Interestingly, as cars become little more than rolling computers with seats they’re actually becoming less complex, at least from a driving application and design perspective. The new autonomously driven…

Hyundai reveals gorgeous new Prophecy Concept EV

2020 Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV
The new Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV certainly isn’t short on style, its new Optimistic Futurism design language said to show the South Korean brand’s styling direction. (Photo: Hyundai)

Interestingly, as cars become little more than rolling computers with seats they’re actually becoming less complex, at least from a driving application and design perspective.

The new autonomously driven Prophecy Concept EV from Hyundai is about as minimalist as four-wheeled conveyances come, that is until inspecting the details. The brand’s upcoming Optimistic Futurism design language has been designed to connect people more fully with their cars, or so said the head of Hyundai’s global design centre SangYup Lee in the vehicle’s press release.

“We have brought to life yet another icon that establishes a new standard for the EV segment as well as pushing Hyundai’s design vision to even broader horizons,” said Lee. “A part of that expansion is what we call Optimistic Futurism, a design concept embodied by ‘Prophecy’. With Optimistic Futurism, our aim is to forge an emotional connection between humans and automobiles.”

2020 Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV
The Prophecy’s transparent acrylic rear spoiler sits above a unique 3D rear panel with integrated LED taillights. (Photo: Hyundai)

Of course, creating emotional ties between consumers and their products should be a key priority of all brands, and to that end Hyundai has a pretty good chance of doing so with the Prophecy. The South Korean company, which sometimes seems to be playing a game of design tug of war between the overly conservative and overtly dramatic, the various generations of its Sonata mid-size sedan making this abundantly clear (seen at CarCostCanada in its stunning new 2020 design, somewhat less emotive 2019 version, even more sedate 2015 variant, and swoopy 2014 design), has pulled off a design with the Prophecy that’s at once minimalist in its retrospective shape and simultaneously a wonder of unique intricacies.

2020 Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV
These propellor-style wheels help push air down each side of the vehicle. (Photo: Hyundai)

Its curvaceous styling could’ve easily been conjured up by Porsche for its next-generation Panamera or the new Taycan, not that it looks like either, but few brands dare attempt to shape a car with as many rounded edges, let alone a grille-less front end, not dissimilar to Tesla’s Model 3. Then again its seemingly vented rear quarters, which pull eyeballs away from the otherwise large transparent acrylic whale tail-like rear wing, appear to pay homage to Preston Tucker’s ultra-aerodynamic (for its era) post-war 48, although protruding from this otherwise pixelated 3D panel are LEDs for the taillights. Hyundai has done something similar up front, but as part of a more traditional set of headlamp clusters that utilize the same transparent acrylic as the rear spoiler and in the camera monitoring system.

2020 Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV
A pixelated 3D rear panel incorporates LED taillights. (Photo: Hyundai)

Of course, all of the above aid aerodynamics, which is why others have chosen variations on the Prophecy’s theme, Hyundai even going so far to create propeller-inspired wheels that direct air down each body side.

No exterior or interior dimensions have been released, but it appears to sit in the mid-size sweet spot, while technical specifications aren’t available either, but of course with “EV” in the name it’s obviously 100-percent electric. Hyundai has told us the Prophecy’s battery is located below the passenger compartment, so expect it to ride on a completely new “skateboard” architecture that would allow for multiple body styles to reside on top.

2020 Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV
Clamshell doors open up to a large four-door coupe interior. (Photo: Hyundai)

The Prophecy’s cabin is easy to see through its four clamshell doors, its four seating positions separated into deeply sculpted buckets providing what appears to be just enough legroom in back. A unique tartan upholstery design is another nod to Porsche’s 911, 924 and 928 models from 1975 through 1980, blue-green a popular colour combo in the day, but nothing the German performance brand ever did back then achieved the built-in wow factor that Hyundai’s new creation does, and not just because the Koreans use the Scottish pattern for the bolsters as well as the centre inserts.

