With the kids back in school and the rest of us back to our regular work routines, it might feel like there’s not much to look forward to, now that another brief Canadian summer has passed.
But by October, much of the country is in the midst of foliage season, as the leaves go out in a blaze of yellow, orange, and red glory.
If you’re in the market for a new ride in which to go leaf-peeping, here are a few of the new and revised models that will begin arriving at Canadian dealerships in time for this short but colourful season.
2020 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai says its eighth-generation Sonata family sedan is “unlike any of its predecessors.” Certainly, that’s true in some respects, as this is the first Sonata to wear the brand’s new Sensuous Sportiness design language. In other respects, as handsome as the latest Sonata is, there’s only so much you can do with a sedan’s styling.
Hyundai has latched onto the fastback styling trend making the rounds of the family-car segment. The way the Sonata’s rear roofline flows straight into the trunk lid reminds us of both the latest Buick Regal and the new Volkswagen Arteon. The difference is that both of those have a large hatchback cargo opening, while the Sonata is a proper sedan.
Among the Sonata’s coolest styling cues are the chrome character lines that run along either side of the hood to loop around the headlights. The segments around the headlights reveal themselves to be LED daytime running lights when the car is turned on.
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata also boasts some high-tech touches like an available all-digital gauge cluster with a counter-clockwise rev counter, a nod to the Aston Martin Vantage.
Meanwhile, a new 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine has the industry’s first continuously variable valve duration (CVVD) valvetrain. Current variable valve-timing systems can alter when the intake and exhaust valves open and close during the engine’s combustion cycle. Hyundai’s new tech adds the ability to keep the intake valves open for longer or shorter periods of time.
The company says keeping the valves open longer allows the engine to run more efficiently in gentle acceleration and at cruising speeds, while a shorter duration boosts torque for quicker acceleration. Hyundai promises a 5 percent improvement in fuel economy and a 12 percent reduction in exhaust emissions compared to a traditional valve-timing setup.
2020 BMW M850i Gran Coupe
If you’re more interested in creating an abstract (read: blurry) viewing experience for your autumn-enthusiast friends, BMW is expanding its 8 Series range with the 523 horsepower M850i Gran Coupe.
Like other examples of BMW’s Gran Coupe cars, the latest 8 Series variant is a coupe only in the way its roofline dives toward the rear of the car: it has four doors, a hatchback cargo opening, and a longer wheelbase than the 8 Series coupe and convertible.
As in the M850i coupe, the new four-door 8 Series is motivated by a turbocharged 4.4L V8 that backs up that horsepower with 553 lb-ft of torque. BMW says that’s good enough to scoot the car from zero to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
The M850i Gran Coupe will be capable of passing many other vehicles, whose drivers may admire the car’s formidable rear aspect, built around the widest rear track (the measurement between the rear wheels) of any BMW car.
Along with the stretched wheelbase, that extra width benefits rear-seat passengers, who get 86 mm more headroom, 180 mm of extra legroom and a 195 mm bonus in shoulder room compared to the two poor souls stuffed in the back of your neighbour’s 8 Series two-door. The trunk is also 20 L larger.
Among the M850i Gran Coupe’s standard features are an M Sport exhaust that takes on a snarlier tone when one of the car’s sport driving modes is engaged; M Sport brakes and differential; head-up display; a panoramic sunroof; adaptive M suspension; soft-close doors; adaptive LED headlights with laser light; and an extended Merino leather interior.
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4Matic
Mercedes-Benz’s redesigned CLA-Class is a follow-up to the car that introduced the brand to more budget-conscious buyers. Like its predecessor, this second-generation model is ostensibly a subcompact sedan, but with a sleeker roofline that Benz takes as licence to call it a coupe.
Notably, the 2020 CLA is no longer the brand’s entry-level model, as that title now goes to the A-Class that made its Canadian debut as a 2019 model.
The 2020 CLA-Class arriving in Canada in October is the CLA 250 4Matic. Like the outgoing car with the same designation, power is from a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 221 hp (up 13 hp) and 258 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and the 4Matic all-wheel drive system.
More straightforward exterior styling shrouds an interior that looks and feels upscale. The dash is dominated by digital displays that occupy a screen stretching from steering wheel to centre stack. The gauges are all digital, and the central display is either 7.0 or 10.25 inches wide depending on options chosen.
New to the CLA-Class is the MBUX infotainment system, which responds to a “Hey Mercedes” prompt that will sound familiar if you have an Amazon or Google voice assistant in your home.
Among the CLA’s more curious options is a fitness assistant that suggests exercises to do while you’re behind the wheel. This little Benz also offers posh extras like a fragrance dispenser and a Burmester sound system from the brand’s more expensive models.
2020 GMC Acadia
GMC has refreshed its mid-size Acadia for 2020, following a full redesign three years ago that downsized this utility from its former near-full-size status. This year’s update is significant: it brings a new nine-speed transmission and new styling, and adds a turbo engine option and an AT4 trim that nods to off-road enthusiasts.
The new turbo 2.0L four-cylinder slots between the existing 2.5L four-cylinder and 3.6L V6 with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and fuel-saving cylinder deactivation.
An Acadia done in AT4 trim is mostly a styling exercise, but it does add a more sophisticated rear differential that can divide power between the left and right wheels. Acadia AT4’s appearance is altered by unique wheel designs, all-terrain tires and black plastic body cladding.
Blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts and rear park assist are now standard in all trims. Mid-range versions can be optioned with forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane-keep assist, and front-park assist, features that are all included in the posh Denali package.