Who could have known? Porsche 911 owners drive too fast. Even in the wet. With such knowledge at hand it only made sense for the German luxury brand to protect its most valuable assets, the thousands…

New Porsche 911 Wet mode improves control and safety over standing water

Porsche adds Wet mode to new 911
Porsche has added an exclusive “Wet mode” to its new 2020 911, said to improve control and safety over standing water. (Photo: Porsche)

Who could have known? Porsche 911 owners drive too fast. Even in the wet. With such knowledge at hand it only made sense for the German luxury brand to protect its most valuable assets, the thousands of dedicated customers that loyally come back time and time again to renew their pledge at the 911 altar. 

Along with the introduction of the completely redesigned 2020 911 at the Los Angeles auto show in November of last year, Porsche announced a new Wet Mode designed to assist would-be owners that get over their heads in standing water. 

As it turns out, the deep end that can cause a 911 or most any other sports car shod in ultra-wide 21-inch performance tires to lose grip can be merely a single millimetre (0.04 inches) in depth, and it doesn’t need to be raining either, so don’t think the optical sensors used for your car’s rain-sensing wipers can be reallocated to detect sheets of water covering the road. 

Porsche adds Wet mode to new 911
Wet mode activates special settings for the 911’s PSM and PTM systems, plus deploys the car’s active aero features. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche’s new Wet Mode can detect standing water, however, via acoustic sensors positioned within the front wheel arches just behind the tires. Rather than see water on the road, Wet Mode sensors listen for water spray, and if decibel levels get too strong the 911’s multi-information display will suggest you turn on Wet mode via a button on the new “button bar” above the centre console, or if equipped with the available Sport Chrono Package, by twisting the steering wheel-mounted “DRIVE MODE” selector. 

Porsche adds Wet mode to new 911
To turn Wet mode on, simple press a button on the centre stack, or when equipped with the Sport Chrono Package, twist the “DRIVE MODE” dial on the steering wheel. (Photo: Porsche)

That would be the rotating dial and “Sport Response” button just below the steering wheel’s right-side spoke, which can also be used to select “Normal”, “Sport”, ‘Sport Plus’ and ‘Individual’ driving modes. For the 2020 911, and without doubt more Porsche models to come, it also includes the new Wet mode, allowing drivers to select a safer setting when traveling over water-soaked pavement that could cause aquaplaning, or hydroplaning. 

“Wet Mode was developed to provide the driver with consistent support in wet conditions,” said August Achleitner, a.k.a. “Mister 911” who headed up development of the new 911 and took part in its launch just before retiring. “It does not restrict the maximum power of the engine or limit the top speed, and should therefore also not be used as insurance for driving too fast in very wet conditions. Instead, it should be seen as an assistance system in the truest sense.” 

Porsche adds Wet mode to new 911
Along with Wet mode, this dial lets you select “Normal”, “Sport”, ‘Sport Plus’ and ‘Individual’ driving modes, plus it includes a performance enhancing “Sport Response” button. (Photo: Porsche)

Achleitner, who’s been with Porsche since 1983, earned his alternate title by being responsible for 911 model series development since 2001, and interestingly Wet mode was actually first developed back in the ‘90s. 

When put into play, Wet mode applies more sensitive preconditioned settings to all of the 911’s driver assistive systems, such as Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Traction Management (PTM), and the car’s active aerodynamics, before combining their collective capability toward wet weather management. Specifically, the active variable rear spoiler extends to its performance position at just 90 km/h (sooner than in dry conditions), adding downforce to the rear tires, while frontal cooling air flaps open to increase downward pressure over the front wheels. 

Porsche adds Wet mode to new 911
The yellow dot behind the front tire is an acoustic sensor that listens for water spray. (Photo: Porsche)

While the engine doesn’t relinquish any power, Wet mode delivers thrust more evenly in order to minimize engine torque buildup, with the end result being maximum traction at each wheel. What’s more, if piloting an all-wheel drive 4S model, additional torque gets transferred to the front axle for even more balanced distribution. 

Of course, both Sport mode and the PSM Off function can’t be activated in Wet mode, while the new eight-speed PDK transmission’s shift strategy and the electronically controlled rear differential’s locking ratios automatically adapt to a smoother, more linear power delivery too. 

Porsche claims “more confident handling” when using Wet mode in inclement conditions, and also states that Wet mode is ideal for snowy conditions as well. 

Porsche adds Wet mode to new 911
While hooping a new 911 looks like fun, Wet mode is actually designed for maximizing safety and control. (Photo: Porsche)

While driver assistive technology this effective would be welcome in any car, it’s especially important in a sports car as capable as the new 911 that, thanks to 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque behind the rear axle, can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds in Carrera S guise, or 3.6 seconds when benefiting from the Carrera 4S model’s all-wheel drivetrain, or 3.5 and 3.4 seconds respectively with the Sport Chrono Package, before attaining top speeds of 308 and 306 km/h (190 and 191 mph) apiece. 

To learn more about the new 2020 911’s Wet mode watch the video below, and also remember to browse through our photo gallery above for some fabulous shots of water spraying behind the new 911 during wet weather testing. 

 

 

Learn how the Porsche Wet Mode works (1:43):

The Qashqai might only be second-most popular amongst Nissan models in Canada, but since arriving two years ago it has quickly swept into first place within its subcompact crossover SUV segment thanks…

2020 Nissan Qashqai receives mid-cycle refresh and more

2020 Nissan Qashqai
The refreshed 2020 Qashqai will get Nissan’s more U-shaped Vmotion 2.0 grille as well as plenty of other styling updates. (Photo: Nissan)

The Qashqai might only be second-most popular amongst Nissan models in Canada, but since arriving two years ago it has quickly swept into first place within its subcompact crossover SUV segment thanks to 19,662 unit sales during calendar year 2018, a 119.2-percent increase over the previous year. 

All the more reason to give the upcoming 2020 Qashqai a mid-cycle refresh, featuring Nissan’s more rugged looking Vmotion 2.0 grille surrounded by revised headlamps with LED signature daytime running lights, a more dynamic lower fascia, and a new sculpted hood design up front, plus available 19-inch alloy wheels down each side and reworked rear styling with sharper looking combination taillights. From front to back the new Qashqai has been modernized with a sportier yet still classy look for a subcompact SUV. 

2020 Nissan Qashqai
The renewed Qashqai’s rear styling has been updated more subtly, the highlight being new taillight lenses. (Photo: Nissan)

The Qashqai received Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Nissan’s Rear Door Alert (RDA) system, that reminds if you’ve left something or someone in the back seat, across its the entire for 2019, and these important safety features continue into the 2020 model year, but even better the upgraded Qashqai will get the entire Nissan Safety Shield 360 system in base S trim too. 

2020 Nissan Qashqai
Everything up front has been changed, including the hood. (Photo: Nissan)

Nissan Safety Shield 360, currently available in SV and SL trims, upgrades the Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, plus adds Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and High Beam Assist (HBA) to the 2020 Qashqai’s list of advanced driver assistance systems, for a full slate of Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy functions. 

Of note, Nissan made its ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous single-lane “hands-on-wheel” driving system standard on the top-line Qashqai SL for 2019, while making it optional on the SV model. ProPilot Assist has the ability to completely drive itself, but due to safety concerns only lets you remove your hands from the steering wheel for about eight seconds at a time. Still, it can reduce driving fatigue by limiting the need to apply acceleration, steering and braking inputs and, together with the aforementioned Nissan Safety Shield 360 system, may even help to avoid a potential accident. 

2020 Nissan Qashqai
The LED enhanced taillights add more character to the Qashqai’s rear design. (Photo: Nissan)

“Our Qashqai is a critical vehicle in Nissan’s popular CUV lineup; slotted strategically between the Nissan Kicks and Rogue,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc. “We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh – which also includes the redesigned Murano, new Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition and flagship Armada. Nissan is on a roll and we’re not letting up heading into 2020.” 

2020 Nissan Qashqai
The Qashqai’s interior is already current, so therefore stays mostly unchanged. (Photo: Nissan)

The current Qashqai also received a standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen for 2019, complete with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, live navigation, plus mobile apps and services. The upcoming 2020 Qashqai appears to have the same centre display included, which would certainly keep it up to date with others in the subcompact crossover SUV segment. 

2020 Nissan Qashqai
A standard 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was added for 2019. (Photo: Nissan)

Like the current Qashqai, the new 2020 model will once again be available with both front-wheel and “Intelligent” all-wheel drivetrains, depending on whether choosing base S, SV or SL trims. Today’s 141-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine will continue as the standard powerplant for the 2020 model year as well, mated to either a six-speed manual transmission in base S trim, or with an optional Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Expect additional trim and pricing information closer to its launch date later this year.

Infiniti showed up at last month’s Salon International de l’Auto de Montréal with a new Canada-exclusive “I-LINE” trim upgrade for the sportiest versions of its popular Q50 luxury sedan and Q60…

Infiniti introduces new Canada-exclusive Q50 and Q60 I-Line Red Sport 400 models

2019 Infiniti Q60 I-Line Red Sport 400
Infiniti has refreshed its 2019 Q50 and Q60 (shown) Red Sport 400 models with new more aggressive I-Line upgrades this month. (Photo: Infiniti)

Infiniti showed up at last month’s Salon International de l’Auto de Montréal with a new Canada-exclusive “I-LINE” trim upgrade for the sportiest versions of its popular Q50 luxury sedan and Q60 sports coupe. 

Specifically, Infiniti is in the process of replacing the Q50 and Q60 Red Sport 400 models available last year and earlier this year with the new Q50 I-Line Red Sport 400 and Q60 I-Line Red Sport 400, which means that buyers spending the $7,700 needed to move up from the 300 horsepower Q50 3.0T Sport AWD, or $9,500 to do the same from the Q60 3.0T Sport AWD, to get into one of the 400 horsepower I-Line Red Sport 400 models, now get more visual bang for their buck.  

2019 Infiniti Q50 I-Line Red Sport 400
Updated Q50 (shown) and Q60 I-Line Red Sport 400 models feature sportier glossy black 19-inch alloys. (Photo: Infiniti)

I-Line, which Infiniti says was derived from “Inspired Line,” blackens both models’ grille surrounds so that they more closely tie in with the glossy black fog lamp bezels and diffuser-style rear bumpers found on the outgoing Red Sport 400 cars, while the rear deck lid spoiler has been upgraded to high-gloss carbon fibre, and wheel wells are now filled with a special “custom imported” glossy black finish set of 19-inch alloys. 

These changes make both I-Line Red Sport 400 models appear as if they have larger more imposing grilles, while the black alloys go further toward creating a more powerful, menacing look. The outgoing Red Sport 400 cars already featured glossy black rear deck lid spoilers, but replacing these composite lip spoilers with more sophisticated carbon fibre ones helps to elevate the two cars into BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG territory, befitting of performance models making 400 horsepower apiece. 

2019 Infiniti Q50 I-Line Red Sport 400
Along with the gloss black trim used for the outgoing Red Sport 400 models, a new glossy black grille surround adds menacing presence. (Photo: Infiniti)

Behind all that thrust is a twin-turbocharged, direct-injection 3.0-litre V6 that also produces 350 lb-ft of maximum torque from just 1,600 rpm, which is connected to Infiniti’s “Intelligent” all-wheel drivetrain via an advanced in-house produced seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual shift mode and downshift rev matching, the latter function rare in this segment. 

“We are delighted to showcase the I-LINE editions which have been created with a vision to be further developed into an INFINITI Canada sub-brand,” says Adam Paterson, managing director of INFINITI Canada. “We are building on the Q50 and Q60’s award-winning engine and engineering excellence, to add even more eminent style.” 

2019 Infiniti Q50 I-Line Red Sport 400
This carbon fibre rear deck lid spoiler adds a level of sophistication that befits a car producing 400 hp. (Photo: Infiniti)

Pricing for the 2019 Q50 I-Line Red Sport 400 sport sedan starts at $56,195, while the 2019 Q60 I-Line Red Sport 400 sports coupe can be had for $65,295. Both models, which are available across Canada this month, can be fully configured at CarCostCanada, with full pricing of trims, packages and individual options available, plus otherwise hard to find manufacturer rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. 

Also, take note that many Canadian Infiniti retailers will still have outgoing 2019 Q50 and Q60 Red Sport 400 models available, which they’ll probably be more than willing to sharpen their pencils on in order to make a deal. 

Up to this point Porsche has offered its 718 Cayman coupe and 718 Boxster roadster in base, S and GTS trims, but soon its most affordable line of sports cars will arrive with a new “T” designation,…

New just above base Porsche 718 T models prove less can be more

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
New just above base 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T prove less can equal more when less weight and money buys more performance. (Photo: Porsche)

Up to this point Porsche has offered its 718 Cayman coupe and 718 Boxster roadster in base, S and GTS trims, but soon its most affordable line of sports cars will arrive with a new “T” designation, which promises performance purists less of what they don’t want and more of what they do. 

Specifically, 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T buyers will get more performance features in a car that costs and weighs less. Starting with the base model’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, good for 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, T models add a short-throw shifter, a mechanically locking differential and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) in base six-speed manual guise, or the Sport Chrono Package as standard equipment for seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK cars, the latter resulting in 0.2 seconds of extra jump off the line from a car that’s already 0.2 seconds quicker than the manual. 

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
718 T models promise better handling and control thanks to first-time availability of PASM and other features with the base turbo-four engine. (Photo: Porsche)

Also notable, the Sport Chrono Package includes Launch Control and a “push-to-pass” style Sport Response button in the centre of the steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch, making it the transmission of choice when ultimate performance is paramount. 

To clarify more fully, straight-line performance with the manual remains the same as the regular 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman at 5.1 seconds from standstill, while PDK-enhanced cars increase their zero to 100km/h sprint times from 4.9 to 4.7 seconds, identical to the base 718 models. Likewise, both base cars’ top speeds continue into T trim unchanged at 275 km/h. 

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
718 T trims will feature Agate grey mirror caps and side stripes. (Photo: Porsche)

Additional standard go-fast goodies in T trim include Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) that incorporate dynamic hard and soft gearbox mounts for reducing vibration and even improving performance, claims Porsche, plus a sport exhaust system, unique high-gloss titanium grey-painted 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and a first for the base turbo-four, the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic damping system that, depending on the Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual driving mode selected, instantly adjusts for road surface conditions and driving style changes, all riding on a 20-millimetre lower ride height. 

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
The big gaping hole in the centre stack will come filled with a standard infotainment touchscreen in Canadian specification. (Photo: Porsche)

Making a visual statement is a grey side striping package featuring scripted “718 Cayman T” or “718 Boxster T” nomenclatures, and Agate grey mirror caps to match the aforementioned wheels, plus black chrome tailpipes. 

Inside, the 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T are upgraded with a GT sport steering wheel, scripted “Cayman T” or “Boxster T” logos highlighting the black instrument dials, gloss black instrument panel inlays and centre console trim, special red paint for the gear shift pattern atop the shift knob, two-way powered seats, seat upholstery featuring black Sport-Tex centre sections, embroidered “718” logos on the headrests, plus the most identifiable addition of all, black mesh fabric door pulls in place of the usual door handles, which can be changed for optional coloured pulls as seen in associated photos. 

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
The usual door handles get replaced by these mesh fabric pulls, standard in black but available in colours. (Photo: Porsche)

When checking the gallery you may also notice something missing from both cars’ instrument panels, their Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreens that have been removed to reduce weight, and replaced by a big, gaping hole Porsche calls a “large storage compartment.” We won’t see this omission in Canada due to a new regulation that made backup cameras mandatory as of May 2018. 

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
Manual models get a red shift pattern atop the shift knob. (Photo: Porsche)

For this reason we shouldn’t hold out any hope for Canadian-spec 718 T models to be offered at five- to 10-percent discounts when compared to the current base Cayman and Boxster when outfitted with identical features, as promised in European markets, but we should get to choose from the same standard and optional colour palette that will include black, Indian Red, Racing Yellow, and white at no extra charge, plus optional Carrara White, Deep Black and GT Silver metallic hues, as well as somewhat pricier Lava Orange and Miami Blue special colours. 

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
New 718 T models can be ordered now. (Photo: Porsche)

If you like what you see, make sure to contact your local Porsche dealer to reserve your very own 718 Cayman T or 718 Boxster T, because special models like these are in the habit of selling out quickly. 

Also, make sure to check out our full photo gallery above and these three Porsche-supplied videos below (the third one is the most fun):

 

The new Porsche 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T. Welcome to life. (1:17): 

The new Porsche 718 Boxster T and 718 Cayman T. First Driving Footage. (1:49):

JP Performance Test Drive: The Porsche 718 T Models. (1:08):

The 911 Cabriolet has been with us so long it seems as if it’s always been part of Porsche’s lineup, but it took almost 20 years of 911 production before the completely exposed model arrived in 1982.…

Porsche reveals new 2020 911 Cabriolet

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
The all-new 2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet has most of the same styling updates as the recently introduced 2020 911 Carrera coupe. (Photo: Porsche)

The 911 Cabriolet has been with us so long it seems as if it’s always been part of Porsche’s lineup, but it took almost 20 years of 911 production before the completely exposed model arrived in 1982. Ahead of this, going topless required the complete removal of a metal roof panel, the 911 Targa having arrived on the scene in 1966 with either a fixed glass or foldaway plastic rear window. 

Brief history lesson completed, Porsche introduced its all-new 2020 911 Cabriolet on Monday, January 8, with a promised arrival in the third quarter of this year and the ability to place your order now, the latter point being the same as with the new 911 coupe that was introduced last month and is slated to go on sale this summer. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Along with its squared off lower fascia, the new 911 brings back the classic double creased hood. (Photo: Porsche)

Also like the new coupe, the first new 2020 Cabriolets we’ll be able to get our hands on will be in rear-wheel drive Carrera S (C2S) and all-wheel drive Carrera 4S (C4S) guise, featuring a more formidable redesigned 3.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine that’s good for 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 23 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque respectively, and fitted with Porsche’s all-new eight-speed automated dual-clutch PDK gearbox. Once again, seven-speed manual variants will show up later, as will less potent Carrera and Carrera 4 models sporting a revised 385 horsepower 3.0-litre turbo six behind the rear axle, this engine 15 horsepower more capable. Likewise, Turbo versions will enter the fray later, although Porsche has yet to provide a time frame for these. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Now even RWD 911s get a body-wide centre taillight, a feature that was previously only available with AWD models. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche has only provided performance specs for the C2S and C4S shown, with standstill to 100km/h achieved in just 3.9 and 3.8 seconds apiece, while those numbers improve to 3.7 and 3.6 seconds respectively when the Sport Chrono Package is added, the greater traction of the all-wheel drive model allowing for a slight advantage at takeoff. 

Amazingly, thanks to magnesium surface elements dubbed “bows” that are integrated within the redesigned fabric roof’s structure and prevent “ballooning” at high speeds, new 911 drop-top models are only 2 km/h slower than their hardtop siblings when factoring in terminal velocities, their top speeds set to 306 km/h (190 mph) for the C2S and 304 km/h (189 mph) for the C4S. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
The new 911 Cabriolet provides an ultra-sleek profile. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, that soft top, which is now larger to fit over the more accommodating cabin, can open and close on the fly at speeds of up to 50 km/h (30 mph), and takes a scant 12 seconds to fully perform this function due to revised hydraulics, a process that also powers an electrically extendable wind deflector to keep gusts of air from discomforting the driver and front passenger. 

As you might expect, the 2020 911’s interior is much the same as the new coupe’s, highlighted by a new horizontal design theme inspired by early ‘60s through ‘90s models, but now the primary gauge cluster is mostly digital with twin LCD panels surrounding the usual mechanical centre tachometer, while above a completely reworked centre stack and console is a 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment touchscreen, literally a big improvement over its 7.0-inch predecessor. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Despite radical changes, for a 911, no one should mistake the new 2020 model for anything else. (Photo: Porsche)

Back in front of the driver, a new steering wheel incorporates an adaptation of the same rotating steering wheel-mounted driving mode selector found in the outgoing 911 Cabriolet, but now a standard Wet mode gets added to the mix, capable of maintaining better control over water-soaked road surfaces when activated. Safety in mind, the new 911 Cab will also get standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection, while a backup camera and rear parking sensors will also be standard. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
As usual, the 911 Cabriolet’s top should fit as snuggly as any fabric top available, while it now retracts quicker than ever before. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche promises increased comfort and support from its new available 18-way powered front seats, while other options include adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a 360-degree surround parking camera that should be extremely helpful on the new widescreen display, plus new Night Vision Assist that will provide visual assistance for steering clear of pedestrians or animals in the dark via a heat-sensing thermal imaging camera. 

On a more mechanical note, for the first time 911 Cabriolet customers will be able to choose the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adaptive sport suspension from the options list, which provides stiffer, shorter spring sets for a 10-mm lower ride height, and more rigid anti-roll bars, allowing improved weight distribution for a more neutral feel. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
So what do you think? Does the new 911 Cabriolet’s styling improve on the previous generation? (Photo: Porsche)

As for style, the new 911 Cabriolet pulls over most of the coupe’s new design cues below the waistline, including an all-new rectangular lower front grille/fascia that creates a wider more planted appearance, a completely reshaped hood that squares off near the front and incorporates a classic tapering indentation at centre, wider front and rear fenders that flow over larger 20- and 21-inch front to rear staggered alloy wheels, new side mirrors and new flush door handles that pop out when touched, and a new body-wide LED taillight hovering over a 718-style 3D “PORSCHE” graphic bookended with totally unique corner lights, while its bulging rear deck lid panels are similar to the outgoing model yet redesigned for a smoother, more fluid result, the latter incorporating a new integrated dynamic spoiler that’s completely hidden when retracted yet much wider and more capable than the rear spoiler on the outgoing model when open. Likewise, no one should complain about the new larger fabric roof’s shape and fitment, as it’s once again beautifully contoured and ideally proportioned. 

