March can be a cruel month for Canadians weather-wise, but it's also a hopeful one for those of us worn down by piles of snow and freezing cold, as daylight hours grow longer and temperatures start to warm up.
Meanwhile, Canada's auto industry hopes March's taste of milder weather puts you in the mood to buy a new vehicle, like one of the following models rolling into the country's showrooms in the coming month: the 2020 Nissan Titan, BMW's 2 Series Gran Coupe, the Buick Encore GX, Cadillac's CT5, and the Acura NSX in its new Indy Yellow Pearl paint colour.
2020 Nissan Titan
Nissan has updated its second-generation Titan full-size pickup truck for the first time since its introduction in 2017. It's a significant mid-cycle refresh that brings new styling, including trim-specific treatments to better differentiate the Titan variants, and an updated powertrain with a new nine-speed transmission and a more powerful version of Nissan's 5.6L Endurance V8 engine.
The revised engine, standard in regular and XD-grade Titan models, makes 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, up from the 2019 model's 390 hp/394 lb-ft. Nissan says the more potent V8 and the new transmission's two extra gear ratios make the Titan about a second quicker when accelerating from 60 to 100 km/h and promise more confidence performance in highway passing maneuvers.
Nissan says it redesigned the Titan around a theme it calls "powerful warrior," with a bolder (but thankfully not much bigger) grille framed by new LED headlights with C-shaped daytime running lights. Notably, those headlights promise 120 per cent more light than those of the old Titan; we assume the comparison is with the outgoing truck's standard halogen lights.
The 2020 Titan is also Nissan's first full-size truck to come standard with a full suite of active safety and driver assist features. The Safety Shield 360 package bundles lane departure warning, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, automatic high beams, and a driver awareness monitor.
Nissan's Titan upgrades don't come for free: the $50,498 starting price for the Titan S is an increase of more than $3,000. Meanwhile, the heavier-duty 2020 Titan XD comes in at $61,000 in entry-level SV trim, or about $6,000 more than the same trim in 2019. Also, there's no mention of the old Titan XD's Cummins diesel V8.
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BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe may share its name with the brand's 2 Series coupe and convertible, but this new-for-2020 model is fundamentally a very different car.
Let’s start with the obvious: Like other BMW models using the same label, the 2 Series Gran Coupe is a four-door with a coupe-like roofline and a snug-but-useful rear seat. Instead of using the 2 Series coupe/convertible's longitudinal rear-drive layout, its starting point is a transverse-engine platform shared with the BMW X1 and X2 and Mini Countryman compact crossovers.
Like those crossovers, the new 228i and M235i come standard with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive. The 228i uses a 2.0L four-cylinder and the M235i a 3.0L six-cylinder, both turbocharged, for 228 hp/258 lb-ft of torque and 301 hp/332 lb-ft, respectively. Note the 2 Series Gran Coupe's numerical designations: Most other BMW four- and six-cylinder models, including the 230i and M240i coupe and convertible, use the company's newer 30 and 40 identifiers. We think that decision was made to call attention to the coupe and convertible's more powerful engines.
All 2 Series Gran Coupe models also include an eight-speed automatic transmission with optional steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
BMW kicks off 2 Series Gran Coupe pricing at $42,500 for the 228i, and $50,900 in M235i form.
2020 Buick Encore GX
Buick bolsters its crossover lineup this month with the Encore GX, a compact utility that fits between the current Encore subcompact and Envision compact.
While the Encore GX shares some styling cues with its smaller sibling, it's built on a distinct platform that's longer and wider and rides on a stretched wheelbase promising more interior space. The enlarged dimensions also correct the base Encore's awkward appearance.
The Encore GX's power comes from a choice of two three-cylinder turbocharged engines. Entry-grade models match a 1.2L engine good for 137 hp/162 lb-ft of torque with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Option up to AWD and you get a 1.3L (155 hp/174 lb-ft) and a nine-speed automatic. Like other recent GM crossovers, the Encore GX's AWD system comes with a dashboard switch to manually engage power to the rear wheels.
Buick says the Encore GX includes the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone platforms and an infotainment system that will pair with two devices at once.
Standard safety kit includes forward collision alert with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, a following distance indicator, and automatic high beam headlights. Among driver assistance options are rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, parking assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. A hands-free tailgate is available too, along with GM's rear camera mirror.
As of this writing, Buick hadn't revealed pricing for the Encore GX.
2020 Cadillac CT5
The CT5 is the second element in Cadillac's latest sedan strategy, and its March arrival follows the smaller CT4 that rolled into showrooms earlier this year. The CT5 is also now Caddy's largest sedan, with the cancellation of the full-size CT6.
The car starts in Luxury trim ($39,798), and from there, buyers can option to Premium Luxury or Sport trims for a $3,000 premium. A performance-oriented V-Series is a further $7,000 bump.
Standard power for the CT5 is from a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine generating 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The CT5 V-Series trades that for a turbo 3.0L V6 good for 360 hp and 405 lb-ft. That engine is also available in Premium Luxury trim, where it makes a tamer 335 hp.
All CT5 models get a 10-speed transmission that drives the rear wheels. AWD is an option across the board.
Every CT5 is standard with a basic suite of driver assists, like collision detection with city-speed automatic braking. All-speed emergency braking is an option, along with blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear park assist.
2020 Acura NSX Indy Yellow Pearl
Acura is recalling the 1990s glory days of its NSX sports car with a new Indy Yellow Pearl paint option for 2020. It's a shade that hearkens back to a similar one offered on the first-generation NSX that Acura says accounted for about one in five sales of the mid-engine coupe.
The Honda-owned brand began taking orders late last year for the 2020 NSX in its new yellow shade, but Acura is delivering the first examples to Canadian customers in March.
Indy Yellow Pearl is a $700 option on the NSX, which starts at $189,900 in Canada. The 2020 NSX is otherwise unchanged with its 3.5L turbo V6 and trio of electric motors delivering 573 hp and torque vectoring AWD.