With a line-up that ranges from the robust Laredo 4×4, priced at $55,045, to the luxurious Summit Reserve 4×4, also offered at $77,045, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee appeals to a broad audience in the Canadian marketplace. But what makes this vehicle stand out?
Engine: Power Meets Efficiency
At the heart of the 2023 Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s new inline-six engine, aptly named “Hurricane.” This engineering marvel is replacing the old V8 and is expected to deliver between 420 to a massive 500 horsepower in its high-performance version. The familiar 3.6-liter V6, producing 293 horsepower, continues to be a reliable option for base models. The cherry on top is a hybrid powertrain based on a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that offers a combined output of 375 horsepower. Every powerplant in the lineup is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, ensuring smooth and efficient power delivery.
Interior: Luxury Meets Utility
Inside the Grand Cherokee, you’ll find a high-quality interior combining classic elements and modern technology. Quality materials and attention to detail create a luxurious cabin that accommodates passengers comfortably. The standard model comes with two spacious rows of seats, while the optional Grand Cherokee L model features a stretched wheelbase and a third row of seats.
Technology: Intuitive and Up-to-Date
Standard tech includes a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The Grand Cherokee supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ensuring your devices can easily sync with the vehicle. Additional standard features include a Wi-Fi hotspot, a six-speaker audio system, USB ports, Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Jeep has also provided a variety of optional features like a 10.1-inch touch screen, a 10.25-inch passenger-side touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, and a top-notch 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.
Design: Timeless and Refined
From a design perspective, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee stays true to its roots. The exterior design is attractive and functional, with the potential for new color options. Despite having a smaller cargo area than some rivals, with about 37.7 feet of space behind the second row and 70.8 cubic feet total, the SUV remains a practical choice.
Performance: Off-Road and Beyond
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to impress with its off-road capabilities. Composed handling and strong performance make it an attractive option for those who crave adventure. However, potential buyers should be aware that with these impressive attributes comes a relatively high starting price.
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers Canadian drivers a blend of power, luxury, and cutting-edge technology. Despite the high starting price and smaller cargo area, the numerous benefits may tip the scales in favor of this impressive SUV. As always, it’s essential to research, compare, and test-drive to determine if this vehicle meets your needs and preferences.
Explore the Grand Cherokee MSRP & Invoice Price over here
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Let’s delve into the world of electric trucks, focusing on a new electrifying addition to the Canadian marketplace, the Ford F-150 Lightning. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a sense of the pricing:
XLT 4WD SuperCrew 5.5′ Box:
LARIAT 4WD SuperCrew 5.5′ Box: $90,000
Platinum 4WD SuperCrew 5.5′ Box: $121,000
Remember, you can also uncover the Invoice Price for free, giving you even more control over your purchasing decision. Now, onto the good stuff!
The Electric Revolution: F-150 Lightning:
With the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), Ford has stepped up with the F-150 Lightning, bringing together the ruggedness and reliability of the classic F-150 with the eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of electric power. The Lightning defies typical F-150 expectations. Floor the accelerator and you’ll encounter an instantaneous, forceful torque that pulls you back into your seat as if you’ve been rear-ended by a Peterbilt truck.
Power and Performance Under the Hood:
Underneath its familiar exterior, the Lightning is an all-wheel-drive powerhouse with an Extended-Range battery that supports up to 580 horsepower. At the test track, this super truck went from 0-60 mph in a lightning-fast 4.0 seconds. EPA estimates suggest a driving range between 370 Km with the standard battery and up to 514 Km with the larger one.
Economic and Environmental Impact of EVs:
Now here at the Car Magazine we have crunched the numbers on the cost of travelling 100 Km in Canada in 2023 with an average gas price of 1.60$ a Liter. Currently a normal 2023 Ford F-150 will cost roughly 16$ in gas for 100 Km whereas the lightning cost only 2.37$ per 100 Km, over a couple of years those are some huge savings!
The Pros and Cons of an EV:
One cannot ignore the holistic benefits of an electric vehicle (EV) like the Ford F-150 Lightning when considering its impact on both your wallet and the environment. Operating an EV typically leads to lower costs over time, thanks to cheaper maintenance, no oil changes, and reduced fuel costs. In fact, the cost of ‘refueling’ an EV can be significantly less than filling a gas-powered vehicle. Moreover, EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to cleaner air and a healthier environment. However, it’s important to also consider a potential downside. While the F-150 Lightning boasts impressive ranges under normal driving conditions, it’s worth noting that towing heavy loads over long distances can significantly decrease the battery range. This could result in more frequent stops to recharge during lengthy trips, which could potentially extend your travel time. That said, as charging infrastructure continues to improve across Canada, the inconvenience of finding a charging station is becoming less of a concern.
Value and Practicality in Design:
The Lightning is not all about raw power. Ford has crafted this vehicle with practicality in mind. Even with the steep price increase over last year’s model, the XLT trim provides substantial value. The Extended-Range battery pack adds $10,000 to the total, but it’s a worthy investment for long-distance journeys or regular towing. The XLT model, coupled with the 312A High package, boasts a variety of desirable features, including adaptive cruise control, the Pro Power Onboard generator, heated front seats and steering wheel, a power-operated tailgate, in-dash navigation, and much more.
Storage Solutions in the Lightning:
And let’s not forget storage. The Lightning pairs its practical cabin with an innovative frunk storage area and continues the F-150 legacy with a 66-inch cargo bed.
Maintaining the Classic F-150 Look:
On the outside, the Lightning retains the signature F-150 look, offering familiarity amidst change. It’s the perfect truck for Canadians keen to join the EV trend without losing the classic design they’ve come to love.
So, from an auto enthusiast’s perspective, the Ford F-150 Lightning offers an appealing blend of power, practicality, and environmental consideration to the Canadian market. It’s a vehicle worth considering if you’re passionate about trucks and open to the undeniable benefits of electric power. A spin in the Lightning feels like a leap into the future of the automotive industry – and it promises to be a thrilling journey.
Discover the Lightning MSRP & Invoice Price right here
Delve into Factory Incentives, Lease Rates, and Finance Rates right here
Searching for comprehensive details on Vehicle Specifications? Uncover them here
Alfa Romeo will bring the all-new Tonale subcompact luxury crossover SUV to market later this year, providing a much more affordable entry-level gateway for the premium Italian brand. The Tonale looks…
Alfa Romeo will bring the all-new Tonale subcompact luxury crossover SUV to market later this year, providing a much more affordable entry-level gateway for the premium Italian brand.
The Tonale looks like a modernized version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, albeit shrunken down to fit its more economical subcompact luxury crossover role. It builds on the Stelvio’s sleek lines with sharper cut LED headlamp clusters, a similarly shaped version of Alfa’s trademark deep “V” grille at centre, an aggressive yet clean lower front fascia, plenty of muscular bulges across the hood and fenders, protruding side skirts, and bright tri-element LED taillights at back, with a de rigueur centre light strip stretching across the middle.
Traditional Alfa Romeo styling helps tie glorious past to practical present
It gets a tidy little rooftop spoiler up above and blackened diffuser-style lower rear bumper too, not to mention a sexy set of classic circular cut-out Alfa Romeo rims shod in low-profile performance rubber to each side, these likely designed for a top-line trim, thus few onlookers will be turned off by its overall styling.
No doubt, if the Tonale is anything like the Stelvio, the smaller SUV’s interior will be made from top-notch materials, with its infotainment system a high-grade bit of kit too, whereas the dash and front seats certainly look well-designed, so it appears to be a recipe for success, right? Not so fast, amico.
Alfa promises the subcompact luxury crossover category’s best performance
Before delving into a business case for a new model like the Tonale, its performance might cause some to quite literally stir in their seats. Two power units were introduced at the SUV’s debut, starting with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder as part of the Tonale Q4 AWD, which puts a best-in-class 256 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque down to pavement through a state-of-the-art nine-speed automatic transmission actuated by optional fixed aluminum shift paddles (fixed paddles are optimal for performance driving), plus it features fuel-saving engine stop-start technology that helps meet super-ultra-low-emissions 30 (SULEV 30) standards.
Secondly, the Tonale PHEV Q4 AWD incorporates a much smaller 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission with a plug-in hybrid drive system featuring a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery and a 90-kW e-motor, resulting in another best-in-class horsepower rating of 272, not to mention a pure-electric range of more than 48 kilometres.
The Tonale will provide the subcompact class’ best handling bar none
Alfa Romeo optimizes the driving experience for both power units with their D.N.A. drive mode system that provides the options of “Dynamic” (or “Dual power” with the PHEV), “Natural,” and “Advanced Efficiency” selections. Unlike most in this class, DNA is a fully integrated driving application that optimizes both “manoeuvring and performance,” said Stellantis, Alfa Romeo’s parent company, in a press release, or in other words, the Tonale’s drive mode system won’t only enhance engine performance, but also adjust the suspension for best-in-class handling.
To assist with the latter, Alfa offers an available “Dual Stage Valve” active suspension system with electronically controlled damping, with the comfort setting providing a softer, more compliant ride, and the sportier mode stiffening the ride for “ultimate cornering ability and better body control under spirited driving conditions.” Such upgraded Tonale models even offer an ESC Off drive mode for treading a bit farther down the unbeaten path.
Steering and braking should be sports car-like
No matter the Sprint or Veloce trim level chosen (two will be offered at launch), all Tonales benefit from “sports car-like impeccable dynamic behaviour, proven by the best weight distribution and the most direct steering in its segment (13.6:1 ratio),” while base models ride on a fully independent MacPherson strut suspension system featuring Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers. Additionally, stopping performance is optimized by a Brembo-made segment-exclusive Integrated Brake System (IBS), which boasts fixed calipers clamping down on four-piston self-ventilated discs up front and full rotors at the rear.
Stopping power and emergency handling will be automatically assisted by Level 2 autonomous driving capability too, but don’t worry, Alfa Romeo promises the Tonale’s comprehensive advanced safety and convenience features won’t negatively interfere with the Tonale’s driving experience. Key features include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (IACC), Lane Centering (LC) and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), Automatic Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Path Detection, and a high-resolution, 360-degree parking camera featuring dynamic gridlines.
Business case for the new Alfa Romeo Tonale
The Tonale’s impressive performance will no doubt give it an edge over competitors when consumers weigh its pros and cons, as will its long list of safety, convenience, and luxury features, plus the SUV’s obvious good looks, but it will first need to get on Canadians’ radar, which will need an innovative and/or costly marketing campaign if the Italian brand doesn’t want to experience the same lacklustre results as other lesser-known manufacturers have weathered in this entry-level segment.
Despite most analysts’ initial take that this subcompact luxury crossover SUV segment would become the new gateway for premium automakers to pull in upwardly mobile buyers from the ranks of mainstream volume brands, such hasn’t always been the case. Not including the upcoming Tonale, there are current only 12 models in contention, while a 13th, Infiniti’s QX30, gave up on the segment in 2019 after just three model years of production.
In comparison to the larger compact luxury SUV segment, where there’s well over 20 rivals when factoring in varying body styles, not to mention the mid-size luxury SUV category that includes even more challengers, luxury brands are mostly staying away from the subcompact SUV class. This could potentially help the Tonale get noticed, albeit by a much smaller buying base.
Subcompact luxury SUV sales are lower than those in the larger compact segment
When factoring in potential sales numbers, it kind of makes sense why luxury manufacturers have opted out of this segment, or at least it does when looking at the yearly results early adopters have experienced. Last year, the subcompact luxury SUV sales leader was Buick (positioned as an entry-level luxury brand) with 8,861 deliveries of its Encore and slightly larger Encore GX, followed by Audi with 7,667 Q3 sales. It should be noted, the German brand had the most single-model sales (and is considered a true luxury brand), so therefore can be considered the number one seller in this category, depending on the way you slice it up. The Q3 also had its best sales tally ever, plus it was up 28.9 percent from 2020.
The “domestic” American (and Chinese) brand’s smaller Encore sold just 1,902 units in 2021 for eighth place in the subcompact class, which was a drop of 71.4 percent after 6,650 units sold last year, not to mention a shocking 82.1 percent fewer unit-sales than achieved at its 2018 height of 10,637 deliveries, despite a redesign last year. The Encore GX has clearly taken over the tri-shield brand limelight, with 6,959 deliveries last year, for 37.9 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth. Altogether, the two models gave Buick a total of 8,861 deliveries in this category last year, more than doubling the sales results of its compact luxury SUV offering.
Volvo and Lexus are growing their subcompact luxury SUV market share
Third-place Volvo grew its XC40 sales by 46.2 percent to 3,296 units last year, while the fourth-place Lexus UX found almost as many buyers at 3,284 unit-sales, increasing its numbers by 30.3 percent, and showing there’s still opportunity in this segment, despite long-time competitors like BMW’s fifth-place X1 growing YoY sales of 2,602 units by 9.1 percent, but actually seeing this tally tumble by 57.5 percent since its 2017 high.
Mercedes-Benz could be considered third-most successful in this category, due to 5,190 GLA and GLB deliveries last year, which is a YoY gain of 46.8 percent, although model-to-model the two-years-young GLB-Class came in sixth with 2,773 unit-sales thanks to 56.2 percent growth, and the long-running GLA-Class seventh with 2,417 deliveries and 37.4 percent increase in YoY sales, although that number represents a 45.1-percent downgrade from its high of 4,400 units in 2016.
Most luxury brands are struggling in the less profitable subcompact SUV class
While calendar year 2021 was one of the slowest years for the ninth-place Mini Countryman, with just 1,541 units down Canadian roads, sales only fell by 5.9 percent, while overall it’s been a pretty steady seller, only ever reaching a maximum of 2,479 deliveries in 2018, but no doubt the BMW-owned subsidiary would love to increase this number by the 37.8-percent it’s fallen from since then.
Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque didn’t fare as well as the Countryman last year, placing 10th in the segment due to 1,177 deliveries that resulted in a 16.5-percent downturn from last year’s sales, and a 32.1-percent drop since its 1,734-unit high in 2017, but it sold better than BMW’s 11th-place X2 that only found 903 buyers through all of 2021. Still, that number grew after a particularly bad 2020, but this said its sales have fallen 51.3 percent since its first-year high of 1,856 units. The X2 contributes to BMW’s fourth-place brand results of 3,505 units (plus 10.4 percent YoY), however, not to mention BMW Group sales (including Mini) of 5,046 units (down 37.5 percent YoY), which easily surpassed Mercedes’ total in 2020.
Infiniti’s QX30 and Jaguar’s E-Pace should cause Alfa and its Tonale to pause
If Infiniti abandoning the QX30 wasn’t enough to scare Alfa Romeo out of this segment (let alone Mini tossing the short-lived Paceman to the curb back in 2014), Jaguar’s abysmal E-Pace results should give cause for pause. The beleaguered British brand sold just 98 units last year, after a mere 265 in 2020, representing a serious downward slide from an already unworkable position, and that’s after an initial first-year high of just 572 unit-sales, the latter number showing a shocking 82.8-percent drop in popularity since arriving on the scene in 2018. It’s a good looking, well-made, fun-to-drive little SUV too, but, like Alfa Romeo, Jaguar’s Canadian branding isn’t as strong as it used to be.
So how does the Tonale fit into the grand scheme of subcompact luxury SUVs? One can easily argue that Infiniti was in a better place when the QX30 was introduced in 2016, than Alfa Romeo is now, from a market-strength and overall sales-volume position, and for all purposes it still is, yet the automaker could only push out 997 QX30s at the model’s height in 2017, that number quickly falling off to 357 units in 2018, and 93 in 2019. Some might argue that the QX30 was merely a Mercedes-Benz GLA rebadging exercise, but to be fair, Infiniti was involved in the project right from the start, much like how Toyota took five intensive years to co-develop the Supra with BMW (it shares its underpinnings with the Z4), and the arguably good-looking QX30 didn’t immediately resemble its kissin’ cousin from Mercedes.
Certainly, the Tonale is more Alfa Romeo-centric than the quickly forgotten Infiniti, or at least Stellantis-centric, being that it shares the FCA SCCS Small Wide 4×4 LWB (long-wheelbase) platform architecture with Jeep’s Compass and Commander/Meridian (the Tonale is made in Naples, Italy, at Alfa’s most advanced plant, with the latter two respectively produced in Brazil and India for various global markets), these being lengthened versions of the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X’ underpinnings. Still, Jeep and Fiat aren’t direct competitors in the premium sector, so the situation is akin to Alfa Romeo competitor Audi using the Volkswagen Group MQB A2 platform for the Q3, which it also shares with VW’s Tiguan (and Tayron, plus the European SEAT Tarraco and Škoda Kodiaq), or BMW sharing the X1’s UKL2 platform with Mini’s Countryman, etc.
A quick overview of how Alfa Romeo fits into Stellantis’ brand strategy
Stellantis, the new name for FCA Automobiles and Groupe PSA since joining forces in January of 2021, has a number of low-selling, marginal brands. Despite rich histories, Italy’s storied Lancia marque has been relegated to purveying one subcompact hatchback in European markets, Chrysler only has two versions of the same minivan plus the 300 full-size sedan that still bears the 2021 model year designation in Canada (which means it’s not selling well), Dodge has just three models north of the 49th, and Alfa Romeo, the subject of this news story, will soon have three models thanks to the advent of this new Tonale subcompact crossover SUV, which is slated to arrive here in early 2023.
We’ve got to give the automaker’s CEO Carlos Tavares, and the rest of his executive team, big points for courage, being that they promised each brand the chance to pull itself up and out of the automotive profitability doldrums, but Lancia’s CEO Luca Napolitano, Chrysler’s CEO Christine Feuell, Dodge’s CEO Timothy Kuniskis, and Alfa Romeo’s CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato certainly have their work cut out for them. It’s not like DS Automobiles’ CEO Béatrice Foucher will have a cakewalk either, but at least it has four models in the premium sector, while Maserati’s Davide Grasso has the largest lineup of new models the near-exotic brand has ever had to work with, including the sharp looking new Grecale subcompact SUV based on the same underpinnings as Alfa Romeo’s Giulia and Stelvio (plus Jeep’s new Grand Cherokee). Jeep aside, none of Stellantis’ brands have strength in the majority of global markets, which brings us back to Alfa Romeo and its new Tonale.
Wooing customers will be the Tonale’s greatest challenge
No one questions whether the Tonale will be a moderate hit in Italy, where Alfa Romeo still has legions of faithful, adoring fans, while it should also do reasonably well on the rest of the European continent, providing the EU can hold the economies of its various member states together (or doesn’t alternatively tear them apart, depending on your political point of view), but here in North America, and specifically in the relatively small market of Canada, the brand is relegated near the bottom of the luxury heap when it comes to consumer awareness. Hence the need for creative marketing that catches the collective imagination of a narrowly-focused performance-luxury subcompact SUV market, because loads of cash for blanket marketing won’t be available.
In the end, Alfa Romeo believes it can win in a market segment that plenty of others have failed at, are currently failing in, or simply (and possibly wisely) have not chosen to partake in. There’s a slim possibility they can do well with the Tonale, even growing the brand, and any gasoline/ion-blooded auto enthusiast will want them to do just that, but can a tiny contingent of Canadian quadrifoglio zealots be enough to make an entry-level model like the Tonale successful, especially considering many of such buyers already own a Giulia or Stelvio? Only time will tell.
Until the new 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale arrives early next year, be sure to check our complete photo gallery above, plus the long list of videos that follow:
Seven years have passed since Lexus introduced its fourth-generation RX, and while a dramatic departure stylistically than the more conservative model it replaced, time always takes its toll.
The RX’ continued success (it’s long been its mid-size luxury crossover SUV segment’s number-one seller, in both in Canada and the U.S.) means than even what once seemed daring and different can start to look commonplace and dated, but a fresh new RX will soon remedy any softening in the sales department.
Evolution of outgoing RX design makes for a fresh new look
First off, Lexus’ distinctive spindle grille is gone, but not entirely. As RX Project Chief Designer Jota Kusakari explains in a video (see below), it’s now a “spindle body,” encompassing the entire SUV.
This can clearly be seen up front, where the bulging hood forms into a body-colour nose-cap that melds almost seamlessly into the blackened grille opening below, much like Lexus’ new RZ electric. The spindle shape continues to flair outward as it reaches the lower valance, similarly to the previous RX, while it’s accentuated further via corner vents to each side.
Spindle grille gives way to new “spindle body-concept”
As dramatic as the frontal redesign, the spindle body-concept enhances the new RX’ rear design even more than the outgoing version, where an angled crease, parallel to the rear clip cutline, slices upwards from the aft portion of each rear wheel cut-out, overtop an identically angled rear corner vent, before ending where a singular taillight element forms into its centre section, which, much like that on the smaller UX, features a light bar lamp that appears stretched between two sharply angled outer lenses.
This design increases the visual tension started by the previous RX, almost as if the new model’s sides have been pinched together slightly at centre. There are plenty of other details worth noting too, some being quite creative, yet while nothing remains the same from old to new, no one will mistake this fifth-generation RX for anything other than a mid-size Lexus.
All-new RX sits on Toyota GA-K platform architecture
The new RX is built upon Toyota’s well-proven GA-K platform, even though it might appear as if it was formed off the back of the outgoing model’s Toyota K architecture. The latter is due to some carryover design elements like the lower half of the just-noted grille opening, the sharply angled LED headlamps with checkmark-style LED driving lights, forward-canted vertical corner vents with circular LED fog lamps, sweptback roofline with floating D pillars, and sharply angled wraparound LED taillights.
Even the rear reflectors, which make way for sportier vertical vents, are at the same angle in more or less the same place, while F Sport models receive much larger vents next to new rear reflectors on the bumper cap, providing a much more aggressive appearance.
Lighter and stiffer makes for better handling
The GA-K platform is is up to 90 kg lighter in the RX than the outgoing model, thanks to new materials in the main framework, while torsional rigidity has increased as well. Along with this is a lower centre of gravity and better weight distribution, while an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, attached to a stiff high-torsion rear body frame, “facilitates more consistent suspension input/travel during acceleration, deceleration and steering moments,” says Lexus.
It should all result in optimized performance, while the new model’s 60-mm longer wheelbase should improve ride quality too. Additionally, a 60-mm shorter rear overhang should also aid handling as well as providing a more athletic looking stance. Lexus managed to maintain an identical overall length to the previous RX too, so those trading up should feel right at home when parking.
More rear passenger and cargo room is always welcome in the mid-size class
The new GA-K platform increases the “front/rear couple distance” too, which provides greater rear legroom, while cargo space is reportedly improved too, as is access to the load floor thanks to a lowered liftgate sill that decreases the lift-over height.
The GA-K platform, incidentally, also underpins the new Lexus NX, the luxury brand’s latest ES, plus plenty of others from the namesake mainstream volume brand’s lineup, such as the Toyota Camry, Avalon, RAV4, Venza, Highlander, and Sienna, thus it will once again be ideal for the automaker’s range of hybrid powertrains.
RX powertrain options expand from two to four
Electrifying in mind, the entry-level RX 350 (more on that in a moment) will now be complemented by three different hybrid alternatives, including a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder version dubbed RX 350h that should be quite popular due to an expected lower price point and improved fuel economy than today’s RX 450h, with Lexus estimating a very thrifty 7.1 L/100km combined city/highway.
It should be more than capable of hauling a fully-laden mid-size crossover SUV too, being that it’s sourced from the aforementioned Venza and Sienna, which are now dedicated hybrids, plus Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid. It makes a net 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque, which is good for 7.6 seconds from zero to 100 km/h (just 0.2 seconds off of the base non-hybrid variant), plus comes mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) plus all-wheel drive.
Lexus adds plug-in and high-performance hybrid options to RX lineup
Additionally, there will be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) using a similar name to the current V6-powered RX 450h, albeit named 450h+, but it’ll arrive later and therefore Toyota hasn’t provided any additional info. Due to the name, we should expect a bit more performance than the new RX 350, plus, of course, greater and more utile EV range.
Lastly, the pinnacle of RX performance will now be the all-new 500h F Sport Performance, which promises to be quite the mid-size family hauler, with the emphasis on hauling arse. This model combines the more potent 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the base RX 350 with a different six-speed automatic, an inverter, and all-wheel drive via Lexus’ eAxle unit boasting a stronger high output electric motor, inverter and reduction gearbox.
New 500h F Sport Performance puts RX in the mix with turbo-six Europeans
This results in a soul-stirring 367 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, which is similar to what we can find under the hood of twin-turbo six-cylinder-powered competitors like the Genesis GV80 3.5T and Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 hybrid, and considerably more than what BMW’s X5 provides from its 3.0-litre turbo-six. The benchmark here is Volvo’s XC90 Recharge, with 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged, supercharged and plug-in hybridized 2.0-litre four, but there will likely be a sizeable price difference between this new Lexus and the Swedish brand’s flagship SUV.
Where the XC90 Recharge can sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds, the top-tier RX 500h F Sport Performance can do so in a respectable 6.1 seconds, whereas the two competitors’ city/highway combined fuel economy is rated at 8.8 L/100km for the Swede and a very similar 9.0 L/100km for the Japanese. Incidentally, the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz hybrid SUV scoots from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds while achieving a claimed city/highway rating of 10.4 L/100km at the pump, while the non-hybrid X5 xDrive40i matches the Mercedes’ fuel economy while providing a sprint time of 5.5 seconds. Strangely, BMW has a pricier plug-in hybridized X5 dubbed xDrive45e that uses more fuel than the regular version, at 11.5 L/100km combined, and takes 0.1 seconds longer to hit 100 km/h.
Lexus introduces Direct4 all-wheel drive for new RX 500h F Sport Performance
Gripping pavement under the RX 500h F Sport Performance is a new Direct4 all-wheel drive system that Lexus is touting as its “highest technology all-wheel drive” system with “maximum grip, traction and acceleration in all situations.” Unfortunately, that’s all we know about it thus far, so we’ll just have to wait until more info comes out in order to learn what makes it better than Lexus’ regular AWD.
Overall, Lexus claims its RX 500h F Sport Performance provides “a sportier, more performance-driven look and feel,” thanks to its straight-line performance, of course, plus that all-wheel drive system and opposed six-piston brake calipers to enhance stopping power. These are framed in a set of 21-inch aluminum wheels “that exude a wide, confident stance,” and upgraded 235/50R21 rubber for enhanced traction.
Additional RX 500h F Sport Performance details include a unique mesh grille, plus special front and rear bumpers, while the cabin gets a whole host of F Sport upgrades such as a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, paddle shifters, aluminum foot pedals, additional aluminum trim, leather upholstery, microsuede-trimmed interior door panels, F Sport branded scuff plates, and more.
New RX 350 base model promises strong performance and better efficiency
Back to the basics, the entry-level and sole non-hybrid RX 350 drops the current model’s 3.5-litre V6 for a much thriftier 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that’s capable of 9.8 L/100km combined. It makes a solid 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, and while this might seem like a downgrade of 20 horsepower compared to the outgoing model’s 295, it’s also an upgrade of 50 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a net positive. It also comes mated to a sporty yet efficient eight-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive, so therefore, once factoring in pricing, which has yet to be released, this will likely be Lexus’ best-selling RX trim level in Canada.
The RX 350, and all RX trim lines, come standard with a generous supply of advanced safety and convenience technologies that the luxury firm dubs Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. This suite of features includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Intersection Support and new Motorcycle Detection; as well as All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with new Curve Speed Management (DRCC); Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA); and Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS).
On the high-tech options list is Advanced Park that helps out when parallel parking, or when wanting assistance for back-up parking, forward-facing parking, or forward-facing and back-up exiting.
Seven grades mean standard and optional equipment will be plentiful
As for additional standard features, the new 2023 RX will get 19-inch alloy wheels, Lexus’ e-Latch proximity sensing access, and Lexus Interface, these details garnered from the Canadian press release, whereas the few options specifically mentioned include multi-coloured illumination accents, “tasteful” door trims, a head-up display (HUD), a 14-inch Multimedia Touchscreen Display, navigation, and a panoramic glass sunroof. Of course, there will be plenty more available in the 2023 RX’ seven grades, which will include Premium, Luxury, Ultra-Luxury, Executive, F SPORT 1, F SPORT 2 and F SPORT 3, but we’ll need to wait until closer to launch before knowing details.
A total of 10 exterior colour choices will be available too, depending on the chosen grade, including Caviar, Copper Crest (a Lexus-first), Eminent White Pearl, Grecian Water, Iridium, Matador Red Mica, Nebula Gray Pearl, Nightfall Mica, Nori Green Pearl, and Ultra White, while inside there’s a choice of four grade-dependant “ornamentation styles” including Ash Bamboo, Black Cascade, Black Open Pore, and Dark Graphite Aluminum, as well as six cabin colours including Black, Birch, Macadamia, Palomino, Peppercorn and Rioja Red.
Lexus expects the new 2023 RX to go on sale at the end of 2022, so it’s probably a good idea to claim your spot in line if you want to be first.
The All-New 2023 Lexus RX – World Premier (9:50):
Introducing the All-New RX | Lexus (2:51):
The Lexus RX | Lexus (8:35):
2022 Lexus Product Showcase | Lexus (24:40):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Lexus
Acura is smartly bringing back one of its most revered nameplates for 2023, and simultaneously ditching a three-letter moniker that never managed to garner as much devoted loyalty. The ILX has long been…
e compact sedan capable of running alongside the smallest offerings from Europe’s, Asia’s and the U.S.’ biggest luxury players, thanks to a combination of the previous ninth-generation (2012–2015) Honda Civic Si underpinnings and 2.4-litre engine with a much more sophisticated eight-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox. Certainly, the compact four-door has needed a redesign for years, so therefore sales have waned, but along with a significant update for 2023, Acura has blessed it with a much more endearing name.
Along with the new designation, a much-needed restyling, and a host of other improvements, the new 2023 Integra receives a base price of $34,350 (plus freight and PDI) that’s closer to upper trims of the outgoing ILX, which currently ranges from $31,400 to $36,800.
Integra roots go back 37 years
The ILX has already been with us for a decade, although it was given two facelifts in 2016 and 2019, the first one upgrading the drivetrain to its current iteration, and last one being a more dramatic visual departure, in that it received the brand’s latest “Diamond Pentagon” grille. Plenty of additional upgrades were made to each iteration as well, including the model’s sportiest A-Spec trim added to the latter.
Before the ILX, Canadians wanting an entry-level Acura had the option of the 2006–2011 CSX, which was exclusive to our market, albeit with styling shared with the Honda’s domestic-market Civic, while once again it shared plenty of parts with Honda’s Civic Si, albeit only in Type-S trim (beginning in 2007).
The CLX replaced the Canadian-exclusive 1997–2005 EL, which was more of a gussied up Civic in that it offered no performance option, yet nevertheless managed to accumulate 51-percent of Acura Canada’s sales in its first year and remain the Canadian division’s best-selling model from 1997 to 2003.
Up until 1996 the point of entry into the Acura brand was this article’s subject namesake Integra, or at least the inspiration for the name, which started life in 1986 and therefore joined the mid-size Accord-based Legend as one of the Japanese luxury brand’s initial two launch models.
Following Acura tradition by riding on affordable Honda Civic underpinnings
Like that original Integra, the renewed 2023 version is based on Honda’s ultra-popular Civic, although back in the mid ‘80s Acura had a Civic Coupe (and hatchback) to utilize for two-door hard-points, whereas the most recent 11th-generation Civic is only available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles.
Understandably, fans of the original Integra were disappointed when the new 2023 model showed up as a five-door hatchback in prototype form and once again in production trim, despite early first-, second- and third-generation Integras being sold as four-door sedans (plus four-door pillared hardtops) and five-door liftbacks, not only as three-door liftbacks, often referred to coupes (the fourth-gen Integra, which only came in three-door liftback form, was known as the RSX here).
Five-door Integra makes sense in today’s market
Old Integras are most collectable in sportier looking three-door form, which, by the hubbub of controversy surrounding the new Integra’s initial announcement, must have been how many fans initially imagined the majorly-hyped new version before it came out. Looking across the auto mall at Ford, disgruntled Acura enthusiasts might just want to be grateful the new Integra isn’t a crossover SUV (looking at your Mustang Mach-E).
With no three-door model in the Civic lineup, and the need to base the Integra on an existing body style, it makes sense Acura chose the liftback option to pay tribute to the luxury brand’s past. Doing so also results in the sportiest of its two Civic donor platforms, plus better access to the cargo area than the outgoing ILX’ trunk.
High-revving Honda Si engine making way for more efficient 1.5-litre turbo-four
Those who love the high-revving 2.4-litre ILX engine might be disappointed that its replacement loses 900 cubic centimetres, but take heart because the new Civic-sourced 1.5-litre unit is much more efficient (which matters these days) and utilizes a turbo to produce more output overall at 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, compared to 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft for the ILX.
Where the outgoing engine has been both lauded and criticized for its quick-spinning, peaky performance, with serious enthusiasts loving its mechanical audio track and intense accelerative VTEC forces in the upper rev-range, it was always a bit too sporting for some. After all, the current ILX, and soon this new Integra, need to serve as Acura’s entry-level product for all.
Therefore, the new model’s more subdued engine note and broader, more automatic-friendly torque band, which ranges from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm, should make it much more enjoyable with the eight-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox, not to mention easier to drive casually around town, while max power can still be found at a lofty 6,000 rpm, or 800 rpm lower than the ILX, meaning that those wanting to rev the engine out will still have an adrenaline inducing, VTEC-enhanced soundtrack to draw upon. That this engine is also used in today’s Civic Si is just another nod to both the ILX’ past and previous Integra’s, et al.
Acura incorporates fabulous six-speed manual transmission from Civic Si
Where the outgoing ILX was not available with a manual transmission (odd considering the Civic Si that donated its 2.4-litre four only was offered with a six-speed manual), the new Integra can now be had with a six-speed DIY gearbox in top-line Elite A-Spec trim at no extra charge, with both the manual and automatic models starting at $42,550, while positioned between base and Elite A-Spec trims is the regular A-Spec at $37,050. According to Acura, the six-speed manual is a “segment-exclusive” feature (sad, but true), which could cause plenty of traditional performance enthusiasts to flock to this front-wheel drive model, despite rear-wheel drive normally being the configuration of choice for the go-fast crowd.
Then again, Honda’s Civic is quite possibly the best-handling front-driver ever created, in 306-horsepower 10th-generation Type R trim at least (the new one is expected later this year as a 2023 model, incidentally), so the automaker knows a thing or two about maximizing handling prowess in this less-than-optimal layout.
Making the most of its dynamic chassis design is a standard sport-tuned suspension, plus the Elite A-Spec adds an Adaptive Damper System that provides even more control of the road below. Likewise, the Elite A-Spec model features a customizable Individual mode for its Integrated Dynamics System, with the rest of the Integra’s trim lines coming standard with the usual Comfort, Normal, and Sport driving modes.
Impressive top-level technologies included
So far, no Tech trim (currently top-of-the-line with the ILX) will be offered, which kind of makes sense being that all 2023 Integras will feature a standard configurable 10.2-inch digital driver’s display, dubbed Acura Precision Cockpit. Then again, a head-up display unit is optional with the Elite A-Spec package, as is a higher-end 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The just-noted wireless capability of its smartphone integration will once again make this package’s Qi-compatible wireless charging pad something useful (it isn’t when forced to plug-in for smartphone integration), while this top-tier upgrade also includes a 16-speaker ELS STUDIO 3D audio system.
Back to standard kit, the Integra’s advanced safety features include a special set of driver and passenger airbags that were “designed to control head rotation in a crash,” says Acura, while rear seat airbags are also included. What’s more, a new single-camera AcuraWatch system boasts enhanced Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). Lastly, a one-year free trial of AcuraLink services will also be included across the line, also incorporating the brand’s Security and Remote packages at no extra cost.
All Integra trims come standard with best-in-class roominess
According to Acura, the Integra also promises class-leading rear legroom and cargo volume (the latter partially due to its convenient hatchback design), which are two bonuses the ILX couldn’t boast of.
After all is said and done, it’s difficult to criticize Acura for making a much better ILX and then rebranding it with a legendary name. Calling this five-door model an Integra brought it much more press than merely making it the second-generation ILX, while badging it with a memorable moniker also pulls on the heartstrings while making it easier to bring up in conversation with friends. Just ask anyone not seriously into cars what an ILX is, and you’ll get a stunned look. Do the same for the new Integra, and while you might get a quizzical, doe-eyed gaze, you’re also more likely to receive a curious response. A name like Integra is more easily embedded in one’s memory too, aiding Acura’s marketing efforts, while reducing its spend. Overall, it just makes sense.
Introducing the Next-Gen Integra (0:30):
Next Generation 2023 Acura Integra Debut Featuring Pierre Gasly (1:02):
2023 Acura Integra Production Model Walkaround (6:02):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Acura
If you’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 EV or sister company Kia’s equally impressive EV6, you’ll already know they provide near-luxury levels of features, refinement…
If you’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 EV or sister company Kia’s equally impressive EV6, you’ll already know they provide near-luxury levels of features, refinement and performance, not to mention styling in spades, so it’s going to take a lot for the Korean automaker’s premium Genesis division to top these two standout battery electrics.
Yet despite the daunting task, Genesis has stepped up with a uniquely attractive design, even more standard features including some industry-first technologies, plus a much higher level of luxury than the two more mainstream volume-branded BEVs, as well as even stronger straight-line performance in its top trim level, that also provides even more EV range.
“We are thrilled to begin our momentous journey towards full electrification with the launch of the GV60,” said Lawrence Hamilton, executive director of Genesis Motors Canada. “We are excited that our Canadian guests will be able to experience the innovative technologies, bold design, and extensive suite of Genesis Connected Services offered in this distinctive vehicle.”
Priced competitively against premium rivals
Pricing for the all-new 2023 Genesis GV60 starts at $71,000 (including delivery), which while a sizeable monetary leap from the entry-level trims of its two sub-$45k underlings, is nevertheless reasonable for the premium class. Tesla’s Model Y, for instance, starts at $82,100, which is more than $10k dearer than the GV60, whereas Jaguar’s I-Pace will set you back a cool $99,800 (for the difference you could park a new Hyundai Tucson in your driveway next to the GV60 and have change left over). Still, Audi’s Q4 E-Tron starts at a very reasonable $59,950, but it’s important to compare apples to apples, and to that end the new Genesis stacks up very well.
For starters, the GV60 is larger than all of the above. In fact, while smaller than most mid-size luxury crossover SUVs, it provides more passenger volume and cargo capacity than the compact luxury crossovers just mentioned. Before delving into such details, however, let’s see how the GV60 lines up against the smaller Audi Q4 E-Tron dollar-for-dollar.
GV60 vs Q4 E-Tron
The most basic 2023 GV60 Advanced AWD comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels (only 19s for the Q4 E-Tron), LED headlights and rear combination lamps (Audi’s Matrix LEDs are part of an $8,400 package), supple Nappa leather upholstery (just regular leather for the base Audi), a heatable steering wheel rim (for both), three-way heated and ventilated front seats plus heated rear outboard positions (no standard cooled or rear warmers for the Q4 E-Tron), a panoramic Vision Roof with a powered sunshade (same for both), Fingerprint Authentication and Face Connect (nope), a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (just a 10.25-inch driver’s display for the German SUV), a head-up display system (part of that aforementioned $8,400 package on the Audi), integrated navigation (part of a lesser $5,400 package with the Q4 E-Tron), and vehicle-to-load charging capability.
Additionally, a full suite of safety and convenience features is included standard with the GV60, such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go (a $750 option or part of the $8,400 package with the Q4 E-Tron), high beam assist (part of a $1,600 Tech pack or included in the same $8,400 one), and Genesis’ list goes on with Highway Driving Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, etcetera.
All said, the partially-loaded Q4 E-Tron Technic (that’s the $8,400 package) will set its owner back $68,350 before adding on $890 metallic paint, a smaller set of 20-inch alloys, and a $1,600 Tech package (that includes a head-up display and Audi Connect Plus), as well as $2,700 in freight and PDI costs, resulting in a final total of $74,540, or $3,540 more than the GV60. And that’s before factoring in that Audi’s base mid-size E-Tron, which is dimensionally closer to the GV60 inside, starts at $89,600 including destination.
Industry-first features set the GV60 apart from all competitors
The new GV60 will also be available with some auto industry-first technologies, including Face Connect, Fingerprint Authentication, and Genesis’ exclusive Crystal Sphere. The first two of these features have been available on smartphones for some time, making it somewhat surprising that it took an automaker this long to adapt. Nevertheless, Genesis will be first to offer facial recognition via a deep learning-capable Near Infra-Red (NIR) camera in the B-pillar that automatically unlocks or locks the GV60’s doors without the need for a key.
Face Connect links to two individual driver profiles, causing the head-up display, powered driver’s seat, power steering column, side mirrors, and multimedia settings to adjust automatically once a driver’s personal preferences are chosen.
In the same way, Genesis’ Fingerprint Authentication System lets drivers start and drive their GV60 without a key.
The Crystal Sphere, on the other hand, is a beautiful translucent orb that acts as a glowing ambient light when the GV60 is turned off, yet upon turning the ignition on it rotates around to provide a shift-by-wire dial for selecting gears. Gimmicky? Maybe. But is it cool? For sure.
Performance is impressive throughout the GV60 lineup
Genesis Canada’s entry-level GV60 Advanced AWD trim features a strong power unit with 314 horsepower (234 kW) and 446 lb-ft of immediate torque, while the top-line GV60 Performance AWD, which incidentally starts at $79,000, adds a more potent 160kW front electric motor that combines with the rear motor for an impressive 429 horsepower (320 kW) and the same 446 lb-ft of torque when in Sport Mode, or alternatively 483 horsepower (360 kW) and 516 lb-ft of torque in Boost Mode, which is accessible by pressing a green button on the steering wheel.
Boost mode is kind of a like the “push to pass” system used in Indy Car racing, or nitrous-oxide found on dragsters, as it only provides a short 10-second boost. Still, the result is a rather stimulating 4.0-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h, which should be good enough for the GV60’s luxury crowd. Then again, Kia’s EV6 GT reportedly does the deed in just 3.5 seconds, due to a whopping 576 horsepower “under the hood”.
Drift Mode and other features set GV60 Performance trim apart
An industry-first feature not yet covered is the GV60’s Drift Mode, an unusually welcome function that’s ripe for future parking lot testing sessions. According to Genesis, Drift Mode uses the braking system along with rear-motor torque in order to break traction at the rear wheels to cause oversteer, after which the crossover’s significant heft should carry the power slide through. There’s no word on whether the feature further utilizes the GV60’s stability management system to “catch” the slide before a spin, this normally requiring opposite lock steering along with driver skill to accomplish.
The Performance package also adds an Electronic Limited Slip Differential (E-LSD), plus an Electronically Controlled Suspension with Road Preview, and Active Noise Cancellation, while additional features include an Ergo Motion massaging driver’s seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, surround view and blind spot view monitors, alloy pedals, and larger 21-inch alloy wheels.
Range matters most for EV buyers
Genesis has yet to announce EV range specifics, but Canada’s all-wheel drive-only variant should be capable of about 400 km (249 mi), or about the same as the two Hyundai and Kia AWD models that are also based on Hyundai group’s E-GMP platform—the U.S. rear-drive version can supposedly eke out another 50 or so km (30 mi). Unlike Tesla’s performance models, however, which provide more range with added go-fast goodness (as long as that performance isn’t used), the GV60 Performance model is said to get 368 km (229 mi) of range between charges. Of course, these estimates may differ when calculated to Environment Canada’s requirements, but the just-noted Korean-specs should be in the ballpark.
A Hyundai-first (but unfortunately not an industry-first), the GV60 will be able to fill the cabin with faux engine/exhaust noise via the audio system. New electric-Active Sound Design (e-ASD) recreates such familiar noises based on the GV60’s speed and given driving mode, not to mention the level of pressure on the throttle.
More importantly, Genesis Connected Services will allow drivers to find a charging station (or their vehicle), remotely adjust the climate control system, remotely monitor their GV60, plus keep track of its average range and battery status, while it also has the ability to start a charge, schedule a future charge (when the price of electricity might be lower), or stop charging completely. Additionally, over-the-air (OTA) software updates allow the GV60 to keep its features up-to-date without the need of downloading updates to a USB and loading them on manually, or visiting a Genesis dealership.
Size is critically important in the crossover SUV camp
Back to the GV60’s size, Genesis chose to make it a bit shorter overall than its volume-branded siblings, which makes it somewhat less accommodating inside in most configurations. The entire car measures 4,515 millimetres (177.7 inches) from nose to tail, while its 2,900-mm (114.2-in) wheelbase is 100 mm (3.9 in) shorter than the Ioniq 5’s and identical to the EV6, but passenger volume is good at 2,863 litres (101.1 cu ft), making it only 153 litres (5.4 cu ft) smaller than the Ioniq 5 and just 54 litres (1.9 cu ft) shy of the EV6.
Likewise, the GV60’s cargo capacity is generous at 680 litres (24.0 cu ft) behind the second row and 1,549 litres (54.7 cu ft) when those rear seats are folded flat, resulting in a downgrade of 90 litres (3.2 cu ft) from the Ioniq 5’s dedicated cargo volume and merely 11 litres (0.4 cu ft) when compared to the EV6, whereas maximum cargo capacity is off by 130 litres (4.6 cu ft) in Hyundai’s variant, while it actually grows by 127 litres (4.5 cu ft) over the Kia.
For those wanting more space, a Genesis SUV will likely ride on the back of Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 7, the latter being a much larger three-row crossover EV.
If the new 2023 GV60 sounds like a good fit for you and your family, Genesis Canada will start taking orders this week, while new examples will already start arriving at Genesis dealerships by the end of this month.
Of note, the new GV60 will be followed up by the launch of Genesis’ Electrified G80 mid-size sport-luxury sedan, while all new Genesis models will be fully-electrified by 2025, with a goal of 100-percent electrification across the entire range by 2030, five years before the brand plans to achieve carbon neutrality.
The First-Ever Genesis GV60 | Genesis Canada (0.47):
The All-Electric Genesis GV60 | Senses | Genesis USA (0:40):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Genesis
Ah, nostalgia. There comes a point in life when the “good old days” can seem more appealing to some than the unending fast-paced changes occurring in today’s world. Certainly, some things get better,…
Ah, nostalgia. There comes a point in life when the “good old days” can seem more appealing to some than the unending fast-paced changes occurring in today’s world. Certainly, some things get better, like Porsche’s 911, but many of Canada’s more mature citizens would no doubt love to transport themselves back to “better times”.
That’s what Porsche is attempting to do, at least emotively, with the fabulous new 911 Sport Classic, which only recently debuted. It’s a retrospective look back to the past that, while pulling design cues from the ‘70s, particularly the ducktail spoiler at back, remains a 100-percent functional and reliable modern-day 911; a best of both world’s scenario for those whose hearts long for exhilarating Saturday drives behind the wheel of their 1973 911 RS, but wallets may not want to invest so much into a car.
Sadly, if you don’t already own an early 911 Carrera 2.7 RS, prices for pristine examples have soared past seven figures (the DuPont Registry has one on sale now for $919,000 USD or $1.2 million CAD), making the much more approachable sum of $235,600 CAD for today’s 911 Turbo S seem like a bargain, or alternatively, whatever Porsche finally settles on for the new 911 Sport Classic.
Near 911 Turbo power with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive
That price has yet to be announced, but it will likely be higher than the window sticker of today’s 911 Turbo S. After all, under the Sport Classic’s skin is a one-of-a-kind rear-wheel drive Porsche Turbo S, which kind of makes it a forerunner to a future 992-based GT2. Until that supercar arrives, this is the only way you’re getting a new 911 Turbo with rear-wheel drive, let alone one with a seven-speed manual transmission.
Today’s 911 Turbo and Turbo S are only available with Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive and the brand’s brilliant eight-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch gearbox, so while the new Sport Classic’s acceleration time might not quite measure up to the regular Turbo S’ all-wheel traction and quicker shifting PDK, these technologies aiding its blisteringly quick 2.7-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h and harrowing top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), purists anteing up for this drive back to yesteryear would only be satisfied with a manually-actuated rear driver.
This said, the Turbo S’ 641 horsepower 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged horizontally opposed six, featuring 590 lb-ft of torque, is not part of the package, instead replaced by the regular Turbo’s 3.7-litre mill, normally good for a 2.8-second zero to 100 km/h acceleration time, albeit further detuned from 572 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque to 543 horsepower and 442 lb-ft. The revised engine mapping was necessary to make the engine more compatible with the manual gearbox, but once again, purists won’t complain. After all, this new rear-drive retro-rod is more potent than the sensational 502-horsepower 911 GT3.
Turbo S wide-body and underpinnings makes for muscular styling and superior handling
So, if the Sport Classic utilizes a detuned version of the regular 911 Turbo’s 3.7-litre engine, why say it’s based on a Turbo S? Porsche’s reference has more to do with its wide-body layout that also includes upgraded brakes, wheels, tires, and suspension enhancements. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) with subtly painted black calipers are framed by a stunning set of staggered 20- and 21-inch 911 Sport Classic wheels on 255/35 ZR20 and 315/30 ZR21 performance tires front to rear, the former being “a modern re-interpretation of the Fuchs design,” says Porsche.
Also notable is the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) Sport suspension upgrade with 10 millimetres (0.4 in) of overall height reduction, while the front axle spring rates have been decreased slightly to adjust for the lower frontal mass of the missing all-wheel drivetrain.
Hidden within, yet no doubt noticeable when taking the wheel, is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and Rear Axle Steering as standard equipment, plus, of course, Porsche’s revered Sport Chrono Package, while the engine note should make a special tune derived by a uniquely modified Sport Exhaust system.
Fast yes, but the 911 Sport Classic is just as much about style
As sensational as this car is mechanically, being the most powerful Porsche currently available with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, for many the initial attraction will be styling. To that end the new Sport Classic pulls on design cues initialized by the beautiful 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition that we covered in June of 2020, but where the open-top model’s gorgeous Cherry Metallic paintwork gave it a classier appearance, the new coupe’s Sport Grey Metallic paint, and painted contrasting stripes in light Sport Grey, have a more purposeful, performance-first look.
Both cars are from Porsche’s “Heritage Design” series, and both go a long way to pull on the heartstrings of mature Porschephiles that may have either owned a ‘60s- or ‘70s-era 911 in their earlier life, or more likely were the benefactors of a father or uncle that did. Many more merely saw similarly sporting 911s driving by on occasion, or drooled over centerfold spreads of those cars in glossy magazines like Motor Trend or Car and Driver. The new Sport Classic is now capable of fulfilling that once magical childhood dream, albeit with a level of performance never even contemplated back in such innocent days.
Unique styling upgrades join other design details that are purposefully missing
Minus the painted centre stripes, which actually bisect a carbon-fibre hood that’s unique to Turbo models, as well as a special “double-bubble” roof panel, and less the decaled white lollipop (that can be numbered from 1 to 99 at no additional cost), plus the striped “PORSCHE” lettering down each rocker panel, which, like the lollipop, is a decal that can be removed by a customer/dealer if desired, the new Sport Classic is also reminiscent of the 911 Sport Classic that Porsche built for 2010, a particularly attractive design that won the hearts of enthusiasts a dozen years ago.
The Sport Classic should be noted for what it doesn’t include too. The wider rear wing from the Turbo/Turbo S’ is the most obvious, replaced by the stubbier ducktail spoiler noted earlier, the latter seeming as if it’s an extension of the more common car’s wing pedestal. The ovoid intakes normally found ahead of each rear fender flair aren’t included either, providing a cleaner, more classic look. These important cooling ducts are now integrated below the ducktail spoiler, just above two large circular tailpipes poking out the rear bumper, these replacing the Turbo/Turbo S’ quad of rectangular exhaust tips.
At least as complex, Porsche not only had to retool its 911 assembly line to create the rear quarter panels in order to remove the cooling vents, but the bottom edge of these panels is entirely different from the Turbo/Turbo S models too, as is this lower section on the front quarter panels (aft of the front wheels), the rocker panels and those on the rear quarters.
Standard Sport Classic interior adds 1970s flair
The Sport Classic continues its retrospective theme inside, where “Pepita” checkered fabric seat centres and door panels are joined by black and Classic Cognac semi-aniline leather (the latter also used in the fabulous 918 Spyder supercar), although those wanting a bit less of yesteryear can choose optional single-tone black leather (yawn). Leather also covers the sun visors, steering wheel rim and even the steering column, not to mention the air vent slats, while perforated Race-Tex fabric is used for the headliner plus the A-, B- and C-Pillars, aiding visual, tactile and auditory refinement.
Ahead of the driver, the mostly digital gauge cluster gets cool green-backlit dials, also from Porsche’s past, but the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system is 100-percent modern in look and internal execution, which is a positive considering this car is meant more for high-speed cruising than racetrack activities.
Limited edition Sport Classic available in Canada
With only 1,250 units available worldwide, it might be difficult to get one’s hands on this limited edition 911. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your local dealer, who just might have allocated an unspoken-for example (the markets have taken their toll in recent weeks, so you never know if someone cancelled).
And on that note, it was nice of Porsche to include North America for this iteration of its Heritage Design line, being that the aforementioned 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition was not offered on this side of the Atlantic.
The new Porsche 911 Sport Classic (3:17):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Land Rover has just pulled the wraps off its third-generation Range Rover Sport (compare it to the current Range Rover Sport here), and while its styling is purely evolutionary to the point that nobody…
Land Rover has just pulled the wraps off its third-generation Range Rover Sport (compare it to the current Range Rover Sport here), and while its styling is purely evolutionary to the point that nobody could possibly mistake it for anything other than a more aerodynamically refined Range Rover, it certainly looks good, while exterior improvements, including flush glazing and powered pop-out door handles, a hidden waist rail finisher, and a laser-welded roof, help deliver a slick drag coefficient of just 0.29.
“The exceptional New Range Rover Sport sets new standards as the ultimate sporting luxury SUV, building on seventeen years of unique customer appeal,” said Thierry Bolloré, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover. “It is the latest embodiment of our vision to create the world’s most desirable modern luxury vehicles, effortlessly blending new levels of sustainability with the signature qualities that have made Range Rover Sport so popular.”
New mixed-metal platform architecture makes body structure 35 percent stiffer
Under the Sport’s sleek skin is an all-new rear-wheel drive-biased MLA-Flex mixed-metal platform architecture that provides up to 35 percent more torsional rigidity than the previous model.
“Land Rover’s pioneering flexible MLA architecture and the latest chassis systems come together to deliver the highest levels of dynamism we’ve ever seen on Range Rover Sport,” said Nick Collins, Executive Director Vehicle Programmes, Jaguar Land Rover. “Integrated Chassis Control governs the comprehensive suite of innovations, co-ordinating everything from the latest switchable-volume air suspension system to our Dynamic Response Pro electronic active roll control. The result is the most engaging and thrilling Range Rover Sport ever.”
Upgraded air suspension joins all-wheel steering for best-ever handling
The new platform aids cornering capability, high-speed stability and overall handling feel, plus all trims feature Dynamic Response Pro, which minimizes roll thanks to a 48-volt electronic active roll control system that’s capable of applying up to 1,400 Nm of torque across each axle, whereas the standard Dynamic Air Suspension system, with switchable volume air springs, provides twin-valve active dampers for “ultimate agility, control and composure,” says Land Rover in their press release.
What’s more, a Stormer Handling Pack combines Dynamic Response Pro, All-Wheel Steering, and an Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking and Configurable Programs. Thanks to as much as 7.3 degrees of rear-wheel steering, the all-wheel steering system promises a compact car-like turning circle as well as the type of on-road agility normally found in a much smaller vehicle.
No shortage of conventional and hybrid power units available globally
Such agility and stability will be important considering all the power available in top-tier trims, but Land Rover has yet to announce exactly which powertrains will be available to the Canadian market.
Globally, the Sport will be offered with a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder Ingenium engine in four states of tune. Both entry-level versions, dubbed P360 and P400, boast 48-volt mild-hybrid designs, and while we can’t be sure if either will make it across the Atlantic to our port of entry, we can be certain that all three mild-hybrid six-cylinder diesel engines, named D250, D300 and D350, won’t be sold here.
Two plug-in hybrid drivetrains provide up to 113 km of EV range
A more likely base engine in our market is the P440e, which incorporates an electric motor powered by a 38.2-kWh battery for a total of 434 net horsepower and a claimed zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 5.8 seconds. Alternatively, or possibly offered as an option, a higher output version of the same engine gets the P510e moniker due to its larger 105kW electric motor, which along with the same 38.2-kWh battery provides net output of 503 horsepower and a standstill to 100 km/h sprint time of 5.4 seconds.
Both full-hybrid power units provide up to 113 kilometres (70 miles) of zero local emissions EV range in optimal conditions, or an expected real-world range of 88 km (54 miles), which, says Land Rover, is “enough for most owners to complete up to 75 percent of journeys on electric power.” Additionally, the two plug-in hybrid power units allow for up to 740 km (460 miles) of combined gasoline and electric range, making long uninterrupted road trips easier, plus you’ll be doing less damage to the environment than the previous model (and many competitors) thanks to CO2 emissions rated at just 18g per km.
Ultimate performance is still available by opting for a twin-turbo V8 or upcoming EV
If you like your Range Rover Sport with unadulterated V8 power, rest assured the redesigned gen-3 version won’t disappoint. This said the current model’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 will not be available any longer, instead replaced by a new 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged mill that promises even stronger performance in non-SVR trim.
As it is, Land Rover’s press release gave no mention of the Sport’s SVR upgrade package, so it will most likely be a late arrival. Instead, the only V8 mentioned makes 523 horsepower, which is up 5 hp from the current blown V8’s 518 ponies, and capable of a spirited 4.3-second dash from standstill to 100 km/h when launch control is engaged.
Of course, these output and performance numbers are still shy of the SVR’s 575-horsepower engine, so only time will tell if a more potent version of the twin-turbo V8 makes the cut for the top-line SVR variant, or possibly if the all-electric model, set to arrive for model-year 2024, receives the revered designation.
Range Rover Sport’s off-road capability second to none
All powertrains come standard with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive featuring Land Rover’s award-winning Terrain Response, the latter now incorporating a road-focused Dynamic Mode alongside an updated Configurable Terrain Response system designed to tackle all types of off-road conditions, plus an innovative new Adaptive Off-Road Cruise Control system designed to improve off-road capability while reducing driver fatigue when on the trail.
“New Range Rover Sport’s advanced chassis dynamics feed into its immense capability away from the tarmac, utilizing its hardware and software to full effect,” said Rory O’Murchu, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover. “It is the first vehicle to feature our new Adaptive Off-Road Cruise Control, which has been engineered to help drivers focus on steering the vehicle by providing consistent and comfortable progress across rough terrain.”
New Range Rover Sport to improve interior beyond the current model
While some might find it hard to fathom a higher quality, more refined mid-size luxury utility than today’s Range Rover Sport, Land Rover promises improvements at every level.
While materials are said to upgraded, the focus has been more toward environmental friendliness than perceived quality. Its sustainable alternatives to leather, for instance, are dubbed Ultrafabrics and made from recycled polyurethane, plus finished in new Duo Tone colourways. Land Rover also makes available a unique textile trim option, which extends to the dashboard and door detailing. This said, Premium grained Windsor or even more supple Semi-Aniline leathers will still be on the menu, as will hardwoods, aluminum accents and more, but special Moonlight Chrome interior trim is new.
Land Rover goes big with digital displays
Ahead of the driver is a very sizeable 13.7-inch digital driver’s display, while the similarly large and curved Pivi Pro infotainment system incorporates standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a 3D surround overhead camera. Both systems also come with standard Software Over The Air updates, while Alexa is now part of the standard setup in all Land Rover vehicles.
“Living with the New Range Rover Sport couldn’t be easier thanks to its suite of connected technologies,” said Alex Heslop, Director of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover. “Our award-winning Pivi Pro infotainment is at the heart of the experience and its haptic, curved floating touchscreen provides intuitive control of the vehicle systems. To help drivers maintain their focus, embedded Amazon Alexa voice AI is on hand, so customers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while doing anything from setting the navigation and placing calls to selecting media sources.”
Additional standard Range Rover Sport features include a new set of high-performance Digital LED Headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting for seeing around corners, while new Low Speed Manoeuvring Lights improve visibility in parking lots and other closed, confined areas.
All Range Rover Sports also include deployable door handles with proximity sensing, soft door close and the ability to unlock when approaching, while Automated Walkaway Lock is also part of the standard package.
Plenty of features set the Range Rover Sport apart from competitors
Back inside, unique Range Rover Sport highlights include a Cabin Air Purification Pro system to clean the cabin environment, featuring PM2.5 filtration and nanoe X technology that goes so far as to reduce odours, bacteria and allergens, even airborne viruses as small as SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, a separate nanoe X unit gets fitted to the second row to provide more consistent air quality in both seating areas. An advanced CO2 Management function lets occupants purify the cabin ahead of a journey too, or alternatively while on the way.
The new Range Rover Sport’s Meridian Signature Sound System, on the other hand, incorporates the latest in Active Noise Cancellation technologies, plus up to 29 integrated audio speakers provide superb sound quality, some of which are hidden behind the textile of the rear doors and four others cloaked within the headrests to allow for “personal sound zones,” says Land Rover. The system incorporates a new subwoofer too, powered by a 1,430-watt amp.
Advanced driver safety also includes off-roading features
Standard advanced driver safety and convenience features include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, a driver-attention monitor and adaptive cruise control, while front and rear parking sensors are also included. Unique to Land Rover, a special Wade Sensing feature helps when fording rivers, plus ClearSight Ground View and Manoeuvring Lights further enhance the Range Rover Sport’s off-road experience.
On the options list are 22-way power-adjustable, heatable and ventilated memory seats up front, featuring massage function and winged headrests. These flagship seats also provide a 31-mm increase in legroom and 20 mm of extra knee clearance, improving comfort and support whether on the road or trail.
Later this year, Land Rover will start producing the new 2023 Range Rover Sport at its Solihull manufacturing plant in the UK. By that time, or shortly before, we can expect an announcement about Canadian-market features, trims and pricing information, plus the ability to pre-order.
Globally, the new Range Rover Sport will be available in S, SE, HSE and Autobiography trims, plus a First Edition trim will be offered through its first year of production, boasting a “specially curated specification,” said Land Rover.
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