For some weird reason, I don’t think I ever drove the first generation GMC Terrain. As a result, I had it in my head that it was one of those tiny little crossovers, so when I picked up our 2018 Terrain tester last week, I was truly surprised by the generous size of the vehicle. The Terrain is not a space deprived little crossover.
When GMC introduced their current design language a few years back in a press conference at Detroit, the design guy explained how the brand would be different from Chevrolet in that all GMC vehicles would convey a visual that was reminiscent of the job site. GMC vehicles would look like work vehicles. I remember thinking at the time that this was fine for the pickup trucks, but wondered how they would translate that industrialized message to the family haulers in the line-up.
Unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, the 2018 Terrain answers that question with bold styling which looks tough without the imposing edge that some might see in pickup truck design. Add in the fact that the Canadian model is available with a diesel engine and the brand’s working heritage is well represented.
Previously built in Ontario, production of the latest version of the Terrain has been moved to Mexico. The new model is definitely an improvement over the outgoing model, with interior materials boasting higher quality to the eye and touch, with one small exception. The leather (pleather?) wrap on the steering wheel, which felt great to the touch, was puckered differently on the corners of the lower spoke of the wheel. It was a small flaw, but one that irked me every time my thumb crossed it while parking.
Whether this was due to accountants putting the screws to parts suppliers or a result of inattentive quality control in Mexico is irrelevant. Attention to small details are what marks the difference between the interiors of traditional domestic automakers and those from traditional imports. Beyond that however, the inclusion of materials like real aluminum are welcomed.
Where the Terrain has a distinct European feel is in the drive experience, thanks to the 1.6L diesel powerplant. The twin-cam four cylinder diesel generates 137 horsepower and a more than healthy 240 lb-ft of torque. That grunt is fed through a 6-speed automatic transmission which makes short shifts at lower speeds, giving the Terrain the purposeful feel of a Euro transporter on acceleration. Once up to highway speeds, there is no perceptible sound from the drivetrain, contributing to a wonderfully quiet cabin.
For our family, the most important part of a CUV type vehicle is Utility. These days, with all three kids having their own cars, the rear row of seating isn’t used much, if at all. The ability to swallow mass amounts of cargo with ease however, is key. Just as the visuals have been designed to look like they belong in a work setting, GMC has paid extra attention to making the Terrain’s interior functional. The best feature for our use is the flat folding floor, which makes for easy packing. Beneath that floor lies a series of hidden cubbies, perfect for hiding smaller objects.
Of course the reason that most auto journalists proclaim their love of a good diesel is the ability to offer fantastic fuel economy without sacrificing performance. On that end, the Terrain did not disappoint. During our week with the Terrain, it was driven around town, then driven to cottage country with a full load, all in sub-zero temperatures. By the end of the week, it had achieved 6.5 L/100 KM, which is truly remarkable for an all-wheel-drive vehicle of this size.
The 2018 GMC Terrain begins at $30,295 for a gas powered, from wheel drive model. A fully loaded Denali version rings in at $41,695. Our tester, an SLE Diesel, sits in the middle at $36,595.
From a pricing perspective, the Terrain sits at the upper end of the small crossover niche, with several models from other manufacturers with starting prices which are several thousand dollars less expensive. Where GMC’s entry may become the best value choice in the segment is with the availability of a diesel engine. Not only is diesel fuel typically cheaper at the pumps, but factor in the fantastic fuel economy and it is very likely that the Terrain will save owners money over the life of the vehicle as compared to a gas powered competitor.
There have been many quirky vehicles in The Garage over the years, but one of the coolest remains the 1984 Volvo 240 Turbo wagon that we owned for a few years during the late Nineties. Officially, the longest of the turbo bricks was called a 245T. Our wagon was the exact spec that fans of the boxy speedster lusted after: A silver wagon with the correct Turbo blackout striping, Euro style grill with inset fog lights, GLT wheels and a manual transmission. It even had the dog gate which swung down from the ceiling to keep Fido in his place. Sadly, we didn’t have a Fido in those days but it was still neat to have it.
That wagon was perhaps the best family vehicle of all time. It could carry 5 adults in comfort. Fold down the rear seats and it would carry a 4×8 sheet of plywood. It looked cool as hell to those who knew and could keep pace with a Fox-body Mustang off the line. While it was a bit too big for an autocross course, the car was a joy to hustle down a winding country road, even when fully loaded.
Back in the day, Volvo used the slogan “Boxy but good” and their sporting varieties became know as Bricks and Turbo Bricks. They weren’t exactly sexy, unless you were turned on by straight lines. Fast forward three decades and our tester, an XC60 T6 R-Design couldn’t be more different. While there are straight accent lines here and there, sensual curves are the order of the day. Those curves do however push up towards muscular rear shoulders, in keeping with the brand’s heritage.
The interior of the old girl left much to be desired, as many of its surfaces were as square as the exterior. Nothing flashy or luxurious here, just black plastic and blue cloth seats in a style that only really excited a Volvo diehard. The interior of the XC60 on the other hand is nothing short of World class. Without seeming too modern, the combination of sensual curves and well chosen finish materials, the Volvo has a definite Scandinavian flair. The machined metal speaker covers are particularly striking.
Techie types will be astounded by the XC60’s incredibly user friendly infotainment system, which is centered around a 9″ centre stack touch display which operates with the fluidity of a smart phone or tablet. It gives users control over a wide range of audio and vehicle settings to tailor the vehicle experience to the individual driver.
The audio system in particular deserves a mention, as it stands out in a segment which is full of serious audio gear. The Volvo Canada media fleet guy enthusiastically pointed out that the Bowers & Wilkins system has different modes, including studio for normal music and concert hall for higher quality music. Most often, these systems seem, to my ears at least, to simply muck around with reverb settings to change the sound in the cabin. The system in the XC60 was painstakingly tuned to replicate the sound in the middle of the renowned Gothenburg Concert Hall, complete with displaying a picture of the place.
To test the system, I directed the system to play music from my bluetooth connected phone rather than the Sirius XM feed. I brought up my Google Play app and chose the Evanescence Fallen album, hit play and cranked the volume. The sound was nothing short of mind blowing. The drums or thunder or whatever the rumble is in Bring me to life, quite literally caused the vehicle to shudder. After that, a bit of vintage Pink Floyd confirmed that the XC60 offers one of the best sound systems on the market.
Back in 2014, I had the opportunity to spend a rather silly 22 hours in Gothenburg, Sweden, home to Volvo with the intention of going for a ride-a-long in the company’s first self driving car. Sadly, it was raining and the vehicle’s sensors could not “see” the markings on the road, which it used to stay in its own lane. Autonomous vehicle technology is moving forward in leaps and bounds and much of the tech that Volvo was working on three years ago is now included in the company’s Pilot Assist system.
Volvo’s tech sheets describe the system as “Semi Autonomous Drive System with Adaptive Cruise Control and Active Lane Keeping Aid”. Adaptive cruise is not a new concept and lane assist type of systems are becoming more common in the marketplace. Some of the systems offered by other manufacturers are clunky at best, disruptive at worst. Where Pilot Assist stands out is in its seamless, unobtrusive operation. Once could quite easily, gasp, look down at their phone, confident in the knowledge that the car is going to do what it is supposed to do.
You may think I have lost my mind with that statement, but that action is exactly what Volvo has had in mind with their development of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. During that visit, I sat down with Volvo’s Autonomous Driving Director, Marcus Rothoff, to discuss the reasoning behind autonomous cars. Volvo has set milestone after milestone for automotive safety over the past 50 decades, so imagine my surprise to hear Rothoff say that self-driving cars would create “possibilities to open up more time”, even going so far as to say that the technology would allow drivers to stay connected to the internet while they were on the road.
Don’t worry, I obeyed the rules of the road while driving the XC60.
All of this talk of inside technology might lead one to think that the spirit of the Turbo Brick has been lost to modern gadgetry, but nothing could be further from the truth. Beneath the hood of our tester was a 2.0L 4 cylinder that is boosted by both a turbo and a supercharger. Yes, you read that right. The combination generates an impressive 316 HP and 295 lb-ft and is fed to all four wheels through a slick shifting 8-speed automatic unit.
If you have ANY Volvo background, a T5 was a turbo 5-cylinder. At what point did some marketing committee decide that a 4-banger should bear the designation T-6? I know, I am crusty and old, but there is something very wrong there. Don’t get me wrong, I knew this was a four-pot Volvo, the way Uncle Olaf intended, the branding just seems off.
What is not wrong is the way the XC60 drives. Around town, with the drive mode in the default comfort position, the XC60 feels like the dreaded nice car. The comfort and technology take the lead. Move out into the country and switch the drive mode to sport however and the spirit of the Turbo Brick quickly makes itself known. Very quickly.
