June is here: Gardens are in, cottage country is coming alive, and it feels like all of Canada is holding its breath for a summer of fewer COVID health restrictions.
Of course, a new month means there are some interesting vehicles due to arrive in Canadian dealer showrooms.
Audi is rolling out a new high-performance – and high-priced – electric car, while Chevrolet has redesigned one of the industry’s most affordable EVs. Both arrive as 2022 models.
For 2021, Acura is expanding its TLX luxury sedan lineup, and Jeep makes its long-awaited entry in the three-row SUV category.
In the middle are a pair of updated Mazda crossovers that come to market as 2021.5 models.
2022 Audi E-tron GT and E-tron GT RS
This month, Audi becomes the latest automaker to prove EVs can satisfy enthusiastic drivers with its latest battery-powered model, the E-tron GT Quattro.
At first glance, the E-tron GT (short for grand touring) looks like an evolution of the brand’s A7 model. It’s a sleek four-door car with a coupe-like profile that hides a roomy interior. The main difference is that the E-Tron GT is a proper sedan and lacks the A7’s hatchback cargo opening.
Still, Audi says the GT satisfies the practical side of the grand touring equation with a 405L rear trunk and an extra 85L of cargo space up front, freed up by the lack of a gas engine. And despite the car’s stunning, sleek profile, Audi says a clever battery design allowed it to create useful rear-seat space.
The driver gets a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, and the centre stack hosts a 10.1-inch infotainment screen. Eco-minded buyers can choose from a number of leather-free upholstery options, including a wool-like fabric made from plastic bottles; the carpet and headliner are also made of recycled materials.
But perhaps most important to the person behind the wheel (and presumably the one paying this EV’s $129,900 starting price), the E-tron GT Quattro boasts 470 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque from front and rear electric motors. A launch control mode boosts output to 523 hp for short bursts and propels the E-tron GT to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and 200 km/h in 15.5.
And that’s not all. The $179,900 E-tron GT RS gets a more powerful rear motor that bumps total output to 590 hp – or 637 in launch control mode – and cuts acceleration times to 3.3 seconds for 100 km/h and 11.8 seconds for the 200-km/h run.
Providing the electricity for all that action is an 85-kWh battery that Audi says will provide up to 383 km of range in the standard E-tron GT and 373 km in the RS. A 240-volt charger will replenish the battery in 10 hours, but the GT is capable of 800-volt charging that will get it to 80 per cent capacity in 23 minutes.
2022 Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV
Chevrolet has redesigned its Bolt EV and added a new crossover version called Bolt EUV, which is short for electric utility vehicle.
The Bolt EUV is part of an ongoing industry-wide shift toward SUVs that Chevrolet hopes will attract more mainstream buyers to plug-in vehicles. The EUV could be mistaken for Chevy’s subcompact, gas-powered Trailblazer, thanks to more conventional styling that sets it apart from the smaller Bolt hatchback.
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Both Bolt models have a single electric motor driving the front wheels with 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. And while Chevrolet says there are no common body panels between the EV and EUV, they share a platform that is stretched about 152 mm (six inches) in the EUV to add rear-seat legroom.
A new interior design comes with a 10.2-inch infotainment display and an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster. Heated front seats and steering wheel are standard, and options include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a panoramic sunroof.
Despite the EUV’s crossover-esque styling, it offers neither an AWD option nor more ground clearance than the Bolt EV.
In the Bolt EV, a 65-kWh battery promises the same 417-km driving range as the outgoing car, while Chevrolet estimates the larger EUV will go 397 km before needing to be charged. A 240-volt charger will get either Bolt battery to full capacity in seven hours, and a DC fast charger will add up to 160 km of range in 30 minutes.
Chevrolet says the Bolt EUV is the first of its brand to offer General Motors’ Super Cruise hands-free driver assist system. Optional in the top-end Premier trim level, Super Cruise effectively allows hands-free highway driving in certain situations, but it requires you to pay attention to the road ahead. Look away for too long and you’ll be admonished with a flash of the light bar built into the steering wheel rim, followed by audible and visual prompts for you to retake control if you don’t turn your gaze forward. GM says Super Cruise was designed to work on 320,000 km of highway routes in North America.
