Nissan increases Leaf base price by $3,300 and adds improved Leaf Plus model

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
The new 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus improves range by up to 50 percent, and straight-line performance by 13 percent. (Photo: Nissan)

What’s the best-selling electric car of all time? That’s actually a pretty cut and dry question, but nevertheless it gets debated more often than it should be. 

Some point to Tesla that’s made massive inroads into the EV market in recent years, but while the brand has racked up plenty of overall sales, no individual model has yet come out on top. Since the first Tesla Roadster went on sale in 2012 and calendar year 2018 came to a close on December 31, the U.S. all-electric brand had sold an approximate total of 532,000 units, which far and away makes it the most successful electric car producer, but despite reportedly receiving 325,000 reservations of the Model 3 after only a week of being unveiled in 2016, and that waiting list having grown to 455,000 units by August of 2017, the car’s actual deliveries hadn’t exceeded 238,000 by April 21, 2019, which while impressive for any startup automaker, is still far behind the real EV sales leader, Nissan and its much more plentiful Leaf. 

Before we receive a slew of “What about the Toyota Prius?” questions in our inbox, take note the Prius isn’t really a full electric vehicle, but rather a hybrid that still relies on a regular gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) to get where it’s going. 

Unlike a full EV, the Prius’ battery and electric motor supplements the ICE’s motive power, and can only be used for 100-percent electric mobility at low speeds (under 20 km/h) and short distances (such as in public parking garages). Toyota now produces a plug-in hybrid model named Prius Prime, which provides longer distances of all-electric use at higher speeds, but it hasn’t sold very strongly so far. 

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
Recently redesigned Leaf offers up much more appealing styling than its funky predecessor. (Photo: Nissan)

Alternatively, Nissan’s Leaf is a pure electric vehicle that totally relies on its battery and electric motor for motive power, so therefore needs to be regularly recharged from a home or public charging station, instead of refueled at a gas station like the Prius and other hybrids. Where the two iconic green cars enjoy similarities, however, is in their best-selling status, the Prius as the all-time leader amongst hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and the Leaf as the undisputed electric vehicle (EV) champion. And yes, if you were wondering when we’d get to the Leaf’s total sales number, Nissan has sold and delivered more than 390,000 Leaf hatchbacks since it became available in 2010. 

Making sure it maintains its leadership, Nissan now offers the 2019 Leaf with two power units, both of which are more formidable than the single battery/motor combination provided with last year’s model. As part of the 2019 model upgrade introduced halfway through 2018, Nissan gave its Leaf a new 40kWh Li-ion battery and uprated 110-kW (147-horsepower) electric motor, which was a 16kWh improvement over the old version. This meant that it could (and still can) travel up to 243 kilometres on a single charge compared to only 172 km with the previous model, a 69-km increase that made all the difference in the world. Still, not willing to rest on its laurels, the new Leaf Plus connects a 62-kWh battery to a 160 kW (214 hp) electric motor for an estimated 363-km of range. 

“With the addition of LEAF PLUS, the Nissan LEAF is now available with two battery options and a choice of four trim levels – each featuring the many advanced technologies offered under the banner of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” commented Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc. in a press release.  

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
Leaf Plus get a unique front fascia. (Photo: Nissan)

To be clear, starting this April the 2019 Leaf is available in four trims instead of just three, but two of its previous trims are no longer available. The new base trim is the $40,698 Leaf SV, which is now followed by the $43,998 Leaf S Plus, the $46,598 Leaf SV Plus, and finally the $49,498 Leaf SL Plus, with a $1,950 destination charge added to all models. 

The new base price is therefore $3,900 more expensive than the outgoing version, but this is due to the cancellation of regular Leaf S trim, which was priced at $36,798 through the last half of 2018 and calendar year 2019 thus far. What’s more, the regular Leaf SL, which added luxury features such as two-tone black and grey perforated leather and microfibre-like Bio Suede PET cloth upholstery, an Intelligent Around View Monitor, Driver Attention Alert, seven-speaker Bose premium audio, turn signal repeaters integrated within the side mirror caps, and more for $42,698, will no longer be available for order in Canada either (they’re both still offered in the U.S.), but you may be able to locate one or the other at a Nissan retailer. 

Comparing apples to apples, the price difference between the regular Nissan Leaf and new Leaf Plus in SV trim, which are mostly similar, is $5,900, but take note that along with increased performance, 120 km (or about 50-percent) or so of added range, and an enhanced recharging system (keep reading), the Leaf Plus SV also includes a slightly reworked front fascia featuring special blue highlights, an “e+” logo plate on the lower portion of the charge port lid, and new rear badging (depending on trim level), while other standard enhancements include forward collision warning, Rear Door Alert (which warns if someone or something has been left in the rear seating area), and a 1.0-inch larger 8.0-inch centre touchscreen (a 7.0-inch touchscreen is standard and the old base 5.0-inch display has been discontinued). 

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
The top-line Leaf Plus SL provides premium levels of luxury features. (Photo: Nissan)

Also notable, the infotainment systems found in both regular Leaf SV and Leaf S Plus base models now come standard with a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, satellite radio, etcetera, but only SV trims provide voice recognition, NissanConnect EV (that remotely connects the car to your smartphone), six audio speakers (instead of four), and more. 

Additionally, the $3,300 more affordable Leaf SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels instead of the 16-inch alloys that come standard on the Leaf S Plus, as well as fog lights, an electronic parking brake (in place of a foot-operated parking brake), an auto-dimming centre mirror, a Homelink universal garage door opener, an eight-way power driver’s seat with two-way lumbar, a tonneau cover, and a bevy of advanced driver assistance features such as autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection (which basically includes the SV Plus model’s forward collision warning), auto high beams, dynamic cruise control with full speed range and hold, ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous self-driving, Steering Assist, blindspot warning, lane keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and more. 

The menu of items just mentioned is also standard with the new Leaf SV Plus, while a shorter list of luxury features spoken of earlier in this story, when covering the now outgoing Leaf SL, is also pulled up to the new Leaf SL Plus model, albeit with a big $6,800 difference in price thanks to its performance and driving distance enhancements. 

Now is probably an apropos opportunity to explain that plenty of electric vehicle owners consider range performance similarly to how conventional car buyers may be willing to ante up more for faster acceleration and better all-round handling. No matter which way you look at it, the two different Leaf models ensure “that there’s a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers,” as said in a press release. 

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
The new Leaf Plus includes a standard 8-inch touchscreen. (Photo: Nissan)

Speaking of those who just want to take off a little quicker, despite weighing in at 1,737 kilograms (3,831 lbs) compared to 1,580 kg (3,483 lbs), the new Leaf Plus reduces sprint times by 13 percent over the regular Leaf, which will let its drivers “confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly, and merge easily with fast-moving traffic,” says Nissan. Additionally, Nissan has given the new Leaf Plus and extra 10 percent more top speed, with more “comfortable cruising” capability being the target. 

This being an electric vehicle, faster charging times will be an even greater reason to opt for the new Leaf Plus. Along with all the other upgrades, its new standard 100kW-capacity quick charging system allow for an 80-percent recharge within just 45 minutes (as per the Nissan Canada retail website). If the only option is a 75-kW DC quick charger it will only take another 5 minutes for a total of 50 minutes in order to reach that 80-percent goal, or alternatively 60 minutes is what’s needed when using a 50-kW DC quick charger. Of note, the regular Leaf requires approximately 40 minutes to achieve the same 80-percent charge with the 50-kW DC quick charger, but be forewarned that you can’t connect it to the 75-kW or 100-kW DC fast charging stations. 

If you’ve already set up a regular 240-volt home charging station, the new Leaf Plus will require about 11.5 hours to fully charge, or approximately 3 and a half hours longer than the regular Leaf. Also, the Leaf Plus can be driven for about 35 km after about an hour on the same 240-volt charger, which is good to know if you just want to top it up while visiting the mall. 

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
The new Leaf Plus allows multiple ways to recharge. (Photo: Nissan)

While not filling up at a traditional pump it’s always important to remember that EVs use resources, and to that end both Leaf models are ultra-efficient, with energy equivalent ratings of 1.9 Le/100km city and 2.4 highway for the regular Leaf, or 2.1 Le/100km city and 2.5 highway for the new Leaf Plus. Litres of gasoline are never part of the equation, of course, but rather the Le/100km rating system can be a helpful tool in understanding how electric vehicles’ energy consumption compares to the fuel economy of gasoline-powered vehicles, not to mention how each EV’s energy use compares to the other. 

What’s more, it’s important to note that the new Leaf Plus’ battery doesn’t impinge on interior packaging at all, with both front and rear seating compartments identically sized for comfortable accommodations all-round, plus cargo volume still capable of being loading up with 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet) of gear when its rear seats are in use, and 849 litres (30.0 cubic feet) when the standard 60/40 split-folding seatbacks are lowered. 

So now that you know all that’s changing with the Leaf halfway through its 2019 model year, you may want to take advantage of the savings still available if you’d rather opt for the less powerful regular model, whether choosing non-Plus versions of the base Leaf S or top-line Leaf SL, because there are still some available at Canadian Nissan retailers (depending on your area). This said, if you’d rather pay more for quicker charging, added range, and improved straight-line performance, the all-new Leaf Plus is already starting to show up at those same dealers. 

To find out more about all the available 2019 Nissan Leaf and 2019 Leaf Plus trims, packages and options, including pricing for each, and/or to learn out about any of the rebates potentially available, not to mention dealer invoice pricing that might just save you thousands, be sure to visit this page right here on CarCostCanada. 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann  

Photo credits: Nissan

The Shift to Electric: All The Latest Fuel-Free Rides!

As we move towards a more environmentally-friendly and carbon footprint conscious world, electric vehicles have become increasingly popular. They are just as versatile and capable as your average car but they come with benefits that help the environment. At the end of the day, our planet is here to stay but we have to do our part to assist in that cycle, and that starts with small lifestyle changes such as considering an electric vehicle for your next car purchase.

 

Car manufacturers nowadays are taking into consideration these factors and creating lines of electric cars to adapt to the trend. Even regular models and makes of cars have new additions that make their drive less damaging to the environment, such as eco-drive and eco-temperature options. Various car companies have offered these options, allowing consumers to pick and choose based on their niche needs. To understand the different options, we have created this car comparison for you to see the similarities and differences between vehicles so that you can choose the best option for you.

 

Affordable Electric Cars

 

Starting off with the affordable spectrum of the industry, these vehicles are ones that provide the usability and features that you expect to see along with a couple of unique factors that give it the wow factor at a low cost. The range of some of these vehicles is comparable to luxury models without the hefty price tag.

 

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

 

This vehicle is brand new for this year and has already taken the electric vehicle industry by storm. It is a comparable vehicle to high-priced luxury models, with quality interior, rapid acceleration, and a competitive EV range of 258 miles. It comes with an SAE combo charger (for all trims) allowing the DC voltage to go directly into the large battery. It also has adjustable regenerative braking, amongst other quality features. The Kona Electric pricing starts at $37,496.

 

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

 

Prior to the Kona Electric, this vehicle was the only non-Tesla car to offer electric driving range around 250 miles. The company has experience working in this industry so they have advantages when it comes to effective features and long-term durability. Overall, this vehicle has an exceptional range of 238 miles and performance for its price. The Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at $37,495.

 

2019 Nissan Leaf

 

The Nissan Leaf is an exceptional choice, having been resigned last year. Significant improvements have been made to improve the vehicle. It has become quieter, more comfortable, and more rewarding a vehicle to drive. It is also a top contender as it offers plenty of range for any commute. The initial trim has an EV range of 150 miles but the Leaf Plus variant cranks that up to 226 miles. Pending on your needs and duration of your everyday drive, you have the option to upgrade to tailor to that. The starting price for the Nissan Leaf is $30, 885.

 

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

 

Compared to other electric vehicles in the same area in the industry, the Ioniq Electric offers all the user-friendly tech to navigate the vehicle at a lower price. It is one of the most efficient electric drivetrains on the market as the EPA’s miles per gallon shows that it uses its charge well so that you can pay less to keep the vehicle charged. The EV range is lower, at 124 miles, but it continues to offer many benefits at an appealing price of $31, 235.

 

Luxury Electric Vehicles

 

Moving towards the luxurious side of the electric car industry, these vehicles are catered towards those that want a nice looking car with all the features needed for their convenience. At a higher price, they do offer more variations and choices for the consumer. Their differences compared to the affordable options can be shown below.

 

2019 Tesla Model S

 

Perhaps the most talked about and well sought after vehicle is the Tesla Model S. It is the classic offering of the company as it presents a roomy and attractive interior with incredible driving dynamics and an EV range of 335 miles. Although it is one of the oldest Tesla models in production, it stays as a favourite classic for many. If you are looking for an electric vehicle option with the Tesla badge, the S is the best of them all. It starts at a high price point of $86,200.

 

2019 BMW i3

 

The BMW i3 may not have the highest range but it offers a gas-powered range extender which provides peace of mind to those that are anxious about the EV range. Just like other BMW models and makes, this has one of the best interiors. The stylish aesthetic combined with the modern theme makes it an appealing option while maintaining a user-friendly surface. If you are looking for a sporty electric option, this is one of the best options, starting at $45, 445.

 

Benefits of having an Electric Vehicle

 

An electric car allows you to save money as electricity is cheaper than gas. Over the lifetime of the vehicle, you will be able to feel the significant change. If you have a charging station, it is simple to plug in and get your vehicle charged as you are running errands or completing your work. Electric cars also have less moving parts, thus there are fewer opportunities for internal issues of your vehicle, minimizing overall maintenance costs. Lastly, there are tax incentives available for electric vehicle owners which can be helpful with the initial expenses of the car.

 

Choosing the Electric Vehicle for You

 

The main factors are looking at when and where you would be able to charge as well as how long the drive is to get to another charging station. Alongside that, knowing the duration of your normal everyday drives will help you identify whether you need a vehicle with a longer EV range or not. Taking these factors into consideration will help you narrow down your choices. If you are debating between a luxury and affordable model, that is usually up to preference. Luxury models will always have more features to choose from alongside multiple benefits as opposed to the one or two unique factors of an affordable electric vehicle. Find out what your priorities are and compare them to each of these vehicles to make your final decision.

 

If you are looking to purchase a new electric vehicle, getting a car dealer’s report will help you negotiate a better price so that you can save before you even start driving. Contact our team to learn more about the process and how you can benefit.

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory Road Test Review

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
The all-new 2019 Infiniti QX50 looks fabulous, especially in near top-line Sensory trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Hey good lookin’! Yes, Infiniti’s been slow cookin’ its redesigned QX50 recipe for years, but now that the all-new 2019 model is on the road and looking sensational, I can only see success in its future. 

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and now with this new model’s first partial year in its rearview mirror, and YoY Canadian sales growth up 59 percent as of December 31, plus an even more impressive 113.7-percent two-month gain as of February’s final tally, it’s clear that Canada’s compact luxury crossover buyers like what they see. 

These newfound QX50 buyers are no doubt falling for the entire QX50 package as much as for its inspiring styling, plus its considerably more modernized and therefore more appealing interior design, its higher quality materials, as well as its wholly improved electronics interface package, and while the original was particularly good on pavement, this second-generation redesign is no slouch off-the-line or around corners either, which is critically important in the premium sector. But does it fully measure up? 

Now that the much-loved FM platform, having served 11 years in the outgoing model, is done and dusted in this category, much to the chagrin of performance-focused drivers who loved its rear-drive bias and wonderful overall balance, this small but ardent following is reluctantly forced to say hello to a totally new front-wheel drive based layout, which while standard with all-wheel drive here in Canada, provides a different feel that may cause some previous QX50 owners a moment of pause. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
Stylish from all angles, the new QX50’s design is one of its best attributes. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Still, with most manufacturers moving away from rear-drive architectures due to interior packaging restrictions, something Audi and Acura have known for more than a decade and likely one reason their compact SUVs continually outsell most competitors, with this layout configuration also being adopted by BMW for its latest X1, it was only a matter of time that Infiniti’s second-most popular model adapted to changing times. 

So what’s the result of Infiniti’s wholesale change in QX50 direction? Think QX60, only smaller. What I mean is, this latest version of Infiniti’s compact crossover provides a more comfortable ride than its predecessor, that floats more smoothly over bridge expansions and other pavement imperfections, and similarly delivers greater quietness inside (due in part to active engine mounts plus acoustic windshield and side window glass) for a more refined overall luxury experience, but it’s certainly nowhere near the performance SUV the outgoing model was. 

Where the rear-drive-biased first-gen 2008–2017 (there was no 2018 model) QX50 (née EX35) felt like a performance-oriented sport sedan in a taller crossover body, which essentially it was, this new version feels more like the Nissan Altima/Murano-based front-wheel drive-derived design it’s based on, despite having all the hardware (and software) boxes checked, such as a fully independent front strut and rear multi-link suspension setup, and standard Active Trace Control that automatically adds brake pressure mid-corner to help maintain a chosen lane. Still, it’s a bit less rooted to the tarmac at high speeds, especially around bumpy corners, and also somewhat less confidence inspiring when pushed hard down the open freeway. There’s a reason the world’s best performance vehicles are based on rear-wheel drive platforms after all, and the QX50’s swap to a front-wheel drive biased architecture makes this truth clearly evident. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
Infiniti has found a distinctive look that sets it apart from its rivals, in a very good way. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The new variable compression turbo engine is superb, however, with a lot more usable power from its diminutive displacement than most competitors’ base engines. Its 2.0-litre size is identical to the majority of rivals, yet its 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque is considerably more potent than the entry four-cylinder from the compact luxury SUV market segment’s best-selling Mercedes-Benz GLC, for example, which puts out just 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, or the next most popular Audi Q5’s 248 hp and 273 lb-ft (or the base Porsche Macan that uses the same engine as the Q5), or for that matter the third-place BMW X3’s 248 hp and 258 lb-ft, while it’s easily more formidable than Lexus’ NX that’s only rated at 238 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, not to mention Cadillac’s new XT4 that merely musters 237 hp and 258 lb-ft, but this said it’s a fraction off the new Acura RDX that makes 272 hp and 280 lb-ft, as well as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio that leads the segment’s base powerplants with 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque. 

The WardsAuto 10 Best Engines-winning VC-Turbo’s technology took Infiniti’s engineering team a full four years to develop, and incorporates special connecting rods between its pistons and crankshaft that vary the compression of the fuel and air mixture, less for increasing power output when needed and more during lower loads like cruising and coasting for improving fuel efficiency. 

Another 2019 QX50 differentiator that might miff previous owners, unless they’re from the left coast where pump prices are soaring sky high, is the new fuel-friendly continuously variable transmission (CVT). Before getting your back up about the QX50 losing its mostly quick-shifting seven-speed automatic, take note this isn’t any ordinary run-of-the-mill CVT, but rather an all-new shift-by-wire design that includes manual shift mode, steering wheel paddles, Downshift Rev Matching (that blips the throttle to match a given gear ratio with engine rpms), plus dual transmission fluid coolers, and I must say it’s one of the more normal feeling CVTs I’ve tested to date. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
Sensory trim results in a higher grade of LED headlamps, plus these stunning 20-inch alloys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

It only exposes the artificial nature of its stepped gears when pressing hard on the throttle, a process that spools up power and torque quickly, albeit allows revs to hold a little too high for a bit too long, which hampers performance, refinement and fuel economy. This said it responds quite well to input from those just noted paddle shifters, and feels especially energetic in Sport mode, but I won’t go so far as to say it’s as engaging as its predecessor’s gearbox, nor as lickety-split quick as competitor’s traditional multi-speed automatics. 

Then again when driven more modestly, like most of us do with our family haulers, it’s a silky smooth transmission that provides the QX50 with more than enough day-to-day performance plus much better claimed fuel economy at 10.0 L/100km in the city, 7.8 on the highway and 9.0 combined, compared to 13.7 city, 9.8 highway and 11.9 combined for the previous V6-powered model, which incidentally is a 30-percent improvement. 

Back on the negative, Infiniti’s Eco mode continues to be my least favourite in the industry, due only to the Eco Pedal that annoyingly pushes back on the right foot to remind you not to press hard on the gas pedal. The problem with this intrusive-nanny solution is that people like me, who hate it, simply won’t use Eco mode at all (you can’t turn the Eco Pedal off separately), which defeats the purpose of having an Eco mode in the first place. So therefore, I only used the QX50’s Eco mode once for testing purposes, and after realizing the Eco Pedal was just as intrusive as it’s always been, immediately turned it off, whereas if I were driving a Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi A5, BMW X3 or anything else in the class, I would have left Eco mode on more often than not in order to save fuel and reduce emissions. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
LED taillights come standard. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Eco mode, and all driving modes are set via a nicely crafted “D-MODE” labeled metal rocker switch on the lower console, just behind the QX50’s completely new electronic shift lever, a small stub of its previous self, yet very well made from satin-silver aluminum and contrast stitched leather. Thank goodness it’s not a row of confusing buttons like some rivals, other than a small “P” for park when arriving at your destination. 

Switchgear in mind, a beautifully detailed knurled metal-edged rotating infotainment controller is placed just above the shifter on a separate section of the lower console, while the door-mounted power window switches receive attractive metal adornment too. All of the cabin’s other buttons, knobs and switches are quality pieces made from densely constructed composites and metals, while they’re also well damped with tight tolerances, the new QX50 easily living up to this premium class status and beyond when it comes to these details and some of the other surface treatments too. 

For instance, an assortment of satin-silver aluminum trim can be found decorating the rest of the interior, the geometrically drilled Bose speaker grilles especially rich, while gorgeous open-pore natural maple hardwood inlays (exclusive to this Sensory model) joined plush black ultrasuede (also a Sensory exclusive) across door uppers, the latter two treatments added to the instrument panel, centre stack and lower console, plus the front seat bolsters, while contrast-stitched leather was also placed next to the ultrasuede in all of the same locations for truly opulent surroundings. Infiniti even wrapped the first and second set of roof pillars, and lined the ceiling in the same soft yet durable suede-like fabric, the latter also benefiting from a large dual-panel powered panoramic glass sunroof. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
The QX50 Sensory interior is ultra-luxe. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

All in all the new QX50’s interior is one of the best in its class, with mostly pliable synthetics above the waist, including soft-touch paint used for the glove box lid. Infiniti didn’t gone so far as to finish the bottom portion of the centre console or the lower door panels in such pampering pliable plastics, or for that matter the lower portion of the dash ahead of the driver, with the compact luxury segment’s usual hard composite surfaces starting just underneath the hardwood trim on the left of the steering wheel, and below the leather padding to the right. Still, it’s an interior both Infiniti and you can be proud of, beating many of the industry leaders at their own ultra-luxe game. 

