Sports cars are unreliable, right? Not so, if it’s a Porsche. The German brand has ranked highly in independent dependability studies for years, once again placing near the top amongst premium brands…

Porsche number one overall in 2020 J.D. Power APEAL study

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The 911 Carrera is amongst the most reliable Porsche’s, and certainly one of the most dependable sports cars available today.

Sports cars are unreliable, right? Not so, if it’s a Porsche. The German brand has ranked highly in independent dependability studies for years, once again placing near the top amongst premium brands in the most recent 2020 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, so it only makes sense that the brand does well in customer satisfaction studies too.

For its second consecutive year, Porsche has achieved the top spot in J.D. Power and Associate’s 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which surveys customers on their ownership experience, including how their vehicles drive.

“I am gratified at how excited our customers are with their new dream cars,” stated Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. “Porsche believes in continuous improvement and winning the top spot again just encourages us to find new ways to delight our drivers.”

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche is the most “APEALing” brand on the market.

The 2020 APEAL Study judges the “emotional attachment and level of excitement” with U.S. owners that purchased a new car, truck or SUV at least 90 days before. Covering 37 attributes, the study questions owners about the “sense of comfort and luxury” when stepping inside, the “power they feel when they step on the gas,” and more, states a Porsche North America press release.

The APEAL index score is measured on a 1,000-point scale, and Porsche earned 881 points for this year’s highest average of all brands. By comparison, most premium brands averaged 861 points, and it wasn’t as if J.D. Power’s participant sampling was low, thanks to more than 87,000 purchasers and lessees of 2020 model-year vehicles taking part. The study, now in its 25th year, queried respondents from February through May of 2020.

 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Porsche wowed performance car fans with its shockingly quick 2021 911 Turbo S back in April, and we made a point of covering every one of its 640 horsepower. Now it’s time for the slightly less outrageous…

New 911 Turbo fills gap between Carrera S and Turbo S

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
The new 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo boasts 572 horsepower!

Porsche wowed performance car fans with its shockingly quick 2021 911 Turbo S back in April, and we made a point of covering every one of its 640 horsepower. Now it’s time for the slightly less outrageous 911 Turbo to share the limelight, and we think that its 572 horsepower 3.8-litre flat-six will be enough to create a buzz of its own.

After all, the regular Turbo provides 32 additional horsepower over the previous 2019 911 Turbo, which is enough to shoot it from zero to 100km/h in a mere 2.8 seconds when upgraded with the Sport Chrono Package and mounted to the 911’s lighter Coupe body style. Then again, you can go al fresco and still manage 2.9 seconds from standstill to 100km/h, both times 0.2 seconds less than each models’ predecessor.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
Zero to 100km/h takes only 2.8 seconds.

The 911’s acclaimed “boxer” engine makes a robust 553 lb-ft of torque in its newest generation, which is 30 lb-ft more than previously. That makes it more potent than the previous 911 Turbo S, upping torque, horsepower and acceleration times, due in part to new symmetrical variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbochargers that feature electrically controlled bypass valves, a redesigned charge air cooling system, and piezo fuel injectors. This results in faster throttle response, freer revving, better torque delivery, and sportier overall performance.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
The regular 911 Turbo is just as wide as the even quicker Turbo S.

The new 911 Turbo incorporates the same standard eight-speed dual-clutch PDK automated gearbox as the 911 Turbo S, while both cars also feature Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive as standard equipment too. It’s all about high-speed stability, necessary with a top track speed of 320 km/h (198 mph).

Additionally, the new 911 Turbo gets similarly muscular sheet metal as the Turbo S, its width greater than the regular Carrera by 46 mm (1.8 in) up front and 20 mm (0.8 in) between its rear fenders. This allows for wider, grippier performance tires that measure 10 mm (0.4 in) more at each end. The front brake rotors are 28 mm (1.1 in) wider than those on the previous 911 Turbo too, while the same 10-piston caliper-enhanced ceramic brakes offered with the Turbo S can also be had with the less potent 911 Turbo. Yet more options include the previously noted Sport Chrono Package, as well as a Sport suspension, Porsche Active Suspension Management, and rear-wheel steering.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
Gorgeous styling comes standard.

Porsche has upgraded the 911 Turbo’s cabin over the Carrera with some performance goodies too, including standard 14-way powered Sport seats and standard Bose audio, while a Lightweight package removes the rear jump seats and swaps out the standard front Sport seats for a unique set of lightweight buckets, while also taking out some sound deadening material for a total weight-savings diet of 30 kilos (66 lbs).

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
Long, low and lean, the new 911 Turbo cheats the wind better than any predecessor.

Also available, the 911 Turbo Sport package includes a number of SportDesign enhancements such as black and carbon-fibre exterior trim as well as clear taillights, while a Sport exhaust system can also be had. The options menu continues with Lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, night vision assist, a 360-degree surround parking camera, Burmester audio, and more.

The 2021 Turbo Coupe and 2021 Turbo Cabriolet will arrive at Canadian Porsche dealers later this year for $194,400 and $209,000 respectively, but take note you can order from your local Porsche retailer now.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo
The new 911 Turbo gets all the same interior updates as the Carrera.

Before you make that call, however, check out the 2021 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page at CarCostCanada, because you’ll learn how to access factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent. You can also find out about possible rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. See how it works now, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Android Store, so you can access all the most important car shopping information from the convenience of your phone when at the dealership or anywhere else.

 

 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Looking at today’s Porsche 911 makes it hard to believe its predecessors once used no-draft windows to ventilate, but such was the case right up until the water-cooled 996 arrived in 1998. Now, however,…

Innovative 911 Cabriolet automatic climate control adjusts for open air experience

1964 Porsche 911 Carrera
Early 911s, like this 1964 Carrera, used “no-draft” windows for ventilation.

Looking at today’s Porsche 911 makes it hard to believe its predecessors once used no-draft windows to ventilate, but such was the case right up until the water-cooled 996 arrived in 1998. Now, however, Porsche has become a leader in climate control.

Multi-zone automatic climate control systems only exist because all us feel temperatures differently. Porsche has long offered such individualized HVAC systems in its sports car and SUV lineup, but they’ve taken the concept to new levels when it comes to the new 911 Cabriolet, by developing a cabin temperature sensor capable of detecting when the fabric top is being opened and then immediately making necessary adjustments to maintain chosen temperatures.

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
The new 911 Cabriolet incorporates a smart sensor that helps maintain a constant temperature when the top is opening.

The sophisticated system uses 20 external and 20 internal interfaces that continuously process about 350 signals in half-second intervals, including outlet, exterior, and coolant temperatures, as well as engine speed, insolation, and vehicle speeds. Now, after factoring in retractable roof, door and seating information, it has the ability to slowly suppress one of these sensors when the convertible top is opened. The result is optimal air temperature, air ventilation volume and air distribution to each occupant for ideal temperature comfort.

“Even in the searing summer heat of the city, 911 Cabriolet drivers are surrounded by a pleasant freshness,” claims Porsche in a press release.

2020 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
The latest 911 Cabriolet is Porsche’s most comfortable, and its new climate control system intends to keep it that way all the time.

The German brand points out that its intelligent climate control system is particularly effective at low speeds and in cooler weather that normally results in warm feet and a cool head while driving with the top down. The system is now able to distribute more warm air to the driver and front passenger through the centre vents, which provides “a cozy veil of heat without having the unpleasant sensation of air being blown in their faces,” adds Porsche. The 911 Cabriolet’s driver will also benefit from “blissfully warm hands on the steering wheel,” making the need for warm gloves and winter jackets unnecessary.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Nissan has taken a cue from Toyota’s best-selling RAV4 by toughening up the look of its Rogue for 2021, and if recent sales trends are indicative of things to come, most would-be buyers should find…

Nissan redesigns its popular Rogue compact SUV for 2021

2021 Nissan Rogue
Nissan has squared off some of the Rogue’s curves for 2021, and by so doing has produced a more assertive looking compact SUV.

Nissan has taken a cue from Toyota’s best-selling RAV4 by toughening up the look of its Rogue for 2021, and if recent sales trends are indicative of things to come, most would-be buyers should find its sharper angles and more rugged appearance appealing.

Like Toyota, Nissan has built decades worth of respect for its 4×4-capable SUVs and pickup trucks, so pulling a number of styling cues from its full-size Armada down to the more affordable, economical and car-like compact class certainly doesn’t hurt the new Rogue’s image.

To a lesser extent Honda did likewise with its CR-V, but other than ATVs and motorcycles the second-most popular compact sport utility’s maker doesn’t have any serious off-road heritage to pull from, giving Nissan and Toyota, not to mention Chevrolet, Dodge/Ram, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Kia and Mitsubishi, which also currently produce or have produced off-road-oriented trucks and SUVs, a unique advantage while the SUV sector continues to take over the entire automotive landscape.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The more rugged looking 2021 Rogue should be appealing to compact SUV buyers.

While the word aggressive is probably not applicable, the new 2021 Rogue looks more assertive than its predecessor. Nissan is quick to point this out in its press release, using words such as “edgy” and “adventurous” to describe the overall “spirit of the vehicle,” and expanding on that theme with phrases like “commanding presence,” “athletic strength,” and “adventure-ready exterior.”

While we all love creative marketing-speak, the expected Nissan design cues are clearly evident, including its new squared off V-motion grille up front and blackened D pillars at back, the latter creating the appearance of a “floating roof,” this now enhanced when choosing new two-tone exterior colour combos that allow for an all-black roof. Rugged looking lower body cladding beefs up appearances further, accentuated via a new “U-shape” bodyside design, while the attractive set of LED taillights don’t depart quite as much from their forebears as the new multi-level LED headlights do up front.

2021 Nissan Rogue
New two-tone colour combos help accentuate the Rogue’s blackened D-pillar design.

In a market that always seems to expand outer dimensions, a compact SUV that shrinks 1.5 inches from nose to tail and shaves 0.2 inches from its height is a welcome addition. While its shortened and lowered stance won’t be felt inside, these slight dimensional changes contribute to the crossover’s blunter more traditional SUV-like appearance without making it look too tall and boxy.

Unlike the RAV4, Nissan has yet to offer the new 2021 Rogue with an off-road trim line, the competitive Toyota having provided a more rugged looking and somewhat more 4×4-capable Trail version since its 2019 redesign, which can be upgraded with an even more empowering TRD Off Road Package for 2020, but that’s not to say the Rogue’s hardy new image is only skin deep.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Nissan seems to have really upped the Rogue’s interior design and materials quality for 2021.

In models equipped with Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, it starts with a centre console-mounted Drive Mode Selector that incorporates an “Off-road” setting for tackling more treacherous terrain, or at least it can help overcome unruly rocks and other reasonably sized obstacles poking up from the dirt on the way to the summer cottage. A “Snow” mode does likewise for slippery conditions, while the Drive Mode Selector also incorporates Standard, Eco and Sport settings when weather patterns are less extreme, these final three the sole settings available in front-wheel drive trims.

Enhancing traction further, the new Rogue gets an entirely new Vehicle Motion Control System that Chris Reed, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at the Nissan Technical Centre North America, claims to do “what a human can’t.”

2021 Nissan Rogue
An available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster lends the new Rogue premium appeal.

“The all-new Vehicle Motion Control predicts what the driver is trying to do by monitoring steering, acceleration and braking,” adds Reed. “It can then step in and help to smooth things out.”

Basically, Vehicle Motion Control joins the all-wheel drive system and Drive Mode Selector to provide individual four-wheel control, improving line traceability in order to smooth out corners via the braking system, and even applying an individual brake pad to do so. The system, which features a chassis control module that “monitors and adjusts engine, transmission, Vehicle Dynamic Control, all-wheel drive and steering functions” is especially helpful when “driving on snowy slopes, deep snow, snow flat turning and off-road driving (such as beach or dirt trails),” said Nissan in its press release, although it’s always on and therefore assists in all situations.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The optional 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is one-inch larger than the already sizeable 8.0-inch base unit.

As for the Rogue’s all-wheel drive system, it now incorporates a new electro-hydraulic controlled clutch that distributes torque quicker and more accurately thanks to an ability to predict front-wheel slippage, thus allowing for better rear torque distribution along with greater traction and responsiveness overall.

Speaking of responsiveness, a new quicker-ratio rack-electric power steering setup should result in more immediate turn-in, while a rigid six-position front suspension mounting and redesigned multi-link rear suspension will no doubt help to flatten out the curves.

This is important, as the new Rogue with be quicker thanks to an updated direct-injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that makes 11 more horsepower and 6 additional lb-ft of torque, the new total being a nice even (or odd) 181 units apiece. In order to achieve this gain in performance, Nissan uses its GT-R-proven mirror bore coating technique to reduce friction and therefore enhance efficiency, while also adding a variable displacement oil pump, an integrated exhaust manifold and an e-VTC intake valve along with other improvements.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Wireless charging is available.

Yes, Nissan has been a technology leader as of late, so prepare yourself for some serious digital wizardry along with a bigger safety kit filled with new gear like Intelligent Driver Alertness that monitors steering patterns and if detecting drowsiness warns to take a break with a chime and coffee cup icon, Rear Door Alert that signals if you’ve left something or someone in the back seat when exiting, and Easy Fill Tire Alert that lets you know when a tire needs more air.

The brand’s Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced driver assistive systems is included as standard too, with features like Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and High Beam Assist, while an unusual yet welcome addition is standard Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking, which will automatically stop the Rogue if backing into an obstacle or worse, out into oncoming traffic.

2021 Nissan Rogue
An electronic shifter allows for a taller “floating” centre console with storage space below.

Of note, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Intervention and Intelligent Cruise Control with improved stop-and-go are optional, the latter integrated with an even more advanced version of Nissan’s semi-self-driving ProPilot Assist system. Safety improvements continue with 10 standard airbags instead of the six found in the outgoing Rogue, and extended crumple zones in case of impact. Additional options include a new four-door Intelligent Key system that allows the driver and passengers to open all four doors, this part of the Rogue’s new “Family Hub” combination that also includes tri-zone automatic climate control with two independent temperature zones up front and one in the rear.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue’s NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats are said to provide comfortable support along with standard front heaters.

Even more noticeable, the Rogue’s upper-crust trim gets a fully customizable 12.3-inch “Digital Dashboard” gauge cluster that completely replaces the conventional instruments with a colourful TFT display, although the base model’s regular primary gauge package is still advanced thanks to a 2.0-inch larger 7.0-inch multi-information display at centre, which is also capable of full personalization.

On top of this, literally, a supersized 10.8-inch head-up display unit projects key information onto the windshield where it’s easiest to see, while the standard 8.0-inch centre touchscreen display (already large for the class) gets increased to 9.0 inches for those willing to spend a bit more. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard across the line, with Google Maps and Waze (with voice recognition) integration available.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The new Rogue is hardly short on standard or available features.

It all comes in a cabin that looks wholly improved over its predecessor, with many more soft-touch surfaces plus richer optional Prima-Tex leatherette or quilted semi-aniline leather upholsteries in Graphite, Grey or Tan, as well as nicer wood grains and metallic trims, while Nissan’s NASA-influenced Zero Gravity seats offer comfortable support along with standard front warming. The steering wheel rim is heatable in base trim too, a smart nod of respect to Rogue owners of all means, while rear outboard seat heaters are optional, as is two-way driver’s memory. Other options include a surround parking camera system Nissan calls Intelligent Around View Monitor, this combined with the aforementioned rear driver assistive systems.

A smart electronic shift lever is shorter and positioned closer to the driver, and due to not needing any mechanical hardware underneath, allows for a raised centre console with plenty of what-have-you space on a shelf below.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Cargo space appears generous, while new auto-folding rear seats add convenience.

The Rogue still doesn’t provide a centre pass-through in the second row or better yet, the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks provided by some competitors, which allow owners to lay longer items like skis down the middle while rear passengers enjoy the more comfortable, optionally heated rear window seats, but Nissan does include a one-touch automated folding mechanism with “an available remote fold feature” for convenience. The Japanese brand’s useful Divide-n-Hide cargo system is once again available too, plus a powered and Motion Activated Liftgate that lets you open the rear hatch by kicking your foot under the back bumper.

Once again available in S, SV and Platinum trim levels, the 2021 Rogue will be available this fall, with pricing expected closer to its launch date. If all this sounds like it’s worth waiting for, stay tuned for more updates, but if you’d rather take advantage of some pretty incredible savings available on the current model, check out CarCostCanada’s 2020 Nissan Rogue Canada Prices page that was showing up to $5,000 in additional incentives at the time of writing. All you’ll need in order to learn about available manufacturer rebates, financing and leasing deals, plus otherwise hard to find dealer invoice pricing is an inexpensive CarCostCanada membership. Find out how it works now and while you’re at it, download the free CarCostCanada mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

The Cayenne GTS is back, and much has changed since the model was last offered for 2018. First, the Cayenne was totally redesigned the following year in 2019, while in addition to that completely rejuvenated…

Porsche Cayenne GTS gets twin-turbo V8 power for 2021

2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe
The new 2021 Cayenne GTS can be had in the regular body style or as this new Cayenne Coupe.

The Cayenne GTS is back, and much has changed since the model was last offered for 2018.

First, the Cayenne was totally redesigned the following year in 2019, while in addition to that completely rejuvenated third-generation SUV arriving on the scene, the outgoing Cayenne GTS was only offered in one single body style, whereas this new 2021 version can now be purchased in Porsche’s sportier fastback Cayenne GTS Coupe design.

What’s more, the old Cayenne GTS made its power from a twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 good for 440 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, but the new version boasts a much more enticing twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 capable of 453 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque.

2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS
The more upright Cayenne GTS still looks very sporty when compared to most premium competitors.

The addition of 13 horsepower and 14 lb-ft of torque, combined with the new Cayenne design, makes for a quicker 4.5-second run from standstill to 100 km/h when the Sport Chrono Package is included, which is a 0.6-second improvement when compared to the outgoing model, while the base Cayenne GTS is good for a 4.8-second sprint from zero to 100 km/h. On top of this, the new Cayenne GTS can achieve a top track speed of 270 km/h, which is an increase of 8 km/h over its predecessor.

The revised direct-injection V8 incorporates a new intelligently designed thermal management system plus adaptive cylinder control to meet its performance requirements, while the Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic transmission is once again employed for shifting gears. Standard Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive is also carried over into the new model.

2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe
The Cayenne GTS Coupe can be had with a special high-frequency sport exhaust upgrade featuring two tailpipes centred in the middle of its more aggressive rear diffuser.

The new Cayenne GTS’ rear bumper features a standard sports exhaust system with two circular tailpipes per side, which Porsche claims to make “a rich, sporty sound with a unique character” in a press release. What’s more, when the Cayenne GTS Coupe is upgraded with the optional Lightweight Sports Package it can also be had with a special high frequency-tuned sports exhaust system. This model is easy to point out thanks to two large oval tailpipes at the centre of its more aggressively shaped rear diffuser.

Together with the new V8 powertrain, the updated Cayenne GTS incorporates some suspension improvements as well, including redesigned Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dampers that, combined with the standard three-chamber Air Suspension, drop the SUV’s ride height by 30 mm compared to the Cayenne S. Additionally, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) is included as standard.

2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe
The new GTS gets all of the upgrades seen since the 2019 Cayenne arrived, plus Alcantara and dark aluminum trim.

Both Cayenne GTS models roll on unique black-silk gloss 21-inch RS Spyder Design alloy wheels that encircle grey cast iron 390 by 38 mm front and 358 by 28 mm rear brake discs, clamped down upon via red-painted calipers. The GTS can also be enhanced with the tungsten carbide-coated Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) system, or even better, the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system, while additional upgrades can include rear-axle steering and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active roll stabilization system.

The new 2021 Cayenne GTS and Cayenne GTS Coupe would hardly be complete without a host of styling updates from the outside in, of course, so therefore together with the previously noted alloys the SUV’s exterior design features a standard Sport Design package including the usual black accents on the front air intakes, side window surrounds, tailpipes and rear Porsche logos plus model designation. Even the LED headlamps, which include the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), are tinted in black, as is the new LED taillight bar in back.