2020 Hyundai Prophecy Concept EV
Two digital panels (the driver’s powering into place as needed) are joined by joystick-like driving controls. (Photo: Hyundai)

Even the Prophecy’s massive wraparound digital display that frames the windshield’s base isn’t all that radical these days, although the pop-up driver’s instruments are pretty slick, but even still these can’t steal the thunder from the car’s driving controls. You may have noticed its lack of steering wheel, this seemingly irreplaceable tool having been swapped out for a pair of pivoting joysticks. Why not, especially in a car that’s designed to be capable of full self-driving.

Will we ever see a Prophecy on the road? Unless it’s this single example being transported to the next auto show, when that ever happens (the Geneva auto show it would’ve been unveiled at cancelled due to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19), this new concept exists to show prospective Hyundai buyers its future styling direction, and to that end it looks like the brand’s design department has things well in hand.

 

Hyundai | “Prophecy” Concept EV Unveiling (16:04):

 

Personal customization is hardly a new service at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen headquarters. In fact, the revered performance brand has provided bespoke upgrade services since a client commissioned a fur…

Porsche develops painting method to transfer owner fingerprint to new 911

Porsche develops painting method to transfer owner fingerprint to new 911
Porsche has developed a new painting method that transfers an owner’s fingerprint onto the hood of a 911. (Photo: Porsche)

Personal customization is hardly a new service at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen headquarters. In fact, the revered performance brand has provided bespoke upgrade services since a client commissioned a fur covered 356 in the 1950s, the company’s “Personalisation Programme” that followed eventually being renamed Porsche Exclusive in 1986. Just the same, nothing the automaker has done in the past could be deemed quite as personal as its most recent offering.

Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, now a special division under the German brand’s umbrella, now has the ability to paint your fingerprint on the hood of any 911 for just €7,500 ($11,100 CAD). The process doesn’t exactly utilize paint, but instead makes use of a new direct printing method developed by Porsche. Once your fingerprint is scanned, it gets transformed into a digital graphic before being printed onto a 911’s hood.

Porsche develops painting method to transfer owner fingerprint to new 911
The hood must be removed and graphic printed on top, after which it’s clear coated and buffed to a high polish. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche claims it will be able to print your fingerprint on other panels in the future, plus it will be able to print other customer-specified designs too, although for now this exclusive service is limited to the 911’s hood due to the relative ease of unbolting the hood from its hinges and the necessity to have the body panel removed. After removal, the biometric print gets applied by a robot with a clear coat added overtop for protection, after which the entire hood is polished to a high-gloss finish. Once done, Porsche claims its direct printing process will result in a finish that’s in fact superior to its already high-quality 911 paint finishes in terms of look and feel.

“The operating principle is similar to that of an inkjet printer: using a print head, the paint is applied to three-dimensional components automatically and without overspray. ‘The ability to control the nozzles individually permits targeted application of every paint droplet,’ stated Christian Will, Vice President Production Development at Porsche AG. ‘The complexity is due to the necessity of harmonizing three technologies: robot technology (control, sensors, programming), application technology (print head, graphic handling) and paint technology (application process, paint).’”

Requests for this new fingerprint service are beginning this month in the German market, and while it’s not directly available in Canada, there’s always a way to get things done if you’re willing to pay the necessary price.

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

New Taycan EV available with Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Can you just imagine future Subaru Outback ads? Subaru versus the mountain goat, only once the all-electric Outback is up on top of the mountain it will need to plug into a diesel generator in order to…

Subaru announces plans to go 100 percent electric by the mid-2030s

2020 Subaru Ascent
The Ascent, introduced last year, will likely receive a hybrid powertrain in the near future. (Photo: Subaru)

Can you just imagine future Subaru Outback ads? Subaru versus the mountain goat, only once the all-electric Outback is up on top of the mountain it will need to plug into a diesel generator in order to get back down. Advantage goat.

The oft-heard term, “Get woke, go broke” comes to mind when a niche automaker like Subaru announces plans to toss away its most notable brand identity trait, the horizontally opposed “boxer” engine, in order to appease the green crowd and align with some global governments’ impending regulations to eventually ban internal combustion engines.