As the kinesthetically-inspired trim designation implies, this $56,490 Sensory model is mostly about creature comforts, and while including all features already noted it also adds premium-grade semi-aniline leather upholstery, two-way front passenger powered lumbar support, three-way ventilated front seats, advanced climate control, extended interior ambient lighting, rear side window sunshades, a motion activated liftgate, and metallic cargo area finishers, while exterior upgrades include 20-inch dark tinted alloys on 255/45 all-season run-flat tires, plus unique cube design LED high/low beam headlamps with adaptive cornering capability. 

There is one trim above Sensory, but the $57,990 Autograph won’t be to everyone’s tastes due a special blue-hued ultrasuede replacing the black found in the Sensory model, plus white surfacing used for much of the instrument panel, centre console sides, door inserts and seats, the centre inserts of the latter boasting diamond-quilted semi-aniline leather, plus blue piping between the white leather and blue ultrasuede. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
The QX50’s gauge cluster is nice, but where’s the fully digital system? (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Both Autograph and as-tested Sensory models pull plenty of equipment up from $52,990 ProActive trim, such as automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with full speed range and hold, distance control assist, lane departure warning and prevention, blindspot intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, backup collision intervention, steering assist, ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous self-driving, Infiniti’s exclusive steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering system (a first for an Infiniti SUV) that works very well (other trims use vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering), a head-up display, and a 16-speaker Bose Premium Series audio system. 

Likewise, a host of features from the $48,990 Essential enhance our Sensory model too, including rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, reverse tilting side mirrors, Infiniti’s superb 360-surround Around View parking monitor with moving object detection, navigation with detailed mapping, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat switchgear (upgraded from the base model’s dual-zone auto system), a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, plus memory for that steering wheel as well as for the front seats and side mirrors. 

Finally, the $44,490 base Luxe model adds LED fog lamps, LED integrated turn signals on outside mirror housings, LED taillights (it comes standard with LED low/high beam headlights too), chrome-accented exterior door handles, dual chrome exhaust tips, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, the aforementioned drive mode selector with standard, eco, sport, and personal settings, the powered panoramic glass sunroof including a powered sunshade, a powered liftgate, predictive forward collision warning, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blindspot warning, and more. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
No one should complain about the QX50’s new dual display infotainment system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Take note that all 2019 QX50 pricing for trims, packages, and standalone options were sourced right here on CarCostCanada, and don’t forget that we can also provide you with money-saving manufacturer rebate information, plus otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when it comes time to negotiate your deal. 

Also standard with all QX50 trims is Infiniti’s new InTouch dual-display infotainment system featuring a beautifully bright and clear high-definition 8.0-inch monitor on top and an equally impressive 7.0-inch touchscreen below that, plus InTouch safety, security and convenience services, etcetera. This is an easy system to use, with all hands-on functionality found within the bottom screen and the top monitor mostly dedicated to the navigation system and backup/surround camera system, which displays both for optimal safety. 

Digitization in mind, I was a bit surprised that Infiniti stuck with its mostly analogue gauge cluster in this entirely new model, being that most competitors are now anteing up with fully digital designs in top trims. Then again the QX50 partially makes up for this shortcoming with a large colour multi-information display that’s full of useful functions, controlled by an easily sorted array of switchgear on the steering wheel spokes. 

While I’m talking up the positives, I’ve got to give Infiniti kudos for removing the intrusive nosepiece from their sunglasses holder. I never understood why the previous version was too large to hold a regular set of glasses in place, but fortunately this new one is much more accommodating because it doesn’t including a nosepiece holder at all. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
It’s hard to fault the new electronic shifter, but the CVT isn’t as engaging as the previous 7-speed auto. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Now that I’m getting down to the nitty-gritty practical stuff, the new QX50 is also much roomier, especially for rear passengers that now benefit from quite a bit more leg and headroom. In fact, Infiniti claims that its rear seat space is greater than the previously noted Audi Q5 and BMW X3, while those back seats now slide fore and aft for more cargo space or better legroom respectively. 

I found the rear seat extremely comfortable, with plenty of room for my knees, at least eight inches when my seat was set up for my five-foot-eight long-legged, short-torso frame, plus adequate floor space to move around my feet when wearing boots, although not much of a gap below the driver’s seat. I could definitely feel the compact QX50’s width compromise, with not a great deal of air space next to my left knee, but at least the door armrest was padded, and there was ample room for my outboard shoulder. Your adult rear passengers may find the centre armrest a little bit low, but it should be ideal for kids, and there’s a slot for a cellphone as well as two rubberized cupholders that should hold drinks in place. The aforementioned rear climate control panel, which only includes a tiny monochromatic LCD display and colour-coded rocker switch for adjusting the temperature, is joined by a USB device charger and 12-volt socket, but strangely omits rear seat heaters that aren’t available with the QX50 at all. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
This is one fabulous set of seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Yes, this is a strange omission in a market that has been experiencing colder winters over the past two years, and could potentially turn off some buyers that want their kids and/or parents to be as comfortable as possible year-round. 

It’s cargo capacity won’t be a negative, however, being that it’s grown by 368 litres (13.0 cubic feet) to 895 (31.6 cu ft) behind its 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, even when they’re pushed all the way rearward, while sliding the back bench as far forward as possible adds another 153 litres (5.5 cu ft) of gear toting capacity for a total volume of 1,048 litres (37.0 cu ft) when both rows are occupied. Fold the second-row seats flat and cargo space expands to 1,822 litres (64.3 cu ft), and by the way, Infiniti provides handy levers on the sidewalls for doing just that. Why all this is difficult to fault, I would have appreciated a centre pass-through for loading longer items such as skis down the middle, leaving the two more comfortable window seats available when heading to the slopes. Better yet, Euro-style 40/20/40-split rear seats would allow even larger boards between rear occupants; food for future Infiniti thought. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
Rear seat roominess is improved, but where are the heated rear seats? (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

The powered liftgate is programmable for height, which is a good thing if you live in a parking garage that requires such things, but not so good if you keep smacking your head into it and don’t take the time to reprogram (not Infiniti’s fault), while the cargo compartment is finished quite nicely, with an aluminum sill guard and the usual carpeting up the sidewalls and on the backside of the seats, plus the floor of course, the latter removable to expose the audio system’s amplifier and subwoofer plus a bit of space in between, and another shallow compartment just behind, for stowing smaller items. 

As practical, wonderfully crafted, efficient and quick as the new QX50 is, styling will be the determining factor for most would-be buyers, at least initially. I find its front end especially attractive, with Infiniti’s double-arch grille positioned below a long, elegantly sculpted hood, and flanked by an eye-catching set of signature LED headlamps over a clean, sporty lower fascia. 

2019 Infiniti QX50 Sensory
Plenty of room for gear. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Organically shaped panels flow rearward down each side, passing by a nicely detailed chrome engine vent garnish on the upper front fenders, a metal brightwork adorned greenhouse finalizing with Infiniti’s trademark kinked rear quarter windows, and around the back where a particularly appealing rear end design features nicely shaped LED taillights, while a variety of 19- to 20-inch alloy wheels round out the design depending on trim. For me it’s a winner, but time will tell whether it manages to conquest enough new buyers away from rival brands to truly deem it an unqualified success. 

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann 

Photo credit: Karen Tuggay

2019 Honda Pilot Touring Road Test Review

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Looking better than ever, we really like what Honda has done with its 2019 Pilot. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Other than a few unusual offerings like the Element, Crosstour, and current Civic Hatchback/R, Honda’s styling normally resides in the conservative camp, and when it comes to mid-cycle makeovers that conservatism is downright mossbacked. Still, despite mere evolutionary changes made from the 2016-2018 third-generation Pilot to the latest iteration, introduced last year for 2019, it looks a lot better than it used to. 

It starts a more aggressive looking traditional SUV-type grille above a bolder front bumper and fascia, all of which are bookended by beautiful new trademark full LED headlamps in my tester’s top-tier Touring trim line. By the way, all Pilots now come with LED headlights, but those lower down the desirability scale only incorporate LEDs within their low beams and therefore appear more conventional when put side-by-side with the vertical elements inside the Touring model’s more sophisticated looking full LEDs. 

When viewed from the rear, new LED taillights are standard across the entire Pilot line, plus a new rear bumper incorporates the same satin-silver-coloured skid plates as those up front, with most trims. Of note, both the base Pilot and Canada-exclusive Black Edition get black skid plates front to rear, albeit the former are matte finished and the latter glossy black. Speaking of trim highlights, the Touring model features chromed door handles and sporty new 20-inch alloy wheels, helping to make it much more upscale than other trims in the lineup, and plenty attractive when placed beside its mid-size crossover SUV peers. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Subtle changes have made a big difference. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Along with the refresh, Honda made some important mechanical changes to help refine Touring and Black Edition models, particularly by revising their standard auto start-stop system, making it turn off and restart the engine faster and smoother. This upgrade will hopefully cause owners to keep the start-stop system engaged, which will certainly help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. I certainly never experienced any problems with the system throughout my weeklong test drive, in fact hardly noticing its operation at all. 

Additionally, Honda reportedly refined the two top models’ standard nine-speed automatic transmission, which, like the auto start/stop system, worked perfectly throughout my test week. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s better than ever, providing truly smooth and effortless shifts when both driving in the city and operating at highway speeds, while also downshifting with nice, quick, snappy precision when performing passing maneuvers. Owners of lesser Pilot trims, which include the base LX plus mid-range EX and EX-L Navi models, get a very well-proven six-speed automatic transmission, which remains unchanged moving into 2019. 

Unlike the Pilot’s gearbox duality, all trim levels incorporate one single 24-valve, SOHC 3.5-litre V6 engine, which despite having already served Honda well for more than a decade, other than small updates, continues to make a potent combination of 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, thanks in part to direct-injection and i-VTEC, while its Active Control Engine Mount (ACM) system aids refinement further by reducing noise, vibration and harshness. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
The Touring gets full LED headlamps and 20-inch alloys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Also standard, all Canadian-spec Pilots include Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD, which together with the Japanese brand’s Intelligent Traction Management System, helps provide immediate grip at takeoff for smooth yet quick response. What’s more, this energetic straight-line performance was enhanced by a fully independent suspension that felt nimbler through quick corners, while its ride quality was completely comfortable all the time, only becoming slightly unsettled when I pushed it further than most owners would for testing purposes, and then only when the road below exposed crumbling, uneven pavement. 

Truth be told, I don’t try to imitate Red Bull-Honda Racing F1 driver Max Verstappen all that often (but would love to have his skill), especially when piloting a large SUV, but normally apply available eco modes before keeping to a more moderate pace. Such practices are rewarding with the Pilot, thanks to the auto start/stop system mentioned before, plus the engine’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system that shuts off a bank of cylinders under lighter loads to further improve fuel economy, my tester achieving a commendable 11.3 L/100km during my mostly flat city street test week, which is very close to Transport Canada’s estimated rating of 12.4 L/100km city, 9.3 highway and 11.0 combined. I haven’t driven the six-speed version since it was the only transmission offered in this SUV, prior to the third-gen redesign, so I can’t attest to its claimed rating of 13.0 L/100km city, 9.3 highway and 11.3 combined. Still, both sets of numbers are impressive when factoring in just how large this three-row SUV is. 

I also didn’t test the Pilot with a trailer in tow, but Honda claims that both transmissions equal the same 1,588 kilograms (3,500 lbs) tow rating in standard guise, or 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) with the upgraded towing package. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
This nicely designed instrument panel is about average for the class when it comes to materials quality. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Now that I’m talking about moving gear, the Pilot has long been one of the more accommodating SUV’s in its class when it comes to luggage space. Behind the third row is a plentiful 524 litres (18.5 cubic feet), or 510 litres (18.0 cubic feet) with my Touring tester and the near identically equipped Black Edition. Lower that 60/40 split-folding third row down and cargo carrying capacity expands to 1,583 litres (55.9 cubic feet) no matter the trim level, while it available stowage space ranges from 3,072 to 3,092 litres (108.5 to 109.2 cubic feet) when all of its rear seatbacks are laid flat, but it’s important to note that a centre section of load floor is missing when equipped with second-row captain’s chairs. I like how some manufacturers attach a foldout carpeted extension to the back of one seat in order to remedy this problem, but no such luck with the Pilot. If this were mine, I’d keep a piece of plywood handy for hauling big loads. 

On the positive the centre console isn’t so tall that it protrudes into the loading area, a problem with some luxury utes, but then again it’s barely raised above the floor, so will be a bit of a stretch for smaller occupants to reach when trying to use the cupholders. The good news is this console and the sliding/reclining captain’s chairs to each side aren’t standard with Touring trim (they are with the Black Edition), but instead replace a three-seat bench that ups total occupancy from seven to eight. The seating arrangement you choose will come down to the age/size of your kids or if you regularly bring adults along for the ride, because the rear captain’s chairs are definitely more comfortable than the outboard seats on the bench. 

I won’t go into detail about the Black Edition in this review, but suffice to say it’s outfitted almost identically to seven-passenger Touring trim. As for my $52,690 Touring tester, it list of standard items includes the full LED headlamps noted earlier, plus power-folding and auto-dimming sideview mirrors, blue ambient interior lighting, acoustic glass for the front windows, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a pushbutton gear selector, cooled front seats, a large panoramic glass sunroof, a superb 600-watt audio system featuring 11 speakers and a sub plus 5.1 Surround, a wireless device charger, a new Honda CabinTalk in-car PA (that really works), HondaLink Subscription Services, Wi-Fi, the “How much Farther?” application, rear entertainment, an HDMI input jack, a 115-volt household-style power outlet in back, blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, plus more. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
The big TFT display within the gauge cluster makes it seem almost totally digital. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Features added to Touring trim from the lesser EX-L Navi model include an acoustic windshield, memory-linked side mirrors with reverse tilt-down, a heated steering wheel, a four-way power front passenger seat, a navigation system with detailed mapping, HD and satellite radio, front and rear parking sonar, heated outboard second-row seats, one-touch third-row access (that’s really easy to operate whether entering or trying to get out from the rearmost seat), second-row side window shades, a power liftgate, etcetera, while features sourced from the EX model include LED fog lamps, LED repeaters in the side mirror housings, roof rails, illuminated vanity mirrors, a Homelink universal remote, a leather-clad steering wheel, plus 10-way power and memory for the driver’s seat. 

Finally, I need to also make mention of some standard LX features pulled up to Touring trim (the base Pilot LX starting at just $41,290), including remote engine start, proximity keyless entry, pushbutton start, a windshield de-icer, a conversation mirror that doubles for sunglasses storage, three-zone auto HVAC, heated front seats, HondaLink Assist Automatic Emergency Response System, etcetera (all prices are sourced right here on CarCostCanada, where you can also find all the latest rebate info as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands). 

What’s more, each and ever Pilot gets a nice, big 7.0-inch TFT multi-information display within its primary gauge package, boasting attractive high-resolution colour graphics, simple operation via steering spoke-mounted switchgear, and plenty of useful functions, while over on the centre stack is an 8.0-inch fixed tablet-style touchscreen that’s even more comprehensively equipped with functionality. It gets a user-friendly multi-coloured tile design that looks as if it was inspired by Apple products, and fittingly includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth with streaming audio, a fabulous multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, plus more. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
The Pilot is comfortable no matter where you’re seated. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Honda also gives the Pilot a comprehensive list of standard advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) including auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist, plus Road Departure Mitigation, which, when upgraded with Touring trim’s cornering low- and high-beam full LED headlamps, allows a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the IIHS. Additionally, all Pilot trims earn a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. 

Just in case you’re starting to think that a team of publicity reps from Honda wrote this review, my weeklong test wasn’t wholly positive. For starters, even my top-line Pilot Touring tester wasn’t as impressively finished inside as some direct competitors, due to more hard plastic than I would have liked. Honda does cover the dash top in a soft synthetic, and adds a nice bolster across the instrument panel ahead of the front passenger, which extends above the centre touchscreen, while the front door uppers are also soft to the touch, ideal for pampering elbows, plus the door inserts and armrests are plush as well, of course, but oddly the door uppers in back aren’t as nicely finished, and Honda doesn’t wrap any roof pillars in cloth either, like some rivals do. 

The seat upholstery is very upscale though, with driver’s perch particularly comfortable despite only providing two-way powered lumbar that didn’t fit the small of my back very well, and therefore remained unused by yours truly. Seats in mind, both second and third rows were very comfortable, the rearmost seating area even roomy enough for adults. I had ample legroom for my five-foot-eight frame, plus about three to four inches ahead of my knees when the second row was pulled rearward as far as it would go, and plenty of space overhead. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Third-row seating is amongst the most accommodating in this class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

If you thought I was done griping, take note that I have issue with a foot-operated parking brake in a vehicle that does everything else to make a person think it’s been flown here from the future. Yes, this anachronism (I don’t like foot-operated parking brakes) flies in the face of one of the more advanced looking electronic gear selectors available on planet earth (standard with the nine-speed), so where is the electronic parking brake that should be attached? I’ll be waiting for Honda to solve this problem in an upcoming redesign, and remain unimpressed that it wasn’t dealt with sooner. 

All of this complaining might cause a person to believe I’m not a fan of Honda’s updated Pilot, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, I’d like to see some changes made as noted, but such hopes for improvement hardly mean that the 2019 Pilot didn’t impress on the whole. In fact, I really enjoyed my time with Honda’s largest vehicle. It was a pleasure to drive, easy to live with, and nice to look at, exactly what is needed from a three-row family hauler. 

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann 

Photo credit: Karen Tuggay

Sedan, SUV, Coupe? How Do I Know What Car is Ideal for ME?

It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole when looking for a new vehicle. You start off your search with a specific make in mind and end up looking at something completely different by the end of it. For some, they have an exact vehicle in mind that they have already settled for and for others, they have a general idea but are still exploring the vast sea of vehicle options available out there. It’s important to find a car that best suits your needs and wants as typically, vehicles are something most people keep for a significant amount of time and utilize frequently.

 

Unsure about what vehicle best suits your needs? Here is a car comparison guide for you to help you find the ride that will go hand-in-hand with your lifestyle!

 

First of all, what are some popular features Canadians are looking for in a new vehicle?

 

It’s no shock that vehicles have evolved substantially in the years and with that being said, the options are superfluous. Most new vehicles come with a wide array of safety, functionality, and aesthetic features that can up your driving game. Common features a plethora of Canadians look for when in the market for a new vehicle are;

 

  • Added safety features – blind spot detection, lane departure warning, brake assist, etc
  • Functionality features – heated seats/steering, park assist, back-up camera, navigation, etc
  • Infotainment system
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Seating – if you carry passengers frequently, options that provide comfort for both you and your passengers are a win

 

When deciding on a vehicle, there is a huge factor that many consider prior to anything else – body style. Before diving into the interior or added features, many first choose the type of vehicle they would like; sedan, SUV, coupe, hatchback, etc. Each vehicle body type has different benefits and suits various needs. With that being said, which vehicle type best suits your individual needs?

 

Step Into A Sedan

 

Sedans make up a substantial portion of the market, so much so, when people hear the word car, most think of a sedan. A majority of vehicle makers have sedan models available ,as their traditional look bodes well with consumers. Aside from aesthetic appeal, sedans boast a number of other features that may play to your interests. In regards to fuel economy, a number of sedan models contain some of the best on the market with an array of economical options that won’t cost an arm and a leg at the pump.

Most sedans follow similar dimensions; lower than SUVs meaning more headroom for taller drivers, and a decent amount of trunk space. Sedans are a great option for the everyday traveler or city-traveler. When compared to SUVs, they do not possess the same space, hence, why they are a highly considerable option for those who are not constantly moving significant cargo. If you are looking for a model you can drive day-in and day-out without breaking the bank, sedans are a great option to go with.

 

Scope Out An SUV

 

Alongside sedans, SUVs (sports utility vehicles) are one of the most popular makes among consumers. SUVs are very prevalent in Canada, as the increase in size and capabilities in bad weather make for a safer ride in the eyes of the driver. Although SUVs may cost more to fill up at the pump, the plethora of benefits may override that. SUVs have more cargo space which is great for families and/or those who carry a large amount of cargo (i.e., hockey bags, equipment) on a consistent basis. Most SUVs now come in AWD and 4×4 options, making them a great vehicle for all seasons and all types of weather. It doesn’t just stop at SUVs however, there are various styles that have the same features as regular SUVs in their own unique way including;

 

  • Crossovers: Unlike regular SUVs which are built on the same platform as a truck, a crossover is based on a car’s design which means body and frame are built as one combined piece.
  • Compact/Subcompact SUVs: these contain the same features of a regular SUV under a smaller roof. Their size typically falls between a hatchback and an SUV. If you are looking for an SUV, but don’t want something too big, consider a compact/subcompact SUV
  • Full-size SUV: opposite of compact/subcompact SUVs, full-size SUVs boast the most space in their class.

 

Coast In A Coupe or Convertible

 

Whilst some focus solely on the functionality of a vehicle, others simply want to ride in style. Coupes and convertibles are a great option for those who don’t need a lot of space but are looking for something more sporty.

 

Coupes are two-door vehicles with a sporty style. Whilst coupes are two-door vehicles, most do have seating in the back, however, they aren’t the most spacious. Compared to convertibles, coupes are lighter and are branded with hard-top as opposed to a soft-top. Coupes fall in between the lines of a sedan and a convertible; offering a fun, sporty feel whilst still encompassing traits of a sedan. Coupes are a viable option if you tend to drive alone or with one other person, are looking for a sporty-vehicle, and you don’t carry passengers or significant cargo frequently.

 

Convertibles are two-door vehicles that take the sporty vibe to the next level. The main difference between a coupe and a convertible is the roof. Coupes possess a hard top whereas convertibles possess a soft top that can be fully taken down. Albeit, convertibles aren’t exactly the poster car for wet or snowy months, they are great for those hot summer days where opening a window just doesn’t seem like enough. Convertibles are a great option if you are looking for a separate ride for the hot months and want to truly engulf yourself in the beauty of summer!

 

Hop Into A Hatchback

 

Think smaller vehicles means less cargo space? Think again! Don’t let the small exterior of a hatchback fool you, they are extremely spacious on the inside. Most hatchbacks have more cargo space when compared to sedans, which isn’t obvious at first glance. They also offer a slightly higher roofline than sedans, meaning more headroom for passengers. But what’s the benefit of the small exterior? If you live in a big city such as Toronto or Montreal, you know parking can be sparse and you are often left trying to park your vehicle in a spot that proves way too small. Hatchbacks are great for congested cities as their small exterior makes it easier to navigate through highly saturated streets and fit into even the tightest of parking spots.

 

Pick up a Pickup

 

Looking for something that is as durable as durable gets? Opt for a pick-up truck! These vehicles are made to handle the toughest of elements – whether you are driving along snow snow-blanketed streets or off-roading on dirt trails. Of course, cargo is a main plus for pickups as they possess a huge bed in the back solely dedicated to carrying cargo that wouldn’t fit in any other type of vehicle such as; heavy construction materials, furniture, and even ATVs! Pickup trucks are best suited for those who don’t carry passengers frequently but do carry heavy or large cargo on a consistent basis.

 

Live In Luxury

 

We can’t lie, riding around in a car dripping in luxury is a great feeling. Although luxury cars are not as popular as other makes, they are still adored by consumers. The major drawback of luxury vehicles is evident in the title alone; the more luxurious, the higher the cost. Albeit, the cost is backed up by the quality of these vehicles. Everything down to the stitching in the seats is carefully articulated when it comes to luxury vehicles. Similar to SUVs, there are various sub-bodies of luxury vehicles; entry-level, mid-size, and full-size luxury vehicles are all readily available on the market. If your main selling point is style, a luxury vehicle will NOT disappoint!

 

Evolving Into Electric

 

Although not so prevalent just a few years back, electric vehicles have been taking the car world by storm! Many car makers have adapted to electric, creating hybrid and fully electric models. Electric vehicles are available in many styles including sedan, SUV, luxury, and roadster (still in the works). These are copious benefits when it comes to owning an electric vehicle. The obvious being, you are doing good for the environment as electric vehicles rely on batteries, not fuel. The cost of charging is also significantly less than filling up at the pump, meaning going electric can not only be a saving factor in the environment but your wallet as well!

 

Once you are decided on a vehicle body-type that best suits your needs, you can then dig further into all the other features and functionalities you desire in your new vehicle. The body-type you choose makes a significant difference when it comes to your own individual driving experience.

 

Have your next new vehicle already mapped out? We can save you thousands on your purchase! Contact us today and save big!

Out With The Old, In With The New: How Buying a NEW Vehicle Can Benefit You!

“Should I buy new or used?”

 

The age-old question when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. While there is no right or wrong answer as it comes down to every individual’s unique situation and needs, a vehicle is one of the largest assets one purchases, ergo, vast research is required prior to setting your heart on a car. While used vehicles boast lower initial costs, new vehicles come with various benefits that can actually save you money in the long run. Whether you are in the market for your very first car or looking to ditch your current vehicle for something new, buying a new vehicle can benefit you in more ways than one.  Although new vehicles are more expensive initially, they provide a great payoff for your driving needs and with our Dealer Invoice Report, you can save big on the cost of a brand new vehicle!

With that being said, what are the perks of buying a brand new vehicle?

 

No hidden issues, all new parts

 

When purchasing a new vehicle, you are the first owner meaning that no wear and tear has been done to the interior or exterior of the vehicle prior to you driving it. All the parts are brand new and thoroughly inspected by the manufacturer and the dealer, in sum, what you see is exactly what you get. Whilst most used vehicles pass safety standards and are in relatively good condition, there can be hidden issues that a previous driver didn’t disclose which could lead to issues soon down the road.

 

Being the first driver of a vehicle gives you peace of mind knowing that there are no hidden issues in regards to the performance and quality of the vehicle and all of its parts.

 

More bang for your buck?

 

When comparing new vehicles to used vehicles, it’s appropriate to assume that purchasing a used vehicle is the cheaper route, however, that is not the case in every situation. Piggybacking on the aforementioned point, new vehicles = new parts which means that the chances of issues arising are less than that of a vehicle with older, used parts. How does that translate to fewer costs? Simple – fewer trips to the mechanics.

 

Another way a new vehicle can actually incur fewer costs over time is in relevance to fuel economy. Over time, a vehicles fuel economy will decrease. You may notice that after a few years, your tank isn’t getting you quite as far as it used to. With that being said, a new vehicle will boast it’s optimal fuel economy, whereas a used vehicle may have dropped a few percentiles from its initial fuel abilities.

 

Still on the topic of costs, insurance is another key component to note and an extremely important one as everyone is required, by law, to possess auto insurance. Your insurance costs are contingent on a number of factors including; age, location, license class, current safety of vehicle model, and driver/accident history. A vehicle that has been involved in a motor vehicle accident previously may impact your premiums if you plan on purchasing it, regardless of the fact that the accident had no correlation to you. As the first owner of a new vehicle, you can rightly assume that there were no prior accidents that could cause your monthly rates to soar!

 

Out with the old, in with the new

 

There comes a time where we may have to make a decision to part ways with our beloved vehicle and while the thought of purchasing a new vehicle thereafter is exciting, there is one thing you have to deal with first – the old car. Whilst some keep their current vehicles, utilizing them as certain season vehicles or perhaps handing them down to a relative, others want to allocate funds from said vehicle towards the purchase of a new vehicle. It’s no secret that vehicles depreciate over time, even those that are well-maintained. With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind how long you plan on having your vehicle. If you purchase a 2019 vehicle and plan to sell it in 5 years, you will get a significantly higher offer or trade-in value than that of a car 5 years it’s senior. Whilst most people aren’t thinking about their next vehicle while in the process of purchasing a new vehicle, it’s important to keep in mind the value of the vehicle down the road, should you want to sell or trade-in.

 

Features, features, features

 

Infotainment system, back-up camera, heated seats, heated steering, navigation, park assist, lane departure warning – the list of features available in new vehicles goes on and on! Albeit, these features come down to personal preference; some prefer a simpler vehicle whilst others want all the features included. Most new vehicles come equipt with an array of features, even the base models. These features are included in the cost of the vehicle.

 

Whilst there are older vehicles that have some of the aforementioned features, such as heated seats, they typically do not possess the more technically advanced features. Should you purchase a used vehicle and decide down the road you do want these features, adding them on can be costly! If you want a vehicle loaded with features, a new car is the best route to take.

 

Choosing between a new or used vehicle comes down to the factors listed and personal preference/needs. Although new vehicles boast a plethora of benefits in a majority of situations, used cars can be a great option if;

 

  • You are a first-time driver, not 100% confident in your driving abilities
  • You are looking for a classic/specific model/make
  • You are looking to heavily modify the vehicle (a fixer-upper)

 

It’s important to do a good level of research prior to making a purchase to ensure you get the right vehicle for your individual needs.

 

Ready to get behind the wheel of a brand new vehicle? Contact us today and we will help you save thousands on your new ride!

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design Road Test

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Stylish enough for you? Volvo is now one of the more attractive brands, no matter the segment it competes in. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Let’s face it. If a given compact luxury car isn’t stamped with a three-pointed star, a set of four intertwined rings, or a blue and white roundel it’s going to have a difficult time getting noticed anywhere in Canada. Mercedes-Benz’ C-Class, Audi’s A4 and A5, plus BMW’s 3 and 4 Series pretty much own this highly contested market segment, which therefore leaves a slew of bit players squabbling over leftovers, but then again the models just noted are no longer the premium sector powerhouse combination they once were. 

Now the majority in this class are beleaguered by their own compact luxury crossover SUV brilliance, or more specifically, despite year-over-year sales of the BMW X3, for instance, being up a sizeable 48.6-percent from calendar year 2017 to 2018, deliveries of the once bellwether 3 Series were down 19.5 percent last year, and the significantly lower volume 4 Series off by 5.4 percent during the same 12 months. 

Not every D-segment car bled red ink, mind you, with the just noted C-Class up by 6.5 percent, the Infiniti Q50 gaining 6.8 percent of additional ground, and Audi’s A5 improving its sales by an astonishing 25 percent, albeit after a complete overhaul relieved pent-up demand. As you may imagine, some other some rivals experienced a great deal more contraction than the BMW 3 Series during 2018, including the Lexus RC that saw its sales plummet by a shocking 37.9 percent, plus the Jaguar XE which fell by 27.8 percent, the Cadillac ATS that was off some 25.4 percent, the Acura TLX that dropped 25.2 percent, the Infiniti Q60 which was under water by 24.2 percent, and the Audi A4 having slipped backward by a surprising 20.3-percent. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
It’s sleek styling does more than just look good, it provides excellent aerodynamics too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Such massive losses make the two Volvo 60 series models’ slight downturn of 5.1 percent appear much less significant, and to shed yet more light on why they dropped in year-over-year popularity, the V60 sport wagon experienced such amazing growth from 2016 through 2017 (the old S60 sedan was part of these numbers as well) at 99.7 percent, dipping slightly the following year was inevitable. 

Still, measuring success in this segment has less to do with modest gains in sales percentages as it does with sales volume, and to that end both 60-series Volvos were only able to lure in 1,245 Canadian buyers collectively through all of 2018, which pales in comparison to the 11,556 C-Class sedans, coupes, convertibles and wagons sold into this country, or the 10,173 Audi A4 sedans and crossover wagons, that number also including A5 convertibles plus two- and four-door coupes, and lastly the 9,733 BMW 3 Series sedans and wagons, and 4 Series’ convertibles plus two- and four-door coupes. 

All others were a far cry less popular, with Infiniti’s two models combining for 3,424 units, the duo of Lexus cars (excluding the ES) managing to attract just 3,163 takers, the Acura TLX earning only 2,397 deliveries, and the soon to be discontinued Cadillac ATS luring in 1,615 new buyers, while far below the Volvo 60 series cars was the new Genesis G70 that found 967 new owners, the Jaguar XE with 571 out the showroom door, and finally the Alfa Romeo Giulia with just 510 units down the road. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
R-Design trim includes plenty of unique exterior styling upgrades, including this modified grille. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Such talk might possibly cause you to forget about any other D-segment brands than Mercedes, BMW and Audi, but I recommend taking a step back and considering some of the others on offer, because just being popular doesn’t necessarily translate into better. In fact, you may find the new 2019 Volvo S60 matches your personal taste and fulfills your lifestyle to a much greater degree. 

There was once a time that Volvo was respected first and foremost for safety, followed by stalwart durability, and while such worthy traits are still high on the luxury brand’s list of attributes, the former most recently verified by IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus ratings for two of its more recently redesigned models, as well as its host of standard advanced driver assistance features such as Driver Alert Control, automatic front collision warning, full low- and high-speed autonomous emergency braking, steering support, Run-Off Road Mitigation, lane keeping assist, and Oncoming Lane Mitigation, plus all the expected active and passive safety items, even including a driver’s knee airbag, front whiplash protection, and pyrotechnical seatbelt pretensioners in all seating positions, there’s a lot more to the brand’s desirability now than ever before. 

Before getting into that, I wanted to point out what Oncoming Lane Mitigation is referring to. If the new S60 sedan’s sensors detect a head-on collision, the new oncoming braking system will automatically activate full braking force a mere two-tenths of a second before impact, resulting in vehicle speed reduction of 10 km/h before impact, says Volvo, which could potentially save lives, or at least minimize injuries. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Fashionable LED headlights, sharp lower fascia trim, and these optional 19-inch alloys helped my tester stand out. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

On top of the S60’s list of non-safety and durability attributes is styling, but this said I’m not going to delve into design very much this time around, because the new model’s full LED “Thor’s Hammer” headlamps have been discussed ad nauseum in all of my recent Volvo road tests and news stories, as have the “hook” or C-shaped LED tail lamps now framing the backside of Volvo’s two new sedans. My personal preference with respect to overall styling leans more toward the sportier S60 when put up against the previously reviewed S90, but I think both Volvo four-door models look great, measuring up to, and in some ways surpassing their aforementioned rivals. 

So how does the new S60 fit into its D-segment dimensionally? It’s been given a dose of steroids compared to the second-generation 2010–2018 model it replaces, now measuring 133 millimetres (5.2 inches) longer from front to back at 4,761 millimetres (187.4 inches), while its wheelbase has been lengthened by 96 mm (3.8 in) to 2,872 mm (113.1 in). This said the new car’s width is down some 15 mm (0.6 in) to just 1,850 mm (72.8 in), plus its roofline has been lowered by 53 mm (2.1 in). 

Rear legroom is the direct benefactor of the longer wheelbase, resulting in a back seating area that’s much more spacious than it was before, with room to move around and wonderfully comfortable outboard seats boasting superb lumbar support. The comfort quotient is even more pronounced up front, where my R-Design trimmed tester was fitted with six-way power contoured sport seats featuring four-way power-adjustable lumbar that easily found my lower back’s sweet spot. What’s more, the driver’s seat includes a power-activated extendable squab that ideally cupped under my knees for even more support and comfort. Standard two-way memory made it easy to get back to a previously chosen seat setting, but one of my favourite R-Design seat features was the Fine Nappa leather covering all positions from front to back, highlighted by sporty contrast stitching that matched yet more off-white thread throughout the rest of the cabin. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
No rival has LED taillights that look like these. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

As sharp as the seats look I don’t think they’ll be first to grab your attention when sitting behind the wheel, because the S60 R-Design interior is so impressive you’ll be more likely to get distracted by its contemporary yet classically luxurious take on design, not to mention all the brilliantly detailed metal accents and plush surfaces. 

Unique to the R-Design is a three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, metal sport pedals, R-Design branded floor mats, and R-Design etched metal door sills, while additional interior highlights include a black headliner, a large 12.3-inch TFT gauge package, a sizeable vertically-positioned centre touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, and more, plus four-zone automatic climate control with nicely sorted rear controls, and the list goes on. I really like the R-Design’s unique Metal Mesh accents, and some of that switchgear mentioned earlier is downright jewel-like, particularly the sparkling ignition dial and rotating drive mode selector cylinder, the latter of which let’s you choose between Comfort, Eco and Dynamic settings. Truly, the eye-arresting opulence found in the new 2019 S60, which mirrors most new Volvo models, will be sure to wow anyone moving up from their old S60, let alone one of the cars it competes against. 

As mentioned in my V6 sport wagon review, I was fortunate enough to have it in my possession for three weeks over the Christmas holidays. It was kitted out in top-tier Inscription guise, which while a bit pricier than this R-Design, whether we’re talking that V60 or this S60, doesn’t get many more features. Inscription trim is simply a more luxuriously styled version of any Volvo model, whereas the R-Design designation reveals sport themed styling and performance, which leaves the Momentum as the base entry-level model, albeit very nice just the same. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
The S60 R-Design provides one of the nicest interiors in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

I expect Volvo will make its T8 AWD Polestar performance trim available for the S60 sometime soon as well, which in other models includes a plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s good for 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque thanks to its internal combustion engine being this S60 R-Design’s turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder. 

Both R-Design and Inscription models come standard with this top-line T6 AWD powertrain, while this potent combination is made optional with Momentum trim, which otherwise comes with Volvo’s standard T5 FWD powertrain in base guise. The lesser engine features the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine sans the supercharger, resulting in 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, whereas the T6 AWD provides a more robust 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. 

Each powertrain is made standard with automatic idle start/stop, a technology that helps minimize tailpipe emissions while reducing fuel consumption by temporarily killing the engine while the car is standing still idling. Together with a number of other efficiency features it helps the T5 FWD model receive a rating of 9.9 L/100km in the city, 6.6 on the highway and 8.4 combined, while this T6 AWD version is capable of 11.1 in the city, 7.3 on the highway and 9.4 combined. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Beautiful design and high quality materials come standard. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

I don’t know about you, but I was a lot more interested in how the S60 R-Design drove than how little fuel I could get away with using, despite what seem like never-ending fuel price increases in my part of the world. Rest assured that it’s a lot more fun to pilot down a twisting two-lane country back road than my V60 Inscription tester was, not that the stylish sport wagon was a slouch by any sense of the imagination. Still, the S60 felt quicker in a straight line, thanks to fast-reacting all-wheel drive making the most of its sticky optional 235/40R19 Pirelli all-season rubber. Those meaty tires immediately found grip, allowing the potent little 2.0-litre powerplant to ramp up speed quickly, its eight-speed automatic gearbox an ideal compatriot, especially with Dynamic sport mode engaged. Despite its quick-shifting capability, the transmission was wonderfully smooth, while its steering wheel paddle shifters provided enough go-fast connectivity to keep my fingers in play. Adding to the fun, the S60 R-Design’s exhaust creates sonorous notes from behind when the throttle is pegged, yet is otherwise silent like the car’s well-insulated cabin. Truly, the S60 R-Design does a nice balancing act between sport and luxury. 

Likewise, the S60 R-Design does a commendable job straightening curves, due partially to lowered sport suspension that includes firmer shocks for stiffer, flatter handling through quick corners, resulting in a stable, predictable sport sedan even when hurled nonchalantly into hairpin curves, some of these corners off-camber and surfaced with uneven tarmac. I’ve taken some of the S60’s challengers through these sections and not all proved as agile, the S60 R-Design not getting unglued when flung back and forth through continual left, right, and left turns either. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
The R-Design’s standard gauge cluster is a TFT panel that measures 12.3 inches. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

If you weren’t aware, the new S60 sits on Volvo’s SPA, a.k.a. it’s Scalable Product Architecture, which underscores the brand’s S90 luxury flagship sedan as well as the majority of its new models. SPA features aluminum double wishbones up front and a unique integral link design in back, the latter incorporating a transverse lightweight composite leaf spring. Additionally, the S60 includes driver-selectable low, medium and high personal power steering settings to aid feel, while the car’s brakes are a good match to its handling prowess and accelerative force, providing good binding power when stomped upon, as well as smooth progression no matter how hard, or soft, the centre pedal is pressed. Still, as capable as the S60 R-Design was at heightening my senses when extracting its full performance potential, it always kept its luxury sedan roots intact due to impressive ride quality and the superbly comfortable driver’s seat noted earlier. 

Ride and handling in mind, the S60 R-Design, priced at $52,400 plus freight and fees, normally rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels, while yet unmentioned features pulled up from its $42,400 base Momentum T5 FWD trim include rain-sensing wipers, Road Sign Information (RSI), an auto-dimming centre mirror, a powered panoramic sunroof, a Clean Zone Air Quality system, a humidity sensor, rear parking sensors, a backup camera with active guidelines, voice recognition, two USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio, Volvo On-Call featuring remote start and vehicle tracking, a 170-watt 10-speaker audio system, Sirius/XM satellite radio, heatable front seats with aforementioned driver’s side memory, a 120-volt three-pronged household-style power outlet in the rear console, power-folding rear seat headrests, plus more on the inside, while the exterior features dual chromed tailpipes across the entire line, plus this model gets a special R-Design front grille, auto high beams and active bending for the LED headlamps, fog lamps with active bending, glossy black exterior trim (including the side mirror housings), puddle lamps under the door handles, proximity keyless entry, etcetera. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Awesome surround camera was really helpful. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

I particularly liked my test car’s beautiful coat of Fusion Red Metallic paint, an option well worth the extra $900. It’s one of five available colours and a single no-cost standard Black Stone hue, while all R-Design trimmed cars receive a Charcoal black interior theme. If you were to choose the base Momentum, the exterior paint selection grows to seven colours and available interior themes widen as well, while the Inscription upgrade gives you a choice of eight outer colours yet fewer cabin combinations, but take note the Momentum model’s upgradable upholstery options don’t cost anything at all when moving up to Inscription trim. 

The previously lauded 19-inch alloys were a $1,000 improvement by the way, while my tester’s additional options included a graphical head-up display that projected key info, such as route guidance directions, onto the windscreen for just $1,150; while its Bowers & Wilkins stereo came with 15 sensational speakers and 1,100 watts of over-lording power, making it a great way to spend $3,750. 

Additional extras included a Climate Package with heated Aquablades windshield wipers, a heatable steering wheel, and heated rear seats for $1,250; a Convenience Package sporting Volvo’s superb Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Homelink garage door opener plus compass integrated into the centre mirror for $1,500; and lastly a Vision Package incorporating a wonderfully useful 360-degree surround parking camera, easy-to-operate Park Assist Pilot semi-autonomous self parking, always appreciated front parking sensors, even more welcome auto-dimming power-retracting side mirrors, plus blindspot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert for $1,800. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
Love these Nappa leather-covered sport seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

Those curious about the S60 Inscription should note that it includes almost all of the R-Design model’s features for just $53,900, except for the sporting items spoken of earlier in this review. Unique to this model is an elegant chrome waterfall-style front grille, bright metal window surrounds, special 10-spoke 18-inch alloys, gorgeous matte Driftwood Décor interior trim, a tailored dash top and instrument panel featuring more stitched soft padded surfaces than other models, whereas the seats are upholstered in rich perforated Nappa leather, and come ventilated up front. 

By the way, all pricing was pulled from right here at CarCostCanada, where you can also source individual trim, package, and standalone option pricing, plus rebate information and money-saving dealer invoice pricing that’s otherwise hard to get. 

Speaking of hard, the new S60 made it difficult to find anything to gripe about, but I would’ve appreciated somewhere to stow my sunglasses, and there wasn’t enough room on the lower console to rest my Samsung S9, which was likely part of this company’s safety-first plan from the onset, so I probably shouldn’t complain. I nevertheless placed it in one of the S60’s two cupholders, which are otherwise covered under a beautifully detailed retractable lid, with the other cupholder was amply large to securely hold a sizeable water bottle that almost never leaves my side. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
The rear seating area is more accommodating than its predecessor. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

I should also note that the trunk, which at 391 litres (13.8 cubic feet) is average for this segment, was big enough for all of my daily gear, but its 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks only included a centre pass-through instead of a more accommodating 40/20/40 opening, so while I could probably fit a couple of sets of skinny skis through I wouldn’t be able to squeeze in a duo of fat powder boards or enough skis for four passengers. Still, even this narrow pass-through is a big improvement over most of its Japanese challengers that simply provide 60/40-split seatbacks with nary a centre slot to be seen at all. 

In summary, if you’re contemplating a car in the compact luxury D-segment you should seriously consider this all-new Volvo, as the S60 is now a commendable contender that provides attractive styling, serious performance, leading-edge technology, impressive safety, and a level of comfort that really needs to be experience to be appreciated. 

2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design
I would’ve preferred a full 40/20/40 split instead of a centre pass-through. (Photo: Karen Tuggay)

What’s more, the new S60 is totally unique in this class, which has to account for something, right? After all, who wants to be seen in a car that everyone else drives? I certainly appreciated not witnessing exact duplicates of my ride passing by day in and day out, and enjoyed the quick head-turns and positive smiles my S60 R-Design tester received throughout my test week. Truly, if I were in this market, I’d have a hard time turning this wonderful car down, but alas, like most everyone else these days I’m trying to decide between SUVs. What can I say? I’m a product of the times. If instead you’re into something more exclusive, check out this all-new Volvo S60. I highly recommend it. 

 

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann 

Photo credit: Karen Tuggay

The Dealer Paid What? Everything You Need to Know about Dealer Invoice Pricing!

Whether you are purchasing your first vehicle or looking to make a well-deserved upgrade, the thought of a new vehicle can meet you with much elation. When purchasing a new vehicle, there are a plethora of factors to consider: make, model, colour, add-ons, packages, and the one factor many people look at first – price. Most people have a vehicle in mind, but more often than not, the price is the determining factor when deciding whether or not to go ahead with their purchase. Some will try their best to negotiate with the dealership, but doing so can be tricky, time-consuming, and produce lackluster results.

 

The price the dealer shows you is the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price) of the vehicle, which, as the name suggests, is the recommended price a dealer should charge a consumer for the vehicle. There are ways, however, to lower this cost whether you plan to lease, finance or purchase a vehicle outright. The Dealer Invoice Report can help you save a significant amount of money on your new vehicle purchase without having to practice your best negotiating skills for hours on end.

 

What is a dealer invoice?

 

A dealer invoice, also referred to as the “dealers cost”, is the price the dealer pays the manufacturer for the vehicle. This price is often lower than the MSRP to allow room for maximum profit for the dealer. For example, the dealer cost of a vehicle could be $30,000; in which the dealer pays said amount to the manufacturer. The dealer will then work with the automakers to determine the MSRP – or “sticker value” –  of the vehicle which more often than not, is higher than the dealers cost. The car could then be put on the market for $35,000 for example, which is the price the consumer would pay for the vehicle.

 

How can a dealer invoice report help me save money on my vehicle?

 

A dealer invoice report gives you a detailed breakdown of the dealer cost of the vehicle as well as various incentives that can help you save on your new vehicle purchase. For example, if you are looking to finance a new 2019 vehicle, the dealer invoice report will breakdown the monthly payments in accordance with the dealer price of the vehicle. The report also contains discounts, such as dealer cash incentives, that the dealer may not tell you.

 

How do I fill out a dealer invoice report?

 

Filling out a dealer invoice report is a simple process that can be done online (no need to head to the dealer to do this!).

 

  1. Log in to your account (or create one easily via email or Facebook)
  2. Pick your desired car make
  3. Pick your desired model under the make. It’s important to pick the EXACT make you would like. For example, if you are looking for a new Mazda GT, the model comes in both FWD (front-wheel-drive) and AWD (all-wheel-drive); both possessing different price tags. Ensure you pick the exact model you would like.
  4. Review your report + savings
  5. Bring the report to the dealer to obtain the savings outlined in your report

 

What information can I find on my Dealer Invoice Report?

 

Your dealer invoice report will give you a vast amount of information pertaining to your vehicle of interested. Including, but not limited to:

 

  • Invoice Price (dealer cost) of the vehicle
  • Pricing Guidance; how to calculate the best deal for your vehicle of choice based on the invoice price plus any incentives you may be eligible for
  • Factory Incentives; discounts made available via the manufacturer (eligibility may vary)
  • Lease and finance rates
  • Recommended Dealership; recognized dealerships within an appropriate distance that work with CarCostCanada members to help them save the most money possible
  • Vehicle Pricing and Options Details; a detailed breakdown of the costs pertaining to the vehicle in relevance to the base and/or any features/add-ons
  • Comparable Vehicles; vehicles that boast similar features and pricing in accordance with the subject vehicle
  • Standard Features; a detailed breakdown of the subject vehicle

 

How much money can a Dealer Invoice Report actually save me?

 

The savings depend on the make, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as any current incentives offered by the manufacturer and the original cost. Typically, members report savings in the thousands. For example, a 2019 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD has an MSRP of $38,285 and a dealer invoice price of $35,659; savings of over $2,500! Some makes and models will have fewer savings, whilst others may boast even more.

 

Another key component when it comes to saving money with your dealer invoice report is the incentives. The report outlines any incentives that are made available through the manufacturer. These could amount to significant savings on top of the savings from the dealer cost. It’s important to note that a majority of incentives require eligibility which should be discussed with the dealer at the time of the purchase.

 

What is the cost of a Dealer Invoice Report?

 

The first Dealer Invoice Report is free for Car Cost Canada members!

 

 

Will the dealer accept my Dealer Invoice Report?

 

We work with a surfeit of dealers who are more than happy to help you save money on your purchase so you can walk away happy. Within the report, we provide a recommended dealership that works in harmony with CCC to provide you with exceptional service and pricing. Should you choose another dealer, no issues should arise. Most dealers are happy to work with you and your report as the sale of a vehicle is beneficial for them as well. Some dealers, however, may push back and try to negotiate on the MSRP with you, despite your possession of the dealer cost. If a dealer is unwilling to accept your report, which is a rare feat, don’t despair; there are many dealers willing to help you save your hard-earned money.

 

What are my vehicle exceptions when it comes to my Dealer Invoice Report?

 

We work with several automakers, so your choices are plenty! The automakers we partner up with provide deals on the newest models available on the market; last, current, and upcoming year. Our report can help you save money on the most recent models your make of choice has to offer. Here is a list of automakers we work with!

 

 

Buying a new vehicle is a rewarding milestone; whether you have finally saved up for your first vehicle or you are ready to take the leap and put yourself in something more luxurious. Purchasing a vehicle is a huge step and the ability to save money on your new vehicle makes the process that much more rewarding.

 

Ready to get behind the wheel of a new ride? Contact us today and save your hard earned money on the car of your dreams!

 

Lease? Finance? Buy Outright? What’s the Best Way for ME to Buy a Car?

A vehicle is one of the largest purchases one makes, ergo, a significant amount of research should go into every aspect. From the make/model you have your heart set on to interior features to the total price of the vehicle; there are many factors that contribute to building, pricing, and purchasing the best vehicle for your needs. Because vehicles are a large investment, dealers, and banks alike, offer various payment options to suit your lifestyle. Leasing, financing, or purchasing a vehicle outright are the methods offered by the dealers when it comes to payment. Figuring out how you want to proceed with pricing will help you get that much further in purchasing your desired vehicle. Our Dealer Invoice Report can also help you ensure that, no matter what payment method you choose, you are getting the best deal on a new vehicle that Canada has to offer!

 

What are the differences between leasing, financing, and purchasing a vehicle outright?

 

All of these methods vary significantly to help suit the needs of as many individuals as possible. The key differences pertain to ownership of the vehicle and term payments.

 

Financing; albeit, the most popular means of paying for a vehicle, financing offers a good level of flexibility. Financing encompasses paying for the total price of the vehicle in denominations over a selected term. By the end of the financing term, you have complete ownership of the vehicle.

 

Leasing; leasing is a popular option for those who like to upgrade their vehicles frequently and aren’t doing copious amounts of driving. Similar to financing, leasing requires weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payments owing to the balance of the total lease. The main difference between financing and leasing is ownership; when leasing, you do not own the vehicle.

 

Buying outright; buying a vehicle outright is not as common as leasing or financing and is typically done when the cost or age of the vehicle does not meet the requirements of leasing/financing (more specifically, used vehicles). Although purchasing a brand new vehicle outright is not done as much as financing or leasing, it is the easiest method of payment as a surfeit of background checks (credit, employment, etc) are usually not required.

 

Is it a good idea to buy a car on finance?

 

As mentioned previously, financing is the most popular method of purchasing a vehicle. Financing a vehicle possesses the best attributes of leasing and buying outright, simultaneously; owning the vehicle whilst being able to pay in smaller sums. If you are planning on keeping your vehicle long-term, do a significant amount of driving, and don’t have the cash to pay in full (or the desire to part with such a hefty amount of money in one shot), financing is a viable option for you. Financing a vehicle also allows for more leeway when adding features to your vehicle. For example, if you wanted to add a sunroof to your vehicle, it could run you anywhere from $500-$2,000, however, when financing, you can discuss adding this feature to your vehicle at the time of purchase and break apart the cost. Instead of paying thousands outright, the cost of the upgrade is spread across your term, ergo, your sunroof will cost you a few extra bucks a month.

 

It’s important to note that financing comes with an interest rate contingent on your credit score, thus, you will be paying more for the vehicle that you would if you were buying outright. If you have excellent credit, expect interest rates to be on the lower, however, if you have poor or no credit, you could be paying upwards of 30%. It’s important to review your score to see what interest rate category you fall into. Our Dealer Invoice Report also aids with financing to help you get the lowest interest rate possible for your individual situation.

 

How does financing work? Financing can be a relatively easy process provided you have all the key information you need. The dealer will show you various payment terms based on the vehicle of your choice; the longer the term, the lower the weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payments and vice versa. A typical term is 5 years or 60 months, but can be shorter or longer depending on your financial state and the year/make of the vehicle. The dealer will then require your financial information (credit score, credit history, letter of employment) and determine your interest rate based on these factors. Once the term, payments, and interest rates are worked out, you can opt to add any upgrades. When you obtain the vehicle, you are required to make your payments until the term is over, however, at any point, you can contribute money to lessen the term period or monthly payments. Giving a down payment can also lessen the monthly payments.

 

Pros

  • Payment terms and prices are flexible; you can opt for a longer term with cheaper payments or a shorter term with higher payments depending on your preference
  • Allows you to get a higher priced vehicle, if desired, without having to fork out a lump sum of cash
  • Upgrades can be added for low monthly payments

 

Cons

  • You are locked into a contract and failure to pay could lead to the loss of your vehicle
  • Loans typically come from the bank, meaning you are taking on a debt
  • The interest rate is added onto the full cost of the vehicle, depending on your credit score, it could amount to a significant increase in cost

 

Is it a good idea to lease a car?

 

Leasing is not as popular as financing a vehicle, but it does pose a lot of benefits. Similar to financing, leasing requires weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payment for a fixed term, however, you are not the owner of the vehicle. You will be required to turn over the vehicle at the end of the lease or in some cases, the dealer may offer incentives for purchasing it post-lease. Leasing is a viable option for those who like to upgrade vehicles frequently as you are not fully committed to the vehicle. Most people lease for a 1-3 year period and upgrade thereafter.

 

If you are a city dweller and don’t typically do a lot of driving, leasing is a good option to consider. When leasing a vehicle, you are given a set amount of kilometres per year (extra charges apply should you go over) – if you do a small amount of driving, this shouldn’t be an issue. If there are any problems with the vehicle, they are typically covered by the dealer leasing you the vehicle (restrictions apply).

 

How does leasing work? Just like financing, the dealer works with you to find a term and payment plan based on your financial state and your desired vehicle. The cost is calculated based on the time frame and predictive depreciation of the vehicle; for example, if your lease term is 3 years and the car is expected to depreciate by 30% over the next 3 years, you will be paying for 70% of the vehicles total cost. Once your lease is over, you can opt to lease another vehicle or work with the dealer to purchase the vehicle you have been leasing at a lower cost.

