Everyone who follows the auto industry knew that Tesla’s Model S would eventually get knocked from its first-place sales pedestal in the mid-size electric luxury sedan segment (which is actually a thing…
Everyone who follows the auto industry knew that Tesla’s Model S would eventually get knocked from its first-place sales pedestal in the mid-size electric luxury sedan segment (which is actually a thing now), but some might’ve expected the upstart EV replacing it at the top to be from some all-new brand like Lucid. As we all now know it was Porsche’s Taycan that took best-selling honours in this category last year, let alone every month since.
To be fair to Tesla, its flagship four-door has been with us mostly unchanged for a decade, which is a surprisingly long stint for any car and certainly testament to how advanced the original was when it came on the market in 2012. Then again, one glance at the Taycan and the Model S looks downright frumpy, which was no doubt part of Porsche’s plan when penning the now three-year old BEV.
Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition commemorates 90 years of famed racetrack
So, how should Porsche celebrate this monumental occasion? Once again breaking the track record at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife might be a good idea, especially since the only car to do so was a preproduction Taycan Turbo back in 2019 that, while achieving a pretty impressive lap time of 7:42.34 minutes and therefore making Tesla’s four-year old 8:50-minute lap of a Model S P85D look as if it was merely cruising along in “chill” mode, got walloped by an updated 2021 Model S that ran the ring in just 7:35.579 last fall, no doubt in Plaid track mode.
Thus far Porsche hasn’t taken the bait, but they’ve nevertheless conjured up a new special edition that pays tribute to 90 years of motorsport on Germany’s second-most famous race course, the Hockenheimring, and while only available in Europe and therefore somewhat useless information for any Canadian that doesn’t also own a hunting cabin in the Black Forest or ski lodge in Chamonix, it’s a worthy racetrack to commemorate and a nicely dressed up Taycan to boot.
Hockenheimring has a long history of notable winners
The Hockenheimring, located in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, hosted Formula 1 as recently as 2019, but was a regular haunt of motorsport’s supreme series from 1977 to 2006, except for 1985 when the German Grand Prix was held at a reconfigured Nürburgring circuit, which had lost F1 in 1976 due to safety concerns.
The great Michael Schumacher achieved four Formula 1 victories at the Hockenheimring, while plenty of other racing greats have competed in DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), a.k.a. the German Touring Car championship, World RX (rallycross), EuroNASCAR, and the World Endurance (Sportscar) Championship, in which Porsche has run away with many class victories and championships.
Stunning Stone Grey beige earth-tone joined by beautiful Bronzite highlights
No doubt the new 2022 Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition’s most eye-catching feature is its Stone Grey exterior paint, which we dare you to call beige. As if a car that can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds could ever be considered beige, let alone one that looks as dramatic as any Taycan, but it’s also a bit browner than grey, so we’ll have to accept that Porsche used some creative license when positioning this hue within their “Heritage” colour palette’s nomenclature and leave it there.
It’s part of Porsche’s Paint to Sample program, as is Bronzite that gets used for the five twinned spokes of this unique Taycan’s 21-inch Mission E Design alloy wheels, the rims painted in Stone Grey to match the car’s bodywork. Bronzite also adorns the car’s side skirts, rear diffuser, and Taycan badges.
Island Green highlights combine with Paldao hardwood inside
The Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition’s cabin is slightly more subtle in execution than its sheet metal, much due to black leather being used throughout, except for a thin strip of Island Green leather found atop the steering wheel as a centre marking. Island Green stitching gets used in all the right places too, while Paldao hardwood inlays dress up key areas and yet more Bronzite can be found where satin-silver might otherwise be, including the steering wheel spokes, gear lever and surrounding area, HVAC vent slats, and even the rim around each cupholder.
Additionally, the Hockenheimring Edition’s carpeted floor mats get yet more Island Green highlights, while a Hockenheimring track map and special logo get embossed into the leather-clad centre armrest, as does the key fob, illuminated door sills, and projector LEDs that light up the ground below the doors. Capping this special model off, Porsche fixed a special badge with the same logo and track layout to the outer B pillars.
New Hockenheimring Edition built on ultra-quick Taycan GTS underpinnings
The new Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition, which is only available as a sedan, makes 590 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, which means that along with its aforementioned 3.7-second run from standstill to 100 km/h, it can manage a terminal velocity of 250 km/h, while GTS trim also provides the longest WLTP-estimated range of any other Taycan trim, at 504 km.
Taycan GTS Hockenheimring Edition. Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur (1:36) (Note: this video is in German):
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.
New Range Rover Sport Revealed (0:59):
New Range Rover Sport (15:14):
New Range Rover Sport Challenge with Jessica Hawkins (1:57):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Land Rover
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
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.
Introducing Future | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (0:30):
Lucid Air l Global Reveal Highlights (4:43):
DreamDrive Reveal | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (5:29):
Car of the Year. In Our First Year. (0:25):
Lucid Air Factory Commissioning | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (1:47):
Benchmark Test Drive | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (2:05):
When growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, wagons were everywhere. We always had one in the family, because they were too practical to live without. Flash forward 50-plus years and the auto market has segmented into many more niches, with minivans, SUVs and newer crossover utilities taking over for family hauling duties. Nevertheless, some premium brands still produce performance-oriented sport wagons that have proven to make an ideal base for raised crossovers of their own, with Audi’s Allroad and Volvo’s Cross Country virtually owning this fragment of the market since the late ‘90s.
For a bit of background, Volvo arrived first into the mid-size luxury crossover wagon segment in September of 1997 with its original V70 XC or Cross Country (CC), followed by Audi’s Allroad Quattro in 1999, which was an off-pavement version of the Ingolstadt-brand’s A6 Avant wagon. The latter, along with its adjustable air suspension, took on the name of A6 Allroad Quattro in 2006, while the V70 CC had already undergone a name-change to XC70 partway through its second generation in 2003, before undergoing a third and final iteration in 2007, and eventually morphing into two all-new models. These included the more compact V60 Cross Country that hit the scene in 2015, providing Volvo with a direct challenger to Audi’s A4 Allroad Quattro that had already been on the market for six years, plus the V90 Cross Country, a mid-size model that quickly followed in 2016, and the subject of this review, which once again directly challenges the A6 Allroad.
V90 Cross Country has the styling and interior refinement to take on all challengers
As for which of these two can be deemed the best-looking raised luxury crossover wagon on today’s market, the decision is up to you. Volvo should win some sort of award for understated good taste, but now Mercedes’ all-new E 450 4Matic All-Terrain Wagon is vying for your eye as well, and this muscled up Merc isn’t only going head-to-head with the aforementioned segment leaders, but has the ability to scoop up sales on the basis of brand strength alone.
Each of these mid-size luxury crossover wagons carries its trademark design language inside too, with the Merc most dramatic thanks to its double driver display/infotainment touchscreen, bright metal oval vents, and other swoopy curves, while, like it or not, Audi has long since dropped its minimalist perfection for asymmetrical angles all over the place. Similar to its classy exterior, Volvo once again delivers good taste inside, with the instrument panel’s overall design being horizontal, albeit bisected with a vertical centre display and twin vertical vents, plus more upright vents at each corner. Even the grain of the gorgeous open-pore Grey Ash ahead of the front passenger is vertically aligned (alternative hardwoods, metals, leathers, and composite surface colourways are available), this theme continuing over to each door panel as well.
Volvo refinement is amongst the best in class
That wood butts up against generous supplies of satin-finish aluminum, while the centre dash-mounted and front door speaker grilles, proudly stamped with Bowers & Wilkins branding, are especially appealing thanks to their brushed stainless-steel surfaces. Common for any class, piano black lacquered plastic glistens in the light as effectively as this inky surface treatment attracts smudges and dust, but fortunately Volvo has kept the long-term trend to a minimum, mostly around the centre display screen and vents, plus the surface surrounding the lower console controls. The rest of the cabin, mind you, is ensconced in high-grade contrast-stitched leather and soft-touch synthetics.
Of course, each roof pillar is wrapped in the same high-quality woven material as the roof-liner, which frames a well-organized overhead console incorporating LED lighting and controls for the sizeable powered panoramic sunroof, while back down below, the rotating dials amongst those previously mentioned controls appear more like silver jewellery than the ignition switch and audio volume knob they actually are.
New B6 mild-hybrid optimizes fuel economy without sacrificing performance
The T6 designation stamped on the back of the car from two years ago meant that it included the Swedish brand’s venerable 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine paired with a turbocharger and a supercharger, which made it capable of 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This allowed for a claimed Transport Canada rating of 11.6 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 10.0 combined, whereas the new B6 badge denotes that its power unit drops the supercharger and adds a standard mild-hybrid system, resulting in slightly less thrust at 295 horsepower, albeit a bit more twist at 310 lb-ft, with the resulting fuel economy improving to 10.6 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 9.5 combined. This is also a bit better than the six-cylinder-powered A6 Allroad and E 450 All-Terrain, so kudos to Volvo for that.
Like the previous V90 CC, the new hybrid power unit utilizes an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission for shifting duties, which is a wonderfully smooth operator. I’d guess the slight decrease in power, and slight increase in torque is a wash as far as straight-line performance goes, because this sizeable, luxurious wagon pulled off the line with more than enough energy, and performed even stronger during highway passing manoeuvres. It powers through the gears quickly, and while no paddles are offered in this model’s single trim, the leather-clad shift lever works well enough when manual mode is required.
Ample handling prowess with a sublime ride
The Cross Country doesn’t provide the same level of handling sharpness as the V90 wagon, especially when compared to the R-Design trim noted earlier, but it’s no slouch through the corners either. With a substantial 204 mm (8.3 inches) of ground clearance, it’s about 30 percent taller than its tarmac-hugging sibling, so therefore its centre of gravity won’t allow the same lateral grip through fast-paced corners, but I doubt you’ll notice unless pushing it really hard on a serpentine two-laner.
Volvo had given my tester’s wheels a $1,000 upgrade too, from 19s to 20s, which were accompanied by a set of 245/45 all-season tires, enhancing its at-the-limit grip from the base 235/45 R19s. It’s also possible to get a different set of 20-inch alloys as well as sharp looking 21s on 245/40s, just in case you plan on spending a lot of time carving up canyon roads.
Equipped with the 20s, the V90 CC’s ride is absolutely sublime and wholly controlled all the time, plus that extra ground clearance makes it an ideal companion for outdoing fresh dumps of snow in ski resort parking lots, or for that matter trekking up backcountry roads en route to the cottage for that weekend getaway that was supposed to include sunshine. What’s more, it even tows up to 1,580 kg (3,483 lbs), in case that destination includes a large body of water and you want to bring along watercraft.
Solid construction and standard AWD make the V90 CC one tough competitor
If you want to get technical, the Cross Country features an aluminium double wishbone front suspension and an exclusive integral link design in the rear, featuring a transverse leaf spring made from a lightweight composite, while the setup in back benefits further from an air suspension that instantly responds to the road or trail below in order to maintain its optimal height, stability, and comfort. This said, it’s not an adjustable air suspension like that in the A6 Allroad, but the Swede makes use of the same type of high-strength steel and aluminum monocoque body construction as the German, ensuring ultra-tight rigidity for enhancing handling, refinement and safety.
All V90s include all-wheel drive too, with the Cross Country’s system also featuring hill decent control and an off-road mode that provides greater ease and confidence-inspiring control during moderate backcountry excursions. To access this feature, you’ll need to first press settings on the centre display, then select driving, and then activate or deactivate the off-road mode (it also cancels automatically when turning off the engine). I’d rather have a quick-access switch on the lower console to perform this task, but this said, going off-pavement is normally a deliberate choice, and not something that needs to be done on the fly like when using sport or eco modes. When optimized for the wild green yonder, the V90 Cross Country is quite capable of light- to medium-duty off-roading, such as overcoming small stumps and rocks on a logging road, or wading through a shallow river bed.
Comfort is always king in a Volvo
My tester’s driver’s seat was equal in comfort to the V90 CC’s superb ride, which is a Volvo trait, as I’ve learned over the years. It’s truly a car I could drive all day long and never tire of. It helps that the tilt and telescopic steering column provides ample reach for my long-legged, shorter torso body type, and there was no shortage of adjustability options in my upgraded powered Sport driver’s seat.
Before diving into the driver’s seat upgrades, my tester also came with a $1,000 Climate package featuring a heatable steering wheel rim and headlight cleaning system that sprays high-pressure jets onto the front lenses to enhance visibility at night; plus a $2,000 Advanced package was also included, boasting a head-up display system that projects key info onto the windshield ahead of the driver, as well as a special air cleaner for removing fine particulates from the cabin, a 360-degree overhead camera for making parking in tight spaces easier, and high-level interior illumination that includes special courtesy lights for entry/exit, subtle door pocket lamps, mood lights, and more.
Plenty of option packages on offer, but roominess is standard
Back to that driver’s seat, my tester also featured a $3,850 Lounge package that included the special Nappa leather-covered Sport seats noted earlier, with extra upper bolstering and beautiful contrast stitching. They’re superbly comfortable and provided excellent support, thanks in part to a powered lower cushion extension for the driver, which nicely cups under the knees, plus four-way powered driver’s lumbar support, necessary for applying pressure to the exact spot in anyone’s lower back for alleviating discomfort. This upgrade also benefits the front passenger that gets memory function for their powered seat, while four-way automatic climate control is included as well, complete with a separate rear HVAC interface on the backside of the front centre console, which also incorporates heatable seat switchgear for the rear outboard positions.
Those rear seats are impressively comfortable as well, particularly the just-mentioned two next to the windows. As far as rear seat room goes, when the driver’s seat was set up for my aforementioned long-legged, short-torso five-foot-eight frame, I had almost 10 inches of space ahead of my knees, plus five inches from my shoulder to the door panel, another four inches or so next to my hips, and at least three and a half inches above my head. Therefore, stretching out my legs was easy when placing my feet underneath the front seats. You’ll never feel claustrophobic in back of this V90 either, thanks to that previously-noted panoramic sunroof, plus vents on the backside of the front centre console, as well as on the midpoint of each B-pillar, while there are LED reading lights just above.
No shortage of innovative safety gear or technology
If you’ve got smaller children, Volvo can outfit those outboard positions with a couple of two-level integrated child booster seats for just $625, while you can enhance rear seat safety further with the Swedish brand’s $600 steel protective grille found in my test car. When lowered via hinges from its stowage space under the cargo area roof (see the photo gallery), it separates the rear passenger compartment from the load-carrying area, keeping passengers and pets safely away from each other when braking hard, or worse, if involved in a collision. Of course, this also keeps rear passengers safe from flying cargo that hasn’t been strapped down, which is a common cause of injury during accidents.
Both front and rear passengers will also appreciate the aforementioned Bowers & Wilkins audio upgrade. It’ll set you back a cool $3,750, but delivers a level of sound quality few will ever experience in a car. This high-end audio system features 1,400 watts of power and 19 speakers, the odd number referencing the cool-looking stainless steel “Tweeter-on-Top” centre speaker that’s been a feature in top-of-the-line Volvos for years. This system also includes an air-ventilated subwoofer in back, plus special silver speaker cones made from a proprietary Continuum material that can be seen through the grilles.
Base V90 Cross Country should be good enough for most
While it might sound like you’ll need to buck up for a lot of options in order to enjoy your V90 CC, nothing could be further from the truth. The standard $65,950 model’s front seats, for instance, are already inherently comfortable, with superb support all-round. This car also comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control featuring CleanZone filtration, which makes sure the air your family breaths is clean and fresh, no matter the surrounding traffic.
A 12.3-inch digital driver display is also standard, featuring the ability to shrink the primary instruments when utilizing the multi-information system at centre, while all the mirrors get standard auto-dimming as well. Rain-sensing wipers are included with the most basic trim too, as are wiper blades with integrated washers, auto-folding heated and powered side mirrors, aluminum tread plates, powered and heatable front seats, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and shifter (even the key fob is a leather-wrapped, metal-adorned thing of beauty), a wireless phone charger, a 220-watt audio system, power-folding rear head restraints, a powered rear liftgate, a stainless-steel cargo scuff plate, an alarm, a whiplash injury protection system, and all the usual airbags including one for the driver’s knees.
Standard safety has always been one of Volvo’s strong points
Additional standard features include road sign information, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking cameras with visual and audible distance warnings as well as Park Assist semi-autonomous self-parking capability, semi-autonomous Pilot Assist steering control, lane keeping aid, oncoming lane mitigation, the BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) and rear cross-traffic alert with mitigation, post-impact braking, all of which helped the 2022 V90 CC to achieve a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), while Volvo’s brand-wide total of 13 Top Safety Pick + winners makes it the safest automaker in the entire car industry.
Volvo also includes an impressive 9.0-inch vertical tablet-style touchscreen display on the centre stack, which I’ve long found to be one of the best in the business. Not only does it use a brilliantly high-definition display, filled with deep, rich colours and attractive graphics, that’s as easy to use as a regular smartphone or tablet thanks to the ability to tap, swipe, or pinch the screen for the majority of functions, but its full list of features makes it very versatile.
New Google infotainment operating system streamlines smartphone connectivity
A recent update means it now processes inputs faster than ever too, thanks to a deal Volvo made with Google to completely integrate Android into the back-end. Now the updated system connects your Android smartphone even more seamlessly than the Android Auto app, but you’ll need to set up a Google account in order to take advantage.
Once done, you’ll have access to built-in Google apps such as voice-activated Google Assistant that lets you call or text friends or business associates, set destinations, modulate the cabin temperature, choose music, inquire about any on-line information, or even control connected home devices just by saying “Hey Google” before your request. The system also integrates Google Maps with real-time traffic info, automatic rerouting, and voice control, while Google Play store is available to download your favourite apps (like CarCostCanada), and more.
As practical as it’s luxurious
That aforementioned liftgate powers open to reveal an accommodating cargo compartment with a retractable cargo cover that automatically lifts up and out of the way. Altogether it measures 714 litres (25.2 cu ft) with the rear seats upright, and 1,526 litres (53.9 cu-ft) when they’re folded flat, making it similar in size to most two-row mid-size crossover SUVs.
The dedicated luggage area is luxuriously finished with carpets that go all the way up the sidewalls and seatbacks, plus of course the load floor. Making my tester even more convenient was a lift-up floor divider with attached grocery bag hooks, as well as a rubber cargo mat, while under the floor is a shallow carpeted compartment for storing ultra-thin items, such as the carpeted floor mats when the all-season ones are being used.
Excellent alternative to a more traditional luxury crossover SUV
I was a bit disappointed to see 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks instead of a full 40/20/40 configuration, but Volvo includes a small, narrow centre pass-through that’s ideal for a couple pair of skis, while each side can flip down further via powered release buttons. These automatically dropped the headrests too, using the same release mechanism that allows them to be flipped down from up front. Once lowered they provide a nice, flat load floor for lots of gear.
And that last point really sums up what the Volvo V90 Cross Country is all about. Carrying loads of gear and family to your favourite destinations in absolute comfort and efficiency, while having fun getting there.
In summary, the V90 Cross Country is an excellent alternative to a more traditional-style luxury crossover SUV. I highly recommend you take a closer look.
Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann
Porsche is bringing its Platinum Edition back to the Cayenne lineup for 2022, after three years off the market. The 2016–2018 trim level was popular in its day, and by all accounts should be even more…
Unlike the previous version, which was only available in one body style, the updated Platinum Edition can now be had in both the regular Cayenne and the more recently added Cayenne Coupe, plus it’s now available with three different V6 powertrains, including the 335-horsepower base model, the 455-hp E-Hybrid, and the 405-hp S trim.
Satin-silver details plus extra standard features combine for an upscale design
Unique Platinum Edition features include special satin-finish Platinum paint on key trim areas, such as the front fascia air intake slats, the headlight bezels, the exclusive 21-inch RS Spyder Design wheels, the “PORSCHE” lettering across the centre portion of the rear LED tail lamp, and the model designation just underneath. Additionally, the Platinum Edition gets sporty black side window garnishes and blackened sport exhaust pipes.
Of note, standard colours include solid white and black, while available metallics are Jet Black, Carrara White, Mahogany, Moonlight Blue, and Chalk, with the latter grey tone being a higher-priced special colour.
Platinum Edition boasts unique interior trim plus a number of key upgrades
When entering the Platinum Edition you’ll need to step over an aluminum door sill etched with the scripted “Platinum Edition” logo, while other niceties include special textured aluminum inlays as well as silver trim, plus Chalk-coloured seat belts.
The Platinum Edition also benefits from standard LED headlights with the cornering-capable Dynamic Light System (PDLS), plus a set of eight-way-powered leather sport seats featuring embossed Porsche crests in the front and rear outboard headrests. Additionally, the Platinum Edition adds a modern analogue clock to the dash-top, plus a Bose surround-sound stereo system, ambient lighting, privacy glass, and last but hardly least, a panoramic sunroof.
A reasonable price bump for all the added style and features
Pricing for the 2022 Platinum Edition begins at $92,800 for the base Cayenne model and $97,500 for the same engine with the Cayenne Coupe, while package upgrade starts at $109,100 in the regular Cayenne when powered by the E-Hybrid drivetrain, or $110,500 when this engine is matched to the Coupe. Lastly, the Cayenne S starts at $109,300, while the Cayenne S Coupe can be had for $112,000.
Porsche is adding a new “T” trim line to its most popular Macan model for 2023, and it looks to be an ideal combination of fuel-efficiency and agility.
The Macan, which was updated midway through 2021 for the current 2022 model year, gets refreshed exterior styling as well as an updated interior. Key details inside include a new centre stack and console, incorporating a 10.9-inch touchscreen filled with a fully-networked Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment interface up top, plus a stylish glass-like interface with touch-sensitive switchgear below.
Macan T adds special styling details
The new 2023 Macan T adds some nice exterior and interior design details such as Agate Grey metallic trim elements outside, specifically on the front fascia, mirror caps, side blades (which also include “Macan T” script), the rooftop spoiler, and the rear bumper cap, plus glossy black exterior window trim and exhaust pipes, as well as Dark Titanium 20-inch Macan S alloy wheels and the choice of 13 plain, metallic and special colours.
Stepping inside reveals “Macan T” branded black aluminum door sill plates, a multifunction GT steering wheel featuring a heated leather-wrapped rim (that can optionally be covered in Race-Tex), and heatable eight-way powered sport seats with grey pinstriped Sport-Tex centre panels and embossed Porsche crests on the front headrests. This exclusive upholstery is based on the Macan’s Black leather package, and therefore features silver stitching on the seat bolsters, headrests, and steering wheel rim.
Up until now the “T” designation has never been used outside of Porsche’s 718 and 911 sports cars lines, and due to this the Macan T is the first Porsche with steel suspension components to bear the name, plus the first four-door model to do so. T, which stands for Touring in Porsche-speak, was originally used for the 1968 911 T, but now is a trim level that designates lightweight, affordable performance, particularly emphasizing handling dynamics.
To this end the new Macan T’s suspension is lowered by 15 mm and comes standard with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), although take note that a further 10 mm drop can be achieved by opting for the brand’s adaptive air suspension. Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive is also standard, which is expected, but it receives more rear torque bias in the Macan T in order to improve at-the-limit cornering. Additional standard features include stiffer front anti-roll bars and specific chassis tuning that Porsche says is “the perfect suspension for the vehicle and powertrain.” Additionally, those opting for the Macan T’s available Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system will find that it’s been further retuned to enhance performance through tight, fast-paced curves.
Upgraded powertrain is identical to entry-level 2022 Macan
As part of its 2022 refresh, the base four-cylinder engine received a bump up from 248 horsepower to 261 hp, and 273 lb-ft of torque to 295 lb-ft, which translates into much stronger get-up-and-go. In fact, the model’s zero to 100 km/h sprint time has been reduced by 0.2 seconds, from 6.7 seconds to 6.5 in the new model, while base models upgraded with the Sport Chrono package see their sprint times drop from 6.4 seconds to 6.2. The Macan T comes standard with the Sport Chrono package, so it benefits from quicker acceleration, while its top track speed is limited to 232 km/h.
Along with the Sport Chrono package is a dash-top mounted stopwatch/lap timer, plus a convenient steering wheel-mounted Sport Response button that makes switching between drive modes quick and easy. This can be used to shorten the shift increments of its standard seven-speed dual-clutch automated Porsche’s Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission, the latter standard across the entire Macan line.
Speaking of alternative Macan models, those wanting more straight-line performance can choose the revised 348-hp 2022 Macan S that hightails it from zero to 100 km/h in only 4.8 seconds, while the latest 434-hp Macan GTS blasts from standstill to the same speed in just 4.5 seconds, which incidentally was the previous Macan Turbo’s sprint time.
Macan T slots in between base Macan and Macan S trims
The Macan GTS costs a cool $85,500, by the way, which is fair value considering its performance and Porsche pedigree, while the Macan S will set owners back a much more affordable $70,600. The new Macan T will fit right in between the S and base model, the latter of which starts at just $58,500, plus it benefits from the four-cylinder engine’s considerably lower running costs when it comes to fuel-efficiency. Currently we only have the base model’s numbers of 12.2 L/100km in the city, 10.2 on the highway and 11.3 combined, but these shouldn’t change in its transition to T trim, whereas the 2022 Macan S is rated at 13.1 in the city, 9.6 on the highway and 11.5 combined, and GTS at 13.5 city, 10.5 highway and 12.2 combined.
Macan T pricing and detailed ordering info will be announced early this spring, but take note that all of the other models mentioned can currently be had with factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent. Check out CarCostCanada’s 2022 Porsche Macan Canada Prices page for more detailed info, plus the ability to price out each Macan trim including options on their configuration tool. CarCostCanada will also keep you apprised of any other manufacturer deals, like rebates, if you become a member, and you’ll always have access to dealer invoice pricing info, which can help you save thousands when negotiating your next new vehicle deal. In fact, CarCostCanada members are saving an average of $1,250 when purchasing the new Macan, impressive considering how tight inventories are these days, so be sure to check out how their system works and definitely download their free app from the Google Play store or Apple Store.
Dare forward: the new Porsche Macan T (0:54):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Volvo’s new XC40 Recharge is everything I already loved about this fabulous little luxury utility, and less! Less running costs, less emissions, and less of an impact on the local environment, but then…
Volvo’s new XC40 Recharge is everything I already loved about this fabulous little luxury utility, and less!
Less running costs, less emissions, and less of an impact on the local environment, but then again in contrast, the new XC40 Recharge’ 78-kWh lithium-ion, high-voltage battery and twin 150-kW electric motors provide even more get-up-and-go than the turbocharged 2.0-litre gasoline-powered variants last tested. And while we’re talking about more, you’ll also need to make a bigger financial commitment to own one.
This puts the XC40’s cost of going electric at about $20k give or take a couple of thousand, although we should never forget government EV incentives that range from $1,000 to $8,000 depending on your province. All things considered, the new Recharge might not initially seem like the ideal choice amongst XC40 trims, at least financially, but for those who want the extra performance and positive nods from passersby, it’s a great choice amongst electrics.
The gasoline-powered XC40 variants previously tested included a 2019 T5 AWD R-Design that I reviewed back in June of its model year, plus a 2020 T5 AWD Momentum that I covered in October of that year. Both were infused with the non-electric model’s upgraded powertrain, featuring an energetic 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. They were relatively easy on fuel and fun to drive, but take note this purely gasoline-powered engine, as well as the less potent T4 variety that’s available in the entry-level XC40, will be replaced by more fuel-efficient hybridized B4 and B5 powertrains this fall for the 2023 model year.
Shocking acceleration comes standard
While all this is good news for small luxury SUV lovers, Volvo’s new Recharge Pure Electric power unit, which is available right now for the 2022 model year, puts an entirely new spin on XC40 performance and efficiency.
This all-electric cute ute is serious fun at take-off, thanks to dual electric motors that supply four-wheel traction out to wide, grippy tires, my tester’s having been upgraded to a set of 20-inch five-V-spoke diamond-cut alloy rims on 235/45 rubber up front, and 255/40s in the rear, which are the same as on the first XC40 R-Design I drove back in 2019.
The electrified utility’s acceleration is actually quite shocking (not literally), with a standing start to 100 km/h taking a mere 4.9 seconds, this thanks to a combined 402 horsepower and 486 lb-ft of torque from both front and rear motors.
Recharge your XC40 Recharge in only 40 minutes
The XC40 Recharge’ Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is rated at 78.0 kWh, incidentally, and only takes 7.5 hours to refill from a 240-volt home or public charger. Then again, if you can locate a 400-volt charger you’ll need only 40 minutes to complete the same task, making it an ideal companion for longer trips.
I can access a few of these 400-volt chargers near my home in Richmond, BC, and would be able to do likewise in any other Vancouver suburb, or for that matter on major routes outside of the greater Vancouver area in any direction, while some of my regular road trip locations, such as Whistler and Kelowna, BC, have plenty of high-speed chargers to choose from. Recharging an EV isn’t quite as quick as refueling with gas, but it’s certainly a lot friendlier on the wallet, and there’s always a coffee shop nearby for catching up on work, or even better, a little rest and relaxation.
Great range for commuting and running errands in town
Of note, if you go easy on the throttle and don’t overdo it with the aircon, the XC40 Recharge provides up to 359 km (223 mi) of range. This means you won’t be able to drive directly from Vancouver to Kelowna, for instance, or even Burnaby to the Okanagan’s most populous city. If you’re taking off from Surrey, however, you’ll be fine, and ditto for Toronto to Muskoka, while Montrealers will have no problem getting both to and from Mont Tremblant without recharging until arriving back home.
This said, most XC40 Recharge owners will be content just using their little all-season runabouts around town, where it has enough range to last days without recharging, depending on your commute. Like a lot of people these days, I work from home, so didn’t need to recharge my tester until the day before bringing it back to Volvo’s rep, at the end of my weeklong test. I managed to drive it all over the place in between, never concerning myself with any hypermiling techniques in order to get the most economy out of the power unit. It’s truly too much fun to resist, anyway, causing me to regularly take off from standstill with a level of schoolboy enthusiasm I had when fuel was only about 45 cents a litre.
Impressive interior design and quality
It’s also a really nice cabin to spend time in. In fact, despite being Volvo’s most affordable model, the XC40 is everything I’ve grown to appreciate about modern-day Volvos, which means that its overall interior styling, design layout, refinement, and technical interfaces are at least as good as most competitors, and better than some.
There’s no shortage of soft-touch surfaces either, with nicely textured, matte-finish harder composites only used sparingly in the usual places for this class. Some highlights worth noting include sporty textured aluminum dash and door inlays, a cool quad of vertical vents for the easy-to-use dual-zone automatic climate control system, a fabulous set of drilled metal harman/kardon stereo speaker grilles on the front portion of the door panels (they sound great too), and beautifully contrast-stitched black leather bolsters for the microsuede-centred front and rear seats.
Nestled within a traditional hooded binnacle, the 12.3-inch primary gauge cluster is fully digital and customizable, with attractive graphics and very functional multi-information content at centre. About two-thirds of the screen is utilized by the route-guidance system’s map in default mode, with other driving functions placed to each side. The fully digital gauge cluster comes standard with all XC40 trims, which is a step up from most other offerings in this segment.
Big changes as Volvo upgrades its vertical centre touchscreen to Google OS
Making up the majority of the centre stack is Volvo’s updated tablet-style vertical infotainment touchscreen, which comes with a new Google-derived operating system. Don’t expect to find anything resembling Android Auto as far as graphics and usability go, however, as this is designed to appear like a revised version of Volvo’s excellent Sensus infotainment interface, with Google not only running in the background, but also taking regular credit when using its “Hey Google” voice activation system. The latter prompt can be used for just about anything from changing radio stations and turning up the heat, to searching for an address in the route guidance system or, in the case of my tester, finding a charging station.
To fully use the system, you’ll first need to log in with your Google account, which allows it to fully integrate with your personal smartphone. At this point you can utilize full navigation functions and much more. It’s certainly a step up from the outgoing Sensus system, but even previous Volvo owners (and Android Auto users) will need some time to acclimatize, as is the case with most things new.
Navigation woes persist with Google
The only issue I had with the system is Google maps, which once-upon-a-time was a superb app, but from more recent personal experience isn’t always that accurate. I’ve had it send me to incorrect addresses and even ask me to perform manoeuvres that would definitely get me a sizeable ticket along with a considerable fine if performed.
For instance, amid rush hour on a busy corridor it rerouted me down a residential side street, obviously trying to escort me past the busier thoroughfare, and then asked me to turn left on another main route, which is an action that wasn’t permitted at that time of day, that day of the week, and designated so via signage. These weren’t new signs either, but rather this action hasn’t been permitted for decades due to such heavy traffic flows in the area. I already knew this, but out of curiosity and testing purposes allowed the system to guide me. Unfortunately, the result was a big fail, and caused me to reroute, which put me further back in traffic than I would’ve been if I’d just stayed on the route I knew.
A similar scenario played out with the Volvo XC60 B6 hybrid I drove the week prior, in which it tried to take me to the wrong location, although this one seemed due to recent construction. It appears Google maps isn’t updating fast enough to compensate for such changes. This said, I find most carmaker-imbedded navigation systems more accurate, or at least I have in recent times.
Dreamy seats and a fabulous driving position are Volvo hallmarks
This said, the XC40 Recharge’ driving position is superb, like every other Volvo I’ve driven in recent years. There’s plenty of reach from the tilt and telescopic steering column, while the rim is wonderfully comfortable and heated via three different temperature settings. The three-way heatable and three-way cooled seats are wonderfully comfortable too. They’re aided by four-way lumbar support, plus all the usual power adjustments as well as manually-extendable lower cushions.
They’re attractive too, as noted earlier, with microsuede inserts, leather side bolsters, and nice light grey contrast stitching, plus piping on their outer edges. There’s even a tiny blue and yellow Swedish flag sewn on the insides of the backrest, just in case you were wondering where this car was designed and made.
Likewise, the XC40’s visibility is better than the class average in all directions, much thanks to a tall greenhouse with few blind spots. This makes parking ultra-easy, a process made even more effortless due to the SUV’s subcompact dimensions, not to mention its front and rear Park Assist sensors that visually and audibly warn of close-proximity objects.
Cool features abound
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even told you how to get the XC40’s all-electric Recharge system going. In a nutshell, you don’t have to do anything. As soon as you’ve unlocked and opened the door with the proximity-sensing key fob that can remain in pocket or purse, it’s ready to drive. Similar to Tesla, there’s no ignition button. It doesn’t require the release of an emergency brake either. All you need to do is push or pull the gear lever into “D” for drive or “R” for reverse, and go. When you get to your destination, just press “P” for park and get out of the car. A simple touch of the door handle locks it up ahead of the power mirrors retracting inwards.
Additionally, as part of my previous XC40 reviews I noted a number of unique features designed to make this little ute easier to live with than any rival, such as the two slots on the dash just left of the steering column, perfectly sized for holding gas/credit cards; and the parking pass holder placed next to the driver’s windshield pillar is a handy feature too. There’s even a little garbage bin integrated within the centre console, with its own push-down lid and easy removability for cleaning. What’s more, the carpeted door panel pockets are large enough for a 15-inch laptop as well as a big drink bottle, while the glove box hides a nifty hook that can be flipped outward to hang a purse or shopping bag. There’s even an available storage box below the driver’s seat, and the list goes on. No wonder the XC40 won European Car of the Year when it was introduced back in 2018.
Convenience is king
If you’re using an older phone, like me, it might be time to upgrade to a USB-C-to-C cable, because there are no USB-A ports available in the XC40 Recharge. Still, the wireless charging pad on the lower centre console powered my phone up quickly enough, plus, on an unrelated yet still appreciated note, to each side was a handy spot for stowing additional items such as sunglasses.
Back to the charging pad itself, I should mention that sometimes while driving I was notified that my phone wasn’t charging, at which point I had to physically slide my device back onto the centre of the pad. I have a fairly grippy case, so this was an unusual circumstance. Thankfully, the convenient notification feature let me know my phone wasn’t getting any juice, but taller ridges around the charging pad area might better help keep devices in place.
On the positive, I love the panoramic sunroof, and especially like the touch-sensitive slider function used for both the powered front glass roof portion, and the power sunshade. The overhead console is nicely designed too, with LED overhead reading lights that are also touch-sensitive, while even the rearview mirror was well thought out, looking better than average due to being rimless with handy switchgear for the universal remote below.
Comfortable for rear passengers and practical for cargo
Much of the above can be enjoyed from the roomy rear seats as well, not to mention a large, comfortable centre armrest with dual integrated cupholders that actually hold drinks in place. Tall vertical vents for distributing air evenly to rear passengers can be found on the backside of the front centre console, with three-way rear outboard seat heaters controls located nearby, next to a device charger.
Before delving into rear luggage capacity, take note there’s a small carpeted “frunk” under the front hood, which holds 31 litres (1.1 cubic feet) of well-hidden gear, while the rear cargo area is the one that truly matters, measuring 452 litres (16 cu ft) behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and an accommodating 1,328 litres (46.9 cu ft) when those seats are folded flat. Volvo has smartly included a centre pass-through too, large enough for a couple pairs of skis, which means rear passengers will still be able to enjoy the aforementioned heatable window seats.
Notably, a portion of the cargo floor doubles as a grocery bag holder when pulled upright, while opening the rearmost section exposes a compartment below for storing the regular 110-volt three-prong household-style charging cord, which is easily the most robust of any I’ve ever seen. I used it throughout my test week, and appreciated the blinking light that let me know it was charging. I had no issues charging from home, being that I work there and don’t go out every day. This said, it takes nearly two days to fully recharge this “old-fashioned” way, so most owners will want to purchase a higher voltage home charger.
Still looking great after all these years
As noted earlier, the XC40 has been with us for a number of years already. Nevertheless, despite having almost a half-decade of experience under its stylish belt, I think it remains one of the better-looking subcompact crossover SUVs on the market, with the Recharge variant adding a more modern take on the design by filling in the grille opening with a nice body-colour cover. I think the little ute manages to balance sporty and cute ideally, making it a good choice for couples that share their ride. Plenty of fun colours can personalize it further, truly allowing for a bespoke appearance.
Of course, I’m biased, as I love the traditional boxy, upright, classic SUV shape, but it only works because Volvo has followed the new XC40 Recharge’s significant dose of style up with so an extra helping of function, and plenty of go-fast sport. There’s a lot to love about this tiny SUV package, which makes it an ideal candidate for your next new vehicle purchase.