A sneak peak at the 2017 new car model line up
From the October 2016 print edition
As the year draws to a close, automakers are ramping up their new model production in preparation for 2017. With over 60 new or refreshed vehicles ready to hit the marketplace there’s a nearly endless variety to choose from—so we’ve focused on a few highlights.
Completely revised for 2017, Buick’s full-size premium LaCrosse sedan sheds 300lbs, and boasts a re-engineered five-link suspension for more refined handling. The LaCrosse offers a single 310hp V6 power train with fuel economy ratings of 11.1L/100km city and 8.4L on the highway for FWD models and 11.6/8.1 for those with all-wheel-drive. The Envision returns with a new 2.0L engine joining the existing 2.0L turbo, and an expanded trim level range for a broader appeal.
With a 383-km range and competitive price, the compact Bolt will charge up to 80-percent capacity in half an hour using the available 240-volt charger. Optional technology includes radar-based safety systems, and the new camera-view rear mirror. Also new for 2017 is a hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze, with a 1.4L turbo-charged engine, 4G LTE wifi hotspot and Apple CarPlay, lane-keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision alert.
FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) boasts North America’s only hybrid powered minivan. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid uses a system comprised of two electric motors, lithium battery and a 248hp 3.6L V6 paired with a single-input, electrically variable transmission instead of the nine-speed automatic in the conventional Pacifica. The combined range is over 850km—48km on electric power alone. It recharges in about two hours using the 240-volt home charging station.
Ford’s compact crossover Escape returns with refreshed front and rear fascias similar to the full-size Edge. Connectivity has been updated to the latest version of Ford’s Sync, and the relocated shifter results in more storage space. The three engine choices include last year’s 2.5L 4-cylinder, and two new additions: a 179hp, 1.5L 4-cylinder and a turbo-charged 245hp 2.0L 4-cylinder. Starting at $25,099, the Escape’s fuel economy is rated at 10.6L/100 km in the city, and 8.0L on the highway.
The Honda Civic hatchback will return to Canada. Arriving this fall, it will be based on the same platform underpinning the Civic sedan and coupe. The sole engine choice is a 1.5L turbo-charged four-cylinder, producing 174hp and 162lb feet of torque in the base LX model, and 180hp in the Sport and Sport Touring trims. There are two transmissions available; a six-speed manual or CVT. Cargo space is an impressive 2,752 litres with the rear seats folded. Available tech will include lane departure warning and lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.
For 2017, the Hyundai Elantra undergoes a subtle redesign that does away with
edginess in lieu of mature refinement. The new interior is clearly inspired by the mid-size Sonata. Depending on trim level, available tech includes 8-inch touchscreen, Android Apple, and heated steering wheel. A new 2.0L 4-cylinder engine puts out 147hp and 132lb feet of torque, with a fuel consumption rating of 8.3L city and 6.4L highway.
In its latest iteration of the flagship Continental, Lincoln is back on track with a luxury car that just might give Cadillac a run for its money. The exterior design projects elegance. The cabin is replete with luxury; offering 30-way adjustable front seats that heat, cool and massage and bolstering, adjustable to fit any backside. The full suite of technology includes automated parking, adjustable dampers and adaptive cruise. There are three engine choices: a 400hp twin-turbo V6 available only with AWD, the 2.7L turbo V6 from Ford’s Ecoboost lineup, and a 3.7L V6.
When Mazda’s MX-5 RF (retractable fastback) was unveiled at the New York Auto Show last spring, deep sighs of longing were audible throughout the hall. Only 50 will be available here, and they’ll start at $38,500 for the GS and $42,200 for the GT. The MX-5 RF’s power sliding targa top stows neatly behind its pert little rump in under 12 seconds. As with the conventional cloth-top roadster, the RF is powered by a 155hp 2.0L 4-cylinder, with the choice of either 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.
This year, Toyota revisits the idea of an extended-electric range vehicle with the new Prius Prime. Using Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive power train with a combined output of 121hp, the Prius Prime reportedly achieves as low as 1.96L/100km. The total driving range is more than 965km, 35km on pure electric. While the heavy lithium battery also reduces the available passenger space from five to four, the weight is somewhat offset by a carbon finer hatch. The Prius Prime also gets a model-specific nose. With a 240-volt system, the Prius Prime takes 2.5 hours to charge, and overnight with a standard 120 volts.
Nissan’s top selling Rogue gets a fresher look and a more comprehensive list of technology, including a motion-activated lift gate that’s automatically opened by a foot waved under the bumper; a safety feature package that includes lane departure warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control, and forward collision prevention with pedestrian detection. The 2017 GT-R returns with the most comprehensive set of revisions since its introduction. The 3.8-litre, turbo-charged V6 now delivers what Nissan claims is “segment-leading” 565 horsepower at 6,800rpm, and 467lb-ft of torque thanks to tweaked ignition timing and a jump in boost from the turbochargers.
The ultra-cheap Mirage hatchback sold well enough to return for 2017 with a few updates. Along with a slight power increase, the Mirage gets re-engineered suspension and steering, larger brakes and improved aerodynamics. It will be available in a new four-door sedan version on a 10mm longer wheelbase.
The Mercedes Benz S-Class returns as a Cabriolet after a 45-year hiatus with a choice of two biturbo V8 engines, or the AMG biturbo V12. It boasts a dazzling array of advanced technology, including the radar based Distronic Plus with adaptive cruise control, active lane keeping assist, steering assist, and cross-traffic assist. Active Parking Assist can parallel or perpendicular park the vehicle, hands free. The GLC Coupe is a variant on the Mercedes mid-size GLC and joins their ever-expanding lineup of crossovers. The single power train consists of a 241hp turbo 4-cylinder and 9-speed automatic.
Subaru is expanding their popular Legacy and Outback models with new trim levels.
The new Legacy Sport is an appearance package only, featuring the same 175hp, 2.5L 4-cylinder, CVT and AWD power train as the rest of the Legacy lineup, but adds unique rocker panel trim and front grill, 18” wheels, and faux carbon fibre accents inside. Optional is Subaru’s Eyesight safety suite. The Outback receives some exterior updates to wheels, grille and body cladding and now comes with Eyesight as a standard feature. C.A.R.