback starts at $31,195 plus destination, while Touring trim can be had for $35,395, Limited for $39,595, Premier for $41,395, Wilderness for $41,995, Limited XT for $42,395, and Premier XT for $44,195. New 2023 Outback prices should remain fairly close to those for the outgoing model.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Subaru

After three years in the Canadian auto market, the Hyundai Palisade will get a refresh for 2023, featuring a whole host of notable updates worthy of attention. First off, changes to frontal styling include…

Hyundai updates three-row Palisade SUV flagship for 2023

The new 2023 Hyundai Palisade parked outdoors.
Hyundai has refreshed its Palisade for 2023, with a much tougher, more traditional SUV-like character.

After three years in the Canadian auto market, the Hyundai Palisade will get a refresh for 2023, featuring a whole host of notable updates worthy of attention.

First off, changes to frontal styling include a much chunkier chrome grille outline incorporating larger, rectangular chromed insert pieces that Hyundai refers to as “rugged parametric shield elements,” resulting in a bolder overall appearance that should appeal to more masculine tastes. Additionally, an updated lower front fascia mirrors the bolder grille opening above, with air vents in between that the Korean automaker’s namesake brand claims to optimize the front cooling area, as does an unseen extended internal air guide, plus aerodynamic underside panels below the SUV. At the very base of the fascia is a redesigned lower front skid plate featuring new strake detailing that adds ruggedness to the SUV’s visual presence.

Additionally, redesigned LED headlight clusters attach to reworked vertically-connected LED composite daytime running lights to each side, making the Palisade’s entire frontal view appear wider yet more upright than before, not to mention more traditionally SUV-like.

Refreshed styling aids aerodynamics front to back

The 2023 Hyundai Palisade parked outdoors.
Revisions to the rear show a subtly updated rear spoiler, and a new rear bumper garnish now integrating the rear reflectors and backup lamps.

We’re not quite sure what Hyundai was referring to when claiming the Palisade’s “fast A-pillar angle” as something new, being that the basic hard-points of this SUV haven’t changed at all (perhaps they were highlighting carryover design elements, although it was unclear in the press release), but extremely sharp eagle eyes might detect the new auto-dimming side mirrors from the rear three-quarter view. Most are more likely to initially pick up on the fresh set of “dark-finish, rugged-themed” 20-inch alloy wheels, however, plus Hyundai also points out new rear wheel aero deflectors to minimize drag.

Aero upgrades in mind, a new rear spoiler side garnish aids airflow as well, and while the Palisade’s LED taillights appear identical to those on the outgoing model, Hyundai has cleaned up the rear bumper cap with a broad, narrow strip across its centre portion incorporating light reflectors and reverse lamps; this in place of the rectangular lenses previously found at each side. This removes the L-shaped chrome garnish that currently wrap around the outside of said lenses, before stretching forward to the back edge of the rear fender flare. Again, the new look is cleaner, as is the metallic brush plate-style bumper garnish that now features a straighter line across its top section, plus squared off creases down below.

Improvements made to one of the most refined cabins in the mid-size SUV segment

New 2023 Hyundai Palisade gets an interior refresh as well.
The 2023 Palisade’s updated cabin features a new steering wheel, new gauge cluster, new HVAC vents, new audio control panel, and more.

A new four-spoke steering wheel greets the driver upon entry, while a redesigned instrument panel features updated air vents across an entirely new horizontally-themed centre section, which starts at the ignition switch just below the main touchscreen display, and finishes off to the right of the front passenger before butting up against new door panels.

The fully digital driver’s display has been updated too, not that the outgoing design required revision, as it’s arguably class-leading thanks to integrated monitors that automatically respond to turn signal input by providing clear rearward views down each side of the SUV before changing lanes, plus a segment-exclusive (other than the Kia Telluride that also gets a refresh for 2023) monitor that lets inattentive drivers know if the car in front has accelerated away after waiting at a stoplight.

New digital rearview mirror enhances confidence and safety

Driver's display in the 2023 Hyundai Palisade.
Hyundai updated the digital gauge cluster, but at first glance it looks much the same as the outgoing one, which is no bad thing.

The main infotainment touchscreen appears unchanged, although Hyundai speaks of new 12-inch navigation with 720p resolution, while the audio panel below is more obviously modified with simpler matte black buttons and black on metallic dials, instead of the full aluminum-look design previously used.

Up at eye-level, a new digital rearview mirror (a Hyundai first) is also available, making it possible for the driver to see completely past multiple rows of passengers. Conveniently, a conversation mirror lets the driver visually communicate with rear passengers while that digital rearview mirror is in use, a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

Additional tech upgrades include new USB-C ports replacing outdated USB-A ports (you’d better upgrade your USB cords), which allow quicker charging (up to 3 amps), as well as a new 15-watt wireless charging pad that provides faster smartphone charging than the old five-watt pad. Lastly, Hyundai as enhanced the Palisade’s dynamic voice recognition.

More comfortable seats get extra heat and cooling

Top line leather upholstery inside the 2023 Hyundai Palisade.
An available new “Ergo-motion” driver’s seat is said to be more comfortable over long distances.

That driver will enjoy a new “Ergo-motion” seat, as it’s reportedly more comfortable over long hauls, plus new first-class airline-style winged headrests for the second-row outboard positions. All rows get new upholstery too, while a second-row armrest angle adjuster comes as part of the new eight-passenger configuration; eight being the highest occupant capacity of any Hyundai vehicle ever sold in North America.

All passengers will enjoy new ambient lighting themes, while those in the second-row outboard positions get optional heated and ventilated cushions. Those in the very back of upper trims not only benefit from one-touch second-row seats for easier access, but also power-reclining and new heatable third-row seats, while those in the aft cabin of the Calligraphy model might also appreciate the quieter acoustic-laminated rear door glass.

Second-row seats get available cooling.
Rear seat occupants benefit from plenty of upgrades.

The rear liftgate powers open, of course, while the same powered mechanism that lets the rearmost passengers recline their backrests also allows unoccupied rear seatbacks to be folded down and back up again electrically.

Notable advanced driver assistance and convenience systems include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, Highway Driving Assist, Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Remote Smart Parking Assist, while the new 2023 Palisade will also features Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert and new standard rear side-impact airbags.

Powerful performance remains a Palisade strong suit

The 2023 Hyundai Palisade's third row receives optional heated cushions.
The Palisade’s third row seats can be had with new heated cushions, while second-row occupants can get cooled seats.

The Palisade’s powertrain might be its strongest and weakest link simultaneously. Strong is its 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, this resulting from a big, capable 3.8-litre V6, but most competitors, including the updated 2023 version of the entire mid-size SUV segment’s best-selling Toyota Highlander, utilize turbocharged four-cylinder power to achieve similar or better performance with significant fuel economy gains.

