2013 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Luxury


Luxury cars are expensive to buy and maintain, and can be less reliable than mainstream cars. Cutting-edge safety equipment like side-curtain air bags, active head restraints and electronic stability control were first seen on luxury cars before they filtered down to less exalted vehicles. Luxury cars continue advancing safety with features like radar-guided cruise control and blind spot monitoring systems. Volvo, a pioneer in safety research, has, with its revolutionary City and Pedestrian Safety systems, vaulted into the lead in the commercial application of advanced safety systems. In addition to safety equipment, the careful design and weight of luxury cars enhance safety as well.

A trend in the luxury car market is the greater availability of all-wheel drive. Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz offer all-wheel drive variants of key models. An unwelcome fad in this segment, as it is in others, is the move to bigger and bigger wheels, with 17 inch, 18 inch, and even bigger rims becoming the norm. The large tires are often hard-riding, wear quickly and are be costly to replace. Winter tires for the larger wheels can be very expensive when you can find them, which is not always possible.

Of the cars covered in this section, the ATS and XTS from Cadillac, the ES (300h and 350) from Lexus, the Lincon MKZ, the Mercedes-Benz B250 and Toyota Avalon are all new for 2013.

Numerous vehicles in this category, including the TL and TSX from Acura, the Audi A3, the two-door versions of the BMW 3-Series, the Cadillac CTS, the Infiniti G37, the Lexus IS and the Nissan Maxima are in their last year in their current forms in 2013. 

Sales in this segment are robust, with many nameplates enjoying year-on-year sales increases. Part of the reason for robust delivery figures are cheap leases that make driving an entry-level version of some fabled brands no more expensive than it would be to pilot a more prosaic car. In a quest for increased market share, some luxury marques risk diminishing the lustre of their brands as their cars become too common a sight on Canadian streets. 

A note about mileage: starting in 2012, the APA's posted fuel economy figures commenced using fuel consumption data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), instead of those supplied by the Canada EnerGuide, as the numbers posted better reflect real-world consumption. For more information, read APA President George Iny's article regarding the inadequacies of the Canada EnerGuide test cycle

 

Acura TL 2013 Cadillac ATS  Lexus CT200h  Mercedes-Benz C-Class 
Acura TSX  Cadillac CTS  Lexus ES350, ES350h  Nissan Maxima 
Audi A3  2013 Cadillac XTS  Lexus IS250, IS350, IS F  Toyota Avalon 
Audi A4  Hyundai Genesis Sedan  2013 Lincoln MKZ   Volvo S60  
BMW 3-Series 2dr Infiniti EX37 2013 Mercedes-Benz B-Class  Volvo XC70 
BMW 3-Series 4dr Infiniti G37     

Infiniti EX37

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
3.5L V6 replaced by a 3.7L unit that produces 325 horsepower, 28 more than last year. Trim and equipment changes.  
Performance
The 3.7L V6 is strong, flexible, mechanically smooth and well matched to its responsive seven-speed automatic transmission. The EX35’s chassis serves up a firm yet resilient ride, handles with verve and is very stable on the highway. Nicely weighted and geared steering and strong brakes round out the EX37’s dynamic abilities. If the EX37 has a fault, it is an exhaust system that is described as either “sporty” or “intrusive” depending on whose opinion you solicit. The parking proximity system works very well, allowing the car to be positioned very precisely. Superb audio system. The driver and passenger enjoy ample room and repose on comfortable, supportive seats. The cabin is endowed with clear gauges and straightforward controls. The interior is attractive and carefully assembled. The EX37’s driving position is excellent and the view through the windshield is somehow very satisfying. A tall wagon format generally bestows a roomier cabin than a sedan based on the same wheelbase, but the rear seat of the EX37 has less room than that of the G-Series it is based on. In addition, with the rear seat in place, cargo space is little different than what the sedan permits, albeit access is much better than it is through the constricted trunk aperture of the sedan.

Comments
One engine, a 3.7L V6, sends power the all wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. 

Pricing
Very expensive option packages. Good value leasing.

Reliability
Above average reliability. Lower servicing costs than comparably-priced European cars. 


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.7L-V6 (325 HP) 

Transmissions: 7A 
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: LEV 2

Warranty: 4/100,000, 6/110,000

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Infiniti G37

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
G25 discontinued. The G37 will be replaced by the Q50 for the 2014 model year.

Performance
The 3.7L V6 delivers electrifying acceleration but is not particularly smooth and is plagued by an intrusive exhaust system and prominent road noise that undermine the luxury car experience. Well-judged ride and handling compromise for a sporty sedan. Pleasantly weighted and geared steering. Strong brakes. The all-wheel drive system works very well in inclement weather. Among Japanese-branded luxury cars, the G37 best replicates the driving experience of the German cars it competes with. Comfortable seats and a good driving position. Clear instrumentation and logical controls. The tiny trunk aperture is the portal to a barely adequate trunk.

Comments
Sedan
Except for the rear-wheel drive G37 Sport model, all G sedans are fitted with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The Attesa ET-S all-wheel drive system has an active centre clutch that distributes torque to the axles depending on requirements on snowy surfaces, but maintains a rear wheel bias under normal conditions.

Coupe/Convertible
Rear legroom on the coupe is adequate, but headroom is tight. Small trunk. All-wheel drive is available on the coupe. Very tight rear legroom and trunk space in the rear-wheel drive only hard top convertible.

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the G37 sedan, costs $2000 on the G37 Sport sedan and $2500 on the coupe. The coupe is priced  $3000 to $3760 more than a sedan with similar equipment. The convertible, offered only in rear-wheel drive automatic transmission form, is priced roughly $10,000 more than the coupe. Good value leasing.

Reliability
Above average reliability. Cheaper servicing costs than comparable European cars.


Body Style:  4SD/2CP/2CV
Occupants:  2/3, 2/2

Engines:
3.7L-V6 (328 HP[sedan], 325 HP [convertible], 330 HP [coupe], 348 HP [IPL]). 

Transmissions: 6M, 7A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive. all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings:  LEV2

Warranty: 4/100,000, 6./110,000

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Marginal

NHTSA Rating: 



Lexus CT200h

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
Revised option packages.

Comments
Built on a 100 mm (3.9 inch) shorter wheelbase, the CT 200h is 149 mm (5.9 inches) shorter, marginally wider and lower and 35 kg heavier than the Toyota Prius with which it shares its powertrain. While not elegant in a classical sense, the CT manages to look sporty and distinctive as well. Crisply-marked gauges are located in a compact housing in a BMW-like dashboard with a strong horizontal emphasis. Rather than a conventional dash centre stack, the centre console of the CT200h sweeps up to meet the dashboard in a similar way to that of a 1960s Thunderbird. The cabin is constructed from attractive components and looks more luxurious than in the now discontinued HS 250h. The shorter wheelbase and lower height than the Prius don't do the CT 200h any packaging favours. Those sitting up front have sufficient space, but rear seat legroom is very restricted, and there is limited luggage space in the shallow hatch area. The "Sport" mode firms up the steering, sharpens throttle response and releases more horsepower from the batteries. Handling, while more agile than that of the Prius, lacks involvement. The steering, though nicely weighted and geared, is numb. Greater soundproofing improves refinement compared with the Prius.

Pricing
Premium and F-Sport packages are priced to reflect their additional contents. Overpriced Touring package. Bargain-priced Technology package.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. Above average reliability, like that of the Prius it is based on, is predicted. 

See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:1.8L-4 H (135 HP combined)

Transmissions: CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  5.5L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings:  SULEV

Warranty: 4/80,000, 6/110,000, 8/160,000  (hybrid components)

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Lexus ES350 and ES300h

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
New-generation ES series based on the 2013 Toyota Avalon. ES300 hybrid joins the lineup.

Comments
Built on a 45 mm (1.7 inch) longer wheelbase, the new ES350 is fractionally longer, and the same height and width as the car it replaces. While instantly recognizable as a Lexus, the company has upped its styling game for the new car which has greater visual elan than any of its predecessors. The pinched-centre ("spindle" in Lexus-speak) grille, fast-becoming the new face of Lexus, fronts the new ES. Big, crisply-marked gauges are housed in a BMW-like dashboard that has a strong horizontal emphasis as well as a visually compressed, button-festooned centre stack. The ES displays a pleasing mix of colours and bright trim accents. Rear legroom is improved due to the longer wheelbase.
Power stems from the same mechanical units, a 3.5L V6 and a 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid, used in the current Toyota Camry. Power reaches the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with the V6 and a CVT with the hybrid.

Pricing
The cheapest ES with leather is the $44,250 Premium Leather with the Navigation package. The Premium package priced to reflect contents. The Leather with Navigation package is a bargain. Good value Touring model. The Tech. package is slightly overpriced. Hybrid trim levels don't intersect those of the V6 closely, but supplements range from $1450 for Tech package cars to $4850 (ES350 nav and leather versus the hybrid Leather package). Leasing is exceptional value.

See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.5L-4 H (200 HP estimated), 3.5L-4 (270 HP estimated)

Transmissions: 6A, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard

Emissions ratings: Warranty:

4/80,000, 6/110,000


Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Lexus IS250, IS350, IS-F

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
Last year for the current model. Manual transmission discontinued. The third-generation IS expected by the summer of 2013.    

Performance
Despite a modest 204 horsepower, the 2.5L V6 under the hood of the IS250 never feels underpowered, and is smooth and quiet in the Lexus tradition. The transmission is responsive and shifts smoothly. Where the IS stumbles is its ride, which is choppier than expected in a car of this class and can’t match the unflappable composure of its German competitors. Confident handling is undermined by electric power steering that is too light and devoid of feel. The cabin is very attractive, especially in premium versions of the IS. The front passenger compartment is snug, especially on all-wheel drive models, as the propshaft to the front wheels intrudes into the space the driver would prefer to be devoted to his or her right leg. Rear seat legroom is at the tight end of vehicles in the luxury compact segment.

Comments
The second-generation IS series enters its last year on the market with no changes of note. Lexus offers two main engines, two transmissions and two drive systems on mainstream IS models. The IS250 is powered by a 204 horsepower 2.5L twin cam V6, with a 3.5L version of the same engine producing 306 horsepower in the IS350. Lexus does offer a rear-wheel drive IS250 with manual transmission, but most IS250s will be fitted with a six-speed automatic, which is the sole choice for all-wheel drive variants. The IS350 is exclusively all-wheel drive except for the rear-wheel drive F Sport variant. The all-wheel drive system employs a 30/70 front/rear torque split under most conditions, shifting to a 50/50 split on slippery roads. The special order IS-F, powered by a 416 horsepower 5L V8 sending power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, is also available.

Pricing
An IS 350 F-Sport is priced $5800 higher than an IS 250 with the same package. An IS 350 cabrio is priced $6320 to $7420 higher than an IS 250 cabrio with the same equipment. All-wheel drive is priced $3050 on the IS250 but only $650 separates the IS 350 from the IS 350 AWD that are similarly equipped. The base IS 250 cabrio is priced nearly $13,000 higher than a rear-wheel drive IS 250 with the leather package. A base IS 250 rear-wheel drive is priced nearly $5000 less than a similarly-equipped Mercedes-Benz C250. An all-wheel drive IS 350 with the moonroof/navigation package is priced around $7300 less than a similarly equipped Mercedes-Benz C 350 4Matic. Good value leasing.

