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2018 Detroit auto show round-up

Detroit, MI – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit truly kicks off the year's auto festivities. There's so much history, pride and production that has taken place in the 'Motor City' over the years, that it's one of the shows not to miss.

For 2018, a few off-site reveals lightened the media days of the show, but there was still plenty to see, and most of the buzz came down to American-made trucks. The big American three showed off plenty of muscle with major pickup reveals and that was complemented by a plethora of various production SUVs and sedans that will be hitting the market at some point this year.

Here's a small glimpse of what was shown off at this year's auto show in Detroit.

Pickup trucks

We start at pickups as they are the true volume sellers for Chevrolet, Ford and Ram, and neither of the big three were holding back in Detroit.

Chevrolet and Ram came to the show with all-new full-size pickups in the Silverado and Ram 1500. Ford on the other hand, talked a bit about an upcoming hybrid powertrain and addition of a diesel to its top-selling F-150, but re-entered the mid-size space at the show with the North American rebirth of the Ranger.

Let's start with the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. It comes with six different engine/transmission combinations featuring a new 5.3-litre and 6.2-litre V8 engines that come with an industry-first Dynamic Fuel Management system that shuts off a certain amount of cylinders for better fuel efficiency. In addition, a new inline-six turbo-diesel enters the fray paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The fuel-efficient message was clear in the new Silverado highlighted by the loss of 450 lbs. from its outgoing model.



As for the 2019 Ram 1500, it too takes on a fuel-efficient tone with its 3.7-litre Pentastar V6 and 5.7-litre Hemi V8, both utilizing a 48-volt eTorque mild-hybrid system with stop-start technology. Having that hybrid system in place boost torque numbers to 90 lb-ft more in the V6 and 130 in the V8.

The 2019 Ford Ranger was teased at last year's NAIAS, so it was only fitting to come back for its production reveal. The new version gets upsized in order to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. It's now re-entering a segment with slight growth and an opportunity for Ford to capitalize. Powering the new Ranger is a 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo-four matched to a class-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission with full numbers to be released shortly.

SUVs

For the most part, the crossover/SUV reveals were dominated by the luxury automakers.

Starting off with Acura, the luxury wing of Honda showed off one of its core vehicles, the 2019 Acura RDX Prototype. No longer does it resemble its mainstream brand with an exclusive all-new platform that takes on many stylings from the Precision Concept and Precision Cockpit shown off at previous auto shows. Its exterior is more bold and daring with cutting edge lines and a tight, more sleek grille. On the inside, a floating 10.2-inch display sets a clean and tech-centred tone that includes a new touchpad interface and operating system. It's powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder matched to a class-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission.

Other big reveals were the 2018 BMW X2, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class and the Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept. Starting off with the BMW X2, the compact crossover will fill the only gap in BMW's X-division when it comes out in the spring. The G-Class gets fully re-done for the first time, even though it slightly resembles the same boxy, military-inspired look we've always loved with a lighter and tech-driven feel featuring a dual 12.3-inch widescreen display and driver safety assist systems. Rounding out the trio is the one crossover concept from Lexus. The LF-1 Limitless is one of the more beautiful vehicles at the show displaying the futuristic design language of the brand with a new take on its large spindle grille complemented by thin and sleek LED lights. In addition, fully autonomous features in 'Chauffeur Mode' allow the crossover to take over control of the vehicle.

Sedans

There was a time when sedans would kick this list off, but times are changing. The biggest splash came from a muscle car in the Ford Mustang GT. But it wasn't any GT, it was the limited edition 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, inspired by the 1968 classic movie starring Steve McQueen that came out 50 years ago. The Dark Highland Green colour featured in the movie was on display (it also comes in Shadow Black) and it can only be had with a six-speed manual gearbox with a white cue-ball shifter. Other features include a big dual exhaust, black five spokes and a Bullitt gas cap instead of any Ford badging. Under the hood is a 5.0-litre V8 that ups power to 475 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.



The other more practical sedan choices were the 2019 Kia Forte and 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. The Forte and Jetta both increase in size and add some necessary design flair that had been lacking in both. The Forte takes on more of a coupe-like finish; while the Jetta, now in its seventh-generation, adopts more pronounced, sharper cues for that sportier touch.


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First Drive – 2018 Buick Enclave

Vernon, BC – For the past few years, Buick has reshaped its luxury division. The last vehicle in need of a major shakeup was its biggest SUV, the Enclave that was starting to get long in the tooth. With a new 2018 second-generation Enclave, the 114-year-old Buick brand becomes the newest showroom in the auto industry.

Back in 2008, the Enclave was a seven-seat welcomed addition, but after close to a decade into its first generation, it started to lose steam in its segment. Considering the current SUV sales boom, it became essential for Buick – a brand with 80 percent of its volume coming from SUVs in 2017 – to get the Enclave to a competitive level against the likes of the Infiniti QX60, Acura MDX and Volvo XC90.



Refreshed start with no common parts

The second-generation Enclave has no common parts from its previous iteration. In attempt to make it look less overwhelming in size, the Enclave comes off as leaner overall, even with an increase in length and height.

It's all about new proportions and a new demeanour, something Buick likes to call: “Smart Made Stylish.” That design language results in a more sleek, aggressive approach with expansion occurring in areas of consumer need, such as cargo space and legroom. It serves as a lesson that one can expand for comfort without having its entire form shaped like a gigantic boat.

Its most prominent parts are up front with a redesigned new front end featuring a chrome-filled vertical slat grille. The grille is enhanced with cool-looking wings complemented by Evonik Acrylite technology in its headlights sporting over 100 LED lights. The Evonik signature accents may be taken for granted, but it serves as the clearest and cleanest light offered in the market.



That specialized theme continues on the inside with an all-new Air Ionizer that improves air flow throughout the cockpit. We're not talking about a simple air freshener, but a device that reduces unwanted odours both inside and out, along with bacteria, viruses, dust, debris and pollen.

For this first drive program, I received a new top-of-the-line Avenir vehicle. Avenir is considered 'the highest expression of Buick luxury,' and those customers wishing to dole our $63,690 will enjoy a unique black-ice finish wings and grille, dual panel sunroof, 20-inch wheels and Avenir badging. Premium touches and materials continue with open-pore wood and a beautiful chestnut colour on the dash and seats, upping the refinement of the whole environment.



As for space, the Enclave does well in the first two rows with Captain's chairs that provide plenty of headroom and legroom; power seats come standard only in the front. It should be noted that as cushiony as the front row chairs were, it took time for a comfortable seating position to be found, and the ideal position was never fully met. This may just be a 'me' thing, but that's truly how I felt.



For the third row, the right side slides forward for easier access, albeit not better than its top three-row competitors. Once inside, the bench seating can be a bit cramped and not suited for individuals 6'0” or up. Regardless, it's much improved and a bonus for large families.

When those rows don't need to be filled, the Enclave has a total of 2,764 litres of cargo space, 1,642 litres behind the second row, 668 litres behind the third row with an additional 90 litres in the underfloor. That's a 10 percent improvement over the outgoing model.

A quiet and expected ride

The 2018 Enclave drives well in a quiet, relaxed manner. There's nothing exceptional that stands out about it; rather a smooth drive that you come to expect from a new SUV. Whether that's perceived as a positive or negative comment, that's the best way I can describe it.

Buick doesn't bombard you with engine choices. The Enclave has a single powertrain unit: a 3.6-litre V6 that delivers 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The one choice you do get is whether you opt for the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) or an active twin-clutch all-wheel drive (AWD) that eventually comes standard beyond the base Essence trim.



Power delivery is both smooth and quick. The Enclave was able to power ahead when needed and showed off decent handling skills through the side winding Vernon roads. Its nine-speed gearshift is constantly on the move, but mostly seamless as it's calibrated for better fuel economy. According to Buick, the AWD is rated at 13.8 L/100 km in the city and 9.4 L/100 km on the highway. For FWD, those numbers are reduced to 12.9 and 9.0, respectively.

During the drive, additional pros and cons were found. On the positive end as with all Buicks, the active noise cancellation setup works wonders to block and absorb all noises. In addition, this 2018 model has upped its towing game with a tow rating at 5,000 lbs, and that was shown off by a sport boat hitched to the Enclave. On the more critical side, if I had to be picky, more steering input was needed on those sweeping curves and you could feel the size and width of the SUV during those manoeuvres. Nowadays, many SUVS can feel like a crossover or hatchback, but the Enclave still retains that larger SUV-feel.
 
In Conclusion

At a starting price of $49,690 for FWD or $52,690 in AWD, the Enclave serves as a reasonably priced choice amongst its competition. The Air Ionizer, an eight-inch easy-to-use digital touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a hands-free liftgate come standard, but you would have to move up to receive heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row, a power-folding third row seat and a plethora of safety technology.

All in all, the 2018 Buick Enclave has improved immensely from its more modern exterior silhouette to its more spacious cabin filled with plenty of technological goodies. Its new Avenir sub-brand places Buick into the luxury discussion with premium touches previously not found.






 

 

First Drive: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

Moncton, NB – As consumers move from sedans to SUVs, Chevrolet is stepping up its game with the all-new 2018 mid-size Chevrolet Traverse. It's been a forgotten nameplate since its inception in 2009 save for a 2013 facelift, and dwindling sales have followed suit. 

In a market where perception can quickly become reality, the Traverse couldn't get by with minor adjustments. Even though SUV sales are booming, the three-row Traverse needed a complete overhaul to compete against segment-heavyweights including the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Hyundai Santa Fe, and that's not even the whole lot.

The 2018 Traverse has shed its past starting with a new platform, shape, engine, transmission, suspension and technology. Most importantly the words 'best-in-class' can now be thrown around, as it provides plenty of interior comforts along with space and versatility.



More modern, more spacious

The new Traverse takes on a more boxy frame compared to the more rounded hatchback-y look it used to own. It's not as bold and in-your-face as the Ford Explorer – the vehicle Chevrolet is calling its direct competitor – rather, it takes on body creases, a larger two-stack grille and sleeker headlights. The new look won't wow, nor does it offend. All-in-all its an attractive, more truck-like vehicle that can now places itself in the middle of the mid-size SUV conversation.



Overall length stays pretty much in tact, except for an two-inch expansion of its wheelbase. It may seem minor, but that little extra room allows for best-in-class maximum passenger volume (4,485 litres), legroom in the third row (856 mm), and cargo space beyond the first row (2,789 litres). That expansion is most evident in the third row with plenty of headroom to spare and enough legroom to get by. Yes, I know it says best-in-class third row legroom, I just wouldn't get overly excited about it. On the flip side, sliding second-row seats tip the seat up and move forward to allow for easy passenger access into the third row.

On the base model, eight seats are standard with a bench in both the second and third row. Our testers for this first drive program in Moncton – a second-tier LT and top-of-the-line High Country – both sported the volume-selling, seven-seater with captain's chairs in the middle row, a configuration that comes standard starting at the LT trim.

As for interior materials, it naturally gets better as you move up the trim line. The High Country version is draped in a stunning tan leather and complemented with wood and suede accents. It doesn't feel like a Chevy, but it also doesn't cost like a Chevy either coming in at $60,390. On the LT Cloth trim, you're treated to simple, yet comfortable cloth seats. There are plastic touches around, but it's all done in a modern and organized fashion pleasing to the eye.



Like all Chevrolet products, the Traverse comes with a wide array of technologies that include standard features in 4G LTE WiFi with hotspot capability, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Teen Driver, Rear Vision Camera, and a Rear Seat Reminder chime to go along with its seven-inch Multi-Link infotainment unit.

Other notable features that become available beyond the base LS are a hidden storage slot that opens up behind the infotainment screen, a hands-free liftgate that emits a bowtie sign signalling where to kick for the trunk to open, wireless charging, ventilated seats, heated rear seats, and a plethora of safety technologies.

New engine, smooth drive

As aforementioned, under the hood of the Traverse is a new 3.6-litre V6 engine that ups its output to 305 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque that's matched to a new nine-speed automatic transmission with options of front- and all-wheel drive available. Later this year, a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder will enter the fray, but only for the upcoming sporty RS version.

The new engine not only improves on power – previous hp was rated at 281 – it improves on fuel economy with ratings of 13.7 L/100 km in the city and 9.4 L/100 km on the highway in all-wheel-drive; while front-wheel-drive clocks in at 12.9 and 8.7, respectively. The Traverse is able to save on gas through a seven percent weight reduction with the use of high-strength steel and computer-aided designs.

The weight savings factor into the drive, as the Traverse felt nimble and ready-to-go throughout the journey. Initial acceleration is more brisk than expected with a lot of torque kicking in. Otherwise, the transmission is a dream with seamless transitions that reflect the quiet nature of the ride. If there's one standout in the Traverse's ride quality it has to be its peaceful ride, something a family might desperately need during those oh so rare moments of family silence.

Other technical features include electric power steering, towing up to 5,000 lbs on all trims except LS, traction mode selection that includes off-roading on AWD models, and Active Return, a system that assists the driver in keeping the vehicle centred through slight steering adjustments. 

Verdict

The Chevrolet Traverse was in major need of an overhaul after getting a bit old in the tooth. At a starting cost of $36,790, the Traverse packs in plenty of value to go along with better styling and more interior space. There also are only a few combinations to choose from to not confuse customers, a total of 136 build possibilities have been simplified down to 11.

With the rise of SUV sales, the Traverse shouldn't have a problem reaching more customers, as its all-new second-generation version touches all the key boxes of what families look for: size, versatility, connectivity, comfort and performance. It even adds a sizable amount of towing and off-roading prowess when needed.

First Drive – 2018 Honda Odyssey: the modernized minivan

Charlottetown, PEI – The stigma that comes with owning a minivan can be harsh. Most of it is mental, as parents battle a full-on “soccer mom” image, while jealousy of friends without kids or empty nesters rage on.

Regardless whether that's a reality or not, families with multiple kids can benefit from the versatility and convenience a minivan brings. And that's why Chrysler re-branded and re-designed its Pacifica minivan in 2016 – formerly the Chrysler Town & Country – and for this year, it was Honda's turn to showcase how good a minivan can be with its all-new 2018 Odyssey.

“The 2018 Honda Odyssey has everything you need in a minivan,” explains Jean Marc Leclerc, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Honda Canada, at a first drive program in Charlottetown, PEI.

With the surge in new mid- and full-size SUVs on the market, more options have been presented, making the choice of a full-size SUV or minivan not so clear cut. With automakers sprucing up their minivan offerings, it's hard to argue with Leclerc. Honda has made it easy for families to live with a minivan by packing the eight-passenger hauler with new technologies, more connectivity, better fuel economy, easy entry and exit, more interior and cargo space, as well as standard safety features not seen anywhere else.

As for its looks – it's hard to change a boxy behemoth, but Honda has found a way – like the Pacifica – to round out its frame and give it more character with sharper edges and cut lines. It's front fascia led by its chrome grille is reminiscent of the Honda Pilot, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's styling is safe, but in the end, it's a minivan, so safe is probably the right way to go.

Comfort and entertainment awaits inside

Pull on the door handle, and let those sliding doors work their magic. Sliding doors are the most recognizable staple in any minivan, and no longer do we have to manually slide them with force. And with no all-wheel-drive option, that step up is low-to-the-ground – 35 mm lower than the previous iteration – allowing children to easily hop in and out.

But that's not all, as my commercial voice takes over. Honda's second row seating are called “Magic Seats.” With a seven-seat configuration (only two seats in the second row), the magic seats can slide side-to-side or forward-and-back for people to access the back row with plenty of room, and this can be done with a child seat still attached. In addition, these second row seats can either slide together or further apart, which could be crucial to surviving the squabbles that way take place on a lengthy road trip. The only catch is the middle second-row seat has to be physically removed by pulling a few latches, so as easy as this all sounds, there's still a little work to be done.

New high-resolution technology screens modernize the cockpit with a seven-inch TFT unit and an eight-inch touchscreen situated on the leather-filled dash. The navigation system can be finicky at times, but that can be avoided by using Apple Car Play and Android Auto functions through your mobile device, saving you money by moving down a trim or two. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability comes in the top Touring trim allowing everyone to stay connected while on the road.

Also featured in the top trims are large and comfortable soft leather seating in the front row, as well as an abundance of technology. Two new technology features: CabinWatch (on Touring trim) and CabinTalk (starting at EX-L trim) aim at easing parental worries and allowing for better communication without causing driver distraction through the press of a button. For CabinWatch, a ceiling-mounted camera keeps an eye on both back rows; while CabinTalk allows the front-row occupants to talk to the back row passengers through the rear speakers, muting audio in their headphones.

Safety is imperative for family hauling, and the Odyssey ticks many boxes with a standard suite of Honda Sensing safety technology that includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Collision Mitigation Braking System for vehicles and pedestrians, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning. Lane Watch and Blind Spot Information System is available as you go up trim levels.

How does it drive?

Driving is always secondary when it comes to a minivan. It won't be the sole reason one chooses a model, but it plays a part in the decision making process.

The 2018 Odyssey has one engine offering: a direct-injected 3.5-litre V6 that produces 280 hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. Both numbers are up from the 2017 model by 30 hp and 12 lb.-ft. of torque, but the interesting story comes in the form of a 10-speed automatic transmission for the upper trims (a nine-speed automatic is the standard option).



The 10-speed gearbox is pretty seamless on the road helping it achieve a class-leading 12.2/8.5/10.6 fuel economy split (city/highway/combined in L/100 km) with the aid of a variable cylinder management system. But it's not just the gearbox that's non-disruptive; the whole vehicle is a quiet sanctuary when cruising with no floor vibrations and the placement of acoustic glass and windshield to allow conversation to flow effortlessly.

When pushed, especially uphill, the Odyssey – like many other larger utes – blurts out faint huffing noises to lug its 2,086 kg frame. It's not the quickest vehicle in the lot, but it's not supposed to be, and the ride stays comfortable and relaxed whether on the highway or in the city, and even stays composed on shoddy roads. The electronic steering corners more like an SUV or crossover with precision and decent road feel.

The only thing that needs to go is its electronic gear shift. It's situated below the touchscreen in order to provide more room for cubby holes, but ends up only being an irritant for the driver. It doesn't even look good with its blocky buttons, and most importantly, it's difficult and slow to use due to its “trigger-type” reverse button, especially on three-point turns.

Verdict

The all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey does have everything you need in a minivan. It really just comes down to whether you can cope with the stigma attached to these minivans, but these automakers are making it easy to shed those worries with better styling, added comfort and technology, versatility and cargo space, and class-leading fuel economy numbers that saw me achieve a combined 9.5 L/100 km on my tour of Charlottetown.

It's starting price of $34,890 is higher than others on the market, but it also comes standard with many features including heated seats and a suite of safety equipment not found at the base trim level. For the base price, it's a reasonable package received, and a lot better deal than the Touring model that tops out at $50,290 – a steep price to pay for LED headlamps and fog lights, Wi-Fi, CabinWatch and a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey puts some spice back into the minivan segment and will give the Chrysler Pacifica a run for its money. The Odyssey arrives at dealerships on June 8.

First Drive – 2018 Chevrolet Equinox: it's all about timing

 

Niagara, ON – Whenever a new vehicle goes through a generational cycle, a spike in sales is imperative. With the compact crossover segment in a current sales boom, there's no better time to release the all-new 2018 Equinox and reap the rewards.

The timing of the Equinox's release has thus far panned out. Through March 2017, the Equinox has been on a surge, sitting in sixth position with a 43.7 percent year-over-year Canadian sales jump.

The Equinox has not gone through a major makeover since 2010, making the third-generation model one of the most, if not the most, important vehicle for the Chevrolet brand, as it takes on the likes of the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota Rav4, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, and the list can keep going on.



Chevrolet is going into battle with a product that's shorter and lighter, yet more spacious than its previous iteration. Weight has been reduced by 181 kg (400 lbs.), thanks in large part to its shorter frame, as well as its chassis being made of high-strength steel. But Chevrolet used a little ingenuity to find more cargo space with an added 3 cu.-ft. of storage space underneath the trunk for a maximum cargo space (while the second row is folded flat) of 1,798 litres.

Another major change comes under the hood with three new engine choices being offered – two gas versions and a diesel. They will all be released at different times, starting with the currently available turbocharged, 1.5-litre four-cylinder that produces 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. The base unit is matched only to a six-speed automatic transmission with a choice of standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) or the optional all-wheel-drive (AWD).

If those numbers seem a bit odd – they are. The 2018 version's horsepower gets lowered 12 hp, while its torque gets a boost of 31 lb-ft. The reduction in weight and additional torque create the necessary power for the Equinox to keep pace with other vehicles on the road, as well as those in its segment.



In June, production will begin on the 2.0-litre four-cylinder that has 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission geared for impressive fuel economy. To be followed in the fall with a segment-first 1.5-litre diesel powertrain that generates 136 hp and a whopping 236 lb-ft of torque paired to that same six-speed automatic unit. According to Chevrolet Canada, the diesel will achieve segment-leading highway and combined fuel economy rated at 7.4 L/100 km in the city, 5.7 L/100 km on the highway and a 6.9 L/100 km combined.



But for this first drive program around the scenic roads of Niagara, Ontario, our chariot was the volume-selling 1.5-litre unit. The drive was quiet, unassuming and smooth – a perfect companion around the equally-smooth roads of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. Everything about it was comfortable from its two-tone leather seats (a Premier trim addition) to its decent amount of headroom and legroom in both rows. Even its centre console acted as the perfect armrest while navigating through city traffic or on the highway.

 

When cruising, the Equinox proved its worth as an errands-soldier for families. However, when pushed, the gearbox gets a little noisy with some high revving, but that comes with the crossover territory. Even though, it won't set any speed records, the ute handles sharp turns effectively without need for correction or much body roll. Steering finds a nice, middle-of-the-road balanced setting that's not to loose, allowing you to fully keep control on turns.

According to Chevrolet Canada's presentation, the Equinox is being labelled as the 'perfect balance of style and function' – and it totally makes sense. Not only is its interior well crafted with soft-touch materials (especially noticeable in the Premier trim provided), it's versatile with room to fit five passengers comfortably, carry a big load with the second row folded flat, or tow up to 1,500 pounds. In addition, I was able to achieve a 7.8 L/100 combined fuel economy rating – a notch below its official combined AWD rating of 7.9.



As smooth as it drives, one of its best attributes comes down to value. Like other Chevrolet products, the Equinox possesses many standard features such as a rear vision camera, On Star with 4G LTE WiFi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a parental control safety system called Teen Driver, a seven-inch touchscreen with MyLink, standard stop/start technology, heated front seats and heated rear view mirrors. It's a lot to receive starting at a price of $26,995 that already includes freight and A/C tax.

As you move up the ladder, the prices go up – all the way to a starting price of $35,395 for the Premier AWD, but that even comes at a discount from the previous iteration that didn't possess even close to the amount of technology and elevated design.



The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox has all the tools to be a successful crossover at a time when crossovers are in high demand. It's not the most exciting crossover offered, but it offers a complete package of design, value and reasonable fuel economy, only to be made better by the soon-to-market diesel in the fall that will resonate with many families.

Toyota sets the bar high for new Camry

 

Detroit, MI - The Toyota Camry is on a roll, as the best-selling passenger car in the United States and the best-selling mid-size sedan in Canada. At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the upcoming 2018 got a whole lot better.

The new version was highly anticipated thanks to Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA) that will transform not only the Camry, but many of its other vehicles with a new dynamic, athletic and wide stance – a refreshing change away from its more conservative styling. The new construction increases the wheelbase by two-inches, as well as over an inch in the hood and roofline.

In developing the next-generation Toyota Camry, we were able to start with a clean slate, which allowed us to create a true driver’s car,” said Masato Katsumata, the Chief Engineer of the new Toyota Camry.

Under the hood will be three options: a new 2.5-litre inline-four, a retuned 3.5-litre V-6 and a hybrid version that will utilize that 2.5-litre unit along with its own electrification system. The two gas versions will be matched to a new eight-speed automatic transmission; while the hybrid will be connected to a continuously variable transmission that has a Sport Mode for quicker gear shifting when needed. Numbers haven't been released yet for the powertrains, but Toyota claims that the new engine will have higher torque, power and reduced fuel economy. In addition, the chassis will possess increased handling skills that can even be found on the hybrid, as the battery pack has moved from the trunk to below the rear seat.

As far as looks go, the Camry features a two-piece grille that works well with its lowered hood design. The whole package comes off as sleek throughout with sharp lines in the body to add to its character.

On the inside, the Camry will have Toyota's Human Machine Interface with the latest technologies added. Three interlinked displays will show off the upgraded look with a 10-inch colour Head-Up Display, a 7-inch multi-information display that's capped off by an 8-inch infotainment screen.

Not lost on the Camry is Toyota's Safety Sense P that comes standard. This suite of safety technologies enhances the value of the mid-size sedan that includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beams. Other optional features include Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The 2018 aggressively-styled Toyota Camry is expected to arrive in showrooms in late 2017.

 

 

 

Chevrolet unveils 2018 Equinox

Call it the right balance. On the autumnal equinox today, Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2018 Equinox – a fresh and modern SUV sized and designed to meet the needs of the compact SUV customer.

“We’ve got the strongest truck business in the industry and we’ve reinvigorated our car lineup with Volt, Cruze and Malibu,” said Alan Batey, Global Chevrolet president. “We’re applying the same customer focus to grow our crossover/SUV business – starting with the Chevrolet Equinox.”

Today’s compact SUV customers make sure a vehicle meets all of their needs, from design, connectivity and safety perspectives. The Equinox delivers on all fronts, starting with its fresh new design and all-new propulsion systems.

Fresh, new design

The new Equinox’s expressive exterior has a lean, muscular skin echoing the global Chevrolet design cues and sculpted shapes seen in the Volt, Malibu and Cruze. Extensive aero development in the wind tunnel influenced the sleek shape.

It is a richer, more detailed design featuring chrome trim on all models and Malibu-inspired styling. Projector-beam headlamps are standard, along with LED daytime running lamps. At the rear, horizontal taillamps emphasize the Equinox’s wide stance, while uplevel models feature LED taillamps.

“Customers who previewed the vehicle early on had a strong emotional response to the sleek and sophisticated exterior design,” said John Cafaro, executive director, GM Design. “Those same themes are carried through to the interior, making the space beautifully intuitive.”

The interior takes advantage of the Equinox’s all-new architecture to offer a down-and-away instrument panel, while a low windshield base provides a commanding outward view. New elements such as available denim-style seat fabric blend high style with high-durability, while a new “kneeling” rear seat enhances functionality. With it, the bottom cushions tilt forward when the split-folding seatbacks are lowered, allowing a flat floor for easier loading.

Connectivity

The 2018 Equinox offers purposeful technology, helping to keep passengers safe, comfortable and connected.

Chevrolet’s latest connectivity technologies are front and centre, including 7- and 8-inch-diagonal MyLink infotainment systems designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone.)

Safety

The Equinox offers a comprehensive suite of available active safety technologies and adaptive crash-avoidance features that provide ease of use and peace of mind on the road.

Teen Driver is also offered, allowing parents to set controls and review in order to encourage driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle.  

Available advanced active safety features to enhance driver awareness on the road include radar- and camera-based adaptive technologies that can provide alerts to potential crash threats, allowing the driver to react and make changes to avoid them, including:

-New Safety Alert Seat
-New Surround Vision
-New Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator
-New Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking
-New Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
-New Rear Seat Reminder
-Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert 
-Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
-Turbocharged engines and more

A range of three turbocharged engines – including the segment’s first turbo-diesel in North America – provides customers more choices when it comes to performance, efficiency and capability in the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox.

They include a 1.5L turbo, a 2.0L turbo – matched with GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission – and a 1.6L turbo-diesel.

“With three choices, customers can select an engine that offers more of the attributes that are important to them: efficiency, performance and capability,” said Dan Nicholson, vice-president, Global Propulsion Systems. “The advantage for each is power of a larger engine and the efficiency of a smaller engine.”

The new Equinox is the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. That includes the expected segment-exclusive 1.6L turbo-diesel that will offer customers excellent efficiency and capability.

“It is an all-new SUV from the ground up and one that takes on the industry’s biggest competitors with a stronger architecture, greater efficiency and more technology,” said Rick Spina, executive chief engineer. “And it looks great doing it.”

Additional vehicle highlights:

-Approximately 180 kilograms (400 lbs) lighter than the current model – a 10-percent weight reduction
-Switchable AWD system that enhances efficiency by disconnecting from the rear axle when not needed 
-Unique kneeling rear seat that enables a flat rear load floor and up to 1,798 litres (63.5 cu.ft. (of maximum cargo space
-Heated seats and a remote starter are standard on all trims in Canada.

Equinox sales have reached more than 2 million since its launch and it is Chevrolet’s second-best retail selling vehicle, after the Silverado.

The 2018 Equinox goes on sale in the first quarter of 2017 in North America. It rolls out to approximately 115 additional global markets later in the year.

  • Published in News
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