The new 2023 Highlander will receive a slightly detuned version of the same 2.4-litre turbo-four as found in the upcoming 2023 Lexus RX 350, making 265 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque as a Toyota, which while down 26 horsepower on the Palisade, and even more than in its own 295-hp predecessor, it puts out considerably more torque, a figure that matters most when hauling heavy loads. What’s more, the Highlander has long offered a hybrid model that will continue forward into 2023, while there’s a good chance a plug-in variant will be added, due to the Lexus RX 450h+ PHEV having already being announced. So far, we’ve only heard talk about the impressive new Santa Fe Hybrid PHEV’s plug-in drivetrain being applied to the larger Palisade, but it will likely make the grade sooner than later.

The Palisade's generous cargo space carries over into the 2023 model.
The Palisade has never been short on cargo space.

As it is, the 2022 Palisade, which utilizes the same engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system found in the new 2023 version, achieves a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 11.1 L/100km, compared to 10.3 L/100km for the regular 2022 Highlander with its 3.5-litre V6, eight-speed auto and AWD. The 2022 Highlander Hybrid is good for a claimed city/highway rating of 6.7 L/100km, incidentally, while the upcoming 2023 Lexus RX 350 with its new 2.4-litre turbo-four boasts a rating of 9.8 L/100km combined, expected to slightly less when tuned for the future Highlander. Similar scenarios play out with some other segment rivals, meaning Hyundai will want to improve fuel economy in the Palisade to make it more competitive.

Palisade grows Hyundai’s place in the seven-passenger mid-size SUV segment

The Palisade's powerful V6 has no problem getting up to highway speeds.
The Palisade has always provided strong performance from its 3.8-litre V6.

On the positive, since arriving in June of 2019, the Palisade has played a significant role in Hyundai’s lineup, not to mention Canada’s entire three-row mid-size crossover SUV market segment. Taking over from the elongated Santa Fe XL that bowed out during the same year, the Palisade was a significant step forward in style, refinement and interior roominess, resulting in a sharp uptick in sales volume.

During its most popular calendar year of 2014, the Santa Fe XL sold just 2,332 units, whereas the Palisade hit the road running with 3,845 deliveries in its first half-year, plus Hyundai sold 7,279 Palisades during 2020’s rather tumultuous health crisis response-influenced sales cycle, and 6,739 examples were delivered last year; the slight downturn likely caused by the chip shortage.

Palisade has secured solid mid-pack popularity on the sales charts

The bold new 2023 Hyundai Palisade treks its way across the California desert.
While not truly a 4×4, the Palisade is capable in light-duty off-road situations.

Either way, the mid-size SUV segment’s (including the Toyota 4Runner) sixth-place (as of 2021) Palisade has passed right on by previous heavy-hitters like the Nissan Pathfinder (13th), Dodge Durango (7th), Chevrolet Traverse (8th), and GMC Acadia (11th), while Mazda’s CX-9 has been making progress (albeit nevertheless finds itself behind the current Palisade in 9th), Subaru’s Ascent continues to languish (12th), and corporate cousin Kia’s internally competitive Telluride has steadily been rising up through the back-marker ranks (10th).

So as not to leave them out of the equation, Jeep’s three-row Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer were introduced late last year with a nominal take-rate, but these two new offerings, along with the new three-row Grand Cherokee L, should shake things up a bit further in the seven- to eight-occupant class moving forward.

All in all, updates made to the 2023 Hyundai Palisade appear to be what’s needed from a design perspective, while all the new features will no doubt be welcomed. Those who love big powerful V6 engines will also be happy nothing has changed behind that bold new grille, but such consumers are getting harder to find as fuel prices rise, so the jury remains out on the Palisade’s future success, at least until it adopts some of its thriftier powertrains from the Santa Fe.

The Redesigned PALISADE | Hyundai (1:02):

2022 NY Auto Show | PALISADE Reveal | Hyundai (16:33):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Hyundai

Seven years have passed since Lexus introduced its fourth-generation RX, and while a dramatic departure stylistically than the more conservative model it replaced, time always takes its toll. The RX’…

Bold new 2023 Lexus RX revealed with 367-hp hybrid

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The new 2023 Lexus RX 350, shown here in base Premium trim, will be available this coming fall.

Seven years have passed since Lexus introduced its fourth-generation RX, and while a dramatic departure stylistically than the more conservative model it replaced, time always takes its toll.

The RX’ continued success (it’s long been its mid-size luxury crossover SUV segment’s number-one seller, in both in Canada and the U.S.) means than even what once seemed daring and different can start to look commonplace and dated, but a fresh new RX will soon remedy any softening in the sales department.

Evolution of outgoing RX design makes for a fresh new look

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The new design is more evolutionary than revolutionary.

First off, Lexus’ distinctive spindle grille is gone, but not entirely. As RX Project Chief Designer Jota Kusakari explains in a video (see below), it’s now a “spindle body,” encompassing the entire SUV.

This can clearly be seen up front, where the bulging hood forms into a body-colour nose-cap that melds almost seamlessly into the blackened grille opening below, much like Lexus’ new RZ electric. The spindle shape continues to flair outward as it reaches the lower valance, similarly to the previous RX, while it’s accentuated further via corner vents to each side.

Spindle grille gives way to new “spindle body-concept”

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The spindle grille still exists, but the unique styling feature is more integrated into the entire design now.

As dramatic as the frontal redesign, the spindle body-concept enhances the new RX’ rear design even more than the outgoing version, where an angled crease, parallel to the rear clip cutline, slices upwards from the aft portion of each rear wheel cut-out, overtop an identically angled rear corner vent, before ending where a singular taillight element forms into its centre section, which, much like that on the smaller UX, features a light bar lamp that appears stretched between two sharply angled outer lenses.

This design increases the visual tension started by the previous RX, almost as if the new model’s sides have been pinched together slightly at centre. There are plenty of other details worth noting too, some being quite creative, yet while nothing remains the same from old to new, no one will mistake this fifth-generation RX for anything other than a mid-size Lexus.

All-new RX sits on Toyota GA-K platform architecture

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The 2023 model provides a new take on the old RX’ LED headlight cluster.

The new RX is built upon Toyota’s well-proven GA-K platform, even though it might appear as if it was formed off the back of the outgoing model’s Toyota K architecture. The latter is due to some carryover design elements like the lower half of the just-noted grille opening, the sharply angled LED headlamps with checkmark-style LED driving lights, forward-canted vertical corner vents with circular LED fog lamps, sweptback roofline with floating D pillars, and sharply angled wraparound LED taillights.

Even the rear reflectors, which make way for sportier vertical vents, are at the same angle in more or less the same place, while F Sport models receive much larger vents next to new rear reflectors on the bumper cap, providing a much more aggressive appearance.

Lighter and stiffer makes for better handling

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
Lexus promises a more upscale interior experience, including an optional 14-inch touchscreen.

The GA-K platform is is up to 90 kg lighter in the RX than the outgoing model, thanks to new materials in the main framework, while torsional rigidity has increased as well. Along with this is a lower centre of gravity and better weight distribution, while an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, attached to a stiff high-torsion rear body frame, “facilitates more consistent suspension input/travel during acceleration, deceleration and steering moments,” says Lexus.

It should all result in optimized performance, while the new model’s 60-mm longer wheelbase should improve ride quality too. Additionally, a 60-mm shorter rear overhang should also aid handling as well as providing a more athletic looking stance. Lexus managed to maintain an identical overall length to the previous RX too, so those trading up should feel right at home when parking.

More rear passenger and cargo room is always welcome in the mid-size class

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
A longer wheelbase provides more rear legroom.

The new GA-K platform increases the “front/rear couple distance” too, which provides greater rear legroom, while cargo space is reportedly improved too, as is access to the load floor thanks to a lowered liftgate sill that decreases the lift-over height.

The GA-K platform, incidentally, also underpins the new Lexus NX, the luxury brand’s latest ES, plus plenty of others from the namesake mainstream volume brand’s lineup, such as the Toyota Camry, Avalon, RAV4, Venza, Highlander, and Sienna, thus it will once again be ideal for the automaker’s range of hybrid powertrains.

RX powertrain options expand from two to four

2023 Lexus RX 450h PHEV
A new RX 450h plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will be available as a late arrival.

Electrifying in mind, the entry-level RX 350 (more on that in a moment) will now be complemented by three different hybrid alternatives, including a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder version dubbed RX 350h that should be quite popular due to an expected lower price point and improved fuel economy than today’s RX 450h, with Lexus estimating a very thrifty 7.1 L/100km combined city/highway.

It should be more than capable of hauling a fully-laden mid-size crossover SUV too, being that it’s sourced from the aforementioned Venza and Sienna, which are now dedicated hybrids, plus Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid. It makes a net 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque, which is good for 7.6 seconds from zero to 100 km/h (just 0.2 seconds off of the base non-hybrid variant), plus comes mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) plus all-wheel drive.

Lexus adds plug-in and high-performance hybrid options to RX lineup

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
Top of the line will be new RX 500h F Sport Performance trim with 367-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Additionally, there will be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) using a similar name to the current V6-powered RX 450h, albeit named 450h+, but it’ll arrive later and therefore Toyota hasn’t provided any additional info. Due to the name, we should expect a bit more performance than the new RX 350, plus, of course, greater and more utile EV range.

Lastly, the pinnacle of RX performance will now be the all-new 500h F Sport Performance, which promises to be quite the mid-size family hauler, with the emphasis on hauling arse. This model combines the more potent 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the base RX 350 with a different six-speed automatic, an inverter, and all-wheel drive via Lexus’ eAxle unit boasting a stronger high output electric motor, inverter and reduction gearbox.

New 500h F Sport Performance puts RX in the mix with turbo-six Europeans

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The RX 500h F Sport Performance gets special styling details front to back.

This results in a soul-stirring 367 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, which is similar to what we can find under the hood of twin-turbo six-cylinder-powered competitors like the Genesis GV80 3.5T and Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 hybrid, and considerably more than what BMW’s X5 provides from its 3.0-litre turbo-six. The benchmark here is Volvo’s XC90 Recharge, with 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged, supercharged and plug-in hybridized 2.0-litre four, but there will likely be a sizeable price difference between this new Lexus and the Swedish brand’s flagship SUV.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The new RX 500h F Sport Performance features Direct4 AWD for enhanced grip and handling.

Where the XC90 Recharge can sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds, the top-tier RX 500h F Sport Performance can do so in a respectable 6.1 seconds, whereas the two competitors’ city/highway combined fuel economy is rated at 8.8 L/100km for the Swede and a very similar 9.0 L/100km for the Japanese. Incidentally, the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz hybrid SUV scoots from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds while achieving a claimed city/highway rating of 10.4 L/100km at the pump, while the non-hybrid X5 xDrive40i matches the Mercedes’ fuel economy while providing a sprint time of 5.5 seconds. Strangely, BMW has a pricier plug-in hybridized X5 dubbed xDrive45e that uses more fuel than the regular version, at 11.5 L/100km combined, and takes 0.1 seconds longer to hit 100 km/h.

Lexus introduces Direct4 all-wheel drive for new RX 500h F Sport Performance

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The F Sport interior promises a sportier design language.

Gripping pavement under the RX 500h F Sport Performance is a new Direct4 all-wheel drive system that Lexus is touting as its “highest technology all-wheel drive” system with “maximum grip, traction and acceleration in all situations.” Unfortunately, that’s all we know about it thus far, so we’ll just have to wait until more info comes out in order to learn what makes it better than Lexus’ regular AWD.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
A unique F Sport gauge cluster pulls design details from the now legendary LFA.

Overall, Lexus claims its RX 500h F Sport Performance provides “a sportier, more performance-driven look and feel,” thanks to its straight-line performance, of course, plus that all-wheel drive system and opposed six-piston brake calipers to enhance stopping power. These are framed in a set of 21-inch aluminum wheels “that exude a wide, confident stance,” and upgraded 235/50R21 rubber for enhanced traction.

Additional RX 500h F Sport Performance details include a unique mesh grille, plus special front and rear bumpers, while the cabin gets a whole host of F Sport upgrades such as a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, paddle shifters, aluminum foot pedals, additional aluminum trim, leather upholstery, microsuede-trimmed interior door panels, F Sport branded scuff plates, and more.

New RX 350 base model promises strong performance and better efficiency

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The RX 500h F Sport Performance’ seats look enveloping.

Back to the basics, the entry-level and sole non-hybrid RX 350 drops the current model’s 3.5-litre V6 for a much thriftier 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that’s capable of 9.8 L/100km combined. It makes a solid 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, and while this might seem like a downgrade of 20 horsepower compared to the outgoing model’s 295, it’s also an upgrade of 50 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a net positive. It also comes mated to a sporty yet efficient eight-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive, so therefore, once factoring in pricing, which has yet to be released, this will likely be Lexus’ best-selling RX trim level in Canada.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
A panoramic sunroof is available.

The RX 350, and all RX trim lines, come standard with a generous supply of advanced safety and convenience technologies that the luxury firm dubs Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. This suite of features includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Intersection Support and new Motorcycle Detection; as well as All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with new Curve Speed Management (DRCC); Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA); and Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS).

On the high-tech options list is Advanced Park that helps out when parallel parking, or when wanting assistance for back-up parking, forward-facing parking, or forward-facing and back-up exiting.

Seven grades mean standard and optional equipment will be plentiful

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The RX’ centre pass-through has always been a welcome bonus.

As for additional standard features, the new 2023 RX will get 19-inch alloy wheels, Lexus’ e-Latch proximity sensing access, and Lexus Interface, these details garnered from the Canadian press release, whereas the few options specifically mentioned include multi-coloured illumination accents, “tasteful” door trims, a head-up display (HUD), a 14-inch Multimedia Touchscreen Display, navigation, and a panoramic glass sunroof. Of course, there will be plenty more available in the 2023 RX’ seven grades, which will include Premium, Luxury, Ultra-Luxury, Executive, F SPORT 1, F SPORT 2 and F SPORT 3, but we’ll need to wait until closer to launch before knowing details.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
More cargo space will be appreciated by current owners.

A total of 10 exterior colour choices will be available too, depending on the chosen grade, including Caviar, Copper Crest (a Lexus-first), Eminent White Pearl, Grecian Water, Iridium, Matador Red Mica, Nebula Gray Pearl, Nightfall Mica, Nori Green Pearl, and Ultra White, while inside there’s a choice of four grade-dependant “ornamentation styles” including Ash Bamboo, Black Cascade, Black Open Pore, and Dark Graphite Aluminum, as well as six cabin colours including Black, Birch, Macadamia, Palomino, Peppercorn and Rioja Red.

Lexus expects the new 2023 RX to go on sale at the end of 2022, so it’s probably a good idea to claim your spot in line if you want to be first.

 

The All-New 2023 Lexus RX – World Premier (9:50):

Introducing the All-New RX | Lexus (2:51):

The Lexus RX | Lexus (8:35):

2022 Lexus Product Showcase | Lexus (24:40):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Lexus

Everyone who follows the auto industry knew that Tesla’s Model S would eventually get knocked from its first-place sales pedestal in the mid-size electric luxury sedan segment (which is actually a thing…

Beige doesn’t mean boring when applied to Porsche’s new Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition

The new 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition looks good on the racetrack.
The new Hockenheimring Edition should be as impressive on the track as any Taycan GTS.

Everyone who follows the auto industry knew that Tesla’s Model S would eventually get knocked from its first-place sales pedestal in the mid-size electric luxury sedan segment (which is actually a thing now), but some might’ve expected the upstart EV replacing it at the top to be from some all-new brand like Lucid. As we all now know it was Porsche’s Taycan that took best-selling honours in this category last year, let alone every month since.

To be fair to Tesla, its flagship four-door has been with us mostly unchanged for a decade, which is a surprisingly long stint for any car and certainly testament to how advanced the original was when it came on the market in 2012. Then again, one glance at the Taycan and the Model S looks downright frumpy, which was no doubt part of Porsche’s plan when penning the now three-year old BEV.

Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition commemorates 90 years of famed racetrack

The new 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition looks good from the rear.
Enough beige for you? Oh yah, it’s not beige, but rather Stone Grey with Bronzite highlights.

So, how should Porsche celebrate this monumental occasion? Once again breaking the track record at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife might be a good idea, especially since the only car to do so was a preproduction Taycan Turbo back in 2019 that, while achieving a pretty impressive lap time of 7:42.34 minutes and therefore making Tesla’s four-year old 8:50-minute lap of a Model S P85D look as if it was merely cruising along in “chill” mode, got walloped by an updated 2021 Model S that ran the ring in just 7:35.579 last fall, no doubt in Plaid track mode.

Thus far Porsche hasn’t taken the bait, but they’ve nevertheless conjured up a new special edition that pays tribute to 90 years of motorsport on Germany’s second-most famous race course, the Hockenheimring, and while only available in Europe and therefore somewhat useless information for any Canadian that doesn’t also own a hunting cabin in the Black Forest or ski lodge in Chamonix, it’s a worthy racetrack to commemorate and a nicely dressed up Taycan to boot.

Hockenheimring has a long history of notable winners

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition
Each two-tone painted 21-inch alloy wheel wears Stone Grey and Bronzite.

The Hockenheimring, located in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, hosted Formula 1 as recently as 2019, but was a regular haunt of motorsport’s supreme series from 1977 to 2006, except for 1985 when the German Grand Prix was held at a reconfigured Nürburgring circuit, which had lost F1 in 1976 due to safety concerns.

The great Michael Schumacher achieved four Formula 1 victories at the Hockenheimring, while plenty of other racing greats have competed in DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), a.k.a. the German Touring Car championship, World RX (rallycross), EuroNASCAR, and the World Endurance (Sportscar) Championship, in which Porsche has run away with many class victories and championships.

Stunning Stone Grey beige earth-tone joined by beautiful Bronzite highlights

Setting this special model apart are "90th Hockenheimring Edition" badges on the outer B pillars.
Special “90th Hockenheimring Edition” badges are attached to the B pillars, while additional versions of this logo can be found elsewhere.

No doubt the new 2022 Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition’s most eye-catching feature is its Stone Grey exterior paint, which we dare you to call beige. As if a car that can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds could ever be considered beige, let alone one that looks as dramatic as any Taycan, but it’s also a bit browner than grey, so we’ll have to accept that Porsche used some creative license when positioning this hue within their “Heritage” colour palette’s nomenclature and leave it there.

It’s part of Porsche’s Paint to Sample program, as is Bronzite that gets used for the five twinned spokes of this unique Taycan’s 21-inch Mission E Design alloy wheels, the rims painted in Stone Grey to match the car’s bodywork. Bronzite also adorns the car’s side skirts, rear diffuser, and Taycan badges.

Island Green highlights combine with Paldao hardwood inside

Special Island Green leather gets used for the steering wheel's centre marker.
Island Green dye highlights the centre marker on the leather-wrapped steering wheel rim.

The Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition’s cabin is slightly more subtle in execution than its sheet metal, much due to black leather being used throughout, except for a thin strip of Island Green leather found atop the steering wheel as a centre marking. Island Green stitching gets used in all the right places too, while Paldao hardwood inlays dress up key areas and yet more Bronzite can be found where satin-silver might otherwise be, including the steering wheel spokes, gear lever and surrounding area, HVAC vent slats, and even the rim around each cupholder.

Additionally, the Hockenheimring Edition’s carpeted floor mats get yet more Island Green highlights, while a Hockenheimring track map and special logo get embossed into the leather-clad centre armrest, as does the key fob, illuminated door sills, and projector LEDs that light up the ground below the doors. Capping this special model off, Porsche fixed a special badge with the same logo and track layout to the outer B pillars.

New Hockenheimring Edition built on ultra-quick Taycan GTS underpinnings

The new Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition, which is only available as a sedan, makes 590 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, which means that along with its aforementioned 3.7-second run from standstill to 100 km/h, it can manage a terminal velocity of 250 km/h, while GTS trim also provides the longest WLTP-estimated range of any other Taycan trim, at 504 km.

Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition. Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur (1:36) (Note: this video is in German):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Acura is smartly bringing back one of its most revered nameplates for 2023, and simultaneously ditching a three-letter moniker that never managed to garner as much devoted loyalty. The ILX has long been…

New Acura Integra five-door priced right for June launch

Acura is smartly bringing back one of its most revered nameplates for 2023, and simultaneously ditching a three-letter moniker that never managed to garner as much devoted loyalty.

The ILX has long been a very impressiv

The new 2023 Acura Integra pulls recent memories of the old ILX.
While this five-door hatch could’ve easily been the 2nd-generation ILX, Acura smartly chose to bring back its legendary Integra nameplate.

e compact sedan capable of running alongside the smallest offerings from Europe’s, Asia’s and the U.S.’ biggest luxury players, thanks to a combination of the previous ninth-generation (2012–2015) Honda Civic Si underpinnings and 2.4-litre engine with a much more sophisticated eight-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox. Certainly, the compact four-door has needed a redesign for years, so therefore sales have waned, but along with a significant update for 2023, Acura has blessed it with a much more endearing name.

Along with the new designation, a much-needed restyling, and a host of other improvements, the new 2023 Integra receives a base price of $34,350 (plus freight and PDI) that’s closer to upper trims of the outgoing ILX, which currently ranges from $31,400 to $36,800.

Integra roots go back 37 years

2023 Acura Integra in the city.
Those wanting a compact, efficient performance car might want to consider the new Integra, especially now that it provides more interior room.

The ILX has already been with us for a decade, although it was given two facelifts in 2016 and 2019, the first one upgrading the drivetrain to its current iteration, and last one being a more dramatic visual departure, in that it received the brand’s latest “Diamond Pentagon” grille. Plenty of additional upgrades were made to each iteration as well, including the model’s sportiest A-Spec trim added to the latter.

Before the ILX, Canadians wanting an entry-level Acura had the option of the 2006–2011 CSX, which was exclusive to our market, albeit with styling shared with the Honda’s domestic-market Civic, while once again it shared plenty of parts with Honda’s Civic Si, albeit only in Type-S trim (beginning in 2007).

The new 2023 Acura Integra from the rear.
The new Integra actually looks closer to the past RSX (4th-gen Integra) from the rear than any Integra sold in North America.

The CLX replaced the Canadian-exclusive 1997–2005 EL, which was more of a gussied up Civic in that it offered no performance option, yet nevertheless managed to accumulate 51-percent of Acura Canada’s sales in its first year and remain the Canadian division’s best-selling model from 1997 to 2003.

Up until 1996 the point of entry into the Acura brand was this article’s subject namesake Integra, or at least the inspiration for the name, which started life in 1986 and therefore joined the mid-size Accord-based Legend as one of the Japanese luxury brand’s initial two launch models.

Following Acura tradition by riding on affordable Honda Civic underpinnings

2023 Acura Integra under lights.
The Integra’s sloping rear window is a convenient hatchback, aiding practicality.

Like that original Integra, the renewed 2023 version is based on Honda’s ultra-popular Civic, although back in the mid ‘80s Acura had a Civic Coupe (and hatchback) to utilize for two-door hard-points, whereas the most recent 11th-generation Civic is only available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles.

Understandably, fans of the original Integra were disappointed when the new 2023 model showed up as a five-door hatchback in prototype form and once again in production trim, despite early first-, second- and third-generation Integras being sold as four-door sedans (plus four-door pillared hardtops) and five-door liftbacks, not only as three-door liftbacks, often referred to coupes (the fourth-gen Integra, which only came in three-door liftback form, was known as the RSX here).

Five-door Integra makes sense in today’s market

The 2023 Acura Integra in production.
The new Integra is now in production, and this photo shows its hatchback lifted in the background.

Old Integras are most collectable in sportier looking three-door form, which, by the hubbub of controversy surrounding the new Integra’s initial announcement, must have been how many fans initially imagined the majorly-hyped new version before it came out. Looking across the auto mall at Ford, disgruntled Acura enthusiasts might just want to be grateful the new Integra isn’t a crossover SUV (looking at your Mustang Mach-E).

With no three-door model in the Civic lineup, and the need to base the Integra on an existing body style, it makes sense Acura chose the liftback option to pay tribute to the luxury brand’s past. Doing so also results in the sportiest of its two Civic donor platforms, plus better access to the cargo area than the outgoing ILX’ trunk.

High-revving Honda Si engine making way for more efficient 1.5-litre turbo-four

The new 2023 Acura Integra's interior.
The new Integra will be offered with both manual and automatic transmissions.

Those who love the high-revving 2.4-litre ILX engine might be disappointed that its replacement loses 900 cubic centimetres, but take heart because the new Civic-sourced 1.5-litre unit is much more efficient (which matters these days) and utilizes a turbo to produce more output overall at 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, compared to 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft for the ILX.

Where the outgoing engine has been both lauded and criticized for its quick-spinning, peaky performance, with serious enthusiasts loving its mechanical audio track and intense accelerative VTEC forces in the upper rev-range, it was always a bit too sporting for some. After all, the current ILX, and soon this new Integra, need to serve as Acura’s entry-level product for all.

The 2023 Acura Integra as viewed from the driver.
The new Integra promises to be a strong performer.

Therefore, the new model’s more subdued engine note and broader, more automatic-friendly torque band, which ranges from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm, should make it much more enjoyable with the eight-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox, not to mention easier to drive casually around town, while max power can still be found at a lofty 6,000 rpm, or 800 rpm lower than the ILX, meaning that those wanting to rev the engine out will still have an adrenaline inducing, VTEC-enhanced soundtrack to draw upon. That this engine is also used in today’s Civic Si is just another nod to both the ILX’ past and previous Integra’s, et al.

Acura incorporates fabulous six-speed manual transmission from Civic Si

The new 2023 Acura Integra's six-speed manual transmission.
Honda has long been lauded for its manual transmission, which means the new six-speed in the top-line Integra should be very special.

Where the outgoing ILX was not available with a manual transmission (odd considering the Civic Si that donated its 2.4-litre four only was offered with a six-speed manual), the new Integra can now be had with a six-speed DIY gearbox in top-line Elite A-Spec trim at no extra charge, with both the manual and automatic models starting at $42,550, while positioned between base and Elite A-Spec trims is the regular A-Spec at $37,050. According to Acura, the six-speed manual is a “segment-exclusive” feature (sad, but true), which could cause plenty of traditional performance enthusiasts to flock to this front-wheel drive model, despite rear-wheel drive normally being the configuration of choice for the go-fast crowd.

The 2023 Acura Integra's instrument cluster and centre stack.
Acura has clearly biased the Integra’s interior toward a performance-oriented buyer.

Then again, Honda’s Civic is quite possibly the best-handling front-driver ever created, in 306-horsepower 10th-generation Type R trim at least (the new one is expected later this year as a 2023 model, incidentally), so the automaker knows a thing or two about maximizing handling prowess in this less-than-optimal layout.

Making the most of its dynamic chassis design is a standard sport-tuned suspension, plus the Elite A-Spec adds an Adaptive Damper System that provides even more control of the road below. Likewise, the Elite A-Spec model features a customizable Individual mode for its Integrated Dynamics System, with the rest of the Integra’s trim lines coming standard with the usual Comfort, Normal, and Sport driving modes.

Impressive top-level technologies included

2023 Acura Integra
All Integra trims come standard with a configurable 10.2-inch digital driver’s display dubbed Acura Precision Cockpit.

So far, no Tech trim (currently top-of-the-line with the ILX) will be offered, which kind of makes sense being that all 2023 Integras will feature a standard configurable 10.2-inch digital driver’s display, dubbed Acura Precision Cockpit. Then again, a head-up display unit is optional with the Elite A-Spec package, as is a higher-end 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The just-noted wireless capability of its smartphone integration will once again make this package’s Qi-compatible wireless charging pad something useful (it isn’t when forced to plug-in for smartphone integration), while this top-tier upgrade also includes a 16-speaker ELS STUDIO 3D audio system.