Honestly, during the first few days with the XC60, I was in full responsible Dad mode. The subtle R-Design logo on the rear hatch caught my eye and somehow reminded me that there was likely some fun lurking within this family machine. At the next light, I fully rolled into the throttle and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Swede is seriously quick. Quicker than many cars of the sporting variety. Sub 6 second 0-60 quick. To put that into perspective, the sort-of legendary 1989 Mustang GT (rollin’ in my 5.0) reached that standard in 6.1. A lot has changed over the years, but a four cylinder Swedish family hauler can still haul ass.
While the XC60 R-Design might not be a track ready weapon like say, a Porsche Macan GTS, it is definitely a vehicle one can have one heck of a lot of fun in and maybe embarrass a few tuner kids along the way.
On a humorous note, I learned that keeping the key fob in your pocket while washing the XC60 will cause the door lock system to spasm frequently, locking and unlocking the doors, flashing lights and wiggling the side mirrors like a curious puppy’s ears each time the brush or even water stream go near the door handles. Technology can be a weird and wonderful thing.
There was a time when Volvos were driven by science teachers, accountants and rally enthusiasts. In other words, Volvo was the car for the intelligent, the conservative and throw all caution to the wind performance fans. Today’s Volvo is a different animal. The XC60 T6 R-Design is one which still appeals to all three.
On Tuesday at the LA Auto Show, Subaru introduced the world to its newest offering, a super-sized crossover called the Ascent. Accompanied by a dog park worth of Retrievers, the automaker revealed its largest vehicle ever.
Available with seating for 7 or 8 passengers, the Ascent is clearly an attempt to capitalize on the explosive growth of the more upright utility market.
While rally fans may be left scratching their heads, this is not the first time that a niche brand has added in a line of utility vehicles in order to bolster its revenue stream. The most obvious example is Porsche, where the exceedingly popular Cayenne and Macan have funded the development of some of the most exciting toys ever to come out of Stuttgart. Jaguar, Maserati and others are all following suit, in hopes of grabbing a bit of a new to them market.
While I like the idea, I was also a Service Manager during era on Subaru’s previous foray into the crossover market. Intended to be a Murano competitor, the Subaru Tribeca was far too quirky for most and had a tendency to spend far too much time in the shop. One can only hope that the brand has done its due diligence this time around.
For size, think about a Mazda CX-9 or maybe a Nissan Pathfinder. Subaru is building heavily on the off-road culture that is being built by Crosstrek, Forester and Outback owners to promote the Ascent as a truly functional utility vehicle which is as comfortable on the trail or at a boat launch as it is dropping the kids off at school.
Subaru Canada press release
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 28, 2017 /CNW/ – Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI) is pleased to announce that the all-new 2019 Ascent was unveiled today in Los Angeles.
Unveiled on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2019 Subaru Ascent ushers in a new era for the automaker as its first-ever three-row SUV with seating for up to eight passengers. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, Ascent offers the capability, versatility and driving enjoyment Subaru’s vehicles have become known for in a family-sized package.
“Subaru customers asked for a vehicle like Ascent and we listened,” said Yasushi Enami, chairman, president and CEO of Subaru Canada, Inc. “We understand the needs of Canadian families on the go, and our largest ever vehicle is perfectly suited to handle whatever our customers throw at it — or in it.”
Both the exterior and interior build on Subaru’s DYNAMIC x SOLID design philosophy to create an SUV with commanding presence, while remaining nimble enough to take on gridlock traffic and narrow trails with ease. Yet its interior offers an impressive amount of space for passengers or cargo — or both.
Emphasizing the functionality critical of a midsize SUV, the Ascent is available in seven- or eight-passenger configurations, with the choice of second-row captain’s chairs or bench seating, while offering enough room for a family’s worth of stuff.
Keeping whatever cargo that’s inside the Ascent safe is Subaru’s EyeSight advanced safety suite, which comes standard across the lineup and includes collision-avoidance, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control functionality.
“Subaru Canada takes safety seriously, and the inclusion of EyeSight across Ascent’s trim lineup reaffirms that,” Enami said. “EyeSight offers a whole new level of peace of mind that protects not only Subaru drivers and their families, but all road users.”
Powering the all-new 2019 Ascent is the latest evolution of Subaru’s famed BOXER engine technology that brings with it six-cylinder performance in a more efficient package. Output from the new turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine is estimated at 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque running on regular gasoline, while its high-torque Lineartronic CVT allows Ascent to tow up to 2,270 kg (5,000 lbs.).
The all-new 2019 Ascent will be built at Subaru’s U.S. plant, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc., and delivered to Subaru retailers in summer 2018.
