If anyone was expecting the new 2022 GT3 to somehow fly under the radar, think again. It’s an eyeball puller for sure. Not as supercar-like snazzy as the old (and most likely next) GT2, but it’s immediately…

Awesome new 911 GT3 gets more power, better handling and stunning new styling

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
This ultimate track star can be yours for the street now that Porsche’s unveiled the 2022 911 GT3.

If anyone was expecting the new 2022 GT3 to somehow fly under the radar, think again. It’s an eyeball puller for sure. Not as supercar-like snazzy as the old (and most likely next) GT2, but it’s immediately clear this is no ordinary 911.

Porsche just pulled back the digital curtain on its latest heartthrob, and now this brilliant blue missile is the talk of the town. A new twin vented carbon-fibre hood will give those in the know a hint that it’s time to move out of the fast lane, at which point they’ll quickly see the new GT3’s backside, gigantic swan-neck carbon-fibre wing and CFRP rear diffuser included. All of these aero aids add 50-percent more downforce than a regular 911 in their default setup, or up to 150 percent more downforce at 200 km/h when some adjustments are made.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
Porsche has added 10 additional horsepower to the upgraded 4.0-litre flat-six.

Yes, as exciting as the GT3 is to gaze upon, it’s no doubt much more fun to drive. For 2022, Porsche has improved the car’s 4.0-litre flat-six for a considerable 10-horsepower gain resulting in 502 ponies, while torque remains 346 lb-ft. It’s all done sans turbocharging, the GT3 the only 911 offered without exhaust boost. Instead, the 4.0-litre engine relies on cubic centimeters, plenty of trick technology like the six throttle butterflies added to extract that extra 10 horsepower just mentioned, and an incredibly high rev limiter of 9,000 rpm. That’s stratospheric for a horizontally opposed engine, incidentally, this configuration normally ideal for low-end twist albeit not that great for spinning in the lofty zone, but Porsche continues to work its magic and GT3 owners are the benefactors.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
Handling is improved via a new double-wishbone front suspension and a revised five-arm rear setup.

The lack of a turbo isn’t the only absent component putting the GT3 at odds with all other 911 models, incidentally, the other missing link being a seventh gear in its manual transmission option. As is the norm with all 911s, the GT3 can be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK for paddle enthusiasts, but unusually it’s a no-cost option and not wholly related to updated version introduced last year, but instead is sourced from the previous 2019 GT3 thanks to that transmission’s 18-kg mass reduction and extremely quick response to input.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
The new swan-neck wing can add up to 150 lbs of downforce at 200 km/h.

Likewise, the just-noted six-speed manual gets pulled forward from the past, although this unit is the same as used in the fabulous 718 Spyder and 718 Cayman GT4, unlike every other 911 that uses Porsche’s seven-speed manual. The six-speed is lightweight as well, features rev-matching capability to make novices sound like heel-toe pros, and is lauded by all critics for its sublime operation. So good is the six-speed manual, that 68.7 percent of Canadian GT3 buyers previously went with the DIY option. This also speaks well for the type of performance enthusiast the GT3 attracts, one that appreciates the classic thrill of a mechanical masterpiece over speed for the sake of speed. The PDK is quicker, needing just 3.4 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill, while 200 km/h requires a mere 10.8 seconds.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
The new 911 GT3 looks fast even when it’s standing still.

Whether you choose the manual or PDK option, both come standard with an entirely new double-wishbone front suspension. As is appropriate for the GT3, the new front suspension design was developed by Porsche’s sports car racing team for the Le Mans-winning 911 RSR. The GT3 is its first application in a 911 production car, allowing a more rigid spring setup and greater camber stiffness that does a better job of isolating the dampers from transverse forces that might otherwise upset the apple cart, so to speak. Porsche promises better handling overall, which is what matters to us.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
The GT3 has already proved its mettle on the track, placing 11th overall amongst production cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a lap time of 6:59.927 minutes.

The GT3’s five-arm rear suspension is upgraded too, now including more ball joints for the lower wishbones as well as spherical bushings, and special shocks. This means the new GT3 is a much better track car, but it also translates into a better every day commuter and a much more capable companion when straight lines start to wind in the outskirts of your city.

With this in mind, the quicker responding front and rear shocks are joined by standard rear-wheel steering, the latter capable of turning the rear wheels up to two degrees in the same or opposite direction, depending on whether they’re improving high-speed stability or aiding parking manoeuvres.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
Call your dealer and maybe they’ll be willing to let you try it out on a local track… after placing your deposit on the new CFRP hood.

What’s more, the old GT3’s already large 380 mm front brake rotors are now upsized to 408 mm, while also weighing 17 percent less, and just like the upgraded brakes can potentially save the GT3’s owner from misjudging the rate of closing speed before a corner, Porsche has included a front axle lift system for saving the carbon fibre front lip spoiler from scraping the pavement below when overcoming large speed bumps are steep driveways.

The lip spoiler, new hood, massive wing and rear spoiler aren’t the only exterior components made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, by the way. Additional body panels include the rear fenders and, optionally, the roof. Porsche also makes “road-approved circuit rubber” available, while buyers can even add a rear roll cage via a Clubsport package (not available in all markets). There’s no extra charge for the all-new battery, mind you, which is 10 kilos lighter than the one used for the outgoing GT3. When reduced mass is combined with all the engine grunt noted earlier, the new manually-shifted GT3 has an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 2.8 kg/PS.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
The GT3’s interior is improved like all new 911s, plus it gets loads of suede-like Alcantara.

That weight can be reduced more, although most buyers probably won’t want to delete the rear wing. If you find it a bit over the top for your liking, however, a Touring package will swap it out for the power-adjustable spoiler used in the regular 911.

You can bet Porsche left the rear wing intact for its timed lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which at 6:59.927 minutes leaves it just outside of making the famed racetrack’s top-10 best production cars ever list. To be fair to the GT3, four of the 10 cars that beat its time are Porsche products, including the mighty 911 GT2 RS that managed a shocking 6:47.25-minute lap, plus a previous-generation GT3 RS that ran the ring in just 6:56.4 minutes. Nobody should expect a turbo-less 911 to beat Porsche’s renowned 918 Spyder either, and it didn’t, but it was certainly close to the supercar’s 6:57-minute time, while another GT2 RS managed a respectable 6:58.28 minutes. More importantly, the new GT3 lapped the punishing road course faster than every Ferrari and McLaren that ever attempted a run, not to mention every Chevy Corvette or Nissan GT-R. Only Radical SR8s (if you’ve never heard of this barely street-legal track car, you’re not alone), two Lamborghini Aventador SVJ LP770-4s, and a Mercedes-AMG’s GT Black Series managed to lay down faster laps, with the Merc being quickest of all comers.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
The six-speed manual gearbox is reportedly fabulous, while that circular piece of jewelry on the lower right is a special Porsche Design watch that’s available exclusively to GT3 owners.

If you ask most sports car buyers, 911s are more comfortable for daily use than any mid-engine exotic, and therefore easier to live with than all of the above, except for maybe the Mercedes. As you might expect, all of the new 911s improvements are included with the GT3, plus the model’s usual mega dose of suede-like Alcantara on the steering wheel rim, seats, etcetera. Those seats were designed with performance in mind, but they’re still suitable for day-to-day use.

Now comes the time to decide. There will be no fence-sitting with this car, because every last one will be snapped up quickly. Added to the rarity of any GT3, looms an era that may soon make its naturally aspirated 4.0-litre engine a much-lamented thing of the past, so make your mind up quickly and then immediately talk to your local Porsche Canada dealer. The new GT3 will be available to order soon, with cars being delivered in the fall.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3
Supportive seats look perfect for Sunday morning autocross courses.

For those still unsure or not in a tax bracket that makes such decisions possible, we recommend to the full allotment of images in our photo gallery above, plus the trio of great videos that follow, while others that just can’t wait until the fall to get their hands on a new 911 may want to know that Porsche is currently offering factory leasing and financing rates on 2021 models from zero percent. To find out more, check out CarCostCanada, where members save an average of $2,875 on their new 2021 911 purchases, by getting access to manufacturer rebate information and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing. Learn how the CarCostCanada system works, and make sure to download their free mobile app at the Google Play Store or Apple Store now.

 

The new 911 GT3: Time is Precious (2:35):

The New 911 GT3 at the Nürburgring (1:33):

The New 911 GT3: Onboard at the Nordschleife (7:33):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Infiniti could arguably be credited with creating the sporty crossover coupe sector way back in 2002 with the introduction of its mid-size FX35 and FX45. The performance-oriented V6- and V8-powered SUV,…

Sporty QX55 brings crossover coupe mix to Infiniti’s compact SUV lineup

2022 Infiniti QX55
Infiniti will soon enter the 2022 model year with a brand new compact crossover coupe dubbed QX55.

Infiniti could arguably be credited with creating the sporty crossover coupe sector way back in 2002 with the introduction of its mid-size FX35 and FX45. The performance-oriented V6- and V8-powered SUV, which would eventually receive the QX70 nameplate two years after the redesigned second-generation FX appeared in 2011, paved the way for a follow-up, so therefore the Japanese luxury brand will re-enter this surprisingly popular niche market segment with something altogether new based on its bestselling QX50 compact luxury SUV.

The appropriately named QX55 makes perfect sense for those who want something sportier than the more upright, family-oriented Q50, or for that matter one of the brand’s even more utilitarian mid-size or full-size SUVs, yet still need greater functionality than a Q50 sedan or Q60 sports coupe can provide. The idea is to combine coupe-like styling and SUV practicality into one, with the compromise being a bit less rear seat headroom and reduced cargo volume for a more aesthetically pleasing design.

2022 Infiniti QX55
The QX55 certainly doesn’t come up short on style.

The latter measurement drops 134 litres from QX50 to QX55, resulting in 761 litres in the new crossover coupe compared to 895 in the regular SUV. Of note, dedicated cargo space can be increased by sliding the rear seats forward, but versatility is lessened by only having 60/40-split rear seatbacks, compared to all rivals that feature the more convenient 40/20/40 configuration, so that long items, such as skis, can be placed down the middle.

Those rivals include some well-established contenders, like BMW’s X4 that was the compact SUV segment initiator way back in 2014, followed four years later by Mercedes-Benz’ GLC Coupe that arrived for 2018. Audi’s Q5 Sportback is new for 2021, and now Infiniti becomes the first non-German brand to drive down this charted, albeit less known road.

2022 Infiniti QX55
The new QX55 makes a distinctive statement from all angles.

Some might include Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio, Jaguar’s F-Pace, Range Rover’s Velar, Porsche’s Macan or Tesla’s Model Y in this category due to their sleek shapes and strong performance, but they’re the only compact models offered by their respective brands and provide similar passenger and cargo capacities to more conventional segment rivals, so probably not. We’ll give them honourable mentions just the same, while Genesis’ upcoming GV70 will occupy similar compact luxury SUV territory for the same reasoning.

As far as styling goes, the new QX55 is arguably the best-looking crossover in Infiniti’s lineup, providing a big, bold interpretation of Infiniti’s double-arched grille up front, bookended by a standard set of slender LED headlights that the luxury brand says “mimic the human eye.” Each hover over a gloss-black fog lamp bezel that mimics the appearance of a brake cooling duct, while juxtaposing the grille’s classy character with a more aggressive attitude.

2022 Infiniti QX55
Its bold grille combines nicely with standard LED headlamps and an aggressive lower fascia complete with sporty LED fog lamps.

Following the QX55’s muscular flanks and arching roofline rearward, which flow into an abbreviated deck lid, the latter dubbed a “fresh interpretation of the FX silhouette” by Infiniti, results in a tidy back end highlighted by sharply penned “piano key” style taillights infused with 45 separate LEDs for a veritable light show at night. De rigueur matte black cladding trims off the SUV’s lower extremities from the front wheel arches rearward, although it sweeps upwards on the back bumper to outline a body-colour diffuser-style panel filled with a matching set of chromed rectangular tailpipes. It’s an eye-catching design that should find favour from those wanting something a bit more daring from a manufacturer known to be more reliable than its German peers.

2022 Infiniti QX55
Each taillight comes infused with 45 separate LEDs.

Under the sculpted hood is the same variable-compression 2.0-litre turbo-four found in the QX50, in which it makes a generous 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which while highly efficient and dependable, is never a performance enthusiast’s first pick, so therefore a future road test will be required in order to learn if improvements have been made since the QX50 was reviewed on these pages. All-wheel drive will be standard in Canada, with fuel economy most likely near the same as the QX50’s estimated rating of 10.8 L/100km in the city, 8.3 on the highway and 9.7 combined.

2022 Infiniti QX55
The QX55’s interior will be familiar to QX50 owners, except for a few sportier details.

Similar to the powertrain, the QX55’s interior doesn’t deviate from its taller sibling, other than the top-line Sensory trimmed model’s lack of top-tier quilted leather upholstery. Appearing to be going for a sportier cabin design, an optional two-tone Monaco Red and Graphite black motif gets joined by yet more red on the centre stack and lower console, this really highlighting the unique form of this tech-filled cabin divider. The swath of bright colour is offset by dark grey, open-pore wood inlays on the dash and doors as well, these sections butting up against satin-finish aluminum trim that joins yet more nicely finished metal throughout the interior.

2022 Infiniti QX55
Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system is nicely laid out and easy to use.

Infiniti’s InTouch eight- and seven-inch, upper and lower dual digital display design is once again front and centre, sharply contrasting the majority of premium players that house their screens on separate fixed tablet-like protrusions from the dash top. While more traditional, this option allows for touch capacitive use along with smartphone-style tap, swipe and pinch finger gestures, while separate controls can be found on the steering wheel. The QX55 will come standard with all the expected infotainment functions, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE wi-fi connectivity for up to seven devices.

2022 Infiniti QX55
The QX55’s standard CVT might be it’s only negative, unless fuel economy and reliability are high on your list of priorities.

When the 2022 QX55 goes on sale in April, three trim models will be available. The first will be Luxe, which at $51,995 plus freight and fees will include standard all-wheel-drive, 20-inch alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, dark aluminum interior trim, heatable front seats, a power glass sunroof, active noise cancellation, and plenty of advanced driver assistance systems such as predictive forward collision warning, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic rear braking, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and auto high beam assist.

Those wanting more tech can upgraded to $56,998 Essential ProAssist trim, which adds adaptive front LED lights, a 360-degree surround parking monitor with moving object detection, adaptive cruise control, distance control assist, blind spot intervention, and lane departure prevention, while other features include InTouch navigation, 16-speaker Bose audio, and leather upholstery.

2022 Infiniti QX55
Rear seat roominess is likely a bit tighter than with the spacious QX50, but most should find it amply large.

As noted earlier, Sensory is the final pinnacle of QX55 trim hierarchy, which at $60,998 adds softer semi-aniline leather upholstery, the aforementioned open-pore maple wood inlays, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, and a motion-activated liftgate, while this model’s technology systems are further enhanced with a head-up display, traffic sign recognition, full speed range and hold capabilities for the adaptive cruise control, ProPilot Assist semi-self-driving capability with steering assist, and lastly Infiniti’s exclusive drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering system.

2022 Infiniti QX55
QX55 cargo capacity is only down slightly when compared to the QX50, par for the course in the crossover coupe category.

The new QX55 is certainly up against some serious competition, particularly because its Infiniti brand name doesn’t quite have the same cachet as Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Still, it offers similar levels of styling, luxury, technology and performance as its three competitors’ entry-level crossover coupes, while the new model’s value proposition should be attractive to those on more of a budget.

Speaking of saving money, CarCostCanada has yet to add a QX55 page to its near complete selection of new Canadian cars, vans, trucks and SUVs (one will soon be published), but take note that Infiniti is currently offering up to $3,000 in additional incentives for 2021 Q50 buyers, and up to $3,500 off of 2020 models, although CarCostCanada members save an average of $5,750 no matter the model year. Learn more about how you can save thousands when purchasing your next vehicle by becoming a CarCostCanada member, and make sure to download the free CarCostCanada app as well, so you can take advantage of the latest manufacturer rebates, factory financing and leasing deals, plus dealer invoice pricing that can make a massive difference when negotiation your best deal.

Additionally, be sure to check out our full 2022 Infiniti QX55 photo gallery above, plus enjoy the following video as well (showing the new QX55 speeding away from an original FX, which would easily be possible if only an FX35).

Introducing the All-New INFINITI QX55 (1:12):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Infiniti

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

What matters most to you in a performance car? Zero to 100 km/h? Top speed? Handling? The ideal mix of everything? Most will give the nod to the latter, wanting a perfect combination of acceleration,…

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Road Test

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio might look somewhat understated, but once behind the wheel it’s anything but.

What matters most to you in a performance car? Zero to 100 km/h? Top speed? Handling? The ideal mix of everything?

Most will give the nod to the latter, wanting a perfect combination of acceleration, ultimate speed and road-holding, and to be fair this is probably best with respect to road cars and performance SUVs. Still, achieving a high mark in every category requires compromise all-round, yet

when an SUV is as good as Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio it’s not exactly like you’re going to feel let down.

In fact, it’s tied for fastest off the line in its compact luxury SUV class (with Mercedes-AMG’s GLC 63 S), comes close to tying for the segment’s top track speed (BMW’s X3 M Competition beats it by 1.6 km/h), and holds more track lap records than any SUV currently made. About the only thing it can’t do is beat a Jeep Wrangler up Cadillac Hill.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Few SUVs are as fast for any amount of money, but the Stelvio Quadrifoglio starts under $100k.

That Alfa Romeo is infused with more racing pedigree than most of its competitors doesn’t hurt matters either, the brand even fielding a Formula One team, which can’t be said for all of its key competitors except Mercedes-AMG—Aston Martin’s larger and much pricier DBX isn’t a direct competitor.

That hardly matters, however, as the DBX only bests the Stelvio Quadrifoglio in terminal velocity, managing 291 km/h (181 mph) compared to 283 (176), the one parameter most of us will never attempt to verify. The little Italian is dominant from standstill to 100 km/h, leaving the Brit behind like it’s standing still, the two brands’ official 0-100 km/h times claimed to be 3.8 seconds to 4.5. That’s not even remotely close.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The golf course might look tempting, but the Stelvio Quad has the power to lure you back to pavement quickly.

No doubt Aston will follow up this first foray into family hauling with a more formidable version of the DBX, just like Porsche provides its Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid and Bentley defies physics with the Bentayga Speed, but for the time being we can’t deny the numbers, and the Stelvio Quad even beats these bad boys off the line. To be very clear, it’s not the quickest SUV of all. That honour is bestowed upon Lamborghini’s Urus, capable of whisking past the 100 km/h mark in just 3.4 seconds, while independent testers are even claiming faster sprint times.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Some nice detailing on the lower front fascia helps to visual set this all-powerful Stelvio apart from its peers.

Such is true for all of the above and the bevy of ultra-fast SUVs not yet mentioned, such as the Dodge Durango SRT (4.6s to 100km/h and a 250km/h/155mph top speed), the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 (4.5 and 250/155), the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge (4.5 and 250/155), the Porsche Macan Turbo (4.5 and 269/167), the Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition (4.5 and 273/170), the Range Rover Sport SVR (4.5s and 291/181 respectively), the Jaguar F-Pace SVR (4.3 and 250/155), the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S (3.9 and 280/174), the BMW X5 M Competition (3.9 and 285/177), the Maserati Levante Trofeo (3.9 and 301/187), the Audi RS Q8 (3.9 and 306/190), the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT (3.7 and 209/130), the Tesla Model Y Performance (3.7 and 217/135), the Durango SRT Hellcat (3.7 and 289/180), the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (3.7 and 289/180), and the Tesla Model X Performance (2.8 and 262/163). The BMW X3 M Competition gets to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, by the way, while the Bentayga Speed and Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid need a respective 4.0 seconds and 3.8 seconds to complete the same feat.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The hood features these gorgeous louvres to each side.

I won’t pretend that jamming my right foot down on the Quad’s pedal when first away from stoplights wasn’t fun, especially when factoring the sensational audio track that accompanied the G-forces slapping my backside into the ideally shaped leather- and Alcantara-covered driver’s sport seat, but for me a vehicle’s performance matters more through the curves than merely in a straight line.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
These stunning cloverleaf-style wheels and 20-inch P Zero rubber make for a gripping on-road experience.

Believe me, I tried to go slow. I really did. I somewhat succeeded in maintaining the posted limit around town and on rural freeways, where I know evil radar gun-toting fun-suckers lay in waiting, but failed miserably when past my city’s suburbanites and within its wilder valley region, where perfectly paved patches of ultimately straight tarmac stretch diagonally across farmland to join tiny communities with circuitous secondary backroads and faster-paced connecting highways. This is where the Stelvio Quadrifoglio was born to rule, and where I became enamoured with its shockingly quick capabilities.

Rotate the Quad’s DNA drive mode selector to the “d” position for a sportier Dynamic range, or twist it one position farther for “RACE” mode, resulting in even greater intensity (just why Alfa uses both lowercase and uppercase designations for this dial is anyone’s guess, but it disturbs my inner need for grammatic equilibrium), and get ready for outrageous speed and one of the most delectable crackling and popping exhaust systems anywhere.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
These might be the best sounding tailpipe quartet in SUV existence.

Alfa shoes the Stelvio Quad in 255/45R20 front and 285/40R20 rear Pirelli P Zero performance tires that can hang onto most any type of manmade road surface, these combining ideally with a wonderfully sorted chassis that defies the SUV’s top-heavy profile. Don’t get me wrong, as its roofline is relatively low as far as sport utilities go, but it’s no sport wagon either.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
If Ferrari made an SUV (and they don’t yet), this is what you might expect the interior to look like.

The driving position is excellent, combining a partially squared-off leather-clad sport steering wheel that’s just large enough to feel substantive without being cumbersome, with thumb spats ideally formed and a long set of alloy paddles just behind, fitted to the steering column rather than the wheel, so they’re always where you expect them to be. That column’s tilt and reach are ample too, the latter joining good seat adjustability for fitting my long-legged, short-torso body, resulting in optimal control and good comfort overall.

No wonder Alfa’s bevy of professional drivers had no problem besting track lap times across the world, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio leading all SUVs at Silverstone (2:31.6), Donington Park (1:21.1), and the Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch (55.9), although in fairness I need to make sure you know that its record-setting 7:51.7-minute lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife was broken after only a few months by the previously mentioned GLC 63 S, the Merc managing just 7.49.369 minutes.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s interior will impress.

Both are quicker around the 20.832-km mountainside track than the next-best Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, mind you, which managed a respectable 7:59.7 minutes just the same, or for that matter a Range Rover Sport SVR that could only lap the course in 8:14 minutes. Until one of the aforementioned VW-underpinned super-SUVs (Urus, RS Q8, Bentayga Speed, or Cayenne S E-Hybrid) choose to take on the wee compacts, they’ll remain the undisputed kings of the “Green Hell”.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
This classic mostly analogue gauge cluster harkens back to classic Alfa Romeo designs.

Back to being unreasonably fair, Lamborghini’s Urus took the Stelvio Q’s title away at one of my personal favourite race tracks, Laguna Seca. The 641-hp raging bull pulled off a 1:40.9-minute single lap compared to the Stelvio’s 1:43.5-minute stint, which is impressive until we start comparing bang for the buck.

Yes, the 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio starts at only $98,995, compared to $285,000 for Lambo’s SUV. The hyper-fast Merc-AMG GLC will set you back $94,900, incidentally, while a W12-infused Bentayga will cost you even more than the Urus. A happy medium might be the super-quick Audi at $126,500, but that’s still a lot of extra coin for slower straight-line speed and a bit more at the top end. Of course, there’s a lot more to any of these SUVs than pure performance, but this said the top-tier Stelvio will hardly have you feeling like you’re living in the slums.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The new infotainment display makes a big difference in every respect.

No matter which premium branded super SUV you choose, its interior comes complete with all the contrast-stitched hides, plush faux suede, brushed and polished aluminum, and high-gloss carbon-fibre weave you can handle, not to mention premium soft-touch composites where the above materials can’t be added, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio no exception. Anyone joining you in the passenger’s seat will be impressed, with its interior design and beautifully crafted build quality.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Glossy carbon-fibre trim joins loads of aluminum, leather and Alcantara psuede for a truly luxe experience.

Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to experience a much-improved infotainment display in this test model, compared to one used in a four-cylinder Stelvio driven previously. It’s more intuitive graphically, making it easier to use, while it’s also more customizable due to a drag and drop tile/widget layout. It can do anything its rivals can, as well as compile performance states via a number of “pages” displaying boost, torque, lateral Gs, and more.

While I’ve really liked some of the fully digital displays offered by Alfa’s competitors, I can’t say I was disappointed to see a set of analogue dials housed within sporty circular shrouds, not unlike the beautiful dual-gauge clusters found in the marque’s collectable classics. The speedometer and tachometer flanked a large high-definition multi-information display at centre, filled with loads of useful info, so it was as modern as it needed to be, but that nod to the past is always appreciated in a brand with as much rich history as Alfa Romeo.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The driver’s seat is superb in every respect, and the driver’s position excellent.

As impressive as the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s beautifully finished interior and insane performance is, I’d be remiss for not mentioning anything about its practical attributes. This is an SUV after all, and thus it comes with a comfortable, accommodating second row featuring three seatbelts abreast, plus window seat warmers with three temperature settings, dual USB-A charging ports on the backside of the front console, excellent rear ventilation found just above, plus overall rear finishings as well executed as those up front. Likewise, the cargo compartment is as nicely finished as its compact luxury SUV segment gets, plus it’s large enough for most peoples’ needs and made even bigger via ultra-useful 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. Alfa even includes an intelligently engineered aluminum track system for tying down your belongings, which is a good thing when considering the lateral Gs those items may be forced to deal with.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Rear seat roominess is generous, the features impressive, finishing very good, and comfort above par.

Although we’re well into the 2021 model year, there’s a pretty good chance that 2020 models may be available and this SUV hasn’t changed at all in its top-line Quadrifoglio trim, which means you can save about $2,800 right off the top, due to the latest version going up in price by that amount since last year. Alfa Romeo is offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent on either model year, while CarCostCanada can provide additional info about any available manufacturer rebates, as well as dealer invoice pricing to help you pay the lowest possible price when negotiating. Find out how their system works, and also be sure to download their free app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store in order to have such critical information on your phone when you need it most.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The practical Stelvio provides 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks for optimal cargo flexibility.

As I went over in detail earlier, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is up against plenty of high-performance competitors, but only Lamborghini’s Urus completely outguns it. Mercedes’ quickest GLC is a better match and should be considered, but its twin-turbo V8 won’t provide the higher-pitched aural edginess as Alfa’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, which will be less appealing to some (including yours truly). There’s also the standard features and options issue, with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio mostly loaded except for about $4k worth of extras, compared to the AMG GLC 63 S that starts a bit lower, but can be configured with more than $26k of options that mostly come standard from Alfa. All of a sudden the Stelvio Quadrifoglio looks like a really good deal, even though once you’ve driven it you probably won’t care what it costs.

Story and photos by Trevor Hofmann

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