Back to standard kit, the Integra’s advanced safety features include a special set of driver and passenger airbags that were “designed to control head rotation in a crash,” says Acura, while rear seat airbags are also included. What’s more, a new single-camera AcuraWatch system boasts enhanced Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). Lastly, a one-year free trial of AcuraLink services will also be included across the line, also incorporating the brand’s Security and Remote packages at no extra cost.

All Integra trims come standard with best-in-class roominess

The Integra offers red leather upholstery in A-Spec trim.
Once again available with rich red leather upholstery in A-Spec trims, the new Integra promises class-leading interior room.

According to Acura, the Integra also promises class-leading rear legroom and cargo volume (the latter partially due to its convenient hatchback design), which are two bonuses the ILX couldn’t boast of.

After all is said and done, it’s difficult to criticize Acura for making a much better ILX and then rebranding it with a legendary name. Calling this five-door model an Integra brought it much more press than merely making it the second-generation ILX, while badging it with a memorable moniker also pulls on the heartstrings while making it easier to bring up in conversation with friends. Just ask anyone not seriously into cars what an ILX is, and you’ll get a stunned look. Do the same for the new Integra, and while you might get a quizzical, doe-eyed gaze, you’re also more likely to receive a curious response. A name like Integra is more easily embedded in one’s memory too, aiding Acura’s marketing efforts, while reducing its spend. Overall, it just makes sense.

Introducing the Next-Gen Integra (0:30):

Next Generation 2023 Acura Integra Debut Featuring Pierre Gasly (1:02):

2023 Acura Integra Production Model Walkaround (6:02):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Acura

If you’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 EV or sister company Kia’s equally impressive EV6, you’ll already know they provide near-luxury levels of features, refinement…

Genesis announces pricing and availability for new all-electric GV60

2023 Genesis GV60
The 2023 Genesis GV60 promises strong performance, up to 400 km of EV range, lots of luxury, and innovative new features.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 EV or sister company Kia’s equally impressive EV6, you’ll already know they provide near-luxury levels of features, refinement and performance, not to mention styling in spades, so it’s going to take a lot for the Korean automaker’s premium Genesis division to top these two standout battery electrics.

Yet despite the daunting task, Genesis has stepped up with a uniquely attractive design, even more standard features including some industry-first technologies, plus a much higher level of luxury than the two more mainstream volume-branded BEVs, as well as even stronger straight-line performance in its top trim level, that also provides even more EV range.

“We are thrilled to begin our momentous journey towards full electrification with the launch of the GV60,” said Lawrence Hamilton, executive director of Genesis Motors Canada. “We are excited that our Canadian guests will be able to experience the innovative technologies, bold design, and extensive suite of Genesis Connected Services offered in this distinctive vehicle.”

Priced competitively against premium rivals

2023 Genesis GV60
The well-equipped GV60 starts at just $71,000, including destination.

Pricing for the all-new 2023 Genesis GV60 starts at $71,000 (including delivery), which while a sizeable monetary leap from the entry-level trims of its two sub-$45k underlings, is nevertheless reasonable for the premium class. Tesla’s Model Y, for instance, starts at $82,100, which is more than $10k dearer than the GV60, whereas Jaguar’s I-Pace will set you back a cool $99,800 (for the difference you could park a new Hyundai Tucson in your driveway next to the GV60 and have change left over). Still, Audi’s Q4 E-Tron starts at a very reasonable $59,950, but it’s important to compare apples to apples, and to that end the new Genesis stacks up very well.

For starters, the GV60 is larger than all of the above. In fact, while smaller than most mid-size luxury crossover SUVs, it provides more passenger volume and cargo capacity than the compact luxury crossovers just mentioned. Before delving into such details, however, let’s see how the GV60 lines up against the smaller Audi Q4 E-Tron dollar-for-dollar.

GV60 vs Q4 E-Tron

2023 Genesis GV60
The luxurious GV80 will be a step above the already impressive Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.

The most basic 2023 GV60 Advanced AWD comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels (only 19s for the Q4 E-Tron), LED headlights and rear combination lamps (Audi’s Matrix LEDs are part of an $8,400 package), supple Nappa leather upholstery (just regular leather for the base Audi), a heatable steering wheel rim (for both), three-way heated and ventilated front seats plus heated rear outboard positions (no standard cooled or rear warmers for the Q4 E-Tron), a panoramic Vision Roof with a powered sunshade (same for both), Fingerprint Authentication and Face Connect (nope), a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (just a 10.25-inch driver’s display for the German SUV), a head-up display system (part of that aforementioned $8,400 package on the Audi), integrated navigation (part of a lesser $5,400 package with the Q4 E-Tron), and vehicle-to-load charging capability.

2023 Genesis GV60
The standard infotainment system looks impressive, but for some reason Genesis is only offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the upgraded Performance model.

Additionally, a full suite of safety and convenience features is included standard with the GV60, such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go (a $750 option or part of the $8,400 package with the Q4 E-Tron), high beam assist (part of a $1,600 Tech pack or included in the same $8,400 one), and Genesis’ list goes on with Highway Driving Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, etcetera.

All said, the partially-loaded Q4 E-Tron Technic (that’s the $8,400 package) will set its owner back $68,350 before adding on $890 metallic paint, a smaller set of 20-inch alloys, and a $1,600 Tech package (that includes a head-up display and Audi Connect Plus), as well as $2,700 in freight and PDI costs, resulting in a final total of $74,540, or $3,540 more than the GV60. And that’s before factoring in that Audi’s base mid-size E-Tron, which is dimensionally closer to the GV60 inside, starts at $89,600 including destination.

Industry-first features set the GV60 apart from all competitors

2023 Genesis GV60
This beautiful Crystal Sphere acts like a night light as well as driving controls when automatically rotating around.

The new GV60 will also be available with some auto industry-first technologies, including Face Connect, Fingerprint Authentication, and Genesis’ exclusive Crystal Sphere. The first two of these features have been available on smartphones for some time, making it somewhat surprising that it took an automaker this long to adapt. Nevertheless, Genesis will be first to offer facial recognition via a deep learning-capable Near Infra-Red (NIR) camera in the B-pillar that automatically unlocks or locks the GV60’s doors without the need for a key.

Face Connect links to two individual driver profiles, causing the head-up display, powered driver’s seat, power steering column, side mirrors, and multimedia settings to adjust automatically once a driver’s personal preferences are chosen.

In the same way, Genesis’ Fingerprint Authentication System lets drivers start and drive their GV60 without a key.

The Crystal Sphere, on the other hand, is a beautiful translucent orb that acts as a glowing ambient light when the GV60 is turned off, yet upon turning the ignition on it rotates around to provide a shift-by-wire dial for selecting gears. Gimmicky? Maybe. But is it cool? For sure.