At a time when the current U.S. administration is loosening new vehicle emissions restrictions, the European Union, China and other markets are tightening them, on vehicles at least (Europe will soon be celebrating new fossil fuel pipelines from Russia and China is seemingly building coal-fired power plants—to fuel said electric cars—faster than anyone can count).

2020 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek will probably be one of the first Subaru models to receive the brand’s new hybrid powertrain, because it already has an ownership base ready to trade up from. (Photo: Subaru)

It makes sense that Subaru would want to continue being able to sell into these markets after internal combustion engines are banned, and therefore is planning to electrify its lineup. The process will begin with the introduction of a hybrid-electric drivetrain powering key models, its source for hybrid technology coming from Toyota, which owns 16.5-percent of Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), Subaru’s parent company. The short-lived 2014-2016 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid was this union’s first project, but it didn’t find enough marketplace interest to remain viable.

2020 Subaru Forester
The Forester would be ideal for a hybrid powertrain, as it could go up against the compact SUV segment’s top-selling RAV4 Hybrid. (Photo: Subaru)

Currently important to those in charge of Subaru is the retention of its distinctive brand character traits, which have long included the aforementioned horizontally opposed engine configuration, as well as standard all-wheel drive for most of its models (the Toyota co-developed BRZ sports car only comes with rear-wheel drive). The previous Crosstrek Hybrid, for instance, used Toyota’s hybrid technologies together with Subaru’s 2.0-litre boxer engine, thus making it perform and sound just like other models wearing the idiosyncratic alternative brand’s six-starred blue-oval badge. What Subaru doesn’t want is simple badge engineering, like Toyota has done many times (including the Subaru-powered albeit co-developed Scion FR-S/Toyota 86, the Mazda2-based Yaris Sedan, etcetera), as the niche automaker would run the risk of diluting its very unique brand image.

2020 Subaru Impreza
An Impreza hybrid could go up against the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Honda’s Insight. (Photo: Subaru)

“Although we’re using Toyota technology, we want to make hybrids that are distinctly Subaru,” said the brand’s chief technology officer, Tetsuo Onuki, to Reuters news agency. “It’s not only about reducing CO2 emissions. We need to further improve vehicle safety and the performance of our all-wheel drive.” 

While Onuki made a point of mentioning that all-wheel drive will continue to be an important differentiator with future Subaru models, the inclusion of AWD is becoming more commonplace amongst its competitors. Both Nissan and Mazda recently introduced redesigned passenger cars with optional AWD (Nissan’s Altima makes AWD standard in Canada), and while Subaru’s trademarked “Symmetrical AWD” is considered by many to provide better traction than most rival AWD systems, whether or not its even delivery of power can be achieved as effectively when hooked up to a solely electric power unit will remain to be seen. As it is, plenty of electric vehicles now offer AWD, so Subaru’s current traction advantage may not be as novel in 15 years time, making it just another brand when its current crop of boxer engines are no longer available.

2020 Subaru Legacy
The Legacy was recently redesigned, but we’ll have to wait and see if the mid-size sedan segment improves sales before guessing whether or not we’ll see a hybrid version in the near future. (Photo: Subaru)

EVs in mind, Subaru and Toyota are currently co-developing an electric powertrain, which will result in at least one electric vehicle apiece at some undefined point this decade, with additional models expected. Subaru claims that hybrid- and pure electric-powered models will represent at least 40 percent of its annual global production by 2030, with all hybrids discontinued within another half decade or so.

Ten years is a long time in the automotive sector, let alone any consumer vertical, and much can happen in battery technology development, the introduction and/or development of alternative fuels, car/ride sharing development, etcetera, not to mention geopolitical developments (not all of which may be positive) that could easily force changes to Subaru’s plans.

2020 Subaru Outback
The Outback was redesigned for 2020, and would be ideal for hybrid conversion. (Photo: Subaru)

The win-win for Subaru is garnering green accolades now without much action initially being taken, making its owners feel as if their brand of choice is righteously marching toward utopia within a decade and a half, but the reality is an ultimate target that’s so far off into the future that it represents little if no real commitment, other than the likelihood of a new hybrid model or two within the next couple of years, plus at least one EV.

Notably, Subaru isn’t alone in making such all-electric future plans, with General Motors (in 2018) having pitched a U.S. national environmental program designed to motivate all automakers to transform at least 25 percent of their lineups to zero-emissions vehicles; Ford stepping up with an $11.5-billion spending program to result in more than a dozen new hybrids and EVs by 2022; Toyota (as part of its Environmental Challenge 2050 program) vowing to reduce vehicle life-cycle emissions by 25 percent or more by 2030, while targeting 2050 for the elimination of all carbon emissions; Mercedes-Benz claiming that half of its non-commercial passenger car lineup will be electric by 2030, plus full carbon neutrality will arrive within the next two decades.

2020 Subaru WRX
What would an electric WRX drive like? Or maybe a hybrid drivetrain? The prospects are interesting to contemplate. (Photo: Subaru)

Volvo might be the world’s most progressive automaker thanks to its promise to make half of its passenger cars wholly electric by 2025, that each cars’ life-cycle carbon footprint will be reduced by 40 percent by the same year, that the carbon output of its entire global operations (including suppliers) will be reduced by 25 percent by 2025 as well, and lastly with a plan to use a minimum of 25-percent recycled materials in its vehicle production when that same year arrives.

While some may chalk up the majority of these plans as politically correct grandstanding, we all can feel confident that Subaru is currently selling the Greatest Outback Of All Time (G.O.O.A.T.), with the term “all time” likely including its Outback EV of the future.

2020 Subaru BRZ
Will the brilliant BRZ sports car still be around in 10 or 15 years? We doubt it, but Subaru might have an all-new electric sports car. (Photo: Subaru)

Incidentally, the Outback mid-size crossover is Subaru Canada’s third most popular model with 10,972 unit sales during calendar year 2019, behind the brand’s best-selling Crosstrek subcompact crossover SUV that found 15,184 new buyers, and Forester compact SUV with 13,059 new sales last year. Additional Subaru models include the Impreza compact sedan and hatchback with 9,065 deliveries in 2019, the Ascent mid-size three-row crossover SUV with 4,139 new buyers, the rally-inspired WRX/STI sport sedan with 2,707 new sales, the Legacy mid-size sedan with 1,752 customers last year, and the previously-noted BRZ compact sports coupe with 647 buyers during the same 12 months. Check out full pricing, including trims, packages and individual options at CarCostCanada, plus learn about available rebate info, special financing/lease rates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.

Also, make sure to check our photo gallery above for Subaru Canada’s current 2020 lineup of new models, as well as the videos below showing its humourous the new G.O.A.T. (#GOOAT) TV ad, as well as a slightly longer behind the scenes “meet the goat” backgrounder.

 

All-New 2020 Subaru Outback – #GOOAT (0:30):

 

All-New 2020 Subaru Outback – Behind-The-Goat #GOOAT (0:53):

 

Guessing which vehicles will take home the annual North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards is easier some years than others, but most industry experts had 2020’s crop of winners chosen…

Chevrolet, Kia and Jeep win 2020 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The entirely new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has won the North American Car of the Year. (Photo: Chevrolet)

Guessing which vehicles will take home the annual North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards is easier some years than others, but most industry experts had 2020’s crop of winners chosen long before this week’s announcement.

The actual name of the award is the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) despite now having three categories covering passenger cars, a sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

Just 50 automotive journalists make up the NACTOY jury, from print, online, radio and broadcast media in both the United States and Canada, with the finalists presented in the fall and eventual winners awarded each year at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, although this year’s presentation was changed to a separate event at Detroit’s TCF Center (formerly known as Cobo Hall/Cobo Center) due to the 2020 NAIAS moving its dates forward to June 7-20 this year. The NACTOY awards were first presented in 1994, with the Utility Vehicle category added in 2017.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The new Corvette promises supercar performance and exotic cachet for a pauper’s price. (Photo: Chevrolet)

Of note, nomination requirements include completely new vehicles, total redesigns, or significant refreshes. In other words, the nominated vehicle needs to be something most consumers would consider new to the market or substantially different from a model’s predecessor. Also important, the finalists earned their top-three placement by judging their segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for money.

