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Chevy adds a new EUV crossover model to 2022 Bolt line

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Chevy new Bolt EUV adds more SUV-like presence along with extra rear legroom when compared to the regular redesigned Bolt EV.

Chevy has updated its Bolt EV plug-in electric car for 2022, and along with subtly reworked styling, a revised interior and more tech, the bowtie brand will add a second crossover-style variant dubbed EUV, to make the model appeal to more would-be buyers.

The Bolt EV is positioned within the subcompact hatchback segment, with a focus on practical four- to five-passenger capability and flexible cargo hauling utility, plus highly efficient, zero-emissions, battery-powered mobility. Despite all of this clean, green and easy-to-live-with pragmatism, today’s Bolt is actually a great deal more fun to drive than most would imagine before stepping inside, thanks to more than ample torque from its potent electric motor.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The revised 2022 Bolt EV loses its roof rails, but gains more distinctive styling up front.

In an interesting move, the outgoing Bolt will lose its roof rails as the new EUV takes over the SUV-style family role, or at least the version shown in GM’s press photos shows a clean roof without any rooftop load carrying capability. The original Bolt not only included a set of roof rails, but also featured a slightly taller ride height and black body cladding around its lower extremities, all in crossover-like fashion. The new 2022 Bolt will carry forward with the latter conventions, while the EUV’s roof rails are more prominent and (at least in the trim level shown in photos) black, adding to its SUV-like presence.

What’s more, the new Bolt EUV adds length, width and height over the regular model, now measuring 161 mm (6.3 in) more from nose to tail, 5 mm (0.2 in) extra from side-to-side, with 10 mm (0.4 in) of additional track, plus 5 mm (0.2 in) add from the base of its tires to the top of its just-noted roof rack. Most importantly, its extended length results in 75 mm (3 in) of extra wheelbase, allowing the EUV to increase rear legroom by 78 mm (3.1 in), but strangely the larger model’s cargo volume decreases slightly, from 470 litres (15.6 cu ft) behind the rear seats and 1,614 litres (57.0 cu ft) when folded down, to a respective 462 and 1,611 litres (16.3 and 56.9 cu ft).

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The Bolt EUV’s rear styling is attractive and quite rugged looking.

Odd yet again, despite the EUV increased height, its headroom drops by 0.2 mm (0.1 in) front to rear, plus it forgoes another 24 mm (0.9 in) in front when the optional glass sunroof is chosen. Second-row shoulder room is reduced slightly as well, but hip room grows by a similarly hair-like measurement yet shrinks a bit more in back, thus the upgrade to a larger EUV seems to only benefit rear passenger legroom, which was an issue that has reportedly caused complaints from first-generation Bolt owners. On the positive, the EUV’s curb weight only increases by 41 kg (90 lbs).

The extra poundage probably won’t be felt by EUV buyers, however, being that both Bolts will continue to zip along faster than anything else in their subcompact categories. This in mind, plus factoring in the regular Bolt’s exemplary 417 km (259 miles) range, caused no reason for Chevrolet to improve the power unit, although the same battery/motor setup in the EUV reduces range by about 15 km (9 miles) to 402 km (250 miles).

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The regular Bolt EV retains most of its crossover-like styling details, but appears more refined than its predecessor.

The powertrain in question is GM’s permanent magnetic electric drive motor and 65-kWh, 288-cell lithium-ion battery, which combine for a stealthy yet healthy 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Both Bolt models are front-wheel drive, similar to a number of other small crossover SUVs, so don’t take them onto a beach for photos like GM did for the press images.

Chevy makes DC fast charging capability standard, which allows for approximately 160 or 150 km (100 or 95 miles) of EV or EUV range respectively after 30 minutes of charging, while a special dual-level charge cord makes it possible for owners to hook up to a 240-volt charging station or 120-volt household-style three-prong outlet.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The new Bolt’s interior features a more conventional layout, this photo showing the new EUV model.

Those familiar with today’s Bolt will notice that Chevy left the biggest changes to their interiors, where both EV and EUV models feature more horizontally themed layouts for a wider visual effect. The new design is more conventionally laid out as well, replacing the pod-type centre stack with one that flows downward in a more traditional style, ending in a conventional lower console. The same standard 10.2-inch touchscreen remains, large for the subcompact category, while the infotainment graphics have been given a refresh. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are still standard, with a navigation system optional, but most will probably be happiest to see a new standard wireless charging pad. Chevy saw no need to change the Bolt’s fully digital primary gauge cluster, however, which looks exactly the same as that in today’s model.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Both Bolt EV and EUV (shown) models get a new steering wheel design and new centre stack layouts with updated infotainment graphics, but the digital gauge cluster remains unchanged.

Together with the current Bolt’s less than ideal rear legroom, owners also complained about seat comfort and interior materials quality, which they deemed substandard for the many asked. While loading the Bolt up with an impressive list of kit, including that big infotainment display just noted, the car’s near $45k price point justifies higher quality surface treatments. Thus, the new 2022 Bolt models will get their just desserts, with softer surfaces in key areas, even including what appear to be padded leatherette on the dash. Chevy seems to have improved some cabin switchgear too, but we shouldn’t expect anything nearing Cadillac quality.

Knobs, levers and switches in mind, the new lower centre console includes an updated gear selector that replaces the current model’s conventional shifter for a slim row of Acura/Honda-style push and pull buttons. The green-lit button nearest to the driver engages one-pedal driving, which is a more effective design than slotting the shift lever into the “L” position, a system employed for the current Bolt and other EV and plug-in models within GM’s various lineups. The paddles on the backside of the new flat-bottom steering wheel will be more familiar to Bolt (and Volt) owners. These can be used for braking assistance, plus for recharging the battery through regenerative kinetic energy.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Switching gears is now done via a push/pull button interface on the lower console.

Tech in mind, the top-line EUV Premier will be first amongst Chevrolet vehicles to offer GM’s Super Cruise hands-free semi-self-driving technology, which is functional on median divided highways. The EUV Premier also features adaptive cruise control and an HD parking camera with a bird’s eye overhead view.

With respect to new Bolt family styling, the majority of onlookers should find the smaller EV better looking than its already reasonably attractive (for a subcompact hatchback) predecessor, unless a more traditional grille-filled front fascia is preferred. The new model says goodbye to the black mesh grille insert, instead replacing it with a grey-painted and patterned panel cut in an ovoid outline, with a slender slot below being the real air intake. This patterned effect does a better job creating family branding than Tesla’s Model 3, for instance, which looks like a non-branded car in an insurance commercial.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Dedicated cargo space in the EV (shown) is actually more plentiful than that in the larger EUV.

Following a theme from the first-gen Bolt and Volt predecessor, Chevy connects the new LED headlamps and side mirror housings with a thick black strip of fender trim, while the outgoing car’s traditional fog lights have been axed for more extended black trim, similar to Cadillac’s front fascia styling.

The EUV features a unique frontal design, which separates the headlight clusters and air intake-style fog lamp bezels, while providing a deeper air vent at the base of a similar solid grey grille insert. Black fender garnishes also flow into the mirror caps, while appearing to follow the black-painted window trim around the glass to a floating roof look, not unlike designs in use across the Chevrolet lineup.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Both Bolt EV and EUV (shown) models provide loads of luggage space when the second-row seatbacks are lowered.

The rear designs of both Bolt models are unique in their execution, but they have a similar design theme that features clean, horizontal, LED taillights at the corners, plus loads of gloss-black composite trim in between. Large matte black bumpers underscore the look, although in a change of pace the EUV appears somewhat dressier due to aluminum-like skid plates, both in the rear and up front.

The 2022 Bolt EV will be priced from $38,198 (plus freight and fees), which is a shocking $6,800 lower than today’s 2021 Bolt EV (those roof rails must have been expensive add-ons), while the new Bolt EUV will be available from $40,198. This means that fully loaded versions should keep them below $45,000, which is as high as possible before being disqualified for government rebate programs. Today’s base Bolt LT can be had for $44,998, incidentally, so it qualifies for the most generous of rebates, whereas the better equipped 2021 Bolt Premier’s $50,298 MSRP doesn’t.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The new 2022 Bolt EV (shown) and EUV should help Chevy grow its electric car marketshare.

Our 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV Canada Prices page is current showing up to $1,500 in additional incentives available, with average member savings of $2,875, while our 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Canada Prices page shows up to $2,000 in incentives. GM is also offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero-percent for 2022 models. To get the best deal possible, become a member of CarCostCanada, which will provide the types of information above as well as dealer invoice pricing that can help you save thousands from your next new vehicle purchase. Also, remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

 

Magic is Electric | Bolt EUV Reveal | Chevrolet (1:30):

Behind the Magic | Bolt EUV Reveal | Chevrolet (14:25):

Super Cruise | Bolt EUV | Chevrolet (0:30):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Chevrolet

CarCostCanada

Lyft ride hailing firm new benefactor of hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai fleet

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
A row of Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to be deployed in the Vancouver fleet of the Lyft ride hailing service.

In cooperation with Toyota Credit Canada, Toyota Canada has put together a deal to supply two dozen of its zero-emission Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell cars to ride hailing company Lyft in British Columbia, after which a select group of Lyft drivers will be able to rent these 24 cars through Toyota’s new KINTO Share program.

Eligible Lyft drivers will be able to use the KINTO Share app to rent one of the Mirai cars at $198 per week (plus taxes and fees, inclusive of insurance, scheduled maintenance, and unlimited km), at which point one of three Greater Vancouver Toyota dealerships will facilitate the rental.

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
The Mirai provides a roomy and accommodating second row that’s ideal for a taxi-like ride hailing service.

“Toyota’s KINTO Share program is proud to partner with Lyft to demonstrate a zero-emission mobility-as-a-service model in another important step toward achieving our global sustainability objectives,” commented Mitchell Foreman, Director of Advanced and Connected Technologies at Toyota Canada. “This proof-of-concept project also allows more Canadians to experience hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles first-hand, demonstrating their viability and efficiency, especially for fleets.”

While just a trial program, Toyota soon hopes to roll it out across Canada in a larger scale. The program also provides an opportunity for hydrogen fuel-cell awareness.

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
Look for the “LYFT” sticker in the window.

“Everybody who sits in the back seat [of a Mirai] is going to be able to learn a little bit more about hydrogen technology,” stated Stephen Beatty, Toyota Canada’s Vice President, Corporate. “There’s no way that we could do that on our own.”

The partnership lifts up Lyft’s image as well as Toyota’s, which gains positives for adding to its zero-emissions fleet.

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
Many types of people choose to drive for Lyft in order to supplement their income.

“Lyft’s mission is to improve peoples’ lives with the world’s best transportation, and to achieve this, we need to make transportation more sustainable,” added Peter Lukomskyj, General Manager, Lyft in B.C. “This partnership will better serve current drivers and those who don’t have a vehicle, but want to drive with Lyft for supplemental income, while moving us toward our goal of reaching 100-percent electric vehicles on the platform by 2030.”

Toyota Mirai Lyft Vancouver
Toyota has introduced a redesigned Mirai for 2021.

The Mirai, which comes standard with a 151-horsepower electric motor good for 247 pound-feet of torque, was the first mass produced hydrogen fuel-cell-powered EV in the world when Toyota launched six years ago. Instead of conventional plug-in electric vehicles that might requires days to completely recharge when hooked up to a regular 12-volt household-style power outlet, or at the minimum hours when using a fast-charger, the Mirai can be totally refuelled in approximately five minutes via specially outfitted hydrogen stations, which are now located in key locations around the Vancouver lower mainland.

The Mirai can be driven up to 500 kilometres between fills, and all the while only emits water from its tailpipe. Additionally, its zero-emission status makes it eligible for BC’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, resulting in quicker commutes during peak rush hours. This can be critical for the profitability of a ride hailing driver.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Toyota

CarCostCanada

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Road Test

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
In this tranquil setting, Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio doesn’t appear so outrageously quick.

If you’re considering a performance SUV, I have four words of advice: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Despite being compact in size, or maybe because of it, the feisty Italian is one of the fastest production utilities ever created.

How fast is it? It’s evenly matched against Mercedes-AMG’s similarly sized GLC 63 S off the line, both holding title to quickest in their compact luxury SUV class, while it edges out the segment’s second-fastest BMW X3 M Competition by 3 km/h at 283 km/h (176 mph) compared to 280 (174). Possibly more important from an all-round performance perspective, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has earned more fastest lap records than any SUV available new today.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Only one SUV can outgun the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, another Italian that goes by the name of Urus.

It doesn’t hurt that it shares racing pedigree limelight with the aforementioned three-pointed star brand, even if Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is no Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Afla’s just older, wiser and cooler than Merc, the Italian brand having been formed in 1915 compared to Mercedes’ 1922 (a technicality, but it’s F1 and I’m running with it). Likewise, I’d rather hang out with Alfa’s older, wiser and cooler driver and F1 champion Kimi Räikkönen than seven-times world champ Lewis Hamilton too. Kimi’s chill and hilarious, while Lewis is always so serious, and so political… but I digress.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Do you need to ask? Of course the hood louvres are functional.

Or did I? After all, when we buy a premium branded car, especially a performance model with awesome street cred, most of us buy into the company that builds it as much as the vehicle itself. Whether we want to admit it or not, branding sells, and while Alfa Romeo doesn’t reach as many luxury buyers are Mercedes-Benz, I’m willing to wager a bet the majority of those who buy into Alfa do so with more enthusiasm. Maybe it’s an Italian thing. Alfa is all about red-blooded passion.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Sticky Pirelli performance rubber helps keep the 2021 Quadrifoglio on the straight and narrow, or at least between the lines on a curving backroad.

That Alfa Romeo is infused with more racing pedigree than most of its competitors doesn’t hurt matters either, the brand even fielding a Formula One team, which can’t be said for all of its key competitors except Mercedes-AMG—Aston Martin’s larger and much pricier DBX isn’t a direct competitor. You don’t buy one of these things because you’re being practical. Sure, a Stelvio is easier to stow things inside than a Giulia or any other premium sedan, and it seats four large adults in comfort or five in a pinch, but you can do that in a RAV4, and go pretty quick to boot, if it’s the new plug-in hybrid.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
A quad of tailpipes seems fitting given this Alfa’s name.

Pretty quick is one thing, but the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s top track speed is only beaten by Aston Martin’s new DBX amongst SUVs, the little Alfa managing 283 km/h (176 mph), as noted earlier, with the Aston whisking past at a heady 291 km/h (181 mph). The Quad is actually quicker from standstill to 100 km/h, leaving the exotic super-SUV behind as if it’s standing still, the two brands’ official 0-100 km/h times claimed to be 3.8 seconds to 4.5. That’s not even in the same ballpark, let alone on the same track (although the DBX looked fabulous pulling up behind the Merc, Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, AlphaTauri, Alfa, Alpine, Williams, Haas, and yes, Aston F1 cars as the official medical car at the Bahrain GP last weekend).

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s cabin is downright exotic.

Aston will likely follow up the current DBX with a stronger performing version at some point, just like Porsche does with its various Cayenne trims. The German brand’s Turbo S E-Hybrid is monstrous, while Bentley’s massive Bentayga Speed completely defies physics, but at least for now we can’t deny the hard numbers. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is even quicker from zero to 100 km/h than those just-noted uber utes. It’s not the quickest of all, mind you, this honour going to Lamborghini’s phenomenal Urus, which is capable of jettisoning from standstill to 100 km/h in a ferocious 3.4 seconds, while independent testers have claimed even quicker times.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The amount of leather, pseude, carbon fibre, aluminum, and other top-tier materials makes the little Alfa SUV feel like it’s worth tens of thousands more.

Of course, I haven’t even mentioned a host of super-fast SUVs, like the Dodge Durango SRT that’s good for a 4.6-second zero to 100km/h time and 250 km/h (155mph) of top speed, or the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 that can sprint to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and also gets limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). Rolls-Royce’s Cullinan Black Badge also hits 100 km/h in a scant 4.5 seconds and tops out at 250 (155), while the Porsche Macan Turbo (4.5 and 269/167), Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic Edition (4.5 and 273/170), and Range Rover Sport SVR (4.5s and 291/181 respectively) have similar performance numbers.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s cockpit is comfortable, luxurious, and most importantly fully capable of holding driver in place during hard charging.

Jaguar’s F-Pace SVR is a bit quicker off the line (4.3 and 250/155), while Mercedes-AMG’s GLE 63 S is faster still (3.9 and 280/174), as is BMW’s X5 M Competition (3.9 and 285/177), Maserati’s Levante Trofeo (3.9 and 301/187), the Audi’s RS Q8 (3.9 and 306/190). Ford’s Mustang Mach-E GT SUV is even quicker (3.7 and 209/130), as is the Durango SRT Hellcat (3.7 and 289/180), Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (3.7 and 289/180), while Tesla’s Model X P100D (2.8 and 262/163) leaves everything in electric dust. BMW’s X3 M Competition zips to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, incidentally, while the Bentayga Speed and Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid require 4.0 seconds and 3.8 seconds respectively.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Disappointed the Quadrifoglio’s gauges aren’t fully digital? We weren’t.

I’ve driven some of the above and each were crazy fun, but all said there’s something extraordinarily special about the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It feels lighter and nimbler than most, and the music made from its snarling sextet of pistons and rambunctious quartet of tailpipes is like nothing else this side of the fabulous Giulia Quadrifoglio. Combined with accompanying G forces bashing my backside into a perfectly formed leather- and Alcantara-covered driver’s seat, not to mention similar forces trying to expel me beyond that seat’s sizeable side bolsters when pushing the envelope through twisting backroads, this SUV is shockingly good.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The red engine start/stop button on the steering wheel is fabulous!

Trust me, I did my best to drive slowly. I truly did. In fact, I more or less succeeded in maintaining posted limits around the city and along rural highways, especially where joy-sucking regulation enforcers have been known to drink coffee and eat donuts while poking radar guns out windows of less inspirational Ford Explorers, but I failed miserably when beyond my city’s outer perimeter, where ideal strips of perfectly aligned pavement stretched diagonally across farmland to connect minuscule communities with circuitous secondary backroads and even quicker-paced byways. This is where Alfa’s Quadrifoglios were designed to run freely, and where I quickly learned how otherworldly this little utility is to drive.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Alfa has made big improvements with its infotainment system.

Spin its DNA drive selector to the “d” position for sportier Dynamic mode, or turn it one position farther for “RACE”, which results in even more intense performance, and prepare for ridiculous levels of speed, not to mention one of the most enticingly exhaustive snap, crackle and pop cacophonies to ever emanate from the rear of a vehicle.

Alfa Romeo wraps a beautiful set of 20-inch alloys in 255/45R20 front and 285/40R20 rear Pirelli P Zero performance rubber, which can cling to most any kind of road surface. The specially-chosen tires combine ideally with a smartly sorted chassis that feels as if it could run rings around any competitor.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
This is where you’ll find “RACE” mode.

My driving position was excellent. Alfa slightly squared-off the Quad’s leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, which was just large enough to feel substantive without being cumbersome. It features nicely formed thumb spats for a good grip, these just ahead of long alloy paddle shifters that are attached to the steering column instead of the wheel. This means they’re always where they’re supposed to be, even when the wheel’s rotated in a given direction multiple times. The steering column’s tilt and reach adjustability is generous as well, with the latter matching excellent seat adjustment. My long-legged, short-torso frame fit in well, not always the case with some rivals, which resulted in good control and much-appreciated comfort.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Few production vehicles have better seats.

No wonder Alfa Romeo’s team of professional drivers have had no issue setting global track lap records. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio leads every SUV made at Britain’s famed Silverstone (2:31.6) racetrack, not to mention Donington Park (1:21.1), and the Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch (55.9), but to be fair I must admit its record-setting 7:51.7-minute lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife was recently broken by the aforementioned GLC 63 S, the hyper-Merc laying down a wickedly quick lap time of 7.49.369 minutes.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
A panoramic sunroof is always appreciated.

Both are faster in one lap of the 20.832-km mountainside racetrack than the next-best Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, however, which did the deed in 7:59.7 minutes, while the Range Rover Sport SVR could only manage the course in 8:14 minutes. Until one of the previously mentioned super-SUVs chooses to take these two little compacts on at the ‘Ring, they’ll likely remain top of the “Green Hell” podium.

Back to my need for fairness, the Urus nabbed the title from this Stelvio Q at one of my favourite racecourses, California’s Laguna Seca. It makes sense for the 641-horsepower super-ute to beat the little Alfa, especially when factoring in the latter SUV’s comparatively bargain-basement price, but its 1:40.9-minute record lap wasn’t all that much better than the Stelvio’s 1:43.5-minute trip around the ultra-challenging track.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The second-row is amply large for this class, while it’s finished just as nicely as the passenger compartment up front.

You can get into a 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio for just $98,995, by the way, which is merely a fraction of the Urus’ $285,000 price tag. The top-tier Merc-AMG GLC starts at $94,900, by the way, while a W12-enhanced Bentayga is even pricier than the Lambo. The super-quick Audi is a happy medium at $126,500, but that’s still a lot of extra moola for its slower straight-line speed and only slightly higher terminal velocity. There’s a lot more to any of these SUVs than only performance, mind you, but despite not being a Lamborghini or Bentley, the top-line Stelvio won’t exactly leave you feeling like you’re down and out.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Stelvio’s 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks make for optimal cargo/passenger flexibility, while the track system is great for tying down cargo.

It doesn’t matter which premium branded super SUV you opt for, its interior will come stuffed full of contrast-stitched leather with ultra-suede accents, brushed and polished metals, plus glossy carbon-fibre trim, and more, while high-grade pliable composite surfaces are used where one of the above coverings won’t work. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is no exception. That said, at just under $100k it’s not going to blow away a Bentayga owner, but its interior design is nevertheless alluring, quality of workmanship excellent, and overall sense of luxury impressive.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Release levers on the cargo area sidewalls will drop the second-row seatbacks.

I was happy to learn of its updated infotainment system too, the interface more user-friendly and graphically inspiring than a four-cylinder Stelvio I drove before. Its drag and drop tile/widget design made it more customizable too, while it can do most anything its competitors can, plus compile performance statistics via various “pages” showing boost, torque, lateral Gs, etcetera.

I was surprised, but not disappointed that a fully-digital gauge cluster wasn’t included, being that the analogue dials and sporty circular shrouds looked fabulous and worked well. A large speedo and tach bookended a big high-definition multi-information display in the middle, this screen complete with the usual functions.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s V6 is a real thing of beauty.

Along with the impeccably finished cabin and outrageous performance, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is plenty practical too. It’s an SUV after all, and therefore came with a comfortable, sizeable second row with three seatbelts across, as well as three-way outboard seat heaters, two USB-A charge ports on the backside of the front console, great rear ventilation, and overall refinement as nicely finished as the front seating area.

The cargo compartment was similarly impressive, and roomy enough for the majority of peoples’ requirements. An especially useful 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatback expanded on its cargo carrying capacity further, while Alfa also included an smartly engineered aluminum track system for strapping down items that might otherwise fly about (for those moments when you temporarily forget you’re supposed to be carting cargo and start driving like Mario).

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
A closer look shows the green four-leaf clover that has adorned top models for decades.

Alfa Romeo is currently offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero-percent, by the way, so be sure to check out our 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Canada Prices page where you can also configure your Stelvio with every available colour and option. A CarCostCanada membership will also provide information about available manufacturer rebates when available, plus dealer invoice pricing that can make sure you pay the lowest price possible during negotiations. Learn how the CarCostCanada system saves you money, and remember to download our free app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store so you can have all of this critical info immediately available.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a great way to wake up every morning.

To reiterate, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is up against some very worthy premium competitors, but the fact that you’ll need to spend more than $250k in order to get something capable of outrunning it says everything you need to know. Mercedes’ fastest GLC is a more direct match and should be up for consideration, but its twin-turbo V8 doesn’t provide the same kind of high-strung audio track as Alfa’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, making the Italian more like watching (and listening to) classic F1, and the Merc more akin to today’s fast yet dull sounding hybrid machinery.

We also need to consider standard features and options. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes mostly loaded up with features, other than approximately $4k worth of add-ons, whereas the AMG GLC 63 S can be had for slightly less in base form, but the German model needs to be optioned up with more than $26k of extras to come in line with the Italian SUV. This probably makes the Stelvio Quadrifoglio the wiser choice financially, even though you probably won’t care what it costs once behind the wheel.

Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann

CarCostCanada

Tougher looking 2021 Nissan Kicks also improves infotainment systems

2021 Nissan Kicks
The 2021 Nissan Kicks gets a bold new grille and plenty of other updates, while pricing has only increased by $500.

Lovers of small hatchbacks like Nissan’s Micra and Versa Note will have noticed a disturbing trend in recent years, their cancellations.

The same has happened with most manufacturers, with Toyota having dropped its Yaris, Honda having nixed its Fit, Ford having axed its Fiesta (and Focus), and the list going on. All of the above have increased their allotment of small crossover SUVs, however, which on the surface seems as if we’re not all that concerned about fuel economy after all.

2021 Nissan Kicks
Side profile and rear styling hasn’t changed much, but it still looks attractive.

Fortunately, most of these new crossover SUVs are merely front-wheel drive economy cars on steroids. The various brands have slightly raised their suspensions and rooflines, sometimes making them more accommodating inside, but all come standard with front-wheel drivetrains and equally efficient powerplants, some not even offering all-wheel drive at all.

Yes, the concept of purchasing a new car for under $10k is now history, the Micra having sold for a measly $9,988 back in 2018 (albeit $10,488 in 2019, its last year of availability here), with even the previously cheaper Mitsubishi Mirage now selling for $13,858. While new car buyers can still purchase Chevy’s Spark for only $10,398, this now the lowest priced new vehicle in Canada, the least expensive Nissan, the Versa sedan, has crept up to $16,498, which while pricey compared to the old Versa Note or Micra, is still a great deal more affordable than Toyota’s least expensive car, its Corolla now starting at $19,350, or Honda’s Civic, now the Japanese brand’s entry-level offering at $23,400. That’s pricier than the $23,490 Mini Cooper 3-Door, which is considered (by some) to be premium.

2021 Nissan Kicks
Side mirror turn signals have been added for SV and SL trims.

This makes Nissan’s entry-level hatchback seem very affordable. The Kicks SUV is that vehicle, and with a starting price of $19,898 (plus freight and fees), up $500 from last year, it’s one of three Nissan models priced under $20k (the impressive new Sentra can be had for a bit less at $19,198).

For that extra $500, Nissan has grafted a big, imposing grille on the front of its smallest crossover, and for the most part we feel it looks quite good. Its chromed surround flows elegantly upwards and outward toward sharply chiselled headlamps, while a fresh set of LED fog lights are located just beneath, at least when viewing the Kicks’ sportiest top-line SR trim. Updates aren’t as noticeable at each side or hind end, the former featuring a new set of LED turn signals within revised side mirror housings, and the latter adding a reworked bumper cap.

2021 Nissan Kicks
The cabin mostly stays the same, except for some updated electronics.

The slight price increase also includes new standard features such as auto on/off headlamps, heated exterior mirrors, and a rear wiper/washer, while changes to the cabin include a new standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When moving up to mid-range SV and top-line SR trims, the display gets upsized to 8.0 inches in diameter, with additional features including a leather-clad steering wheel and shift knob, a single-zone auto HVAC system, and a Bose audio upgrade.

The Kicks’ 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine makes a reasonably peppy 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, which means it wasn’t changed as part of the refresh. Likewise, its continuously variable transmission (CVT) remains standard too, resulting in the identical a fuel economy rating to last year: 7.7 L/100km city, 6.6 highway and 7.2 combined with its sole front-wheel drivetrain.

2021 Nissan Kicks
The improved infotainment touchscreen now gets standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

The 2021 Kicks also comes well equipped with advanced standard safety and convenience features such as automatic emergency braking, rear auto braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and auto high-beam assistance. The move up to SV or SR trims includes driver alert monitoring plus a rear door alert system that warns the driver when something (or someone) may still be in the rear seating area after parking, while top-tier SR Premium trim adds an overhead camera system.

Nissan is currently offering the 2021 Kicks with up to $750 in additional incentives, while CarCostCanada members are saving an average of $1,000 when purchasing a new Kicks, thanks to information about manufacturer rebates (when available), factory leasing and financing deals (when offered), and dealer invoice pricing. Be sure to download our free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, so you can have all this critical money saving info available when you need it most.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

CarCostCanada

Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years marks quarter century of availability

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
The new 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years combines many of the elements of the original Boxster prototype with the thoroughly modern 718.

Porsche’s Boxster is arguably the most successful new sports car to arrive on the scene in the past 25 years. It debuted in concept form at the 1993 North American International Auto Show to much fanfare, and was followed up in production trim for the 1997 model year. The rest, as they say, is history.

To mark its silver anniversary, Porsche is offering a 718 Boxster 25 Years edition for 2021 in (you guessed it) silver, but the classic colour wasn’t only chosen to represent its quarter century celebration. In fact, the original show car actually wore the same hue, as well as a similar red interior treatment. It should be noted that black and white exterior paint are also available, while gold trim complements the front fascia, side engine vents, and “25” year badge added to the rear bumper next to the usual “Boxster” script.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
Those who like classic retrospective designs, should love the new 718 Boxster 25 years.

Such details are similar to the original prototype, with Porsche even painting the alloy wheels in the special gold tone. Sadly, the racing-style aluminum gas cap is hidden from view under a cover, instead of being fully exposed like on the original concept.

At least the new commemorative car’s power-retractable cloth roof is dyed in red like the original show model. Embosses on each front outside section is the “Boxster 25” script that also shows when the top is lowered, at which point its red interior adds to the classic look. The leather seats are red, of course, as are the door panels, with Porsche even going so far as to finish off the cabin with red carpets and floor mats that feature the “Boxster 25” insignia. Additionally, a “Boxster 25” plaque gets added to the instrument panel ahead of the front passenger, featuring 0000/1250 numbering.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
The limited edition model’s red fabric roof really sets it apart.

Below the classic looking skin is Porsche’s ultra-advanced 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, which means that it’s powered by a 911 GT3-honed naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre six-cylinder capable of 394 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque when conjoined to its standard six-speed manual gearbox, or 317 lb-ft of twist when fitted to the optional seven-speed double-clutch PDK.

Sport Chrono Package enhanced, the paddle-shift prompted model can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.0 seconds, whereas the manually geared car will need another half-second to complete the task. Similarly, the 718 Boxster manual blasts from zero to 160 km/h in 9.2 seconds, while the optional PDK variant can manage the feat in 8.7 seconds, all before topping out at 293 and 288 km/h respectively.

2021 Porsche 718 Boxster 25 Years
The 718 Boxster 25 Years’ interior is almost entirely finished in red.

While the new 718 Boxster 25 Years edition might seem as if it’s too good to be true, there is one negative in that Porsche has limited production to just 1,250 examples. For this reason, you shouldn’t expect to get a discount, if you can find one at all. You may be able to qualify for zero-percent financing, however, which Porsche is currently offering on all models including the 718 Boxster and its 718 Spyder variant. Check out our 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster Canada Prices page for more info, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app so you can access dealer invoice pricing and all of our other money saving info whenever you need it.

The new 2021 718 Boxster 25 Years is available from $106,500 plus freight and fees, while the base 718 Boxster starts at just $68,800.

Boxster 25 Years: Walkaround (6:29):

Boxster 25 Years: Forever Young (1:37):

The Boxster at 25: An Homage to its Inception (4:59):

Boxster 25 Years: Boundless Driving Freedom (1:27):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

CarCostCanada

Mini chooses radical mid-cycle makeover for 2022

2022 Mini Cooper 3-Door
Mini is giving its 2022 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible models a big update for 2022, and not without controversy.

New Mini Hatch and Convertible models are on the way, and while change is good, not everyone will like what they see.

We’ve had the current Mini design with us for nearly eight years now, so a redesign is long overdue. Still, we’ll only get a mid-cycle refresh for the 2022 model year, with a thorough ground-up redesign expected at some point in the next few years. Then again, Mini might have you questioning your beliefs if you’re currently thinking major updates only happen when a car gets completely revamped.

2022 Mini Cooper S 3-Door
The new Cooper S’ front end certainly looks more aggressive.

Like so many other model updates in recent years, the new 2022 Mini Hatch and Convertible have grown their grille size, the result easier to see on more basic Cooper and Cooper S trims than with the brand’s much sportier John Cooper Works (JCW) iteration, because the more affordable models feature a big body-colour bumper section within their grilles, and the top-tier version gets a completely blacked-out mesh grille insert, plus a much more intimidating lower front fascia, which is also finished in matte black.

Another visual departure replaces the cars’ classic round fog lights with narrow vertical creases, modernizing the Mini look yet not paying homage to its storied past, an unusual move for a retrospective brand. These appear like brake ducts instead of anything to house lighting elements, while the headlamp clusters now integrate the fog lights. The aforementioned JCW now grows out these corner vent/brake ducts, and could be said to look all the better for it.

2022 Mini Cooper S 5-Door
The roomy 5-Door model gets all the updates too.

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 Convertible
Changes to the sides and rear are much less noticeable.

It’s difficult to say now, but it’s possible Mini’s new front fascia may become just as controversial as the tall, vertical “twin kidney” grille found on the front of BMW’s new 3 and 4 Series models. BMW, which owns and produces Mini, has created just a hubbub of discontent amongst its diehard ownership base, that aftermarket producers are already creating replacement front fascias with arguably better looking (smaller and more discreet) grille openings, which means the German automaker could inadvertently be creating a secondary market for its Mini line as well.

No doubt it has been difficult for Mini’s various design teams to update its lineup over the decades, being that it’s such an iconic brand. Volkswagen had similar challenges with its Beetle, no doubt, but they chose subtle changes that worked well, at least until they recently canceled the nameplate. Up until now, Mini has risen to the challenge admirably, but it’s possible, in a quest to expand the brand to a larger group of potentially new buyers, they’ve gone too far with the latest update.

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
Changes to the 2022 Mini interiors are minor.

Where the new Mini’s frontal design shows most of the changes, the car’s side profile and rear styling look more akin to the outgoing model, with updates to the former including “side scuttle” fender garnishes now featuring thin LED light strips for turn signal repeaters, and the latter portion only getting a revised bumper cap that no longer includes rear fog lamps or reflectors. Mini is also offering an optional Multitone Roof, which features a stylish gradient effect mixing Soul Blue, Pearly Aqua and Jet Black.

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
A new digital instrument cluster modernizes the driving experience.

A new standard digital instrument cluster is the only noticeable update inside. It was first seen on the Mini Cooper SE plug-in hybrid and sportiest John Cooper Works GP model. The steering wheel is new as well, and warmer thanks to a heated rim. Additionally, the car’s centre air vents have now been better integrated within the dash panel.

An 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen now comes standard in every new Mini Hatch and Convertible too. It provides modernized graphics and enhanced features, such as standard satellite radio and Apple CarPlay, although the more popular Google Android smartphone platform has yet to get full device integration through its Android Auto system. Fortunately, lane-departure warning will be standard for 2022, while the car’s adaptive cruise control system will include stop-and-go capability. Finally, Mini has reworked the interior’s ambient lighting system.

2022 Mini Cooper S Convertible
An updated infotainment enhance interior livability.

As for under-the-hood mechanicals, Mini Canada continues forward with a standard six-speed manual gearbox for 2022, while its fast-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox remains optional, with steering wheel paddles of course.

Likewise, engine output is once again rated at 134 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque for Mini Canada’s base Cooper model, this strong for an efficient 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder. The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder in the Cooper S moves into 2022 unchanged too, continuing to make 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, while the same engine in the JCW puts out 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. Lastly, the plug-in SE once again boasts 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible
We think the new Mini John Cooper Works looks best.

2022 model year pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but production started last month so we should receive details soon. If we were to venture a guess, all of the just-noted improvements to standard trims will likely increase base prices modestly.

Alternatively, those that take a look at the new 2022 Mini and instead want a 2021 version, or perhaps even a new 2020 model if you can still find the colour and features you want, should take note that the British carmaker is currently offering up to $1,500 in additional incentives for the former and $3,000 from the latter, as per our 2021 Mini 3 Door Canada Prices page and 2020 Mini 3 Door Canada Prices page, while average CarCostCanada member savings equals a sizeable $10,000. Similarly, Mini is offering up to $1,500 in additional incentives from 2021 and 2020 Convertibles, and up to $2,500 in incentives on 2021 and 2020 5-Door models.

CarCostCanada members can access key information about all the latest factory rebates, manufacturer financing and leasing rates, plus best of all, dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands during negotiations. Be sure to learn how a CarCostCanada membership can save you money, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mini

CarCostCanada

Panamera Turbo S achieves record 1:31.51-minute lap time at Road Atlanta

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S looks menacing on Road Atlanta, and it should now that it holds the track record for production sedans.

What’s the fastest sedan in the world? Numerous four-door competitors have made claims of being quickest off the line, achieving the highest top track speed, and providing the best handling characteristics, but there’s a very good argument for the Porsche Panamera Turbo S being the current title holder.

Back in July of last year, an even less powerful Panamera Turbo achieved the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record for production executive cars with Porsche works driver Leh Keen at the wheel, a title it continues to hold today, while Keen also piloted the even more capable Panamera Turbo S to the top spot amongst production sedans at the challenging 4.0-km long Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta road course with a lap time of 1:31.51 minutes.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Road Atlanta is a challenging 4.0-km long road course.

“The engineers found a perfect balance,” commented Keen after his record lap. “They really made it feel small and sporty. The stability gave me a ton of confidence to use every bit of the asphalt and curbs. And yet the car has a completely different and more refined and relaxed character on the highway – an amazing combination.”

Factor in the Panamera is a luxury sedan made from some of the finest materials available, and filled with top-tier premium features (which add a lot of weight), and its highly competitive time seems even more daunting. The only cars that have officially beaten the Panamera Turbo S’ lap time include two Chevy Corvette Z06 (C7) entries with times of 1:30.18 and 1:29.81, a Dodge Viper ACR (Mk V) that ran Atlanta at 1:26.54, a Corvette ZR1 that did it in 1:26.45, and three Porsche 911s that hold third, second and first, including a GT3 RS at 1:26.24 and two GT2 RS (991) entries, the best of which achieved a time of 1:24.88. This puts the Panamera Turbo S in seventh place overall.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
The less powerful Panamera Turbo currently holds the production sedan record at Germany’s famed Nürburgring Nordschleife too.

This also means the big four-door Porsche outpaced its own Cayman GT4 (718), which ran the track in 1:32.24 with the same driver at the wheel, not to mention the Taycan Turbo S that Keen drove to 1:33.88 (and earned a best lap time for EVs).

The Panamera Turbo S is new for 2021, as is its 620-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine. It puts 604 lb-ft of torque down to all four wheels, resulting in a mind-blowing zero to 100km/h sprint time of only 3.1 seconds, and an amazingly fast top track speed of 315 km/h (196 mph).

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Porsche works driver Leh Keen piloted the Panamera Turbo S to its lap record.

Along with all of the luxurious refinement and high-tech features that come with a car of the Panamera’s calibre, the new Turbo S comes standard with a host of advanced performance features too, including Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+), rear axle steering, and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport roll-stabilization system (PDCC Sport).

The only change from production spec during its record setting Road Atlanta run, was the allowed upgrade from stock performance rubber to newly-developed road-legal Michelin Pilot Sport cup 2 ND0 ultra-high-performance tires that measure 275/35 ZR 21 103Y XL up front and 325/30 ZR 21 108Y XL at the rear. The “N” designation means these Michelins were co-developed with Porsche, with this special tire specifically designed for the Panamera and tuned at the aforementioned Nürburgring Nordschleife race track.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Porsche’s team of motorsport professionals takes track performance very seriously, which is why the brand’s cars drive so well on the road too.

It should be noted that vehicle data acquisition and timing expert Racelogic recorded and verified the Panamera Turbo S’ Road Atlanta lap time using their VBOX video HD2 system. They’d better keep that timing equipment ready, because something tells us Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S will be setting more lap records in the near future.

To find out more about Porsche’s flagship sport sedan as well as its even more practical extended Sport Turismo variant, check out our 2021 Porsche Panamera Canada Prices page that shows all retail pricing and allows you to build out each trim with all available features.

Even better, a CarCostCanada membership will provide you with dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when it comes time to negotiate, not to mention other savings from manufacturer rebates when available, to factory leasing and financing rates that are currently set to zero percent. The CarCostCanada app will make sure you have all of this valuable info at your fingertips when you need it most, so be sure to download it for free at the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S: Road Atlanta Record Lap (2:12):

Panamera Turbo S Record Lap: Driver’s POV (1:50):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

CarCostCanada

New Mercedes EQA brings electric power to entry-level luxury SUV segment

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
Mercedes is preparing its new EQA electric for sale, and we think it’ll eventually arrive here in Canada where small SUVs do very well.

Mercedes is expanding its electric vehicle lineup rapidly, due to the goal of providing a “Carbon Neutral” model lineup by 2039, with the latest plug-in offering possibly its most important being that it’s the gateway into three-pointed star EVs.

When (or if) the EQA is sold into the Canadian market (we shouldn’t expect it before calendar year 2022), it will most likely be Mercedes’ most affordable EV. Designed to slot below the EQC, which was originally scheduled to launch later this year but will likely arrive next year, the EQA will initially combine for a three-way EV lineup topped off by the full-size EQS luxury sedan and SUV variant (although the EQE sedan and SUV are expected to join below the EQS models, these targeting Tesla’s Model X and Audi’s E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback).

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
The long, wide strip of LED taillights does a good job of separating the EQA from its GLA-Class platform donor.

Mercedes is obviously targeting the Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, and Audi E-Tron GT Quattro with the latter (or maybe more so with the upcoming EQE sedan), as well as the Tesla Model Y and Jaguar i-Pace with the EQC, whereas only the Volvo XC40 Recharge competes directly with the EQA (and to some extent the BMW i3), allowing a fairly open market in the electrically-powered subcompact luxury SUV market segment. This could change in the next year or so, however.

According to Mercedes-Benz Canada President and CEO, Brian Fulton who was addressing journalists attending the Montreal International Auto Show in January of 2019, the EQS, EQC and this EQA model will initiate a 10-model EQ lineup of new EVs, with one of the others including an EQB (based on the GLB subcompact SUV).

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
The EQA is 100-percent electric, so you’ll need to plug it in to get power.

While the EQC’s dual electric motors produce 300 kilowatts (402 horsepower) and 564 lb-ft of torque, the smaller EQA’s initial 250 trim line will offer a single electric motor with 140 kW (188 hp), focusing more on efficiency than performance. A more capable performer is expected to make approximately 200 kW (268 hp) through a second electric motor driving an opposing set of wheels, this resulting in all-wheel drive. A thin battery gets spread out below the floor in order to maximize interior space, enhance weight distribution, and lower the model’s centre of gravity to optimize handling.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
Anyone familiar with current Mercedes interiors will feel right at home in the highly advanced EQA.

Of utmost importance, the EQA’s range is said to be about 500 kilometres on a single charge (depending on the model chosen), based on Europe’s somewhat optimistic NEDC and WLTP standards (we should expect this number to be downsized when the EQA hits North American markets).

Making the most of stored electricity, the EQA will utilize an intelligent navigation system that plots out the most efficient routes possible after calculating real-time traffic information, as well as terrain, weather conditions, driving style, and charging requirements.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
The EQA uses a modified version of the same MBUX gauge cluster/infotainment display found in the GLA.

Further aiding efficiency, Mercedes has incorporated a standard heat pump to channel the warmth generated from the EQA’s electric powertrain into the passenger compartment. Eco Assist aids battery usage too, while plenty of advanced driver assistive systems and electronic safety technologies have been designed to protect everyone onboard.

While most might think Mercedes used one of its wind tunnels to perfect the EQA’s impressive 0.28 drag coefficient, the reality is that such aerodynamics were achieved digitally, a first for the German carmaker. Therefore, the EQA’s smooth exterior shell with nearly flush headlights and grille, plus its arcing coupe-like roofline, wind-cheating alloys, and almost completely enclosed underbelly were the result of computer simulations.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
EQA seating looks just as roomy and comfortable as in the gasoline-powered GLA-Class.

Just the same, there’s no denying the EQA’s GLA-Class roots. The new electric shares architectural hard points with Mercedes’ smallest gasoline-powered SUV, just like the brand’s other EQ models utilize the underpinnings of their similarly named counterparts.

Mercedes has added blue accents to the headlight clusters for a bit more personality, while an LED light strip visually connects those lenses with daytime running lamps that span across the grille. The theme gets used similarly for the SUV’s hind quarters too, which show organically-shaped LED taillights visually connecting through a narrow reflector that spans the back hatch.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
The slim battery rides low under the EQA’s floor, aiding handling.

Inside, the EQA should look familiar to anyone who’s experienced a modern-day Mercedes model. The instrument panel is highlighted by the automaker’s dual-screen MBUX display, featuring a digital primary instrument cluster to the left and an infotainment touchscreen on the right, the latter controllable via a touchpad and buttons on the lower centre console as well. Together with such systems’ normal functions, the two EQA displays will feature a bevy of EV-specific graphic interfaces.

Just like with its gasoline-powered models, Mercedes also integrates ambient lighting to highlight key interior design elements in the EQA. Materials quality should be up to par as well, while an optional rose gold trim package should match similarly coloured smartphones.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA
Initially, a less potent EQA 250 model will debut.

Although Mercedes’ EQA is not yet available for purchase, those wanting an efficient subcompact luxury SUV should consider the brand’s GLA-Class, which is currently being offered with up to $1,000 in additional incentives, or if you can still manage to find a new 2020 model (2020 was a rough year for car sales after all) you may be able to save up to $5,000 in additional incentives.

To find out more, visit our 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA Canada Prices and 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA Canada Prices pages, plus remember that a CarCostCanada membership can provide yet more savings from factory rebates (when available), manufacturer leasing and financing deals (when available), and always available dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when negotiating your deal. Check out how easy the CarCostCanada system is to use and how affordable it is, plus be sure to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mercedes-Benz

CarCostCanada

New Kia minivan drops Sedona moniker for global Carnival nameplate

2022 Kia Carnival
The new 2022 Carnival says goodbye to the Sedona’s rounded styling.

For reasons only those within Kia’s inner circle will understand, the South Korean brand has ditched its longstanding Sedona nameplate for Carnival, a badge it uses for its minivan outside of North America.

Kia’s fourth-generation minivan is now available as a 2022 model, and fans of practical family haulers should be impressed no matter what they call it. The new design doesn’t deviate from the old model’s mid-size, three-row layout, but its uniquely angular and more upscale styling will no doubt pull eyeballs.

2022 Kia Carnival
The Carnival’s cabin improves on the Sedona’s luxury.

The name change is nothing new, by the way, with Kia already saying so long to the Optima name for its mid-size sedan that used to be dubbed Magentis here, adopting K5 instead. Like it or not, we’re living in a more globalized world now, so it only makes sense to find one name that works for all markets. Still, their naming convention doesn’t seem to follow the usual protocol of either sticking to letters and numbers, like K5, or names, like Carnival. With Kia it’s now a mixture of alphanumeric and more easily recognizable nameplates, with others in their lineup including Rio, Soul, ForteStinger, Seltos, Niro, Sportage, Sorento, and Telluride.

2022 Kia Carnival
A digital gauge cluster joins a large infotainment touchscreen in one dual-display design.

The new Carnival debuted last June in Kia’s home market of South Korea, showing off sharp new styling and a totally fresh, more luxurious cabin. We won’t be getting the domestic market Hi Limousine variant that boasts business class seating and premium level refinement, but our LX, LX+, EX, EX+ and SX trims should be an improvement over the same trims in the outgoing Sedona, the latter of which already raised the bar in the North American minivan segment when it arrived for the 2015 model year.

2022 Kia Carnival
The cockpit is well organized, complete with a new rotating gear selector.

Twin-screen digital displays combine for a configurable gauge cluster and multi-information display on the left and large centre-mounted infotainment touchscreen on the right, similarly in concept to Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system. Quick access knobs and buttons can be found on a narrow display just below, while the rest of the centre stack includes a large multi-zone HVAC interface and a USB connectivity panel, all sitting above a lower centre console that houses driving controls, including a rotating gear selector featuring knurled metal edges.

2022 Kia Carnival
With no shortage of seats, the Carnival provides plenty of room for everyone.

The Sedona’s eight-speed automatic transmission carries forward, connecting through to a revised 3.5-litre V6 now good for 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, which is a major improvement over the outgoing model’s 276 hp and 248 lb-ft. Other markets also have the option of a 2.5-litre turbo-four, plus a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, neither of which will be sold here.

2022 Kia Carnival
Unfortunately these comfortable second-row lounge chairs won’t be available in Canada.

The new 2022 Carnival is priced from $34,495 plus freight and fees, with top-line SX trim costing $48,295. Our 2022 Kia Carnival Canada Prices page is showing factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent, so make sure to check it out as there are many other ways to save money with CarCostCanada, particularly by accessing dealer invoice pricing that can make a big difference during negotiations.

By the way, our 2021 Kia Sedona Canada Prices page shows up to $750 in additional incentives, while average member savings are $2,250, just in case you prefer the smoother lines of the Sedona or merely want to pocket more savings.

2022 Kia Carnival
There’s always room for more cargo in a minivan.

Find out how a CarCostCanada membership can help you save even more money, by telling you about manufacturer financing and leasing rates when available, as well as factory rebates, and of course dealer invoice pricing. Also, make sure to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, so you can have all this critical info at your fingertips when you need it most.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Kia

CarCostCanada

Refreshed 2021 Honda Ridgeline looks ruggedly handsome

2021 Honda Ridgeline
Honda’s refreshed 2021 Ridgeline certainly looks more rugged and truck-like.

Most auto industry pundits lauded the second-generation Ridgeline’s driveability, refinement and creature comforts when it arrived on the scene in 2017, but not many praised its outward styling. It wasn’t offensive, unless you’re negatively triggered by soft, conservative, blandness, but it wasn’t about to sway Toyota Tacoma owners away from their trusted steeds, or for that matter buyers of Chevy’s Colorado, GMC’s Canyon, Ford’s Ranger or even Nissan’s Frontier (which will soon be updated). Now for 2021, fortunately, Honda has seen the light and made this otherwise impressive mid-size pickup truck a serious looker.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
Its rear design doesn’t look very different, but that’s no bad thing.

Replacing the outgoing Ridgeline’s aerodynamically effective albeit aesthetically displeasing grille and hood, is a bolder, brasher, more upright grille ahead of a broader, flatter hood featuring a domed centre section for added visual muscle. This is joined by a tougher, more rugged looking lower front fascia and a fresh set of front fenders, all resulting in a much more attractive Ridgeline.

Updates to the 2021 Ridgeline’s side and rear styling are less noticeable, with the former painting the cab’s rearmost extension in black instead of body-colour, and the rear bumper forgoing any metal brightwork trim.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline’s standard all-wheel drive system continues to be good in the snow.

The refreshed 2021 Ridgeline is now available at Honda retailers across Canada from $44,355 plus freight and fees. That base Ridgeline Sport trim features standard all-wheel drive, while a fancier Ridgeline EX-L can be had for $47,355, a Ridgeline Touring for $51,555, and a Ridgeline Black Edition for $53,055.

Pricing in mind, our 2021 Honda Ridgeline Canada Prices page is showing factory leasing and financing rates from 2.49 percent, while CarCostCanada members are averaging savings of $2,050. Those wanting most of the Ridgeline’s goodness without the new styling upgrades can also opt for a 2020 version, which benefited from up to $2,000 in additional incentives at the time of writing. Make sure to download the free CarCostCanada mobile app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store to have access to all the most critical information you’ll need when negotiating your next new vehicle purchase, including otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Learn more about how CarCostCanada works here.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
Not a 4×4 per se, Honda’s Ridgeline can manage itself fairly well off pavement.

Before opting for a 2020 model to save money, keep in mind that Honda made yet more updates to the new 2021 Ridgeline, including new standard LED low beam headlamps with reflector beam halogen high beams, plus arguably more attractive 18-inch alloy wheels encircled by more capable looking rubber. These should provide better high-speed stability thanks to 20 mm of extra track width, improving the truck’s visual stance as well.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline can haul a heavy payload, despite its unibody design.

Despite the second-gen Ridgeline’s cabin being impressive already, Honda updated the instrument panel’s centre stack with a new infotainment touchscreen that adds back a rotating volume knob for quickly adjusting the sound. All 2021 Ridgeline trims receive contrast stitching for the seats as well, while Sport trim gets updated cloth seat inserts, and Sport, EX-L and Touring models feature new dash, steering wheel and centre console accents. The rest of the interior remains unchanged, including its accommodating rear passenger area that boasts a completely flat floor and foldaway 60/40-split rear lower seat cushions.

The 2021 Ridgeline’s 3.5-litre V6 is carryover too. It continues to output 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, while connecting through to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission. This allows for an impressive claimed fuel economy rating of 12.8 L/100km city, 9.9 highway and 11.5 combined.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline’s tow rating has always been impressive at 5,000 lbs.

As noted earlier in this story, Honda’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring AWD comes standard. The sophisticated design can send up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels when required, while continuously apportioning up to 100 percent of that twist between left and right rear tires when slippage occurs. A standard Intelligent Traction Dynamics System aids power delivery further by attributing engine torque to the wheel with the most grip, whether dealing with wet, snowy, muddy, or sandy conditions.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
No one criticized the Ridgeline’s refined interior when the second-gen version was introduced.

Optimizing traction benefits safety, of course, as does the new Ridgeline’s standard Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistive features such as Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

The Ridgeline does well in U.S. collision safety ratings too, with strong National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ratings. The truck gets “GOOD” marks for all IIHS collision tests, plus a “SUPERIOR” IIHS rating for frontal crash prevention, while its 5-star Overall Vehicle Score in the European NCAP system is impressive as well.

2021 Honda Ridgeline
The infotainment system sees the return of a rotating volume knob for 2021.

When Honda initially launched the Ridgeline, it made a big deal out of its 5,000 lb (2,267 kg) rating, but most auto journalists in attendance were more surprised at how nimble it handled while towing a fully loaded trailer. Likewise, the unibody truck hauls a heavy load, capable of up to 1,571 lbs (713 kg) on its bed, which still houses a lockable trunk below the load floor. What’s more, the trunk and bed can be accessed via a regular folding tailgate or hinges on the side of the same panel that allow the door to swing sideways.

Now, with its bolder, more appealing styling and other improvements, the 2021 Ridgeline might give some of its rivals a serious run for their money.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Honda