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Porsche releases digital and physical second-generation Macan EV prototypes

2023 Porsche Macan EV Prototype
The first all-electric Macan prototypes leave Porsche’s development centre in Weissach, sporting camouflage in order to disguise their second-generation styling.

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.

2023 Porsche Macan EV Prototype
Michael Steiner, Member of Porsche’s Executive Board, Research and Development, shows off a couple of camouflaged Macan EV prototypes.

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.

2023 Porsche Macan EV Prototype
This “seat box” was used to recreate the all-electric Macan’s driving environment.

“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.

2023 Porsche Macan EV Prototype
Porsche made some of the early physical prototypes of the Macan EV by hand.

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.

2023 Porsche Macan EV Prototype
After the digital development of the new Macan EV, Porsche started running laps around its Weissach development centre test track.

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.”

2023 Porsche Macan EV Prototype
Porsche utilized digital Macan EV prototypes to create and refine the physical prototypes, before using data derived from the latter to improve digital prototype development.

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.

Until then, today’s 2021 Macan is available from $57,800, and can be had with factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent. Be sure to check out each and every available trim in our 2021 Porsche Macan Canada Prices page, and configure those you’re most interested in with all options and colours, and then find out how you can save when purchasing your new Macan (or any other new vehicle) by becoming a CarCostCanada member. Currently, Macan buyers are saving an average of $2,750 thanks to dealer invoice pricing, which is information you can now have on hand after downloading the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

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See how Francois saved over $4000 on his new Jeep Grand Cherokee with CarCostCanada

When buying a new car, lots of Canadians are overwhelmed by all the information and do not know where or how to start the process. Buying a new car is a big decision and it can often be stressful for a lot of people.

However, making the right decision can save you thousands of dollars only by using CarCostCanada. Indeed, they offer Free Price Reports that help most Canadians in their negotiation when buying a new car. Canadians across the country are now sharing their stories to show how everyone can save thousands on their next new car purchase using CarCostCanada’s services.

This week, let’s take a look at Francois’s story and find out how he saved over $4000 on his new Jeep Grand Cherokee using CarCostCanada’s Free Price Report.

When your car can’t follow your lifestyle, it’s time for an upgrade

François is a 31 year old entrepreneur in construction from Sainte-Adèle, Quebec. He likes to play hockey in the winter and go skiing in the Laurentians Mountains. Since his young age, Francois has always been an athlete and nothing can stop him.

In the summer, he enjoys hikes in his region, but he often goes across the border in Vermont to climb higher mountains. His girlfriend and his son are always ready to accompany him on all his adventures and try new things.

François is a true adventure enthusiast, so his car has to be able to keep up with his daredevil lifestyle. However, Francois is also a car lover as he loves doing road trips in his convertible. Therefore, taking the decision of changing his car was pretty serious for him.

Because of this adventurous lifestyle, François decided to sell his small convertible.  There was not enough space in the back to fit all his gear and with only 2 seats he was not able to sit all the family at the same time.

Finding a new car for his need at the best possible price

Therefore, Francois needed a new car so he decided to start looking online for advice and see what he could afford. That’s how he found CarCostCanada. In 3 easy steps, he was able to build his price report.  First, he built and priced his new car using CarCostCanada’s free report tool, just as he would have done with the manufacturer’s website.

Second, once the price report was generated, he obtained the best price formula for his specific model by taking the dealer cost minus the incentive plus the dealer margin to see what the best possible price would be.

Finally, the tool helped him find the nearest dealer and meet with one of their professional representatives to get the best price and an exceptional buying experience.

François was looking for a car that could drive on any type of road and in any temperature and he needed a large trunk to put all his equipment. So he decided to choose the Jeep Grand Cherokee to meet his needs. In the process, Francois also used the tool trade-in-value of CarCostCanada directly on the website to help him get the right selling price for his old car.

CarCostCanada - Jeep Grand Cherokee

 

Moreover, François also saved over $4000 on his new Jeep and will be able to use that money to buy hiking gear and plan his next adventurous trip with his family.

CarCostCanada

How to choose your new car insurance?

 

Choosing your car insurance can often seem difficult, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or don’t know much about different types of insurance. It’s important to choose the right insurance for your car and for you. Here are some tips to help you in your shopping process and talk with different auto insurance companies.

Be aware of your needs

Before you start choosing your new vehicle or the choice of your car insurance, you need to establish a plan. An important aspect of the plan for your auto insurance is knowing your needs.

Your need in terms of insurance will change depending on the type of car you have or are looking for and the type of coverage you need. For example, a car with a higher value will cost more in terms of insurance payment.

Another aspect that can impact the choice and the price of your car insurance is the number of drivers and the city in which you live. If you live in a busy city where accidents happen often and cars are often being stolen, it might impact the price of your insurance.

Therefore, multiple aspects like the usage of the vehicle, the coverage needed, the number of drivers and your city  will all play a role in your choice of auto insurance.

Take the time to compare several insurance companies

Once your plan is settled and you know what you are looking for, don’t hesitate to compare offers. It is now time to shop around and get some information about the different prices and different car insurance you can get. Ask for multiple car insurance quotes and you can always negotiate and compare several aspects between offers from different insurance companies. 

Once you have gathered a couple of auto insurance quotes, it is now time to compare. You can compare and make your decision regarding the prices, regarding the inclusions in the contract (car insurance coverage), regarding the different policies or even certain extras. 

Finally, you can also compare the claims process to see if it is easy and quick. Good customer service is important as you will need someone to answer and be there to help you if something happens. 

What do you need to have in hand when shopping?

To help you shop and facilitate your life and the life of the expert on the phone, you need to prepare a couple of things in advance. 

When you purchase and sign your auto insurance policy, you should be prepared and have the average number of kilometres you drive each year. You should also have your latest auto insurance policy, if you have one, and your car identification number. You should also know that your driving record can impact the price of your car insurance rates. 

By having all these informants ready, you will save a lot of time and you will show that you know what you are doing.

Different types of coverage

Depending on your need established earlier, you can choose between different types of coverage. Before choosing them, you should definitely know what they are and what they do for you. Let’s take a quick look at some different option that you can choose from:

Liability coverage: This coverage protects you if you cause any damage to others. Therefore, if you hit someone else’s car and you are responsible for the bill, the insurance will cover the damage. This is often required to have this type of coverage as a minimum.

Collision coverage: This coverage protects your car if you hit a person or a car even though it is your fault or not. Therefore, if you have any damage to your car, they will cover you. It is always good to have more than just the minimum coverage required.

Comprehensive coverage: This coverage is often sold with the collision coverage as it also protects you against vandalism, fire, and theft.

Do not hesitate to ask questions

As mentioned at the beginning, choosing the right car insurance can be complicated and stressful. Therefore, when you’re shopping or talking to an expert, don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have. It is your right to know what you are buying and it is their job to inform you.

About CarCostCanada

CarCostCanada is Canada’s new car pricing experts. We are here to help you and answer your questions regarding new car purchases. You can always chat with us directly on the website. It will be a pleasure for us to help you in the best way possible in the buying process of your new car. Don’t hesitate to use our free report tool to compare cars and get the best price in three easy steps.

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2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring Road Test

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
We think Honda’s Insight is a great looking compact sedan, especially in top-line Touring trim.

After first spending a week with Honda’s then-new Insight in its top-line Touring trim a couple of years ago, I really felt the Japanese automaker had a winner on its hands.

The compact sedan’s conservative good looks should have appealed to an even greater number of consumers than the edgier Civic it shares underpinnings and hard points with. Even better (to my eyes at least), its classy front fascia pulled some grille details over from the larger Accord mid-size sedan, while its tidier taillights stopped short of wrapping overtop most of the trunk lid.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
This rich red metallic colour doesn’t provide enough contrast to show how nicely sculpted the Insight’s rear taillights are.

Don’t get me wrong, as the outgoing Civic was a styling tour de force when it arrived in 2015 as a 2016 model, but the more subdued Insight gave… ahem… insight to the Civic’s future design direction, particularly at the hind end where those just-noted taillights look like positive precursors to those on the much more conventional 2022 Civic sedan.

Still, as it was and still is, Honda failed to properly launch this 2019–present Insight within Canada, where it suffers incredibly slow sales, not even surpassing 500 units last year. In fact, the dismal number was 496, while the first quarter of 2021 has seen just 91 examples roll out of Honda showrooms. When compared to the Civic’s class-leading 50,805 sales-total in 2020, and 7,158 units delivered during Q1 of this year, which puts the Insight just under 1 percent of Civic deliveries during 2020, and nearly 1.3 percent for Q1 of 2021, Honda’s dedicated compact hybrid can only be seen as a complete dud. But why?

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The Insight borrows from the Civic and Accord for a particularly attractive frontal design.

After all, the two models’ sales ratio in the U.S. is much better, although still not anywhere near as evenly weighted as I initially expected, with the Insight finding 15,932 buyers south of the 49th in 2020, and 3,859 as of the end of March this year, compared to 261,225 Civics sold last year and 55,903 for Q1 of 2021. That represents 6.1 percent of Civic sales in 2020 and 6.9 percent for the first three months of 2021, which probably isn’t even good enough to justify any sort of business case for keeping the model alive.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
A rear-facing camera provides a clear view of the Insight’s blind spot when changing lanes.

It comes down to pricing. With a base price of $28,490 (plus freight and fees), the Insight finds itself $3,400 more expensive than the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which starts at only $25,090. If the Insight were 10-percent more car it might make sense, but, as I already pointed out, consumers have spoken load and clear with their wallets, plus I’ve personally driven both, and that’s not the case.

My Insight tester’s top-line Touring trim was even pricier at $32,190, and once again it wasn’t any more appealing than the top-tier Corolla Hybrid with its Premium package, which costs just $27,090. This means Canadian Insight Touring buyers will need to take a $5,100 hit just to see a stylized “H” badging in all the usual places, a questionable bonus they obviously don’t desire all that much.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
These taillights are the epitome of good taste.

So why would Honda sabotage its chances of winning over important Canadian hybrid buyers just ahead of the entire market turning to electric vehicles (whether we want to or not)? Obviously, Honda’s Canadian division would love to import the Insight (or for that matter the CR-V Hybrid, which is currently not available here) for less money, but their American affiliate that produces it, can’t seem to make it cheap enough.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Step right in to an interior that’s finished closer to premium levels than the Civic.

Honda does bring us the Accord Hybrid, however, but the Marysville, Ohio-built mid-size sedan doesn’t do as well as Toyota’s Camry Hybrid for similar reasons. Its base price is $35,805, whereas the Camry Hybrid is advertised at $30,790, and similarly to the Insight’s fancier Touring trim line, the top-level Accord Hybrid Touring starts at a lofty $42,505, which compares poorly to a fully loaded Camry Hybrid XLE that’s priced at only $39,690.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
A soft-touch dash top joins even softer padded leatherette over many other surfaces.

It doesn’t take a economics major to figure out that Honda Canada needs to deal with this problem if it wants to grow hybrid sales, but so far no Alliston assembly plant upgrades have been announced. If Honda Canada were able to produce the CR-V Hybrid north of the 49th, it might be able to compete with Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid (although not the plug-in RAV4 Prime) or Hyundai’s new Tucson Hybrid, but coming up with a business case to put such a plan into action might not make any sense in our market, which is just 10 percent of America’s population.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The Insight’s cockpit is very well laid out, plus roomy and comfortable.

Even if such a plan made sense, the very fact Honda’s Insight is a dedicated hybrid with a number of totally unique body panels and trim, puts the smaller of these two Japanese automakers at another disadvantage. Where Toyota can theoretically produce its Corolla Hybrid at multiple plants without modifying major body stamping equipment, Honda would need to upgrade more than just the drivetrain portions of any alternative assembly plants to allow for more Insight production.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The stitched and padded leatherette bolster ahead of the front passenger is especially upscale.

Currently, the Insight is built at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana in Greensburg, which also produces the Civic and previously pushed out the popular Civic Hybrid. If, alternatively, Honda chose to create a hybridized version of the new Civic, its many global assembly plants that are already pushing out versions of its venerable compact sedan could adapt more easily to hybrid production. Applying this (admittedly theoretical) logic to Canada’s Alliston assembly plant, might mean a Civic Hybrid could be built for Canadian consumption, thus resolving Honda’s inability to move many Insights in the great white north. As it is, Honda is fast losing its electrification edge in our market.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The fully digital gauge cluster is a nice touch.

All said, is the Insight any good? Absolutely. If you’ve made it this far into this review, you’ll already know this Insight is nothing less than a gussied up Civic sedan, which everyone should appreciate is a very good compact car. It’s so good in fact, it consistently outsells every other car made, and we should all remember that the audience is always right (at least by “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” standards).

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
All the steering wheel switchgear is very impressive.

Behind its large, blackened grille opening is Honda’s well-proven 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motor assistant, the latter powered by a 60-cell lithium-ion battery. All totalled up, the combination makes 151 net horsepower and an even stronger 197 lb-ft of torque. While off-the-line performance and passing power is certainly important, in the Insight’s compact class, hybrids are more about fuel economy, and the Insight delivers with a claimed rating of 4.6 L/100km city, 5.3 highway, and 4.9 combined, which will be good enough to wow most Civic owners that can only manage to eke out 7.9 L/100km in the city, 6.1 on the highway and 7.1 combined when driving the model’s most efficient variant. Still, Toyota’s previously noted Corolla Hybrid is not only less expensive at the time of purchase, but keeps giving at the pump with an estimated rating of 4.4 L/100km in the city, 4.5 on the highway and 4.5 combined. Ouch!

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
We should commend Honda for sticking to its performance principles, despite these paddle shifters not being as useful in a hybrid as they’d be in a high-powered Civic.

Still, a small number of Canadian consumers, who are faithful to Honda and therefore willing to pay more initially and continually, choose the Insight over the Corolla Hybrid, or for that matter the all-new Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, which incidentally improves on both Japanese models’ fuel economy thanks to a claimed rating of 4.5 L/100km in the city, 4.2 on the highway and 4.4 combined, plus adds insult to injury with a starting price of just $24,699 and arguably more attractive (or at least fresher) styling. So, for those willing to pay more for less of what hybrids are supposed to be about, the Insight delivers extremely smooth operation from its continuously variable transmission (CVT), an equally calming ride and a well-organized, reasonably high-quality interior.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Honda does infotainment very well, and the Insight’s 8.0-inch touchscreen is no exception.

Before delving into the latter, the just-noted CVT isn’t designed for performance enthusiasts, so Civic Si buyers need not apply, but rather becomes annoyingly buzzy when pushing hard on the throttle for extended periods. Of course, such driving negates the car’s purpose, so I can’t see many Insight buyers doing so very often. I merely did for testing purposes, and have long experienced similar results from other CVT-equipped models in the class, such as the Corolla Hybrid. Nevertheless, despite its economy-first mission, Honda decided to include a Sport setting along with its expected Comfort, Econ and EV powertrain modes, which really says a lot about the much-loved brand itself.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Touring trim features upscale features like navigation.

Another positive advantage benefiting Insight buyers over those living with a Corolla Hybrid, is an EV mode that allows traveling at posted city speeds, something not possible in any non-plug-in Toyota hybrid that engages its ICE over 20 km/h. While enjoyable to run around town in near silent bliss, this feature doesn’t necessarily aid fuel-efficiency, as pointed out earlier, so it won’t like matter to most buyers.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The hybrid systems power flow meter is fun to watch.

As for that smooth suspension, it really is good. My city’s streets are mostly agreeable, although like in any urban area there are roadways that desperately need upkeep and only limited funds and workers to maintain them. Despite its compact size, the Insight’s relatively long wheelbase and nicely tuned fully independent suspension made bumpy patches of tarmac easier to endure, while simultaneously providing capable road-holding when choosing to rev out its noisy powertrain. Fortunately, the much of the Insight’s motive mass hides below the rear seat, which aids its centre of gravity, providing decent handling characteristics. Again, Civic Si enthusiasts need not apply, but hybrid buyers would be pleasantly surprised if they chose to test one out.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The dual-zone auto HVAC interface is nicely done.

For such situations, the aforementioned Sport mode is ideal, enhanced by the ability to use steering wheel-mounted paddles to shift its CVT through a number of artificially stepped “gears”. Those who prefer shifting with a traditional gear lever are out of luck, because Honda infused the Insight’s lower console with its pushbutton gear selector. I’m just fine with that thanks to those paddle-shifters, and honestly, I only used the latter for one short stint throughout my weeklong test, due to the harshness of the drivetrain when doing so. Again, while its cool that Honda added DIY paddles, they’re not all that useful in a car like this, making me wonder if the investment might have been better spent on something else, or possibly eliminated altogether in order to lower the price?

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Plenty of power sources keep external devices charged.

As for the pushbutton (and pull-tab for reverse) gear selector, it looks appropriately modern and frees up arm space above the console, which otherwise is fitted with a big rubberized tray for holding your oversized smartphone. Honda includes two USB charge points plus a 12-volt power supply just above, all of which come together at the base of a centre stack that’s also laid out well, with a stylish dual-zone auto HVAC interface, a slim strip of switchgear for turning on the three-way heated front seats, recirculating air, and defog/defrost functions.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Honda’s nicely organized gear selector is a bonus.

The centre stack is topped off with a large enough 8.0-inch touchscreen, which will be all-too familiar to current Civic owners. It features colourful, user friendly digital controls that are organized in an attractive tile design, with some of its functions being Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a navigation system (in my Touring tester) that proved very accurate, a fun-to-watch engine/battery power flow indicator, audio functions for a great sounding stereo, and the list goes on.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Sport mode in a hybrid? Yes, Honda stays true to its sporting core, even when focused on fuel-efficiency.

Of course, the display uses smartphone- or tablet-like finger gestures, so you can tap, swipe or pinch to your heart’s content, while Honda also framed this touchscreen with some useful switches for accessing key info quickly. The left-side row features a button for the home screen, plus one for returning back to the previous function, and another for transitioning between day and night modes. There are also two for browsing radio stations or MP3 tracks, while a rotating volume knob joins a volume controller on the left-hand steering wheel spoke. All of the infotainment system’s quick-access buttons receive backlit names just underneath, but makes sense until using them at night, when pressing the lighted name does nothing at all. Instead, you need to press the little, narrow button on top of the name, which is invisible in the dark. Yah, not the smartest application of an otherwise intelligent concept.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The Insight Touring model’s driver’s seat is superb.

The Insight’s primary instrument experience is all positive, on the other hand. Honda was early to adopt a fully digital driver’s display, the arching cluster incorporating a multi-information display (MID) featuring useful hybrid info, such as a battery charge indicator, on the left, and a speedometer and gas gauge combo to the right. Well-made, smartly organized steering wheel switchgear controls the MID, which is par for the course with Honda products. Above everything is an overhead console integrating two incandescent reading lights, plus an emergency assist button, a HomeLink remote garage door opener, and the usual powered moonroof rocker switch. And yes, I would have rather seen an oversized glass sunroof in place of the Insight’s smallish opening, but some electrified cars don’t offer sunroofs at all, so I’d best not complain.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Regular-sized moonroofs seem so average these days.

Back to positives, the Insight’s cabin approaches Acura ILX levels of fit, finish, and materials quality, with a dash top surfaced in nice pliable composites, plus a padded and French-stitched leather-like bolster ahead of the front passenger that flows across the instrument panel and down the sides of the centre stack. Certainly, I would’ve appreciated if Honda had finished the driver’s compartment as nicely as the front passenger’s, but at least both sides of the lower console gets the same soft-touch pampering treatment, which perfectly matches the sliding armrest in the middle.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The rear seating area is comfortable and spacious.