2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe
Suede-like Alcantara seat inserts make for a soft, luxurious finish as well as a grippy surface that holds backside in place during hard cornering.

Porsche wraps the interior door and centre console armrests in plush suede-like Alcantara too, as well as the seat centre panels, the roof liner and more, plus dark-brushed aluminum cabin accents add to the SUV’s sporty yet premium ambiance. On this note, the front sport seats get more robust side bolstering and eight-way power as standard features, not to mention “GTS” embroidery on the headrests, while the GTS insignia is also found on the primary instrument cluster’s rev counter dial, the door entry sills, and the front outer door panels. Optionally, a GTS interior package comes with Carmine Red or Chalk colour accents, including decorative stitching.

The all-new 2021 Cayenne GTS and 2021 Cayenne GTS Coupe can now be ordered from your local Porsche retailer before arriving in the fourth quarter of 2020, with pricing starting at $120,400 and $126,500 respectively.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Ahead of the 2021 Arteon four-door coupe virtual world première set for June 24th, Volkswagen has released one image containing two artist’s renderings of the forthcoming model, one of which clearly…

Volkswagen reveals rendering of refreshed 2021 Arteon four-door coupe

2021 Volkswagen Arteon
Volkswagen will update the Arteon for model year 2021, but if we were to bring this artist’s rendering back to reality would it look a lot like the already sleek 2020 model?

Ahead of the 2021 Arteon four-door coupe virtual world première set for June 24th, Volkswagen has released one image containing two artist’s renderings of the forthcoming model, one of which clearly shows an elongated wagon-like body style similar in concept to Porsche’s Panamera Sport Turismo (see a full road test review of all Panamera models here).

While exciting news for five-door sport wagon fans in Europe, take note the new Arteon Shooting Brake, as it’s called, won’t be available in North American markets. Instead, Canada and the U.S. will only get the refreshed first-generation Arteon in its four-door fastback body style, which means the German automaker will have less opportunity to pull this model up from its sales doldrums.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon
It would be hard to imagine that 2021 Arteon getting any lower, longer or wider than the already slick 2019-2020 model.

Yes, as attractive as today’s Arteon is, the sleek sport sedan has been relegated to niche status in Canada. Sales during calendar year 2019 totalled just 456 units (although deliveries started partway through the year in March), which left it dead last in the volume-branded mainstream mid-size sedan segment. The Passat, its more conventional and much less expensive four-door sedan stable mate, finished one step ahead with 672 examples sold, and take note this happened well before 2020’s tumultuous health, economic and social woes shook up the market.

This last point in mind, over the first three months of 2020 (all that’s been reported so far, and mostly before we were hit by hard times) the Arteon’s numbers were even worse with just 81 Canadian buyers (which if extrapolated over four quarters would equal 324 sales), although the new 2020 Passat found 523 new owners during the first three months of the year (theoretically equaling 2,092 unit sales over four quarters), a clear sign that Canadians like the new 2020 model’s ground up redesign.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon
The current Arteon’s rear design is almost as alluring as its dramatic front fascia.

At first glance, the Passat’s positive initial 2020 sales results could bode well for the upcoming Arteon mid-cycle makeover, health, social and especially economic issues aside, but the current 2020 Arteon is already a stunner, and while the artist’s rendering appears longer, lower and wider with much larger wheels, typical of such cartoonish drawings, if one were to squeeze it back into reality the update should actually look much like the current car other than a slightly modified grille and lower front fascia, plus similarly mild modifications most likely applied to the rear.

The Arteon’s interior is currently the best Volkswagen has on offer, and while we shouldn’t expect wholesale changes, VW is promising to integrate its latest modular infotainment matrix 3 (MIB3) system for faster application processing, improved connectivity, greater overall functionality, and better entertainment.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon
Today’s Arteon offers the most luxurious cabin in VW’s current lineup, but nevertheless the German automaker promises improvements inside.

Volkswagen will also introduce more intelligent assist systems, such as “Travel Assist” semi-autonomous or “highly assisted driving.” Like other hands-on-the-wheel self-correcting driver assist systems currently offered by other manufacturers, Travel Assist has been designed specifically for long-distance highway use, with the Arteon capable of “steering, acceleration and braking up to speeds of 130 mph [210 km/h],” said Volkswagen in a press release, albeit “under the control of the driver.”

All of this could push the cost of the already pricey Arteon higher, however, the current version of this low-slung sport sedan hitting the road just a hair’s breadth under $50k ($49,960 plus fees to be exact), which is without doubt a key reason its sales are slow.

Kia’s Stinger, the only other four-door coupe in the mainstream volume-branded mid-size sedan segment, found 1,569 Canadian buyers last year, however, while walking away with 2019 Canadian Car of the Year honours, but this similarly sleek alternative is a considerable $5,000 less expensive and comes equipped with stronger base and optional performance as well as more features.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
We shouldn’t expect this sweptback 2021 Arteon Shooting Brake here in Canada.

Right now it’s possible to lower a new 2019 Arteon’s base price to match the Stinger’s window sticker, mind you, with up to $5,000 in additional incentives available from Volkswagen, while the German automaker is offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent for the 2020 Arteon. Not to be outdone, Kia is offering the same $5,000 in additional incentives on any 2019 Stingers still in stock or up to $4,000 in additional incentives for the 2020 Stinger, so take you pick. Learn more about these deals as well as available manufacturer rebates and otherwise difficult to source dealer invoice pricing at CarCostCanada. Also, make sure to download the new free CarCostCanada app from Google Play Store or the Apple iTunes store.

More detailed information about the 2021 Arteon, and the Euro-market Arteon Shooting Brake, will follow the upcoming world première later this month.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Volkswagen

Have you ever wanted something so bad that your credit card just magically pops out of your wallet, all your personal info auto-fills the various fields, “accept charges” buttons unconsciously get…

New 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition a blast from Porsche’s storied past

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
Absolutely gorgeous! The new 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition will be limited to just 992 examples.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that your credit card just magically pops out of your wallet, all your personal info auto-fills the various fields, “accept charges” buttons unconsciously get pressed and confirmation emails immediately arrive? That’s what Porsche hopes will happen with its new very limited 2021 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, and while most of us don’t have American Express Centurion cards that allow us to nonchalantly plop $205,900 plus fees for a frivolous sports car when such desires strike, enough high-rolling, Fed-infused Wall Street hedge managers do to make special projects like this happen.

The new 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition fits the phrase “modern-day classic” better than anything we’ve seen for quite some time. It’s based on the new 2021 911 Targa we shared here last month, and we have to say the car’s classic silver roll hoop body style suits this special edition’s retro design perfectly.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
Yes of course we want one, complete with its motorsport-inspired livery.

Unless you detest such memory lane recreations, or more specifically in this case, homages paying tribute to the glory days of Porsche’s beginnings, the 911 Targa 4S Heritage probably had you at hello. From its gorgeous Cherry Metallic paintwork (it’s also available in four alternative exterior colours), motorsport-inspired spear-shaped front fender stripes and circular decal-style number livery, and historically true 1963 Porsche Crest badges, rear mounted Porsche Heritage badge, and gold-tone nameplates, to its two-tone Bordeaux Red or Black leather and Atacama Beige OLEA club leather and corduroy-lined cabin, this is one stunning head-turner.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
The gold emblems are period-correct and oh-so cool.

Porsche goes even further with details like green backlighting on the tachometer and centre dash top-mounted “stopwatch”, which being typical of ‘50s and ‘60s cars, plus the microfibre roofliner gets perforations similar to past Porsches (and VWs). And those just-mentioned period-correct Porsche crests? You’ll find them on the key fob, hood, steering wheel and wheel hub covers, those latter items capping off wheels resembling the “five-leaf” Fuchsfelge alloys brought to market for the 1966 911S. Of course the new Carrera Exclusive Design alloys are staggered and much larger than those from Porsche’s past, now measuring 20 inches up front and 21 inches at the back, while framing a set of classic black brake calipers.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
For anyone that grew up in the ’60s or ’70s, there’s corduroy in this car! We’re half expecting to see geometric velour patterns in Porsche’s follow-up Heritage Design Edition.

This is the first example of four collector’s models from Porsche’s Heritage Design strategy, incidentally, and as was shown in this article’s first paragraph, it doesn’t come cheap. There’s always a price paid for exclusivity, and with just 992 of these special Heritage 911 Targas available (the number referencing the latest 911’s internal code name), its lofty window sticker will make sense to those capable of taking advantage. Porsche commemorates the example purchased with a beautiful gold metal “911 Heritage Design Edition XXX/992” dash plaque, with the number “000” shown likely kept for Porsche’s own collection.

The 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition pays obvious tribute to late ‘60s and early ‘70s 911 Targas, but Porsche makes the point of claiming this car represents four decades of classic 911s.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
Porsche pulls the green background lighting in the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition’s gauge cluster from ’50s and ’60s-era 356 and 911 models.

“We are evoking memories of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in customers and fans with the Heritage Design models,” stated Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG in a press release. “No brand can translate these elements into the modern day as well as Porsche. In this way, we are fulfilling the wishes of our customers. With the exclusive special editions, we are also establishing a new product line which stands for the ‘lifestyle’ dimension in our product strategy.”

As noted before, this first example of the four Heritage Design models is based on the all-new 2021 911 Targa 4S, and therefore is as modern as the new the new 992-generation gets under the skin, including all of Porsche’s latest chassis tech, driver assistance systems, infotainment advancements, and more. Below its automatically deployable rear wing is 443 horsepower worth of horizontally opposed, twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder greatness combined with a paddle-shift prompted eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission. It’s capable of shooting from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 3.6 seconds (when Launch Control is engaged) and maxes out at a track speed of 304 km/h.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
Each of the 992 examples get this beautiful numbered plaque on the dash shelf.

Classic car aficionados have long appreciated how horology has played an important role in the automotive industry’s beginnings, in that early watchmakers provided the same types of instruments we now refer to as gauge clusters. Porsche remains true to its past with the beautiful analogue clocks found on the centre dash tops of all models, which can usually be upgraded to a complex chronometer stopwatch and lap counter by adding its Sport Chrono Package. Exclusive to 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design owners, Porsche Design, a majority-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, although a credible luxury watchmaker on its own, has created the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition chronograph wristwatch.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition
Of course, it goes without saying that you must have the matching Porsche Design wristwatch too.

Once again just 992 examples will be manufactured, and come complete with a face featuring a white seconds hand and “Phosphorus Green” rings around its perimeter like the primary instruments in both the 356 and original 911 Targa. Additionally, its Arabic hour indices are styled in typical Porsche block lettering, while the leather strap is produced from the same hides as those found in Porsche interiors.

This watch and the new 2021 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition are available to order now before arriving in Canada this fall. And yes, if you’ve read this far you definitely don’t have an American Express Centurion card, or you would’ve already placed your order. 

Those that end up missing out on the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, yet still have some room left over on their platinum cards, should take a look at our recent overview of the 2021 911 Targa 4 and 4S (it only starts at $136,000), and then click on one of CarCostCanada’s 2019, 2020 or 2021 Porsche 911 Canada Prices pages to find out about available manufacturer rebates, financing and/or leasing deals, and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Right now factory leasing and financing rates can be had from zero percent on all of the above model years. Knowledge is everything, and in this case a CarCostCanada membership is a small price to pay for all the savings coming your way. Also, make sure to download the new CarCostCanada app from Google Play Store or the Apple iTunes store.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Now that the entirely new 2020 Palisade is garnering positive reviews and gaining plenty of new owners, the time was right for Hyundai to give its top-selling Santa Fe a bold new face as well. This said…

Hyundai updates the Santa Fe with a bold new look for 2021

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2021 Santa Fe shows a bold new face for this popular model, and a possible styling risk for Hyundai.

Now that the entirely new 2020 Palisade is garnering positive reviews and gaining plenty of new owners, the time was right for Hyundai to give its top-selling Santa Fe a bold new face as well.

This said not all onlookers are pleased with the design direction the South Korean brand is taking its popular mid-size five-passenger crossover SUV, with a quick CarCostCanada poll showing 100-percent of respondents preferring the outgoing model to the new one. Still, playing it safe can often result in more criticism while sticking your neck out with something daring might only cause initial pushback, so time will tell how buyers respond to the new model when it arrives later this year.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
The current 2019-2020 Santa Fe offers a more conservative styling approach, yet still provides a distinctive design.

One thing is for sure. There won’t be many mistaking the 2021 Santa Fe from its competitors, thanks to a distinctive new widened grille that looks one part Hyundai and another part Fisker thanks to extending right out to each corner of the frontal fascia. It’s nevertheless mostly unique, and according to Hyundai’s press release accentuates the SUV’s “wide and well-balanced stance.”

“We modernized the New Santa Fe with premium features and appealing aesthetics that are sure to add value,” said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and head of Global Design Centre. “The bold lines that extend from one side to the other and from front to back give Santa Fe a rugged yet refined look that SUV customers want. Besides, we’ve added numerous features and functions to create a truly family-focused SUV that is a pleasure to drive.”

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
This version of the 2021 Santa Fe shows a different grille design with octagonal insert openings, plus medium grey lower bodywork.

Hyundai didn’t explain why the new grille’s “signature geometric patterned inlay” is different depending on which photo is shown, however, the model with body-colour painted lower trim (most likely the new top-line Santa Fe Ultimate) receiving seven rows of isosceles trapezoids, and the model with dark grey lower bumpers and rocker panels getting better aeration via larger octagonal vent openings similar to those currently in use, resulting a sportier appearance. Are these actually different grilles or the result of active grille shutters? We’ll learn more as additional info gets introduced closer to launch.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Flat-planed wheel arches provide a solid looking stance.

As it is, not a lot has been revealed in Hyundai’s 2021 Santa Fe release, other than nine exterior photos of white-painted examples in the two trims just noted. Both receive all-new T-shaped signature LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), however, which distinctly flow from the lower grille extensions up to the headlamp clusters, where each T’s stem gets capped off by its glowing cross-member. The outer tip of each T visually continues rearward along the new Santa Fe’s beltline before meeting up with a crease in the model’s redesigned wraparound LED taillights, while thicker flat-planed wheel arches “accentuate the SUV’s rugged and powerful character,” adds Hyundai, which house large 20-inch alloy wheels featuring a seven-spoke geometric pattern in the two Santa Fe trim-line examples shown.

From the rear, the new 2021 Santa Fe receives more horizontal styling elements to bring attention to its wide stance, including a thin light bar connecting the new taillights just mentioned, and lower down on the bumper a narrow reflector strip spanning most of the model’s width, plus a wider, larger rear vent cutout and metallic skid plate below that, which Hyundai dubs “a unique three-layer look.”

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Unique 20-inch wheels provide a seven-spoke geometric design.

Although Hyundai provides no photos of the updated 2021 Santa Fe interior, it shares some info in the press release that sheds some light on what we can expect. Keep in mind the current 2019-2020 fourth-generation Santa Fe (read our road test review of the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate here) is already one of the more luxuriously equipped two-row crossover SUVs available in the mainstream volume-branded auto sector, but according to Hyundai the new updated model provides “more space, comfort, and convenience,” and adds “a new level of luxury with every component finished in premium soft-touch materials.”

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
The new Santa Fe’s rear design includes a new light bar between the taillights and a horizontal reflector strip spanning most of the bumper.

Hyundai continues by saying the new Santa Fe’s centre console “sits high, giving the driver and front passenger the feeling of sitting in an armchair,” while all switchgear is “centered for intuitive and ergonomic use.” What’s more, like with the new three-row Palisade, the new Santa Fe’s reworked lower centre console receives a quad of buttons for gear selection, replacing the conventional shift lever. This is possible due to the new Santa Fe’s shift-by-wire transmission, and while no photo was provided for publication, we noticed one on the 2021 model’s press site page that’s most likely the real deal. It looks identical to the Palisade’s centre stack and lower console, so therefore, while we can’t be certain which model it comes from, it’s safe to say we’ll see something similar if not exactly the same in the updated Santa Fe. Either way, we’ve included it in our photo gallery above, so make sure to check it out. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
The current 2019-2020 Santa Fe gets a more upright design and an arguably more rugged looking rear bumper.

The new button-type gear selector receives a right-side extension housing a new Terrain Mode dial selector with stylish knurled metal edges that optimizes the performance of Hyundai’s HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive system, including Sand, Snow and Mud settings, plus Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart modes (the latter intuitively recognizing and automatically responding to personal driving style). Additionally, five more buttons provide quick adjustment to various driving and parking camera controls.

The new drive controls sit below two redesigned rows of centre stack switchgear, the top silver-painted row mostly for adjusting the larger, wider 10.25-inch AVN (audio, video, navigation) high-definition infotainment touchscreen atop the dash, this interface featuring power/volume and tuning/scrolling/enter knobs with the same knurled metal-look grips as the Terrain Mode selector, and the middle row also including LCD readouts for the dual-zone automatic climate control system, plus the same knurled metal edging on its “Auto” and “Sync” dials. The upscale detailing most likely continues into other areas of the cabin, but we’ll need to wait for more interior photos to know how far Hyundai has gone with such improvements.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Despite photos of the 2021 Santa Fe interior not being provided yet, a single photo of its centre stack and lower console appears on the automaker’s website.

The Santa Fe is Hyundai Canada’s longest running SUV nameplate, having originally arrived for the 2001 model year as a larger than average compact car-based crossover SUV. Now, four generations later it was the second best-selling five-passenger SUV in Canada during 2019 behind the Ford Edge, with 18,929 sales compared to the blue oval brand’s 19,965. This said, it was number one in the entire mid-size segment in 2018 with 24,040 units sold compared to 19,156 for the Edge, and that was after nearly a decade of class dominance with a peak of 28,402 deliveries in calendar year 2017.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
The new design feature T-shaped signature DRLs that strike upwards through the extended grille and into the LED headlamp clusters.

While Canadians clearly like the Santa Fe, Hyundai’s more recently introduced models are gaining traction in their various SUV segments too. The aforementioned Palisade was only introduced last year as a 2020 model yet 3,845 units were sold before the close of 2019. Sales were down for the first part of 2020 for obvious reasons, but from January through April the Palisade’s 1,285 units were nearly half of the Santa Fe’s 2,665 deliveries (the latter representing a 56-percent plunge), boding well for the larger utility when stronger sales resume, whereas the Kona (also available as an electric-powered EV) leads its subcompact SUV segment with 4,858 sales, the Tucson is close behind and third after the mighty Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in the larger compact SUV class with 4,733 units, and the all-new Venue has been selling strongly amongst city car-sized utilities with 1,577 down the road.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai promises the 2021 Santa Fe will provide a roomier, more accommodating cabin.

Once again we’ll need to see how Hyundai’s faithful respond to the new 2021 Santa Fe’s unorthodox styling before we predict a return to the top of the mid-size SUV sales charts, but improvements to its already impressive interior won’t hurt. This said, those that prefer the outgoing 2020 model’s styling may want to purchase one now and by doing so take advantage of up to $3,000 in additional incentives. To learn more go to CarCostCanada’s 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Canada Prices page, and just in case you can find a 2019 version still available, CarCostCanada’s 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Canada Prices page shows factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
If you like the look of the 2019-2020 Santa Fe more, check CarCostCanada for up to $3,000 in additional incentives.

Hyundai Canada is also offering zero-percent leasing and financing rates for the 2020 Venue, 2020 Kona Electric, the 2019 Kona Electric and the conventionally powered 2019 Kona, the 2019 Tucson, and 2019 Nexo (a hydrogen-powered EV), while you can access up to $1,000 in additional incentives when opting for a 2020 Kona or Palisade, and like the 2020 Santa Fe up to $3,000 in additional incentives when choosing a 2020 Tucson. Find out more about a CarCostCanada membership that provides all of this info and more, including available manufacturer rebates and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands on your next purchase, by linking to their “How It Works” page, plus download the new CarCostCanada mobile app in the iTunes or Google Play stores.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Hyundai