It’s been nearly a decade since Nissan launched its car-based Pathfinder crossover, representing a risky move that replaced three generations of body-on-frame SUV predecessors, as well as the Quest…

Redesigned 2022 Nissan Pathfinder rolls off production line

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan just started production of its 2022 Pathfinder, a completely redesigned model that will hit Canadian showrooms this summer.

It’s been nearly a decade since Nissan launched its car-based Pathfinder crossover, representing a risky move that replaced three generations of body-on-frame SUV predecessors, as well as the Quest minivan that faded away five years later, but it proved positive for sales. Now those awaiting its replacement before trading up can take heart, because the all-new fifth-gen Pathfinder just started rolling off the automaker’s Smyrna, Tennessee assembly line.

“Start of production of the new Pathfinder marks another major milestone in our Nissan NEXT momentum story,” said Jeff Younginer, Vice President, Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant. “The Smyrna plant team is thrilled to put the newest version of this iconic vehicle on the road for customers.”

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
The 2022 Pathfinder is almost entirely new, keeping its 3.5-litre V6 yet boasting an all-new shape and fully updated interior.

The new Pathfinder, which has been built in the Nashville suburb since 2004, pulls its sole 3.5-litre direct-injection V6 engine from Nissan’s Decherd Powertrain Plant in Decherd, Tennessee, located about an hour south on Interstate 24. The drivetrain’s all-new nine-speed automatic transmission, on the other hand, hails from ZF’s production plant in Gray Court, South Carolina, but would-be buyers hoping for greater performance will likely be more interested to know that it’s not the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the outgoing model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
The new Pathfinder receives Nissan’s Intelligent AWD system as standard in Canada once again.

The new nine-speed auto should provide quicker, more engaging shifts when performing passing manoeuvres or managing the three-row mid-size SUV through fast-paced corners, while Nissan promises smooth operation as well. Additionally, standard Intelligent 4WD with a seven-position Drive and Terrain Mode Selector means Canadian buyers will enjoy optimal traction year-round. This is especially important off the line thanks to the powertrain’s strong 284 horsepower, the torquey V6 partially responsible for the new SUV’s impressive 6,000-pound (2,721-kg) maximum towing capacity.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
The new Pathfinder’s interior receives improvements in refinement, larger, modernized electronic displays, and much more.

Along with wholly renewed styling that should appeal to Nissan’s many truck buyers thanks to plenty of sharp angles and rugged details, the bigger and broader version of its trademark “U” shaped grille especially notable, a completely redesigned interior provides seating for up to eight, new available second-row captain’s chairs (which reduce seating to seven), plus an optional 10.8-inch head-up display that projects key info onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, a large 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and the brand’s ProPilot Assist semi-self-driving capability with Navi-Link, while the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced driver assistive systems comes standard.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
Second-row captain’s chairs will be optional for 2022.

The new 2022 Pathfinder will start showing up in Nissan Canada dealer showrooms this summer, although those wanting to take advantage of especially good savings may want to consider the outgoing 2020 Pathfinder which utilizes the same V6 engine. Nissan is currently offering up to $7,000 in additional incentives when purchasing a 2020 model, and new zero-mileage examples are still available being that no 2021 version was produced. Be sure to check out CarCostCanada for all the details, and remember to download their free app so you can access timely info on available factory rebates, manufacturer financing and leasing deals, and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands on any new car, truck or SUV.

2022 Pathfinder and Frontier Reveal (14:39):

Dévoilement du Pathfinder et du Frontier 2022 (14:39):

The All-New 2022 Nissan Pathfinder ​(0:06):

2022 Nissan Pathfinder LIVE Walkaround & Review (5:31):

Design Spotlight | Nissan Design Director Ken Lee on All-New 2022 Pathfinder (8:55):

How many seats does the Pathfinder have? | 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Q&A (0:55):

How many trims are available? | 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Q&A (0:31):

What’s the towing capacity? | 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Q&A (0:39):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

I’ve got to admit, Honda’s hybrid and full-electric strategy has long baffled the mind. Despite being second in the world and first in North America amongst modern-day hybrid makers, the Japanese…

2021 Honda Insight Touring Road Test

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Most people will agree that Honda’s Insight is a good looking car.

I’ve got to admit, Honda’s hybrid and full-electric strategy has long baffled the mind. Despite being second in the world and first in North America amongst modern-day hybrid makers, the Japanese brand’s combined love affair with impractical two-seat electrified sport coupes and hybrid five-passenger sedans, the latter providing real sales success stories, has left them with a much smaller slice of the alternative fuels market than they most likely would’ve enjoyed if they’d devoted all of their wired investment into highly marketable projects.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Thanks to its more conservative taillights, the Insight will likely be more aesthetically pleasing to some than today’s Civic.

I’m going to guess that Honda’s best-selling electron-infused effort to date is the Civic Hybrid, just because of the sheer number of them I’ve seen on the road over the past decade-plus, although the brand never parsed out hybrid sales numbers from Civics using their conventional powertrains, so only those on the inside know for sure (please tell me I’m wrong, Honda). In fact, the decision to add a hybrid power unit to Canada’s most popular car was so smart that Toyota finally copied them with its latest Corolla Hybrid, a model that now partners the hybrid sector’s long-time best-selling Prius in the compact segment (just a quick note to let you know the new Sienna minivan, only available as a hybrid, just surpassed the Prius as the number-one hybrid seller in the US, not to mention the best-selling minivan).

2000 Honda Insight
It’s two-seat impracticality might not have been the only reason Honda’s first-generation Insight didn’t find as many buyers as the original four-door Prius.

Mentioning the Prius pulls memories of a particularly poorly planned successor to Honda’s original Insight, or at least most buyers thought so, as did I after initially testing it. While the first-generation 1999–2006 Insight needs to be slotted into the impractical two-seat electrified sport coupe category I noted a moment ago, the second-gen 2009–2014 Insight came across like an embarrassing admission of the first car’s failure. Honda came as close to copying the second-generation Prius as it could without being sued for plagiarism, but the rather bland hatchback didn’t look as good or go as well as its key rival. To be fair, it was the best-selling car overall in Japan for the month of April, 2009 (three months after going on sale), besting Honda’s own Fit for top spot, but North American buyers were never so enthusiastic. I could only get excited about its fuel economy at the time, which admittedly was superb.

2010 Honda Insight Hybrid
Honda’s second-gen Insight was easily more palatable to the masses than the original, but its similarity to Toyota’s second-gen Prius caused some criticism at the time.

After a reasonable five-year stint (2011–2016) playing around with another impractical two-seat electrified sport coupe dubbed CR-Z, a stylish runabout that I happened to like a lot, yet not enough buyers with real money agreed, the third-gen Insight arrived as a more attractive (in my opinion) Civic Hybrid, sans the name (an initial image of the new 2022 Civic shows the brand is leaning toward a more conservative design approach).

At first, I considered Honda’s choice of rebadging what’s little more than a hybridized Civic with the Insight nameplate as a stroke of genius (don’t ask me for marketing advice), but as it soon became apparent by the lack of Insights on the roads around my hybrid-infused Vancouver homeland (Honda chose the 2018 Vancouver International Auto Show for its launch, after all), it hasn’t been a hit.

2016 Honda CR-Z
Honda’s CR-Z was a real looker, but limiting occupancy to two made its target market very small.

It seems, much as Honda wants to keep the Insight legacy alive, or maybe just shine a prettier light on it, the comparatively obscure moniker’s historical relevance is no match for household name recognition (and another key issue I’ll go into more detail about later). As noted earlier, only Honda has the internal data to compare the percentage of Insights and Civic sedans it sells now to Civic Hybrid and conventionally-powered Civic sedans it sold in the past, but as stated at the beginning of this review, my guess is the old Civic Hybrid made a much bigger impact on the brand’s small car sales chart.

Enough about Honda’s hybrid duopoly of Civic and Accord success stories and insightful missteps, mind you, because the question that matters more is whether or not the latest Insight is any good. Of course, being based on the Civic can only mean that it’s inherently an excellent car, so therefore adding Honda’s well-proven hybrid drivetrain to the mix can only make it better from a fuel-efficiency standpoint, or at least that’s what I deduced after a week behind the wheel.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
LED headlamps join LED fog lights for a very advanced lighting package.

The powertrain consists of a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle internal combustion engine (ICE), an electric propulsion motor, and a 60-cell lithium-ion battery, with the end result being an enthusiastic 151 net horsepower and an even heartier 197 lb-ft of torque. Claimed fuel economy is 4.6 L/100km in the city, 5.3 on the highway, and 4.9 combined, which is exemplary when comparing it to most conventionally powered sedans in its compact category. Even the thriftiest version of Honda’s Civic sedan is downright thirsty when viewed side-by-side, its rating of 7.9 L/100km city, 6.1 highway and 7.1 combined stacking up well against competitors, yet not so impressive next to the Insight. Then again, sidle up Toyota’s aforementioned Corolla Hybrid beside to the Insight and its 4.4 city, 4.5 highway and 4.5 combined rating edges it out.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Some Insight styling details are similar to those on the mid-size Accord.

Of course, even hybrids aren’t all about fuel economy. Straight-line performance matters too, as does handling, refinement, style, etcetera. Before venturing away from driving dynamics, I have to mention how wonderfully smooth the Insight’s drivetrain is. It uses a continuously variable transmission, which is par for the course across most of the Civic line, and not uncommon amongst competitors too, Corolla included, so as long as driven calmly it’s pure bliss.

Step into the throttle with Sport mode engaged and it moves along quickly enough too, but the CVT keeps the engine at higher revs for longer than a conventional automatic would, and therefore produces more noise and harshness. I’m willing to guess most hybrid drivers don’t deep dive into the go-pedal all that often, however, so this probably won’t be a big issue. It certainly wasn’t for the duration of my test week, as I drove it in its default Comfort, Econ and EV settings more often than not.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The Insight’s five-spoke alloys were obviously designed with aerodynamics in mind.

On Honda’s side, the Insight’s all-electric mode is much more useful than the EV modes in Toyota’s Corolla or non-plug-in Prius, as it can actually be used at city speeds without automatically switching into hybrid mode, or in other words have the ICE kick back in. Unless moving up to one of Toyota’s plug-in Prime models, their ICEs automatically turn on at around 20 km/h, making it impossible to drive around town on electric power alone.

Some of my city’s poorly paved streets made me grateful for the Insight’s well sorted suspension, incidentally, as the ride is very good for its compact dimensions. This is partially due to an independent rear suspension setup, which is ideal for soaking up bumps and ruts no matter the speed, not to mention keeping the rear of the car from hopping around when driving quickly through imperfect asphalt mid-corner. Yes, it handles quite well, with the Insight’s battery weight hidden under the rear seat for a low centre of gravity.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Insight Touring buyers get plenty of premium touches.

You’ll be wanting to use the previously noted Sport mode for such situations, but don’t expect to manually row a gear lever through stepped intervals to so, because you won’t find any such thing. Instead, the Insight lets you swap “cogs” via much more engaging steering wheel paddles, while using Honda’s pushbutton gear selector for PRND, complete with a pull switch for reverse. It looks clean and elegant, plus saves airspace above for uninhibited access to centre stack controls, yet leaves more than enough room nearby on the lower console for stowing a large smartphone.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Honda hasn’t shown rear photos of its new 2022 Civic yet, but we’d be pleased if its taillights looked similar to the Insight’s LED lenses.

The latter includes a rubberized tray, plus a couple of USB charging ports and a 12-volt charger just ahead, these items forming the base of the centre stack that continues to be well organized and filled with plenty of useful features, such as an attractive dual-zone automatic climate control interface, integrating a strip of quick-access buttons for the three-way heatable front seats and more. It’s all topped off by the same big 8.0-inch touchscreen Civic owners will be all too familiar with, incorporating attractive, colourful, easy-to-use graphics that are laid out in a convenient tile format, with functions such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, an accurate navigation system in my Touring trimmed tester, and an engine/battery power flow indicator that can be fun to watch.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The Insight Touring provides a more luxurious interior than most cars in its compact mainstream class.

For those unfamiliar (which would include those trading up from a base second-gen Insight, or those still driving base Civic Hybrids from the same era), the display works like a smartphone or tablet, letting you tap, pinch, or swipe to perform various functions, while Honda has also lined each side with some quick access buttons. On the left is a one for the home screen, plus another for the return or back function, one for swapping between day and night screens, two more for scrolling between radio stations or tracks, and lo and behold an actual volume knob that I used more often than the redundant one on the left-side steering wheel spoke.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
If you’re familiar with today’s Civic, you’ll feel right at home in the Insight.

Honda lights up the name of each feature so they’ll be easy to see at night, but this caused me to press the name instead of the little black button below when getting acclimatized, my mind seemingly pre-programmed for touch-sensitive controls these days. Some will be ok with this unorthodox analogue setup, while others, like yours truly, will wonder why Honda didn’t choose larger buttons with integrated backlit names, but being that this was my only criticism after a week on the road, I say they’re batting 300.

The primary instruments are fully digital, with those on the right housing a speedometer and gas gauge, and the left portion of the cluster featuring a multi-information display filled with helpful hybrid info, including a battery charge indicator. Switchgear on the steering wheel spokes control the MID, and I must say they’re very well made and ideally fitted in place, just like all the buttons, knobs and rockers throughout the rest of the cabin. These include controls on the overhead console too, which houses a set of incandescent reading lights, an emergency assist button, a HomeLink garage door opener, and a rocker switch for the regularly sized powered glass sunroof.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The Insight’s gauge cluster is fully digital.

Following this high-quality theme, the Insight’s interior comes close to Acura ILX levels of fit, finish, and materials quality. The dash top, for instance, consists of a really impressive soft-touch synthetic surface treatment, while a padded and French-stitched leatherette bolster ahead of the front passenger continues over the entire instrument panel all the way down the side of the centre stack, which made it a shame that Honda didn’t finish the driver’s area to the same impressive level. Each side of the lower console is done just as nicely, however, matching the sliding centre armrest. Additionally, the front door uppers receive the same high-quality treatment as the dash top, while the door inserts get a similar stitched leatherette to the instrument panel bolster. It all looks very upscale, with refinement that’s on an entirely new level for Honda’s compact offerings.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Honda’s infotainment interface is well organized and easy to use, while its 8.0-inch size is large for the class.

The driver’s seat is up to Honda’s usual high standards too, with plenty of support and good adjustability, while the tilt and telescopic steering column provides ample reach and rake, not always the case with some competitors regarding the former. I couldn’t make mention of the steering wheel without adding that it’s thick, meaty, and shaped like it came out of a performance car, or one of Honda’s impractical two-seat electrified sport coupes (I know I’m going to get hate mail from all those CR-Z fans out there, but don’t slay me for pointing out the fact that an otherwise good car wasn’t exactly a runaway sales success).

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The hybrid power flow graphics are fun to watch.

Much like the spacious front seating area, the rear passenger compartment is roomy and comfortable, seemingly on par with the regular Civic. Likewise, the trunk could also be from a Civic, and even includes storage space under the cargo floor for random items. Honda stows the car’s tire repair pump in this location, a requirement for fixing flats as no spare tire is included. The segment’s usual 60/40 split-folding rear seatback configuration expands the trunk’s usefulness when needed, growing it from 416 litres (14.7 cu ft) to who knows how much (but ample for skis and boards) when lowered.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Honda’s navigation system accuracy has long been very good.

Yes, the Insight is a spacious, comfortable four-door sedan with a very practical, secure trunk, plus a good performance and fuel economy compromise, along with an impressively crafted interior with excellent electronics, and in my opinion, very attractive styling. If rebadged with the Civic Hybrid name, I think it would sell better than it does, simply because everyone knows someone with a Civic. This said, don’t let any negative connotations about old Insights dissuade you from buying the current model. In fact, if you can get one for the right price, I’d highly recommend it, and I’d also recommend that Honda get even more practical with future hybrids, like possibly a CR-V Hybrid for the Canadian market?

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Honda’s innovative pushbutton gear selector necessitates manual shifting via paddles on the steering wheel.

It’s hard to understand why Honda allowed others to hybridize the SUV segment before they got around to it, but unfathomably there’s still nothing in their Canadian lineup to compete with electrified versions of the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape and others, an especially odd predicament for the Japanese brand to find itself in when considering the CR-V is built right here in Canada.

The problem is reportedly due to Honda’s inability to build an electrified version in its Alliston, Ontario plant, and unwillingness to procure one from its U.S. manufacturing division (according to multiple sources quoting Honda Canada VP of marketing and sales, Jean-Marc Leclerc, selling a CR-V Hybrid here would simply not be profitable). They don’t seem to be having much trouble selling CR-Vs as it is, but the latest RAV4 has taken over top spot in the segment, possibly due at least partially to its past regular hybrid and current plug-in Prime variants.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Econ and Sport modes work effectively, while Honda’s EV mode allows full electric mobility at city speeds.

Until the powers that be at Honda choose to take on hybrid challengers within Canada’s fastest growing compact SUV segment, the only two electrified vehicles in the lineup will remain this Insight, the larger mid-size Accord Hybrid, and the brand’s rather unusual looking Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (good luck trying to find one of those on the road). All three are sedans, with the latter two approximately the same size and therefore somewhat redundant (I’d argue they would have done better with an Accord plug-in). Again, Honda’s electrification strategy remains a mystery. At least the Insight and Accord hybrids are straightforward in design and four-door functionality, with either being a good choice for those desiring a sedan body style. If only there were more buyers for this type of vehicle these days.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The Insight Touring’s leather-clad seats are comfortable and supportive.

To wrap it up, as of April’s close, Honda has delivered a grand total of 15,629 CR-Vs so far this year, which sounds quite good until noting Toyota’s 23,585 RAV4 sales total, of which I’m willing to guess (again) about 25 percent were hybrids (electrified vehicle sales have been surging in Canada over the past two years, and RAV4 Hybrid sales were already at 22 percent in 2019). Canada’s third best-selling vehicle is Honda’s Civic, by the way, with 10,884 units down the road so far in 2021, while the previously mentioned Corolla is a close fourth at 10,788 YTD sales to its credit.

Even if the Corolla Hybrid only managed 15 percent of that model’s total sales, it would have achieved more than 1,500 deliveries since the beginning of the year, which totally destroys Insight deliveries of just 132 units over the same four months, and sadly that’s after seeing 1.5 percent year-over-year sales growth. It can’t be the styling, as it’s easily as attractive as the current Civic sedan, and more so in my opinion, so therefore, while my argument for name recognition might factor in to some extent, it probably has everything to do with acquisition costs from Honda’s Greensburg, Indiana plant, the same facility that makes the CR-V Hybrid.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
Second row roominess is similar to that in the Civic sedan, because the motive battery is stowed under the rear seat.

This results in a starting price of $28,490 plus freight and fees, which is $3,400 more expensive than Toyota’s Corolla Hybrid that begins at just $25,090. Ouch! The Touring trimmed model I tested is even dearer at $32,190, and this car isn’t much better (if at all) than a top-level Corolla Hybrid with its Premium package, that will only set its owner back $27,090 (plus destination and dealer charges). That’s $5,100 more affordable than the Insight, hence the lost sales numbers. No wonder Honda isn’t willing to add its U.S.-made CR-V Hybrid to the mix, as there’s obviously a serious problem making a business case for U.S.-produced hybrids in Canada.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The Insight’s trunk is sized similarly to the Civic too.

Honda produces its Accord Hybrid in Marysville, Ohio, incidentally, a model that seems to suffer from the same problem, with a base price of $35,805 compared to the Toyota Camry Hybrid’s entry window sticker of $30,790. Likewise, the top-line Accord Hybrid Touring is available from $42,505, whereas the optimally loaded Camry Hybrid XLE is a mere $39,690.

Moving forward, Honda Canada will need to address this issue, at least with the models it can. By rejigging their Alliston assembly plant, they should be able to sell many more CR-V Hybrids than any other electrified model currently on offer, although the business case for doing so may not make sense in a market that’s only about 10 percent of America’s size.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The cargo compartment can be expanded for longer items via 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, not always the case with hybrids.

Such a scenario might be justifiable if they chose to produce the Insight right next to the Civic, that’s also built in the Alliston facility, or even better, create a new Civic Hybrid model that doesn’t require the extra expense of unique body panel stampings. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Honda offered a Canadian-specific Civic, although that model was under the Acura EL nameplate.

No doubt Honda’s Canadian division has thought through numerous hybrid and electric strategies, as choosing the right one will be critical to its future success. Waiting for a fully electric alternative will put them at risk of losing ground in Canada’s electrified car industry overall, which really isn’t an option considering that the HEV, PHEV and EV industry is growing faster north of the 49th than it is south of the border, and also factoring in that all of its competitors are already selling or in the process of ramping up multiple hybrid and pure electric production vehicles. As it is, Honda Canada is only discussing the possibility of a CR-V Hybrid, and then only as part of the model’s upcoming generation.

2021 Honda Insight Touring
The heart of the Insight is Honda’s 1.5-litre gasoline engine and hybrid drive system.

Yes, even after all these years, Honda’s global electrification strategy is anything but cohesive. Nevertheless, the Insight is a very good car that could provide you with a lot of happiness behind the wheel. The automaker is attempting to sweeten the deal with incentives up to $1,000 on 2021 models or $1,600 off 2020 models (yes, there’s no shortage of new 2020s still available), but this is countered by Toyota’s factory leasing and financing rates from 0.49 percent on the Corolla Hybrid, with average CarCostCanada member savings of $1,937 when factoring in the knowledge gained by their dealer invoice pricing advantage.

Make sure to find out about every CarCostCanada membership benefit, plus remember to download their free app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store, and choose your next car wisely. You could do a lot worse than purchasing a new Honda Insight, although the asking price might be a bit steep despite its exclusivity.

Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann

Hyundai Motor’s premium Genesis brand will be introduced to European markets this summer, starting with two mid-size luxury models, the G80 four-door sedan and GV80 two-row crossover SUV. Genesis Motor,…

Genesis luxury brand will arrive in Europe this summer

2022 Genesis G80 EV
The upcoming 2022 Electrified G80 will be one of the first vehicles to wear Genesis branding in Europe.

Hyundai Motor’s premium Genesis brand will be introduced to European markets this summer, starting with two mid-size luxury models, the G80 four-door sedan and GV80 two-row crossover SUV.

Genesis Motor, which initiated sales in 2015, is currently sold in South Korea, the United States, Canada, China, Russia, the Middle East, and Australia. After its launch into Europe, which was delayed due to the global health crisis, it will be introduced to other markets in Asia.

Genesis chose to launch its G80 first in Europe because a new plug-in electric version will be part of the lineup for 2022.

2021 Genesis GV80
In a wholly intelligent decision, the South Korean luxury brand’s initial European launch will include its new GV80 mid-size SUV.

“The Electrified G80 will be the first all-electric Genesis to arrive in Europe,” stated Genesis Motor Europe in a press release. “A further two battery electric cars will follow, providing European customers with a choice of three Genesis zero-emission cars within the first year.”

Shortly after the initial two mid-size models arrive in European dealerships for June, Genesis will introduce its smaller G70 sedan and GV70 crossover SUV, the latter being an entirely new model within each of the brand’s markets this year.

Genesis has enjoyed generally positive reviews and luxury market acceptance in most markets, particularly those in North America, arguably achieving greater perceived prestige than some of its Japanese competitors that have been struggling to make their marks since the 1980s.

2021 Genesis G70
The G70 has yet to receive Genesis’ new grille design.

For instance, Genesis hit the market with a full-size luxury sedan, the G90, complete with potent V6 and V8 powertrains, while Honda’s Acura brand and Nissan’s Infiniti marque have discontinued their full-size luxury sedans after poor sales, the former brand’s RLX cancelled last year, and the latter having nixed its Q45 way back in 2006. Likewise, Infiniti discontinued its mid-size Q70 and long-wheelbase Q70L in 2019, its compact Q50 now being the only four-door sedan model available.

Genesis has a compact four-door of its own to compete with the Q50, Acura’s TLX, and a whole host of other challengers including BMW’s 3 Series, Mercedes’ C-Class, Audi’s A4, and the list goes on, while the brand promises a sports coupe will join the fray soon.

2022 Genesis GV70
The all-new GV70 crossover will join the G70 sport sedan soon after the G80 and GV80 debut.

In fact, Genesis showed off a stunningly beautiful new sports coupe prototype this year, dubbed X Concept. What’s more, according to reports the brand trademarked the names GT60, GT70, GT80, and GT90 in 2017, some of which will more than likely provide competition to the BMW 4 and 8 Series models, Mercedes C- and E-Class coupes, the Audi A5 and A7, Infiniti Q60, and others, while four-door coupes and convertibles will probably be part of the automaker’s GT line as well.

Even more important to the brand’s sales growth, the aforementioned mid-size SUV will soon be joined by the GV70 compact crossover SUV, which appears ready to do battle against BMW’s X3, Mercedes’ GLC, Audi’s Q5 and others, including Acura’s RDX, Infiniti’s QX50, and Lexus’ NX.

2021 Genesis X Concept
This year’s X Concept depicts what a future “GT” coupe model might look like.

The latter brand is probably Genesis’ most targeted rival, being that it’s easily had the greatest success of the three Japanese luxury vehicle brands introduced in the 1980s. Toyota’s premium contender continues to offer a full-size luxury sedan, the LS, a market segment that’s still important from a prestige standpoint, as well as competitive models in most of the key luxury categories.

It’s difficult to guess how the various European markets will accept Hyundai’s luxury brand, but if Genesis can come close to duplicating the growth it’s experienced in North American markets, the brand’s leadership should be satisfied. Sales more than doubled from January through March of 2021 when compared to the same quarter last year, while Q1 year-over-year deliveries in its South Korean home market were up 165 percent. Genesis has only been available in China since last month, so time will only tell how Chinese buyers respond.

2021 Genesis G90
The full-size G90 flagship luxury sedan shows how serious Genesis is about garnering respect amongst premium buyers.

Canadian Genesis sales grew from 229 units in Q1 of 2020 to 628 sales in the same three months of 2021, representing 174 percent year-over-year growth. This beat the previous quarter’s YoY increase of 171 percent, but Q4 sales totalled a whopping 935 units, which was the best three-month stretch yet for the fledgling brand.

Of course, manufacturer incentives always help to spur on sales, and right now Genesis is offering zero-percent factory leasing and financing rates across the entire line. What’s more, CarCostCanada members are saving an average of $2,666 on the 2021 Genesis G70, plus saving an average of $10,000 when purchasing the 2021 G90.

CarCostCanada provides its members with otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing, which means they have a massive advantage when negotiating a fair price. Find out how it all works now, and also make sure to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store, so you too can have all of this important info at hand when it comes time for you to buy your next vehicle.

 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Genesis

Off to a very good start, the totally redesigned 2022 Acura MDX has taken home a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The MDX garnered a…

All-new 2022 Acura MDX earns IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating

2022 Acura MDX
The 2022 Acura MDX has earned the best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the IIHS.

Off to a very good start, the totally redesigned 2022 Acura MDX has taken home a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The MDX garnered a Top Safety Pick + ranking by achieving “GOOD” ratings in all its crashworthiness tests, including the demanding passenger-side small overlap test. The MDX also earned a “SUPERIOR” rating for its Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), plus “GOOD” for its standard JewelEye LED headlamps.

2022 Acura MDX
The MDX’ standard JewelEye LED headlamps helped it earn the highest possible IIHS ranking.

A full assortment of standard AcuraWatch advanced driver assistive and automated safety technologies allowed the MDX to earn such high marks, including the just-noted CMBS, plus Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Road Departure Mitigation.

By achieving top-tier status with the IIHS, the new MDX joins other Acura models that have already earned the same rating, including 2021 model year versions of the RDX luxury crossover SUV, and the TLX sport luxury sedan that achieved the ranking in February of this year.

2022 Acura MDX
The new MDX is filled with top-tier safety and driver assistive system, like this available 360-degree surround parking camera system.

Acura is already offering up to $1,000 in additional incentives on the new 2022 MDX, while CarCostCanada members purchasing new 2020 models (no 2021 model was offered) are experiencing average savings of more than $6,000. The Japanese luxury brand is also offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent on 2020 models.

Find out how a CarCostCanada membership can save you thousands when purchasing your next new vehicle, by informing you about all the latest manufacturer offers, and by providing you with dealer invoice pricing that can keep thousands in your wallet when it comes time to negotiate your deal. Also, make sure to download their free app, so you can always have the most critical car buying info close at hand in order to save as much money as possible.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Acura

Fuel cell vehicles have been around a while. The first one I drove was Ford’s Focus FCV way back in 2005, which was developed as part of a joint initiative between the blue-oval brand along with Daimler-Benz…

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Road Test

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
It’s easy to see how the Nexo’s grille design inspired the new Tucson’s front fascia. Of course, the Nexo is about as advanced as SUVs get, so other than width and height, that’s where similarities to the 2022 Tucson end.

Fuel cell vehicles have been around a while. The first one I drove was Ford’s Focus FCV way back in 2005, which was developed as part of a joint initiative between the blue-oval brand along with Daimler-Benz and Ballard Engineering, the latter bringing the hydrogen fuel-cell tech to the table. After driving that car, and realizing it felt totally normal other than its relatively silent electric propulsion (electrics weren’t very common back then), I believed hydrogen was the way of the future. How wrong was I? At least for the short-term.

It took a decade and a half for me to experience another hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, mostly because of the incredible challenges of installing any sort of hydrogen infrastructure to facilitate refuelling. That car was the outgoing Toyota Mirai, which was followed soon after by a week in this Hyundai Nexo. Fortunately, Vancouver’s Lower Mainland has three new H2-capable public stations where owners of these vehicles can fill up. This now allows for sales, leases and rentals (Greater Vancouver Lyft drivers can now rent a Mirai for weeks at a time) of Toyota’s mid-size sedan and Hyundai’s slightly larger than compact crossover SUV.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The Nexo is significantly longer than the compact Tucson.

So, what happened to Ford and Mercedes? Considering they were two of the first manufacturers to dabble in hydrogen-powered vehicles, it seems strange they’ve mostly left the technology behind. Other producers have come and gone too, while some are still developing hydrogen fuel-cell cars, but haven’t brought them to market (or at least, our market). Honda, for instance, offers an H2 version of its Clarity sedan in the US (we just got the plug-in hybrid), and it’s only $379 USD per month (about $475 CAD at the time of writing) after a small down-payment.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Offering up a clean, attractive design, no one should be offended by Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered SUV.

If the Clarity was a pure EV it would be a steal, considering how much you can save by not having to fill the tank (recharging off peak hours is significantly less than pumping gas or H2), but hydrogen doesn’t come cheap, so (without attempting any calculations, which would be near impossible with the information available) buying into the technology is not going to save you any money at the pump.

Living with a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicle is more about the convenience of not having to wait for hours to recharge its electric drive motor (it took me about five minutes to refill), plus the environmental benefits of the just-noted (local) zero-emissions powertrain. Only water vapour leaves the tailpipe, so it’s no more polluting during its use than an electric vehicle.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The slender LED headlamps are enhanced by a thin strip of connecting light, plus powerful lamps below.

Just for some fun history, I should point out that Mazda was actually the first major player to take part in the hydrogen game. Not afraid of investing in alternative powertrains, the Japanese brand’s 1991 HR-X Hydrogen Wankel Rotary didn’t use a fuel-cell, but certainly burned H2. Others on the H2 history list include boutique (Morgan) as well as household name brands, from both mainstream and luxury carmakers all across the world, with Hyundai’s initial hydrogen foray being the 2001 Santa Fe FCEV, which was quickly followed up with the 2004 Tucson FCEV. The two SUVs received generational updates, which makes Hyundai one of only a small assortment of brands keeping the hydrogen dream alive.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
All in all, the Nexo’s 19-inch five-spoke alloys are quite normal for a dedicated hydrogen-fuelled vehicle.

The majority of early adapters turned to gasoline-electric hybrids and full plug-in EVs instead, with Hyundai also producing its Ioniq Electric compact hatchback, Kona Electric subcompact crossover, and soon, its Ionic 5 compact crossover, plus a number of hybrids as well.

Respect needs to go out to Hyundai for shaping most of its alternative fuel vehicles in the more popular SUV body style, making them much more likely to find buyers than Toyota and Honda, which have also invested millions into H2 tech, yet house such advancements in a waning automotive commodity. No doubt it made sense for Toyota and Honda to stuff their H2 powerplants in four-door, three-box bodies, especially when considering the popularity of their mid-size Camry and Accord sedans when the respective Mirai and Clarity were in their development stages, but doubling down on this for the second-gen Mirai, arriving this year, seems odd, while alternatively Hyundai’s market insight to have stuck with SUVs appears very forward thinking.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The door handles power out when needing to get inside, after which they lock away flush into the door panels to aid aerodynamics.

Hyundai went further by targeting compact buyers, which are more plentiful globally, plus extending the Nexo’s wheelbase to mid-size lengths in order to make sure its second-row legroom and cargo capacity allowed for optimal space. To that end, the Nexo is 190 mm (7.5 in) longer than the outgoing Tucson, albeit the same width and height. It’s not only more practical, but the extra length provides a better ride, improves high-speed tracking, and looks leaner and therefore arguably better than it would have if shorter.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The Nexo’s clear taillight lenses and matte grey paint scheme make this photo look as if it was taken in black and white.

I’m not going to say it looks better than the much more sharply angled 2022 Tucson that was recently introduced, mind you, which is a particularly eye-catching crossover SUV, but I like the Nexo’s flowing grille and LED headlamp combination, plus its extremely smooth lines front to back, and cool matte grey paint. Some interesting details include Land Rover-inspired pop-out door handles that help keep the body lines flush to improve its coefficient of drag, as well as a thin accent strip between grille and hood that lights up at night. The 19-inch five-spoke alloys look pretty good too, maybe because they aren’t as aerodynamically-flush as some grotesquely wind-cheating wheels of the past.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Hyundai’s Nexo offers up a roomy, comfortable, well-made cabin.

Inside, the Nexo lives up to its (partial) name, by transitioning Hyundai’s SUV lineup into the future, or at least it did when this model debuted two years ago. It features a similar dual-display instrument cluster/infotainment system as Mercedes’ MBUX (which it has just left behind with the introduction of its new S- and C-Class models). It includes a digital gauge package to the left and touchscreen on the right, the former monitor’s multi-information display controllable via steering wheel-mounted switchgear. Comparison to Merc’s MBUX is difficult to avoid, and while I’m not going to say Hyundai’s is better, I can’t help but laud the South Korean brand for integrating left and right rear-facing cameras within, these projecting live images onto the cluster when applying the turn signals (now becoming common in Hyundai and Kia vehicles).

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Ahead of the driver is an advanced dual-display gauge cluster/infotainment touchscreen, plus myriad buttons on the sloped lower console.

Unexpectedly, the pewter-coloured centre stack is as much of a look back to yesteryear as all the digital screens are modernistic, albeit in a quaint, busy for the sake of being busy kind of way, as if Hyundai was attempting to fill my mind with memories of the mid-1980s, when I made mixed tapes on my old Nakamichi tape deck from LPs on my B&O Beogram 4000 turntable. Those that appreciate quick access to functions will like the Nexo console setup, while the SUV’s audio system sound quality wasn’t as potent as my old home system, which was powered by a ‘70s-era Luxman L-504 amp and finished off with a set of Boston Acoustics A400 speakers, but it easily overcame Hyundai’s quiet electric powertrain.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Anyone who’s driving a modern-day Mercedes-Benz will appreciate where Hyundai was going with this dual-display setup.

Selecting P, N, D or R is as easy as pushing a button, which engages the Nexo’s 120-kW (161 hp) electric motor, complemented by 291 lb-ft of ever-willing torque. The motive motor pulls power from a 40-kWh battery, but only twists the front wheels, as no all-wheel drive option is available despite its SUV profile.

As noted earlier, the 95-kW fuel-cell stack allows electricity production on the fly, resulting in mobile electrical powerplant, of sorts. Recharging is therefore continuous, as long as there’s hydrogen in the tank, and the EPA claims you’ll be able to extract about 570 to 610 km (355 to 380 miles) after refilling, depending on conditions.

Other than the quick refuelling process, the rest of the Nexo driving experience is just like an electric vehicle, although the usual silence is interrupted by a slight vacuum sucking sound when pressing hard on the go-pedal. I only did this for testing purposes, however, so most of the time it was blissfully quiet, aforementioned tunes aside.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The gauge cluster is purely digital, and filled with functions.

Still, when I needed a fast getaway the Nexo delivered, and likewise when passing laggards on the highway. Even better, it was ultra-smooth doing so, Hyundai’s engineers obviously prizing refinement ahead of excitement. By my own completely unscientific Seiko quartz chronograph calculations, I managed to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in a wee bit over eight and a half seconds, which is about half a second quicker than Hyundai achieved, although I imagine the difference has more to do with my unscientific methods combined with their usual conservative estimates. This won’t impress any Tesla owners either way (or Chevy Bolt owners for that matter), but it certainly doesn’t hold up traffic when merging onto the highway.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Hyundai uses a convenient tile layout for sorting through infotainment features, one of which provides fuel-cell drive system info.

A more pleasant surprise occurred when veering off of a local four-lane freeway onto a curving two-lane backroad that snakes along a winding river near my home. This is where Hyundai’s engineering team appears to have taken advantage of the Nexo’s low centre of gravity, this provided by installing all the heavy equipment (battery included) under the floorboards. It feels truly hooked up around fast-paced corners, and its electrically assisted rack and pinion steering setup was surprisingly responsive for this class of vehicle.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
This overhead parking camera certainly improved visibility.

Better yet was the Nexo’s ride quality, much thanks to a traditional Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension design, along with good tuning. Despite its ability to hustle around corners at a brisk rate, potholes, frost-heaves, bridge expansion joints and other intrusive road imperfections did little to impact driver or occupants, resulting in one of the best ride/handling compromises in the compact crossover SUV segment, and this while rolling on sizeable 245/45HR19 all-season tires.

The Nexo comes across as solid and well-made too, with zero body groans despite having a glass sunroof overhead, and nominal wind or road noise to mar the peaceful experience within. Once again, it was surprisingly refined for its compact SUV segment.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The lower console is a busy affair, but once acclimatized you should have no problem finding what you need.

This focus on refinement is probably why Hyundai didn’t provide a sport selection amongst its driving modes. Alternatively, the Normal setting becomes the default for performance, while Eco mode smooths out the edges even more, and by doing so maximizes all the tiny droplets of compressed hydrogen from its trio of 52-litre H2 tanks. The Nexo’s drive mode selector can be found on the lower console next to the infotainment system’s quick access switchgear, by the way, all of which butt up against the previously noted quad of transmission buttons, so finding it should be easy enough after getting acclimatized.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The driver’s seat provides good comfort and support, plus an excellent view out all windows.

This said, the steering wheel paddles aren’t for shifting gears. Instead, the left one is for simultaneously applying the brakes and sending regenerative kinetic braking energy to the battery. You can bring the Nexo to a full stop just by applying this paddle, as long as the SUV isn’t rolling too quickly, plus the strongest of its three settings needs to be chosen first. That’s the job of the paddle on the right, plus eliminating any rolling resistance by easing off the regenerative brakes. Similar systems are included in most electric cars, so anyone familiar with this EV technology will feel right at home in the hydrogen-powered Hyundai.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Rear seat occupants get outboard seat heaters and a folding centre armrest.

Something else similar to EVs is the impressive load of features found in each Nexo, these helping to offset the rather high prices EV and H2 buyers need to pay in order go green. Along with the excellent digital gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen mentioned a while ago, my Nexo tester included a 360-surround overhead camera system, accurate navigation with detailed mapping, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, wireless charging, and more.

What about luxury finishings? Now that Hyundai has expanded to include its premium Genesis brand, we shouldn’t expect cloth-wrapped roof pillars and soft-touch synthetics below the belt-line, but the entire dash top is made from a nice pliable plastic, as are the front and even the rear door uppers, along with the door inserts and armrests.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Dedicated cargo space is good considering all the hydrogen technology housed below.

I appreciated the heated steering wheel rim as well, while the inherently comfortable power-adjustable driver’s seat was not only three-way heatable, but provided three-way cooling too, not to mention two-way lumbar support that managed to press against my lower spine in just the right spot to alleviate stress.

Additionally, those in back should be comfortable thanks to generous legroom and reasonable width for the class. I think three could sit across the rear bench in a pinch, but I’d rather be back there with just one more passenger so I could enjoy an outboard seat heater and the folding centre armrest with dual integrated cupholders. There’s only one three-prong household-style power outlet on the backside of the front console, however (not that I’ve ever seen more), and no USB ports in the rear, so it’s possible that aft passengers will end up squabbling about device charging.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
A shallow compartment is good for stowing valuables.

Fortunately, the Nexo’s dedicated cargo volume is pretty good at 850 litres (30 cu ft), while it’s expandable to 1,600 litres (56.5 cu ft) via 60/40-split rear seatbacks. This said, a 40/20/40 division would’ve been better, as owners could lay longer items like skis down the middle, while rear passengers enjoy the aforementioned heatable window seats. A mostly level load floor aids usefulness, plus Hyundai includes a bit more storage underneath a carpeted lid.

If you’re used to the high prices of EVs, you’d better sit down and buckle up before I mention the Nexo’s sticker shocker. This mainstream brand-badged compact SUV starts at a whopping $71,000 plus freight and fees, which will certainly be a deal-killer for anyone that hasn’t already priced out a $52,000 Tesla Model Y, or for that matter Hyundai’s own $41,599 Ioniq Electric. Truly, the Nexo is purely for early adopters who want to own something completely unique, and are willing to put up with very few places to fill up.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The Nexo’s 60/40-split rear seatback provides additional cargo space when needed.

You may already be aware that Vancouver is an anomaly when it comes to retail hydrogen refuelling stations. It’s been a hotbed of H2 development for decades (more specifically the suburb of Burnaby), so having an unfair share of H2 stations per capita makes sense. One is in North Vancouver, close to where Toyota houses its local press fleet. I’m quite sure this is just a coincidence, the real reason for the location more likely being its relative proximity to Whistler, BC, a popular destination spot that’s well within the Nexo or Mirai’s round-trip range. It’s also found in the same city as the Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation, HTEC being the developer, manufacturer and installer of hydrogen refuelling pump/station hardware, and responsible for setting up the H2 islands around the city, including a Shell station in Vancouver, close to the airport (YVR) and my home.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Under the hood, Hyundai’s fuel-cell stack looks a lot like a regular combustion engine thanks to a conventional shroud overtop.

As for the rest of Canada, a fourth station is currently being built on Vancouver Island, with a fifth set to open in Kelowna, BC. After that you’ll need to put your H2-powered vehicle on a train if you want to fill up in Quebec City (about 4,800 km away). More are planned, but for the time being it appears that hydrogen is more of a west coast thing.

Speaking of the left, there are 43 hydrogen refuelling stations in California, with the only other two available in the US found in Connecticut and Hawaii (forget the train trip for that final location). Again, there are plans to expand the H2 network in the US, with a supposed “hydrogen highway” eventually connecting California and BC’s H2 infrastructure along the US I-5. Being that this has been bantered about for decades, its ETA is anyone’s guess, but with powerhouses like Hyundai and Toyota behind the technology, some form of a hydrogen-powered future is probable.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
Ready to be the first on your block (or your city) to own a hydrogen-powered SUV?

To find out about Nexo trim levels, including the $73,500 Ultimate version tested, plus all the standard and optional features, check out the 2021 Hyundai NEXO Canada Prices page on CarCostCanada, while you can compare this one to the 2020 version that didn’t offer a base Preferred trim line (strange name as I’d prefer to have the Ultimate), and was priced $500 lower. Also, you can research the other models mentioned in this story by following the links connected to their names. Learn more about how a CarCostCanada membership can save you money when purchasing your next new vehicle, by keeping you up to date on manufacturer rebates, factory leasing and financing deals, and most importantly, by providing dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when negotiating. Also, remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store, so you’ll have all this vital info when you need it most.

Story and photos by Trevor Hofmann

Honda Canada’s Civic sales have been crashing recently, down more than 20 percent throughout Q1 of 2021 compared to the same three months last year. Reasons for the downturn are likely varied, from…

Honda reveals single photo of all-new 2022 Civic sedan

2022 Honda Civic Sedan
Honda will give its Civic Sedan more conservative styling for 2022.

Honda Canada’s Civic sales have been crashing recently, down more than 20 percent throughout Q1 of 2021 compared to the same three months last year. Reasons for the downturn are likely varied, from the health crisis to a 25-plus-percent increase in CR-V deliveries, the latter thanks to changing consumer tastes from cars to SUVs. Additionally, some of the slowdown is probably due to fewer Civics in dealership inventories, which makes sense now that we’ve learned a totally redesigned model is on the way later this year.

Honda took the wraps off its all-new 2022 Civic sedan this week, and at first glance it appears as if the design team wanted to take it back to the more conservative stylings of earlier iterations. Considering how well Honda has done with its current 10-generation model, which arrived six years ago for the 2016 model year, deviating from its ultimately angled look to a much more rounded, minimalist design may be seen as a risk, although it will certainly be a positive for less progressive buyers.

2022 Honda Civic Sedan
Some of the new Civic’s design details are similar to its larger Accord sibling.

This change will make Hyundai’s third-place Elantra the compact segment’s most sharply creased dresser, while the category’s second-most popular Corolla could also be seen as an even more aggressive alternative than the upcoming Civic. The compact class isn’t as varied as it was five years ago, having lost the Dodge Dart in 2016, the Buick Verano and Mitsubishi Lancer in 2017, the Ford Focus in 2018, and Chevy’s Cruze in 2019, but the Civic still needs to contend with the already noted Corolla and Elantra, plus the Kia Forte, Mazda3, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, and VW Jetta, while the regular Golf will be discontinued for 2022, taking one more compact car competitor out of the market (don’t worry GTI and Golf R fans, as these will arrive in stylish new MK8 duds).

2022 Honda Civic Prototype
The 2022 Civic Prototype, introduced last November, shows expected rear styling.

As for the new 11th-generation Civic, other than what little information the single frontal photo provides we know very little about it. Then again, if the Civic Prototype that debuted (on video game platform Twitch no less) in November is anything to go by, and both cars look very similar from the front except for lower fascia details, its rear design should include a smart set of LED infused taillights that come to a point that’s kind of reminiscent of those on the eighth-gen North American sedan at their rearmost ends, albeit much narrower. That was a particularly good-looking car for the era, while the current model’s C-shaped lenses have been amongst its most controversial styling elements.

2022 Honda Civic Prototype
The Civic Prototype shows a fairly straightforward cockpit, with a large display screen atop the centre stack.

We won’t delve into expected content, other than to say it will likely be filled with standard advanced safety kit in order to help keep its occupants safe, and score well in safety tests, while its cabin will no doubt come standard with a large centre touchscreen and offer a fully digital gauge cluster, at least as an option. More detailed information will arrive later this month, which we hope to include more photos, including at least one of its backside plus with a plethora of interior shots.

If a glimpse of the new 2022 Civic makes you want to snap up a 2021 before all the new ones are gone, take note that Honda is now offering up to $1,000 in additional incentives, while most CarCostCanada members are saving $1,593 off their purchases. To find out how you can potentially save thousands from your next new vehicle purchase, see how the CarCostCanada dealer invoice pricing system works, and make sure to download their free app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store now.

 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Honda

News flash: Mercedes-Benz Canada just revealed an impressive new C-Class and the market responds by purchasing more SUVs. While a redesigned C-Class will certainly increase the model’s sales, it shouldn’t…

Mercedes reveals sleeker, sportier looking 2022 C-Class

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
Mercedes-Benz Canada will offer a new C-Class sedan for 2022, but most buyers will opt for one of the brand’s compact SUVs.

News flash: Mercedes-Benz Canada just revealed an impressive new C-Class and the market responds by purchasing more SUVs.

While a redesigned C-Class will certainly increase the model’s sales, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that only 684 C-Class sedans were sold into the Canadian market during the first three months of 2021. This represented a downturn of 26.9 percent compared to Q1 of 2020, although ever-growing interest in SUVs over cars wasn’t the only factor at play in our whacky new car market. Low interest rates have done their job in propping everything up, despite the repeated economic shocks our systems have experienced via the health crisis et al, but the overarching automotive theme remains changing tastes.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
A new frowning grille combines with additional styling upgrades for an all-new 2022 C-Class.

A decade or so ago the C-Class fought for luxury sector dominance with BMW’s 3-Series, but now both cars aren’t even playing second fiddle to their utilities counterparts, they’re deep into the second row of backup string players. Adding a little clarity to this scenario is the C-Class’ third-place standing in Mercedes first-quarter retail hierarchy, with significantly more popular models including the similarly sized GLC compact luxury SUV selling 1,778 units during the same three-month period (1,094 more than the C-Class), and the GLE mid-size luxury SUV finding 1,598 buyers (and outselling the E/CLS-Class’ 341 deliveries by 1,257 units).

This story is nothing new, but instead supports the reasoning behind C-Class’ competitors bowing out of the market. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the end of Jaguar’s XE and Lincoln’s MKZ, while a number of previously popular luxury sedans are the sole remaining body styles in their respective lines, with their coupes, convertibles and wagons having been nixed (more on this in a moment).

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
New character lines on the hood and sides help distinguish current and future C-Class models.

The only Mercedes’ car to challenge the SUV-winning trend is the entry-level A-Class, which together with the CLA-Class (a four-door coupe that rides on the same underpinnings) earned 1,001 new buyers compared to the GLA and GLB subcompact luxury SUVs’ collective 609, but this anomaly likely has more to do with the A’s relatively inexpensive pricing that results in an affordable gateway into revered Mercedes-Benz ownership.

Back to wagons, a diehard niche of Mercedes enthusiasts will be sad to hear their beloved C-Class Wagon will be dearly departing from North American markets for 2022, so grab a new AMG C 43 4Matic while you can. The fifth-generation (W206) C will now soldier on with its Sedan, Coupe and Convertible body styles, leaving enhanced cargo-carrying duties to the aforementioned GLC and GLC Coupe SUV models, within the compact luxury sector at least—the E-Class Wagon soldiers on in three trims, including the sensational AMG E 63 S 4Matic.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
Triangular LED taillights are two of the most noticeable changes from the rear.

With this bit of Mercedes spring cleaning out of the way, the new C should please all that lay eyes on it. It wears the luxury brand’s sportier new styling from front to back, including the new frowning oval sport grille now found on the aforementioned A and CLA classes, as opposed to the outgoing smiling one (its ends now point downward instead of upward). Additionally, new more angular Performance LED headlamps wrap farther around the front fenders, plus a revised lower front fascia flows more effortlessly from side-to-side. The hood now features two stylish new character lines, reminiscent of those found on the classic ‘50s-era 300 SL.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
Unfortunately, the C-Class Wagon has been discontinued in our market for 2022.

Looking rearward, Mercedes did away with the outgoing model’s graceful beltline crease that previously swept downward through the rear door before disappearing below its handle, the new car’s flanks less curvaceous, but the lower upward crease remains intact.

The new C’s two-piece taillights might be its most noticeable update, as the old car’s less distinct ovoid blobs have been replaced with nice sharp triangular lenses (can you tell which ones we like better?), also similar to those found on the A-Class. Lastly, new 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels round out the design changes, plus new exterior paint colours of course.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
The new C-Class bypasses the dual-display in one MBUX system for two separate screens.

The current C-Class is the last remaining Mercedes-Benz with a conventional dash layout, either incorporating mechanical analogue dials flanked by a centre multi-information display or a fully digital gauge cluster with the same curving metal shrouds all around, this fully separated from a smallish tablet-style infotainment touchscreen perched atop the centre stack. All other models within Mercedes’ lineup received a version of the fancy MBUX two-in-one conjoined digital gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen setup.

It’s now clear the brand’s second-best-selling sedan will never see that much-praised layout, but instead get something similar to the entirely new S-Class (which initially ushered in the MBUX dash design). Both sedans feature a fresh new approach to the MBUX layout, incorporating digital gauges ahead of the driver in a fixed horizontal tablet-style cluster, plus a massive vertically positioned display on the centre stack, not dissimilar in size to that found in a Tesla, albeit flowing almost seamlessly into a curving lower centre console.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
The C’s fully digital driver display is nicely framed by an all-new steering wheel.

It’s artfully executed, especially when accompanied by high-gloss carbon fibre weave as seen in this story’s accompanying press photos. The centre display should be easier to reach than either the current MBUX or outgoing C-Class designs, plus much more capable of hosting multiple functions simultaneously. This will be important, as it appears Mercedes is saying goodbye to its console-mounted touchpad and surround switchgear, the minimalist look more attractive and elimination of redundancies likely less expensive to produce.

Integrating haptic feedback makes clear that Mercedes wasn’t cutting corners, mind you, or for that matter including over-the-air software updates, not to mention biometric authentication via voice or fingerprint scanning. Touching the scanner makes pre-selected memory adjustments to the driver’s seat, radio station, and more, the latter including the ability to purchase apps (and possibly other items) from the Mercedes Me store. What’s more, the head-up display in front of the driver uses augmented reality to project real-time visuals onto the windshield.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
Get ready to be impressed by the C’s new infotainment touchscreen and its myriad features.

The driver isn’t the only benefactor from new C-Class upgrades, however, because everyone should enjoy a bit more comfort from the car’s greater overall length and width. This means front and rear passengers gain legroom and shoulder space, important in a segment that sees some competitors nearing mid-size dimensions.

Offsetting the increased dimensions while parking is a rear-wheel steering system, an unusually welcome addition in this compact luxury category. Likewise, the new C 300 4Matic’s advanced tech extends to the powertrain, which combines a standard 48-volt integrated starter-generator (ISG), or mild hybrid system, with Mercedes’ well-proven 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and mostly carryover nine-speed automatic transmission.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
The new C-Class will ditch Mercedes’ usual console-mounted touchpad and surround switchgear.

The electrified portion of the drivetrain provides 20 additional horsepower and 147 lb-ft more torque in certain situations, totaling 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of twist, but strangely this new 2022 model is a fraction slower than the outgoing 2021 C 300 4Matic—go figure. The drivetrain allows gliding, boosting and kinetic energy recovery, however, so it should be ultra-efficient as far as gasoline-powered mild hybrids with all-wheel drive go.

A plug-in hybrid would be nice for nabbing those special parking spots close to the shopping mall entrance, or whisking down the HOV lane unimpeded during rush hour (depending on your jurisdiction’s regulations), while they provide a bit of pure electric propulsion too, over short distances, but no PHEV will be offered in Canada. One does exist, incidentally, providing a shockingly good 100 kilometres of EV range, but for reasons only those within Mercedes-Benz Canada’s inner circle know, you won’t be able to get your hands on it.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
A longer and wider 2022 C-Class should be more comfortable at all positions.

As for ultra-powerful six- and eight-cylinder AMG variants, no announcements have been made yet. Still, reports have been made that next-gen C-Class AMGs will receive electrically-assisted four-cylinder engines with varying outputs, not unlike Volvo’s T8 and Polestar Engineered models. Their focus will be primarily on performance over fuel efficiency, although meeting regulations will be high on their priority list too.

Now that we’re talking practicalities, the new C-Class will come packed full of advanced driver assistive systems, even as much as the new S-Class, with all the usual features now supplemented by the capability of recognizing stop signs and red lights, plus steering assistance that helps a driver maintain their lane up to 210 km/h (where legally allowed).

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
Almost as fast and a lot more efficient, the new C-Class features a mild-hybrid drivetrain.

The new 2022 C 300 4Matic will go on sale later this year, with pricing and trim details available before launch. Until then, Mercedes-Benz Canada is offering up to $5,500 in additional incentives on the 2021 C-Class, with CarCostCanada members saving an average of $2,437. To find out more about saving money with CarCostCanada, which provides information about factory leasing and financing deals (when available), manufacturer rebates (when available), and dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when negotiating your next new car deal, visit CarCostCanada’s “How it Works” page, and be sure to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play store or Apple store too.

The C-Class: Rapid-Fire Questions to Dirk Fetzer (1:07):

The New C-Class Sedan: An Intelligent Comfort Zone (0:49):

The New C-Class Sedan: A Connected Comfort Zone (0:56):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mercedes-Benz

Porsche has once again earned top spot amongst premium brands in J.D. Power most recent 2021 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. It’s the second time in three years that Porsche was awarded first place…

Most “trouble-free” premium brand Porsche nabs first place in JD Power CSI

2021 Porsche Macan GTS
After earning top spot in its class for dependability with its latest Macan, JD Power awarded Porsche with its highest CSI score for 2021.

Porsche has once again earned top spot amongst premium brands in J.D. Power most recent 2021 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.

It’s the second time in three years that Porsche was awarded first place in the luxury sector, and this happened just a month after the brand earned a “most trouble-free new car overall” ranking for its 911 sports car in the same third-party analytics firm’s latest 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study, and the Macan achieved the highest position possible in its “Premium Compact SUV” class.

“Our dealers worked hard for our customers throughout the initial lockdowns of the past year and subsequent social distancing and health measures to make sure they could rely on Porsche,” stated Kjell Gruner, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA). “We are continually striving to not just meet, but exceed the high expectations of our customers – and it’s vital that the quality of service must live up to that vision.”

2021 Porsche 911 Carrera S
The 2021 Porsche 911 earned the highest overall score amongst luxury vehicles in JD Power’s latest Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).

The J.D. Power CSI Study measures “customer satisfaction with service for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of 1- to 3-year-old vehicles,” with the survey’s latest data collection period having taken place from July 2020 through December 2020. More than 62,500 new vehicle owners responded to this CSI study, allowing for a comprehensive ownership base to draw results from.

Porsche garnered 17 additional points since last year’s CSI study, incidentally, with its 2021 results totalling 899 points out of a possible 1,000. The automaker’s retail outlets were ranked in either first or second place in each of the survey’s five categories, which include Service Facility, Service Advisor, Service Initiation, Service Quality, and Vehicle Pick-Up.

2021 Porsche Macan GTS
According to JD Power, less things break on Porsches, and when they do (or its customers just need a service), they’re treated better by Porsche dealers.

Porsche currently sells six models within the Canadian premium car market, or seven if we were to split up the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster body styles (not to mention the 718 Spyder). The six include its entry-level 718 mid-engine sports cars, the iconic 911 series, the Macan entry-level compact luxury crossover SUV, the Cayenne mid-size luxury SUV, the Panamera four-door luxury coupe/sedan, and the new fully electric Taycan four-door coupe/sedan.

According to CarCostCanada, Porsche is offering all models with zero-percent financing, so follow the links embedded into each model’s name (above) to see their body style and trim pricing, to configure a car with all of its colours and options, and learn about any other manufacturer incentives that may be available. Also, be sure to find out about a CarCostCanada membership so you can access dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when negotiating your next deal, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app so you can access all of this important information when you need it most.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche