Automakers are still struggling with the global semiconductor microchip shortage, which industry experts suggest won’t let up until sometime in the second half of 2022.
In the meantime, that shortfall and other pandemic-related phenomena are still affecting automakers’ plans for this year. For example, Hyundai said earlier in 2021 that it expected to begin delivering its highly anticipated Ioniq 5 EV to dealers this fall, but its arrival has been pushed back to “early 2022” according to the company’s consumer website.
As a result, November will be another lean month for vehicle launches in Canada. The 2022 Volkswagen GTI will usher in the eighth generation of the iconic hot hatch, while the Mazda MX-30 EV enters its second month on the market (it arrived in October, but we didn’t learn about it in time for last month’s article). Otherwise, all we have to tell you about are new trim packages available on the Ram 1500 pickup truck and Subaru Ascent three-row SUV.
2022 Volkswagen GTI
A new Volkswagen GTI is always a big deal, but the eighth-generation model is even more notable as the first version of the hot hatch that will come to North America without the Golf economy car it’s based on. On this continent, the standard Golf was effectively replaced earlier this year by the Taos subcompact crossover.
Like the outgoing GTI, the new car is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine whose 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque are increases of 13 hp and 15 lb-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and the optional automatic is VW’s seven-speed dual-clutch DSG.
Helping the GTI’s front wheels manage that power is an electronic limited slip differential, which VW says helps optimize traction and handling in fast corners and promises to reduce understeer, all without the negative effect on steering feel that a mechanical limited slip system causes.
The 2022 Volkswagen GTI is priced to start at $31,495, which includes a digital gauge cluster, all-LED exterior lighting, 17-inch wheels, passive keyless entry, heated front seats, plaid upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, ambient lighting, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
A mid-level Autobahn package ($34,995) adds adaptive headlights, a 10-inch touchscreen with navigation, and 18-inch wheels. GTI Performance models ($38,995) gain 19-inch wheels with performance tires, adaptive damping suspension, ventilated front and heated rear seats, three-zone A/C, a head-up display, automatic high beams, and park assist.
In all three GTI trims, the DSG transmission is a $1,400 option.
The more-potent Golf R is on its way here, too, but Volkswagen Canada’s Thomas Tetzlaff said it isn’t due to arrive until December.
2022 Mazda MX-30
November will be the first full month of sales for the Mazda MX-30 battery electric vehicle, which the company is only delivering to dealers in British Columbia and Quebec, where it is eligible for provincial EV sales rebates.
Mazda says the MX-30 was designed to “meet the needs of most urban residents” with 161 km of driving range from a 35.5-kWh battery pack. Charging from 20 to 80 per cent takes 36 minutes on a Level 3 DC fast charger, or closer to three hours when plugged into 240-volt Level 2 current. The battery feeds a motor that puts 143 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels.
Design-wise, the MX-30 stands out for rear-hinged rear doors that allow access to the back seat, like those last seen a decade ago on the RX-8 rotary-powered sports car. Speaking of rotary engines, Mazda says the MX-30 will get one next year when it adds a plug-in hybrid variant.
Mazda prices the MX-30 to start at $42,150 in GS trim, which includes heated front seats and steering wheel, a digital gauge display, 18-inch wheels, all-LED lighting, an 8.8-inch touchscreen, navigation, a head-up display, and eight-speaker audio. Also standard is a suite of driver safety assists comprising forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, driver attention alert, and automatic high beams.
For $47,150, GT trim adds a Bose 12-speaker sound system, sunroof, surround-view cameras, blind spot lane-change intervention, front cross-traffic alert, and leatherette upholstery.
2022 Ram 1500 TRX Ignition Edition, Ram 1500 GT, and Ram 1500 Limited 10th Anniversary Edition
The highlight of the Ram truck brand’s November additions is the 2022 Ram 1500 TRX Ignition Edition, limited to 100 examples for the Canadian market and distinguished by its Ignition Orange paint, special graphics package, and machined-face 18-inch wheels.
The Ignition Edition is based on the TRX’s Level 2 equipment group, meaning it comes with a panoramic sunroof, spray-in bedliner, cargo bed step, orange seat stitching, copper carbon fibre accents, pedestrian detection with emergency braking, and a head-up display. Like other TRX models, the Ignition Edition is powered by a 702-hp supercharged 6.2L V8.
All told, the Ignition Edition adds up to $125,075, making it the most expensive version of the over-the-top TRX.
Also new for 2022 is a Ram 1500 GT package that builds on Laramie, Rebel and Sport trim levels, adding a sport hood, cold-air intake, performance exhaust, bolstered front seats, flat-bottomed steering wheel, trim-specific shifter, all-weather floor mats, and metal pedals.
Finally, Limited 10th Anniversary Edition models get a special Blue Shade paint job, 22-inch polished wheels, a multi-function tailgate, quilted leather seats and other interior elements in an indigo/sea salt colourway, suede headliner, jewelled shift knob, and 19-speaker stereo.
2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx
Subaru Canada’s latest arrival is the Ascent Onyx Edition, a new cosmetic package for the brand’s three-row SUV model. Building on the Touring trim level with its optional second-row bucket seats, the $44,995 Onyx Edition includes blacked-out grille, exterior trim, wheels, badges, and dashboard.
It also gets the Touring’s passive keyless entry, auto-dimming side mirrors, heated steering wheel, 8.0-inch touchscreen, and a transmission oil cooler that boosts towing capacity to 2,270 kg. Also included are features carried forward from the entry-grade Convenience trim, like steering-responsive LED headlights, heated front seats, and the EyeSight driver safety assist suite. However, you can’t combine the Onyx Edition’s black styling elements with the Ascent’s top Limited and Premier trims.