Performance is impressive throughout the GV60 lineup

2023 Genesis GV60
This “BOOST” button adds serious performance.

Genesis Canada’s entry-level GV60 Advanced AWD trim features a strong power unit with 314 horsepower (234 kW) and 446 lb-ft of immediate torque, while the top-line GV60 Performance AWD, which incidentally starts at $79,000, adds a more potent 160kW front electric motor that combines with the rear motor for an impressive 429 horsepower (320 kW) and the same 446 lb-ft of torque when in Sport Mode, or alternatively 483 horsepower (360 kW) and 516 lb-ft of torque in Boost Mode, which is accessible by pressing a green button on the steering wheel.

Boost mode is kind of a like the “push to pass” system used in Indy Car racing, or nitrous-oxide found on dragsters, as it only provides a short 10-second boost. Still, the result is a rather stimulating 4.0-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h, which should be good enough for the GV60’s luxury crowd. Then again, Kia’s EV6 GT reportedly does the deed in just 3.5 seconds, due to a whopping 576 horsepower “under the hood”.

Drift Mode and other features set GV60 Performance trim apart

2023 Genesis GV60
Drift Mode is an exciting new function for a battery electric car.

An industry-first feature not yet covered is the GV60’s Drift Mode, an unusually welcome function that’s ripe for future parking lot testing sessions. According to Genesis, Drift Mode uses the braking system along with rear-motor torque in order to break traction at the rear wheels to cause oversteer, after which the crossover’s significant heft should carry the power slide through. There’s no word on whether the feature further utilizes the GV60’s stability management system to “catch” the slide before a spin, this normally requiring opposite lock steering along with driver skill to accomplish.

The Performance package also adds an Electronic Limited Slip Differential (E-LSD), plus an Electronically Controlled Suspension with Road Preview, and Active Noise Cancellation, while additional features include an Ergo Motion massaging driver’s seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, surround view and blind spot view monitors, alloy pedals, and larger 21-inch alloy wheels.

Range matters most for EV buyers

2023 Genesis GV60
The GV60 provides a good balance of performance and range.

Genesis has yet to announce EV range specifics, but Canada’s all-wheel drive-only variant should be capable of about 400 km (249 mi), or about the same as the two Hyundai and Kia AWD models that are also based on Hyundai group’s E-GMP platform—the U.S. rear-drive version can supposedly eke out another 50 or so km (30 mi). Unlike Tesla’s performance models, however, which provide more range with added go-fast goodness (as long as that performance isn’t used), the GV60 Performance model is said to get 368 km (229 mi) of range between charges. Of course, these estimates may differ when calculated to Environment Canada’s requirements, but the just-noted Korean-specs should be in the ballpark.

2023 Genesis GV60
While we could do without fake engine sounds, Genesis Connected Services will be a great help to owners.

A Hyundai-first (but unfortunately not an industry-first), the GV60 will be able to fill the cabin with faux engine/exhaust noise via the audio system. New electric-Active Sound Design (e-ASD) recreates such familiar noises based on the GV60’s speed and given driving mode, not to mention the level of pressure on the throttle.

More importantly, Genesis Connected Services will allow drivers to find a charging station (or their vehicle), remotely adjust the climate control system, remotely monitor their GV60, plus keep track of its average range and battery status, while it also has the ability to start a charge, schedule a future charge (when the price of electricity might be lower), or stop charging completely. Additionally, over-the-air (OTA) software updates allow the GV60 to keep its features up-to-date without the need of downloading updates to a USB and loading them on manually, or visiting a Genesis dealership.

Size is critically important in the crossover SUV camp

2023 Genesis GV60
The GV60 provides the passenger volume and cargo carrying capacity of a mid-size luxury crossover SUV.

Back to the GV60’s size, Genesis chose to make it a bit shorter overall than its volume-branded siblings, which makes it somewhat less accommodating inside in most configurations. The entire car measures 4,515 millimetres (177.7 inches) from nose to tail, while its 2,900-mm (114.2-in) wheelbase is 100 mm (3.9 in) shorter than the Ioniq 5’s and identical to the EV6, but passenger volume is good at 2,863 litres (101.1 cu ft), making it only 153 litres (5.4 cu ft) smaller than the Ioniq 5 and just 54 litres (1.9 cu ft) shy of the EV6.

Likewise, the GV60’s cargo capacity is generous at 680 litres (24.0 cu ft) behind the second row and 1,549 litres (54.7 cu ft) when those rear seats are folded flat, resulting in a downgrade of 90 litres (3.2 cu ft) from the Ioniq 5’s dedicated cargo volume and merely 11 litres (0.4 cu ft) when compared to the EV6, whereas maximum cargo capacity is off by 130 litres (4.6 cu ft) in Hyundai’s variant, while it actually grows by 127 litres (4.5 cu ft) over the Kia.

How does the GV60 size up?

2023 Genesis GV60
The new 2023 Genesis GV60 will start arriving at dealerships at the end of the month.

All said, such passenger and cargo volumes leave the GV60 within the smaller set of mid-size luxury crossover EVs, such as Jaguar’s I-Pace, albeit still fairly close to competitors like Audi’s aforementioned mid-size E-Tron, BMW’s iX, and Cadillac’s upcoming Lyric.

For those wanting more space, a Genesis SUV will likely ride on the back of Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 7, the latter being a much larger three-row crossover EV.

If the new 2023 GV60 sounds like a good fit for you and your family, Genesis Canada will start taking orders this week, while new examples will already start arriving at Genesis dealerships by the end of this month.

Of note, the new GV60 will be followed up by the launch of Genesis’ Electrified G80 mid-size sport-luxury sedan, while all new Genesis models will be fully-electrified by 2025, with a goal of 100-percent electrification across the entire range by 2030, five years before the brand plans to achieve carbon neutrality.

The First-Ever Genesis GV60 | Genesis Canada (0.47):

The All-Electric Genesis GV60 | Senses | Genesis USA (0:40):

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Genesis

Ah, nostalgia. There comes a point in life when the “good old days” can seem more appealing to some than the unending fast-paced changes occurring in today’s world. Certainly, some things get better,…

Porsche pulls on our nostalgic heartstrings with its new 911 Sport Classic

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
Porsche’s new 911 Sport Classic combines Turbo and Turbo S mechanicals with a manual gearbox, rear-drive, and cool retro styling.

Ah, nostalgia. There comes a point in life when the “good old days” can seem more appealing to some than the unending fast-paced changes occurring in today’s world. Certainly, some things get better, like Porsche’s 911, but many of Canada’s more mature citizens would no doubt love to transport themselves back to “better times”.

That’s what Porsche is attempting to do, at least emotively, with the fabulous new 911 Sport Classic, which only recently debuted. It’s a retrospective look back to the past that, while pulling design cues from the ‘70s, particularly the ducktail spoiler at back, remains a 100-percent functional and reliable modern-day 911; a best of both world’s scenario for those whose hearts long for exhilarating Saturday drives behind the wheel of their 1973 911 RS, but wallets may not want to invest so much into a car.