 

Pros

  • You can upgrade your vehicle regularly without having to purchase in full
  • The rates are typically cheaper than those pertaining to financing
  • You don’t have to worry about selling/trading a vehicle when you are done with it

 

Cons

  • You do not own the vehicle, meaning you have to be especially cautious
  • You are given a fixed amount of KMs and if you go over them, the costs are high
  • Most leases aren’t offered past 3 years, meaning you have to commit to upgrading or purchase a vehicle thereafter

 

Is it a good idea to buy a vehicle outright?

 

Purchasing a vehicle outright is the most straightforward and easiest process out of the three, however, the issue with this is evident – if you don’t have the cash, you cannot buy the vehicle. Buying a vehicle outright minimizes the need for extensive paperwork (obtaining employment information, credit history, etc). Because you are not borrowing the money, the dealer is under the assumption that you accept the responsibility for the full payment, thus, credit history and other financial information is not required.

 

Purchasing a vehicle outright allows you to forego interest payments which will save you money in the long run. Our Dealer Invoice Report also contains cash incentives that can lower the price of the vehicle even more. Most dealers will accept our cash incentives with no issues because they are guaranteed to be paid on the sale. If you have the means to pay for a vehicle outright and don’t want to be locked into a debt/contract, consider doing so.

 

How does purchasing a vehicle outright work? This is the simplest of the methods and doesn’t require much. Discuss the model/make of the vehicle you want and bring forth any cash incentives you are eligible for. The dealer will then work out the best possible price, factoring your Dealer Invoice Report, incentives, desired add-ons, warranty, and taxes. Once you sign and make the payment, the vehicle is yours!

 

Pros

  • You are not locked into a contract nor do you acquire a debt
  • You forego the interest rates that come with financing
  • You fully own the vehicle; there is no worry about not being able to make the payments as there are none associated with the physical cost of the vehicle

 

Cons

  • Most new vehicles cost tens of thousands of dollars which can be difficult to pay all at once. You have to ensure you, not only have the funds to pay the full cost but doing so will also not leave you with nothing
  • If you want any add-ons or upgrades, these will have to be paid in full as well, either at the time of purchase thereafter
  • You are responsible for selling or trading the vehicle if/when you decide to do so

 

Deciding how you want to go about paying for your vehicle is contingent on your desire to own, your current financial state and how much you drive. Regardless of whether you want to lease, finance, or purchase outright, our Dealer Invoice Report can help you save thousands on your new vehicle!

 

Have you found the vehicle of your dreams? Contact us today and save big on the car YOU want!

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD Road Test

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
The Rogue has maintained its styling since its 2017 mid-cycle makeover, but it still looks good. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

It’s déjà vu all over again, or at least that’s how I felt when picking up my 2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD tester. I’d spent a week with an identical model less than a year prior; even down to its top-line trim level and most popular Pearl White paint. 

Then I got inside, however, and was reminded of a near identical model I test drove the year prior in lovely Scarlet Ember livery, and therefore also remembered that last year’s SL Platinum wasn’t fully loaded, missing this SUV’s $500 SL Platinum Reserve Interior Package that includes a stylish stitched leatherette dash pad and replaces the regular Charcoal black or Almond beige leather upholstery with special quilted leather in an even richer looking Premium Tan hue, which comes across more like caramel or saddle brown. Either way it looks great, and ideally complements the white exterior paint, although the upgrade package is no longer available with the special metallic red exterior paint, or for that matter Nissan’s beautiful Caspian Blue. A shame. 

Not to start this review out on a negative, because there’s very little to fault this popular compact crossover SUV on. As noted, the Rogue is Nissan Canada’s most popular model, and one look should make it easy to understand why. It was refreshed for the 2017 model year with Nissan’s wider, more U-shaped Vmotion 2.0 grille that I happen to like a lot more than the original V, while its then-new quad-beam headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and its updated LED brake lights added premium-level sophistication to the design. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
Looking right at home in nature, the little crossover SUV makes a good companion for summer camping trips and winter getaways. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

That face-lifted 2017 model included additional styling tweaks on the outside plus updates within, a personal favourite being its flat-bottom steering wheel that still makes a sporty statement in the otherwise elegantly appointed top-line 2019 Rogue SL Platinum Reserve model. So equipped, that steering wheel is leather-wrapped with a heatable rim, a much appreciated mid-winter feature, as are the Quick Comfort heated front seats that come standard across the entire Rogue line, albeit the Platinum’s perforated leather upholstery is exclusive to this model. 

There’s actually more to the SL Platinum Reserve Interior’s seat design than quilting and the caramel colour change. The quilting is only used for the centre inserts, with perforated leather added to the inner bolsters and contrast-stitched black leather on top of those bolsters for a little more of a sport look mixed in with the luxury. The seats’ upholstery is complemented by the same Premium Tan on the door armrests, centre armrest, padded knee protectors on each side of the lower centre console, and even the aforementioned dash facing, which incorporates a similarly classy looking stitched leatherette pad ahead of the front passenger. 

Icing on the proverbial cake comes in the form of Piano Black interior door inlays surrounding the usual chromed door handles, which match up nicely next to the same glossy black treatment rimming the dash vents, centre console, gear lever surround and otherwise leather-wrapped shift knob. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
Large machine-finished 19-inch alloys are exclusive to SL Platinum trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

As you may have guessed, the latest Rogue SL Platinum Reserve doesn’t just look like a premium crossover SUV, but in addition its standard feature set is replete with top-drawer gear that one-ups plenty of luxury brands. For instance, the official name given to this trim level is Rogue SL Platinum with ProPilot Assist, the latter technology standard with all SL Platinum models and really quite impressive. It’s a semi-autonomous “hands-on-wheel” driving system, which means it has the ability to completely drive itself, but due to safety concerns only lets you remove your hands from the steering wheel for about eight seconds at a time—it warns you to put your hands back on the wheel after that. Still, it’ll impress your friends and might be useful to those who find highway driving intimidating, as it helps keep the Rogue centered within its lane and, along with its Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Intelligent Lane Intervention systems, may even help avoid an accident. 

These latter two advanced driver assistance systems get pulled up to the SL Platinum from mid-range SV trim, as does Intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control, while high beam assist, rear parking sensors, Moving Object Detection (MOD), backup collision intervention and rear autonomous emergency braking join ProPilot Assist as options with the SV and standard equipment with the top-line SL Platinum model. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
The optional SL Platinum Reserve package replaces the usual black or beige interior colour scheme with this saddle brown motif. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with all the usual active and passive safety features, some advanced tech incorporated into upper trims from the base Rogue S include Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with a display showing individual tire pressures and an Easy-Fill Tire Alert, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), plus two features normally relegated to top-line trims, Blind Spot Warning (BSW) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), while Rear Door Alert is an oddly named albeit very welcome feature that actually warns against leaving something or someone in the back seat unattended after turning off the engine, by remembering that you opened a rear door before setting off on your drive. Now that’s smart. 

As cool as some of this tech is, especially watching the Rogue drive itself, applying hands to said wheel while on the highway, and then winding through some twisting backroads after tooling through town is my usual course of action. As always the Rogue didn’t disappoint, but let me insert a caveat here, I’ve never set my performance expectations too high. This is an SUV built primarily for comfort rather than all-out speed, and to that end it delivers in spades, with a nice compliant ride, smooth, progressive acceleration, and an easy, controlled demeanor on the open freeway. It can manage curves too, and provides strong braking when needed, but if you’re looking for performance there are sportier SUVs in this class, yet few are smoother than the Rogue, such refinement its specialty. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
Navigation comes standard in SL Platinum trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Behind that V-motion grille is the Nissan’s dependable 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which continues to make a totally acceptable if not breathtaking 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, while its standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) is one of the reasons behind that just noted smooth factor. It’s also partially responsible for the Rogue’s commendable Transport Canada fuel economy rating that comes in at 9.6 L/100km in the city, 7.5 on the highway and 8.7 combined with its as-tested all-wheel drivetrain, or 9.1 city, 7.1 highway and 8.2 combined when opting for front-wheel drive. 

As is mostly the case in this class, all-wheel drive is more about tackling slippery pavement than anything off-road, although traveling to campsites over logging roads or light-duty trails can benefit from AWD, as well as its various electronic all-weather features, such as Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS). This said others in the class are starting to broaden their appeal, with the latest RAV4 Trail featuring some real 4×4-like go-anywhere technologies, and the Subaru Forester long offering its X-Mode for extracting itself from rougher situations. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
Like the majority of Nissans, the Rogue uses a smooth operating CVT for “shifting gears”. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Back to earth, or rather asphalt, the Rogue is ideal for slogging through Canadian winters, hitting the slopes, or alternatively heading out on that summer camping vacation. It can tow a small camp trailer or lightweight boat weighing up to 500 kilos (1,100 lbs), plus it can carry plenty of gear in back, up to 1,112 litres (39.3 cubic feet) in the dedicated cargo area and 1,982 litres (70.0 cubic feet) when its 60/40-split rear seatbacks are folded flat. That rear bench is made more passenger and cargo friendly via a centre pass-through that doubles as a centre armrest with cupholders, which allows longer items like skis to be stuffed down the middle while rear passengers enjoy the benefit of the window seats, although take note they might be grumbling on the way back from the ski hill due to a surprising lack of available rear seat heaters. 

Along with all of the features already mentioned, the $37,398 top-line SL Platinum gets a lot of premium-level upgrades that really make a difference when it comes to performance, safety, convenience and luxury, such as AWD, 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, an electromechanical parking brake, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a heated leather steering wheel rim and leather-wrapped shift knob, memory for the six-way powered driver’s seat and side mirrors, a four-way powered front passenger’s seat, a powered panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a surround parking monitor, great sounding Bose audio with nine speakers including two subs, Radio Data System (RDS) and speed-sensitive volume control, a gesture activated liftgate, and more. 

2019 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum Reserve AWD
Rear seating and storage is accommodating. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

I won’t tire you by scrolling through lists of everything that gets pulled up to SL Platinum trim from the other two grades, but some highlights from both include remote engine start, proximity-sensing access with pushbutton ignition, auto on/off headlights, fog lamps, LED turn signals within the side mirror caps, roof rails, the aforementioned six-way powered driver’s seat with power lumbar, a retractable cargo cover and more with the $29,098 SV, plus variable intermittent wipers, overhead LED map lights and sunglasses storage, a colour multi-information display, a 7.0-inch centre touchscreen, NissanConnect featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM Traffic, hands-free text messaging assistant, Bluetooth, mood lighting, and more with the $26,798 base Rogue S. Incidentally, all pricing was sourced right here on CarCostCanada, where all the trims, packages and individual features are itemized, plus otherwise hard to find rebate info and dealer invoice pricing is provided. 

For the most part our 2019 Rogue SL Platinum Reserve was well equipped, especially when it came to advanced driver assistance systems, plus it provided more than enough performance, a smooth, quiet ride, great fuel economy, and a fairly luxurious and comfortable cabin, while it was extremely accommodating for driver, passengers and cargo. I like the way it looks, especially as my tester was kitted out, which, along with all of the above, is likely why it’s such a strong seller, and also why it’s easy to recommend.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann  

Photo credits: Karen Tuggay