Reliability
Above average reliability. Cheaper service costs than a comparable European branded car. 


Body Style:  2CV, 4SD
Occupants:  2/3, 2/2

Engines:
2.5L-V6 (204 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 (306 HP), 5L-V8 (416 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A*, 8A (IS-F)
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel  drive*

City Fuel Economy:  11.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings:  Tier 2, Bin 5

Warranty: 4/80,000, 6/110,000

Country of Origin:  Japan

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Acceptable

NHTSA Rating: 



2013 Lincoln MKZ

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

 

What’s new
All-new Ford Fusion-based MKZ shares no exterior or cabin elements with its less prestigious platform mate. Initial production problems and the desire of Ford to have the car absolutely ready for deliver has led to a six-month delay in the launch of the MKZ.

Comments
The Ford Motor Company neglected Lincoln while it owned Aston-Martin, Jaguar, Land-Rover and Volvo. Devoid of attention, Lincoln languished, and became the purveyors of lightly altered mainstream Ford models. This situation reached its nadir with the previous MKZ, which, while a good car, was essentially a Ford Fusion with different end caps and a nicer cabin.
After jettisoning its luxury brands, Ford decided to revive Lincoln as a premium brand and create unique vehicles which could justify higher prices than what Lincoln can charge today.
Like its predecessor, the new MKZ is based on the same platform as the Ford Fusion, but this time it shares no exterior panels or cabin elements with its Ford sibling. The exterior of the new car, created by a new Lincoln design studio, has a rare visual purity which is spare, but not plain, and is highlighted by some very carefully-considered bright highlights.
Like designs of the Bauhaus movement, the MKZ's cabin is visually calming but fashioned from luxurious materials. Seat comfort is good and cabin space is competitive with other cars in the mid-size luxury class.
The base engine for 2013 is a 2L EcoBoost four that produces 240 horsepower. Engine options include a 300 horsepower 3.7L V6 as well as a four-cylinder hybrid which produces a combined output of 188 horsepower. The EcoBoost and V6 send power to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission; but the hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission. Gear selection is made via push buttons located on the left edge of the dash centre stack.
The new MKZ features Lincoln Drive Control that links the steering, stability and traction controls with the Continuously Controlled Damping to optimize ride and handling depending on the road being travelled on.
Available active safety equipment includes a lane keeping aid, a lane keeping alert, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake Support, active park assist, blind spot information system with cross traffic alert and active parking assist.
Lincoln wants customers to enjoy a level of service they have grown used to at high-end retailers and hotel chains. To that end, the firm has created a Lincoln Academy to train dealer personnel on how to better serve Lincoln intenders, as well as a 24/7 live interactive concierge service to assist buyers with any questions they might have about a new Lincoln.

Pricing

Select and Reserve upgrades are acceptable value. The Preferred package significantly overpriced. Good value all-wheel drive and V6 upgrades. Reasonable value leasing. The previous model suffered from withering depreciation.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. The related Ford Fusion suffered numerous faults when launched.
See the Hybrid and Electric car section.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4  T (200 HP), 2L-4 H (141 HP gasoline engine, 188 HP combined), 3.7L-V6 (300 HP),  

Transmissions: 6A, CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings:  ULEV 2 (non-hybrids)

Warranty: 4/80,000, 6/110,000, 8/160,000 (hybrid components)

Country of Origin:  Mexico

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Mercedes-Benz B-250

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class nameplate returns to Canada with an all-new car. 