To create an SUV with a commanding presence and exceptional functionality, the exterior and interior of Ascent build on Subaru’s DYNAMIC x SOLID design philosophy.
- Dynamic and sturdy SUV styling with a functional shape required of a three-row midsize SUV.
- Tough look befitting of an SUV as well as a rich and roomy cabin has been expressed by creating a central instrument panel with dynamic and spacious feel.
To meet the needs of young families that require both comfort and ease of use, Subaru has created an interior space allowing a comfortable experience in all seats, including the third row.
- Ascent offers enough room between passengers as well as ample cargo space.
- Wide rear door openings allow easy access for both second and third row passengers. Steps and grips are also positioned for ease of ingress and egress.
- Grips on second-row seats inspired by those found on Japanese bullet trains.
- The third-row seat achieves a comfortable seating position.
- For the first time in a Subaru model, Ascent adopts a new type of power rear gate with a built-in drive unit that contributes to achieve maximum cargo space.
- The driver’s seat features a cushion-length adjustment for the first time in a Subaru model.
- Ventilated front seats available for the first time ever in a Subaru vehicle.
- The seven-passenger configuration uses two captain seats in the second row for the first time in a Subaru model. Enough space between these seats allows easy access to the third row.
- A three-passenger second-row bench seat is standard in the eight-passenger configuration.
Intended to be enjoyed with peace of mind for the whole family, Ascent is designed to be safe and enjoyable not only in emergencies but in any driving situation. Reflecting Subaru’s comprehensive concept of safety, Ascent achieves top-of-class safety performance.
- Subaru’s unique EyeSight driver assist technology and the EyeSight Assist Monitor are standard equipment on all models.
- Reverse Automatic Braking reduces or entirely avoids collisions while reversing.
- Side/Rear Vehicle Detection System (SRVD) detects vehicles approaching from behind.
- Steering-responsive headlights offer a clear nighttime view.
- High Beam Assist improves visibility when driving at night.
- New front-view monitor reduces driver blind spots, helping to prevent front-end collisions.
- Smart rear-view mirror uses camera mounted inside at the top of the rear window to provide improved rear visibility, even in low-light conditions.
- By employing the Subaru Global Platform, Ascent offers excellent occupant protection, even for third-row passengers.
- All models are equipped with driver and front passenger SRS airbags, driver-side SRS knee airbags, and SRS side and side curtain airbags—a total of seven airbags as standard equipment—for class-leading occupant protection.
On-Road Agility Meets Off-Road Ability
Together with standard Symmetrical AWD and X-Mode for enhanced rough road performance, the newly developed 2.4-litre turbocharged direct-injection Boxer engine along with the Subaru Global Platform ensures SUV capability with peace of mind and an enjoyment for both drivers and families.
- Despite its smaller displacement, the newly developed 2.4-litre turbocharged direct-injection boxer engine achieves smooth acceleration equal to or better than that of competing vehicles with six-cylinder engines.
- The Subaru Global Platform improves body rigidity, enhancing dynamic quality feel such as smoothness and exhilaration.
- Ascent achieves both excellent straight-line stability at high speeds and smooth handling at low speeds.
- Active Torque Vectoring allows superior cornering performance and hazard avoidance capabilities.
- Paddle shifters allow drivers to enhancing the driving engagement.
- Subaru’s distinctive Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system offers stability in various circumstances, including challenging road conditions caused by snow, rain or mud, and on the highway.
- X-Mode improves performance on slippery and other difficult road surfaces through integrated optimal control of the engine, transmission and braking. Its Hill Descent Control setting gives drivers greater peace of mind by maintaining low speeds on downhill slopes.
- Along with the 220 millimetres of ground clearance, Ascent ensures enough road clearance, such as optimized approach and departure angles, when encountering a slope or returning to flat terrain from a slope, as well as ramp breakover angle at the peak of a rise, that broaden the range of activities families can enjoy.
- A maximum towing capacity of 2,270 kg, the most of any Subaru in history, allows Ascent to pull a camper or boat, supporting an active family lifestyle.
As consumers continue to shun traditional cars, as in sedans, they are flocking to the various Crossover Utility Vehicle segments. The tiny little guys are arguably the coolest bunch of the segment. Not much larger than a four door hatchback, they ride higher and have a stance closer to that of an SUV than that of a car. Each entry into the segment offers their own brand of quirk, often creating polarizing reviews from viewers.
Toyota’s player in this space, which is made up of the likes of the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, is the plucky little C-HR. The Honda and Mazda models offer styling which can best be called mainstream conservative, while the Toyota joins Nissan at the more, umm, creative side of the spectrum. True, the C-HR doesn’t seem to have lit up the weird meter like the Juke does, it definitely seems to make onlookers scratch their head a bit.
The two-tone roof and body treatment, which seems normal for the MINI camp, created the most conversation with friends and family during our week with the test unit. I actually like the look, but I was the only one who was feeling the love.
Entering the driver’s seat shows off a beef I have with a lot of small vehicles: seat height. While I am only 5′ 10″ tall, I have short legs and a long torso, coupled with a bad back that doesn’t bend too well. Even with the height adjustable seat in the fully down position, I whack my head off the roof edge unless I consciously duck my head under the edge before swinging my butt into the seat. My 5’2″ wife and daughter do not have the same complaint. Your mileage may vary.
Once inside however, the cabin is comfy and modern stylish. One rear seat passenger did comment that the space felt a bit claustrophobic due to the high line of the window sills which curve upwards to those funky outside door handles.
The first thing I noticed when heading onto the highway was how quite the little bug is at speed. Such a quiet cabin is impressive at this price point. That serenity vanishes when one mashes the right pedal to the floor.
As is becoming popular these days, Toyota has chosen to hang a CVT unit onto the end of its lovely 2.0L four banger. To simplify the description a bit, a CVT is essentially a larger version of a snowmobile transmission, which uses a belt that is driven via a cone shaped device to increase and decrease vehicle speed based on throttle position. There are no gears to change. If the driver applies full throttle, the engine will spin to its redline and stay there until the desired speed is reached and the driver lessens the pressure on the pedal. Regardless of how well insulated a cabin is, an engine at high revs is making some noise!
It is interesting to note that unlike the offerings from Mazda and Honda, Toyota has chosen to offer the C-HR in front wheel drive only, where the others have all wheel drive available. I suppose this won’t bother some buyers, but it seems like a bit of an odd contenting decision, especially for the Canadian market.
The cargo area is spacious enough for daily life with a young family and with the seats folded would easily swallow everything needed for a couple to go camping.
Careful attention should be paid to package content, as the $24,690 base price of the C-HR is substantially more than the base price of both primary competitors. The base price does however include Toyota Safety Sense, a bundle of active and passive driver safety aids that include Pre-Collision System , Auto High Beam, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (full speed), Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.
Overall, the Toyota C-HR is a fun and funky little ride which is definitely worthy of a look while shopping the segment.
We’re not in Geneva, but our buddy Zack Spencer from Driving Television is, and Subaru let him have a peek at the new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek yesterday, before it was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show. This is a full revamp of Subaru’s plucky little crossover, marking the second generation of the model.
Zack has all the details in this quick “what you need to know” type video.
Source: Motormouth Canada on YouTube
Way back in the middle 2000’s, while I was still a Nissan Service Manager, we began hearing reports that a small utility vehicle called the Qashqai, which was sold in other markets, would make its way to Canada to slot under the rugged Xterra model size wise.
That model never appeared and we received a model called the X-Trail instead. From what I heard, they were similar vehicles, but we never got to compare them side by side.
Fast forward to 2017 and Nissan Canada announced this morning that Qashqai is finally coming to this country. With the company’s popular Rogue model moving up in size in its most recent version, the Qashqai will slot in beneath that model.
Nissan press release
- 5-passenger Qashqai designed for conquering everyday urban adventures, includes long list of comfort, convenience and utility features
- Dynamic exterior offers sleek front end design with Nissan signature design cues and available 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
- Available Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield technologies include Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection1, Intelligent Cruise Control2, Rear Cross Traffic Alert3 and Forward Emergency Braking1
- “Right sized” Qashqai slots just under popular 2017 Rogue, Nissan’s #1 selling vehicle in Canada, and further expands Nissan’s extensive SUV lineup
- On sale in spring 2017
- The 2017 Nissan Qashqai stands as a stylish, nimble, fun-to-drive and affordable sub-compact SUV offering numerous advanced safety and security features
“The combination of the new Qashqai and the popular redesigned 2017 Rogue will appeal to a broad audience and offers a wide spectrum of features and price points for SUV buyers,” said Bert Brooks, senior manager, Product Planning, Nissan Canada Inc. “While we expect Rogue to continue to appeal to owners with young families, Qashqai fills a need for singles and couples who want more space and versatility than the average sedan for everyday urban use and social activities.”
The Qashqai has a 58mm (2.3-inch) shorter wheelbase and a 307mm (12.1-inch) shorter overall length than Rogue, helping make it more maneuverable in city traffic and an ideal size for tight city parking spaces. Other helpful city adventure features range from up to 1,730L (61.1 cubic feet) of cargo space (2nd row seat folded) and available innovative Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System to the Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD)4.
“From Qashqai to Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and all the way up to the full-size eight-passenger Armada, Nissan has the perfect SUV for any buyer,” said Brooks. “Qashqai holds its own with all of its portfolio mates, just as expected of any vehicle that wears the Nissan badge.”
Sporty Exterior, Premium Looking Interior
The Qashqai exterior starts with an “emotional geometry” exterior design, presenting a strong contrast between dynamic movements of volume and geometric and sharp edges and details. The sleek, compact body projects powerful fender volume and a wheel-oriented stance, along with agile and robust lower body sides, giving Qashqai a powerful presence.
The front is highlighted by a dynamic, sporty front grille and sophisticated headlight design with LED signature Daytime Running Lights, halogen headlights with auto off function, and available fog lights. Also available are LED low-beam headlights with auto on/off function and High Beam Assist (HBA).
The Qashqai exterior also features a large rear opening and a wide rear body appearance – along with sleek boomerang-shaped taillights and rear spoiler. Other exterior details include body-colour front and rear bumpers, black wheel arches and roof molding, body-colour outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and heated outside mirrors. Also offered is a power sliding moonroof with sliding shade and roof rails. Qashqai has a coefficient of drag of 0.33.
The 2017 Qashqai is available in 10 available exterior colours – led by the bold Monarch Orange and Nitro Lime. Other colours are Mocha Almond, Magnetic Black, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Palatial Ruby, Pearl White, Glacier White and Caspian Blue
Inside, the 5-passenger Qashqai interior is designed to keep up with owners’ active lifestyles. It has the commanding ride height of a compact SUV combined with a driver-oriented cockpit that provides a sporty, fun-to-drive feel.
Qashqai incorporates Nissan’s “gliding wing” interior design, providing spatial symmetry with a sense of togetherness – combining a wide-open feeling with areas for personal space. Seating includes a standard 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with available rear seat center armrest, heated front seats and available rear seat heating/cooling center console vents. Also available are a 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat, leather-appointed seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and heated steering wheel. Leather-appointed seating is standard on the SL grade.
Behind the 2nd row seat is up to 648L (22.9 cu. ft.) of cargo space (up to 1,730L or 61.1 cu. ft. with the 2nd row seat folded down), accessible through the wide rear door. Like Rogue, the new Qashqai also offers the innovative Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System (SV and SL grades). Included as standard on all grades are a cargo area cover and six luggage hooks (four floor, two side).
The instrument panel features Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges and 5.0-inch center meter colour display with Advanced Driver Assist™ Display. The front center console includes an integral armrest and storage comparTMent, along with a 12-volt power outlet. Qashqai SV and SL grades include Nissan Intelligent KeyTM with Push Button Start.
Standard interior features include: 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio input jack, USB connection port for iPod® interface and other compatible devices, Siri® Eyes Free6, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, RearView Monitor, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant5 (compatible smartphone required) and RearView Monitor. Also available is SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), dual-zone automatic air conditioning. The available Remote Engine Start (RES) system7 provides flexibility to start the Qashqai remotely using the keyless entry fob.
The 2017 Qashqai also has a number of available connected technology and smartphone integration features, including NissanConnectSM with Navigation, Mobile Apps and Services. It offers a 7.0-inch colour touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM® Traffic and SiriusXM® Travel Link™ (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately). NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM® (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately) is available on Qashqai SL model. Also available is Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD)4.
Two interior colours are offered: Charcoal and Light Grey, along with available Gun Metal or Piano Black finishers.
“The Qashqai interior belies its affordable pricing, with use of premium materials and long list of available comfort and convenience items,” explained Brooks. “Though more compact than Rogue, the new Qashqai fully measures up in terms of features that make driving more enjoyable for both driver and passengers.”
2.0-litre Engine, 4-Wheel Independent Suspension, Advanced Safety Technology
The Qashqai offers balanced dynamic performance – combining a responsive, efficient 2.0-litre engine with nimble handling and cornering. Qashqai utilizes the same CMF (Common Module Family) platform as Rogue, and both vehicles are available in a choice of front-wheel drive or an available intuitive All-Wheel Drive system.
Every 2017 Qashqai comes equipped with a standard 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder rated at 141 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 147 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm. The engine features Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG™) system, Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control) on both intake and exhaust, DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coated valve lifters, TCV (Tumble Control Valve) and an 11.2:1 compression ratio. The engine is matched with a 6-speed manual transmission or an available Xtronic transmission with standard Sport Mode Shifter and Eco Mode switch.
The nimble handling is the result of the 104.2-inch wheelbase and 4-wheel independent suspension – a front independent-strut suspension with stabilizer bar and twin-tube shock absorbers and multi-link independent rear suspension with twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. Responsive steering is provided by an Electric Power-assisted Steering (EPS) with Sport mode. 4-wheel vented disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist are also standard.
A selection of wheels and tires are offered, depending on grade level. Qashqai S models are equipped with 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers and 215/65R16 all-season tires; Qashqai SV features 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/60R17 all-season tires; and Qashqai SL comes with 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/45R19 all-season tires. Every Qashqai also offers a standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with position monitoring and Nissan’s innovative Easy Fill Tire Alert.
Hill Start Assist (HSA) is also standard, along with a suite of confidence-inspiring dynamic technologies, with Active Trace Control, Active Engine Braking and Active Ride Control.
“While many competitors in the compact SUV segment choose a rear torsion beam suspension, Qashqai offers an independent rear multi-link design to provide that extra sense of dynamic performance,” said Brooks. “We believe that buyers coming into this segment, usually as first time SUV owners, still want to enjoy driving excitement and feel a connection to the road. The new Qashqai delivers.”
Qashqai also offers an extensive list of advanced Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield technologies. The list includes available radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW)8 and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) 3, Forward Emergency Braking (FEB)1, and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP)9. Also available are Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC)2 and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection1.
In addition, the list of standard safety and security features includes the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors; front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags; roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection; 3-point front and rear seatbelts, front seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors; LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren); and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS).
Three Well-Equipped Qashqai Models
The 2017 Nissan Qashqai comes in three well-equipped models – S, SV and SL.
Along with the long list of standard features found on Qashqai S, the Qashqai SV adds 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/60R17 all-season tires, Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control, Power Moonroof, Heated leather steering wheel, Remote Engine Start system7, Nissan Intelligent KeyTM, cruise control, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), two additional audio system speakers, leather-wrapped shift knob, Smart Auto on/off headlights, , Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System and dual illuminated vanity mirrors.
Qashqai SL models include leather-appointed front seats, 6-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps, and 7.0-inch colour touch-screen display.
Qashqai SL models also include seatback pocket on driver’s seat, Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD)4, 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/45R19 all-season tires and silver finished roof racks.
Optional equipment package offered: SL Platinum Package.
The 2017 Nissan Qashqai is assembled in Kyushu, Japan.
News/video source: Nissan Canada
Winter’s first blast of the 2016/2017 season came on the very same day that we were scheduled to drive two thirds of the way across the Greater Toronto Area to join the good folks at Nissan Canada for an early VIP screening of the new Star Wars franchise flick Rogue One. We left our driveway with a couple of hours to spare, figuring that this would leave us sufficient time to deal with the slowdowns caused by the pre-Christmas storm.
“Cool, it looks like we are making the jump to light speed in the Millenium Falcon”, I exclaimed to my oh so tolerant missus as we accelerated onto the highway, as the QX60’s gorgeous LED headlights lit up the rapidly falling snow. You see, Mrs. Grant is not a particular fan of the Star Wars films and would have been happier to be catching up on season 8 of Dexter in front of a roaring fire.
Our test vehicle had been shod with a set of Toyo Observe GSi5 Winter tires, descended from the Toyos that we used to rely on during Winter rallies more than twenty years ago, so I had high hopes that the overall package would be competent in the white stuff. What I didn’t expect was for the package to conquer Old Man Winter like a Yeti scaling Mount Everest.
Maybe ten kilometers into our drive, four lanes wide became three and traffic slowed to a reasonable 60 km/h, so I eased the Infiniti over into the right lane, which was no longer being used. The transition between hard pack snow to deep ruts and then just deep snow were barely noticeable behind the wheel, as the QX60 simply went where I asked it to, with no drama whatsoever. Inside the cabin, the heated seats and steering wheel kept the humans toasty.
Soon, traffic came to a standstill and four lanes became five, as patience waned and motorists tried everything to somehow escape the traffic. With 45 minutes remaining until curtain time, we had covered about a third of the distance to the theatre and there was no way we were going to make it to showtime. A decision was made and we exited the highway in search of dinner.
Avoiding traffic clogged main streets for a while, we chose twisty side roads, which had been untouched by snow removal machinery. As any self respecting Canadian boy should, I switched off the stability control and began to explore the limits of traction. Simply for research sake of course, so that I knew what my vehicle would do if presented with an emergency situation!
Normally, I am not a big fan of CVT transmissions, but the unit in the QX60 flawlessly transmits the 3.5l V-6’s 295 horsepower to the all wheel drive system flawlessly and adds to the cocoon effect we were feeling in the Infiniti’s cabin. While looking sleek and sporty, the seven passenger QX60 is still quite a large vehicle, but the powertrain offers just the right level of oomph for a bit of Winter play. When asked, the all wheel drive system sends just enough power to the rear wheels to allow for long, gentle and easily controlled drifts.
We found a pub North of the city and sat down to enjoy a meal before heading home. By the time we had finished dinner and headed out onto some rural highways, there were next to no vehicles on the road. As our speeds rose to the dry norm, the QX60 was simply unfazed by the road conditions. The Toyos offer an unbelievable level of grip, the limits of which are gentle and easily taken in stride by the Infiniti’s stability control system. We ventured onto a new section of toll highway with long, sweeping ramps and found that even at elevated speeds, the QX60 was equally as stable as it was at lower speeds.
One of the challenges that Nissan has faced in the past decade or so on the passenger car side of the market is overlap between models which leaves consumers somewhat confused. Maxima was a mainstay in the Nissan fleet for years, until the G35 was introduced. Suddenly, the company had two very cool, competitively priced sporty sedans. As the G has evolved into the Q, Maxima remains somewhat in limbo, which is a shame, as it is a great car. What does this have to do with the QX60? The reality is that the QX is a gussied up Pathfinder. While the Pathy model line begins at just over 32 grand here in Canada, the QX60 starts at close to 48K. Our review unit rang in at more than $63,000, not including the Winter rubber.
Quite frankly, the QX60 feels worth every penny. The interior fit and finish, comfort and performance easily equal or better anything from more expensive luxury brands, like say Land Rover. I can’t help but wondering however, if it is worth so much more than its Nissan sibling. We’ll be driving a Pathfinder in a couple of weeks to answer that question.
With the proliferation of all wheel drive systems and advanced active driver aids, good Winter driving performance is not uncommon in today’s family utility vehicles. The way in which the QX60 conquers Winter is different than most though, as it is completely unfazed by changing conditions. In a market full of talented players, the QX60 is simply the most confident family hauler I have ever driven in adverse conditions. In a time when driving safely is more important than ever before, that confidence alone is worth the price of admission.
We all have certain needs when choosing a new car. Some need space, while others need something that sips fuel. Then of course there are those of us who just want to go fast. The Chevy Trax offers those a bit of utility for those who need it, but want it in a package that is easy to manage around town. While I prefer something with a manual transmission and with a bit more power, I found myself grinning like a fool just about every time I drove Chevrolet’s tiny tripper.
The biggest shame is that our U.S. readers can’t buy one, as this puppy is Canada only.
There was a time when the thought of a youthful 40 something year old driving a Lincoln would have been laughable to many. The brand just wasn’t as hip as, say BMW. It’s not that they were necessarily bad cars, they were missing out on the cool factor. Ok, some of them were pretty bad. With the new Ford of the past couple of years came a new Lincoln too, a brand that is decidedly more cool.
For a family long weekend road trip recently, we needed something with enough space to carry all 5 of us along with all of our assorted flotsam and a gigantic cargo box full of dance costumes. No, they aren’t mine! This called for either the dreaded minivan or an SUV/CUV type vehicle. The 5 passenger 2011 Lincoln MKX seemed like it had some potential for the weekend. After spending some time in it, the MKX has potential for a lot more than just a weekend.
Built in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant, the MKX has received a thorough refresh for the 2011 model year. Originally launched as an 07 model, the MKX opened up a whole new market for the once popular brand. The slick styling, world class fit and finish, utility and performance brought customers who would traditionally be looking at import brands into the showroom. The MKX, along with some of its siblings was bringing the cool back to Lincoln.
The exterior has received a number of changes from front to back beginning with the new split-wing grille, re-arched fenders and lower rocker moldings to create a better flow to the side view. Unique 2 piece tail lamps utilize indirect LED lighting to create a dramatic effect without actually seeing the light source. The rear view has been beefed up a bit with the addition of larger oval exhaust tips as well. The brushed metal and chrome trim is just bling enough to know this is a Lincoln, but not so much that it looks tacky.