The selection process started in June last year, with the vehicle eligibility determined after three rounds of voting. NACTOY used the independent accounting firm Deloitte LLP to tally the votes and kept them secret until the envelopes were unsealed on stage by the organization’s President, Lauren Fix, Vice President, Chris Paukert, and Secretary-Treasurer, Kirk Bell.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The new Corvette’s interior appears much more upscale than previous generations. (Photo: Chevrolet)

The finalists in the “Car” category included the Chevrolet Corvette, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Supra, with the final winner being the new seventh-generation mid-engine Corvette, a total game changer for the model and sports car category. Interestingly, it’s been six years since a sports car won the passenger car category, so kudos to Chevy for creating something so spectacular it couldn’t be ignored, while Toyota and Hyundai should also be commended for their excellent entries.

“A mid-engine Corvette was a huge risk for Chevy’s muscle-car icon. They nailed it. Stunning styling, interior, and performance for one-third of the cost of comparable European exotics,” said Henry Payne, auto critic for The Detroit News.

2020 Kia Telluride
The new 2020 Kia Telluride is as close to premium as any mainstream volume branded SUV has ever been, Hyundai Palisade aside. (Photo: Kia)

The “Utility Vehicle” finalists included the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Lincoln Aviator, with most industry insiders believing one of the two South Korean entries (which are basically the same vehicle under the skin, a la Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia) would take home the prize, and lo and behold the Kia Telluride earned top marks.

“The Telluride’s interior layout and design would meet luxury SUV standards, while its refined drivetrain, confident driving dynamics and advanced technology maintain the premium experience,” said Karl Brauer, Executive Publisher at Cox Automotive. “Traditional SUV brands take note: there’s a new star player on the field.”

2020 Jeep Gladiator
The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is everything we all love about the Wrangler with the added convenience of a pickup truck bed. (Photo: Jeep)

Lastly, “Truck” of the year finalists included the new to us Ford Ranger, the entirely new Jeep Gladiator, and the Ram HD (Heavy Duty) 2500 and 3500, with the sensational new Gladiator getting the highest marks. Incidentally, you’d need to look all the way back to 1999 to find a Jeep that won its category, that model being the Grand Cherokee.

“What’s not to like about a pickup truck with not only a soft-top removable roof but even removable doors? If you want massive cargo-hauling capability or the ability to tow 10,000 pounds, buy something else,” said longtime automotive journalist John Voelcker. “The eagerly awaited Gladiator is a one-of-a-kind truck, every bit the Jeep its Wrangler sibling is … but with a pickup bed. How could you possibly get more American than that?”

Of note, NACTOY is an independent, non-profit organization, with elected officers and funding by dues-paying journalist members.

Find out more about the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Jeep Gladiator at CarCostCanada, where you can get trim, package and individual option pricing, plus rebate info and even dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. While the Corvette is not yet available, you can get up to $1,000 in additional incentives on the new Telluride, and factory leasing and financing rates from 4.09 percent for the new Gladiator. Make sure to check CarCostCanada for more.

Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury division, just revealed new images of an all-new premium crossover SUV designed to go up against the Lexus RX, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and other mid-size luxury utilities,…

Genesis reveals first images of new luxury SUV dubbed GV80

2021 Genesis GV80
Say hello to the all-new Genesis GV80, the first SUV for Hyundai’s fledgling luxury brand. (Photo: Genesis)

Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury division, just revealed new images of an all-new premium crossover SUV designed to go up against the Lexus RX, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and other mid-size luxury utilities, and by first glance it certainly looks up to the task.

The GV80, as it will be called when it goes on sale globally later this year, wears a bigger, bolder modified version of Genesis’ new five-sided grille introduced to a production model on the brand’s redesigned 2020 G90 flagship sedan, plus it carries a number of other styling cues from that full-size four-door including horizontal LED-enhanced Quad Lamp headlights and wraparound tail lamps, as well as side vents on the front fenders. The basic design was formed from the GV80 Concept that launched at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, but we have to say it looks much better in production trim than prototype.

2021 Genesis GV80
Are they paying tribute to Cadillac with its five-sided grille? It certainly looks good, but might be too close to the crested-wreath for comfort. (Photo: Genesis)

“GV80 allows us to expand our definition of Athletic Elegance design language to a new typology, while retaining sublime proportionality and sophistication of form,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President, Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group.

Genesis calls its design language Athletic Elegance, and while this descriptor comes off as a bit generic the SUV’s overall presence is anything but. Its grille is reminiscent of Cadillac, however, only lacking a big crested-wreath shield in the middle, which might put it at odds with the General and American patriots that feel an allegiance to their domestic luxury marque. Genesis even unabashedly names the GV80’s foremost feature the “Crest Grille” and claims it as a “signature Genesis design element,” but in fairness a lot of brands have tried to put their own spin on this type of pentagonal grille design in the past, including Acura and Honda. No one should argue against any other GV80 design element or its overall look, and to that end Genesis would probably rather have us focusing on its trademark headlamps.

2021 Genesis GV80
Its Quad Lamp LED headlights certainly look distinctive. (Photo: Genesis)

“The Quad Lamp, our design signature, introduces an unmistakable visual impression completely unique to Genesis,” said Sang Yup Lee, Senior Vice President, Head of Genesis Design. They feature a “G-Matrix pattern” that was “inspired by beautiful orchids seen when diamonds are illuminated by light,” said the brand in a press release, mentioning the wheel design was similarly inspired.

Most everyone who’s entered a new Genesis product has been impressed by its quality of workmanship, and the GV80 should be no exception. The brand says its new SUV “focuses on the beauty of open space, characteristic of the elegant South Korean architectural aesthetic,” and we’re just glad the brand’s designers weren’t inspired by K-Pop fashion. In all seriousness the new GV80 does provide a beautiful interior design, once again reminiscent of the elegant, well-built 2020 G90 cabin, although its instrument panel more traditional with an arcing gauge cluster hood and more conventional fixed tablet-style infotainment display atop the centre dash, although the horizontal theme continues with strong, steady lines made from a slim set of air vents ahead of the front passenger, a well sorted touchscreen climate control interface atop a gently sloping centre console, and more. A “jewel-like” rotating dial appears to be the modus operandi for selecting gears, making for a cleaner, more sophisticated look, while rich hardwoods, leathers and aluminized metals appear at least on par with its competition.

2021 Genesis GV80
The GV80 has a nice, sleek side profile, and eye-catching design elements like front fender vents. (Photo: Genesis)

The GV80 rides on an all-new rear-wheel drive chassis and will be available with either rear- or optional all-wheel drivetrains in the U.S., although it will likely only come with AWD in the Canadian market. If the new SUV drives similarly to other Genesis products, it should be a formidable performer as well as a commendable luxury ride, balancing sport and comfort similarly to Mercedes and Audi.

The GV80 is a mid-size model capable of seating seven occupants in three rows, although it will also be offered as a two-row five-seat SUV. True to the “V” in its name, which stands for “versatility”, we should expect competitive passenger space and a roomy cargo area. 

2021 Genesis GV80
The interior looks stunning and appears very well made. (Photo: Genesis)

The Hyundai Motor Group made a bold move to enter a completely new brand into an already full luxury marketplace back in late 2016, and it hasn’t exactly been easy going. Its initial two car lineup, made up of the G80 mid-size sedan (previously the Hyundai Genesis Sedan) and G90 full-size sedan (Hyundai Equus), since augmented with the G70 compact luxury sedan in 2018, has made impressive headway on the sales charts yet still lags well behind luxury leaders. This was no doubt planned for, as were initially slower sales due to its passenger car lineup, which means the brand has a lot riding on its first SUV. The GV80 could potentially outsell all other Genesis models combined if the histories of rival brands are repeated, which could point the upstart Korean luxury marque on the road to success.

Porsche introduced its exciting new 718 T trim line to the European market last year, and now it’s time for Canadian sports car enthusiasts to benefit from these lighter weight, better handling new…

Porsche releases 2020 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T pricing and delivery date

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
The new 718 Boxster T provides sportier styling, suspension upgrades and interior modifications for less money than an S or GTS. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche introduced its exciting new 718 T trim line to the European market last year, and now it’s time for Canadian sports car enthusiasts to benefit from these lighter weight, better handling new models.