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
All the 2020 911 Carrera coupe’s improvements, sans the roof. (Photo: Porsche)

Also like the 2020 911 coupe, the redesigned Cabriolet makes greater use of lightweight aluminum both outside and within, its new front fenders eliminating steel from the body panel equation altogether, and its suspension now much more aluminum-intensive. 

The new 2020 Porsche Carrera S Cabriolet will arrive this fall for a base price of $143,700, along with the 2020 Carrera 4S Cabriolet that starts at $152,100. 

Remember to contact your local Porsche dealer if you want to put one on order, and after you’ve done that make sure to check out our photo gallery above and these two Porsche-supplied videos below: 

 

The new 911 Cabriolet: First Driving Footage (1:08):

 

The new Porsche 911 Cabriolet – All set for open-top season (1:09):

You’d need to go back a very long way to find a year that Porsche’s 911 wasn’t the best-selling premium branded sports car in Canada or the U.S., and 2018 won’t be any different once the final…

Porsche opens the order book for all-new 2020 911 Carrera S and 4S

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Porsche introduced the all-new 2020 Carrera S and Carrera 4S at an impressive gala in Los Angeles last month. (Photo: Porsche)

You’d need to go back a very long way to find a year that Porsche’s 911 wasn’t the best-selling premium branded sports car in Canada or the U.S., and 2018 won’t be any different once the final numbers are tallied and compared to its closest rivals. 

Year-to-date third-quarter Canadian-market results showed the 911 at 1,083 units and the next best-selling Audi TT at 366, while the more directly competitive Jaguar F-Type came in at just 347 deliveries. It’s really no contest, with some others that might be deemed rivals including the Audi R8 with 208 unit sales, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT at 195 deliveries and SL at 140, and the Acura NSX with just 33. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
New 911 C2S and C4S (shown) models promise serious performance gains over their already impressive predecessors. (Photo: Porsche)

With numbers like these it’s no wonder the majority of competitors don’t redesign their sports car models very often and aren’t offering many special editions either, but Porsche has enough market strength to do both. In fact, the 2019 911 currently available offers three totally unique roof systems, various front and rear fascia designs, differing fender widths, visual body style/performance upgrades such as rear-fender engine ducts, rear- and all-wheel drivetrains, manual and dual-clutch automated transmissions, a host of engine options from 370 to 700 horsepower, a wide assortment of trims for almost every premium-level budget, and options enough to boggle the mind. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Along with dramatically new styling, the new C2S and C4S feature wider fender flares and meatier rear tires. (Photo: Porsche)

If that weren’t enough, Porsche just introduced the all-new eighth-generation 2020 911, which will become available here this coming summer. They’ve only announced pricing for two models so far, the $129,100 911 Carrera S (C2S) and the $137,400 911 Carrera 4S (C4S), the first rear-wheel drive and the latter all-wheel drive, but more models are set to arrive later this year. 

From side profile the 2020 911 looks a lot like the car it’s replacing, but this has more or less been reality since the car went from an air-cooled rear-mounted flat-six to a water-cooled variant back in 1999. Porsche has always been more about year-over-year refinement than change for change’s sake, and therefore we have a 2020 model that mirrors the 2019 from some angles. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
The rear-wheel drive 911 Carrera S (shown), or C2S, looks almost identical, and performs similarly to the all-wheel drive C4S. (Photo: Porsche)

This said the visual modifications are plentiful enough to cause consternation amongst traditionalists, or at least tempered pause. For starters, the hood and lower front fascia have departed from the car’s usual combination of mostly body-colour oval shapes to an almost straight, horizontal slit separating the former from the bodywork below, and a broad black rectangle for the latter, giving the entire car a wider, more aggressive albeit not necessarily as elegant stance, similar in concept to the frontal change made to the once technologically-tied, and in recent decades more purposely retrospective VW Beetle (A5), when it lost its “New” moniker in 2011, not that I’m trying to compare either car directly. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Unlike previous 911s, new RWD models receive a body-width light bar in back, this feature only available with AWD models before. (Photo: Porsche)

As for design cues pulled up from the internally-codenamed 991 series (2012–2019) seventh-generation model to this 992 series car, the just noted squared-off hood now includes classically tapered creases at each side of its indented centre, just like the original 911 albeit without a vented end, while Porsche intelligently left the outer design of its ovoid multi-element four-point LED headlamp clusters unmolested, a lesson learned when the aforementioned 1999 996’s Boxster-inspired L-shaped lamps ventured too far from 911 orthodoxy. 

As noted, the two cars look nearly identical from side profile excepting the previously noted front and rear fascia vents and surrounding bodywork, plus slightly more upright headlamps, reverse front side marker lights, more chiseled wheel cutouts, new mirror caps, new sharply angled flush-mounted door handles that extend outward when touched replacing the old model’s more classic rounded pulls, a much smoother rear deck lid, and taillights that now wrap around the bodyside more fully. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S
The new 911’s extra width allows for better mechanical grip around corners, while the larger dynamic rear spoiler (shown extended) can improve downforce to zero lift. (Photo: Porsche)

When seen from behind those taillights come into clearer view, with the new model building on the 991’s narrow dagger-like LED-infused lenses and even slimmer body-wide light strip (previously only found on all-wheel drive models) by extending the latter further outward to each side, and then at centre grafting in some 718-sourced 3D-like graphics above seemingly open vent slats underneath, while chiseling out even more linear lines for the outer lamps. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The redesigned 911 features new aluminum front fenders and greater use of the lightweight alloy in the chassis. (Photo: Porsche)

The diffuser-infused lower bumper is bigger, bolder and blacker than before too, plus it feeds faux exhaust tips from within rather than appearing like they’re forced to exit below (which actually remains the case), while hidden within the new 911’s gently flowing rear deck lid, just above the aforementioned light strip and below a row of glossy black engine vent strakes, is a much wider and larger active spoiler featuring multiple positions for varying levels of rear downforce. 

Of course, there will be many variations on the new 911 theme, some including a fixed rear spoiler for an even more expressive and capable trailing edge, plus various fascia designs nose to tail, but all body panels are now made from lightweight aluminum, bumpers excluded. In reality only the front fenders were lightened, being that most of the 991’s skin was already alloy, the change saving between 10 and 15 kilos (22 and 33 lbs) depending on the model, but take note the underlying body structure halves steel content from 63 to 30 percent, with the remaining 70 percent now fully constructed from aluminum, all of which will help to improve structural rigidity, handling, fuel efficiency, and more. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The new 911 gets a fully redesigned interior featuring a mostly digital instrument cluster, a larger 10.9-inch centre display, and more. (Photo: Porsche)

As noted earlier, the first models to be introduced are the Carrera S and 4S shown on this page. Compared to the previous generation this all-new model is not only visually wider due to styling, but actually grows by 45 mm (1.8 inches) at the front wheels. What’s more, its rear flanks have widened by 44 mm (1.7 in) to 1,852 mm (72.9 in), this being identical in width to the outgoing GTS model. New 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels come standard with S-enhanced Carreras, the former on 245/35 ZR-rated rubber and the latter on a mighty set of 305/30 ZRs—base 911s will get a staggered set of 19s and 20s. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
Only the centre dial is analogue, the tachometer surrounded by dual LCD displays that provide multiple usage. (Photo: Porsche)

Despite all the extra aluminum used in the new body and chassis, both new C2S and C4S models add 55 kilos (121 lbs) of unladen weight, according to the Porsche Canada retail site, with the outgoing 2019 Carrera S hitting the scales at 1,460 kilograms (3,219 lbs) compared to the 2020 model’s 1,515 kg (3,340 lbs), and the old Carrera 4S weighing in at 1,510 kg (3,329 lbs) compared to 1,565 kg (3,450 lbs) for the redesigned car. 

At first glance that extra weight shouldn’t have much if anything to do with the powertrain, because the new car’s horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine once again displaces 3.0 litres. It’s heavily reworked, mind you, with somewhat weightier cast-iron headers replacing the old mill’s stamped steel manifolds resulting in freer flowing exhaust, plus an entirely new and pricier piezo injection system for more precise fuel delivery, a fresh set of turbochargers pulled from the outgoing GTS powerplant, and a single new intercooler that’s now housed centrally on the 992’s backside instead of the two previously hidden within the 991’s rear fenders. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The new cabin is larger and therefore roomier than the previous model. (Photo: Porsche)

The improvements allow for a higher 10.5:1 compression ratio, up from 10.0:1, which combine for a 23-horsepower and 22-lb-ft advantage over the outgoing C2S and C4S, with thrust now rated at 443 horsepower and twist at 390 lb-ft of torque, resulting in 3.7 seconds from standstill to 100km/h for the former and 3.6 seconds for the latter, or 3.5 and 3.4 seconds respectively with the Sport Chrono Package added, while top speeds are set to 308 and 306 km/h (190 and 191 mph) apiece. Incidentally, the base engine, which keeps the same turbos as last year’s car, increases output by 15 horsepower to 385. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The large widescreen display will be a key reason for many to upgrade from old 911 to new. (Photo: Porsche)

You may have noticed there were no differing times between manual and automatic transmissions, this because 2020 C2S and C4S trims will initially come standard with Porsche’s new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automated transmission, up one gear from the outgoing automatic, with a mostly unchanged seven-speed manual gearbox expected later in the year. 

The new eight-speed PDK was first introduced in the recently updated Panamera, and despite initially being housed in such a large model, was chosen for the 911 due to space improvements. The gearbox doubles its shafts for a shorter, more compact design, even leaving room for a future electric motor when fitted to a similarly sized housing. This means we should expect a plug-in hybrid version of the 911 sometime in the not-too-distant future, and if the just noted Panamera is anything to go by, it’ll one day be the most potent form of 911 available. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The tiny shift lever is a clear sign that manually shifting the new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK must be done via paddles. (Photo: Porsche)

As always, the updated PDK comes with standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, but this time they’re an absolute must because Porsche has replaced the old model’s conventional shift lever with a tiny little electronically actuated nub, saving enough centre console space for a cupholder while modernizing the interior design. Most won’t complain, even old-schoolers wanting to adjust the audio system’s volume and swap stations/tracks via rotating knobs, which can both still be found on the same lower console. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
A limousine it’s not, but this cutaway shows that rear seat roominess has improved. (Photo: Porsche)

All adjustments are now displayed on a 3.9-inch larger 10.9-inch infotainment touchscreen that also gets better resolution quality and greater depth of colour than its predecessor, plus updated graphics, improved performance, more functions from fewer physical buttons, and most everything else already included with more recently redesigned Porsche models. This said the instrument panel housing all of the above pays much respect to 911s of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and yes even the ‘90s, all of which were only slight adaptations of the same horizontal theme until the aforementioned 996 arrived in 1999. The new IP even incorporates a narrow shelf that mimics the lower edge of the classic dashboard, this one potentially more functional, if attaching car-sized Pokemon or Hello Kitty action figures—sigh, I’ve seen these in Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens too. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The 911 will never deviate from its horizontally opposed “boxer” layout, but it will continue to tweak it with every generation. (Photo: Porsche)

Even the comparatively radical 996 didn’t stray too far from the sacrosanct original when it came to organizing its primary gauge cluster, but this time around Porsche went so far as to visually separate each dial like the earlier cars, instead of letting their circular edges bleed into each other. Nevertheless, there’s only one mechanical gauge at centre, the tachometer as always, with the four surrounding dials held in place via virtual reality thanks to large TFT/LCD displays that are also capable of showing route guidance, audio, trip, and cruise information, plus more. Specifically, the right side incorporates the multi-information display as with the 991, whereas the left portion shows a conventional looking speedometer in default mode or the various new advanced driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, blindspot warning, lane keeping assist, etcetera. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
Those fortunate enough to drive the new 911 will experienced a thoroughly redeveloped suspension. (Photo: Porsche)

Being that the 2020 CS and C4S are not yet available we aren’t able to build them in Porsche’s online configurator, but we already know that 18-way adaptive sports seats will be optional, as will a 360-degree surround parking camera that should look fabulous on the new widescreen display, plus new Night Vision Assist that will provide visual assistance for steering clear of pedestrians or animals in the dark via a heat-sensing thermal imaging camera. 

We’ve also been told that C2S and C4S brake-rotor sizes and calipers continue forward unchanged from the outgoing models, but new Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB), which were introduced last year on the new Cayenne, will now be available with the 2020 911. PSCB adds a hardened tungsten-carbide layer to friction surfaces to enhance stopping performance, while they’re said to last longer than conventional cast iron brakes and reduce dust. The calipers will boast bright white paint to separate them from those used for the standard braking system. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche has made some of the 911’s strongest performance gains in braking, with Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB) now available. (Photo: Porsche)

Speaking of standard, a new Wet mode detects as little as one millimetre (0.04 inches) of standing water on the road before alerting the driver, who then has the option of adjusting to a more sensitive stability control setting that’s been added to a new version of the same rotating steering wheel-mounted driving mode selector found in the 991. The new 911 will also get standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection. 

So when can you get the new 2020 Porsche 911 of your choice? As noted the Carrera S and Carrera 4S coupes with the automated PDK gearbox will be first to arrive this summer, after initially launching in Europe. Shortly thereafter we’ll receive Cabriolet versions of the same C2S and C4S models, while later this year we’ll get the base Carrera and Carrera 4 with both manual and PDK transmissions, the former of which should also become available with S models. We can expect the new 992 Turbo to show up at the end of the year, with other models arriving in 2020. Porsche retailers are now placing orders for the Carrera S and 4S.

While you’re waiting to take one for a drive in person, make sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above and all of the videos we’ve provided below, the first of which is the 42-minute premiere program that covers every historical 911 era:

 

The new Porsche 911 world premiere. LIVE from L.A. (42:00):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMq2JrpId8c

 

The new Porsche 911. Timeless machine. (1:24):

 

The new Porsche 911: Highlight Video. (2:35):

 

The new Porsche 911: Exterior & Interior Design. (1:09):

 

The new Porsche 911: First Driving Footage. (0:59):

We covered the refreshed 2019 Macan when it was first introduced last summer, but Porsche didn’t offer up a lot of specific details at the time. Thanks to its North American debut at the Los Angeles…

Refreshed 2019 Porsche Macan S to receive new 348-hp single-turbo V6

2019 Porsche Macan S
The refreshed 2019 Porsche Macan S will get a new 348-hp V6 when it arrives in the summer of 2019. (Photo: Porsche)

We covered the refreshed 2019 Macan when it was first introduced last summer, but Porsche didn’t offer up a lot of specific details at the time. Thanks to its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show late last month, and little more info that was just released we now know a little more. 

When the new 2019 Macan goes on sale next summer it will get a $1,400 price hike in its most basic four-cylinder form resulting in an MSRP of $55,500 plus freight and fees. As expected, that car will house the same 2.0-litre four as the current 2018 model, although so far Porsche is claiming four fewer horsepower at 248 and an identical 273 lb-ft of torque with no effect on performance that’s still advertised at 6.7 seconds from zero to 100km/h in base form or 6.5 with the Sport Chrono Package, while this powertrain will once again come mated to Porsche’s seven-speed automated dual-clutch PDK transmission driving all four wheels. 

2019 Porsche Macan S
Along with new styling details like a single-unit taillight, the Macan S will sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 5.3 seconds, or 5.1 seconds with its Sport Chrono Package. (Photo: Porsche)

While this will be good news for the small handful of Macan buyers focused on fuel economy, most fans of the compact luxury SUV segment’s sportiest offering will be happier to know that it’s more popular Macan S trim line gets a significant performance boost for 2019, while its $63,000 price is only $1,600 dearer than last year’s version. 

The upgraded 2019 Macan S will utilize the single twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 first introduced with the base Cayenne and then in the Panamera, which despite maintaining the same three litres of displacement as the previous Macan S engine yet losing half of its turbos now produces an additional 15 lb-ft of torque for a new total of 354 lb-ft. Even more impressive the latter twist arrives at a very tractable 1,360 rpm, which is 1,000 rpm sooner, while its horsepower rating is now set to 348, which is eight horsepower more than the previous model. 

2019 Porsche Macan S
All 2019 Macan trims should improve their handling thanks to less front suspension mass and staggered tire sizes. (Photo: Porsche)

This allows 2019 Macan S performance to improve from a 5.4-second sprint to 100km/h in last year’s model, or 5.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, to 5.3 and 5.1 respectively with the new 2019, while its top track speed remains 254 km/h. Fuel-economy is said to be better too, although no claimed Canadian rating is available. 

Along with the powertrain and driveline upgrades, the new Macan’s front suspension uses more aluminum for 1.5 kilos of weight reduction, while new staggered wheel sizes provide easier turn-in up front and more grip in the back where a set of 295/40R20s combine with 265/45R20 front rubber in Macan S trim. Lastly, an available adaptive suspension system allows for greater comfort in Normal mode and better performance when Sport+ is selected, all adjustable from a button on the centre console. 

2019 Porsche Macan S
Thicker rear tires will improve the Macan’s looks as well. (Photo: Porsche)

Of note, the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system is capable of distributing all of the Macan’s torque to the rear wheels when warranted, or alternatively up to 70 percent to those in the front if traction requirements cause need. What’s more, the 2019 Macan’s traction can be further enhanced via newly developed 20- and 21-inch performance tires. 

Inside, the most obvious 2019 Macan upgrades are digital, beginning with a new 10.9-inch full-HD Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen replacing the 7.2-inch unit in the outgoing model. The new interface makes for a stunning visual statement, thanks to much sharper, clearer resolution, plus enhanced graphics to complement the improvement in screen quality and increased size. Likewise, the system’s operating system is faster, which will no doubt improve the speed of new standard intelligent voice control and the now standard navigation system’s mapping adjustments, plus other functions, while Porsche claims that it’s more intuitively designed for easier use, this due in part to predefined tiles that allow personal customization. 

2019 Porsche Macan S
The Macan’s upgraded interior features a much larger 10.9-inch centre touchscreen that modernizes the look. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is now standard, but you won’t be able to connect your Android device via Alphabet’s (Google’s) Android Auto system, which remains unavailable. 

Porsche has made its Connect Plus module standard, however, which means that every new Macan is fully networked for real-time traffic information. A key element of this system is “Here Cloud”, which utilizes swarm-based traffic data to find you the quickest route to your destination. What’s more, the Macan’s new Offroad Precision App makes it possible to record and analyze off-road driving experiences. 

With the centre stack now housing a larger, wider infotainment display it was necessary to move the air vents from their previous positions at each side of the screen to a new location just below the display. Additionally, the audio/HVAC control panel, which slots between the two, is now wider and narrower. 

2019 Porsche Macan S
The bigger centre display is also faster, while Apple CarPlay is now standard. (Photo: Porsche)

While the latter features are standard, the 2019 Macan will let you upgrade its standard steering wheel to a special GT sports version sourced from the 911, while adding the Sports Chrono Package will place the brand’s Sport Response Button on the right-side spoke. 

Comfort options will also improve, with a new ionizer and heatable windscreen now available, while the Macan’s suite of advanced driver assist systems adds adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, which allows semi-autonomous driving amid congested, slow-moving traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h, with the ability to automatically steer, accelerate and brake. 

On a more practical note, the rear seating area remains large enough for two adults side-by-side in comfort, whereas the cargo compartment carries up to 500 litres of gear with the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks upright and 1,500 litres when they’re folded flat. 

Expect more 2019 Macan updates as the model gets closer to launch, and don’t worry as we’ll cover them all. Until then, check out some videos of new Macan below:

 

The new Macan – More adventure. More life. More thrills. (0:51):

The new Porsche Macan. Exterior design. (1:31):

Design documentation: The new Macan. (6:33):

None of us should be surprised when an automaker launches a new sport utility vehicle these days, but some new entries make more sense than others. For reasons that likely have something to do with North…

Honda introduces all-new 2019 Passport mid-size SUV

2019 Honda Passport
The 2019 Honda Passport slots between the brand’s compact CR-V and 3-row Pilot SUVs, and promises 5-occupant seating and off-road capability. (Photo: Honda)

None of us should be surprised when an automaker launches a new sport utility vehicle these days, but some new entries make more sense than others. For reasons that likely have something to do with North American average sized families (which as of 2016 were estimated at 2.9 persons in Canada, and as of 2017 were 3.14 in the U.S.—which is larger than the EU’s 2.3-person average), five-passenger mid-size SUVs sell better than their larger seven-passenger siblings. 

For example the best-selling five-passenger Santa Fe obliterated the larger Santa Fe XL last year with 21,615 deliveries compared to just 6,787, while the next most popular Ford Edge merely nosed out the Explorer with 19,967 unit sales to 17,333. Likewise, the five-occupant Nissan Murano was ahead of the Pathfinder with 15,120 sales to 9,838, and just in case you’re wondering whether brands that only offer seven-passenger crossovers sell much more than those that provide both, consider that the Kia Sorento only sold 15,990 units, the Toyota Highlander just 15,259, the Dodge Journey 13,745, and the Pilot just 8,905. 

2019 Honda Passport
The new Passport pulls plenty of styling cues from the larger Pilot, but toughens up the look with sporty black trim and a high-riding 4×4 stance. (Photo: Honda)

Other brands fared worse than Honda, with the Dodge Durango down at 6,505 units, GMC Acadia at 5,380, Chevrolet Traverse at 4,710, Volkswagen Atlas at 4,534 (after just seven months of sales), Mazda CX-9 at 3,943, plus a couple of stragglers not worth mentioning, but no doubt the brand that produces the CR-V, Canada’s best-selling compact SUV, and does nearly as well with the HR-V in the subcompact SUV segment, wants to find similar success in the mid-size utility class. 

Set to arrive in Honda dealerships across Canada early next year, the 2019 Passport will attempt to recharge the brand’s lagging mid-size sales by targeting two types of SUV buyers, those who simply want more passenger and cargo space than a CR-V can provide, without the added length of a three-row utility, and more adventurous owners who’d like to take their new SUV off the beaten track. 

2019 Honda Passport
Shown here with an accessory roof rack and running boards, the new Passport is designed for a more adventurous lifestyle than average. (Photo: Honda)

If you’ve been watching Honda’s automotive news stream lately you’ve probably seen greater focus than usual put on off-road performance, with last month’s Ridgeline-based Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept now seeming like a precursor to a couple of similarly styled all-terrain vehicles, the Talon 1000X and Talon 1000R, introduced alongside the new Passport on Tuesday, November 27. Those not familiar with Honda’s motorcycle and ATV divisions might find all of the above a surprise, but the idea of Honda going off-road will be nothing new to fans of the brand who were weaned on CRs, XLs and XRs, ATCs, TRXs and Four-Trax’s, and most specifically FLs, otherwise known as Honda Odysseys, which were little single-seat four-wheel off-roaders around well before anyone ever heard of a minivan (Honda also made a Pilot ATV in 1989 and 1990), and are closest in concept to the two new Talon ATVs. 

2019 Honda Passport
The new Passport, shown here with a roof rack-mounted cargo basket from Honda’s accessories catalog, promises to take you further than most rival SUVs. (Photo: Honda)

Tapping into Honda’s off-road heritage makes a great deal of sense for the brand’s SUV lineup as well as its sole Ridgeline pickup truck, as there’s a lot of missed opportunity for cross-marketing Honda SUVs with Honda dirt bikes and ATVs, not to mention Honda generators and water pumps that would fit nicely into camping lifestyle ad campaigns, and its lawnmowers, handheld edge trimmers, tillers, snowblowers, and more that fit ideally into the lives of home and cabin/cottage owners. The Ridgeline is the more appropriate cross-marketing product for the latter items, but the new off-road capable Passport makes a good fit for anything camping related. 

2019 Honda Passport
Honda provides new Passport owners with an available roof rack, running boards, fender flares, tow hitch, and other accessories. (Photo: Honda)

The new Passport would be ideal for trailering all of the recreation vehicles and handy tools noted above (see photos of it towing the new Talon and a camp trailer in the gallery), not to mention boats powered by Honda Marine outboard engines and Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft (although you’ll need to have a used one of the latter being that Honda recently pulled out of the industry), thanks to an optional tow package rated at 1,588 kilograms (3,500 lbs) for front-wheel drive models and 2,268 kilos (5,000 lbs) with all-wheel drive. What’s more, the “overhead” option found in the new Passport’s standard multi-view rearview camera makes connecting hitch and trailer easier than ever before. 

2019 Honda Passport
Honda wants us to be clear that its new Passport is more capable than average off-road. (Photo: Honda)

Off-road enthusiasts who might have considered a Ridgeline, but never a Pilot or CR-V, will find the new Passport a serious alternative to other medium-duty 4×4 capable SUVs thanks to Honda’s upgraded i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system, which uses active torque vectoring to send up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle and 100 percent to either the left or right rear wheels. Honda promises handling excellence no matter the conditions, citing “rain-slicked or snowy roads or sandy trails,” whereas on pavement it also responds better by overdriving the outside rear wheels amid turns. 

2019 Honda Passport
We’re guessing most Passport owners won’t be driving their new SUVs like this. (Photo: Honda)

Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management (ITM) adds another element to the Passport’s off-road prowess, thanks to four driving modes that work in tandem with the optional i-VTM4 all-wheel drive, including normal, snow, mud and sand selections. ITM is actually standard with both FWD and AWD models, although the drive modes for the former only include normal and snow settings. Also notable, the new Passport adds 13 mm (0.5 in) of ground clearance over its Pilot sibling in FWD guise, and 28 mm (1.1 in) with AWD, allowing greater ability to overcome obstacles like rocks and roots found on the trail.  

2019 Honda Passport
Someone was having a lot of fun in this Passport. (Photo: Honda)

So how does the Passport AWD do in off-road conditions? As you can see by the photos provided with its launch material, it certainly looks more capable than any previous Honda SUV, at least anything designed and produced by Honda (let’s not forget about the 1993–2002 Isuzu Rodeo-based mid-size model of the same name that could be considered the spiritual successor to this new Passport, and the reason Honda may have chosen to dig up this old name from the mostly forgotten past. Back to the here and now, Honda thoroughly tested the new Passport in “the world’s harshest environments” like “the sands of Dubai, muddy country roads of Russia, and snowbound trails in Minnesota,” and claims that it’s “more capable off road than many unibody SUVs.” Basically they’re saying not to expect it to out-4×4 a Jeep Wrangler, but when up against a similarly equipped unibody crossover SUV that doesn’t offer a bull-low gear ratio, the combination of i-VTM4 and ITM allow AWD-equipped Passports hold their own. 

2019 Honda Passport
Thanks to its Pilot-sourced underpinnings, the new Passport promises excellent on-road stability combined with a smooth, comfortable ride. (Photo: Honda)

While all of this is fun and interesting, we all know the majority of Passport owners will never take their SUV off pavement and therefore might only ever experience slippery road conditions from rain, snow and ice. As noted earlier Honda has this covered too, while also providing the most powerful base engine in its class, which is both a boon and a bane. The automaker turns to the same i-VTEC valvetrain-enhanced 3.5-litre V6 found in the larger Pilot and Ridgeline pickup truck, not to mention the Odyssey minivan mentioned earlier. On the positive this sole engine makes 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, and while it’s usually good to offer the strongest performance in a segment it’s not necessarily the best to come up short when it comes to fuel economy. 

2019 Honda Passport
This Passport is towing the new Honda Talon ATV, introduced together with the new SUV at the LA auto show. (Photo: Honda)

Of course, Honda makes no official fuel consumption claims yet, but we can assume the new model will do better than the base Pilot’s 13.0 L/100km city, 9.3 highway and 11.3 rating due to weighing considerably less and featuring a standard nine-speed automatic transmission with pushbutton gear selection, instead of the more traditional lever operated six-speed unit offered in lower trims of the larger SUV. Higher Pilot trims feature the same nine-speed, and its fuel economy reflects this with a thriftier rating of 12.4 city, 9.3 highway and 11.0 combined, so the new Passport should be able to improve on the latter numbers, while providing smoother and more refined performance than four-cylinder powered competitors that achieve better mileage. 

As you may have guessed the new Passport rides on the same fully independent chassis as the Pilot, the Honda Global Light Truck platform consisting of a rigid unibody structure with a fully boxed floor held up by a MacPherson strut front and independent multi-link rear suspension setup, and featuring electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering directing standard 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/50 all-season tires in base Sport and EX-L trims or 265/45 tires in Touring and Elite trims. 

2019 Honda Passport
The new Passport can tow up to 5,000 lbs. (Photo: Honda)

Of note, the Passport launch model, which was introduced as part of the Los Angeles Auto Show, was in U.S. specification and therefore Canadian-spec trims and features won’t likely be identical. The information provided shows the four trims just mentioned, clarifying them as the “well-appointed Sport, upgraded EX-L, high-tech Touring, and the fully equipped Elite,” but for comparison our Canadian-spec Pilot is offered in LX, EX, EX-L Navi, Touring, and Black Edition trims. These are mostly the same in the U.S. market, except for no Black Edition, whereas we don’t offer Elite trim, instead including all of that model’s features in the top-line Touring. 

2019 Honda Passport
The Passport offers best-in-class cabin space, and should also provide plenty of high-quality finishings. (Photo: Honda)

Along with the 20-inch alloy wheels noted earlier, which is the standard diameter across the entire Passport line, we can safely assume that Canadian-spec models will also get the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistive and safety systems as standard equipment, that includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) including Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assistance System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). These advanced electronics are joined by the industry’s usual assortment of active and passive safety features and Honda’s proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, resulting in a mid-size SUV designed to exceed current crash test standards. 

2019 Honda Passport
Honda promises plenty of premium soft-touch surfaces in a well-organized, ergonomically friendly cabin. (Photo: Honda)

Additional standard features available south of the 49th that should be included in our Passport include LED headlights, LED DRLs, LED fog lamps, and LED taillights, proximity-sensing keyless Smart Entry and Smart Start, a 7.0-inch digital colour TFT primary instrument cluster, a configurable multi-information display featuring audio, trip and phone info (plus turn-by-turn route guidance on models with navigation), tri-zone automatic climate control, a 5.0-inch infotainment display, the aforementioned Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with dynamic guidelines, six-speaker 215-watt audio with a subwoofer, and much more. 

2019 Honda Passport
A fully digital TFT instrument cluster will set the Passport apart. (Photo: Honda)

In the U.S., Honda includes Blind Spot Information in EX-L, Touring and Elite trims, and adds Rear Cross-Traffic Detection plus front and rear parking sensors to the Touring and Elite, while additional upgrades (depending on trim) include power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and smartphone/tablet-style tap, swipe and pinch gesture capability, satellite-linked navigation, 4G LTE in-vehicle Wi-Fi that can support up to seven devices, wireless phone charging, 590-watt 10-speaker premium audio, various HondaLink cloud-based services such as remote unlocking, concierge services, and stolen vehicle tracking, a powered moonroof, second-row sunshades, a power tailgate with available hands-free operation, plus more. 

2019 Honda Passport
The optional 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more. (Photo: Honda)

Plenty of Honda Genuine Accessories will also be available for the new Passport, many of which were shown off in the photos provided for this overview. Included are various sizes of roof storage boxes, a roof basket, plus roof-mounted bike, kayak and ski/snowboard racks, while Passport owners can also protect the cargo area with hard plastic floor, side, and seatback covers. Additionally, the storage area under the load floor can be sectioned off with individual, removable, washable bins. 

2019 Honda Passport
Honda’s new infotainment interface is one of the most intuitive in the industry. (Photo: Honda)

Honda will also be offering a number of cosmetic upgrades including a coloured graphics package, undercarriage welcome lights, and illuminated doorsills, while two accessory packages will be available as well, including The Adventure Package that adds fender flares, running boards, a trailer hitch, and more, plus The Urban Package featuring unique 20-inch alloy wheels, front and rear underbody spoilers, roof rails with crossbars, and the just noted cargo storage bins. Again, we’ll need to wait until Honda Canada reveals our Canadian-spec Passport before confirming everything on this list, but we can be certain that some, if not all of these items will be available here. 

As noted earlier, a key reason for stepping up into a mid-size five-occupant SUV over a compact one like the CR-V is increased interior volume, so along with more passenger volume front to back the new Passport provides 368 litres (13.0 cubic feet) of additional passenger volume over its smaller sibling, its 3,282 litres (115.9 cu ft) ahead of the rear seatbacks resulting in segment-leading status, while the Passport’s 4,448 litres (157.1 cu ft) of overall interior volume is also best-in-class. 

2019 Honda Passport
The Passport delivers best-in-segment cargo capacity. (Photo: Honda)

The Passport continues to lead the class when it comes to cargo hauling too, with 1,166 litres (41.2 cu ft) of luggage space behind the rear seats and 2,206 litres (77.9 cu ft) with the rear row lowered, which is also 56 litres (2.0 cu ft) more cargo space than the CR-V offers in the very back, and 60 litres (2.1 cu ft) more overall. Like with the CR-V, the Passport’s 60/40-split rear seatbacks fold automatically via releases in the cargo area, but the larger SUV uses electric buttons instead of levers, while the Passport also provides a reversible cargo floor that swaps out the carpeting for an easily maintained hard plastic surface. 

2019 Honda Passport
Roomiest-in-class underfloor storage can be upgraded with accessory bins. (Photo: Honda)

Another segment-leading bonus is underfloor storage, which measures 71 litres (2.5 cu ft) on its own and can be accessorized as noted earlier. 

Stowage in mind, all Passport trims feature a large centre console bin between front occupants, while its roll top cover doubles as a handy tray when closed. There’s more centre console storage ahead of the gear selector, while the door panels provide even more places to put things. 

Honda promises “high-quality interior appointments” including “generous use of soft-touch surfaces on the dash and doors,” plus “attractive and durable” fabric upholstery in the base Sport model and optional perforated leather with EX-L, Touring and Elite trims. 

2019 Honda Passport
Roomiest-in-class underfloor storage can be upgraded with accessory bins. (Photo: Honda)

After all is said and done, no one should discount the role styling plays in automotive decision-making, and fortunately the Passport benefits from the new 2019 Pilot’s design influence. The latter is better looking than previous generations and the new Passport is arguably more so, thanks to a taller more 4×4-capable looking stance and sporty matte black used for the grille, headlights, bumpers, and wheels, plus glossy black trim in key areas, sharp looking LED headlight accents, unique floating C-pillars, and sporty chrome dual exhaust outlets. Each trim will get exclusive alloy wheel designs too, but so far there’s no word about Honda replacing some of the scratch-resistant blackened trim with dressier body-colour paint and satin-silver or chrome for a city-slicker version, but something similar makes sense for a future base model as well as alternative high-end trims. 

2019 Honda Passport
The new Passport is a different kind of crossover SUV for Honda, and could open up a much more adventurous future for the brand. (Photo: Honda)

All in all it appears Honda has a winner on its hands, particularly because it targets the more popular five-passenger mid-size SUV market segment with an attractive, roomy, well-equipped entry sporting above-average performance and no shortage of high-tech features. Its rugged styling and off-road capability make certain the Passport targets a different kind of customer than the smaller CR-V, and truly opens up opportunity for a more rugged Ridgeline and other more adventuresome products in the future. Hopefully this new Honda swagger is a sign of things to come. 

Now, make sure to check out the photo gallery above and watch the following short video that was released as part of the Passport’s Los Angeles Auto Show launch event:

 

Introducing the All-new 2019 Honda Passport (0:54):