Comments
On sale in Europe for about a year, the second-generation B-Class went on sale late is 2012. Mercedes has dropped the "sandwich" like dual-floor construction of the previous car in favour of a more conventional floorpan. The new car has a lower, sleeker silhouette than the previous model, but the styling is busy, and some elements, like the upswept gash on the rear doors, are visually discordant. The cabin is fronted by an oversized dashboard displaying big, clear gauges. Comfortable seats and good room front and rear. Interior materials look more attractive than they did in the last B-Class. Only one powerful engine, a 2L 208 horsepower gasoline turbo four with 258 lb.-ft. of torque, is offered in Canada. Power reaches the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission with Economy, Sport and Manual modes. A stop-start system that shuts off the engine when the car is stationary, is standard. Expensive to replace run-flat tires are fitted to all B250s. Active safety is aided by standard Collision Prevention Assist that gives audible and visual warnings if a collision is imminent, and will ready the Adaptive Braking Assist for when the driver applies the brakes. Lane-keeping and Attention assist are optional. Active parking assist is optional as well.

Pricing
Other than the Memory package option packages and most single options are overpriced. Though it lacks all-wheel drive, the B-250 is about the same size as BMW's X1, and is considerably cheaper.

Reliability
New car, not rated. The previous B-Class suffered from CVT transmission and turbo engine failures, as well as premature rust complaints. The B-Class is sold only in limited-edition electric form in the U.S., but it is the mechanical twin to the new CLA so mechanical breakdowns there should be easily remedied. 


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:1.6L-4 (122 HP or 156 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 7A (dual clutch automated manual) 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 4/80,000

Country of Origin: Germany

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
The 2.5L V6 and C250 4Matic model have been discontinued. The C300 engine is now a 248 horsepower 3.5L V6. New C350 4Matic two-door variant. Stop-start feature for V6 engined cars. Rear side airbags are standard on sedan. Revised instrument and audio system graphics. New cruise control stalk. Package changes.

Performance
The linear action of the throttle pedal permits a smooth flow of power to the slick shifting and responsive seven-speed automatic transmission. The V6 engine installed in the C350 accelerates strongly but uses a lot of revs to do so, and has a rumbly exhaust system. Noisy at speed. Precise, linear steering bestows a sense of great agility. Stable handling and a compliant ride, though not as absorbent as on the last C. The ABS displaces the car laterally on loose surfaces. Front seat comfort, driving position and outward vision are all superb. Tight rear seat legroom. Chic cabin style and generally attractive cabin materials, but the knit fabric covering on the lower doors begins to looks shabby quickly. Excellent audio system sound quality. Avoid the navigation system as the controls for the “Command” system are overly complex. Smallish trunk. The C-Class was judged the best car in a three car test that also included the Audi A4 and the Acura TL SH-AWD. The C-class is a less sporty car than the BMW 3-Series.

Comments
The 1.8L turbo four is only offered in rear-wheel drive form which renders it to also-ran status. With upright styling and fully-framed door windows, the "coupe" body style is little more than a two-door sedan.

Pricing
The 4Matic all-wheel drive system, not offered on the C250, is standard on the C300 and is a $1500 to $2950 option on the C350. The two-door C-Class models are priced $2300 (C250), $3700 (C350 4matic) or $3900 (C350) more than a similarly equipped sedan. With a V6, All-wheel drive and additional features, the C300 4Matic is much better equipped than the C250 rear-wheel drive and the best value of the lineup. The C350 upgrade a rip-off. Reasonable option package prices. Single options are pricey. The C300 is the best value of the lineup. A 36 or 39 month lease is the best way to obtain a C-Class, generating a much lower monthly payment than if you finance. Slow sales in Europe has resulted in more cars built to North American specs. and more cars coming here than originally planned for, leading to better transaction prices this year. 

Reliability
Average reliability during warranty period. Difficult to diagnose electrical problems. A Mercedes-Benz extended warranty is recommended if you do not lease the C-Class. Rapid rear tire wear. Some V6 engine failures reported.


Body Style:  4SD, 2SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
1.8L 4T (201 HP), 2.5L-V6 (201 HP), 3.5L-V6 (248 HP/C300, 302 HP/C350),* 6.2L-V8 (451 HP) 

Transmissions: 7A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 4/80,000

Country of Origin:  Germany

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 


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