The front door uppers get the same premium covering as the dash top, by the way, while the door inserts just below receive a similar stitched leatherette to that on the instrument panel bolster. Most everything looks and feels like it was produced by an entry-level luxury brand, like Acura, but I should say that Honda isn’t alone in raising the level of refinement in its compact models.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The folding centre armrest is comfortable, but the cupholders are too small.

Honda has produced some of the better seats in the industry for a long time, however, and this Insight Touring’s driver’s perch is no exception. It provided excellent inherent support and no shortage of adjustability, resulting in a very comfortable office chair, while the tilt and telescopic steering column just ahead proved extendable enough to reach my shorter arms and torso when the lower cushion was pushed back far enough to make room for my longish legs. This ideal driver setup is not always possible from other compact models, and would be something I’d be willing to spend hundreds if not thousands for, so kudos to Honda for getting this right.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
Rear seat heaters are always welcome.

Along with excellent positioning, my tester’s steering wheel rim felt nice and meaty, with comfortable indents for thumbs and an overall performance-oriented feel. It’s as if Honda pulled it out the aforementioned Civic Si, rather than something designed to blissfully cruise past gas stations. All-round, the cockpit area is comfortable, spacious and lends a sense of control, which is exactly what most in this class are looking for.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
The Insight’s trunk offers plenty of room for life’s gear.

Rear passengers should be nearly as comfortable, and despite not covering the tops of each window sill with soft-touch synthetic like those up front, the rest of the door panels were near duplicates, and a reasonably large armrest topped off by unreasonably small cupholders made things comfier for those stuck in back. Likewise, two-way rear seat warmers added wintertime heat to the outboard cushions, but there were no air vents next to the rocker switches on the backside of the front console or anywhere else in back, nor for that matter reading lights overhead.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
A centre pass-through would be nice, but to be fair, most of the Insight’s hybrid competitors don’t offer much more than this.

The trunk’s 416-litre (14.7 cu-ft) volume should be large enough for most peoples’ needs, while extra gear can be placed below the cargo floor if small enough. This is where Honda stows the Insight’s tire repair pump, which is necessary for fixing a flat, being that no spare is offered. Expanding on the trunk’s usefulness are 60/40-split rear seatbacks, and no centre pass-through for loading longer items such as skis down the middle.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring
While not the most efficient in its class, the Insight’s powertrain should provide good reliability.

If an Insight seems like the car for you, keep in mind that Honda is currently offering up to $1,000 in additional incentives. You can learn more about this discount on our 2021 Honda Insight Canada Prices page, which also provides comparative trim pricing, plus the ability to build the car with all available options. While you’re there, be sure to check out how the CarCostCanada system works, so you can utilize dealer invoice pricing to save even more when negotiating your best deal, plus download the free CarCostCanada app so you can have all of this valuable information on-hand when you need it most, whether at a Honda dealership pushing for a more agreeable Insight price, or walking across the street to a Toyota or Hyundai dealer in order to check out their electrified Corolla and Elantra offerings.

Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann

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See how Sandra saved over $10,000 on her new Dodge Grand Caravan with CarCostCanada

Since 1999, Canadians new car buyers have saved thousands of dollars using CarCostCanada’s Free Price Report before purchasing a new car. Canadians across the country are now sharing their stories to show how everyone can save thousands on their next new car purchase using CarCostCanada’s services.

This week, let’s take a look at Sandra’s story and find out how she saved over $10,000 on her new Dodge Caravan using CarCostCanada’s Free Price Report.

When the old car is too small for the family’s need, it’s time for a change

Sandra, a 37-year-old mother of three kids from Winnipeg, Manitoba, works as an elementary school teacher. With a busy schedule with soccer and hockey practices, she is always on the go. Sandra also enjoys going camping and taking time out for herself with her weekly Zumba class as well as road trips to hockey and soccer tournaments.

With that kind of lifestyle, Sandra’s old car couldn’t keep up and was lacking space to fit everything. Therefore, she decided to start looking for a new car but did not know where to start or even what she really wanted. The only thing she knew was that she did not want to pay too much but needed a car that could keep up with her family lifestyle.

Finding the right tool to help you compare different car models and help you save

After a couple of weeks of looking online for information, she remembered a mother on the soccer team talking about CarCostCanada. She decided to go take a look on the website and saw how easy it was to get a report. She was also able to compare different car models, characteristics, buyer reviews, price point and see what was best suited for her.

In 3 easy steps, she was able to build her price report.  First, she built and priced her new car using CarCostCanada’s free report tool, just as she would have done with the manufacturer’s website.

Once her price report was generated she got the best price formula for her specific model by taking the dealer cost minus the incentive plus the dealer margin to see what the best possible price would be. 

Finally,  CarCostCanada helped her find the nearest dealership and meet with one of their professional representatives. She was able to get the best price and have a stress free buying experience. 

The perfect car for Sandra’s needs. The Dodge Grand Caravan

Since Sandra needed space in her car to store her hockey, soccer and camping equipment,  she chose the Dodge Grand Caravan that met her needs perfectly. Her CarCostCanada’s free report helped her saved over $10,000 on her new vehicle!

In the end, she used the money she saved  to book a weekend getaway with her husband to relax and do some hiking on the Mantario Trail.

CarCostCanada

Tips you should know before buying a new car?

Buying a car can be really stressful. Indeed, after buying a house, it is one of the biggest expenses in our life. Therefore, as a customer, you need to be prepared. Tips like knowing your needs, establishing a budget, doing some online research and doing some test drives are all good things to help you make a better decision and help you negotiate. Let’s look into these tips a little bit more. 

Determine your needs or wants for your next car

One of the first things to do when buying a car is to decide what kind of car you want. It may be to meet a need, such as transporting equipment or children. Or it may be a car you’ve wanted for a long time.

To help you choose the type of car, you can also look at the gas consumption, the number of seats based on the space you need. You can look at the engine if you need to transport things. There is also safety and comfort for you and your family if you drive a lot.

To help you determine your needs, the ebook, The Road to the deal is a must-read for information on how to budget, understand pricing guidelines, choose the right vehicle and negotiate the best price. Get all the guidelines for buying a new vehicle from two Canadian automotive experts.

Establish a realistic budget

Another important thing to plan for is your budget. You should consider having a monthly budget for your payment that you feel comfortable paying each month. For example, some dealerships will give you several years to reduce the monthly payments, but in the end, the total payment will be higher. 

Also, when you’re done choosing your car, consider the pros and cons of buying versus leasing that car. You can also take into account the interest on the payments, the cost of fuel, maintenance and insurance of the car.

Therefore, all these things should be included in your budget and make sure to plan for them in advance. Another thing to plan ahead is your trade-in value if you have one. To help you out, go to CarCostCanada to get your free trade-in value.

Make an online competitive comparison between makes and models

Before you physically visit a dealership, it is always a good idea to research online for more information. The reason for this is that you are preparing to go to the dealership and knowledge is your power.  You can check out the different warranties, prices, promotions, and previews of the car you have chosen. You can also research the competition for the same type of car you have decided to buy.

To help you and make it easier, CarCoatCanada can compare different models for you and provide you with a free report. You should take a look at their website to get more information.

Ask a test drive and negotiate for the best price possible

Once all the research has been done and you’ve established what you want, it’s time to choose a dealership. To help you, CarCostCanada can do this for you by connecting you with the best dealership available for your needs.

Once you’re there, don’t hesitate to request a test drive. If possible, you can also test drive it at night to see the lights and all the features of the car. In addition, CarCostCanada can also help you negotiate with its free price report. Finally, don’t forget that extras on the car are often optional and quite negotiable.

About CarCostCanada

CarCostCanada can help you make all these stressful decisions in 3 easy steps. They have over 20 years of experience. They will simplify your negotiation and save you thousands of dollars. Learn more on the home page website and you will now be in control of the negotiation by getting your free report.

CarCostCanada

New Genesis luxury brand will be expanding into Europe this summer

2022 Genesis G80 Electric
Genesis G80 mid-size luxury sedan will be available in all-electric form for 2022.

Genesis, Hyundai Motor’s luxury brand, will go head-to-head with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and a whole host of competitive premium brands in Europe this summer, beginning with two models, including the G80 mid-size four-door sedan and the GV80 two-row mid-size crossover SUV.

Genesis Motor sold its first car in 2015, but it has now expanded beyond South Korea, the United States and Canada, into China, Russia, the Middle East, and Australia. Once it launches in Europe, the process delayed due to the global health crisis, Genesis plans to grow its brand into additional Asian markets.

2022 Genesis GV80
Genesis’ GV80 will be one of the first models to arrive in Europe this summer.

An upcoming plug-in electric version of the G80 made the mid-range sedan an important choice for the European market.

“The Electrified G80 will be the first all-electric Genesis to arrive in Europe,” states a Genesis Motor Europe press release. “A further two battery electric cars will follow, providing European customers with a choice of three Genesis zero-emission cars within the first year.”

Genesis is targeting a June launch, after which the smaller G70 sport-luxury sedan and GV70 crossover SUV will debut, the latter being an all-new global model.

2022 Genesis G70
Genesis’ G70 will arrive in Europe soon after the G80 and GV80.

Genesis has received mostly positive reviews as well as good luxury market acceptance here in Canada, and has arguably achieved greater prestige perception than some Japanese rivals that have struggled to increase their stakes in the luxury sector since the late ‘80s.

As an example, when Genesis arrived in 2015 its two-car lineup included a full-size luxury sedan dubbed G90, complete with formidable V6 and V8 engines. By comparison, Honda-owned Acura, as well as Nissan-controlled Infiniti, discontinued their full-size luxury sedans after lacklustre sales. The latter marque’s full-size Q45 was actually dropped back in 2006, after which it said goodbye to its mid-size Q70 and extended-wheelbase Q70L in 2019. Acura’s flagship sedan lasted longer, the RLX being discontinued just last year.

2022 Genesis GV70
The compact GV70 SUV will make its global debut as a 2022 model this summer.

The latter brands do fairly well in the compact luxury sedan segment with their TLX (Acura) and Q50 (Infiniti), as does Genesis with its newer G70, the third model added to the lineup. The three cars go up against Lexus’ IS in this class, as well as longstanding favourites, the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. The latter brands offer sport coupes and convertibles in this category too, and to that end Genesis promises a two-door version of the G70 soon.

In fact, earlier this year the South Korean luxury brand wowed online audiences with the gorgeous X Concept two-door prototype. According to reports, the names GT60, GT70, GT80, and GT90 were trademarked in 2017, so one of these will likely be found on the rear deck lid of the brand’s upcoming coupe, a car we expect will provide good competition to the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes C-Class coupe, Audi A5, Infiniti Q60, Lexus RC, etcetera. Four-door coupes and convertibles will likely be part of Genesis’ GT line too, in all shapes and sizes.

2022 Genesis G90
Genesis joins Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus as one of just a handful of premium players with a full-size flagship luxury sedan, its G90 an impressive yet more affordable additional to the category.

More important to Genesis’ bottom line, the previously noted GV70 compact crossover SUV will soon go up against the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, Lexus NX, Acura’s RDX, Infiniti QX50, and the list goes on.

No one can guess how each European market will take to Hyundai’s luxury brand, but if Genesis can come close to replicating its growth in North American markets, it will be cause for celebration. Sales more than doubled during the first quarter this year when compared to January through March of 2020, whereas year-over-year Q1 deliveries in its home market of South Korea had increased by 165 percent. Genesis was only recently introduced to the Chinese market, so only time will only tell how well it does.

2021 Genesis X Concept
A Genesis sports coupe is apparently in the works, shown here as the X Concept in prototype form.

Genesis sales in Canada increased from 229 units in the first quarter of 2020 to 628 deliveries during the same three months of 2021, which represented growth of 174 percent year-over-year. This improved on the previous quarter’s YoY uptick of 171 percent, although Q4 sales combined for a stellar 935 units, which made for the fledgling brand’s most impressive quarter yet.

Manufacturer incentives usually increase sales, so therefore Genesis Canada is offering zero-percent factory financing and leasing rates on every model in the lineup. On average, CarCostCanada members have been saving $2,666 on the 2021 Genesis G70 and $10,000 off of 2021 G90 models (at the time of writing, member savings were not shown for the G80 and GV80).

2022 Genesis GV80
Genesis interiors should impress European luxury buyers as much as they have elsewhere.

The savings come from otherwise difficult to get dealer invoice pricing, which translates into a big advantage when negotiating on a new vehicle. Make sure to learn how the CarCostCanada system works, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, so you can have all of this critical information close at hand when you need it most.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Genesis

CarCostCanada

Acura’s redesigned 2022 MDX scores IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating

2022 Acura MDX A-Spec
The 2022 Acura MDX earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick + score.

There’s nothing like starting out on top, which is why Acura should be feeling pretty good about its all-new 2022 MDX receiving a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Acura’s flagship model received a “GOOD” rating in each of its crashworthiness tests, including the challenging passenger-side small overlap test. The MDX also achieved a “SUPERIOR” score for its Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), as well as a “GOOD” rating for its standard JewelEye LED headlamps.

2022 Acura MDX
These Jewel-Eye LED headlamps helped the MDX earn its top score.

No shortage of standard AcuraWatch advanced driver assistance and automated safety technologies helped push the MDX over the top, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, plus Road Departure Mitigation.

The new MDX joins other Acura models that have already taken home the same coveted rating, including the 2021 RDX luxury crossover SUV, and the 2021 TLX sport luxury sedan.

2022 Acura MDX
The MDX’ surround-view camera makes it easy to see nearby cars and pedestrians.

Acura is currently offering up to $1,000 in additional incentives when purchasing a new 2022 MDX, with CarCostCanada members averaging savings of $5,863. Find out how your CarCostCanada membership can help you can save thousands off your next new vehicle by being informed about available manufacturer rebates, learning about factoring financing and leasing rates, and receiving dealer invoice pricing before negotiating your best deal.

Learn how the CarCostCanada system works, and be sure to download the free CarCostCanada app so you can always have the most critical car buying info on your device when you need it most.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Acura

CarCostCanada

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell Road Test

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The Nexo is hardly short on style, especially in my tester’s cool matte grey paint.

As far as alternative fuels go, hydrogen shows a lot of long-term promise, particularly when used to create electricity via a fuel cell. This allows for a virtual rolling electric power plant that charges up a battery and then drives the wheels through electric motors, just like a regular electric car.

The technology has actually been in the works for decades, with one of the first automotive applications being the Ford Focus FCV that I drove in 2005. That was when Ford was working alongside Daimler-Benz and Ballard Engineering, the latter firm specializing in hydrogen fuel cells. At the time I felt hydrogen would quickly supplant regular plug-in electric cars that hadn’t really taken off yet, because it only made sense that people wouldn’t want to live with the inconvenience and downtime of hours-long recharging. Little did I realize at the time how infrastructure challenges would put H2 technology on hold for decades, with 2021 seeing just three refueling stations spaced around my city.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The Nexo is 190 mm (7.5 in) longer than the outgoing Tucson.

It actually ended up taking another decade and a half before I could schedule a weeklong test with a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car, that innovator being Toyota’s unusual looking Mirai sedan. It’s a slightly larger than Prius-sized sedan that, similarly to my previous experience, worked exactly like a regular electric vehicle until it came time to fill it up. Back then, however, Toyota took care of refueling because the aforementioned H2 refuelling stations hadn’t been retrofitted yet (they all sell gasoline too), so I was only told about how convenient it was. More recently, with the very Hyundai Nexo on this page, I was able to pump my own H2.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Hyundai was smart to put its most advanced hydrogen fuel cell system into a compact SUV body.

The zero-emissions Nexo took about five minutes to fill up, incidentally, and while a bit more complex than pumping gasoline into a car, a few attempts would get most anyone up to speed. As for the price, it seemed comparable to regular unleaded, although it would take more data and plenty of time to calculate whether life with a Nexo provides any financial advantages. Up to this point it hasn’t really been about pump savings anyway, but more so about the practical development of an alternative fuel that only emits water vapour yet is as easy to live with as a conventional combustion powertrain.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Slender LED headlights join a great looking set of 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels shod in 245/45HR19 all-season tires.

One thing I really appreciate is Hyundai stuffing all of its advanced H2 hardware into a body style and compact size most will find agreeable, not to mention styling it so as not to offend the majority of buyers. That might sound like a no-brainer, but if so, we wouldn’t have cars like the aforementioned Mirai and Honda’s equally divisive Clarity running around. The compact crossover SUV body style meant it would be immediately acceptable to consumers all over the world, while its extended wheelbase and mid-size length made certain that its battery and other electronics wouldn’t impinge on second-row passenger room and cargo volume.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
These otherwise flush-mounted door handles pop out when needing access.

For comparison’s purposes, the Nexo is 190 mm (7.5 in) longer than the outgoing Tucson, but it’s near identical in width and height. While increasing interior spaciousness, the extra length also aids ride quality and highway stability, plus arguably looks a bit leaner.

Styling is a personal thing, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide which Hyundai SUV looks best, but I find the Nexo plenty attractive, unlike the two visually offensive competitors noted a moment ago. It features a slightly older version of Hyundai’s latest grille design, and a set of LED headlamps that seem inspired by the popular Kona subcompact SUV, while the sheet metal from front to back is ultra-smooth, especially when seen in my tester’s stylish matte grey paint scheme.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
This might look similar to an electric plug, but it’s actually a hydrogen pump’s refuelling connector.

A few interesting details include a thin accent strip between the grille and hood that lights up at night, plus a set of Land Rover-inspired pop-out door handles that keep the body lines flush in order to lower drag. Lastly, the 19-inch five-spoke alloys don’t look aerodynamically wonky, like so many others in this class.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The Nexo offers up a roomy, comfortable, well-made interior.

Take a seat inside and you’ll immediately appreciate that this SUV was designed to be a forerunner for Hyundai’s electronics when introduced two years ago. Ahead of the driver is a similar twin-display instrument cluster/infotainment system as Mercedes-Benz’ MBUX (which has just been completely updated in the new S- and C-Class models). A digital gauge cluster sits on the left side of a long, horizontally-positioned display, controllable with steering wheel-mounted switchgear, while a touchscreen rests to the right. Anyone who’s peeked inside a modern Mercedes will quickly see the similarities, and while I wouldn’t go so far to say Hyundai’s is better, they deserve commendation for including left- and right-side rearview cameras within the gauge cluster, which come into action by flicking the turn signal stalk. These are now commonplace features in both Hyundai and Kia vehicles, setting them apart from most rivals.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The Nexo’s interior is attractively designed.

While the gauge cluster and infotainment display is about as advanced as this sector gets, the sloping centre stack comes across a bit more antiquated thanks to being filled with switchgear, including P, N, D and R buttons that engage the SUV’s 120-kW (161 hp) electric motor. That thrust is complemented by 291 lb-ft of twist, all of which gets pulled from a 40-kWh battery. While it looks like an SUV, only FWD is available, although Hyundai would probably find a way to add AWD if the Nexo were to go mainstream.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The Nexo’s widescreen display houses all the digital primary gauges on the left, and an infotainment touchscreen to the right.

The 95-kW fuel-cell stack provides electricity production on route, as noted earlier, so therefore recharging is continuous, as long as there’s enough hydrogen in the tank. Depending on conditions, the EPA claims the Nexo is good for approximately 570 to 610 km (355 to 380 miles) when topped up.

As noted earlier, the Nexo drives like an electric vehicle, although the normal silence was interrupted by a subtle vacuum-sucking sound when pushing hard on the throttle. I only went for the gusto while testing, mind you, so for most commuting I found it nice and quiet.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The digital gauge cluster is filled with functions.

Nevertheless, when a fast getaway was needed the Nexo provided plenty of get-up-and-go, taking off from a standstill as enthusiastically as dispatching slower moving highway traffic. What’s more, it went about its business in a wholly refined fashion, never interrupting the bliss with any jarring responses. Ever so smoothly it whisked from zero to 100 km/h around 8.5 seconds (I used my Seiko chronograph to time it, so don’t hold me to the exact number), which is a half-second faster than Hyundai managed, but the difference may have more to do with my less than scientific method, combined with their usual conservativism. While this won’t likely impress too many Tesla owners (or for that matter Chevy Bolt owners), but it had no problem staying ahead of most surrounding traffic.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The infotainment interface is set up for easy use.

Handling was the Nexo’s more pleasant surprise. I veered off a local freeway onto a serpentine backcountry road that winds along a river near my home, at which point it was evident that Hyundai’s engineers took advantage of the SUV’s low centre of gravity. This is due to battery being housed below the floorboards, and thus it really hung on through fast-paced curves, while its electrically-assisted rack and pinion steering system was quite responsive for its compact crossover class.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
With plenty of buttons to choose from, it takes a moment to get adjusted to the Nexo’s centre stack.

I found the Nexo’s ride quality even better, with much credit going to its conventional front Macpherson strut and rear multi-link suspension layout, plus nicely sorted tuning. This meant that potholes, frost-heaves, bridge expansion joints and other road intrusions hardly impacted those within, which all resulted in one of the better ride/handling compromises in this segment; especially notable when factoring in its large 245/45HR19 all-season rubber.

The Nexo feels well-made and rock solid too, with absolutely no body creaks despite benefiting from a large glass sunroof above, while wind or road noise was kept to a minimum too. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by this compact SUV’s refinement.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The Nexo’s driver’s seat is comfortable and fully adjustable for most body types.

I’m guessing that the focus on refinement is why Hyundai didn’t include a sport mode. Alternatively, selecting Normal is the default performance mode, while Eco makes everything even smoother and more fuel-efficient.

On this note, the two paddles on the steering wheel aren’t for shifting gears, but rather the one on the left is for applying the brakes and sending regenerative kinetic braking energy to the battery simultaneously. The Nexo comes to a full stop when continuing to pull this paddle back, as long as you’re not moving too quickly before application. Also, the strongest of the system’s three settings needs to be chosen first, but that’s the job of the right-side paddle, along with cancelling any rolling resistance by easing the regenerative brakes off. Most electric cars use such systems, so anyone that’s driven a popular EV will quickly acclimatize to this hydrogen-powered SUV.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Rear seat roominess is very good, while the amenities in back are impressive too.

Like those just-noted EVs, the Nexo is filled up with features to help offset its higher price point. Together with the superb digital gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen mentioned earlier, my Nexo tester came with a surround-view overhead parking camera, an accurate navigation system with nicely detailed maps, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a wireless charging pad, plus more.

As for luxury, we shouldn’t expect too much now that Hyundai Motor also has its Genesis premium brand, but the mainstream brand did cover the dash top in a nicely textured soft-touch composite, just like the front and rear door uppers, plus the door inserts and armrests.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
There’s no shortage of cargo space.

I like that it included a heatable steering wheel, while its powered driver’s seat was comfortable and provided three-way heatable and cooled cushions. The powered lumbar support was only two-way, but fortunately it found the right spot on my lower back to relieve my traffic stress.

The longer wheelbase I mentioned before makes a big difference when it comes to legroom, while the Nexo’s width is reasonable for the compact SUV segment. Three could probably sit across the rear bench if needed, but two would be more comfortable, and that would mean inside elbows would benefit from its folding centre armrest with two integrated cupholders, as well as the outboard seat warmers. There’s a three-prong household-style power outlet on the backside of the front console too.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Hyundai provides some space below the cargo floor for hiding valuables.

As for cargo, the dedicated space behind those rear seats is good for up to 850 litres (30 cu ft) of gear, plus it can be expanded to 1,600 litres (56.5 cu ft) when those 60/40-split rear seatbacks are folded down. I would have preferred a 40/20/40 split rear seat, for stowing longer items such as skis down the centre, but such conveniences are rare in this class. I appreciated its mostly level load floor as it was, not to mention the slim storage compartment below the carpeting.

So, what’s it all cost? This is where I recommend you get yourself a stiff coffee, or possibly something stronger, because Nexo’s entry price might induce sticker shock. How does $71,000 (plus freight and fees) sound to you? Yah, there’s a price for being an early adaptor, which is made steeper when factoring in that you’re not really saving anything at the pump. At least a $52,000 Tesla Model Y will let you say goodbye to gasoline forever, or for that matter Hyundai’s own Ioniq Electric, which will only set you back $41,599.

2021 Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Under the hood there’s an engine cover, but it’s what’s underneath that makes the Nexo so special.

My Ultimate-trimmed tester was actually a bit pricier at $73,500, which I learned by checking the 2021 Hyundai NEXO Canada Prices page right here on CarCostCanada. While you’re looking, be sure to check out the other models mentioned in this review by following the links connected to their names.

Also, find out about how a CarCostCanada membership can leave more money in your wallet when buying a new vehicle. A membership will help keep you up to date on factory rebates, manufacturer leasing and financing deals, and most importantly provides you dealer invoice pricing that can save you thousands when negotiating your best deal. Remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store too, so you’ll always have this vital info on hand.

Story and photos by Trevor Hofmann

CarCostCanada

Redesigned Mercedes C-Class ups style and technology for 2022

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
Mercedes’ new 2022 C-Class sedan pulls many design cues from the smaller A-Class four-door, and looks all the better for it.

It’s finally the C’s time to shine. As part of a thorough fifth-generation C-Class redesign, the new model will bypass first-gen MBUX electronics to be second in the lineup to feature Mercedes’ entirely new separated digital gauge cluster display and infotainment touchscreen.

That’s probably the biggest 2022 C-Class news, next to the updated model’s completely new sheet metal, mostly because the latter could’ve easily been guessed by looking at the recently updated fourth-generation A-Class sedan that debuted in 2018.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
The new C’s side styling is less curvaceous than its predecessor, but the lines are clean and attractive just the same.

The new (W206) C-Class is the A’s obvious bigger brother, at least when the two model’s sedans are placed side-by-side. The A can be had in a sporty hatch as well, while the C is offered in coupe, convertible and wagon body styles. We’ve only seen the sedan and wagon thus far, and sadly the latter car won’t make the journey across the Atlantic later this year, news that no doubt has fans of low-slung, elongated five-door Mercs feeling woeful.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
Possibly the most noticeable change to the 2022 C-Class sedan is in the rear, where new taillights dress up the design.

At least the new C four-door should put a smile on those who prefer keeping their cargo snuggly secured away in a locked trunk, as it’s one very stylish sedan. It boasts Mercedes’ new frowning oval grille (the previous sport grille was turned up at its ends, resulting in a happier countenance), also seen on the just-noted A-Class, plus the leaner looking CLA. Moving outward, a new set of more sharply angled Performance LED headlamps stretch farther around each front fender, while a reworked lower front fascia comes across cleaner for a more minimalist approach. Additionally, the hood incorporates a pair of sinuous character lines, pulling memories of the ‘50s-era 300 SL, which is certainly no bad thing.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic Wagon
Unfortunately, there won’t be a 2022 C 300 4Matic Wagon in Canada.

Peering down each side, Mercedes abandoned the outgoing C sedan’s gracefully penned beltline crease, which used to sweep downward through the rear door ahead of disappearing under its handle. This said, the new model appears more slab-sided, although the lower crease remains, which kicks upward as it moves rearward.

Quite possibly the most obvious differentiator between old and new Cs are the taillights, the latest iteration featuring two-piece triangular lenses that wrap horizontally around the rear flanks, compared to the outgoing model’s less distinctive ovoid lamps. Look no further than the A-Class sedan for their inspiration. Finally, the new C-Class gets fresh sets of 18- and 19-inch alloys, along with a revised palette of exterior paint colours.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
The new C-Class will come standard with Mercedes’ second-gen MBUX infotainment system.

Those lured to a new car via modernized electronics may have already flocked to Mercedes in recent years, being that the brand’s two-in-one MBUX driving/infotainment display has been second to none (except for Hyundai/Kia that adopted a similar design for many of their latest models). As noted earlier, Mercedes is skipping over the initial MBUX system for an altogether different approach to design and functionality. Instead, it will keep a similar fixed tablet-style display for the car’s primary gauge cluster, but will host the majority of infotainment info on a much larger individual display in a more conventional location, a bit lower on the centre stack, which should be easier to reach for some drivers. Anyone moving from the current C’s analogue dial and digital multi-information setup to the new all-electronic layout shouldn’t be put off, but some elevating their lifestyle from an A-Class may be chagrined after getting used to the first-gen MBUX design. Then again, if new design is good enough for Merc’s full-size S-Class flagship, it should be acceptable for C-Class users, the smaller sedan being the second car in the Stuttgart-brand’s lineup to complete rework its entire instrument panel layout.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
The digital gauge cluster is now a separate entity, but its functionality should be at least as good as the first-gen MBUX driver’s display.

The centre display is an elegantly crafted bit of electronica, particularly how it appears to seamlessly meld into a high-gloss carbon fibre weave surface treatment as it curves into the lower console, save for a thin strip of bisecting analogue buttons. The larger display is a touchscreen, just like the outgoing C’s smaller monitor and Merc’s first-gen MBUX unit, the extra digital acreage necessary now that a console-mounted touchpad is nowhere to be seen. Fans of minimalism will like how it looks, but others who preferred a best-of-both-worlds approach will probably complain.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
The new infotainment display is much larger than the outgoing version, and controlled by the touchscreen and steering wheel switchgear.

According to Mercedes, the new display integrates haptic feedback for more fingertip feedback, while updating the system software now takes place over-the-air. Mercedes has included mention biometric authentication too, via either voice command or fingerprint scanning, while touching the scanner will initiate pre-selected memory adjustments to the driver seat, radio station, etcetera. The ability to purchase apps (and no doubt additional items in the future) from the Mercedes Me store can be done via fingerprint scanning too, while the C’s new head-up display utilizes augmented reality to project real-time visuals on the windshield in front of the driver.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
Look ma, no touchpad and rotating dial. The C-Class does away with Mercedes’ secondary infotainment controls.

Not only the driver benefits from new C’s improvements, by the way. Everyone aboard should appreciate the added comfort from its increase width and length. Both front and rear passengers should have more space for their legs and shoulders at their disposal, which is critical in a category that includes a few rivals boasting almost mid-size dimensions.

For those put off by the larger car when parking, a rear-wheel steering system should make the process easier. Additionally, the C 300 4Matic model gets some major tech upgrades under the hood, such as a standard 48-volt integrated starter-generator (ISG), a.k.a. a mild hybrid drive system. It combines with Mercedes’ potent 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, for a total of 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor is responsible for 20 of those horses, plus 147 lb-ft of additional twist, but despite its boost in output the new car is a tad slower than the outgoing model off the line. Of course, the changes are more about fuel-efficiency, the hybrid drivetrain joined by driveline drag reducing gliding capability, plus a kinetic energy recovery system.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
Expect Mercedes’ usual high-quality and impressive comfort.

Strangely, we won’t see the plug-in hybrid version, which reportedly has an EV range of 100 km between charges (maybe it’s reserved for Germany’s taxi fleets), so any hopes of scoring any front-of-business reserved plug-in parking spots when at the wheel of a C-Class need to be dashed, or for that matter blasting past rush-hour traffic in the HOV lane.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
The new C 300 4Matic will come standard with a 48-volt mild hybrid-enhanced powertrain.

Mercedes has made no announcements of ultra-potent six- or eight-cylinder AMG-tuned C-Class models either, but instead we’re hearing reports of electrically-assisted four-cylinder variants, possibly similar to Volvo’s T8 and Polestar Engineered power units. The difference between regular and AMG hybrid Cs will come down to tuning, with the former prioritizing fuel economy and the latter focused on performance.

Of course, the new C-Class will also include all the expected driver assistive systems, including sign and red-light recognition, and steering assistance to help drivers maintain a chosen lane up to 210 km/h, where legally permitted.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
With styling like this, the C-Class will remain a segment leader.

As noted earlier, we can expect the new 2022 C 300 4Matic arrive in Canadian dealerships later this year, but we’ll have to wait a little longer for pricing and trim details. For the time being, Mercedes is providing up to $5,500 in additional incentives on the 2021 C-Class models, while CarCostCanada members are currently saving an average of $3,950.

To learn more about how to save money with your CarCostCanada membership, check out our “How it Works” page. Members receive info about manufacturer leasing and financing deals when available, plus factory rebates when available, as well as dealer invoice pricing that can help you save thousands when negotiating over a new vehicle. Also, be sure to download the our free app from the Google Play store or Apple store too, so you can access all this critical money-saving info on your smartphone.

The C-Class: Rapid-Fire Questions to Dirk Fetzer (1:07):

The New C-Class Sedan: An Intelligent Comfort Zone (0:49):

The New C-Class Sedan: A Connected Comfort Zone (0:56):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Mercedes-Benz