Starting at $74,400 for the 718 Cayman T and $76,800 for the 718 Boxster T, which is an increase of $10,700 over their respective base models, the new entries slot in just above the base models and below the 718 Cayman S and 718 Boxster S. The well-rounded 718 lineup also includes even sportier GTS trim, while the Cayman can be had in track-ready GT4 form, and the Boxster can be upgraded to the sensational Spyder.

While not as powerful as some of the other trims, Porsche is promising less of what you don’t want and more of what you do, or in other words those looking for more performance features in a car that costs less than a GTS will probably like what the Stuttgart-based premium brand has in store.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman T
Like with other 718 models, the Cayman T incorporates all of the same upgrades as the Boxster T, plus a hardtop. (Photo: Porsche)

Powered solely by the base 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, which puts out a strong 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, the T designation adds a short-throw shifter, a mechanically locking differential, and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) to six-speed manual cars, or alternatively the Sport Chrono Package comes standard with seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK models, the latter resulting in a 0.2-second whack to the backside off the line from a car that’s already 0.2 seconds quicker than the DIY gearbox.

The Sport Chrono Package also includes Launch Control and a “push-to-pass” style Sport Response button in the centre of the steering wheel-mounted driving mode switch, making this transmission the best option for those purely focused on performance.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
718 T models get plenty of updates inside, but don’t worry, Canadian-spec models will include a centre touchscreen. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche created the 718 T for “driving pleasure in its purest form” as stated in its January 7, 2020 press release, however, adding that “T stands for ‘Touring’ in Porsche models” and therefore “the 718 T will be most at home on winding country roads,” so therefore you may want to satisfy your soul with the traditional six-speed manual even if it’s not quite as quick off the line.

The new 2020 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T pull off the same straight-line acceleration times as the already quick entry-level Boxster and Cayman siblings, with standstill to 100 km/h arriving at just 5.1 seconds apiece, while PDK-equipped cars manage the feat in just 4.9 to 4.7 seconds, just like the base 718 models. Likewise, both T cars’ top track speeds are identical to their base counterparts at 275 km/h.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
Who needs door handles? T trim replaces the inner release handles with these mesh pulls. (Photo: Porsche)

Bigger changes to 718 T models affect handling and control, thanks to standard Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) that incorporate dynamic hard and soft gearbox mounts for reduced vibration and improved performance, plus a sport exhaust system, special high-gloss titanium grey-painted 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and lastly a first for the base turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 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 changes to driving style. Everything just listed sits on a 20-millimetre lower ride height, resulting in a reduced centre of gravity and thus better control all around.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
T models get red painted “H” patterns atop their manual shift levers. (Photo: Porsche)

Making the new models stand out visually, Porsche adds a grey side striping package with “718 Cayman T” or “718 Boxster T” script, while the mirror caps are painted Agate grey to match the just-noted wheels, and twin black chrome tailpipes poke out from the back.

Moving to the inside, the new 718 T models include 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, 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 inner door handles, which can be changed for optional coloured pulls as shown in the photos.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
Special side stripes include Porsche’s usual italicized model designations. (Photo: Porsche)

When you’re checking over those photos you may also notice something missing from both cars’ instrument panels, their Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreens that were removed to reduce weight, and replaced by a large storage compartment. When your 718 T arrives this summer you it won’t have this glaring omission due to a regulation that made reverse cameras mandatory as of May 2018, so expect the same high-resolution infotainment display and full assortment of leading-edge features as found in the current 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster.

The two new T models will be available in a variety of colours to allow for plenty of personalization, including Black, Guards Red, Racing Yellow, and White exterior base coatings, optional Carrara White, Jet Black and GT Silver metallic paints, and finally Lava Orange and Miami Blue special colours.

To learn more or order one for yourself, contact your local Porsche retailer. 

Also, be sure to watch the videos below to witness the new 2020 718 Cayman T and 718 Boxster T in action: 

 

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):