Sadly, if you don’t already own an early 911 Carrera 2.7 RS, prices for pristine examples have soared past seven figures (the DuPont Registry has one on sale now for $919,000 USD or $1.2 million CAD), making the much more approachable sum of $235,600 CAD for today’s 911 Turbo S seem like a bargain, or alternatively, whatever Porsche finally settles on for the new 911 Sport Classic.

Near 911 Turbo power with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
The 911 Sport Classic is second in Porsche’s “Heritage Design” series, and the first to come to Canada.

That price has yet to be announced, but it will likely be higher than the window sticker of today’s 911 Turbo S. After all, under the Sport Classic’s skin is a one-of-a-kind rear-wheel drive Porsche Turbo S, which kind of makes it a forerunner to a future 992-based GT2. Until that supercar arrives, this is the only way you’re getting a new 911 Turbo with rear-wheel drive, let alone one with a seven-speed manual transmission.

Today’s 911 Turbo and Turbo S are only available with Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive and the brand’s brilliant eight-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch gearbox, so while the new Sport Classic’s acceleration time might not quite measure up to the regular Turbo S’ all-wheel traction and quicker shifting PDK, these technologies aiding its blisteringly quick 2.7-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h and harrowing top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), purists anteing up for this drive back to yesteryear would only be satisfied with a manually-actuated rear driver.

This said, the Turbo S’ 641 horsepower 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged horizontally opposed six, featuring 590 lb-ft of torque, is not part of the package, instead replaced by the regular Turbo’s 3.7-litre mill, normally good for a 2.8-second zero to 100 km/h acceleration time, albeit further detuned from 572 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque to 543 horsepower and 442 lb-ft. The revised engine mapping was necessary to make the engine more compatible with the manual gearbox, but once again, purists won’t complain. After all, this new rear-drive retro-rod is more potent than the sensational 502-horsepower 911 GT3.

Turbo S wide-body and underpinnings makes for muscular styling and superior handling

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
The Sport Classic builds on the muscular wide-body shape of the Turbo S, with plenty of unique styling details.

So, if the Sport Classic utilizes a detuned version of the regular 911 Turbo’s 3.7-litre engine, why say it’s based on a Turbo S? Porsche’s reference has more to do with its wide-body layout that also includes upgraded brakes, wheels, tires, and suspension enhancements. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) with subtly painted black calipers are framed by a stunning set of staggered 20- and 21-inch 911 Sport Classic wheels on 255/35 ZR20 and 315/30 ZR21 performance tires front to rear, the former being “a modern re-interpretation of the Fuchs design,” says Porsche.

Also notable is the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) Sport suspension upgrade with 10 millimetres (0.4 in) of overall height reduction, while the front axle spring rates have been decreased slightly to adjust for the lower frontal mass of the missing all-wheel drivetrain.

Hidden within, yet no doubt noticeable when taking the wheel, is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and Rear Axle Steering as standard equipment, plus, of course, Porsche’s revered Sport Chrono Package, while the engine note should make a special tune derived by a uniquely modified Sport Exhaust system.

Fast yes, but the 911 Sport Classic is just as much about style

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
The ’70s era ducktail spoiler is just one of many special upgrades.

As sensational as this car is mechanically, being the most powerful Porsche currently available with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, for many the initial attraction will be styling. To that end the new Sport Classic pulls on design cues initialized by the beautiful 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition that we covered in June of 2020, but where the open-top model’s gorgeous Cherry Metallic paintwork gave it a classier appearance, the new coupe’s Sport Grey Metallic paint, and painted contrasting stripes in light Sport Grey, have a more purposeful, performance-first look.

Both cars are from Porsche’s “Heritage Design” series, and both go a long way to pull on the heartstrings of mature Porschephiles that may have either owned a ‘60s- or ‘70s-era 911 in their earlier life, or more likely were the benefactors of a father or uncle that did. Many more merely saw similarly sporting 911s driving by on occasion, or drooled over centerfold spreads of those cars in glossy magazines like Motor Trend or Car and Driver. The new Sport Classic is now capable of fulfilling that once magical childhood dream, albeit with a level of performance never even contemplated back in such innocent days.

Unique styling upgrades join other design details that are purposefully missing

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
The standard interior is even more retrospective than the exterior design.

Minus the painted centre stripes, which actually bisect a carbon-fibre hood that’s unique to Turbo models, as well as a special “double-bubble” roof panel, and less the decaled white lollipop (that can be numbered from 1 to 99 at no additional cost), plus the striped “PORSCHE” lettering down each rocker panel, which, like the lollipop, is a decal that can be removed by a customer/dealer if desired, the new Sport Classic is also reminiscent of the 911 Sport Classic that Porsche built for 2010, a particularly attractive design that won the hearts of enthusiasts a dozen years ago.

The Sport Classic should be noted for what it doesn’t include too. The wider rear wing from the Turbo/Turbo S’ is the most obvious, replaced by the stubbier ducktail spoiler noted earlier, the latter seeming as if it’s an extension of the more common car’s wing pedestal. The ovoid intakes normally found ahead of each rear fender flair aren’t included either, providing a cleaner, more classic look. These important cooling ducts are now integrated below the ducktail spoiler, just above two large circular tailpipes poking out the rear bumper, these replacing the Turbo/Turbo S’ quad of rectangular exhaust tips.

At least as complex, Porsche not only had to retool its 911 assembly line to create the rear quarter panels in order to remove the cooling vents, but the bottom edge of these panels is entirely different from the Turbo/Turbo S models too, as is this lower section on the front quarter panels (aft of the front wheels), the rocker panels and those on the rear quarters.

Standard Sport Classic interior adds 1970s flair

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
Yes, that’s a 7-speed manual in a rear-wheel drive Turbo!

The Sport Classic continues its retrospective theme inside, where “Pepita” checkered fabric seat centres and door panels are joined by black and Classic Cognac semi-aniline leather (the latter also used in the fabulous 918 Spyder supercar), although those wanting a bit less of yesteryear can choose optional single-tone black leather (yawn). Leather also covers the sun visors, steering wheel rim and even the steering column, not to mention the air vent slats, while perforated Race-Tex fabric is used for the headliner plus the A-, B- and C-Pillars, aiding visual, tactile and auditory refinement.

Ahead of the driver, the mostly digital gauge cluster gets cool green-backlit dials, also from Porsche’s past, but the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system is 100-percent modern in look and internal execution, which is a positive considering this car is meant more for high-speed cruising than racetrack activities.

Limited edition Sport Classic available in Canada

2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
PorscheDesign is offering a luxury timepiece to commemorate the limited edition 911 Sport Classic.

With only 1,250 units available worldwide, it might be difficult to get one’s hands on this limited edition 911. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your local dealer, who just might have allocated an unspoken-for example (the markets have taken their toll in recent weeks, so you never know if someone cancelled).

And on that note, it was nice of Porsche to include North America for this iteration of its Heritage Design line, being that the aforementioned 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition was not offered on this side of the Atlantic.

 

The new Porsche 911 Sport Classic (3:17):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche