Seven years have passed since Lexus introduced its fourth-generation RX, and while a dramatic departure stylistically than the more conservative model it replaced, time always takes its toll. The RX’…

Bold new 2023 Lexus RX revealed with 367-hp hybrid

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The new 2023 Lexus RX 350, shown here in base Premium trim, will be available this coming fall.

Seven years have passed since Lexus introduced its fourth-generation RX, and while a dramatic departure stylistically than the more conservative model it replaced, time always takes its toll.

The RX’ continued success (it’s long been its mid-size luxury crossover SUV segment’s number-one seller, in both in Canada and the U.S.) means than even what once seemed daring and different can start to look commonplace and dated, but a fresh new RX will soon remedy any softening in the sales department.

Evolution of outgoing RX design makes for a fresh new look

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The new design is more evolutionary than revolutionary.

First off, Lexus’ distinctive spindle grille is gone, but not entirely. As RX Project Chief Designer Jota Kusakari explains in a video (see below), it’s now a “spindle body,” encompassing the entire SUV.

This can clearly be seen up front, where the bulging hood forms into a body-colour nose-cap that melds almost seamlessly into the blackened grille opening below, much like Lexus’ new RZ electric. The spindle shape continues to flair outward as it reaches the lower valance, similarly to the previous RX, while it’s accentuated further via corner vents to each side.

Spindle grille gives way to new “spindle body-concept”

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The spindle grille still exists, but the unique styling feature is more integrated into the entire design now.

As dramatic as the frontal redesign, the spindle body-concept enhances the new RX’ rear design even more than the outgoing version, where an angled crease, parallel to the rear clip cutline, slices upwards from the aft portion of each rear wheel cut-out, overtop an identically angled rear corner vent, before ending where a singular taillight element forms into its centre section, which, much like that on the smaller UX, features a light bar lamp that appears stretched between two sharply angled outer lenses.

This design increases the visual tension started by the previous RX, almost as if the new model’s sides have been pinched together slightly at centre. There are plenty of other details worth noting too, some being quite creative, yet while nothing remains the same from old to new, no one will mistake this fifth-generation RX for anything other than a mid-size Lexus.

All-new RX sits on Toyota GA-K platform architecture

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
The 2023 model provides a new take on the old RX’ LED headlight cluster.

The new RX is built upon Toyota’s well-proven GA-K platform, even though it might appear as if it was formed off the back of the outgoing model’s Toyota K architecture. The latter is due to some carryover design elements like the lower half of the just-noted grille opening, the sharply angled LED headlamps with checkmark-style LED driving lights, forward-canted vertical corner vents with circular LED fog lamps, sweptback roofline with floating D pillars, and sharply angled wraparound LED taillights.

Even the rear reflectors, which make way for sportier vertical vents, are at the same angle in more or less the same place, while F Sport models receive much larger vents next to new rear reflectors on the bumper cap, providing a much more aggressive appearance.

Lighter and stiffer makes for better handling

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
Lexus promises a more upscale interior experience, including an optional 14-inch touchscreen.

The GA-K platform is is up to 90 kg lighter in the RX than the outgoing model, thanks to new materials in the main framework, while torsional rigidity has increased as well. Along with this is a lower centre of gravity and better weight distribution, while an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, attached to a stiff high-torsion rear body frame, “facilitates more consistent suspension input/travel during acceleration, deceleration and steering moments,” says Lexus.

It should all result in optimized performance, while the new model’s 60-mm longer wheelbase should improve ride quality too. Additionally, a 60-mm shorter rear overhang should also aid handling as well as providing a more athletic looking stance. Lexus managed to maintain an identical overall length to the previous RX too, so those trading up should feel right at home when parking.

More rear passenger and cargo room is always welcome in the mid-size class

2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium
A longer wheelbase provides more rear legroom.

The new GA-K platform increases the “front/rear couple distance” too, which provides greater rear legroom, while cargo space is reportedly improved too, as is access to the load floor thanks to a lowered liftgate sill that decreases the lift-over height.

The GA-K platform, incidentally, also underpins the new Lexus NX, the luxury brand’s latest ES, plus plenty of others from the namesake mainstream volume brand’s lineup, such as the Toyota Camry, Avalon, RAV4, Venza, Highlander, and Sienna, thus it will once again be ideal for the automaker’s range of hybrid powertrains.

RX powertrain options expand from two to four

2023 Lexus RX 450h PHEV
A new RX 450h plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will be available as a late arrival.

Electrifying in mind, the entry-level RX 350 (more on that in a moment) will now be complemented by three different hybrid alternatives, including a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder version dubbed RX 350h that should be quite popular due to an expected lower price point and improved fuel economy than today’s RX 450h, with Lexus estimating a very thrifty 7.1 L/100km combined city/highway.

It should be more than capable of hauling a fully-laden mid-size crossover SUV too, being that it’s sourced from the aforementioned Venza and Sienna, which are now dedicated hybrids, plus Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid. It makes a net 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque, which is good for 7.6 seconds from zero to 100 km/h (just 0.2 seconds off of the base non-hybrid variant), plus comes mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) plus all-wheel drive.

Lexus adds plug-in and high-performance hybrid options to RX lineup

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
Top of the line will be new RX 500h F Sport Performance trim with 367-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Additionally, there will be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) using a similar name to the current V6-powered RX 450h, albeit named 450h+, but it’ll arrive later and therefore Toyota hasn’t provided any additional info. Due to the name, we should expect a bit more performance than the new RX 350, plus, of course, greater and more utile EV range.

Lastly, the pinnacle of RX performance will now be the all-new 500h F Sport Performance, which promises to be quite the mid-size family hauler, with the emphasis on hauling arse. This model combines the more potent 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the base RX 350 with a different six-speed automatic, an inverter, and all-wheel drive via Lexus’ eAxle unit boasting a stronger high output electric motor, inverter and reduction gearbox.

New 500h F Sport Performance puts RX in the mix with turbo-six Europeans

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The RX 500h F Sport Performance gets special styling details front to back.

This results in a soul-stirring 367 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, which is similar to what we can find under the hood of twin-turbo six-cylinder-powered competitors like the Genesis GV80 3.5T and Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 hybrid, and considerably more than what BMW’s X5 provides from its 3.0-litre turbo-six. The benchmark here is Volvo’s XC90 Recharge, with 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged, supercharged and plug-in hybridized 2.0-litre four, but there will likely be a sizeable price difference between this new Lexus and the Swedish brand’s flagship SUV.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The new RX 500h F Sport Performance features Direct4 AWD for enhanced grip and handling.

Where the XC90 Recharge can sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds, the top-tier RX 500h F Sport Performance can do so in a respectable 6.1 seconds, whereas the two competitors’ city/highway combined fuel economy is rated at 8.8 L/100km for the Swede and a very similar 9.0 L/100km for the Japanese. Incidentally, the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz hybrid SUV scoots from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds while achieving a claimed city/highway rating of 10.4 L/100km at the pump, while the non-hybrid X5 xDrive40i matches the Mercedes’ fuel economy while providing a sprint time of 5.5 seconds. Strangely, BMW has a pricier plug-in hybridized X5 dubbed xDrive45e that uses more fuel than the regular version, at 11.5 L/100km combined, and takes 0.1 seconds longer to hit 100 km/h.

Lexus introduces Direct4 all-wheel drive for new RX 500h F Sport Performance

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The F Sport interior promises a sportier design language.

Gripping pavement under the RX 500h F Sport Performance is a new Direct4 all-wheel drive system that Lexus is touting as its “highest technology all-wheel drive” system with “maximum grip, traction and acceleration in all situations.” Unfortunately, that’s all we know about it thus far, so we’ll just have to wait until more info comes out in order to learn what makes it better than Lexus’ regular AWD.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
A unique F Sport gauge cluster pulls design details from the now legendary LFA.

Overall, Lexus claims its RX 500h F Sport Performance provides “a sportier, more performance-driven look and feel,” thanks to its straight-line performance, of course, plus that all-wheel drive system and opposed six-piston brake calipers to enhance stopping power. These are framed in a set of 21-inch aluminum wheels “that exude a wide, confident stance,” and upgraded 235/50R21 rubber for enhanced traction.

Additional RX 500h F Sport Performance details include a unique mesh grille, plus special front and rear bumpers, while the cabin gets a whole host of F Sport upgrades such as a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, paddle shifters, aluminum foot pedals, additional aluminum trim, leather upholstery, microsuede-trimmed interior door panels, F Sport branded scuff plates, and more.

New RX 350 base model promises strong performance and better efficiency

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The RX 500h F Sport Performance’ seats look enveloping.

Back to the basics, the entry-level and sole non-hybrid RX 350 drops the current model’s 3.5-litre V6 for a much thriftier 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that’s capable of 9.8 L/100km combined. It makes a solid 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, and while this might seem like a downgrade of 20 horsepower compared to the outgoing model’s 295, it’s also an upgrade of 50 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a net positive. It also comes mated to a sporty yet efficient eight-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive, so therefore, once factoring in pricing, which has yet to be released, this will likely be Lexus’ best-selling RX trim level in Canada.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
A panoramic sunroof is available.

The RX 350, and all RX trim lines, come standard with a generous supply of advanced safety and convenience technologies that the luxury firm dubs Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. This suite of features includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Intersection Support and new Motorcycle Detection; as well as All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with new Curve Speed Management (DRCC); Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA); and Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS).

On the high-tech options list is Advanced Park that helps out when parallel parking, or when wanting assistance for back-up parking, forward-facing parking, or forward-facing and back-up exiting.

Seven grades mean standard and optional equipment will be plentiful

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
The RX’ centre pass-through has always been a welcome bonus.

As for additional standard features, the new 2023 RX will get 19-inch alloy wheels, Lexus’ e-Latch proximity sensing access, and Lexus Interface, these details garnered from the Canadian press release, whereas the few options specifically mentioned include multi-coloured illumination accents, “tasteful” door trims, a head-up display (HUD), a 14-inch Multimedia Touchscreen Display, navigation, and a panoramic glass sunroof. Of course, there will be plenty more available in the 2023 RX’ seven grades, which will include Premium, Luxury, Ultra-Luxury, Executive, F SPORT 1, F SPORT 2 and F SPORT 3, but we’ll need to wait until closer to launch before knowing details.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance
More cargo space will be appreciated by current owners.

A total of 10 exterior colour choices will be available too, depending on the chosen grade, including Caviar, Copper Crest (a Lexus-first), Eminent White Pearl, Grecian Water, Iridium, Matador Red Mica, Nebula Gray Pearl, Nightfall Mica, Nori Green Pearl, and Ultra White, while inside there’s a choice of four grade-dependant “ornamentation styles” including Ash Bamboo, Black Cascade, Black Open Pore, and Dark Graphite Aluminum, as well as six cabin colours including Black, Birch, Macadamia, Palomino, Peppercorn and Rioja Red.

Lexus expects the new 2023 RX to go on sale at the end of 2022, so it’s probably a good idea to claim your spot in line if you want to be first.

 

The All-New 2023 Lexus RX – World Premier (9:50):

Introducing the All-New RX | Lexus (2:51):

The Lexus RX | Lexus (8:35):

2022 Lexus Product Showcase | Lexus (24:40):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Lexus

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…

All-new 2023 Range Rover Sport debuts with advanced hybrid powertrains

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Land Rover has refined every inch of the new 2023 Range Rover Sport, improving aerodynamics and styling.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
High-speed cruising and handling has reportedly improved substantively, which would have been no small feat.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
A new platform architecture stiffens the Sport by 35 percent.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Base engines are mild hybrids while mid-range versions feature plug-in capability with 113 km of EV range.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Optimal 4×4 capability comes standard across the Range Rover Sport line.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The Sport’s optional 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 makes 503 hp.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Did we mention the Sport should be brilliant off-road?

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Inside, the usual leathers and woods will be available, but Land Rover has put a special focus on environmentally friendly materials too.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
A big 13.7-inch driver’s display should make it easy to call up critical info.

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.”

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
A large centre display incorporates Land Rover’s award-winning Pivi Pro infotainment system.

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

award-winning Pivi Pro infotainment
A roomy interior for up to five adults comes standard.

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

2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Windsor and semi-aniline leathers are available, plus 22-way front seats with massage action and winged headrests.

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

Think back to 2008. It’s not a year everyone will remember fondly, due to the housing crisis that was followed up by a short-erm financial freeze, plus numerous banking bailouts, and reasonable fear…

Toyota reveals long-awaited redesign of its full-size Sequoia SUV

2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone
Toyota is giving its upcoming 2023 Sequoia a new top-tier Capstone trim line, and it looks to be very luxurious.

Think back to 2008. It’s not a year everyone will remember fondly, due to the housing crisis that was followed up by a short-erm financial freeze, plus numerous banking bailouts, and reasonable fear of economic woes ahead, but on the positive it was also an Summer Olympic year, held in Beijing, China (déjà vu all over again), and while that subject might be too political for some to dwell upon in an automotive story, 2008 was also the year that Conservative leader Stephen Harper eked out a minority up here in Canada, and Barack Obama was victorious south of the 49th. Even more momentous, it would take another month for Bitcoin to be introduced in January of 2009.

Why all the references to a past that’s now hardly recognizable from today’s world? Because that’s when Toyota’s full-size Sequoia SUV received its last major update. The first-generation Sequoia lasted a rather lengthy seven years, incidentally, and received its redesign with the advent of the second-gen Tundra, but today’s model, which will be replaced later this year, needed to wait a lot longer for its redesigned Tundra donor platform to arrive.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited
The new Sequoia will be available in five trims, including this mid-range Limited model.

Amazingly, the first-generation Venza was new that year too, as was the tiny Scion iQ (remember Scion?). The iQ’s been off the market for seven years already, and, after a three-year hiatus the Venza was wholly renewed for 2020, but the Sequoia soldiered on unchanged. It’ll be 14 years old when it arrives later this year as a 2023 model, but from what we can see here, the long wait has not been in vain.

After all, it looks similar to the new Tundra that’s received plenty of praise for its brash, bold styling, or at least its headlamps and the basic outline of its grille do. The new Sequoia’s grille is more restrained, and I think the better for it. It pulls cues from the Tacoma, of course, as well as the latest RAV4, no bad thing either, while sharing visual ties to the Highlander and new Corolla Cross as well. We can guess this look hints at the new 4Runner’s design approach too, an even more important SUV from a sales perspective, and one we’ll see in redesigned form soon.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro
Off-road enthusiasts will be most interested in the TRD Pro.

This said there’s nothing radically unexpected about the new Sequoia’s styling. It appears rugged and tough, yet clean and refined, while all the time being respectful of Toyota’s SUV lineage. The hood domes nicely at centre, and either features cool looking matte plastic, vent-like garnishes on its outer rear edges when upgraded to “TRD PRO” trim, complete with trim designation, or gets a smaller chromed “i FORCE MAX” engine plaque in the same spot for other models. Additional visual separation includes some chrome embellishment down each side of the new top-tier Capstone trim line, brightening the new Sequoia’s deeply sculpted flanks, while the SUV’s upright rear design certainly shouldn’t offend any traditional SUV lover’s tastes.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro
TRD Pro models get some rugged styling details to make it stand out from the rest of the Sequoia crowd.

Speaking of the trims, a total of five include TRD Off-Road, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and just-noted Capstone, the latter initially introduced with the new Tundra, and representing a more luxurious level above Platinum. First, congrats to Toyota for coming up with something more original than Limited and Platinum to designate fanciest trim, and second, this model really does appear to deliver on its near-premium promise.

The Sequoia Capstone provides a black and white motif inside, with plenty of higher-quality semi-aniline leather throughout, while Toyota has even improved soundproofing. Those familiar with the outgoing Sequoia will already know its most luxurious Platinum variant lacked some its rivals’ refinements, especially for an SUV in the $80k range. Pampering won’t be a problem in the new 2023 version, however, even in lesser trims that will likely go up in price from their current model’s $70k starting point.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone
The Sequoia’s standard i-Force Max hybrid V6 makes 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque.

In the U.S., this new Sequoia effectively replaces the full-size Land Cruiser that was discontinued, so it had better deliver at a high level and be fully capable off-road. Certainly, Lexus’ redesigned LX, which once again is based on the Land Cruiser, will toe the line as far as full-size luxury utes go, but just like some wristwatch buyers would rather wear a dive watch bearing the famed Seiko name than lesser-known Grand Seiko (which is respected more for dressier timepieces), yet still want similar levels of finishing and movement accuracy/quality and are willing to pay premium prices for it, there are SUV buyers who’d more proudly own a Toyota-badged utility than one gussied up in Lexus duds. To that end, the off-road-oriented SUV industry is as much about heritage and respect as it is utility, but isn’t necessarily turned on by premium badging.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited
The new Sequoia can tow up to 9,000 lbs.

The i-Force Max engine noted a moment ago was also introduced with the Tundra, but in the pickup truck it’s an option, and with the Sequoia it comes standard. Interestingly, it’s a 3.5-litre V6 hybrid drivetrain, so, just like Toyota did with the aforementioned Venza and their newest Sienna minivan, it’s hybrid or the highway, so to speak. Of course, there may be additional options moving forward, but more likely a pure electric variant than anything without electrification. As it is, the Sequoia’s mill makes a substantive 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque, and feeds its power down to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission, which includes the usual Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes.

The actual hybrid component is a generator motor positioned between the internal combustion portion of the drivetrain and gearbox, a tried and tested solution, so we should expect much improved fuel economy along with Toyota’s already legendary hybrid reliability and longevity.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro
The Sequoia’s rear styling certainly shouldn’t offend.

With each trim basically set up with the same drivetrain capabilities, performance differences will come down to suspension options, whether optimized for handling and comfort or off-road prowess. All should provide enough stability and manoeuvrability to keep the engine power in check on fast-paced curving roadways, however, achievable via a combination of improved chassis design and rigidity, plus a new independent front suspension design and new rack-mounted electronic power steering system, which is said to enhance feel. A more advanced multi-link rear suspension has also been added to the mix, plus Sequoia owners can option their rigs out with an adaptive variable suspension setup, which adds Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom settings to the Drive Mode Select system’s menu, and a height-adjustable air suspension with load leveling, which is especially helpful when lifting heavy items into the cargo area.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro
A nicely outfitted interior, this one in TRD Pro trim, shows off a large 14-inch centre touchscreen.

Also impressive is the new Sequoia’s 9,000-lb (4,080-kg) towing capacity. This is almost 22-percent more than the current model, and therefore allows for much larger camp trailers and boats, which is a key reason that buyers buck up for larger utilities in the first place. Along with its upgraded tow rating, the Sequoia will utilize features shown first with the new Tundra when choosing its Tow Tech Package, such as Trailer Backup Guide that makes it easier to reverse with a trailer, and Straight Path Assist that, via the steering system, helps keep the trailer straight when backing up. Additionally, the power mirrors now include automatic extensions for seeing around the sides of wider loads.

Some additional features include standard heated front seats and a standard heatable steering wheel rim, Toyota’s proprietary breathable Softex leatherette, a panoramic sunroof, 18-inch wheels, and the TSS 2.5 suite of convenience and safety features.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone
Second-row seating looks spacious, plus this Capstone model features exclusive black and white semi-aniline leather upholstery.

An available 14-inch centre touchscreen improves the Sequoia’s digital experience, including a Panoramic View Monitor that makes parking easier, especially with a trailer, while a digital display rearview mirror is also available, as is a fully digital and very colourful driver’s display.

As for the Sequoia’s cabin layout, it comes with three rows including a bench for the second row, but can be optioned with second-row captain’s chairs. Additionally, the third row can slide back and forth up to 150 mm (6.0 in), plus provides reclining backrests, while Toyota provides a unique parcel shelf in the cargo area that covers those seatbacks when folded down, resulting in a totally flat load floor. For hauling taller items, the parcel shelf can be fitted back into the floor, or alternatively it can be raised higher to act as a cargo cover. Smart.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone
A massive panoramic sunroof will come standard.

While it might take some time for the new Sequoia to catch on, Toyota is probably looking to its loyal 4Runner, Highlander, and to some extent, Tacoma owner base to fill order books. While news about the new 2023 Sequoia will create some excitement, the nameplate isn’t strong enough to pull many conquest buyers away from the big three, despite having been around since 2001. Toyota just hasn’t updated it enough to create any kind of long-term growth, and certainly hasn’t marketed much, other than featuring it on its retail website.

The result has been slow, but steady sales. The 418 units sold into Canada through 2021 was less than half of its all-time Canadian high of 912 deliveries in 2010. The numbers remained just above or just below 700 per year until 2018, before dipping downward over the last few years. In case you were wondering, the Nissan Armada, which is the Sequoia’s most obvious challenger, only sold 413 units in 2010, yet, due to a major second-generation redesign (that’s really a global-market Patrol, the full-size Land Cruiser’s main rival in other markets), saw its deliveries rise to a high of 1,435 units in 2018, before falling down to Sequoia levels for the last three years.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited
The third row (shown in Limited trim) offers reclining backrests and fore and aft sliding adjustability.

Of course, neither set of numbers would cause a carmaker to invest the necessary money to develop and market an all-new model, which should make us Canadians grateful to our friends south of the border that have 10 times the purchasing pool. To be clear, while we were selling just over 400 Sequoias here in Canada, the U.S. market delivered 22,815. Even that number would have to increase to make a business case viable, but there’s a lot of potential upside when looking at the rest of the full-size SUV market.

Last year it totaled 21,999 units in Canada and 388,294 in the U.S., and General Motors walked away with almost three quarters of Canada’s full-size SUV deliveries, at 15,307 units, plus a staggering 275,421 new buyers in the States. GMC’s Yukon was number one in Canada’s market with 8,338 examples sold, its two body-style line beating both the Chevy Tahoe (4,590) and Suburban (2,379) by a wide margin, while Ford’s Expedition ended up second from a model perspective, with 4,878 individual deliveries. While all this is good for GM and Ford, the new Sequoia could slice off a larger section from that lucrative pie.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited
A height-adjustable cargo shelf expands into a completely flat load floor.

Helping Toyota’s cause is the highest retained value in the Canadian Black Book’s “Full-size Crossover-SUV” category, plus the top podium in the “Large SUV/Crossover” category for Vincentric’s Best Value in Canada Awards. The Sequoia also topped J.D. Power and Associate’s 2021 Initial Quality Study, which doesn’t hurt matters. It almost makes a person want to buy the outgoing Sequoia, which is still available with factory leasing and financing rates from 2.99 percent. Check out CarCostCanada for details, plus find out how accessing dealer invoice pricing could you save thousands off retail, plus remember to download their free app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

The new Sequoia will be available this summer, with orders starting sooner. Contact your local Toyota dealer for more info.

 

2023 Toyota Sequoia Overview | Toyota (7:07):

2023 Toyota Sequoia | Undeniable Capability, Unmistakable Presence | Toyota (2:17):

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Toyota

Kia has gone from a lineup of smooth, sleek cars and utilities, to embracing an edgier, sportier design language that’s all about forward thought and has little to do with hanging onto the past. Just…

Kia reveals edgy new 2023 Sportage in its home market

2023 Kia Sportage
Kia is getting especially edgy with its upcoming Sportage, transforming today’s ovoid model into a dramatically angled piece of rolling modern art.

Kia has gone from a lineup of smooth, sleek cars and utilities, to embracing an edgier, sportier design language that’s all about forward thought and has little to do with hanging onto the past.

Just take a look at today’s K5 (née Optima) mid-size family sedan, or the premium-level Stinger sport sedan, not to mention the Seltos subcompact crossover SUV, the always funky Soul, all-new Sorento mid-size SUV, rugged looking Telluride full-size SUV, and the recently renewed Carnival (née Sedona) mid-size van, while the new K3 will soon mix it up in the compact sedan class when it replaces today’s Forte. Each new Kia design pushes the mainstream volume brand to sharper, wedgier extremes, and now it’s the Sportage compact crossover SUV’s turn to transform from ovoid to edgy.

2023 Kia Sportage
A narrow greenhouse makes the new Sportage looking long and low.

At first glance, the 2023 Sportage appears like Kia’s most aggressive attempt to push that design envelope yet. If the current Sportage seemed to pull inspiration from Porsche’s Cayenne when introduced in 2016, the creators of this fifth-generation SUV were tapping into the genes of Lamborghini’s Urus, or at least Audi’s RS Q8.

This makes sense considering the president and chief design officer of the entire Hyundai Motor Group is one Peter Schreyer, previously responsible for Audi’s TT (and A3, A4, A6, etc.), Volkswagen’s New Beetle (and Golf, Eos, etc.), a slew of Hyundai and Genesis models, plus everything Kia has put to market since 2008 when he took over the design department. No wonder Kia has been producing such great looking models over the past decade.

2023 Kia Sportage
The rear design is more conventional, but hardly boring.

The new Sportage is designed to turn heads, with a futuristic front fascia that’ll have you searching to find the headlights. They’re tiny LEDs in complex clusters set within two boomerang-shaped LED driving lights, both of which bookend the wide gloss-black grille positioned below a set of narrow, horizontal nostril-like openings. It’s a radical design that nevertheless should be pleasing to a large swath of SUV buyers that are currently wanting something sporty yet practical to trade up to from their less-appealing cars.

From profile, the new Sportage features a lot of side sculpting on the door panels, with a narrow greenhouse up top, for added visual length, and some really attractive detail around the lower rocker panels, giving the SUV an exposed structural look that lightens its overall presence.

2023 Kia Sportage
The headlamps are tiny LEDs integrated within a lighting cluster surrounded by large boomerang-shaped LED driving lights.

While the new Sportage looks more conventional from the rear, its body-wide taillight cluster lends to a feeling of width, with a thinness at its mid-section that almost makes it seem like it was stretched into place. All of that delicate detail is supported by a meaty rear bumper section that’s a visual extension from the just-noted blackened rockers, continuing upward to encompass two-thirds the SUV’s backside, and capped off by angular metal-look trim that mirrors a similar treatment on the aforementioned rockers and lower front fascia, the latter surrounding a set of LED fog lamps. The edgy treatment continues over to the sizeable alloy wheels, which are machine-finished with glossy black pockets in order to make them an intrinsic part of the design.

2023 Kia Sportage
Angular LED taillights are visually tied together by a narrow light strip at centre.

“Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design Center. “With the all-new Sportage, we didn’t simply want to take one step forward but instead move on to a different level in the SUV class.”

Kia’s new design language, which they call “Opposites United”, continues into the cabin where the uniquely shaped air vents and horizontal instrument panel trim combine like parentheses to highlight the massive dual-display primary gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen within.

2023 Kia Sportage
The rear bumper gets some aggressive metallic design details to differentiate it from others in the segment.

The single-screen layout follows a driver display design that both Kia and the namesake brand of its parent company Hyundai have been utilizing in their most recent models, which incorporates some of the most advanced tech in the industry, particularly rear-facing camera monitors that automatically provide a rearward view down either side of the vehicle when using the turn signal.

A row of switchgear follows the horizontal theme just below, integrating a nicely organized dual-zone automatic climate control panel at the mid-point, while a gently sloping piano black lacquered centre console is filled with an engine start/stop button, a rotating gear selection controller, a drive mode selector, and various other driving related buttons to the left, plus switches for the heated and cooled front seats and heatable steering wheel rim to the right. A wireless charging pad is likely fitted under the lidded compartment just ahead of this cluster of controls, along with USB ports and other connectivity/charging interfaces for personal devices.

2023 Kia Sportage
A two-in-one driver display/infotainment touchscreen is visually held in place by a set of parentheses-shaped air vents.

“When you see the all-new Sportage in person, with its sleek but powerfully dynamic stance, and when you sit inside the detailed-oriented cabin with its beautifully detailed interior and first-class materials, you’ll see we have achieved those goals and set new benchmarks,” added Habib. “In the all-new Sportage, we believe you can see the future of our brand and our products.”

Kia hasn’t shown any other details, such as its front and rear seating or the cargo compartment, but capacities should be similar to the new Hyundai Tucson that shares its underpinnings, and that compact crossover SUV has grown in size from its predecessor, now measuring 4,605 mm (181.3 inches) from nose to tail, which makes it 155 mm (6.1 in) longer than before, with a 2,751 mm (108.3 in) wheelbase that’s grown by 86 mm (3.4 in), plus it’s around half an inch (12-13 mm) wider and taller than the SUV it replaces.

2023 Kia Sportage
Kia should continue to lead the compact SUV segment in features for money spent.

The Sportage has long shared mechanical components with the Tucson as well, so we can expect a version of the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which makes 190 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque in the compact Hyundai. The Tucson utilizes an eight-speed automatic transmission across its entire trim line too, which should be the only gearbox used in the Sportage as well, while Hyundai’s compact SUV provides a front-wheel drive train in lower priced models, plus optional all-wheel drive.

We can expect more details closer to the new Sportage launch, which should take place sometime next year. All the usual trims should be available, as well as an off-road oriented X-Line version, plus a new hybrid-electric based on the latest 2022 Tucson Hybrid.

2023 Kia Sportage
The sloping lower console is filled with advanced driver controls, including a rotating dial for selecting gears.

For the time being, Kia is offering the latest 2022 Sportage with up to $750 in additional incentives, as well as $2,500 off of 2021 models, while CarCostCanada members are averaging savings of $2,361. Check their 2022 and 2021 Kia Sportage Canada Prices pages for all the details, including complete trim pricing with all available options and colours.

Also, learn how the CarCostCanada system works so you can save big on your next new vehicle purchase too, by accessing manufacturer rebate information, factory financing and leasing deals, and especially dealer invoice pricing. What’s more, remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, so you can have all of this valuable information on your device when you need it most.

Story by Trevor Hofmann

Photos by Kia

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

Redesigned 2022 Nissan Pathfinder rolls off production line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2022 Pathfinder and Frontier Reveal (14:39):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

It’s no secret that trucks aren’t updated as often as cars, although this has been changing in recent years due to peoples’ tastes shifting from sedans, coupes and wagons to more utility-oriented…

Redesigned 2022 Nissan Frontier will have you quickly forgetting its antiquated predecessor

2022 Nissan Frontier
The entirely new 2022 Frontier says goodbye to 16 years of the previous model, and hello to a much more modern and exciting design.

It’s no secret that trucks aren’t updated as often as cars, although this has been changing in recent years due to peoples’ tastes shifting from sedans, coupes and wagons to more utility-oriented offerings. No matter, because no one, including those within Nissan’s inner circle, could’ve likely guessed the Frontier would still be trucking along mostly unchanged after 16 years of production.

Currently the oldest non-commercial design available new, Nissan will pass this baton down to its own 370Z when the all-new 2022 Frontier arrives later this year, unless the Japanese automaker shocks us all with an earlier than expected release of the legendary sports car, of which today’s version now has a dozen years to its credit. Both will be important to Nissan’s success, albeit the new 400Z (as most are calling it) is more about enhancing the brand’s performance image, while the Frontier should do a good job of bolstering its bottom line.

2022 Nissan Frontier
The redesigned Frontier presents a fairly unique look within a hotly contested mid-size pickup truck market.

Of course, trucks are important for a mainstream brand’s image too, and just by appearances the Frontier should appeal to the masses. That will be important, as Nissan has lost a lot of market share to mid-size pickup competitors, most of which have introduced multiple redesigns since the last Frontier was new. Toyota’s Tacoma remains top of the list, followed closely by GM’s Chevy/GMC Colorado/Canyon (fraternal) twins and more distantly by Ford’s Ranger, which were all discontinued and resuscitated in recent years, and while no definitive word has surfaced about a revised Dodge (Ram) Dakota, Jeep anted up with its highly successful Gladiator a few years ago. Even Honda’s Ridgeline, the only mid-size pickup truck the Frontier still outsells, has seen upward sales momentum since its more rugged 2021 refresh, so it’s a good thing Nissan’s new Frontier will soon be ready to do battle.

2022 Nissan Frontier
Rugged looking and fully capable, the new Frontier should be a force to be reckoned with.

The 2022 Frontier arrives with boxier styling that pays some angular homage to the brand’s old Hardbody pickups of the ‘80s and ‘90s, albeit the new look gives more respect to Nissan’s full-size Titan, particularly the front door window cutouts that, like Ford’s F-150, are kinked to aid visibility. It seems influenced by GMC’s just-noted Canyon too, at least before the domestic truck said goodbye to its arguably better-looking rectangular grille and hello to a much deeper, chunkier version this year. Any resemblance to the Canyon will hardly be an issue for Nissan fans, however, as the new Frontier’s styling will be unique enough, is plenty rugged, and boasts lots of up-to-date LED touches.

2022 Nissan Frontier
Nissan uses LEDs to give the new Frontier’s headlamps special character at night.

Speaking of up-to-date, nothing from the old Frontier will be pulled forward into this new iteration’s cabin, which is a very good thing. The new model’s styling has been completely reimagined, and appears so refined that Nissan should really be considering a new Xterra based on the same platform. Where the old truck’s dash is rounded in retrospect, the new design is just as bold and blocky as the exterior styling, although in a more conservatively tasteful way. Stitched soft-touch synthetic appears padded ahead of the front passenger, as do the grip-like sides of the lower centre console, the example shown no doubt in higher-end Pro-4X trim thanks to its sporty orange/red highlights and premium-level finishings.

2022 Nissan Frontier
Pro-4X trim gets a sportier appearance package with lots of blacked out trim.

A mostly analogue gauge cluster features a large colour multi-information display at centre, par for the course these days, which should come packed full of functions, while the sizeable standard 8.0-inch touchscreen atop the centre stack boasts Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and all the other expected base functions, backup camera included, with that parking camera upgradable to an Around View surround monitor seen within a larger 9.0-inch display in higher trims. Likewise, wireless charging (albeit no wireless CarPlay) is now on the options menu, as is nine-speaker Fender audio in the Pro-4X.

2022 Nissan Frontier
The Frontier’s bed can be had with a track-mounted tie-down system, plus bright LED lighting.

Speaking of the Pro-4X, which is Nissan-speak for a serious professional-grade mud-slinging, rock-crawling 4×4, improvements include a special set of Bilstein shocks plus underfloor skid plates covering the transmission and gas tank, while cool red tow hooks can be found up front, and a special orange/red-enhanced version of Nissan’s new logo gets stamped front, back and inside.

2022 Nissan Frontier
Seen here in sportier Pro-4X trim, the Frontier gets modernized electronics and much more luxury than the outgoing model.

The 2020 Frontier (there is no 2021 model) included S, SV and Pro-4X trims (and can be had with zero-percent financing right now), plus a Midnight Edition that won’t likely be repeated for the 2022 model year, but may be revisited at a later date. Reportedly, a sporty Nismo edition will arrive at some point in the future too. The three main trims will once again be offered for 2022, although a more simplified lineup will discontinue two-wheel drive variants in Canada, other than a fleet-only base King Cab S work truck.

2022 Nissan Frontier
A nine-speed automatic comes standard, while wireless phone charging is available.

This last point clarifies that the smaller King Cab and more accommodating Crew Cab will both make a return, with the former available across the entire model range and the latter only unavailable with base S trim. This said, Canadian Frontier buyers can get Pro-4X with the King Cab, which will be a bonus for those preferring bed space over interior roominess.

Once again, the King Cab provides a six-foot bed, leaving the shorter five-foot bed for the Crew Cab, other than when the long-wheelbase SV model is chosen, which increases the span between axles from 3,200 mm (126 in) to 3,550 mm (140 in).

2022 Nissan Frontier
The new Frontier should definitely improve comfort and refinement.

Unlike the US-spec Frontier that received a new 3.8-litre V6 and nine-speed automatic two years ago, this all-new 2022 model will be Canada’s introduction to the much more advanced, fuel-friendlier combination. The engine puts out 310 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, which should be plenty of fun off the line, highly capable during highway passing manoeuvres, and especially enjoyable when attacking the wild.

Off-roading in mind, all retail Frontiers get Nissan’s part-time shift-on-the-fly 4WD system featuring 2WD, 4HI and 4LO driving modes that connect through to an electronically-controlled transfer case. Hill start assist and hill descent control are included too, while the Pro-4X receives an electronic locking differential.

2022 Nissan Frontier
Rear seat roominess should be competitive.

Standard four-wheel drive means the Canadian-spec Frontier’s maximum tow rating will be limited to just 2,944 kilograms (6,500 lbs), compared to US-specified two-wheel drive models that are good for up to 3,408 kg (7,500 lbs). Both trailer weights are impressive, however, especially when comparing some in this class that can only tow up to 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs).

Wholly on the positive, Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced driving assistive technologies come standard in Canada, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert with auto-braking, high beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.

The new 2022 Frontier will arrive this summer, with pricing and trim details expected before launch. Until then, make sure to check out our full photo gallery above, and enjoy all the videos Nissan provided below.

 

 

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

All-New 2022 Nissan Frontier (0:15):

2022 Pathfinder and Frontier Reveal (14.39):

2022 Nissan Frontier LIVE Walkaround & Review (6:40):

How big is the truck bed? | 2022 Nissan Frontier Q&A (0:37):

How much can the Frontier tow? | 2022 Nissan Frontier Q&A (0:33):

2007 Nissan Frontier Driven More Than 1 Million Miles (5:34):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

After almost eight years in its present form, Mini has simultaneously taken the wraps off a mid-cycle upgrade of its Hatch and Convertible models, and while both are still infused with brand identity…

Refreshed 2022 Mini departs from classic look with bigger, bolder grille

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
Say hello to the radically refreshed 2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door, complete with a larger grille, new lower front fascia, and more.

After almost eight years in its present form, Mini has simultaneously taken the wraps off a mid-cycle upgrade of its Hatch and Convertible models, and while both are still infused with brand identity that’s unmistakable from any distance, significant changes have been made.

Following a trend that’s laudable to some and lamentable to others, Mini’s grille will grow significantly for 2022, but its visual presence will be less noticeable on more basic Cooper and Cooper S trims than on the sportiest John Cooper Works (JCW) version, the former receiving a large body-colour bumper section within, and the latter getting a fully blackened mesh opening, along with a much more aggressive lower front fascia in black as well.

2022 Mini Cooper 5-Door
The new models’ side profile remains mostly the same, except for the side garnish on the front fender.

Another unorthodox move was to replace the classic circular fog lamps found on all previous generations with a set of vertical creases that draw nothing from this retro brand’s past, these looking more like brake ducts than anything enlightening—the headlamps now integrate the fog lamps. The new JCW expands on the corner vent brake duct theme, and arguably looks better for it.

It’s nevertheless unlikely Mini’s risky new forward-thinking design language will be all that acceptable to long-time fans of the brand, despite a press release attesting to the new design’s “purist look”. Those two words are referring to a grille surround that’s a bit closer to the original car’s shape than anything offered since the brand’s 2001 remake, but other than this loosely hexagonal borderline, the ovoid headlamp clusters to each side, and the car’s curvy shape overall, very little pulls from Mini’s storied past.

2022 Mini Cooper S 3-Door
A thin LED turn signal repeater gets added to the redesigned “side scuttle”.

In fact, Mini’s new front fascia may become just as polarizing as the elongated twin kidney concoction found on BMW’s chunky new 3 and 4 Series models, which have caused a plethora of digital artists to fix a “problem” that hadn’t existed since such renderings were only done with pencil and pastels on paper. Ugly might be too strong a word for such a cute and cuddly British brand, but it’s difficult to fathom why the curators of this legendary marque allowed an overzealous design team to run roughshod over its past.

The difficulty with any retrospective model is the regular need to make updates in order to maintain a fresh, new look, as must be done with any vehicle, yet the inability to stray too far from the original inspiration’s design character, which might run the risk of destroying the special charm, unique character, or je ne sais quoi of said model, tampering with the very essence of what it is. Multiply this issue by an entire brand and the problem gets exacerbated.

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
The rear bumper cap is entirely new for 2022.

Up until this point, Mini has taken on this challenge admirably, expanding on an iconic British model that, dune buggy-style Mini Moke, Mini pickup truck, Marcos sports car and Wildgoose RV aside (the latter two only using the classic Mini as a donor model and produced by independent firms), was only initially offered as one single city car with varying lengths and rear window/door configurations (albeit under seven different brands with unique fascia treatments) throughout its forty-plus-year tenure (1959-2000).

As part of BMW’s 1994 takeover of Rover group (formerly British Leyland) from a conglomerate partially owned by British Aerospace (BAe) and Honda (at that time the Rover brand was comprised of an assortment of rebadged Honda models, one of which, an Acura Legend renamed Sterling 800 Series, was sold here), the German automaker eventually discontinued the original Mini in October of 2000 (then in its Mk IV generation) and brought out the all-new (Mk I) model in 2001, as mentioned a moment ago, along with a wholly revitalized MINI brand (Mini initially became its own standalone brand in 1969).

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
The cool Union Jack-style taillights are now standard.

A base “One” trim was (and still is) the least expensive way to get into the Mini Hatch for the European market, while the Cooper and Cooper S arrived in 2001 as well, albeit globally. The performance-oriented JCW joined the family soon after, while the convertible was added for 2005, followed by the second-generation hatchback two years later, and the updated drop-top for 2009, one year after the extended-wheelbase Clubman arrived. Mini’s subcompact SUV, the Countryman showed up in 2010, whereas the short-lived two-seat Mini Coupe arrived for 2011 and equally impractical Mini Roadster in 2012, both selling poorly and therefore killed off in 2015. The Countryman-based Paceman was only offered from 2013 to 2016, being discontinued just as the second-generation Countryman arrived for 2017.

2022 Mini Cooper 5-Door
The new Multitone Roof uses a gradient effect to mix Soul Blue, Pearly Aqua and Jet Black.

The considerably larger and more accommodating third-generation Mini Hatch arrived in 2013 for the 2014 model year, along with the somewhat controversial yet very practical five-door version, while the revised convertible joined the family in 2015, and a new Clubman, now with six conventional doors for true compact utility (the two in back hinged at each side), was made available for 2016, a year prior to the current Countryman.

While your mind might now be ablur after this quick rundown of the modern Mini brand’s 20-year existence, there’s a key reason for the historical reminder. Mini’s caretakers have already proven to be quite daring with the brand’s retro identity, but even so they haven’t truly messed with the secret sauce that makes a Mini a Mini. A quick glance at today’s 2021 model lineup and the brand’s heritage is clear, but as already said its visual lineage appears somewhat muddled moving into 2022. This could either make or break a brand that hasn’t exactly been tearing up the sales charts over the past decade.

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
The mildly updated 2022 interior will be familiar to anyone who drives one of the current Mini models.

Not to be confused with a true fourth-generation redesign, the 2022 model is only an extensive mid-cycle makeover. This said, despite its near eight-year tenure, most feel the current Mini Hatch is all it needs to be, and then some. Ask anyone to name a hot hatchback and the Mini name enters the conversation more often than not, especially if luxury is part of the equation. Such talk should ramp up this year, much thanks to the controversial new frontal design.

Where the front clip shows radical change, it’s easier to see the 2022 model’s third-generation roots from the side profile and rear design. The only update to the former are new front “side scuttle” fender garnishes that now feature thin LED turn signal light strips, whereas the car’s rear design merely gets a restyled bumper cap minus the rear fog lights and reflectors, plus some other minor details. Up top, Mini now offers a Multitone Roof that uses a cool gradient effect to mix Soul Blue, Pearly Aqua and Jet Black.

2022 Mini Cooper S 3-Door
A new digital gauge cluster comes standard.

Moving inside, the only notable change is a new standard digital gauge cluster, as first seen on the electrified Mini Cooper SE and ultra-sporty John Cooper Works GP. The steering wheel framing those primary instruments is new too, now offering a heatable rim, while the centre air vents are now better integrated within the dash panel.

A new 8.8-inch infotainment display now comes standard across the line as well, complete with updated graphics, plus new and improved features, including satellite radio and Apple CarPlay, but Google Android phone users will need to rely on Mini’s proprietary system as integration of this more popular smartphone is still not possible. Tech in mind, lane-departure warning will be standard, while the adaptive cruise control system will include stop-and-go functionality. Lastly, Mini has revised the cabin’s ambient lighting system.

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Mini has updated its already impressive infotainment system.

After a brief hiatus during the 2020 model year, Mini Canada smartly added its six-speed manual gearbox back to the 2021 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible, and will continue to do so for 2022. This is important for such a performance-oriented brand that previously had up to 45 percent of its U.S. Cooper S 3-Door buyers opting for the DIY alternative, while its quick-shifting seven-speed double-clutch automatic with paddles remains optional.

Engine output remains 134 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque for the base Cooper’s 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, while the Cooper S’s 2.0-litre turbo-four continues to produce a rev-happy 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Likewise, the JCW’s output remains an energetic 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, and the plug-in SE once again sports 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque.

2022 Mini Cooper JCW
The 2022 Mini Cooper JCW is much more aggressively styled, and arguably best looking too.

Pricing for the all-new 2022 Mini 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible has yet to be announced for Canada, but when production begins in March, we can expect slight increases across the board due to the aforementioned upgrades to standard trims.

For those who’d rather buy a new 2021 Mini or possibly a 2020 model, take note the automaker is currently offering up to $1,000 in additional incentives for the former and $3,000 off the top of the latter, as per CarCostCanada’s 2021 and 2020 Mini 3 Door Canada Prices pages; up to $1,250 or $2,500 off of 2021 or 2020 5-Door models; and $1,500 in incentives knocked off either 2021 or 2020 Mini Convertibles. CarCostCanada provides members with information about the latest manufacturer rebates, factory financing and leasing deals, and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when negotiating. Make sure to find out how a membership can benefit you, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mini

What’s the world’s best sport-luxury sedan? Many would point to Porsche’s Panamera on performance alone, despite not technically being a sedan due to its practical rear hatch and sloping rear deck…

Porsche updates 2021 Panamera with greater performance and sportier look

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
The new 2021 Panamera Turbo S looks fabulous in its more practical Sport Turismo body style.

What’s the world’s best sport-luxury sedan? Many would point to Porsche’s Panamera on performance alone, despite not technically being a sedan due to its practical rear hatch and sloping rear deck lid to match. There’s even a more useful wagon-like Sport Turismo version that’s responsible for many of the Panamera’s sales since being introduced for the 2018 model year, so therefore the car more appropriately fits within the alternative four-door coupe category. Still, no matter how you look at it, the Panamera is one impressive sport-luxury offering.

As it is, the Panamera will cruise into 2021 with some modest styling updates and yet bolder drivetrain enhancements, particularly at the top of the range where the new Panamera Turbo S replaces the Turbo, with power moving up from 550 horsepower to 620, a 70-horsepower bump in just one, single refresh. This results in a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h of just 3.1 seconds when Sport Plus mode is selected, all before attaining a top track speed of 315 km/h.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
Porsche was smart to offer three body styles for its Panamera, the Sport Turismo really upping the style ante.

Of note, last year’s most potent Panamera was the electrified Turbo S E-Hybrid, good for 677 net horsepower, albeit a zero to 100km/h run of “just” 3.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the outgoing Panamera Turbo, but 0.3 seconds off the new Turbo S. That hyper-quick hybrid is at least temporarily gone for 2021, but don’t fear hybrid fans as it’ll be back soon with even more power.

According to plenty of interweb reports, Thomas Friemuth, who heads the Panamera line at Porsche, has confirmed the electric portion of the car’s drive system will produce some 134 horsepower, which means the new Turbo S E-Hybrid, when mated to the new 620-horsepower twin-turbo V8, should put out somewhere in the neighbourhood of 750 horsepower. If you think this lofty number sounds insane, consider for a moment that a key Panamera rival, Mercedes-AMG’s fabulous GT 4-Door Coupe, is expected to hit the tarmac soon with more than 800 horsepower.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid
The new Panamera 4S E-Hybrid adds considerable power over the previous 4 E-Hybrid, and is a significant step up over the base Panamera.

Those satisfied with mere blistering pace rather than ultimate scorching speed, yet still wanting hybrid economy, can opt for the all-new 4S E-Hybrid that comes fitted with 552 net horsepower that propels the big luxury car from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds ahead of topping out at 298 km/h. The entry-level 4 E-Hybrid, which only made 462 net horsepower and needed 4.6 seconds to arrive at the 100 km/h mark, is no longer available for 2021.

Benefiting both new 4S E-Hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid trims is 30-percent more EV range than their predecessors, all thanks to an upgraded 17.9 kWh battery, an improvement of 3.8 kWh. The hybrid models’ control systems and chassis components have been modified too, with next-generation steering control as well as new tires, enhancing comfort and performance.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
New frontal design elements beef up the Panamera’s look.

This said, the hybrid isn’t the only 2021 Panamera to receive steering and suspension improvements. In fact, the new Turbo S gets a custom tuned three-chamber air suspension, while the top-tier model’s Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and roll stabilization system, the latter called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport), have also been modified to perform at more extreme levels. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) was updated to improve at-the-limit handling as well, all resulting in the best performing Panamera yet, and one of the best performing passenger cars available period.

Proving that point, the automaker took its new Panamera Turbo S to the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race course in Germany on July 24, 2020, resulting in Porsche works driver Lars Kern setting a new “executive cars” class record of 7:29.81 minutes over the 20.832-kilometre track. We can hardly wait to see how the new Turbo S E-Hybrid will fare.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
The updated horizontal light strip gets new contours around the outer taillights.

Those wanting most of the Panamera Turbo S’ performance for a more approachable price point can opt for the Panamera GTS, which continues into 2021 with the same 473 horsepower 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and identical zero to 100 km/h rating of 3.9 seconds. This engine added 20 horsepower over its predecessor when introduced, helped along by a special standard sports exhaust that utilizes asymmetrically positioned rear silencers for an especially exhilarating exhaust note.

Lastly, or more accurately, the first rung on this model’s hierarchal ladder is the most basic Panamera, which is the only trim offering rear-wheel drive, all others incorporating Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive as standard. Both the base Panamera and the Panamera 4 include a 325-horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 capable of very a spirited 5.6-second zero to 100 km/h sprint with RWD, and an even better 5.3-second run off the line with all-wheel drive.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
Porsche updated the 2021 Panamera’s infotainment system with new features.

That base Panamera starts at just $99,300 plus freight and fees for 2021, which is unchanged despite its improvements, while a Panamera 4 can be had for $104,600. The rear-wheel drive Panamera only comes with the regular wheelbase and coupe-like liftback, but the base powertrain will all-wheel drive can be had in three body styles, starting with the regular wheelbase liftback before moving up to the longer wheelbase $112,200 Executive and finally the more wagon-like $111,700 Sport Turismo.

The 4S E-Hybrid is next on the financial pecking order at $128,500, or $141,400 for the Executive version and $133,100 for the Sport Turismo, while the 2021 GTS remains priced at $147,400 for 2021, and increases to $154,400 when its cargo compartment is expanded to Sport Turismo dimensions.

Finally, the Turbo S starts at $202,400 for the regular wheelbase model, $214,300 for the Executive, and $207,000 for the Sport Turismo.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
New advanced safety and convenience features help modernize the Panamera driving experience.

Of course, there’s more to any Panamera than mere performance, which means it was important for Porsche to keep the car looking fresh and up-to-date. Therefore, all 2021 Panameras will now come standard with the previously optional SportDesign front fascia design, which includes the brand’s new single-bar front lighting module, augmented air intakes, and bigger, more assertively styled corner vents.

The new Turbo S gets some exclusive frontal styling with even larger lower fascia corner vents that adds to its aggressiveness, while some unique exterior paint options help to set this model apart.

Three new 20- and 21-inch alloy wheel sets can personalize any Panamera model further, while the new car’s long, body-wide horizontal taillight gets new contours for 2021, while the lenses have been darkened on the GTS model.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
We love the updated Porsche Design clock face.

The Panamera’s interior remains mostly the same entering 2021, which is no bad thing. Just the same, improvements include new functions and services for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system, such as enhanced Voice Pilot online voice control, Risk Radar for real-time road sign and hazard info, wireless Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, and more.

Also enhanced, the 2021 Panamera can be had with Lane Keeping Assist featuring road sign recognition, as well as with the Porsche InnoDrive suite of advanced safety and convenience systems, which includes Lane Change Assist, LED matrix headlights including PDLS Plus, Night Vision Assist, Park Assist with Surround View, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display unit that projects key info on the windshield ahead of the driver.

The 2021 Panamera is ready to order from your local Porsche retailer now, with deliveries starting in Q1 of 2021. After you make that call, make sure to check out our complete photo gallery above, and then be sure to enjoy the three videos below (which include the new 2021 Panamera Turbo S on the Nürburgring Nordschleife race track), plus remember to go to CarCostCanada’s 2020 Porsche Panamera Canada Prices page where you can learn more about the automaker’s zero-percent financing offer on all 2020 models, plus access info about manufacturer rebates when offered, and always available dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Find out how the CarCostCanada system can save you money, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google PlayStore so you can have access to all this important info whenever you need it.

New Panamera achieves lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife (3:09):

The new Panamera – digital world premiere (11:33):

The new Panamera: Highlights (2:13):

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche