Regarding compact SUVs, it’s often difficult to find that sweet spot between utility and style, fuel economy and performance. Yet, the 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan seems to have found a comfortable niche in the market. As the SUV market in Canada continues to grow, consumers are spoiled for choice. But where does the Tiguan fit in?
The Tiguan rests under VW’s larger Atlas model, boasting European elegance, agile handling, and a thoughtful design. While it may not be a speed demon, the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion All Wheel Drive ensure an efficient and confidence-inspiring ride. The interior balances function with understated style, and for those who need extra seating, a third row is available, albeit with limited legroom.
Interior and Cargo
The Tiguan is one of the few compact SUVs that offers an optional third row of seating. Note this feature is best reserved for people with smaller bodies. With the third row folded, expect about 33 cubic feet (roughly 935 litres) of cargo space, placing it in the middle of the pack against competitors.
The Tiguan’s Place in the Market
With its performance, feature set, and balanced demeanour, the Tiguan makes a compelling case for its strong position among compact SUVs in Canada. It maintains a highly competitive position when compared to the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-50, with a starting price of $34,495 CAD MSRP.
Here is some more context on where the Tiguan fits into the overall Compact SUV Market
Under the hood, a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine offers 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. This power is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard 4Motion All-Wheel drive. Although the 0-100 km/h time is a modest 9.1 seconds, the vehicle excels in everyday drivability, particularly in city and winter driving conditions.
Regarding fuel efficiency, the Tiguan delivers 24 mpg (around 9.8 litres per 100 km) in city driving and 31 mpg (roughly 7.6 litres per 100 km) on the highway. The combined Transport Canada rating is 8 litres per 100 kilometers. When you consider the standard all-wheel-drive system, these fuel consumption numbers are good.
Infotainment and Connectivity
While its infotainment system may not be universally praised, standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base S trim gets a 6.5-inch screen, whereas higher trims have an 8.0-inch display. An 8.0- or 10.3-inch digital gauge display is standard on all trims.
What’s New for 2024?
New this year is VW’s IQ.DRIVE driver-assistance suite, which is standard even on the base S trim. Enhancements include lane-centering and adaptive cruise control, along with rain-sensing wipers, a faux-leather steering wheel, wireless charging, and an infotainment upgrade.
Safety gets a boost in 2024 with the standard inclusion of the IQ.DRIVE adaptive cruise control system. This comes on top of pre-existing features like a forward-collision alert with automatic braking and a blind-spot warning system. Four-wheel disc brakes, with anti-locking technology, are also standard equipment.
The 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan makes a compelling case for Canadian consumers searching for a balanced compact SUV. Although it doesn’t dominate in any area, its synthesis of features, comfort, and driving dynamics place it as a worthy contender. If you seek versatility and refinement, consider putting the Tiguan on your shortlist.
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek has arrived, ready to captivate Canadian drivers with its ruggedly athletic design, advanced technology, and exceptional capabilities. I’m excited to share valuable insights…
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek has arrived, ready to captivate Canadian drivers with its ruggedly athletic design, advanced technology, and exceptional capabilities. I’m excited to share valuable insights about this remarkable vehicle. This article delves into the key specifications, innovative features, and unique experiences the 2024 Crosstrek offers in the Canadian marketplace.
Rugged Design for Adventurous Souls:
The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek embraces its adventurous spirit with a more ruggedly athletic exterior design. Its robust silhouette, bold front grille, and LED steering-responsive headlights (SRH) with High-Beam Assist (HBA) command attention on the road. Whether navigating city streets or exploring off-road trails, the Crosstrek’s stylish design reflects its capability and versatility.
Unmatched Capability for Every Terrain:
Subaru’s renowned Symmetrical Full-Time All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system is at the heart of the 2024 Crosstrek’s exceptional performance. It ensures optimal traction, stability, and control in various weather and road conditions, allowing you to confidently tackle Canadian landscapes. The standard X-MODE® with Hill Descent Control enhances capability further, enabling controlled descents on steep terrains. With SI-DRIVE®, you can personalize your driving experience, whether you seek efficiency or a spirited ride.
Advanced Technology for Connected Journeys:
Step inside the 2024 Crosstrek, and you’ll find a cabin designed for comfort and connectivity. The dual 7-inch touch-screens infotainment system takes center stage, featuring Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ functionality. Seamlessly integrate your smartphone to access navigation, music, and favorite apps. With the available SiriusXM® Satellite Radio and Travel Link® subscription, you can enjoy a wide range of entertainment and real-time information to enhance your driving experience.
Safety Features that Inspire Confidence:
Subaru’s commitment to safety shines in the 2024 Crosstrek, equipped with advanced technologies to protect you and your loved ones. The EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, featuring a wide-angle mono-camera and Lane Centring Assist, acts as a vigilant co-pilot, assisting in recognizing and avoiding potential hazards. Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, and Lane Keep Assist are just a few of the features that contribute to a safer driving experience, fostering peace of mind on every journey.
As you embark on your automotive journey, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek stands ready to exceed your expectations. Its rugged design, unmatched capability, advanced technology, and unwavering commitment to safety make it a standout option in the Canadian marketplace. Whether you’re a weekend adventurer, a city dweller seeking versatility, or a parent looking to provide your adult child with a reliable vehicle, the Crosstrek delivers in every aspect. Visit your local Subaru dealership to experience the 2024 Crosstrek firsthand and discover the freedom and confidence it offers on the road.
It’s been about a year since I got back behind the wheel of Toyota’s completely rethought Venza, and I have to say its styling has grown on me. From seeming to pull inspiration from the previous-generation…
It’s been about a year since I got back behind the wheel of Toyota’s completely rethought Venza, and I have to say its styling has grown on me. From seeming to pull inspiration from the previous-generation RAV4, at least to my mind’s eye, I now see it has having a unique, modern, advanced look all of its own. Funny how taste’s change with familiarity, as there are now plenty more on the road than when initially driven.
It should be said that I normally prefer more truck-like crossover SUV designs, such as Toyota’s current RAV4 and Highlander. These pull a number of heritage design cues from Toyota’s storied 4×4 past, as well as styling influences from the Japanese brand’s more rugged, off-road-ready present-day SUV and pickup truck models, with the current RAV4’s overall look paying homage to the fabulous FJ Cruiser that itself was inspired by the brand’s original Willys/Jeep Wrangler-competitive FJ40, while both the RAV4 and Highlander share the basic shape of their grille designs with the current-generation Tacoma, which most truck fans will agree is one of the best-looking mid-size pickups ever.
Smooth, refined, sophisticated shape and execution
By comparison, the Venza’s smooth, wind-cheating shape seems designed for an altogether different purpose, even though it targets a similar audience to the Highlander, albeit one that doesn’t need as much passenger and cargo space. To be crystal clear, the Venza seats five comfortably in two rows, while the Highlander is good for seven over three rows; the third-most twosome best dedicated to children.
As for the Venza’s cargo capacity, it’s not only considerably less commodious than the Highlander’s, it’s surprisingly down on the RAV4’s too, by a significant 211 litres (7.4 cu ft) with its second row upright, and 417 litres (14.7 cu ft) when laid flat. Specifically, the Venza measures just 816 litres (28.8 cu ft) behind the rear seats and 1,560 litres (55.1 cu ft) when its 60/40-split back row is tumbled forward (and fractionally less¬–0.2 litres (0.007 cu ft)–when its optional Star Gaze roof is included). And yes, Toyota doesn’t offer a centre pass-through either, so rear row/cargo flexibility is limited.
Stacking up against siblings and competitors
So why move up from a RAV4? Sales will indicate not many Canadians do, with Toyota Canada having sold a whopping 67,977 RAV4s last year (resulting in the number one spot in light vehicle deliveries overall, let alone within its own segment; number-two was Honda’s CR-V with just 50,135 deliveries). This compares to a mere 6,249 Venzas, or less than 10 percent. Of note, 19,885 Highlanders were sold in Canada throughout 2021, making it number-one in the entire mid-size SUV segment. Despite being a new model for 2021, the Venza also had the entire year to make its mark, having been introduced in the latter part of 2020, so while sort of holding its own, it didn’t exactly burn up the sales charts.
It’s not too difficult to figure out why Toyota’s mid-size, two-row crossover SUV entry lags behind many competitors, pricing. A base 2022 Venza LE starts at $39,150, which incidentally is up $660 from last year’s starting point. That makes it more expensive than a $33,699 base 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Essential AWD, a non-hybrid model that doesn’t manage fuel as thriftily as this miserly Japanese contender, but you can buy a lot of gas for almost $5,500, plus the more affordable Korean simply fits within more peoples’ budgetary and therefore lending restraints.
On the positive for Toyota, last year’s Santa Fe to Venza price gap was a whopping $7,091, so the step up to this hybrid is no longer as steep. It should be noted that Hyundai offers a Santa Fe Hybrid in this class too, but it starts $2,549 higher at $41,699 than the base Venza, while those wanting a Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid (Toyota doesn’t offer one in this class) can ante up $49,699 for a bit more fuel savings and the benefit of traveling in the HOV lane, depending on local regulations.
Of note, additional electrified models in the two-row, mid-size SUV class include the new Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Plug-In Hybrid, but at $71,005, and sporting serious off-road credentials it’s really targeting the luxury 4×4 crowd, while the electrified mid-size crossover SUV segment’s most affordable $36,695 Kia Sorento Hybrid, as well as the $44,995 Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, which is priced best as far as plug-ins go, come with seating for six via three-rows including second-row captain’s chairs, but deserve a mention due to their value proposition. If you feel the pull to a full-electric EV you may want to consider the competitively priced $51,495 Ford Mustang Mach-E and potentially Chevy’s even better looking (in this author’s humble opinion) and equally nameplate-offending (to classic 4×4 fans) upcoming 2024 Blazer EV.
Dedicated to aerodynamics and hybrid efficiency
Of course, Toyota has its own long-awaited all-electric model coming out too, the 2023 BZ4X. It’s a largish compact crossover, being 94 mm (3.7 in) longer and 5 mm (0.2 in) wider than a RAV4. While we can expect more EVs to come, nobody offers more hybrids than the originator of the species (as far as practical four-door models go). Toyota currently offers no less than nine hybridized models, which is pretty amazing. And that’s only in North America. Toyota makes other hybrid models in other markets, particularly Japan, where this Venza is sold under the Harrier nameplate.
That last point may be why this new mid-size crossover SUV appears so different from its more rugged-looking stable mates. Rather than give the Harrier a makeover for its new Venza role, it was merely rebadged for our market, and does what it needs to do for the most part. Still, I can only imagine it would appeal to even more buyers if it pulled more of the brand’s North American styling influence onto its front fascia, at least. Sure, the RAV4 is more or less the same in Japan as it is here, but Toyota’s domestic market doesn’t get our Highlander, 4Runner, Sequoia, Tacoma or Tundra. Alternatively, their Fortuner (GR) and Land Cruiser series (including the 4Runner-sized Prado) take care of mid- and full-size SUV duties in Asia, while the Tacoma-sized Hilux oversees all truck responsibilities. These are looking a lot bolder than they did in the past, but still not as aggressive as their North American counterparts (new LC aside).
Refined style and luxe interior appeal to plenty of new buyers
To this latest Venza’s credit, it had plenty of admirers throughout my test week. Whether viewed from up front, where its wind-cheating design once again reminds me of the old RAV4, or taken in at the rear, which I particularly like thanks to its sliver-thin taillight clusters and connecting centre reflector, the latter giving it a unique character when put side-by-side to its myriad mid-size competitors, the new Venza is an attractive mid-size crossover. If the overall design had sharper edges, those taillights could even be mistaken for Lexus’ latest tail lamp designs, but the Venza’s are more organically shaped like the rest of the SUV, so its rear styling is more visually comparable to luxury utilities from Lincoln, Infiniti and even Porsche, albeit once again it provides enough uniqueness to stand out on its own.
Step inside and that premium-brand cache continues. Yes, this new iteration is much more luxurious than the first-generation Venza, which is important in a segment that’s steadily refining new model after new model. Likewise, for the Highlander, which provides similar levels of luxury as you go up through the trim lines, such as more soft-touch surface areas, fabric-wrapped roof pillars, and the list goes on, resulting in a very pleasing cabin.
Interestingly, there are no simulated or genuine wood inserts, but instead Toyota covers much of the instrument panel in a soft-touch padded leatherette, featuring a thin grey corded strip with attractive metal ends. This can be found to the left of the driver and ahead of the front passenger, plus across the front two-thirds of each door upper. Following this pampering theme, an angled piece of padded leatherette folds down into comfortable armrests just behind, at which point some decorative trim might possibly be mistaken for the just-noted missing wood inlays when glanced at quickly. This trim piece supports the window switches, power locking buttons, and on the driver’s side, power mirror controls.
Easy to navigate digital interfaces set the Venza apart
Framed by a comfortably padded leather steering wheel is a semi-digital gauge cluster complete with two analogue dials. The left side is for hybrid info, including Eco, Power and Charging gauges, plus one for the engine temperature, while the right side is filled with a speedometer with a fuel gauge. At centre is a large 7.0-inch multi-information display that includes hybrid info as well as most other features found on the infotainment system.
Speaking of that large centre touchscreen, the high-resolution display measures a significant 12.3 inches. In default mode, it’s split into a larger two-thirds section on the left and a smaller one-third section to the right, but you can push a set of double arrows on the far right to reverse the layout if desired. The system comes stock full of features too, with the default main page incorporating climate control, audio functions, and quick calling pre-sets to the left, these divided in half so they look like three separate tiles, while the rightmost third displayed the navigation map as a default. Again, this section can be reconfigured depending on what you need or prefer, with a long list of variables.
You can access Home, a menu page, an audio page, or the map with navigation controls via touch-sensitive quick-access buttons just below the screen on a separate section of the centre stack. This interface also incorporates a touch-sensitive audio volume controller and a similar tool for tuning radio stations or tracks. A separate panel is dedicated to the dual-zone automatic climate control system, and was as easy to operate as it was attractive to look at.
Well-organized centre stack and console aid in driving experience
All of the above features hover over a carved-out section of the lower console, which integrates a sideways-mounted wireless phone charger, separate USB-A ports, and an auxiliary port for powering devices. Additionally, Toyota hangs its ignition button just below the upper centre stack. Being this is in a different place than usual, I kept pressing the odometer trip reset button instead, which is where most vehicles have their ignition switch, although it’s completely hidden by the right side of the steering wheel spoke, so it makes sense why Toyota would place the start/stop button within eyesight on the centre stack. I eventually familiarized myself to the new location.
Moving downward, the lower centre console gets a traditional shift lever with manual mode, but that comes after an electronic parking brake with a hold function, plus an EV mode switch for driving under pure-electric power over short distances at low speeds, and lastly a drive mode selector that can be swapped between Eco, Normal and Sport settings.
I quickly learned that I didn’t need Sport mode to get it off the line quickly. When wanting to accelerate fast out of my local side street, due to a near constant four-lane stream of traffic, the Venza jumped forward with an immediacy I didn’t expect when in set an Eco mode. This said, Sport makes it all that much more energetic when taking off or passing, giving the SUV more zip all-round. More often than not I drive vehicles like the Venza in a calm and relaxed fashion, so I kept it in Eco or Normal mode throughout the week. This still allowed for all the performance I needed when called upon, plus all the fuel-efficiency I could want. Comfort for five aside, that’s really what the Venza is all about.
Hybrids are still the value leaders initially and over the long haul
In fact, at $1.82.9 per litre when needing to fill it up, a busier than average week behind the wheel only cost me $55. This is a great deal less than in any other vehicle I’ve driven recently, even including compact four-cylinder economy cars. Toyota claims a fuel economy rating of 5.9 L/100km in the city, 6.4 on the highway and 6.1 combined, which is mind-blowingly good for the Venza’s size and weight, so this SUV makes sense for those wanting to save money on fuel, even if they’re considering an all-electric SUV like Tesla’s smaller Model Y or similarly sized (to the Venza) Model X.
After all, you can drive a long way with savings of about $46k and $117k respectively when compared to the Venza’s base starting price of $39,150 (plus freight and fees). Even fully loaded in Limited trim with a window sticker showing $48,550 like my tester, it’s a relative bargain. Of course, Hyundai and Kia offer similar sized electrics in the $45k to $60k range, while Cadillac’s upcoming Lyriq will provide luxury SUV duds for not much more at a base of less than $67k, but once again the overall frugality price would go to Toyota’s Venza.
Fortunately, along with its forward thrust, which granted, isn’t anywhere near as jaw-dropping as those just-noted all-electric crossovers, the Venza is a commendable handler, but as capable as it is through a curving canyon road, it’s primarily been set up for comfort and ride quality. Smooth is the name of the Venza’s game, to the point that I’m willing to bet that its ride is one of the best in its class.
Venza Limited makes it easy to get comfortable
It helps that the driver’s seat is comfortable too, with plenty of adjustment. I found it pleasantly surprising that this top-line Venza Limited provides four-way lumbar support, plus the three-way heatable and cooling seats worked as needed. The single-temperature heated steering wheel didn’t warm all the way around like some others, but it kept hands toasty from the two o’clock to four o’clock positions on the right side, and the eight to 10 o’clock positions on the left, with some heat bleeding off towards the centres to eliminate any early morning icy chill. Good enough.
The just-mentioned seat ventilation gets forced through perforated SofTex pleather centre front seat panels, incidentally, while solid SofTex covers each bolster and headrest. SofTex is Toyota-speak for breathable man-made leatherette, by the way, looking and feeling so much like the real deal that I needed to verify whether or not it was genuine leather on the automaker’s website.
The three rear seating positions are very accommodating as well, especially the two outboard window seats, which also boast heatable cushions. Additional rear passenger equipment includes air vents on the backside of the front console, plus two USB-A ports for connecting devices. A large centre armrest folds down in the middle, revealing two integrated cupholders.
Cargo flexibility isn’t the Venza’s strongest suit
A powered rear liftgate opens up to a large cargo area, including a sizeable spot to stow items below the cargo floor, next to the compact spare tire. As noted earlier, the rear seatbacks fold down in the usual 60/40 configuration, which once again is my only complaint, being that I prefer a 40/20/40 split so that skis can be laid down the middle and rear passengers more comfortably placed by the window seats, an important issue if you’re a parent and have to coax one less comfortable child into the centre position without heat on the way home from the slopes.
A good way to deal with any backseat complaints is to crank the excellent JBL audio system, something I did regularly despite mostly driving alone, albeit the interior’s pièce de résistance is the fabulously large, slightly opaque powered panoramic sunroof overhead, which features a nifty powered cloth sunshade. Then again, the digital rearview mirror is pretty trick too. I’m seeing more and more of these handy devices on upscale Toyotas, plus with some other brands. It allows you to see past any heads popping up from the rear seating area, not to mention cargo piled behind, resulting in a much clearer view of the rearward road. Just be careful to also use the regular rearview camera in the infotainment system when backing up, as objects in the digital mirror appear closer than they really are, plus low sports cars can disappear altogether. Also, the digital mirror can get overwhelmed by headlights at night, so I switched back to its conventional auto-dimming function when the sun went down.
As you can probably tell, I couldn’t find much fault with the latest 2022 Venza, and like last year’s version, I highly recommend it for those that prioritize comfort, refinement, reliability and fuel economy. That Toyota’s digital interfaces are well designed and easy to use is just another bonus. The Japanese automaker should truly be selling more of these than they do.
Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann
After three years in the Canadian auto market, the Hyundai Palisade will get a refresh for 2023, featuring a whole host of notable updates worthy of attention. First off, changes to frontal styling include…
After three years in the Canadian auto market, the Hyundai Palisade will get a refresh for 2023, featuring a whole host of notable updates worthy of attention.
First off, changes to frontal styling include a much chunkier chrome grille outline incorporating larger, rectangular chromed insert pieces that Hyundai refers to as “rugged parametric shield elements,” resulting in a bolder overall appearance that should appeal to more masculine tastes. Additionally, an updated lower front fascia mirrors the bolder grille opening above, with air vents in between that the Korean automaker’s namesake brand claims to optimize the front cooling area, as does an unseen extended internal air guide, plus aerodynamic underside panels below the SUV. At the very base of the fascia is a redesigned lower front skid plate featuring new strake detailing that adds ruggedness to the SUV’s visual presence.
Additionally, redesigned LED headlight clusters attach to reworked vertically-connected LED composite daytime running lights to each side, making the Palisade’s entire frontal view appear wider yet more upright than before, not to mention more traditionally SUV-like.
Refreshed styling aids aerodynamics front to back
We’re not quite sure what Hyundai was referring to when claiming the Palisade’s “fast A-pillar angle” as something new, being that the basic hard-points of this SUV haven’t changed at all (perhaps they were highlighting carryover design elements, although it was unclear in the press release), but extremely sharp eagle eyes might detect the new auto-dimming side mirrors from the rear three-quarter view. Most are more likely to initially pick up on the fresh set of “dark-finish, rugged-themed” 20-inch alloy wheels, however, plus Hyundai also points out new rear wheel aero deflectors to minimize drag.
Aero upgrades in mind, a new rear spoiler side garnish aids airflow as well, and while the Palisade’s LED taillights appear identical to those on the outgoing model, Hyundai has cleaned up the rear bumper cap with a broad, narrow strip across its centre portion incorporating light reflectors and reverse lamps; this in place of the rectangular lenses previously found at each side. This removes the L-shaped chrome garnish that currently wrap around the outside of said lenses, before stretching forward to the back edge of the rear fender flare. Again, the new look is cleaner, as is the metallic brush plate-style bumper garnish that now features a straighter line across its top section, plus squared off creases down below.
Improvements made to one of the most refined cabins in the mid-size SUV segment
A new four-spoke steering wheel greets the driver upon entry, while a redesigned instrument panel features updated air vents across an entirely new horizontally-themed centre section, which starts at the ignition switch just below the main touchscreen display, and finishes off to the right of the front passenger before butting up against new door panels.
The fully digital driver’s display has been updated too, not that the outgoing design required revision, as it’s arguably class-leading thanks to integrated monitors that automatically respond to turn signal input by providing clear rearward views down each side of the SUV before changing lanes, plus a segment-exclusive (other than the Kia Telluride that also gets a refresh for 2023) monitor that lets inattentive drivers know if the car in front has accelerated away after waiting at a stoplight.
New digital rearview mirror enhances confidence and safety
The main infotainment touchscreen appears unchanged, although Hyundai speaks of new 12-inch navigation with 720p resolution, while the audio panel below is more obviously modified with simpler matte black buttons and black on metallic dials, instead of the full aluminum-look design previously used.
Up at eye-level, a new digital rearview mirror (a Hyundai first) is also available, making it possible for the driver to see completely past multiple rows of passengers. Conveniently, a conversation mirror lets the driver visually communicate with rear passengers while that digital rearview mirror is in use, a best-of-both-worlds scenario.
Additional tech upgrades include new USB-C ports replacing outdated USB-A ports (you’d better upgrade your USB cords), which allow quicker charging (up to 3 amps), as well as a new 15-watt wireless charging pad that provides faster smartphone charging than the old five-watt pad. Lastly, Hyundai as enhanced the Palisade’s dynamic voice recognition.
More comfortable seats get extra heat and cooling
That driver will enjoy a new “Ergo-motion” seat, as it’s reportedly more comfortable over long hauls, plus new first-class airline-style winged headrests for the second-row outboard positions. All rows get new upholstery too, while a second-row armrest angle adjuster comes as part of the new eight-passenger configuration; eight being the highest occupant capacity of any Hyundai vehicle ever sold in North America.
All passengers will enjoy new ambient lighting themes, while those in the second-row outboard positions get optional heated and ventilated cushions. Those in the very back of upper trims not only benefit from one-touch second-row seats for easier access, but also power-reclining and new heatable third-row seats, while those in the aft cabin of the Calligraphy model might also appreciate the quieter acoustic-laminated rear door glass.
The rear liftgate powers open, of course, while the same powered mechanism that lets the rearmost passengers recline their backrests also allows unoccupied rear seatbacks to be folded down and back up again electrically.
Notable advanced driver assistance and convenience systems include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, Highway Driving Assist, Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Remote Smart Parking Assist, while the new 2023 Palisade will also features Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert and new standard rear side-impact airbags.
Powerful performance remains a Palisade strong suit
The Palisade’s powertrain might be its strongest and weakest link simultaneously. Strong is its 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, this resulting from a big, capable 3.8-litre V6, but most competitors, including the updated 2023 version of the entire mid-size SUV segment’s best-selling Toyota Highlander, utilize turbocharged four-cylinder power to achieve similar or better performance with significant fuel economy gains.
The new 2023 Highlander will receive a slightly detuned version of the same 2.4-litre turbo-four as found in the upcoming 2023 Lexus RX 350, making 265 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque as a Toyota, which while down 26 horsepower on the Palisade, and even more than in its own 295-hp predecessor, it puts out considerably more torque, a figure that matters most when hauling heavy loads. What’s more, the Highlander has long offered a hybrid model that will continue forward into 2023, while there’s a good chance a plug-in variant will be added, due to the Lexus RX 450h+ PHEV having already being announced. So far, we’ve only heard talk about the impressive new Santa Fe Hybrid PHEV’s plug-in drivetrain being applied to the larger Palisade, but it will likely make the grade sooner than later.
As it is, the 2022 Palisade, which utilizes the same engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system found in the new 2023 version, achieves a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 11.1 L/100km, compared to 10.3 L/100km for the regular 2022 Highlander with its 3.5-litre V6, eight-speed auto and AWD. The 2022 Highlander Hybrid is good for a claimed city/highway rating of 6.7 L/100km, incidentally, while the upcoming 2023 Lexus RX 350 with its new 2.4-litre turbo-four boasts a rating of 9.8 L/100km combined, expected to slightly less when tuned for the future Highlander. Similar scenarios play out with some other segment rivals, meaning Hyundai will want to improve fuel economy in the Palisade to make it more competitive.
Palisade grows Hyundai’s place in the seven-passenger mid-size SUV segment
On the positive, since arriving in June of 2019, the Palisade has played a significant role in Hyundai’s lineup, not to mention Canada’s entire three-row mid-size crossover SUV market segment. Taking over from the elongated Santa Fe XL that bowed out during the same year, the Palisade was a significant step forward in style, refinement and interior roominess, resulting in a sharp uptick in sales volume.
During its most popular calendar year of 2014, the Santa Fe XL sold just 2,332 units, whereas the Palisade hit the road running with 3,845 deliveries in its first half-year, plus Hyundai sold 7,279 Palisades during 2020’s rather tumultuous health crisis response-influenced sales cycle, and 6,739 examples were delivered last year; the slight downturn likely caused by the chip shortage.
Palisade has secured solid mid-pack popularity on the sales charts
All in all, updates made to the 2023 Hyundai Palisade appear to be what’s needed from a design perspective, while all the new features will no doubt be welcomed. Those who love big powerful V6 engines will also be happy nothing has changed behind that bold new grille, but such consumers are getting harder to find as fuel prices rise, so the jury remains out on the Palisade’s future success, at least until it adopts some of its thriftier powertrains from the Santa Fe.
The Redesigned PALISADE | Hyundai (1:02):
2022 NY Auto Show | PALISADE Reveal | Hyundai (16:33):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Hyundai
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
When the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq arrives this fall, it will be price below $70k, including destination fees, which will make it a serious competitor to other mid-size premium electric crossover SUVs, particularly…
In fact, there will only be a $10k or so spread between Hyundai’ new Ioniq 5 (that also gets creative with the “q”) and Kia’s even fresher EV6 when either of the two Korean’s are fully loaded, which could cause some to move upmarket to a more luxuriously appointed alternative, although Hyundai’s Genesis brand appears to have that covered with its soon-to-arrive GV60, despite these Asian models being shorter and narrower than their European and American counterparts.
Lyriq to undercut most competitors when it arrives this fall
Of course, there are some additional all-electric mid-size SUVs either currently for sale or shortly on the way, supply chain bottlenecks and battery components permitting. Those already selling up a storm include Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and Tesla’s Model X, albeit the latter has seen deliveries wane somewhat after the smaller and much more affordable Model Y debuted, whereas Jaguar’s I-Pace suffers from the same difficult-to-understand malady all Jaguars do, lack of interest. The more compact SUV’s $99,800 base price might have something to do with the tepid market response it’s received, however, especially challenging when factoring in the $81,700 base price of the aforementioned Model Y.
Size matters to families looking for the most accommodating luxury SUV
How much larger is the Lyriq than its competitors? From the outside it measures 4,996 mm (196.7 in) long with a 3,094-mm (121.8-in) wheelbase, while its width spans 1,976 mm (77.8 in) and its height reaches 1,623 mm (63.9 in). This makes it 95 mm (3.7 in) longer than the E-Tron, albeit with a 166-mm (6.5-in) greater wheelbase, plus it’s 41 mm (1.6 in) wider and 7 mm (0.3 in) taller.
Similarly, the Lyriq is 43 mm (1.7 in) longer than BMW’s iX, with a 97-mm (3.8-in) longer wheelbase, plus it’s 9 mm (0.4 in) wider and 73 mm (2.9 in) shorter, whereas the as-noted I-Pace is dwarfed by Cadillac’s new offering, due to 314 mm (12.4 in) less length and a 104-mm (4.1-in) shorter wheelbase, plus 81 fewer mm (-3.2 in) of width, and 58 mm (2.3 in) less height. The upcoming GV60 will be smaller than the I-Pace and Ioniq 5/EV6, incidentally, so probably no direct competition to families looking for the most accommodating luxury EV.
Of course, usable space matters more, with the Lyriq providing up to 2,973 litres (105.0 cu ft) of total passenger volume in the cabin, along with 793 litres (28.0 cu ft) of dedicated cargo space behind its second row, plus 1,722 litres (60.8 cu ft) when the split-folding rear compartment is stowed away. When compared to the E-Tron, the Lyriq’s exterior size appears to benefit with 85 litres (3.0 cu ft) more passenger volume and 122 litres (4.3 cu ft) more total cargo space, but the electrified Audi does beat the Caddy EV in dedicated luggage capacity behind the rear seats, albeit just by 14 litres (0.5 cu ft).
Cadillac’s low roof height looks sleek yet cuts into interior space
As for BMW’s iX, its greater height provides 198 litres (7.0 cu ft) of added passenger volume, while the Bavarian model’s dedicated cargo space increases by 212 litres (7.5 cu ft) and maximum gear-toting capability goes up by 484 litres (17.1 cu ft), or about the size of a compact car’s trunk.
Comparatively, the I-Pace does pretty well for its exterior dimensions with 716 litres (25.3 cu ft) of cargo space behind the second-row seats and 1,444 litres (51 cu ft) with its rear seats folded, while Genesis had yet to publish interior specifications for its GV60 at the time of writing, but being that its 2,900-mm (114.2-in) wheelbase is 100 mm (3.9 in) shorter than the Ioniq 5’s, we shouldn’t expect the same level of interior roominess either.
Still, the Ioniq 5 provides 42.5 litres (1.5 cu ft) more passenger volume than the Lyriq, plus only 22.5 litres (0.8 cu ft) less dedicated cargo space and just 42.5 litres (1.5 cu ft) less luggage capacity with its rear seats folded, so the GV60 could measure up fairly well.
Of course, the Genesis SUV destined to ride on the back of Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 7 will be much larger, so let’s wait and see how this luxury crossover EV sector grows out in the near future before judging.
All said, there’s always more to purchasing within the premium sector than mere practicalities, and nothing about the Lyriq’s interior dimensions should turn off would-be buyers.
Performance should live up to Cadillac’s “V” legacy
Blisteringly quick off-the-line acceleration will be nothing new to EV buyers, but the all-wheel drive-equipped Lyriq’s 500-horsepower total output might even cause a few V8-powered Caddy diehards to requestion their dedication to high-octane gasoline power.
The AWD model will receive a dual-motor setup with one driving the front wheels and the other powering the rears, nothing new here, but more importantly this power unit puts the crested-wreath brand in the same ballpark as competitors like Ford’s 480-horsepower Mach-E GT and BMW’s 516-horsepower iX xDrive50. While no torque numbers have surfaced for AWD trim, it should be more than the 340-hp two-wheel drive Lyriq’s twist, which puts 325 lb-ft down to the rear wheels, while the four-wheel drive model will reportedly be capable of up to 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg) of towing capacity.
EV range capable of matching and beating industry leaders
LYRIQ Electriq Kitchen ft. Chef Jordan Kahn & Niki Nakayama | Cadillac (6:18):
Chef Jordan Kahn shares inspiration for the LYRIQ Electriq Kitchen | Cadillac (1:00):
Chef Niki Nakayama shares inspiration for LYRIQ Electriq Kitchen | Cadillac LYRIQ (1:00):
Introducing the All-Electric Cadillac LYRIQ | Cadillac estimated 300+ Mile Range | Cadillac (0:15):
The All-Electric Cadillac LYRIQ | Lighting the Way | Cadillac (0:30):
The All-Electric Cadillac LYRIQ | Lighting the Way | Cadillac (1:00):
Reserve the All-Electric Cadillac LYRIQ | Cadillac (0:15):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Cadillac
After the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group morphed into Stellantis last year, all 16 brands were promised enough funding to prove their viability as money-making…
After the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group morphed into Stellantis last year, all 16 brands were promised enough funding to prove their viability as money-making enterprises. This, at a time when many industry critics were predicting some of the less profitable brands’ demise, such as Lancia in Europe and Chrysler in North America, should allow the creation of some significant contenders.
Where the second-generation 300 is now almost a dozen years old, making it geriatric in automotive lifecycles (as much as we still like it), the minivan threesome came to market in 2016, and therefore has six years under its collective belt. Therefore, Chrysler’s freshest product is already beyond its due date, while the brand’s overall image is so weak that it felt the need to “reintroduce” itself in the “2022 Chrysler Airflow | Our First Battery-Electric Vehicle” video below.
Airflow concept points Chrysler in a new crossover EV-based direction
All said, Chrysler has a long, storied history worthy of delving into, if not preserving in the modern day. The brand has long been a leader in automotive electrification as well, thanks to the world’s first plug-in hybrid minivan, so segueing into a full EV seems natural for Chrysler, and the realization of something like the new Airflow concept would not only deliver such a clean, green alternative, but also give the winged brand the crossover SUV it’s long needed.
Other than a short three model-year stint with a more upscale version of the Dodge Durango dubbed Aspen (MY 2007–2009), we need to look way back to the original Pacifica (MY 2004–2008) for a Chrysler-badged crossover, that near-luxury model somewhat ahead of its time, albeit short-sightedly short-lived as well. The automaker, which had its once-full coffers run dry by Mercedes during the DaimlerChrysler era, has been limping away on life support over the past decade, possibly making this new Airflow, which is likely close to the production model, a make-it-or-break it scenario.
Airflow concept points Chrysler in a new crossover EV-based direction
The Airflow concept was introduced last January at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It’s sized similarly to Ford’s very popular Mustang Mach-E crossover, which itself was designed to go head-to-head with entry-level versions of Tesla’s mid-size Model X. Whether eventually dubbed Airflow or not, Stellantis has promised a new mid-size Chrysler crossover EV for 2024 as a 2025 model.
Although we know little about the new Airflow concept’s details, Chrysler made clear that its powertrain consists of front and rear electric motors that make 201 horsepower apiece, and while Chrysler has yet to provide specific output numbers, the new prototype boasts all-wheel drive along with a large battery pack mounted below the floor.
Scroll through the press images in the gallery and you’ll see one that suggests a 118.0-kWh battery, plus a range of 400 miles (644 km). During the launch, Chrysler added that the range will be between 350 and 400 miles (217 and 644 km), which could be translated to mean that two or more output levels will be offered, the lesser capability for a base model. This said, being that Stellantis is an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based corporation, we can’t be certain this estimate corresponds to the U.S. EPA cycle or not, but at least the latter number appears to be within acceptable EV market expectations.
Airflow combines Chrysler’s penchant for elegant luxury with loads of new-edge tech
Inside, the Airflow appears roomy enough for four adults to stretch out comfortably, the second-row seats divided into individual floating buckets with a large floating console in between (the production model may see a rear bench in lower trims), while the crossover’s overall design layout lends to an even greater air of spaciousness, thanks to a wide, horizontal dash layout that visually extends into dark grey door uppers to encircle the cabin. This is dramatically offset by the concept’s white and bright metal interior colour scheme, enhanced further by an extremely long front windshield and open, airy glass roof overhead.
The details of that wide dash design are even more notable, being that the entire surface appears to be a combination of inky black glass/composite and touch-sensitive digital interfaces, one even ahead of the front passenger. The large driver’s display is fully digital too, of course, and extends outwards to the left of what is normally the main gauge cluster with controls for interior temperatures plus driver’s seat heating and cooling, whereas the large centre screen is complemented by an additional display further down the centre stack, this showing navigation mapping and seat controls in the supplied images.
Chrysler claims the Airflow’s driver display and infotainment touchscreens incorporate a completely new system dubbed STLA cockpit and STLA Brain respectively, and all feature over-the-air update capability. No doubt the latest backend technology will make these systems quick and responsive, while Chrysler’s older demographic will insist on a user-friendly digital environment, so therefore the choice to mirror a smartphone/tablet experience with simple touchscreens makes more sense than complicated knobs and buttons, or even more complex touchpads.
Elegant Airflow interior appears practical too
Rear passengers haven’t been left out of the infotainment loop either, thanks to large horizontal touchscreens filled with entertainment prompts on the backsides of each front seat, while a handy pull-out cargo shelf provides easy loading and unloading of the spacious luggage compartment.
Back up front, Chrysler’s usual rotating gear selector is perched atop the lower centre console. It features a start/stop ignition button on top and beautifully faceted crystal sides, while the fact that it’s connected to an electric powertrain means it only needs to be turned clockwise for Drive or counter-clockwise for Reverse, plus likely pushed in the centre when parked.
Also important for this class of car, the upcoming Chrysler crossover will feature Level 3 autonomous driving capability, the feature named STLA AutoDrive. Such will allow it to compete directly with the Tesla Model X, new Cadillac Lyriq, and others that are touting similarly advanced autonomy.
Styling is key to the Chrysler EV’s success
Of course, if buyers don’t like what they see from the outside they probably won’t ever step inside, so getting the upcoming Chrysler crossover’s exterior styling right is critical for success. For this reason, we’ve included every available image of this concept in the photo gallery above, plus included two videos below, so you can judge their efforts for yourself.
While arguably a bit generic from the front end, at least when compared to something as bold as the 300 sedan, the Airflow’s uncluttered, minimalist design represents a clear departure for the Auburn Hills-based brand. It’s obviously not trying to flex any pseudo macho muscle, like so many other wannabe off-roaders that are merely less convenient minivans under the skin, so something along the lines of the Airflow should appeal to those looking for a classy, upscale, near-luxury alternative to pricier crossover EVs like the aforementioned Tesla and Caddy, as well as Jaguar’s I-Pace, the latter sharing a similar roofline.
Pricing in mind, the Airflow will probably need to undercut Ford’s more performance-oriented Mach E in order to lure in new buyers, but such is the effect of relegating the Chrysler brand to “minivan company” status.
Classy crossover features sporty alloy wheels and beautifully complex lighting elements
Back to the Airflow at hand, its twinned six-spoke wheels are massive at 22 inches, and quite aggressively styled when compared to the rest of the vehicle, while the frontal lighting elements include narrow eye-like LEDs up top and triple-stacked sets of LED fogs at each corner down below. At the other end, the single-piece taillight cluster encompasses the entire width of the body, and while infused with attractive LED lighting elements at each corner, houses unique white “AIRFLOW” lettering at centre. Remove that name, however, and the entire SUV might be mistaken for Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe from behind, but at least its design team kept the Airflow in good company.
All said, there’s once again nothing distinctively “Chrysler” about this new crossover, so, while undeniably good looking, the Airflow could easily get lost in a barrage of new crossover EVs slated to hit the market over the next few years.
Entire Chrysler lineup to be fully electric within six years
Looking into the future, Chrysler will most likely continue forward with its various minivans, as this trio fills a market niche only otherwise serviced by handful of Asian brands. The Grand Caravan and Pacifica models remain quite popular too, so EV variants of both will need to surface in order to meet Chrysler’s goal of being fully electric by 2028.
After that, future Chrysler models are only known to Stellantis’ inner circle, and as noted earlier, the success of the new Airflow will determine which market segments, if any, get the nod. Both smaller compact and larger three-row Chrysler crossovers are likely bets, but competing directly in these highly competitive categories is a daunting prospect.
The sheer volume of buyers choosing these segments make them impossible to ignore, but Chrysler may choose to boldly break the mold with something altogether different, just like the brand once did in years past with innovative models the 2005–present 300 sedan and the similarly ground-breaking cab-forward LH-based 300M (and Concorde) that came before, plus the previous Sebring/200 Convertible that filled an open-top niche, the shockingly successful (at least initially) PT Cruiser that completely rewrote the book on affordable compact conveyances, and of course the original 1934–1937 Airflow that helped change the way the world looked at automotive aerodynamics.
Until some more concepts arrive, however, the upcoming Airflow EV is Chrysler’s “Hail Mary pass”, a vehicle that absolutely must succeed for the beleaguered brand to continue. As enthusiasts, we’ve got our fingers crossed.
2022 Chrysler Airflow | Our First Battery-Electric Vehicle (3:16):
2022 CES | Chrysler Airflow Reveal (12:22):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Chrysler
Lucid? For most Canadians, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those who keep a keen eye on the electric vehicle scene will already know much about the new Air, a mid-size E-segment luxury sedan…
Lucid? For most Canadians, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those who keep a keen eye on the electric vehicle scene will already know much about the new Air, a mid-size E-segment luxury sedan that directly rivals the popular Tesla Model S.
The Model S, who’s Canadian sales peaked in 2017 with 2,400 units and have since tapered down to 602 deliveries last year, remains one of the strongest selling electric cars in its segment (only beaten last year by the new Porsche Taycan, in a segment that also includes the Audi E-Tron GT and Mercedes-Benz EQS), and while all sales in the four-door luxury sedan category gradually slowed over the past decade due to more popular crossover SUVs (even Mercedes’ mighty E-Class has seen its deliveries slide from a high of 4,083 units in 2012 to just 1,828 last year, albeit still maintaining top-of-class status), it’s still garnering new entries, such as the new Lucid Air.
Lucid Motors (LCID), which was valued at $24 billion USD as of March 10 (about 60 percent off its highs), has only just arrived on the scene. The 1,111-horsepower Air Dream Edition debuted in the U.S. last spring at the lofty price of $169,000 USD, with orders opening up north of the 49th in September.
Aggressive base pricing could cause luxury EV buyers to take a closer look at Lucid
Pricing for all trims of the Casa Grande, Arizona-built car was recently announced for Canada, starting at $105,000, which makes the Air $15,700 more affordable than the Tesla Model S that starts at $120,700. That’s a significant discount for a similarly positioned car that offers a lot more modernity than the now 10-year-old Californian.
That base Air, dubbed Pure, features 480 horsepower and 653 km (406 miles) of range, which is one km more than Tesla’s base Model S claims, although to be fair, the old-timer comes standard with all-wheel drive. Some of the extra coin required for the Tesla goes toward yet more standard features, while both cars are capable of reaching stratospheric price points when options are included.
Four trims provide more variety to Air buyers than those considering a Model S
Lucid offers four Air trims in Canada, compared to the Tesla Model S’ two. These include aforementioned Pure, plus Touring, Grand Touring and Dream Edition, priced at $105,000, $129,000, $189,000, and $229,000 respectively, while the latter trim can be optioned out in either Range or Performance versions, the former providing 933 horsepower and 836 km (519 miles) of potential range, and the latter available with 1,111 horsepower and 758 km (471 miles) of range, plus a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 2.5 seconds and top track speed of 270 km/h (168 mph).
Comparatively, the top-line Model S Plaid is good for an estimated 637-km (396-mile) range from a 1,020-horsepower drivetrain, which has the ability to scoot from standstill to 100 km/h in about the same 2.5-second timespan. To be clear, Tesla’s official 2.1-second claim was not achieved from the usual standing start, but in fact included a one-foot rollout estimated at about 8 km/h (which after some tricky math makes both cars equally quick), while the Model S’ 322 km/h (200 mph) top speed requires $4,500 USD of optional wheels and tires that unfortunately limit range to 560 km (348 miles). Without those wheels and tires the Model S Plaid’s top speed is also limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). So therefore, the Lucid Air Dream Edition provides stronger performance than the Tesla Model S Plaid out of the box, as well as greater range.
Quick-charging Lucid Air is the most efficient EV in this class
Regarding efficiency, the Lucid Air managed a second-place spot in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) latest running costs estimations, at 131 MPGe compared to 120 MPGe for the Model S (which came in sixth), the former estimating yearly costs at $500 USD ($635 CAD) instead of $550 USD ($700 CAD) for the latter. The Air actually ties with the first-place Tesla Model 3, which is a very impressive score (see the full story here).
While both models offer very quick charging, the Air is capable of being charged to a 483-km (300-mile) range in just 20 minutes, via 300kW peak charging power, which is currently the fastest charging capability in the industry, claims Lucid. The Level II and Level III capable car also provides up to 19.2 kW of AC charging, and up to 1,931 km/h (1,200 mph) peak charging speed (250Wh/mi consumption).
Model S still wins on the practical front
They’re both sized almost identically, however, which was no accident on Lucid’s part, their wheelbases in fact sharing 2,959 mm (116.5 in) apiece. The Model S is slightly larger in all other key dimensions, with a gargantuan 793-liter trunk accessible via a hatchback instead of the Air’s more conventional 456-litre (16.1 cu-ft) trunk, plus an additional 850 litres (30 cu ft) of available space when the rear seatbacks are folded down. The Air’s 202-litre (7.1 cu-ft) frunk claws a bit of that cargo space back, however, because the Model S’ front trunk only measures 141 litres (5 cu ft).
Where the Model S has a lead in most practical measurements, the Air appears to deliver more luxury, higher-end materials quality, and better fit and finish, at least at first glance. The Model S has long been criticized for not measuring up to its conventionally-powered mid-size rivals when it comes to these types of touchy-feely details that luxury customers crave, but such issues will most likely be addressed when the car’s long-overdue update finally arrives. Nevertheless, for now the ultra-luxe Air leads, and therefore could get the nod in its upper-crust segment.
In the end, however, Tesla’s unparalleled charging network gives its customers a level of convenience that makes it hard for any upstart competitor to compete against, no matter the segment at stake.
Lucid retail network is taking shape
Currently, Lucid Motors only has two showrooms in Canada, the first to arrive situated within Pacific Centre mall in downtown Vancouver, with visibility to busy Georgia Street passersby, and the second just about to open on March 26th in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre (next to Roots, Samsung, Canada Goose, and Starbucks). Of note, there’s a Tesla dealership in this mall too, although word has it now Texas-based automaker is planning to move this location to a larger standalone facility. A recent job posting for a Service Manager in Montreal shows the company is planning a new facility in Canada’s second largest city too, but that would have been a no-brainer without the handy tip.
Lucid Motors, which is a Newark, CA-headquartered automaker, also had 20 sales and service centres across the U.S. as of 2021’s close, the former dubbed Lucid Studios. After its Silicon Valley Studio, based at its HQ in Newark, these include two Los Angeles Studios in Beverly Hills and Century City, a Los Angeles Service Center in Beverly Hills, a San Jose Studio at Westfield Valley Fair, a Miami Studio in Brickell City Centre, a West Palm Beach Studio in West Palm Beach, a New York City Studio found in the Meatpacking District, and a DC Metro Studio located in Tysons, VA.
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