The Bolt EV, which currently combines subcompact-sized hatchback practicality with a zero-emissions plug-in battery-powered electric drivetrain that’s more fun to drive than anything available at its…

Chevrolet expands Bolt line with updated hatchback and new EUV crossover model

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet has redesigned its 2022 Bolt EV with much more complex headlamp clusters and fog light bezels, plus a grey-painted and textured grille panel.

The Bolt EV, which currently combines subcompact-sized hatchback practicality with a zero-emissions plug-in battery-powered electric drivetrain that’s more fun to drive than anything available at its entry-level size, is getting a major update for 2022, including an even more practical EUV crossover variant.

Think of the latter as the modern-day version of the now defunct Prius V, which was a good idea from a practical standpoint, albeit the EUV is purely electric instead of hybrid powered, and arguably more attractive to a broader consumer base. The two Chevy EVs are also smaller than anything that currently wears the Prius nameplate, with even the updated regular variant sized closer to the subcompact Prius C, which was also discontinued for lack of sales.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
New for 2022 is the extended Bolt EUV, which gets unique front styling while increasing rear seat legroom.

Despite mighty Toyota failing to create a brand within a brand with its highly successful Prius nameplate, now only offering two slightly different looking versions of the same compact/mid-size hatchback, one hybrid-powered and the other upgraded with a larger battery and plug-in capability, General Motors’ most popular brand will take a stab at the sub-brand business model, but to Chevrolet’s credit their new EUV actually looks like a subcompact crossover, so maybe it will fare better in this daunting quest than Toyota.

The current first-generation Bolt is a raised hatchback as well, and therefore similarly crossover-like. In another attempt to give it crossover status, the new version, shown on a sandy beach in some of its press photos (which is never a smart place to park without four-wheel drive), once again gets a slight lift along with blacked out trim around its lower regions and wheel cut outs, with only a set of black roof rails needed to finish off the SUV look. Alas, you’ll need to step up to the new EUV to get those.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The longer EUV looks similar to the regular Bolt from behind.

The Bolt EUV also grows the regular model in every dimension, although it’s really only adding 161 mm (6.3 in) of length, being that it’s just 5 mm (0.2 in) wider with 10 mm (0.4 in) more track, plus 5 mm (0.2 in) taller. This improvement, which adds 75 mm (3 in) of wheelbase, allows the EUV to gain 78 mm (3.1 in) of legroom in back, but oddly cargo space is down a fraction, from 470 litres (15.6 cu ft) with the seats up and 1,614 litres (57.0 cu ft) when lowered, to 462 and 1,611 litres (16.3 and 56.9 cu ft) respectively in the larger EUV.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Those will smaller children or little need to carry along rear passengers should be fine with the regular-length Bolt EV.

Despite the increase in height, the EUV’s headroom is also lower by a literal 0.2-mm (0.1-in) hair front to back, while it loses 24 mm (0.9 in) more up front when the sunroof is added. Shoulder room gets reduced nominally in the second row too, whereas hip room increases by a similarly wafer-thin sliver up front yet decreases by slightly more in back, so therefore the move up to the larger EUV really only benefits rear passenger legroom, an issue that reportedly causes complaints from current Bolt owners. At least the little crossover’s curb weight only increases by 41 kilos (90 lbs).

The added weight won’t likely be felt by EUV buyers thanks to the aforementioned performance of today’s Bolt, a power unit that Chevy saw no need to upgrade, although it will shave approximately 15 km (9 miles) from the larger model’s estimated range, from 417 km (259 miles) to 402 (250). This means the new 2022 Bolt EV and EUV will both be powered by a permanent magnetic electric drive motor and 65-kWh, 288-cell lithium-ion battery that combine for a very healthy 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Both models will be front-wheel drive only, like a number of other small crossover SUVs currently available.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Both Bolt EV and EUV (shown) interiors look similar and more conventional than their predecessor in layout and design.

DC fast charging capability is standard, which provides about 150 or 160 km (100 or 95 miles) of respective EV or EUV range after a 30-minute recharge, while a new dual-level charge cord allows its owner to hook up to either a 240-volt charging station or 120-volt household-type three-prong outlet.

Anyone familiar with the current Bolt will see the new models’ most significant changes inside, where both the EV and EUV receive cabins featuring a more horizontal theme to create a wider visual presence. The new layout is more conventional too, with a less pod-like centre stack that flows downward into a traditional lower console. It remains filled with the same standard 10.2-inch touchscreen, which is not only large for the subcompact class, but has been refreshed with new graphics. The system continues to offer a full assortment of functions, including standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus available navigation, while it’s now supported by standard wireless charging. On the contrary, the fully digital primary instrument cluster appears identical to that in the outgoing car.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The new Bolt EV (shown) and EUV feature a fully digital gauge cluster that appears identical  to the outgoing model.

Along with the current Bolt’s previously noted rear legroom shortcomings, customers also complained about seat comfort and substandard interior materials quality. While there’s never an excuse for the former, the latter wouldn’t normally be an issue amongst subcompact vehicles, but being that the Bolt EV nudges up against $45,000 before any government rebate programs, more soft-touch synthetics probably should have been part of this EV’s offering all along. Therefore, 2022 variants will reportedly get better perceived quality, with some dash-mounted faux leather even appearing in the press images. Interior switchgear has also been improved, although nothing appears premium-like in its design or execution.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The Bolt EV and EUV’s (shown) centre stack is all-new, featuring a large 10.2-inch touchscreen that integrates an updated interface.

The redesigned lower centre console features a new gear selector, however, ditching the conventional shift lever for a narrow row of Acura/Honda-like push and pull buttons. A green-lit button closest to the driver engages one-pedal driving, which is a more effective way than sliding the shift lever into the “L” position, a system used for the current Bolt and other GM EVs and plug-ins. More familiar to Bolt and Volt users are paddles on the backside of the new flat-bottom steering wheel, which can be used to assist braking and recharge the battery via regenerative kinetic energy.

Speaking of tech, the top-tier EUV Premier will be the first Chevy to offer GM’s Super Cruise hands-free semi-self-driving technology, functional on median divided highways. The EUV Premier also boasts adaptive cruise control and an HD 360-surround parking camera.

As for new Bolt family styling, most should find the smaller EV more attractive than its already reasonably handsome (for a subcompact hatchback) predecessor, unless its prospective owners would rather look at a more traditional grille-filled front fascia. The new car does away with the black mesh grille insert for a grey-painted and patterned panel within an ovoid outline, a very slender opening slotting below being the only real opening. This at least creates a familiar face compared to the Tesla Model 3 that looks as if it’s one of those non-branded cars used for insurance company advertising (and the like).

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The new Bolt EV (shown) and EUV receive a Honda-like row of gear selector controls.

Chevy once again ties a black strip of fender trim into the headlight clusters, which are now LEDs to enhance forward visibility and potentially lead to a higher IIHS Top Safety Pick rating, but those lighting elements are much more complex than the ones departing. The main lenses are narrower, thanks to the just noted LEDs within, while the old car’s traditional fog lamps get replaced by an extension of said black trim, not unlike today’s Cadillac front fascia designs.

The EUV gets a different frontal look, separating the headlamps and vent-like fog lamp bezels, and providing a deeper air intake at the base of the solid grey grille insert. The aforementioned black fender trim piece flows into the mirror caps of both cars, and appears to follow the black-painted window trim around the glass to a floating roof, similar to the car it replaces and other Chevy vehicles. While the backsides of both models are quite different in execution, they have similar designs overall, with neat, horizontally-shaped LED-infused taillights at each corner, plenty of glossy black composite in between, and big matte black bumpers at the bottom, the EUV a bit dressier thanks to a set of aluminum-look faux skid plates front to rear.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Strangely enough, the shorter Bolt EV (shown) has slightly more cargo space than the longer EUV.

Pricing for the 2022 Bolt EV will start at just $38,198 plus freight and fees, which is an impressive $6,800 less than the outgoing 2021 Bolt EV, whereas the new Bolt EUV will be available from only $40,198. Just as importantly, loading them up should keep their end numbers below $45k, which if exceeded disallows them from government rebate programs. Currently, only the base 2021 Bolt LT, at $44,998, qualifies for the most generous government handout, while the better equipped Bolt Premier’s $50,298 MSRP disqualifies it from any rebates. The new models are expected to arrive at GM retailers this summer, so we expect GM to offer ever-increasing incentives in order to rid dealerships of the current model.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Most shouldn’t notice the EUV’s (shown) cargo deficit.

So far CarCostCanada is only showing up to $1,000 in additional incentives on 2021 Bolts, and up to $2,000 on 2020 models, but you’ll need to become a member to find out the details. CarCostCanada’s inexpensive membership provides the latest info on manufacturer rebates, when available, plus up-to-date details on factory leasing and financing deals, while best of all you’ll receive dealer invoice pricing to help you get the optimal deal on any new vehicle.

It’s all available from their website or via a smartphone app you can download from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. CarCostCanada members are currently averaging $3,000 in savings from the 2021 Bolt, so make sure to find out how the CarCostCanada system works in order to get the best possible deal on your next new car.

Also, make sure to check out our complete 2021 Bolt EV and EUV photo gallery above, and enjoy the following videos from Chevy’s YouTube page:

Magic is Electric | Bolt EUV Reveal | Chevrolet (1:30):

Behind the Magic | Bolt EUV Reveal | Chevrolet (14:25):

Super Cruise | Bolt EUV | Chevrolet (0:30):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Chevrolet

Together with Toyota Credit Canada, Toyota Canada just announced a deal to supply 24 zero-emission Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell cars to Lyft in B.C., a ride hailing company, which will be rentable to a select…

Toyota supplies fleet of hydrogen-powered Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft

Toyota to supply Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada
Toyota will supply 24 of its first-generation Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada, a ride hailing company that serves Vancouver residents.

Together with Toyota Credit Canada, Toyota Canada just announced a deal to supply 24 zero-emission Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell cars to Lyft in B.C., a ride hailing company, which will be rentable to a select group of Lyft drivers through Toyota’s new KINTO Share program.

KINTO Share is an app that will allow eligible Lyft drivers to pick up a Mirai at one of three Toyota dealerships across Vancouver’s Lower Mainland (metropolitan area), for a weekly rental rate of $198 plus taxes and fees, inclusive of insurance, scheduled maintenance, and unlimited kilometres.

“Toyota’s KINTO Share program is proud to partner with Lyft to demonstrate a zero-emission mobility-as-a-service model in another important step toward achieving our global sustainability objectives,” said Mitchell Foreman, Director of Advanced and Connected Technologies at Toyota Canada. “This proof-of-concept project also allows more Canadians to experience hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles first-hand, demonstrating their viability and efficiency, especially for fleets.”

Toyota to supply Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada
The Mirai, a mid-size sedan, is a good choice for ride hailing companies, due to its comfortable ride and accommodating rear seating area.

The deal, announced Wednesday, is a trial program that Toyota hopes to roll out across Canada in the near future, while also an opportunity to educate Canadians about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

“Everybody who sits in the back seat [of a Mirai] is going to be able to learn a little bit more about hydrogen technology,” said Stephen Beatty, Toyota Canada’s Vice President, Corporate. “There’s no way that we could do that on our own.”

While good for Toyota, the partnership also shines brightly on Lyft, a company that competes directly with Uber for ride hailing customers that hire chauffeured cars via apps on their smartphones. Lyft not only gets visibility for engaging in the program, but wins accolades for increasing its zero-emissions fleet.

Toyota to supply Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada
Eligible Lyft drivers will be able to rent one of 24 Toyota Mirai models for less than $200 per week.

“Lyft’s mission is to improve peoples’ lives with the world’s best transportation, and to achieve this, we need to make transportation more sustainable,” said Peter Lukomskyj, General Manager, Lyft in B.C. “This partnership will better serve current drivers and those who don’t have a vehicle, but want to drive with Lyft for supplemental income, while moving us toward our goal of reaching 100-percent electric vehicles on the platform by 2030.”

Toyota’s Mirai, which features a 151-horsepower electric motor with 247 pound-feet of torque, was the world’s first mass production hydrogen fuel-cell-powered EV when launched six years ago. Compared to regular plug-in electric vehicles, which can take multiple days to fully charge via a regular 12-volt household outlet, or at the very least hours when using a fast-charging system, the Mirai can be refuelled in about five minutes at specially equipped hydrogen refuelling stations located throughout the Greater Vancouver area. Once filled, the Mirai has up to 500 kilometres of range, while only emitting water from its tailpipe. What’s more, the car’s zero-emission status makes it eligible for BC’s HOV lanes, thus reducing commuting times during peak hours. This bonus feature can be especially important for the profitability of a ride hailing driver.

Toyota to supply Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada
Look for these stickers on Toyota’s oddly shaped Mirai if you’d like to experience riding in a zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicle.

The road to practical hydrogen fuel-cell usage in the automotive market has been slow but steady, with plenty of automakers, including Chevrolet (GM), Daimler-Benz, Ford, Fiat, Kia, Lotus, Mazda, Nissan, PSA and Renault initially taking on the challenge, albeit amongst mainstream automakers Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and BMW are leading the charge now.

Toyota was first on the market with this Mirai sedan, now being used for the Lyft program, but Hyundai currently offers its hydrogen fuel-cell Nexo crossover SUV to early adopters, plus a domestic market commercial truck dubbed Xcient. Of note, Honda offers its Clarity Fuel-Cell sedan to lessors in California, while BMW has announced a hydrogen fuel-cell powered X5 SUV for 2022. Additionally, a number of smaller players produce hydrogen fuel-cell alternatives, including China’s Roewe (in partnership with SAIC-GM-Wuling and based on a 2010 Buick Lacrosse), the UK’s Riversimple, and Germany’s Gumpert.

Toyota to supply Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada
The Mirai benefits from the ability to use HOV lanes during peak periods, lessening commuting times for Lyft drivers and users.

Toyota will soon replace the version of the Mirai provided to Lyft with a more conventionally designed second-generation model introduced last year, which reportedly provides greater range. This updated Mirai will likely be used for expanding the Lyft program across Canada.

While the current Mirai’s styling won’t be to everyone’s taste, its relatively low sales of 11,100 units worldwide have more to do with consumers’ inability to easily refill the car, than anything to do with aesthetics. Therefore, key to hydrogen fuel-cell adoption is the expansion of a refuelling infrastructure (BC only has four refuelling stations, three of which are in Vancouver, claims HTEC — Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation, which operates all four stations), and Canada’s federal government has helped further this cause.

Toyota to supply Mirai fuel-cell cars to Lyft Canada
The Mirai can be refuelled in 5 minutes, and then travel up to 500 km on each full tank, making it ideal for ride hailing drivers.

“Hydrogen will play a significant role in B.C.’s clean energy future, generating environmental and economic benefits across the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “This new partnership will help demonstrate these benefits, move us toward our CleanBC goals and put B.C. on the road to a clean energy future.”

The government of Canada’s Hydrogen Strategy for Canada program was designed to make Canada a global hydrogen leader, while the province of British Columbia has been helping to promote hydrogen usage via its 2018 CleanBC plan and the 2019 Hydrogen Study, which emphasized transportation fuels with a focus on fuel-cell electric and other zero-emission vehicles.

2021 Toyota Mirai
A new second-generation MIrai, introduced last year, should be more aesthetically appealing to potential customers.

“Reducing emissions from transportation is a critical part of our plan to create a cleaner, healthier future for our children and grandchildren,” commented The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, P.C. M.P. “The Government of Canada is pleased to see collaborations like this one between Lyft Canada and Toyota Canada, which will not only benefit our environment, but also help position Canada as a world leader in the uptake of hydrogen technologies.”

It should also be noted that Vancouver has played an important role in the development of hydrogen fuel-cell technology, with firms like Ballard Power Systems (a leading developer and manufacturer of proton exchange membrane fuel cell products), Fuelex Energy (distributor of Esso Fuels, Mobil Lubricants and hydrogen), Loop Energy (a leading designer of fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles), and OverDrive Fuel Cell Engineering (hydrogen fuel cell stack engineering and manufacturing) all situated in the adjacent suburb of Burnaby.

2021 Toyota Mirai
Toyota will likely use the upcoming second-gen Mirai for rolling out the next-steps to its Lyft ride hailing program.

Additionally, firms like Carbon Engineering (that develops technology to capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere), HTEC Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation—which develops and manufactures hydrogen refuelling pump/station infrastructure), and Powertech Labs (which also designs and constructs modular compressed hydrogen refuelling stations) are located nearby. The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA) is headquartered in Vancouver too, as is the Ocean Geothermal Energy Foundation, which is focused on generating clean hydrogen power.

“Hydrogen BC is about collaboration with the private and public sectors to accelerate our transition to a new zero emission paradigm,” said Colin Armstrong, Chair of Hydrogen BC and CEO of HTEC. “This collaboration is a market changing event that will rapidly increase the amount of hydrogen and fuel cell electric vehicles in operation. The KINTO Share program will also allow vast numbers of people to experience these vehicles first hand.”

Notably, the Canadian government unveiled a hydrogen strategy in December, hoping to grow the clean fuel sector. As part of the program, a $1.5 billion CAD low-carbon fuel investment fund was created.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Toyota

Remember the Micra? How about the Versa Note? Both were subcompact hatchbacks from Nissan, and both were discontinued from our market in 2019, at least partially due to our collective love affair with…

Nissan toughens up Kicks design while providing improved infotainment for 2021

2021 Nissan Kicks
The refreshed 2021 Nissan Kicks sports a larger, bolder grille and totally reworked front fascia design.

Remember the Micra? How about the Versa Note? Both were subcompact hatchbacks from Nissan, and both were discontinued from our market in 2019, at least partially due to our collective love affair with SUVs.

While probably more profitable for Nissan, this is not necessarily great news for entry-level car buyers, as the days of new $10,500 Micras and $14,500 Versa Notes are long gone. As it is, today’s $16,498 Versa sedan is the Japanese brand’s least expensive option.

Nissan’s entry-level hatchback is in fact the Kicks SUV, available from $19,398 plus freight and fees last year, and soon starting from $19,898 in refreshed form for 2021. They should be arriving at Canadian Nissan retailers soon, at which point Nissan will likely update its website to reflect their availability (only 2020 models were showing at the time of publishing).

2021 Nissan Kicks
A redesigned bumper provides an updated look from the rear.

A quick glance at the new 2021 Kicks and it will be easy to see that the auto industry’s bigger is better trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, with the new models’ grille augmented significantly over the original design it replaces. This makes for a more imposing visual presence, albeit with a feistier, more impish attitude than the brand’s larger SUVs. The chromed grille surround nicely flows up and outward into a sharply shaped set of horizontal headlight clusters, while new LED fog lamps can be found just below on the model’s sportiest and priciest SR trim line. Changes are less noticeable down each side and in back, the former including new LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror caps, and the latter including a redesigned bumper.

2021 Nissan Kicks
The updated look ties in well with the rest of Nissan’s refreshed and redesigned SUVs.

Making the slight bump in pricing still more palatable, new standard exterior features include automatic on/off headlights, heated side mirrors, and a rear wiper/washer, while updates to the interior include a new standard 7.0-inch infotainment display with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. This gets upgraded to a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen in mid-range SV and top-line SR trims, while additional options include a leather-wrapped steering wheel rim and shift knob, a single-zone automatic climate control system, plus Bose audio.

2021 Nissan Kicks
LED fog lamps are added to the Kicks’ sportiest SR trim.

Those wanting more power will need to be satisfied for the time being, as the Kicks’ sole 122 horsepower 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine remains unchanged, including its 114 lb-ft of torque. This entry-level model is more about fuel economy than all-out performance anyway, aided by an efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) the continues into 2021 as standard equipment. Although fuel economy details have yet to surface for the 2021 model, today’s Kicks is rated at 7.7 L/100km in the city, 6.6 on the highway and 7.2 combined with its front-wheel drivetrain, and take note Nissan doesn’t offer an all-wheel drive upgrade for this model.

2021 Nissan Kicks
New side mirror housings incorporate LED turn signals.

Along with excellent fuel economy, the 2021 Kicks comes well equipped with advanced safety and convenience features including standard automatic emergency braking, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist. Moving up to SV or SR trims adds driver alertness monitoring and a rear door alert system that warns when something or someone may have been left in the rear seating area, while top-line SR Premium trim includes a 360-degree surround parking camera.

2021 Nissan Kicks
The updated interior includes larger standard 7.0-inch and optional 8.0-inch infotainment displays.

At nearly $20k, the 2021 Kicks is priced right for a small SUV. In fact, the Kicks remains one of the most affordable new sport utilities on the Canadian market. Then again, the Kicks is now the entry point for a Nissan hatchback, which means Nissan no longer has anything to compete with the likes of Chevy’s super-cheap $10,198 Spark (which replaces the Micra as Canada’s most affordable car), Mitsubishi’s $13,858 Mirage, Hyundai’s $14,949 Accent, Kia’s $17,295 Rio 5-Door, or Honda’s now discontinued $16,390 Fit and Toyota’s similarly cancelled $17,290 Yaris Hatchback (2020 models of each are still available at some retailers), these last two joining Ford’s Fiesta that was shuffled out of blue-oval showrooms the year prior. Can you see a theme here?

2021 Nissan Kicks
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is standard across the line.

Giving the Kicks a serious run for its SUV money is the Hyundai Venue, a direct hit at $17,599, while Kia’s $21,195 Soul, Hyundai’s $21,299 Kona, Mazda’s $21,300 CX-3, Nissan’s own $21,598 Qashqai, and Chevrolet’s $21,998 Trax don’t cost much more, nor for that matter does Kia’s $23,095 Seltos, Mitsubishi’s $23,198 RVR, Subaru’s $23,795 Crosstrek, Chevy’s $23,798 Trailblazer, or Toyota’s $23,950 C-HR.

If you think this market segment is packed full of competitors, consider that Ford’s EcoSport, Honda’s HR-V, Jeep’s Compass and Renegade, plus Fiat’s 500X and Mini’s Countryman (arguably a premium subcompact SUV) weren’t even mentioned because they’re all priced over $25k (some well over), while Dodge and Volkswagen don’t even offer anything in this category, but the domestic and German brands should ante up something soon if they want to build their brands with first-time new car buyers, and thus remain relevant.

2021 Nissan Kicks
The Kicks continues to offer a roomy interior for good SUV value.

Look for the 2021 Kicks to arrive at Nissan Canada retailers later this month, or if you’re hoping to get a great deal you may want to check out the 2020 Kicks that’s not only priced lower, but can currently be had with up to $3,000 in additional incentives. Go to the 2020 Nissan Kicks Canada Prices page at CarCostCanada to find out how you can save big time, whether on manufacturer rebates as well as factory leasing and financing deals when offered, plus dealer invoice pricing all the time, the latter potentially saving you thousands off of any new vehicle. What’s more, make sure to download the free CarCostCanada app from Google Play Store or the Apple Store, so you can have all of this vital money saving information at your fingertips when you need it most.

Also, make sure to check out the complete photo gallery above, and enjoy the official Nissan-supplied videos that follow.

 

2021 Nissan Kicks Connected Technology (1:15):

2021 Nissan Kicks Safety and Driver Assistance Technologies (1:08):

2021 Nissan Kicks Overview (2:24):

2021 New NISSAN Kicks LIVE Walkaround & Review (4:44):

New 2021 Nissan Kicks | Limitless Possibilities (0:15):

2021 Nissan Armada and Kicks Walkaround with Nissan U.S. CMO Allyson Witherspoon (9:58):

Live: New Nissan Kicks Japan Premiere (48:25):

 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

Few sports car concepts excited the motoring masses like the original Porsche Boxster prototype did when debuting at the Detroit auto show in 1993, and not many cars introduced 25 years ago have been…

New 718 Boxster 25 Years commemorates quarter century of production

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
The new 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years marks a quarter century of this roadster’s production with a car that’s visually true to the original concept.

Few sports car concepts excited the motoring masses like the original Porsche Boxster prototype did when debuting at the Detroit auto show in 1993, and not many cars introduced 25 years ago have been as successful, or are even around anymore.

In order to mark the occasion, Porsche has made a new 2021 718 Boxster 25 Years edition available for order now. The new model combines classic design elements from the original concept with the myriad upgrades found on the sportiest version of today’s 718 variant, resulting in a much more modern yet very classy little two-seat roadster.

For those who like the classic look of a traditional sports car, the new 25 Years edition will be all upside, until they find out that it’s limited to only 1,250 units. Alas, you’ll need to be ultra-quick to claim yours, especially if you want to choose the metallic silver version that’s most closely related to the original Boxster show car.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
The new 718 Boxster 25 Years features rich gold highlights in key areas.

The new 2021 version comes in three colours, black and white also on the menu, but gold highlights complement the front fascia, side engine vents, and “25” year insignia fixed to the rear bumper cap beside to the usual “Boxster” script. Porsche sprayed the gorgeous set of five-spoke alloys in gold too, while the race-inspired aluminum gas cap unfortunately hides from view beneath a cover, instead of being fully exposed like the original.

Just like the original Boxster, the new commemorative model’s powered fabric roof is finished in a deep red and boasts embossed “Boxster 25” script on each front outside section so that it’s displayed when folded down. This rich red colour makes up the majority of the interior, which includes unique leatherwork and special red carpeting. What’s more, the dash trim inlay on the passenger’s side provides a base for this special edition model’s “Boxster 25” plaque, which comes with 0000/1250 numbering, while another “Boxster 25” badge adorns each floor mat.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
Being that it’s based on the brilliantly quick 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, performance is breathtaking.

The new 718 Boxster 25 Years provides a sharp contrast to the car that underpins it, Porsche’s 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 that’s blackened all of the usual bright and brushed metal bits, including the wheels. At the heart of both cars is a 911 GT3-inspired naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six good for 394 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque when mated to the standard six-speed manual, 317 lb-ft of twist when hooked up to the seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK.

With its Sport Chrono Package that paddle-shift actuated transmission will get up and go from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds flat, while the DIY shifter will take 0.5 seconds longer to achieve the same feat. Likewise, the manually shifted 718 drop-top moves off the line to 160 km/h in 9.2 seconds, whereas the PDK version once again slices a half second from the same sprint for an 8.7-second time, all ahead of respective top track speeds of 293 and 288 km/h.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
Gold anyone? This beautiful hue is also added to the front fascia, side vents and special “25 Years” badging.

The GTS 4.0, 25 Years and all 718 Boxster models for that matter, rival the mighty 911 when it comes to performance, especially when it comes to handling, and out-manoeuvre their competitors as well, which is one of the reasons the entry-level Porsche has had so much success over the decades. Such steady sales chart performance is rare amongst its sports car contemporaries, with the number of discontinued rivals littering the automotive landscape.

Names like XLR (or Allanté) won’t likely be offered on the new market again, while other premium drop-tops to fall by the wayside include Buick’s 1990-1991 Reatta Convertible, Volvo’s 1996–2013 C70, Chrysler’s 2004–2008 Crossfire, Tesla’s 2008–2012 Roadster, and Mini’s 2012–2015 Roadster (the regular convertible is still available). Not all of these were two-seat roadsters, and some didn’t compete directly with the Boxster, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been casualties amongst the entry-level Porsche’s more direct challengers.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
Inside the 718 Boxster 25 Years it’s all about red.

The Boxster was introduced in 1996, just three years after Alfa Romeo’s classic Spider was eliminated from our continent. The stylish German was joined that year by Mercedes’ SLK, both of which followed BMW’s Z3 that initiated the compact luxury two-seat roadster renaissance a year earlier. Audi’s TT followed in 1998, combining for Teutonic dominance in the segment. After initial popularity and a relatively successful three-generation run overall, the TT will be discontinued at the end of its current model cycle, this move following the SLC (the SLK’s successor) being dropped at the end of 2020.

BMW’s Z4 (the Z3’s successor) will be the only luxury roadster nameplate that remains when the SLC disappears, 718 Boxster aside, but the wholly new fourth-gen model now shares components with Toyota’s Supra, so it’s not fully German, let alone European. The latter comment is a nod to Jaguar’s F-Type, a slightly larger rival that entered the market in 2013 and was fully updated for 2021, competing with the Boxster in its entry-level turbo-four and V6 variants.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
A version of this “Boxster 25” plaque shows up all over the new model.

Discount pricing and available deals for all of the cars named above can be found by following highlighted links to CarCostCanada, which is currently showing factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent for 2020 and 2021 718 Boxster models. CarCostCanada members can also benefit from manufacturer rebates when available, plus dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when purchasing a new vehicle, so be sure to find out how the CarCostCanada system works, and download their free app while you’re at it.

Those wanting to get their hands on a new 718 Boxster 25 Years shouldn’t expect to get a discount, although the special financing rate should be available. You’ll need to apply it to a pricier 718 Boxster however, the usual $96,900 base price of Porsche’s GTS 4.0 raised to $106,500 when adding all the 25 Years updates. Anyone serious about purchasing should stop reading and call their local retailer now, leaving the rest of us to enjoy the complete photo gallery above and four videos below.

Boxster 25 Years: Walkaround (6:29):

Boxster 25 Years: Forever Young (1:37):

The Boxster at 25: An Homage to its Inception (4:59):

Boxster 25 Years: Boundless Driving Freedom (1:27):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

After almost eight years in its present form, Mini has simultaneously taken the wraps off a mid-cycle upgrade of its Hatch and Convertible models, and while both are still infused with brand identity…

Refreshed 2022 Mini departs from classic look with bigger, bolder grille

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
Say hello to the radically refreshed 2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door, complete with a larger grille, new lower front fascia, and more.

After almost eight years in its present form, Mini has simultaneously taken the wraps off a mid-cycle upgrade of its Hatch and Convertible models, and while both are still infused with brand identity that’s unmistakable from any distance, significant changes have been made.

Following a trend that’s laudable to some and lamentable to others, Mini’s grille will grow significantly for 2022, but its visual presence will be less noticeable on more basic Cooper and Cooper S trims than on the sportiest John Cooper Works (JCW) version, the former receiving a large body-colour bumper section within, and the latter getting a fully blackened mesh opening, along with a much more aggressive lower front fascia in black as well.

2022 Mini Cooper 5-Door
The new models’ side profile remains mostly the same, except for the side garnish on the front fender.

Another unorthodox move was to replace the classic circular fog lamps found on all previous generations with a set of vertical creases that draw nothing from this retro brand’s past, these looking more like brake ducts than anything enlightening—the headlamps now integrate the fog lamps. The new JCW expands on the corner vent brake duct theme, and arguably looks better for it.

It’s nevertheless unlikely Mini’s risky new forward-thinking design language will be all that acceptable to long-time fans of the brand, despite a press release attesting to the new design’s “purist look”. Those two words are referring to a grille surround that’s a bit closer to the original car’s shape than anything offered since the brand’s 2001 remake, but other than this loosely hexagonal borderline, the ovoid headlamp clusters to each side, and the car’s curvy shape overall, very little pulls from Mini’s storied past.

2022 Mini Cooper S 3-Door
A thin LED turn signal repeater gets added to the redesigned “side scuttle”.

In fact, Mini’s new front fascia may become just as polarizing as the elongated twin kidney concoction found on BMW’s chunky new 3 and 4 Series models, which have caused a plethora of digital artists to fix a “problem” that hadn’t existed since such renderings were only done with pencil and pastels on paper. Ugly might be too strong a word for such a cute and cuddly British brand, but it’s difficult to fathom why the curators of this legendary marque allowed an overzealous design team to run roughshod over its past.

The difficulty with any retrospective model is the regular need to make updates in order to maintain a fresh, new look, as must be done with any vehicle, yet the inability to stray too far from the original inspiration’s design character, which might run the risk of destroying the special charm, unique character, or je ne sais quoi of said model, tampering with the very essence of what it is. Multiply this issue by an entire brand and the problem gets exacerbated.

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
The rear bumper cap is entirely new for 2022.

Up until this point, Mini has taken on this challenge admirably, expanding on an iconic British model that, dune buggy-style Mini Moke, Mini pickup truck, Marcos sports car and Wildgoose RV aside (the latter two only using the classic Mini as a donor model and produced by independent firms), was only initially offered as one single city car with varying lengths and rear window/door configurations (albeit under seven different brands with unique fascia treatments) throughout its forty-plus-year tenure (1959-2000).

As part of BMW’s 1994 takeover of Rover group (formerly British Leyland) from a conglomerate partially owned by British Aerospace (BAe) and Honda (at that time the Rover brand was comprised of an assortment of rebadged Honda models, one of which, an Acura Legend renamed Sterling 800 Series, was sold here), the German automaker eventually discontinued the original Mini in October of 2000 (then in its Mk IV generation) and brought out the all-new (Mk I) model in 2001, as mentioned a moment ago, along with a wholly revitalized MINI brand (Mini initially became its own standalone brand in 1969).

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
The cool Union Jack-style taillights are now standard.

A base “One” trim was (and still is) the least expensive way to get into the Mini Hatch for the European market, while the Cooper and Cooper S arrived in 2001 as well, albeit globally. The performance-oriented JCW joined the family soon after, while the convertible was added for 2005, followed by the second-generation hatchback two years later, and the updated drop-top for 2009, one year after the extended-wheelbase Clubman arrived. Mini’s subcompact SUV, the Countryman showed up in 2010, whereas the short-lived two-seat Mini Coupe arrived for 2011 and equally impractical Mini Roadster in 2012, both selling poorly and therefore killed off in 2015. The Countryman-based Paceman was only offered from 2013 to 2016, being discontinued just as the second-generation Countryman arrived for 2017.

2022 Mini Cooper 5-Door
The new Multitone Roof uses a gradient effect to mix Soul Blue, Pearly Aqua and Jet Black.

The considerably larger and more accommodating third-generation Mini Hatch arrived in 2013 for the 2014 model year, along with the somewhat controversial yet very practical five-door version, while the revised convertible joined the family in 2015, and a new Clubman, now with six conventional doors for true compact utility (the two in back hinged at each side), was made available for 2016, a year prior to the current Countryman.

While your mind might now be ablur after this quick rundown of the modern Mini brand’s 20-year existence, there’s a key reason for the historical reminder. Mini’s caretakers have already proven to be quite daring with the brand’s retro identity, but even so they haven’t truly messed with the secret sauce that makes a Mini a Mini. A quick glance at today’s 2021 model lineup and the brand’s heritage is clear, but as already said its visual lineage appears somewhat muddled moving into 2022. This could either make or break a brand that hasn’t exactly been tearing up the sales charts over the past decade.

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
The mildly updated 2022 interior will be familiar to anyone who drives one of the current Mini models.

Not to be confused with a true fourth-generation redesign, the 2022 model is only an extensive mid-cycle makeover. This said, despite its near eight-year tenure, most feel the current Mini Hatch is all it needs to be, and then some. Ask anyone to name a hot hatchback and the Mini name enters the conversation more often than not, especially if luxury is part of the equation. Such talk should ramp up this year, much thanks to the controversial new frontal design.

Where the front clip shows radical change, it’s easier to see the 2022 model’s third-generation roots from the side profile and rear design. The only update to the former are new front “side scuttle” fender garnishes that now feature thin LED turn signal light strips, whereas the car’s rear design merely gets a restyled bumper cap minus the rear fog lights and reflectors, plus some other minor details. Up top, Mini now offers a Multitone Roof that uses a cool gradient effect to mix Soul Blue, Pearly Aqua and Jet Black.

2022 Mini Cooper S 3-Door
A new digital gauge cluster comes standard.

Moving inside, the only notable change is a new standard digital gauge cluster, as first seen on the electrified Mini Cooper SE and ultra-sporty John Cooper Works GP. The steering wheel framing those primary instruments is new too, now offering a heatable rim, while the centre air vents are now better integrated within the dash panel.

A new 8.8-inch infotainment display now comes standard across the line as well, complete with updated graphics, plus new and improved features, including satellite radio and Apple CarPlay, but Google Android phone users will need to rely on Mini’s proprietary system as integration of this more popular smartphone is still not possible. Tech in mind, lane-departure warning will be standard, while the adaptive cruise control system will include stop-and-go functionality. Lastly, Mini has revised the cabin’s ambient lighting system.

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Mini has updated its already impressive infotainment system.

After a brief hiatus during the 2020 model year, Mini Canada smartly added its six-speed manual gearbox back to the 2021 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible, and will continue to do so for 2022. This is important for such a performance-oriented brand that previously had up to 45 percent of its U.S. Cooper S 3-Door buyers opting for the DIY alternative, while its quick-shifting seven-speed double-clutch automatic with paddles remains optional.

Engine output remains 134 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque for the base Cooper’s 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, while the Cooper S’s 2.0-litre turbo-four continues to produce a rev-happy 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Likewise, the JCW’s output remains an energetic 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, and the plug-in SE once again sports 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque.

2022 Mini Cooper JCW
The 2022 Mini Cooper JCW is much more aggressively styled, and arguably best looking too.

Pricing for the all-new 2022 Mini 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible has yet to be announced for Canada, but when production begins in March, we can expect slight increases across the board due to the aforementioned upgrades to standard trims.

For those who’d rather buy a new 2021 Mini or possibly a 2020 model, take note the automaker is currently offering up to $1,000 in additional incentives for the former and $3,000 off the top of the latter, as per CarCostCanada’s 2021 and 2020 Mini 3 Door Canada Prices pages; up to $1,250 or $2,500 off of 2021 or 2020 5-Door models; and $1,500 in incentives knocked off either 2021 or 2020 Mini Convertibles. CarCostCanada provides members with information about the latest manufacturer rebates, factory financing and leasing deals, and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when negotiating. Make sure to find out how a membership can benefit you, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mini

If you’re in the belief that Porsche’s Panamera flagship is simply a low-slung luxury sedan, think again. Designed to transport four adults in a comfortable cabin filled with some of the most impressive…

New Panamera Turbo S smashes Road Atlanta production sedan record at 1:31.51 minutes

2021 Panamera Turbo S breaks production sedan lap record at Road Atlanta racetrack
The new 2021 Panamera Turbo S broke the production sedan lap record at the challenging Road Atlanta racetrack with a time of just 1:31.51 minutes.

If you’re in the belief that Porsche’s Panamera flagship is simply a low-slung luxury sedan, think again.

Designed to transport four adults in a comfortable cabin filled with some of the most impressive interior quality and luxury amenities available, it would be easy to surmise that Porsche didn’t have its eye on performance when conceiving its most luxurious car, but after a single lap on the arduous 4.0-km long Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, such thoughts should forever be banished.

The new 2021 Panamera Turbo S was chosen, the quickest of its type yet with 620 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque on tap resulting in a shocking zero to 100km/h launch of just 3.1 seconds and wickedly fast terminal velocity of 315 km/h. The car, set to arrive at Canadian Porsche retailers this spring, managed the fastest time ever set by a production sedan of one minute and 31.51 seconds (1:31.51).

2021 Panamera Turbo S breaks production sedan lap record at Road Atlanta racetrack
The new 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo will arrive at dealers this spring.

This record, set with professional racing driver Leh Keen at the wheel, beat the new Taycan Turbo S’ single lap time of just 1:33.88 minutes set the month prior in December, although the electrified Porsche continues to hold the track’s production EV title.

“The engineers found a perfect balance,” said Keen. “They really made it feel small and sporty. The stability gave me a ton of confidence to use every bit of the asphalt and curbs. And yet the car has a completely different and more refined and relaxed character on the highway – an amazing combination.”

2021 Panamera Turbo S breaks production sedan lap record at Road Atlanta racetrack
Large, luxurious and comfortable, the Panamera Turbo is also ridiculously fast.

Along with a luxurious interior filled with premium materials and state-of-the-art electronics, the 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S gets plenty of standard performance equipment that make it as quick on the road as it is on the track, including Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+), rear axle steering, and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport roll-stabilization system (PDCC Sport).

It should be noted that the 2021 Panamera Turbo S example that set the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta production sedan record was upgraded with an optional set of newly-developed road-legal Michelin Pilot Sport cup 2 ND0 ultra-high-performance tires measuring 275/35 ZR 21 103Y XL at the front and 325/30 ZR 21 108Y XL in the rear. The tires’ “N” designation signifies their co-development between Porsche and a tire manufacturer, in this case Michelin. The special tire was in fact designed specifically for the Panamera, and tuned at the legendary Nürburgring race track in Germany.

2021 Panamera Turbo S breaks production sedan lap record at Road Atlanta racetrack
Professional racing driver Leh Keen at the wheel of the Panamera Turbo S while breaking the production sedan lap record at Road Atlanta.

Also notable, vehicle data acquisition and timing expert Racelogic recorded and verified the Panamera Turbo S’ Road Atlanta lap time utilizing their VBOX video HD2 system.

If you’d like to pre-order a 2021 Panamera Turbo S, or purchase one of the Panamera’s other trim lines as either a 2021 or 2020 model, take note that Porsche is currently offering zero-percent factory leasing and financing. You can find out more about this deal and other ways to save on a new Panamera by visiting CarCostCanada, where you can also learn about available manufacturer rebates when available, plus dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Check out how the CarCostCanada system works, and remember to download their free app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

Also, be sure to check out our full gallery of great Porsche-supplied photos above, plus enjoy the two Panamera Turbo S track record videos that follow.

 

Porsche Panamera Turbo S: Road Atlanta Record Lap (2:12):

Panamera Turbo S Record Lap: Driver’s POV (1:50):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

With the goal of achieving a “Carbon Neutral” model line by 2039, Mercedes continues to expand its all-new EQ electric vehicle lineup with a model that may become its most important overall, if only…

Mercedes introduces all-new GLA-based entry-level EQA crossover EV

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
The new EQA 250 will soon be a popular gateway into Mercedes-EQ’s new electrified lineup.

With the goal of achieving a “Carbon Neutral” model line by 2039, Mercedes continues to expand its all-new EQ electric vehicle lineup with a model that may become its most important overall, if only because its entry-level position within the German brand’s EV hierarchy has the potential to usher in an entirely new group of buyers.

The EQA will likely be the least expensive way to own a Mercedes’ EV when it finally arrives in Canada, although we shouldn’t expect it before calendar year 2022, after the larger EQC arrives, which was recently delayed from its initially reported 2021 launch date to 2022 as well.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
The EQA doesn’t hide the fact it’s based on the popular GLA-Class subcompact SUV, but the many updates certainly set it apart in a positive way.

The EQC will follow the new EQS mid-size luxury sedan, which was prioritized for North American markets. The large coupe-shaped four-door Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan fighter was moved ahead of the much-anticipated GLC-based EQC compact luxury crossover EV that we reported on at length back in October of 2018.

Brian Fulton, Mercedes-Benz Canada President and CEO, told journalists attending the Montreal International Auto Show in January of 2019, that the EQS, EQC and this EQA will initiate a 10-model EQ line of new EVs, two others including an EQB, based on the new GLB subcompact, and the EQE, riding on modified mid-size GLE SUV architecture.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
The EQA gets blue highlights in key areas.

Where the EQC’s twin electric motors will produce 300 kilowatt (402 horsepower) and 564 lb-ft of torque, the smaller SUV’s first available EQA 250 trim will feature a single 140-kW (188-hp) electric motor focused on efficiency first and foremost. Still, a more potent model is said to produce about 200 kW (268 hp) via a second electric motor driving an opposing set of wheels, resulting in AWD. The thin battery is spread out under the floor to maximize interior room, improve weight distribution, and low the SUV’s centre of gravity for optimal handling.

With respect to the all-important range issue, Mercedes is claiming about 500 kilometres on a single charge, based on Europe’s highly optimistic NEDC and WLTP standards, which means this number will certainly shrink when the EQA arrives on our market. Helping users make the most of stored energy, the EQA will use an intelligent navigation system to plot out the most efficient routes possible after considering real-time traffic, terrain, weather conditions, driving style, and charging requirements.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
The EQA 250 will be the new model’s less powerful entry-level trim.

Efficiency in mind, Mercedes has integrated a standard heat pump to channel warmth generated from the electric powertrain to the passenger compartment, thus increasing range. An Eco Assist system helps reduce battery usage as well, while a plethora of advanced driver assistance and electronic safety tech has been designed to protect the EQA’s most precious cargo.

Mercedes appears to have used wind tunnel testing to achieve the EQA’s slippery 0.28 drag coefficient, but in fact the little SUV’s impressive aerodynamics were entirely achieved digitally, a first for the German automaker. The result includes a very smooth outer skin, boasting a near flush grille and headlamps, a smooth, arcing coupe-like roofline, wind-cheating alloy wheels, and a mostly enclosed underbelly.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
Mercedes is claiming about 500 km on a single charge, based on Europe’s NEDC and WLTP standards.

This said, the EQA retains the general shape of the recently redesigned gasoline-powered 2021 GLA that it shares architectural hard points with, Mercedes having chosen the appearance of a conventional grille in order to maintain brand identity, and simultaneously avoid the stylistic blandness found on vehicles with no defined grille.

Adding yet more personality, Mercedes has infused the headlamps with blue accents, which should be quite the light show at night. Additionally, an LED light strip visually connects those headlights with a set of daytime running lamps that stretch across the grille, a theme that’s followed in back where organically shaped LED outer lamps connect via a narrowing band across the entire hatch, adding visual width to the otherwise GLA-like rear design.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
Anyone familiar with a modern-day Mercedes interior will immediately recognize the EQA 250’s familial ties.

The EQA’s interior will look familiar to those that have been inside a modern-day Mercedes model, highlighted by the brand’s MBUX two-in-one mono-display incorporating a fully digital primary instrument cluster on the left and infotainment touchscreen to the right, the latter also controllable via a touchpad and switchgear on the lower centre console. Along with the usual functions, the two EQA displays will get a host of EV-specific interfaces, including the upgraded navigation system noted earlier.

The German brand uses ambient lighting to underscore key interior design elements too, while materials quality should be up to par with the already impressive GLA. An available rose gold trim package will be popular with many, the classy colour also featured within the infotainment display for added measure.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
Mercedes’ dual-display MBUX gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen is amongst the industry’s best.

Considering its more approachable expected price point, the EQA could do very well in the Canadian market, which traditionally favours smaller cars and SUVs than its American neighbour. The GLA is already a top-three seller in its subcompact luxury SUV segment, although its 3,566 pre-health crisis sales in calendar year 2019 were less than a third of the GLC’s 10,883 best-in-class deliveries, but that shouldn’t cause Mercedes’ Canadian executive team to hold off on the smaller model. The EV market can respond in untraditional ways, after all, so it’s possible a smaller, more affordable alternative could be what the market actually needs.

As it is, Mercedes’ EQS, EQC, and EQE will respectively target Tesla’s Model S, Model Y and Model 3 directly, which has proven to be a formidable task by other EV makers. The EQA and EQB, on the other hand, will occupy niches Tesla hasn’t filled yet, giving the German brand an advantage in an EV sector dominated by the American tech giant.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
The EQA should be plenty comfortable and crafted from premium materials, similarly to today’s GLA.

Currently, Volvo’s XC40 Recharge is the only EV competitor in the subcompact SUV class, with Lexus’ UX merely satisfying Canadian hybrid buyers so far (it’s all-electric UX 300e is not slated for Canada). The electric-gasoline theme continues with the Range Rover Evoque, a mild-hybrid that’s unfortunately not available in Canada, while Mini ups the ante with a plug-in version of its Countryman. Likewise, Audi and BMW will soon offer plug-in hybrids of their own, dubbed Q3 45 TFSI e and X1 xDrive25e respectively, while Audi reportedly has the Q4 e-tron EV coming too, but it’s larger than the Q3, EQA, and other subcompact SUVs.

A fully electrified Mercedes-Benz lineup will certainly add variety to the Canadian EV market, with Mercedes appearing to be leading the charge amongst established luxury brands.

2022 Mercedes-EQ EQA 250
The EQA’s battery will lay low in the floor for optimal interior spaciousness and handling.

Mercedes’ EQA isn’t available to purchase just yet, but for those wanting a subcompact luxury SUV that still offers plenty of efficiency, take note that remaining 2020 versions of the brand’s GLA-Class are now available with up to $5,000 in additional incentives, whereas redesigned 2021 models can be had with up to $750 in incentives. Visit CarCostCanada’s 2020 and 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA Canada Prices pages to learn more, and also remember that a CarCostCanada membership can provide additional savings from manufacturer rebates when available, factory leasing and financing, as well as dealer invoice pricing that can save you even more. Find out how the CarCostCanada system works, and make sure to download their free app from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mercedes-Benz

Would you rather ride around in a Carnival or a Sedona? While a Carnival sounds like a lot more fun, it may depend on where you’re driving, as many Arizona residents might want their chosen city to…

Next-generation Kia Sedona expected to use global Carnival name

2022 Kia Carnival
Kia is expected to adapt its global Carnival nameplate to the long-running Sedona minivan when it receives this stylish new update later in the year.

Would you rather ride around in a Carnival or a Sedona? While a Carnival sounds like a lot more fun, it may depend on where you’re driving, as many Arizona residents might want their chosen city to be displayed on their vehicle.

This said, Kia Sedona owners may not have a choice if they choose to trade up to the brand’s fourth-generation minivan when it arrives later this year as a 2022 model, or so claims a VIN decoder published by the Sedona Forum, which sourced its information from the NHTSA.

The mid-size three-row van, set to debut with an entirely new look that says goodbye to the current model’s comparatively conservative front fascia and more fluid lines all-round, and hello to a much more angled, distinctive and upscale design, may be adopting the Carnival nameplate in order to maintain global continuity, which helps a brand make the most of advertising market bleed and more.

2022 Kia Carnival
The new Carnival looks even more SUV-like than the current Sedona.

Someone watching an NBA basketball game in Asia, for instance (a regular occurrence in some countries), might not realize that the Kia Sedona shown on the HD scoreboard is in fact their market’s Carnival, or alternatively that the Carnival seen by North American F1 fans on electronic billboards around the upcoming Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the new Jeddah Street Circuit is actually their Sedona (not that any of these marketing campaigns actually exist). Kia did something similar years ago by aligning the name of their Canadian-market Magentis mid-size sedan (the basis for the Sedona, incidentally) with the U.S.-specific Optima, and more recently rebadged this car the K5 in both markets in order to align with the newly redesigned model’s global marketing push.

2022 Kia Carnival
The Carnival should help push Kia further upmarket in the minivan sector.

The van debuted last June in Kia’s home market of South Korea, showing off its sharp new styling and a completely redesigned, more luxurious interior to go along with it. The ultra-plush Hi Limousine variant, boasting business class-seating and premium level refinement, won’t likely enter our market, but the current Sedona raised the bar significantly in the North American minivan segment when it arrived for the 2015 model year, and has steadily been improved since, so we can expect to be impressed with its top-line trims when they arrive.

Initial photos show available twin-screen digital displays that join a configurable gauge cluster and multi-information display up with an extremely large centre-mounted infotainment touchscreen, similarly in concept to Mercedes-Benz with its MBUX system, while the model incorporates a knurled metal-edged rotating gear selector on the lower console, similar to Hyundai and Genesis (and Kia K5) models, putting an end to the traditional gear lever that’s still being used in today’s Sedona.

2022 Kia Carnival
A digital gauge cluster that visually blends into a large infotainment touchscreen will be available.

This will continue to control an eight-speed automatic transmission, connecting through to a 3.5-litre V6 engine making 294 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque, which is a significant bump up from the current model’s 276 hp and 248 lb-ft. Other markets will also have the option of a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline-powered model, and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, the latter good for 202 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, but no one should expect that mill here.

Kia doesn’t offer an all-wheel drive Sedona variant at this time, and it looks as if this will be the case for the Carnival as well, based on information from the aforementioned NHTSA documents and an update by South Korean auto portal Autocast, which also reports that no gasoline-electric hybrid version will be offered either. This will be seen as a negative by environmentally-focused buyers, especially considering Toyota’s new Sienna is only offered with a hybrid power unit that includes standard all-wheel drive. Additionally, Chrysler has long offered a plug-in hybrid Pacifica with real EV driving capability, not to mention an AWD powertrain in its conventionally-powered model.

2022 Kia Carnival
Seating for up to eight should be available.

We can expect details about the Canadian-spec 2022 Carnival to surface sometime this spring, at which point we’ll know more about how this intriguing new entry will stack up against the recently redesigned Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, plus the always strong-selling Stellantis group—FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and Peugeot—vans, now including a Chrysler rebranded, entry-level version of the pricier Pacifica minivan dubbed Grand Caravan in order to gain some name recognition advantage from one of Canada’s best-selling nameplates (this model is called Voyageur in the U.S., which ironically pays no heed to the market-bleed concern noted earlier).

2022 Kia Carnival
We shouldn’t expect this ultra-luxe Hi Limousine variant in our market.

When it goes on sale later this year, Kia probably won’t increase the new 2022 Carnival’s entry price by much over the current 2021 Sedona’s base LX trim MSRP of $32,295 plus freight and fees, although it’s quite possible a more luxurious variant could push up the current top-line Sedona SX Tech’s window sticker beyond $42,795. Additional 2021 Sedona trims in between include the $34,695 LX+ and the $38,695 SX, while CarCostCanada was reporting up to $750 in additional incentives at the time of writing, and get this, the automaker’s Dodge brand is selling off its now-discontinued 2020 Grand Caravan with up to $11,780 worth of available incentives.

To learn more, check out their 2021 Kia Sedona Canada Prices page, and make sure to find out how a CarCostCanada membership can help you save money by making you aware of manufacturer financing and leasing rates, telling you about any available factory rebates, and always giving you dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when negotiating over a new vehicle. Additionally, download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Android Play Store, so you can have all this important information when you need it most, at the dealership.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Kia