Porsche just announced the return of its special Cayenne Platinum Edition, available to order now and for delivery this summer. The Platinum Edition was last offered in the previous-generation Cayenne from 2016 to 2018, and like that version the new iteration combines a classy character details with the model’s usual sporty demeanour.
While the old version only came in one body style, the new Platinum Edition is now available as both a standard Cayenne and the sportier Cayenne Coupe, plus its an option with all three different V6-powered models, including 335-hp entry-level, 455-hp E-Hybrid, and 405-hp S trims.
Platinum Edition adds a luxe satin-silver motif as well as extra features
Setting the Platinum Edition apart from regular models, are satin-finish Platinum painted front fascia air intake slats, headlight bezels, 21-inch RS Spyder Design wheels, “PORSCHE” lettering on the centre strip of the rear LED taillights, and model designation just below. The Platinum Edition also features gloss-black side window trim and a similar treatment on the sport exhaust tips.
A full palette of exterior colours is available for the Platinum Edition, including solid white and black, plus metallics like Black, Carrara White, Mahogany, Moonlight Blue, and Chalk, the latter grey hue falling into the pricier “special colour” category.
An aluminum door sill featuring “Platinum Edition” script greets driver and passengers upon entering Platinum Edition models, while additional bright metalwork includes exclusive textured aluminum inlays and yet more satin-silver accents, while Chalk-coloured seat belts provide a final touch.
Additional Platinum Edition standard features include LED headlamps with Porsche’s active cornering-capable Dynamic Light System (PDLS), as well as a set of eight-way-powered front leather sport seats, plus embossed Porsche crests on both the front and rear headrests. What’s more, Platinum Edition models get an analogue clock atop the dash, a surround-sound audio system by renowned stereo-maker Bose, ambient backlighting, rear privacy glass, and possibly best of all, a large panoramic sunroof overhead.
Platinum Edition priced to make it a popular upgrade
The 2022 Platinum Edition starts at $92,800 for the entry-level Cayenne model, although getting the upgrade package with the same engine in the Cayenne Coupe is only $97,500, which means the latter option is just $8,800 more than the $13,600 being asked for this special trim with the regular Cayenne. Almost the exact same spread repeats for E-Hybrid Platinum Edition variants, which start at $109,100 for the regular Cayenne and $109,100 for the Cayenne Coupe, representing an identical $13,600 spread, while the upgraded version of the electrified Coupe starts at $110,500 for an $8,900 difference from its base variant. At the top of the Platinum Edition range, the upgrades to the Cayenne S start at $109,300, representing a $12,500 increase from the regular S, whereas adding the package to the Cayenne S Coupe pushes the price up to $112,000, for a $7,700 price bump.
If you see an italicized “T” on the backside of a Macan in the near future, you might want to think twice about racing it through a winding country backroad.
Recently revealed for the 2023 model year, the new Macan T is a specially tuned version of the base Macan, with a focus on cornering agility. It benefits from less weight over the front wheels thanks to the base model’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which was bumped up to 261 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque for 2022, so it just might be the best handling Macan in the lineup, even when compared to the mighty 434-hp GTS.
New Macan T optimizes handling over straight-line power
Splitting the difference between GTS and base is the Macan S, which puts out 348 hp, while zero to 100 km/h performance times are (from quickest to slowest) the GTS at 4.5 seconds, the S at 4.8 seconds, the T at 6.2 seconds and the base model at 6.5 seconds. Of note, base models can be equipped with Porsche’s Sport Chrono package, which knocks 0.2 seconds off the straight-line sprint, this upgrade standard with the new Macan T. The new model is plenty fast too, with a top track speed of 232 km/h, both take-off and high-speed performance benefiting from Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK transmission, which is standard with all Macan trims.
Of note, the Sport Chrono package replaces the regular dash-top clock with a lap timer/stopwatch, while a helpful steering wheel-mounted Sport Response button makes it easy to switch between drive modes, some of which abbreviate gearbox shift increments for a sportier feel and quicker performance.
At-the-limit cornering control is the Macan T’s specialty
Specific to handling, the Macan T benefits from a 15-mm lower suspension and the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system as standard too, while those that upgrade to the automaker’s adaptive air suspension lose another 10 mm of ride height while gaining even sharper handling capability, not to mention a better ride quality.
Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive comes standard too, par for the course with the Macan, although it features additional rear torque bias for more agility through fast-paced corners. Aiding the latter are more rigid front anti-roll bars, as well as unique chassis tuning that Porsche claims to be “the perfect suspension for the vehicle and powertrain.” Lastly, at least for suspension mechanics, Macan T buyers can opt for Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which has been retuned for improved performance when pushed hard through curves.
Styling updates complete Macan T transformation
Of course, Porsche couldn’t just upgrade the Macan T’s performance without making some design tweaks, so therefore it features some unique Agate Grey metallic trim pieces in key areas, particularly to the front fascia, the mirror caps, the side blades (that also feature a scripted “Macan T” trim designation), the rooftop spoiler, and the rear bumper, while high-gloss black outer window trim and exhaust pipe finishers add to its sporty appeal. Rounding out the package, literally, are 20-inch dark titanium Macan S alloy wheels, while 13 plain, metallic and special exterior colours allow buyers’ individual personalities to shine through.
Inside, the same “Macan T” script brands a set of black aluminum door sill plates, while a multifunction GT steering wheel boasts a heatable leather-clad rim (which can optionally be wrapped in Race-Tex), and heated eight-way power-adjustable sport seats featuring grey pin-striping over Sport-Tex fabric centre panels, plus front headrests with embossed Porsche crests, add to the unique character of this performance-oriented model. The Macan T’s exclusive upholstery is in fact based on the Black leather package, which also includes silver contrast stitching on the seat bolsters, headrests, and steering wheel.
Notably, the Macan was refreshed partway through 2021 for the current 2022 model year. It featured updated exterior styling plus a slightly renewed interior, the latter particularly focused on the centre stack and console, which gets a larger 10.9-inch touchscreen complete with a fully-networked Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system, as well as touch-sensitive glass-look interface for selecting other key functions.
Macan T to be priced between entry-level Macan and Macan S
When it arrives in early spring, the 2023 Macan T will be priced somewhere between the 2022 entry-level Macan, which starts at $58,500, and the 2022 Macan S, which can be had from $70,600 (the 2022 Macan GTS starts at $85,500). This will make this T trim line the most affordable performance-tuned Macan, and interestingly the first non-sports car to wear “T” branding.
Important as well, especially during our inflationary times, the new Macan T should benefit from similar fuel-efficiency to today’s base model, which is rated at 12.2 L/100km city, 10.2 highway and 11.3 combined. This compares well to V6-powered Macans that achieve claimed ratings of 13.1, 9.6 and 11.5 (S) and 13.5, 10.5 and 12.2 (GTS) respectively.
Zero percent lease and financing rates available from Porsche
With an expectation of 40 percent of North American new car buyers moving to full-electric mobility by 2030, BMW is setting out on a path to electrify 25 global models, half of which will be fully electric. Not all will be heading across the Atlantic, or the Pacific with respect to the Chinese-made iX3 crossover SUV that won’t yet be sold in North American markets, but we can expect to receive our fair share.
For starters, Canadians will be the recipients of BMW’s new 2022 i4 sport sedan and iX crossover SUV later this year. The former joins the German automaker’s D-segment 4 Series family, while the latter is positioned alongside the popular X5 mid-size crossover SUV, so therefore they target the popular Tesla Model 3 and Model X respectively. The two electric models share underpinnings too, thanks to BMW’s versatile Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform that also supports everything from their tiny 2 Series subcompact models to their executive-class 7, X7 and 8 Series models.
The i4 shares its body style with the 4 Series Gran Coupe four-door liftback. It starts at $54,990 (sans incentives, freight, and fees), and will be available in two trims, including the eDrive40 and M50 xDrive. The less eDrive40 version features a single rear-wheel drive (RWD) electric motor capable of 335 hp, while the $72,990 M50 gets both front and rear motors for an all-wheel drivetrain (AWD) capable of 516 hp. Both i4 trims utilize BMW’s 83.9-kWh battery.
BMW promises range of 340 km on a single full charge with the i4 eDrive40, not to mention a 5.7-second sprint time from standstill to 100 km/h, whereas the M50 xDrive can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds and has the battery life to drive up to 510 km after a full charge. This means the i4 comes close to matching the aforementioned Tesla Model 3’s best-possible 576 km range.
Notably, the near identically sized, yet more conservatively styled BMW 3 Series line continues to offer its 330e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) trim for 2022, which is a less expensive hybrid alternative Tesla doesn’t provide.
Similarly, BMW offers the X3 xDrive30e PHEV to Canadian buyers, but as noted at the onset of this article, the more advanced iX3 EV won’t testing the resolve of Tesla’s Model Y in Canada, at least not yet. This said, BMW follows up its compact X3 hybrid with a plug-in hybrid version of its larger mid-size X5, dubbed xDrive45e PHEV.
The mid-size iX, on the other hand, is a full-electric that provides two-row, mid-size roominess for up to five passengers and plenty of cargo. BMW Canada will make three iX trims available, named xDrive40, xDrive50 and M60, with all incorporating standard front and rear motors for AWD.
To clarify, the xDrive50 is the only iX trim available for 2022, which means both xDrive40 and M60 models will be arriving later this year as 2023 models. The iX xDrive40, which will start at just $79,990 (plus freight and fees), puts out 322 hp, can hit 100 km/h from standstill in just 6.1 seconds, and has 340 km of range, should be very popular, although Canadians tend to buy more fully equipped models, so the 2022 xDrive50, which starts at $89,990, should be a hit due to 516 hp, a sprint time of 4.6 seconds to 100 km/h, and 521 km of range on a single charge. Finally, the top-tier M60 can be had from $121,750, features 610-hp for a 100-km/h dash of just 3.8 seconds, plus the ability to drive for up to 450 km on a single charge.
Additionally, unlike most electronic devices (including many EVs), BMW’s new battery electric vehicles won’t suffer from much battery degradation. This means its models’ various claimed range estimates should stand up over time. BMW claims, in fact, that its i4 and iX batteries will last the life of each vehicle, or specifically up to 1,500 full charge cycles, which is the equivalent of 500,000 km.
We have full pricing and trim information for the 2022 i4 plus 2022 and 2023 iX here on CarCostCanada, as well as the ability to configure each model’s options. Additionally, CarCostCanada members regularly receive information about manufacturer rebates, factory financing, and lease rate deals. Both the i4 and iX are currently being offered with in-house financing/lease rates from 4.49 percent, while members also receive dealer invoice pricing that can be critical when negotiating your best deal. Learn how the CarCostCanada system works, and make sure to download our free app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store too.
Money in mind, all BMW i4 trims are eligible for provincial zero-emission incentives in BC, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, while the base i4 eDrive40 also qualifies for the national iZEV rebate program.
Expect to see the new i4 and iX on Canadian roads soon, as it will start arriving at BMW Canada dealers in March.
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Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 1 | BMW USA (2:11):
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Four new mainstream volume-branded electrics hit the market last year, including the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Hyundai Ioniq5, Mazda MX-30, and Volkswagen ID.4, and all start under sub-$45,000 sweet spot. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Kia’s new 2022 EV6 will do the same, entering the Canadian market at $44,995.
Of course, offering a base trim under $45k allows Canada’s national iZEV rebate to kick in, as well as various provincial rebates, and that can add up to a significant amount. Consumers in BC can save up to $8,000, for instance, while the national rebate can add up to $5,000 more. That brings the price down to $32k (plus freight and fees), and therefore well within most buyers’ budgets.
The EV6, which shares underpinnings with Hyundai’s Ioniq5 and Genesis upcoming GV60, mostly mirrors the former model’s pricing structure from beginning to end. The aforementioned base model comes with Standard Range power and a single-motor RWD layout. A Long Range RWD version increases the price to $52,995, while adding a second motor for AWD pushes the price up to $54,995. Additionally, the Long Range AWD model can be had with a GT-Line Package 1 for 57,995, and right at the top of the line is a Long Range AWD with GT-Line Package 2 for $61,995.
To be more specific, the base EV6 with RWD incorporates a 58.0 kWh battery with a 125kW rear motor that makes it capable of up to 373 km of range. The Long Range RWD trim increases the battery size to 77.4 kWh and the rear motor to 168kW for up to 499 km of range, while the two AWD power units utilize the same 77.4 kWh battery as the just-noted trim, but the first version gets a 74kW front motor and a 165kW rear motor for up to 441 km of range, while the most formidable combination combines a 160kW front motor with a 270kW rear motor for up to 499 kms of range.
Trims in mind, the new EV6’ gets a 12.3-inch standard centre display, while Canadian buyers are also treated to a standard heat pump system for maintaining range during cold conditions.
All of the expected advanced driver assistance and convenience features are on the menu as well, including forward collision avoidance assist, blind spot avoidance assist, automated parking assistance, driver attention warning, intelligent speed limit assist, highway driving assist, navigation-based smart cruise control-curve, and high beam assist.
Additionally, the new EV6 incorporates ultra-fast DC charging at 800V and 400V, without the need for a separate controller. This allows the battery to be recharged to 80 percent in only 18 minutes.
What’s more, the EV6 can be upgraded with a Vehicle to Load (V2L) option, which transforms the new crossover into a direct power source for just about anything. This means you can plug in your personal electronics, appliances for camping, tools for working, and more. You can even recharge another electric vehicle.
The new 2022 Kia EV6 will arrive at Kia Canada dealerships next month.
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Toyota just revealed its totally redesigned third-generation Sequoia, which will go on sale this summer as a 2023 model.
The new Sequoia is once again based on the Tundra pickup truck, a vehicle that was all-new last year for this 2022 model year. The 2023 Sequoia shares some styling elements with its more utility-oriented partner, but is for the most part its own design.
To be specific, the new Sequoia’s grille isn’t as bold, and arguably better for it. It shares more cues with the highly popular Tacoma, plus the RAV4, and doesn’t visually stray too far away from the Highlander and new Corolla Cross either. No doubt the new Sequoia’s look hints at the upcoming 4Runner, an SUV we should also see in updated form this year.
All in all, the new Sequoia looks tough and rugged, yet refined enough for both dad and mom. Flowing rearward from the big, bold grille is a hood that domes powerfully at centre, and further features heavy-duty, matte plastic, louvre-like garnishes on its rear corner edges when upgraded with “TRD PRO” trim. In fact, the latter trim makes itself known on the sides of those garnishes, in place of smaller, chromed “i FORCE MAX” signage in the same spot for other trims. Visually separating the new Capstone trim line are chrome embellishments on the doors above the rocker panels. Those sides are now more deeply sculpted than before, while the Sequoia’s rear styling certainly won’t offend traditional SUV buyer’s tastes.
A total of five trims will be available upon launch, including TRD Off-Road, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and Capstone, the latter introduced with the latest Tundra. Capstone represents an even more luxurious level above Platinum, boasting a unique black and white motif inside, much of which is covered with high-quality semi-aniline leather, while Toyota has improved soundproofing as well.
Incidentally, the i-Force Max engine, which is available as an option in the new Tundra, comes standard with the Sequoia. What’s more, it isn’t a V8, but a 3.5-litre hybrid V6 capable of a whopping 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. It feeds all that muscle down to a four-wheel drive system through a 10-speed automatic gearbox that comes fitted with Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes.
The hybrid component is a generator motor positioned between the internal combustion portion of the drivetrain and the transmission. This is a well-tested solution, so we can expect Toyota’s legendary hybrid reliability and longevity included with this powertrain’s improved fuel economy.
Being that all Sequoia trims will get the same engine, performance differences come down to the suspension. Some will be optimized for handling and comfort, while others will prioritize off-road capability, but all should provide ample handling chops and overall stability to keep all that engine power in check on when the road starts to wind.
To achieve the new Sequoia’s manoeuvrability, the already improved Tundra chassis design received fine tuning, particularly to the independent front suspension setup and rack-mounted electronic power steering system, that latter reportedly enhancing feel. A multi-link rear suspension has also been added, improved over the previous Sequoia’s, while buyers can also add an adaptive variable suspension to the mix, which includes Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom settings to the Drive Mode Select system’s menu. A height-adjustable air suspension with load levelling is optional too, this feature particularly helpful when loading and unloading.
Hauling in mind, the new Sequoia is now capable of towing up to 9,000 lbs (4,080 kg) of trailer, which is nearly 22-percent more weight than today’s version. Backing this up (literally) is a Tow Tech Package that was first offered with the new Tundra, featuring a Trailer Backup Guide and Straight Path Assist, the latter automatically using the steering system to keep the trailer straight when reversing. The power mirrors also include powered extensions for seeing around the sides of wider loads.
Standard Sequoia features include a heated steering wheel and front seats, Toyota’s breathable Softex leatherette upholstery, a large panoramic sunroof, 18-inch wheels, and the TSS 2.5 suite of safety features.
A 14-inch centre touchscreen is available, improving the Sequoia’s digital experience with features like a Panoramic View Monitor to ease parking, while a digital display rear view mirror is available as well, as is a colourful digital driver’s display.
The new 2023 Sequoia’s interior is laid out much like the outgoing model. It comes standard with three rows including a middle bench, with second-row captain’s chairs being optional. New is a third row that not only reclines, but slides back and forth up to 150 mm (6.0 in), while a handy adjustable hard-shell parcel shelf improves cargo area flexibility. It can be expanded to cover the rear seatbacks when folded, resulting in a completely flat loading floor. The shelf can be fitted back into the floor for carrying taller cargo, or alternatively it acts as a cargo cover when raised higher.
As far as sales go, Toyota is likely looking to loyal 4Runner, Highlander, and of course Sequoia owners as buyers for the new SUV, plus ex-Land Cruiser owners in the U.S. News about the new model will definitely cause some buzz here in Canada, but Sequoia sales have been so few and far between that it may take some time to raise awareness.
Toyota Canada sold 418 Sequoias last year, which was less than half of its all-time Canadian high of 912 unit-sales in 2010. Comparison to General Motors’ Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon success hardly seems relevant at this point, with the two brands’ collective deliveries totalling 15,307 units, or roughly 36.5 times as many full-size SUVs than Toyota. On a more positive note (to Toyota), that’s a lot of market share for the Japanese brand to nibble away at, and this new Sequoia should make a significant dent.
Something domestic SUV shoppers should consider is retained value, which was highest for the Sequoia in the Canadian Black Book’s “Full-size Crossover-SUV” category, while Toyota’s largest SUV also owned the top “Large SUV/Crossover” spot with Vincentric’s Best Value in Canada Awards. Additionally, the Sequoia earned a best-possible position in J.D. Power and Associate’s 2021 Initial Quality Study.
We should expect to see more Sequoias on the road starting this summer.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Overview | Toyota (7:07):
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Undeniable Capability, Unmistakable Presence | Toyota (2:17):
If you purchased a brand new, fully-loaded Acura MDX last year, you would’ve paid a maximum of $69,400, plus freight, fees and taxes, or about $1,100 less than the much more advanced MDX Sport Hybrid when last available in 2020. Now, however, two new trims are pushing the 2022 MDX’ price up to and beyond the $80k threshold, but nevertheless we think a lot of Canadian luxury utility buyers will be willing to part with $10k more in order to take home the sportier Type S variant.
The new 2022 Acura MDX Type S, which is now available from $79,000 (or $81,500 including destination fees), adds a number of key upgrades that are well worth the extra cost. Specifically, the Type S gets a more potent engine good for 65 additional horsepower and 87 lb-ft of extra torque, which results in a grand total of 355 hp and 345 lb-ft of twist, while the performance-focused family hauler also features an Active Exhaust system in order to make it sound as fast as it is.
There’s no change in engine displacement, but the 10-speed automatic transmission connected to that 3.0-litre V6 has been beefed up inside, plus enhanced with quicker shifting gear increments, and rev-matched downshifts. What’s more, a performance-tuned version of the Japanese luxury brand’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system optimizes the uprated high-performance rubber underneath.
Those tires are special self-sealing all seasons, wrapping around a set of 21-inch twinned five-spoke alloys boasting black-painted pockets, and visible through those rims are aggressive Brembo brakes that incorporate big 363-mm front discs with four-piston fixed calipers.
Acura’s first-ever adaptive air suspension helps maintain stability under braking as well as mid-corner, thanks to three unique damping profiles exclusive to the MDX Type S. The brand’s Integrated Dynamics System was improved as well, with special Sport+ and ride height-increasing Lift modes. As exciting as all this sounds, let’s not forget the three-row crossover SUV is a family-first shuttle after all, a point Acura wanted to keep clear by mentioning in their press release that even this sporty Type S will provide “a smooth, comfortable ride.”
Type S buyers wanting more luxury can ante up for the Ultra Package that, for $4,000 more includes 16-way powered front seats with nine massage settings, plus quilted leather upholstery, and a 1,000-watt ELS Studio 3D surround-sound audio system boasting 25 speakers that include LED-illuminated door speakers, high-performance PrecisionDrive carbon-fibre speakers, and CenterParquet. This package increases the price of the MDX Type S by $4,000 to $83,000 (or $85,500 with destination), which is well into German luxury SUV territory.
As far as external visuals go, the 2022 MDX Type S receives a modified front fascia featuring an open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille design for enhanced engine cooling, while an exclusive front splitter sets the front lower section apart from lesser MDX trims. Additionally, the rear diffuser gets the Type S treatment too, thanks to four exhaust outlets.
Have you checked out Kia’s latest SUV lineup lately? It’s gone from all curves to sharp angles and complex creases, not unlike its sister-brand Hyundai’s updated crossover lineup.
The hierarchy of Kia SUV models now includes the entry-level Seltos, the always future-think Soul (which includes an EV option), the second-rung Niro (which provides plug-in hybrid and EV variants), the compact Sportage, the mid-size three-row Sorento, and finally the larger and longer mid-size three-row Telluride, with only the Niro and Sportage needing updates to the brand’s edgier new design language.
Heck, even the new Carnival minivan (which replaced the Sedona) looks like a chunky SUV now, while the always sharp looking Stinger was also updated for 2022, whereas the mid-size K5 (nee Optima) sedan received its redesign for 2021, as did the subcompact Rio (although not as thoroughly) that’s now only available as a hatch (you might find a heavily discounted 2020 Rio sedan if you look far and wide enough). The compact Forte sedan and hatchback, on the other hand, are expected to be refreshed for 2022, soon putting the entire South Korean brand at the leading edge of modern-day styling.
While all of the new Kia SUV designs are advanced looking, the new Sportage might just be the most futuristic of all. Such was the case for the outgoing Sportage when its third-generation debuted back in 2010 and fourth-gen model arrived in 2016, the latter looking a bit like a scaled down Porsche Cayenne. This made sense considering all the German designers filling up the brand’s studios, as does the new 2023 version’s similarities to Audi’s Q8 and Lamborghini’s Urus.
This means the new fifth-gen Sportage should catch the gaze of passersby, although some of these will merely be trying to figure out where the headlamps are. In fact, these are integrated into two boomerang-shaped LED clusters beside the wide glossy black front grille, which itself is situated under a couple of narrow, horizontal nostril-like vents. While a somewhat radical redesign, it should still be pleasing to most compact SUV buyers that tend to want sporty yet practical alternatives to their less-appealing cars.
From the side view, the new Sportage provides more aggressive sculpting on the door panels than most rivals, plus a narrow greenhouse on top, for increased visual length, while some stylish detailing on the lower rockers gives it that critically important SUV look.
The new Sportage appears more conventional from its hind end, thanks to body-wide taillights that add to its wide-looking stance, plus a thin mid-section that almost makes it seem as if it was stretched into place. All of these delicate details support a substantive rear bumper that’s visual extended from the just-mentioned black rocker panels, continuing upward to enclose about two-thirds the CUV’s backside, before being capped off by some angular metal-like trim mirroring a similar treatment on the side rockers and lower front fascia, the latter items surrounding two LED fog lights. The entire package rolls on some similarly edgy alloy wheels that look quite large in the as-shown trim, and featuring machine-finishing with glossy-black pockets.
“Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design,” commented Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design Center, in a press release. “With the all-new Sportage, we didn’t simply want to take one step forward but instead move on to a different level in the SUV class.”
Kia calls its new design language “Opposites United”, a theme that continues inside the cabin where uniquely shaped HVAC vents and horizontally-organized instrument panel trim joins up to form parentheses-like structures that incorporate a very large dual-display primary gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen within.
The large single-screen setup pulls forward a driver display/infotainment design used recently by both Kia and its parental Hyundai brand, which must be said is similar to Mercedes’ MBUX dash design. Ironically (this being a Kia), it incorporates some camera technologies that are much more advanced than anything on offer from the German luxury brand, particularly its rear-facing camera system that automatically shows right/left rearward views when flicking either turn signal.
A row of switches continues the horizontal theme just underneath, integrating a well-organized two-zone auto HVAC interface at its mid-point, all before a gently sloping piano-black lacquered centre console gets stuffed full of drive functions such as an engine start/stop button, a rotating gear selection dial, a driving mode selector, and more, while switches for the heatable and cooled front seats, plus the heated steering wheel can be found right next door. A wireless charging pad probably sits under a lidded compartment just in front of this cluster of controls, plus all the expected USB ports and other connectivity/charging alternatives.
“When you see the all-new Sportage in person, with its sleek but powerfully dynamic stance, and when you sit inside the detailed-oriented cabin with its beautifully detailed interior and first-class materials, you’ll see we have achieved those goals and set new benchmarks,” continued Habib. “In the all-new Sportage, we believe you can see the future of our brand and our products.”
So far, Kia hasn’t shown off any other details, such as the new Sportage’s front and rear seats or its cargo area, but interior capacities should be similar to the new Hyundai Tucson that shares the Sportage’ underpinnings. That compact crossover SUV has grown in size since also being renewed for 2022, now stretching 4,605 mm (181.3 inches) from front to back, making it 155 mm (6.1 in) lengthier than its predecessor, with a 86 mm (3.4 in) longer wheelbase at 2,751 mm (108.3 in), while it’s about half an inch (12-13 mm) wider and similarly taller than the 2021 crossover it sent packing.
Kia’s Sportage has long shared its mechanical setup with the Tucson too, so we’re expecting a version of the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder powerplant that currently puts out 190 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque in the 2022 Hyundai. The new Tucson also features an efficient eight-speed automatic gearbox across its entire trim line, which should be the only transmission used in the Sportage too, while Hyundai’s compact SUV includes both FWD and AWD alternatives, common in this class.
Of course, we’ll get more details when the new 2023 Sportage arrives, which should be sometime in calendar year 2022, at which point we should also find out if it receives an off-road focused X-Line variant, and/or the Tucson’s electrified power units, which currently include both hybrid and plug-in hybrid alternatives.
For the time being, Kia is offering the latest 2022 Sportage with up to $1,000 in additional incentives, while buyers of 2021 models get up to $2,500 off. Also notable, CarCostCanada members are currently saving an average of $2,386, so check our 2022 and 2021 Kia Sportage Canada Prices pages for all the details, including complete trim pricing with all available options and colours.
As the years start to stack up and there’s more of them behind you than ahead, to hear you’re aging gracefully is quite the compliment. Such could be said of Buick’s current Enclave, a three-row crossover SUV that’s now been with us in its current second-generation form for four years. Certainly, that’s not long by human standards, but it’s a full product cycle in automotive years, albeit not compared to the first-generation Enclave that, despite a mid-cycle refresh in 2013, lasted for an entire decade.
The SUV being reviewed here was as up-to-date as possible when being tested, but as it happens, 2021 is the Enclave’s last model year before getting a fairly comprehensive makeover. Its underpinnings will remain the same, but its styling will look a lot fresher, and not unlike the much sleeker and more modern looking second-gen Chinese-market version that’s been available since last year.
Sure, you can wait for a 2022, which actually gets reduced by $300 at the base level, but there’s opportunity to take advantage of end-of-lifecycle savings if you choose a 2021 over the new 2022 model, so as long as you don’t need to have the latest and greatest styling, the outgoing Enclave is still one very attractive family hauler. It’s also a very affordable one, at least when comparing it to longstanding luxury brands that it more or less competes against. To be clear, three-row SUV buyers won’t likely be shopping the Enclave against BMW’s X7 or Mercedes’ GLS, simply because their price points are nowhere near each other.
A base Enclave Essence starts at $48,398, or $51,398 with as-tested all-wheel drive. That’s similar pricing to fully loaded alternatives from Honda, Hyundai, Kia or Toyota, which arguably offer more features (and sometimes more luxury) for the money, but none of these rise up to $70k, which is possible when adding all the options to the Enclave Avenir. That’s around where a base Audi Q7 starts, and plenty of other premium-branded three-row SUVs, although an equivalent entry-level GLS will set you back an astonishing $101,900, just a bit less than what you’ll need to pay for the least expensive X7, which starts at $102,900.
This in mind, Buick, and its Enclave fall into the entry-level luxury sector, along with competitors like the $48,995 Infiniti QX60, $56,405 Acura MDX, and possibly the $59,700 three-row Lexus RX 350 L (which is only meant for small kids in the third row), although if we’re moving all the way up to the $60k starting point, we should probably include GM’s own Cadillac XT6 that rides on the same stretched C1XX platform (more or less) as the Enclave (and the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia), yet starts at $57,998. Everything else in this class retails over the $60,000 threshold, and while that’s about where the aforementioned Enclave Avenir can be had ($62,298), this Enclave Essence is the model Buick gave me to test, and therefore targets a different entry-level luxury client.
I don’t know if that last exercise was done more for my own clarification of where Buick fits into the scheme of luxury things, or as a way for you to come to grips with the same, but in any case, it’s good to understand that Buick fills an important niche in the middle of the automotive class hierarchy, and its relatively strong sales more or less prove that reality.
Despite only offering five models (the 2020 Regal Sportback of which has already been sent off to that great four-door sedan graveyard in the sky—it’s a five-door really, as its trunk is actually a hatch), Buick managed to rank sixth amongst premium brands in Canada thanks to 15,957 units being sold last year, which puts it only 755 sales behind Acura, plus more than twice as much as Lincoln (7,155) and almost three times as many deliveries as Infiniti after a particularly gutting year. What’s more, as of Q2 2021’s close, Buick’s 8,277 delivery total had already blasted past Acura’s rather sluggish 7,465 tally, although Cadillac’s XT6 appears to be on a roll with 8,402 examples out the door, so therefore Buick maintains its sixth position.
The Enclave wasn’t quite as strong in its mid-size three-row luxury SUV category last year as the Buick brand, but amongst dedicated premium three-row family haulers it ranked seventh out of 11 competitors with 1,773 deliveries (I’m not including Bentley’s Bentayga on this list for obvious reasons). This said, so far this year it’s doing a bit better with 1,270 units down the road already, placing it ahead of Mercedes’ GLS (1,148), Lincoln’s Aviator (926), and Infiniti’s QX60 (687) that’s getting an even more dramatic redesign for 2022.
Cadillac’s XT6 (973) lagged a bit behind the Enclave over the first six months of this year, as did BMW’s X7 (522), Lexus’ GX (161), and Land Rover’s Discovery (103), which seems to be getting killed by the new Defender (1,057). Tally all this up and it’s easy to understand why the Buick brand and this Enclave model are so important to General Motors (a total of 3,264 combined Enclave and XT6 sales puts GM close to Acura’s MDX), but after factoring in their even greater strength in the U.S. and yet stronger presence in China, this information might also help build confidence that Buick isn’t about to leave our market anytime soon—unfortunately I can’t confirm that for Infiniti.
The upcoming 2022 Enclave refresh should further improve the model’s sales when it arrives later this year, as long as Buick doesn’t dump any leftover 2021s on the market before the new one gets here. The fact Buick is only offering customers up to $1,000 in additional incentives is a good sign they have inventories in check, but stay tuned to CarCostCanada for any further discount info. Also, take note that CarCostCanada members who purchased a new 2021 Enclave saved an average of $2,625 thanks to knowing the SUV’s dealer invoice price before negotiating their best deal, which means it’s a good idea to find out how their very affordable membership works, and how easy it is to use from anywhere via their free app that can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
As for the 2021 Enclave Essence being reviewed here, my tester was not only upgraded with AWD, but also received a stylish $1,495 Sport Touring upgrade package that includes a sporty black mesh grille, glossed-black Pitch Dark Night lower accent trim, and 20-inch alloys instead of the standard 18s. This gets added to a base model that also features automatic on/off LED headlamps and heated power-folding exterior mirrors, on the outside, plus proximity access to get you inside.
Once seated, pushbutton ignition gets the engine going, while additional standard features include an auto-dimming centre mirror, a 4.2-inch colour multi-information display within the gauge cluster, an 8.0-inch touchscreen at dash-central, integrating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a universal garage door opener, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Safety Alert driver’s seat that uses vibrations to warn, perforated leather seat upholstery, three-way heatable and ventilated powered front seats with four-way lumbar support, two-position driver memory, three-zone auto HVAC with a set of rear controls, heatable second-row captain’s chairs resulting in seven-passenger capability (a bench for the second row resulting in a total of eight occupants is available), a power-folding 60/40-split third row, a hands-free powered liftgate, a 120-volt power outlet, remote start, etcetera.
All Enclaves include the Buick Driver Confidence Plus package of advanced driver assistance and safety technologies as standard too, which includes a Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking, as well as Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, front and rear Park Assist, and IntelliBeam auto high beam assist headlights.
Believe me, I never once felt like I was slumming it in this Buick, even in its base trim. Actually, standard features like cloth-wrapped A, B and C pillars gave it a true premium feel, as did better-than-average soft composite materials on top of the dash and atop the front and rear side window sills. It’s also impressive across the front of the instrument panel, and the lower section of that IP ahead of the front passenger, which extends below the infotainment touchscreen and along the right side of the lower console. Buick made a point of stitching nicely padded leatherette on the sides of that centre stack and lower console, the left side of which is padded further to protect the driver’s inner knee from chafing, while this pampering surface treatment extends down to the armrest as well. These areas were done out in a particularly attractive caramel brown in my tester, perfectly matching the seats and door inserts that were also stitched, the former also featuring perforated leather inserts.
Additionally, the seat surface leather is suppler than some others at the Enclave Essence’s price point too, plus those aforementioned heated front cushions warm up to near therapeutic levels. Warmth in mind, the climate control interface, while appearing a bit rudimentary, did its job well, and while it could be a bit more upscale to look at my eyes were more easily pulled toward the centre display overtop, which has to be one of the simplest to use in the segment.
I generally like General Motors’ infotainment systems, and while I appreciate Chevrolet’s more colourful Apple-inspired interface even more than this classier design from Buick, they both work identically and utilize a full colour palette for graphically stimulating controls. I found this latest version responded to inputs quickly, which was particularly notable when jiggling the navigation map around with my fingertips. I should also note that GM’s navigation/GPS system has never once led me astray either, so a big hand to the automaker’s tech department that does infotainment very well. Important also, the rearview camera was clear and its moving guidelines useful, while the standard Bose audio system was very good.
As for the Enclave’s primary gauge cluster, it’s not very enticing. The chrome trimmed analogue dials are ok, these placed bookending another set of chrome-edged gas and engine temp meters above, but the tiny square multi-information display kind of looks like an aftermarket add-on. This comes at a time that competitors are arriving with fully digital clusters that show virtual gauges one minute and giant maps the next. Some brands are even including rear-facing camera monitors in their clusters, so Buick needs to up the ante in this respect. Fortunately, even this base Enclave’s steering wheel is excellent, with high-quality leather and an impressively sporty feel, while the spokes’ switchgear well-made and works as it should.
Looking up to the overhead console could be summed up as a trip back to yesteryear too, although it’s functional and happily includes a sunglasses holder, as well as LED reading lights and switches for the universal remote, OnStar, SOS, plus more. You won’t find a power sunroof button, as this base trim doesn’t include a sunroof, and I have to say it’s weird not seeing a sunroof in a roof this large.
Nevertheless, I found it easy to find an ideal driving position thanks to a manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel with loads of rearward reach, while the seats were comfortable, although without much lateral support, therefore if you’re looking to use this Enclave to snake through fast-paced corners, you’ll probably want to find something other than the steering wheel to hold on to. This is only worth mentioning because the Enclave handles well, partially due to the 20-inch wheel and 255/55 tire upgrade noted earlier, so it might be a good idea for performance fans to look upstream to a fancier trim line in order to find more aggressive seat bolstering.
Similarly, the Enclave Essence model’s second-row captain’s chair backrests are almost totally flat, although rear passengers can fold down their individual centre armrests to hang on. The second-row seats are mostly comfortable, however, with good legroom when slid all the way rearward. Those in the second row will also appreciate the previously mentioned rear climate control panel on the backside of the front console, which includes seat warming switchgear. This is where you can also find a set of USB chargers, but oddly no air vents. Don’t worry, though, as these are intelligently integrated within the roof, as are another set of vents for third-row passengers, and likewise for the LED reading lamps.
It’s easy to flip the second-row seats up and out of the way for getting into the very back, only necessitating a mild pull on a handle atop the backrest, while another lever below flips them down for storage. Before getting into cargo capacity, rear occupants enjoy separate USB charging ports, not to mention fairly large rear quarter windows for good outward visibility. I found the third-row seats comfortable too, not to mention reasonably roomy. Buick left good space for legs and feet, especially when the second-row seats are pulled slightly forward.
As for cargo, they fold down relatively flat, as does the second row, providing more storage capacity than most of their peers. In fact, I was able to load up a double-wide Ikea Pax wardrobe inside, including its rather bulky glass sliding door system, with room left over. By the numbers, the Enclave can manage up to 2,764 litres of what-have-you behind the front seats, 1,642 litres aft of the second row, and 668 litres in back of the third row.
Even when loaded up with gear the Enclave was no slouch off the line, its 3.6-litre V6 making a healthy 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque for plenty of straight-line performance. It’s conjoined to a nine-speed autobox that not only aids fuel economy with a fairly good rating of 13.0 L/100km city, 9.1 highway and 11.2 combined with FWD, or a respective 13.6, 9.6 and 11.8 in as-tested AWD, partially thanks to standard idle start/stop technology, but it also provides wonderfully smooth shift up and down the range.
Then again, engaging manual mode and its steering wheel-mounted paddles transform this calm, sedate traveler into a much sportier canyon carver, or at least it was much more enjoyable than I initially expected. BMW doesn’t even go so far as to hold the X5 or X7 engine’s redlines before upshifting, so a big hand for Buick’s engineers that give the Enclave such strong performance. The V6 also makes a nice growl at full throttle, although I wouldn’t take that to mean it’ll outshine those BMWs as far as engine auditory tracks go.
I think ride quality will matter more to most Buick buyers than all-out performance, however, and to that end the Enclave’s driver and many passengers will be nicely isolated from exterior elements no matter the speeds being traveled or environment outside. Although I found there was more wind buffeting on the highway than expected. It wasn’t the side windows (I checked), but it may be something specific to my test model’s door seals. Buick prides itself in providing near tomblike silent interiors, so it could also be possible that more of Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” technologies get added to upper trims. Either way, make sure you look for this on your test drive.
Even if the Enclave Essence is a bit noisier at highway speeds than it should be, it’s hard to argue against its sub-$50k price point. That it competes so well against others that cost thousands more should be taken into consideration, but then again it also gets out-muscled for features and refinement by some newcomers in the volume-branded mainstream category. This is a very competitive market segment, and the upcoming 2022 Enclave should address some of my minor complaints.
On that note, I don’t think any of my grumblings should put you off testing a 2021 Enclave, and at least comparing it to its rivals, especially when factoring in Buick’s enviably high ranking in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study, where it sits fifth overall and just third amongst luxury brands.
It helped that Genesis’ earliest two models were already in production as the Hyundai-branded Equus and Genesis Sedan, one of two cars, including the Genesis Coupe, that carried the new brand’s name for eight years before its steering wheel hub and trunk lid removed Hyundai’s stylized “H” for Genesis wings (which were already displayed proudly above the front grille), and “GENESIS” lettering was replaced by G80 badging at back.
Since then, all three early cars have been updated with fresh new styling, including a new pentagonal “Crest Grille” plus double-slatted LED “Quad Lamps” fore and aft, and heavily reworked interiors, resulting in a wholly cohesive design language to at least rival its key Japanese rivals, while the new G80 will soon be available with a two-motor pure electric drive system.
Granted, Genesis has a long way to go before it starts matching Lexus sales in Canada, with 1,737 units sold at the close of Q2 2021 compared to 12,405, but it’s closing in on Infiniti’s 3,189 total after the first six months of this year, and has already bypassed Jaguar’s 1,204 deliveries and Alfa Romeo’s 434. Lincoln is also in target with only 3,629 units sold as June ended, and this comes before any GV70 deliveries get added to the Genesis mix.
Interestingly, the sporty 2022 GV70 is not the least expensive compact luxury SUV on the market, a tactic often chosen by upstart luxury brands trying to attract new buyers by providing all the bells and whistles for a better price. Instead, the new model gets an all-inclusive price of $49,000, including freight and delivery fees (or $49,150 all-in as shown on GV70’s retail website landing page).
The new GV70, in fact, is ninth most expensive in a compact premium crossover segment that’s now 16 competitors strong. That places it near the mid-point, although it’s important to point out that most competitors don’t include destination/delivery fees or the $100 A/C tax in their advertised prices. Therefore, after factoring in the latter (and using an average of $2,500 for those brands that made it difficult to locate this information on their retail websites), the new GV70’s retail price is more competitive thanks to a ranking of seventh most affordable.
By the numbers, alternatives priced lower than the new GV70 include the $44,298 Cadillac XT5 (plus $2,500 in fees for a total of $46,798), $44,505 Acura RDX (plus $2,475 in fees for a total of $46,980), $44,600 Lexus NX (couldn’t find their fees so adding $2,500 for $47,100), $45,495 Infiniti QX50 (plus $2,220 for $47,415), $45,200 Lincoln Corsair (plus $2,250 for $47,450), and lastly the $46,550 Audi Q5 (plus $2,395 for $48,945).
Genesis’ willingness to let eight brands advertise lower pricing in such a highly competitive market is a bold move, but it just might be calculated one, in that its mid-pack pricing could cause loftier perceptions of its brand identity, and therefore leave cheaper alternatives looking like they’re not good enough. After all, parent company Hyundai has long been seen as a value brand amongst its more established mainstream rivals, and while that’s changing because of impressive entries such as the Genesis and Equus models that came before, plus today’s Santa Fe, Palisade and the list goes on, it’s still important for Genesis to not allow such a more-for-less mindset and instead develop its own brand desirability.
An approximate $20,000 price gap, from least expensive to priciest, is a sizeable chasm for compact luxury SUV shoppers to cross, but it should be mentioned that any one of the compact luxury utilities named above comes close to the revered Velar’s starting price when amped up with options, while even the cheapest on this list can go much higher. What’s more, some boast more equipment in their various base trims than others, not to mention stronger performance, greater interior room, etcetera. In other words, it’s not a direct apples-for-apples comparison.
For around $50k, the 2022 GV70 2.5T Select AWD arrives standard with Quad LED headlights, LED tail lamps, 18-inch alloys, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton start/stop and remote engine start, fingerprint authentication, an 8.0-inch LCD digital gauge cluster, a big 14.5-inch HD multimedia display incorporating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, navigation, wireless device charging, a 12-way powered driver’s seat with power lumbar, an eight-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, rear occupant alert, a hands-free tailgate, plus more.
Additionally, the GV70’s standard Highway Driving Assist II driver assistance and safety technology suite adds High Beam Assist, Lane Follow Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist to all the usual active and passive safety features.
As is often the case in this category, AWD is standard, while the GV70 also includes Terrain Mode Select. The base powertrain is a 2.5-litre turbo-four good for 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, while a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 capable of 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque is available. An eight-speed automatic transmission also comes standard, as do steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
As for exterior colours, Uyuni White, Vik Black, Himalayan Gray, Savile Silver, Adriatic Blue, Cardiff Green, Barossa Burgundy, and Mauna Red are no-cost options, while base models can only be had with “artificial leather” upholstery in Obsidian Black (Genesis might want to reconsider the name it’s using for leatherette).
For $55,500 (including freight and fees), the 2022 GV70 2.5T Advanced AWD ups the ante with 19-inch alloy wheels, power-folding exterior mirrors with puddle lamps, a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, genuine leather seat coverings (in Obsidian Black, Vanilla Beige, Havana Brown/Ocean Wave, Pine Grove/Ocean Wave, and Slate Gray/Velvet Burgundy, depending on the exterior colour), a power panoramic glass sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, plus a fully automatic rear climate control system.
For $59,000, Advanced Plus trim continues adding features such as a driver’s head-up display (HUD), a Surround View parking monitor, a Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM), an 18-speaker Lexicon sound system upgrade, manual rear side sunshades, and a household-style 110-volt AC power outlet for the rear cargo compartment.
Further up the range, the $63,000 GV70 2.5T Prestige AWD includes a Sport Appearance package featuring metal foot pedals, upscale Nappa leather upholstery with suede-like micro-fibre inserts (in Obsidian Black, Sevilla Red or Ultramarine Blue, depending on exterior colours), a psuede headliner, a driver’s seat power extension for the lower cushion as well as power side bolsters that cinch up in sport mode, Smart Posture Care, Parking Collision Avoidance-Assist Rear (PCA-R), and Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA).
For $68,500, the GV70 3.5T Sport AWD trim line combines 2.5T Advanced AWD features with the larger, more powerful engine, as well as some of the just-noted Prestige items like the Sport Appearance package, HUD, power seat cushion extension, bolsters and Smart Posture Care, Lexicon audio system, and 115-volt power outlet, not to mention 21-inch alloys, special aluminum sports trim, enhanced monobloc brakes, an improved Electronic Control Suspension with Road Preview, plus Sport leather seating.
Finally, $75,500 GV70 3.5T Sport Plus AWD trim adds an electronic limited slip differential, a bigger 12.3inch 3D TFT LCD digital instrument cluster, carbon fibre interior trim, plusher Nappa leather upholstery with stitched quilting (in all the same colours as Prestige and Sport trims), a micro-fibre headliner, and laminated acoustic rear door glass, plus the previously-noted surround parking monitor, BVM, PCA-R, RSPA, and rear sunshades. Of note, this segment’s most affordable Cadillac XT5 reaches the same price point when fully optioned, as do most of the others.
Together with the premium finishings, arguably attractive design, no shortage of features and impressive performance numbers, Genesis provides owners with at-home/work valet pick-up and drop-off concierge service, complete with a complimentary courtesy vehicle, when complimentary scheduled maintenance or other repairs are required during the first five years of ownership, or the SUV’s first 100,000 kilometres of use.
On top of this, GV70 owners benefit from Genesis Connected Services featuring map updates and more for the extent of the SUV’s five-year comprehensive warranty (with an unlimited km extension for map updates and roadside service). The five-year or 100,000-km comprehensive warranty is an entire year longer, and an average of 20,000 km greater than most premium competitors’ comprehensive coverage, plus it’s an additional two years or 40,000 km better than the majority of competitive powertrain warranties.
Still, the compact luxury SUV market is deep with capable offerings, giving Genesis’ newcomer big challenges to overcome. How it’s received is anyone’s guess, but we’ll be certain to report on its success after it’s been around long enough to do so, and of course we’ll review it as soon as a test model becomes available.
Porsche’s new Taycan is doing a great job of scooping up premium EV buyers, enough so that Tesla may want to consider redesigning its Model S sometime soon. Of course, the iconic California-turned-Texan electric carmaker isn’t likely worried, thanks to a market cap that rivals the largest tech giants, not to mention key models in all of the most important luxury segments, but at least Porsche is succeeding where many others are struggling to gain ground.
Tesla’s Model Y fills the compact luxury SUV hole in its expanding lineup, exactly where Porsche plans to directly compete with an electrified version of its already popular Macan crossover. In order to make sure the Macan EV finds as many buyers possible, Porsche is getting busy testing it on road and track, and recently released some photos and info to let us know how the process is going.
Porsche plans a 2023 launch for its upcoming all-electric Macan, which should be enough time to get the kinks out. To that end, the Stuttgart-based luxury brand had been digitally and physically testing it on its Weissach Development Centre proving grounds until recently, but now has it touring public roads in heavily camouflaged attire, so as to hide its second-generation Macan sheet metal.
“Testing in a real-life environment is now getting underway – one of the most important milestones in the development process,” commented Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.
Porsche plans to cover three million kilometres worldwide, in every possible type of condition, ahead of delivering fully electric Macans to market, and that lofty number doesn’t even include the “countless” virtual kilometres accumulated on the Weissach test track, not to mention many more miles achieved via digital prototypes.
According to Porsche, developing the new Macan EV digitally reduces capital expenditures and time, while it also minimizes the new model’s environmental impact. Rather than putting actual prototypes through their paces, a digital computational model replicates the kinds of true-to-life properties, systems and power units of the EV to a very high degree of accuracy. As part of the electrified Macan’s development, Porsche has utilized 20 digital prototypes in order to simulate all types of situations, resulting in critically important aerodynamic, energy management, operation, and acoustic data.
“We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible,” said Andreas Huber, manager for digital prototypes at Porsche, plus one of the first aerodynamics engineers to ever work with digital prototypes. “This allows previously undiscovered design conflicts to be swiftly identified and resolved.”
Reducing aerodynamic drag helps the Macan EV achieve its ultimate range targets, with even minimal flow enhancements making a significant difference.
“We started with a flow-around model when the project first started about four years ago,” added Thomas Wiegand, Director of aerodynamics development.
A team of Porsche engineers utilizes simulations so as to fine-tune each and every surface of the new crossover EV, with specific attention paid to cooling air ducts. Such calculations help the engineers arrange components that in-turn optimize efficiencies, while they also provide the required data for predicting variances in real-world temperature levels. Porsche actually claims the new testing procedures allow for extremely precise simulations of both aerodynamics and thermodynamics.
“The digital world is indispensable to the development of the all-electric Macan,” said Wiegand.
Returning to air ducts and cooling, the new EV’s motive electric system boasts a totally different cooling and temperature control concept than the conventionally-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) powered Macan. To be clear, the various ICE’s used in today’s Macan need a 90- to 120-degree (Celsius) temperature operating range, whereas the new electric-powered model’s drive system and high-voltage battery maintain a temperature window between 20 and 70 degrees.
Also unique to the electric Macan, where an ICE increases its temperature when starting and stopping during heavy traffic, the battery-powered version needs more cooling during high-power charging, particularly in warmer weather. Porsche is overcoming this challenge by calculating and digitally optimizing the “position, flow and temperature” via the digital prototypes mentioned earlier.
Digital prototype use can start quite early in any vehicle’s developmental stage. In fact, Porsche created a completely new driver interface for its upcoming second-gen Macan long before designing some of the other components. A revised driver display was included, of course, which, when ready for testing, Porsche brought to life in a “seat box” that was capable of simulating the actual driving environment.
“Simulation allows us to assess displays, operating procedures and the changing influences during a journey from the driver’s point of view,” said Fabian Klausmann of Porsche’s Driver Experience development department. “Here, the ‘test drivers’ are not just the specialists themselves but also non-experts. This allows all interaction between driver and vehicle to be studied down to the last detail, enabling selective optimization even before the first physical cockpit has been built.”
The initial physical Macan EV prototypes were developed from information learned through the digital prototype program, and once these running prototypes were on the track, they fed additional data back to the digital prototypes to continue testing with. This process allowed Porsche’s engineers to continually update both the digital and physical prototypes, refining each aspect of the Macan EV throughout the development process.
“Endurance testing on closed-off testing facilities and public roads in real-life conditions is still indispensable to ensure that the vehicle structure, operational stability and reliability of hardware, software and all functions meet our high-quality standards,” continued Steiner.
The Macan EV continues to undergo a demanding testing process, including climate extreme endurance tests, plus the need to overcome all types of topographical conditions. Of course, this would include real-world charging and conditioning of the new EV’s high-voltage battery, with everyday reliability and segment-leading performance being high on the agenda.
“Like the Taycan, the all-electric Macan, with its 800-volt architecture, will offer typical Porsche E-Performance,” added Steiner, pointing to development goals such as the SUV’s long-distance range, high-performance fast charging, and goal of best-in-segment performance. “The all-electric Macan will be the sportiest model in its segment.”
The new Macan EV will also need to be highly efficient, of course, which is why it’s the first Porsche to make use of the brand’s new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture. This said, most Macan owners will continue choosing one of the automaker’s conventional ICE’s instead of the electrical alternative, at least in its early years, particularly in markets where consumers aren’t penalized for not going green, thus gasoline-powered models will need to remain part of the overall Macan package for the unforeseen future.
“In Europe, demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world,” noted Steiner. “That’s why we’re going to launch another attractive conventionally-powered successor to the current Macan in the course of 2021.”
This said, the new second-generation Macan will launch later this year, with varied availability of ICE’s. The new Macan EV will follow in about three years and millions of kilometers of digital and physical prototype tests.