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV pricing starts at $38,198, and the EUV’s MSRP is $40,198 – both of which are a big drop from the 2021 Bolt EV’s $44,998 starting tag. Also, the Bolt EV and EUV qualify for a $5,000 rebate through the federal government’s iZEV zero-emission vehicle incentive program.
2021 Acura TLX Type S
When the 2021 Acura TLX Type S arrives in Canada at the end of June, it will be the first Acura model in a decade to use a designation that once set apart the brand’s sportiest cars. And it won’t be the last: later this year, Acura will give its MDX mid-size SUV the Type S treatment, too.
The TLX’s Type S transformation starts with a turbo 3.0L V6 whose 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque are increases of 83 hp and 74 over the standard car’s 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder. That six-cylinder is connected to a 10-speed transmission tuned specifically for Type S duty and Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) with torque vectoring.
Other Type S specifics include a set of 20-inch wheels that Acura says were inspired by those on the NSX supercar, a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, and Brembo front brakes with four-piston calipers and larger rotors than the standard TLX.
Features-wise, the Type S builds on the regular TLX’s Platinum Elite trim with items like a 17-speaker sound system, 16-way front seats with four-way lumbar and ventilation, Ultrasuede upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and surround-view exterior cameras.
Acura Canada says the TLX Type S will arrive in showrooms on June 30 at a price of $59,500, a $7,200 premium compared to the Platinum Elite model.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee L – the first-ever Grand Cherokee with three-row seating – arrives in Canada this month as the first of two versions of the SUV’s latest generation, which aims to cement its place in a segment dominated by upscale European models.
The Grand Cherokee L is a forerunner to the fifth-generation five-seat Grand Cherokee that will arrive later this year as a 2022 model. The L will enjoy a brief stint as Jeep’s flagship, until the full-size Wagoneer and extra-posh Grand Wagoneer arrive this summer.
Jeep is launching the Grand Cherokee L with a $52,495 starting price in Laredo trim. That roughly splits the difference between mainstream mid-size seven/eight-seaters like the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, and Volkswagen Atlas and luxury models such as the Genesis GV80 and Infiniti QX60.
Engine choices will be familiar to current Grand Cherokee owners: All trims start with a 3.6L V6 (290 hp/257 lb-ft of torque) and, starting with the Overland package, a 5.7L V8 (357 hp/390 lb-ft) will be optional.
The base price includes adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitor, all-LED lighting, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, and heated front seats and steering wheel. As you move up the line through Limited, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve packages, Jeep piles on items like a power tailgate, Nappa leather, ventilated seats, more 4WD capability, real wood interior trim, and a 19-speaker McIntosh sound system.
2021.5 Mazda CX-5 and CX-9
Mazda has two crossover models sporting mid-year refreshes arriving at its Canadian dealerships in June.
The 2021.5 CX-5 compact crossover gets the more significant updates, with the base GX trim gaining Mazda’s full i-Activesense suite of driver safety assists, making it standard across the line. The CX-5 GX’s new safety features are radar cruise control, all-speed forward-collision detection with automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and automatic high beams, all of which migrate down from the GS trim. Previously, the GX’s advanced safety kit consisted of city-speed collision avoidance and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert that carried forward from 2021.
The CX-5 and the mid-size CX-9 model also get a new standard 10.25-inch infotainment screen that will support Mazda Connected Services functions to follow this fall.
Other CX-5 changes include new 19-inch wheels for the mid-range CX-5 GS that were formerly limited to higher trims, and the 2021.5 CX-9 GS-L gets wireless smartphone charging, which was limited to GT trim in 2021 models.
The 2021.5 Mazda CX-5 GX’s price goes up $300 to $28,950 with front-wheel drive, and $30,450 with AWD; other CX-5 trims see their MSRPs increase by $400 to $550 for the 2021.5 model year. All 2021.5 CX-9 MSRPs go up $300, taking the starting tag for GS trim to $40,300.