Jaguar I-Pace concept hits the streets in U.K.

Jaguar‘s slinky, all-electric I-Pace concept has hit the road completely undisguised.

We can’t imagine it would be comfortable or particularly refined – especially considering concept cars are mostly designed to look good while remaining stationary under auto show spotlights – but that didn’t stop Jaguar from setting free a fully functional I-Pace on the streets of London.

Since its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year, the I-Pace’s mechanical bits remain the same. That means two electric motors will likely pump out 400 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque, while a 90 kWh battery should provide up to 220 miles – or roughly 354 kilometres – of range on a single charge.

Count on seeing the I-Pace debut in production form later this year, before officially hitting dealers in 2018.

17 March 2017 | 4:16 pm

Nick Tragianis

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The Lexus GS sedan’s days could be numbered

Rumour has it the Lexus GS sedan won’t be around for much longer.

Citing a report from a Japanese magazine, Lexus Enthusiast says the GS is rumoured to be on the chopping block. It’s simply a rumour at this point, but the rumor is reportedly due to Lexus’ concerns the GS will step on the toes of the flagship LS sedan when equipped its new V6.

Now, Lexus Enthusiast is taking the news with a grain of salt – and you should, too – considering it’s an unsubstantiated rumour. On one hand, the Lexus GS and LS sedans occupy completely different segments of the market. On the other hand, we wouldn’t completely rule out this idea – it’s no secret cars, especially sedans, are suffering as a result of booming SUV and crossover sales.

In any case, time will tell whether or not the Lexus GS will live on.

17 March 2017 | 7:54 pm

Nick Tragianis

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Three compact luxury crossovers with substantial savings

On the last three Fridays of every month, Graeme Fletcher combines manufacturers’ incentives from Unhaggle.com with resale value, dependability and overall ratings to find you the best deal for your money in new cars. This week, we look at compact luxury crossovers. The hot deals in March are on the 2017 Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Progressiv FWD, Infiniti QX30 AWD and Lexus NX 200t AWD.

Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Progressiv

2017 audi q3 front Three compact luxury crossovers with substantial savings

2017 Audi Q3

Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $37,400
Audi Canada Incentive*:
$1,500
Unhaggle Savings: $1,250
Total Savings: $2,750
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $2,235
Total Before Tax: $36,885

The Audi Q3, which earned a facelift last year, represents one of a growing number of “executive” crossovers; it is best viewed as a wagon with a little extra ground clearance. The wagon thing is a plus, as it sits lower and it is not as tall as many of its peers, and it manages this without sacrificing cargo capacity: 460 litres with the rear seat up and 1,365L with it folded down. The rear seat, however, is tight compared to others in the segment.

Where the Q3 succeeds is its cabin. It has a quiet highway ride, the fit and finish is superb, the materials are off the top shelf and the equipment list is long, although when compared to other Audi models, the Q3 is beginning to show its age; some of the safety items expected of a luxury crossover are missing from the Progressiv model. Blind-spot monitoring is only available on the top-of-the-line Technik.

The Q3 arrives with Audi’s 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. The featured crossover drives its front wheels through a six-speed automatic (quattro is available for $2,500). This model runs to 100 km/h in 8.6 seconds, which is so-so for the segment.

Where the Q3 does not disappoint is the manner in which it handles. The suspension limits body roll while making light work of a rough road. Factor in the excellent steering feel and you have a sporty, urban-friendly drive.

The front-drive Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Progressiv has a combined discount of $2,750 and a list price of $36,885.

Infiniti QX30 AWD

infinitiqx30 8 Three compact luxury crossovers with substantial savings

2017 Infiniti QX30

Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $38,490
Infiniti Canada Incentive*:
$5,000
Unhaggle Savings: $1,000
Total Savings: $6,000
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $2,135
Total Before Tax: $34,625

The Infiniti QX30, which shares much of its mechanical makeup with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, is a sharp entrant. Where it stakes its claim is the level of luxury — very comfortable Nappa leather seating being one of its key assets. The rear seat is up to expectations; there is decent head- and legroom. It also has 544 litres of cargo space with the seat upright and 963L when folded. The anomaly is the door lock strategy; it requires the doors to be unlocked manually through a switch and this cannot be reprogrammed, which is a glaring oversight. Again, if you want the requisite safety add-ons like lane departure warning, forward collision warning and a bird’s-eye-view camera, it requires the addition of both the Technology ($2,500) and Premium ($5,000) packages, making it an expensive add-on.

The QX30 arrives with a 2.0L turbocharged four that pushes 208 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. It is married to a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission and a good all-wheel drive system. The powertrain can be tweaked to suit the tone of the drive. Unfortunately, Eco mode is too soft, which make the QX30 feel mildly unresponsive. Sport holds the gears for too long, which is a pain in the city. The upside, however, is a zero-to-100-km/h time of 7.2 seconds.

The QX30 is nimble on its tires. The suspension calibration keeps the body flat through a corner without sacrificing the ride quality. It also delivers a crisp, direct response to steering input and, when pushed, it holds the driver’s desired line well, which delivers a sportier feel.

The Infiniti QX30 AWD arrives with a large $6,000 combined discount, which cuts the cost of entry to $34,625.

Lexus NX 200t AWD

lexus nx 200t 006 Three compact luxury crossovers with substantial savings

Lexus NX 200t

Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $42,950
Lexus Canada Incentive*:
$2,212
Unhaggle Savings: $2,250
Total Savings: $4,462
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $2,185
Total Before Tax: $40,673

The NX 200t is not what one expects from Lexus — it is edgy and bold, which gives it some needed curb appeal. It’s also nicely equipped with everything from heated eight-way power front seats to a multimedia display with backup camera. The disappointment is the “NuLuxe” upholstery — it is vinyl and not really in keeping with the crossover. Move rearward and the NX 200t has an adult-friendly seat and enough space to accommodate 500 litres with the seats upright and 1,545L with them folded down. As with the other vehicles here, gaining access to blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert means moving up to the Premium package ($4,000).

The NX 200t is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that outputs 235 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1,650 rpm. This brings a strong launch and a run to 100 km/h of 7.1 seconds. The six-speed automatic drives all four wheels; under normal driving conditions it powers the front wheels, but can send up to 50 per cent of the drive rearward should the need arise. It is a proficient system that moves the power around seamlessly. The drive mode selector has Eco, Normal and Sport modes — forget Eco, pick Normal for the city and Sport for a more exuberant drive.

As for the suspension, the NX 200t handles with a taut, almost European, feel to it. This keeps things flat through a corner without feeling harsh on broken pavement. It also has a polished steering feel.

The Lexus NX 200t AWD lists for $40,673 after a combined discount of $4,462.

Transport Canada lists one minor recall for the 2017 Audi Q3 (#2016427): “In a situation where the parking lights are switched on and the vehicle is locked, the side marker lights do not illuminate, which is contrary to the requirements of the standard.” Dealers will update the vehicle’s software. The Infiniti QX30 has two recalls listed for airbags. The first (#2017115) says, “The generant mix ratio of the driver side curtain airbag may not meet specifications.” Dealers will replace the driver side curtain airbag assembly. The second (#2016649) states, “Certain vehicles may have been equipped with a passenger frontal airbag inflator that does not meet specifications.” Again, dealers will replace the assembly. There are no recalls for the Lexus NX 200t.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists the Audi Q3 as Good in all crash disciplines, including the small offset crash. It is not rated for forward crash prevention. The headlights score a disappointing Poor rating. The Lexus NX 200t scores Good ratings in all tests and earns a Top Safety Pick+ with a Superior rating for forward crash prevention. The headlights are rated as Acceptable. The Infiniti (or its Mercedes-Benz GLA twin) is yet to be rated.

The projected resale value of these three compact luxury crossovers in 2022, after being driven an average of 20,000 km/year, is $14,070 for the Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Progressiv, $14,330 for the QX30 AWD and $16,855 for the Lexus NX 200t AWD.

The aging Audi Q3 and its Poor headlight rating crosses it off the hot deal list — “see and be seen” adage still ranks as a key safety feature. The Infiniti QX30 arrives with a big discount, but it has a couple of quirks that need addressing. This leaves the Lexus NX 200t as this week’s hot deal. It has a strong reputation for reliability and build quality, an equally strong resale value and it’s sporty.

*Manufacturer incentive displayed is for cash purchases and may differ if leasing or financing. For more information on purchasing any of these vehicles or others, please visit Unhaggle.com. While data is accurate at time of publication, pricing and incentives may be updated or discontinued by individual dealers or manufacturers at any time. Typically, manufacturer incentives expire at the end of every month. Vehicle availability is also subject to change based on market conditions. Unhaggle Savings is a proprietary estimate of expected discount in addition to manufacturer incentive based on actual savings by Unhaggle customers. Taxes are extra and vary by province.

17 March 2017 | 10:00 am

Graeme Fletcher

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Hyundai recalls nearly 1 million Sonatas over seatbelts

Hyundai is recalling nearly 978,000 cars in the U.S. because the front seatbelts could detach in a crash and fail to hold people.

The recall covers Sonata midsize sedans from the 2011 through 2014 model years, and the Sonata hybrid from 2011 through 2015.

In government documents, Hyundai says a fastener for a seatbelt anchor may not have been fully latched during assembly. If that happens, the belts can detach.

The company says it knows of one minor injury caused by the problem. It was discovered in September when an owner reported that the front passenger belt in a 2013 Sonata came loose in a collision.

Owners will be notified starting April 7. Dealers will inspect the seatbelt anchor system and repair it if needed.

16 March 2017 | 5:01 pm

The Associated Press

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