2017 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Premium Compact Cars and Crossovers

In the past, if manufacturers elected to move up or downmarket, they would create a new sub-brand to market the vehicles. BMW launched MINI when it wanted to move downmarket and Honda, Nissan and Toyota respectively breathed life into Acura, Infiniti and Lexus to market their luxury products. Conjuring up a new vehicle marque and promoting it is a fiercely expensive process and one that has fallen out of favour. Manufacturers now prefer to stretch the boundaries of what their established brands represent to setting up sub-brands if they decide to move out of their traditional market segments. In addition, some specialist vehicles from mainstream manufactures are sufficiently outside of traditional vehicle categories that they must be placed into a category that reflects their unusual nature. 

To track this trend and move with the times, the APA created a new Premium Compact category last year and continues with it for 2017. A number of cars and crossovers in this new category don't really fit into the sections other vehicles bearing the same brand name are generally found in, and so are in this new section.  

Vehicles covered within in the envelope of Premium Compact category include B-Class, CLA and GLA from Mercedes-Benz, the A3 and Q3 from Audi, all five of which represent a move downmarket by their makers. Also Included in this section is the QX30 from Infiniti, which is based on the same platform as the Mercedes B-Class, CLA and GLA. Occupying this category as well are cars from MINI, which are premium priced, and the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, which are priced far higher than conventional cars for the same size. Other vehicles covered in this section are the Acura ILX and Buick Verano, both of which are too expensive to fit into our Small section but lack the prestige to be included in the Luxury category. 

A note about mileage figures: The APA is now using the Canada EnerGuide, which were available at the beginning of the 2017 model year.  

Acura ILX  Buick Verano  Infiniti QX30  Mercedes-Benz B250
Audi A3  Chevrolet Bolt  Kia Niro  Mecerdes-Benz CLA  
Audi Q3  Chevrolet Volt  MINI Cooper  Mecerdes-Benz GLA 
  Hyundai Ioniq  MINI Countryman  Nissan Leaf 
       

2017 Acura ILX

 

 

What’s new
The ILX, now entering its sixth year in its current form, is overdue for renewal.
Performance
The 2.4L 201 horsepower four is smooth, flexible and punchy, but its tuneful exhaust system becomes tiresome in daily driving. Steering weight and gearing are particularly well judged but there is little feel bubbling up to the steering wheel from the road. While firm, the ILX's ride exhibits good resilience and surprising suppleness over large bumps, especially when viewed against its impressive cornering ability. Strong brakes with good pedal feel. Wind noise is well suppressed but road noise is greater than expected from a car in this price bracket. Big door mirrors are a necessity as vision for lane changes is limited.
Despite being based on the roomy previous-generation Civic platform, rear seat legroom on the ILX is a bit on the tight side. Very comfortable, supportive front seats. Excellent driving position. Elegant, conventional dashboard. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the cabin design but cabin materials are underwhelming at this price point. Reasonable trunk space. Unimpressive audio system.

Comments
The ILX, based on the previous Civic, is, except for straight line speed and low-speed refinement, totally outclassed by the new Honda Civic Touring. The sole power team for 2017 is a 2.4L four hooked up to an eight-speed dual clutch automated manual. ILX sales held steady last year, at about 2500 units.

Pricing
Upgrading from the base to the Premium trim includes popular equipment such as leather upholstery, heated, power front seats and blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, is very good value, as is the Technology trim level. The A-Spec range topper is good value for the money if you like its equipment. Exceptional value leasing. A Civic Touring is a generation newer than the ILX and is roughly 25 percent cheaper than an ILX A-Spec.

Reliability: Predicted reliability is above average, like the previous Civic it is based on.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2.4L‑4 (201HP)

Transmissions: 8A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.8L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Forward collision warning and mitigation. Lane departure warning, lane keep assist and road departure mitigation. Available blind spot and rear-cross traffic warnings.
Additional Airbags: None
Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2012
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Audi A3

 

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What’s new
A new 186 horsepower 2L engine replaces the previous 1.8L base engine on the base front-wheel drive A3 sedan. The new 2L is hooked up to a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission. An engine stop-start system is standard for 2017. The Komfort model is equipped with a seven inch touch screen and xenon headlamps this year. Technik trim variants are fronted by L.E.D. headlamps and a multi-configurable dash display, which replaces traditional gauges in front of the driver.  

Comments
Like its predecessor, Audi's new A3 is based on the Volkswagen Golf, in this case, the seventh-generation of VW's evergreen hatchback. Like the Golf and numerous other Volkswagen Group products to be released over the next few years, the A3 is underpinned by VW's new MQB variable architecture. To satisfy the American market, the mainstream A3 debuted first as a sedan, followed by a convertible. Both body styles look very Audi, but also look a bit stale, especially for all new cars. The traditional hatchback body style is offered only with e plug-in hybrid powertrain. 
The A3's dashboard features big, clear instruments and pretty simple controls. Comfortable seats and good space in front, and seat comfort and legroom for rear seat riders are at least competitive. The reasonably attractive cabin materials are a bit disappointing not in themselves, but for the fact the A3 turned out to be a much more expensive car than most observers expected them to be, especially since they are sourced in low-cost Hungary. Big, square trunk.
Power stems from two turbocharged gasoline engines, a 2L with 186 horsepower and a 2L producing 220 horsepower in the A3 and 293 horsepower in the S3. The base 2L is front-wheel drive only, with Quattro all-wheel drive featured twinned with the 220 and 293 horsepower engines. A seven-speed automated manual is standard on front-wheel drive variants witha a six-speed automated manual mated to Quattro versions.

A3 E-Tron hatchback
The E-Tron is powered by a 1.4L turbo four with 150 horsepower connected to a 102 horsepower electric motor, resulting in a combined horsepower figure of 204. The E-tron is a plug-in hybrid like the Ford C-Max Energi and can run in full electric power for up to 26 kilometres. Power reaches the front wheels via six-speed dual clutch automatic.

Pricing

High prices considering that the A3 is essentially a less modern spin on the VW Golf. Moving up from the 186 horsepower 2L front-wheel drive model to the 220 horsepower all-wheel drive (marketed under the name Quattro) costs $4800. Overpriced Progressiv and Technik trim upgrades. The E-Tron plug-in hybrid hatchback in Progressiv trim is priced $5000 higher than a conventional equivalent front-wheel drive sedan variant. The Technik upgrade on the E-Tron is priced to reflect its extra content. The A3 convertible is priced $6200 higher than an all-wheel drive 220 horsepower sedan. 

Reliability
Insufficient data, not rated. The previous A3 was rated average for the first four years. Audi's $750 scheduled service option (70,000 km is the last service covered) is highly recommended. Warranty ends at 80,000 km with no further powertrain coverage.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CB, 4SD*
Occupants:  2/3, 2/2

Engines:1.4L-4 T H (150 HP plus 102 HP electric), 2L-4 (186 HP)*, 2L-4 T (220 HP, 293 HP S3) 
Transmissions: 6A (DSG)*7A (DSG)
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  9.7L100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.5/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional adaptive cruise control with stop and go as well as blind spot alert. 
Additional airbags: rear seat side airbags are optional                  

Warranty: 4/80,000, no additional powertrain warranty
Current Generation Debut:  2015
Country of Origin: Hungary and Germany

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Buick Verano 

 


 

 

What’s new
Based on the last-generation Chevrolet Cruze, the Verano is in its last year and GM has announced that it will not be replaced. The turbo engine is no longer available.

Comments
The Buick Verano, based on the previous-generation Chevrolet Cruze, is more than just a badge-engineered spinoff of the Chevrolet. The exterior displays numerous Buick styling cues and the cabin is quite sumptuous. Power stems from a 2.4L version of the Ecotec four found in various GM products. With 180 horsepower and strong torque, the Verano delivers brisk, relaxed performance, and, with Buick's "Quiet Tuning" sound abatement measures, serenity as well.

Pricing 
Containing almost $2000 worth of additional equipment, including a power driver seat and rear view camera, for less than $700 the 1SD package is a bargain and should really be the base model. The Leather trim level is priced well beyond the value of its contents. However, it is the gateway to the Buick Experience package, offering a sunroof and navigation for just $800 and the Driver Confidence package, which includes blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings, for only $935. No leasing offered for 2017.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Few complaints received thus far. Average reliability predicted.

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2.4L-4 (180 HP)

Transmissions: 6A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  11.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot, rear cross-traffic, lane departure and forward collision warnings.None
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants. Rear side airbags for outboard passengers. 

Warranty: 4/80,000, 6/110,000
Current Generation Debut:  2012
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Chevrolet Bolt

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
All-new electric vehicle built on a dedicated platform.

Comments
The Bolt is Chevrolet’s all electric car meant to go head-to-head with the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus electrics. The Bolt looks like a breakthrough product in the affordable electric vehicle field.
According to Chevrolet, the 200 horsepower electric motor (twice the power offered by the Leaf) can reach 100 km/h from a stop in about seven seconds. GM predicts a maximum range of up to 320 kilometres, with an 80 kilometre charge available in under two hours with a 240 volt charger, and up to 145 kilometres available in about half an hour if you employ a high voltage charger.
GM notes that the Bolt is a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and the MyChevrolet Mobile App will help the driver to monitor vehicle charge status, start the car remotely, pre-condition cabin climate inside the cabin while the car is plugged in, which minimizes energy draw once the car is under its own power. The EV-specific navigation system of the Bolt is set up to maximize range and also display local charge points.
The tall hatchback body looks crisp and modern. Except for height, the Bolt is smaller is all dimensions than the Nissan Leaf, but offers greater cabin and cargo space than the Nissan. The cabin of the Bolt is dominated by a sweeping dashboard with a large touch screen at its heart. The pre-production Bolts shown at auto shows features attractive high-contrast two tone colour treatments.

Pricing
The Bolt is offered in LT and Premier trims. Overpriced Premier trim upgrade. Any colour other than white will cost you $595. Good value leasing. Some provincial governments offer a large rebate for Bolt buyers or those who lease one for four years. The province of Ontario has been taking up to four months to process rebate cheques. 

Availability warning
The order books for the 2017 Bolt are closed, with dealers only receiving the limited numers of units they had ordered already. Dealers are already taking orders for the 2018 Bolt, with deliveries expected in March or April of 2018.   

Reliability:
New vehicle, insufficient data. This is an all-new and radical car for Chevrolet. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
Electric motor (200 HP)
Transmissions: None
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
Highway Fuel Economy:  n/a
Electric Mode Operation: 320 km

Active Safety Features: available active safety features include lane keep assist, lane departure, blind spot, rear cross traffic and forward collision alert and lane change warnings. Front automatic braking also offered.


Additional airbags: No information available

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (on electric drivetrain)
Current Generation Debut:  2017
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Chevrolet Volt

 


 

 

What’s new
The Teen Driver feature that lets parents monitor the use of their car, is standard for 2017. 

Comments
Unlike the first Volt, the exterior and interior styling of which made it a real "statement" car, the second-generation Volt is a more mainstream and more closely twinned with the Chevrolet Cruze. The Volt's rear seat now has three seatbelts, which should increase versatility and remove a purchase objection of the four-seater first-generation Volt. Rear seat legroom is not generous, headroom in the rear is tight, and rear seat riders sit under the rear window, which can get uncomfortable on sunny days. The Volt remains a hatchback despite its sedan-like appearance.
The Volt’s gasoline generator increases from 1.4L to 1.5L, with a horsepower boost from 85 to 101. Revised battery chemistry has resulted in a reduction in the number of individual battery cells and a battery pack that is around 10 kilograms lighter than before. The electric motor is rated at the same 111 kW (149 horsepower) as its predecessor.
Around 3500 Volts were delivered in Canada in 2016, nearly three times the number of Nissan Leafs sold in Canada last year. Driven briefly by the APA, the Volt, with effortless, smooth power, balanced chassis, sharp steering and a real feeling of solidity, is an impressive tour-de-force. Outward visibility is poor, making city driving a struggle.  
Availability Notice
Despite low gasoline prices and a general ennui on the part of the public with electric vehicles, the plug-in hybrid Volt has proven very popular, with demand significantly exceeding supply. Volt availability is better now than it was a year ago, with delivery times down to about three months. 

Pricing
The content that accompainies the Premier trim level updgrade is insufficient to justify the $4100 price supplement demanded by Chevrolet. Very good value leasing as of March 2017. 
Reliability:
New vehicle, insufficient data. Previous model was reliable.

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
Electric motor (111 kW/149 HP); generated by electricity: 1.5L‑4 (101 HP)
Transmissions: None
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n.a.
Highway Fuel Economy:  n.a.


Active Safety Features: available active safety features include lane keep assist, lane departure, blind spot, rear cross traffic and forward collision alert and lane change warnings. Front automatic braking also offered.

Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants and rear side airbags for outboard occupants. .

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (on electric drivetrain)
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Hyundai Ioniq

 

NEW

 

 
What’s new
Like the Toyota Prius, the Ioniq features a variety of powertrain options on a dedicated vehicle architecture. The Plug-in Ioniq has been delayed until the fall of 2017.

Comments
About the same size as an Elantra, the IONIQ is built on a different platform designed to accept conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric powertrains.
The exterior is modern, crisp and tidy but doesn’t signal the car is powered by alternative powertrains. With a 0.24 co-efficient of drag, the shape is very slippery. The cabin is practical and straightforward; seating is more adequate than spacious. In order to try to save some weight as well as reducing the use of oil, the hood and tailgate of the Ioniq are formed from aluminum, the interior door trims are fashioned from plastic, powdered wood and volcanic stone and sugar cane materials are employed to fashion the headlining and carpets.
A 106 horsepower 1.6L four is the basis for the hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Total system horsepower for the hybrid is 139 and maximum electric-only range for the plug-in is 37 kilometres. The hybrid and the plug-in send power to the front wheels via a six-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission but the all-electric variant dispenses with a transmission altogether. The full electric version is powered by an 88 kW motor with a maximum possible range of 170 kilometres. The IONIQ hybrid and electric go on sale in mid 2017, with the plug-in scheduled for late 2017. 

Pricing
No pricing details are available at this time.
Reliability: New vehicle, insufficient data on Hyundai hybrid vehicles thus far.

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1,6 L-4 H (104 HP gas, 27 kW electric, 139 combine), 1,6 L-4 H Plug-in (104 HP gas, 45 kW electric), Electric (88 kW)
Transmissions: 6A (dual clutch/Hybrids)
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  n.a.
Highway Fuel Economy:  n.a.
Active Safety Features: Available adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings as well as lane keep assist.
Additional airbags: No info available

Warranty: 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (on electric drivetrain)
Current Generation Debut:  2017
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Infiniti QX30

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
New Infiniti premium compact hatchback based on the front-wheel drive entry-level Mercedes junior cars. This platform will only be sold as the QX30 in Canada.

Comments
The technology-sharing agreement between Renault-Nissan has generated the new Smart ForTwo based on the Renault Twingo, and this new Infiniti QX30 that is spun off a component set derived from the Mercedes A, B, CLA and GLA models. The QX30 uses the platform, 2L turbo four and seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission from the Mercedes models; mating them to bespoke exterior and cabin styling. The QX30 will be built as Nissan’s plant in England.
The QX30 follows Infiniti’s voluptuous, arc-laden styling direction that debuted with the JX35 (now QX 60) crossover in 2013. While not beautiful in a conventional sense, the Q30 is extremely distinctive and will be instantly recognizable as an Infiniti. Along with Lexus with their NX and new RX, Infiniti is pushing the boundaries of style in search of a look so distinctive that its cars cannot be confused with any others.
The QX30’s interior, with a dashboard stocked with big, clear gauges (the same units as Mercedes uses but with different graphics) and, given the number of functions it controls, a dash centre-stack that doesn’t look too intimidating. Cabin materials, with elegant faux alloy accents and attractive leather highlighted by contrasting stitching, are attractive. Cabin space is on the tight side for width and especially for rear seat legroom, with is restricted. Regularly shaped and nicely trimmed cargo area.

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the range-topping Sport trim, is a $2500 option on the base and Premium models. The Premium trim upgrade is expensive given its features; with the high-end Sport model priced closely to reflect the value of its extra content. The Premium trim level with the Technology package is a priced $1000 less than the similarly-equipped Sport model but features leather upholstery in place of the vinyl-cloth seat trim that is the sole choice on the Sport. Lease terms are very compelling. Compared to all-wheel drive versions of the related Mercedes-Benz GLA, both cars start out at roughly the same price but with a maximum load of options, the GLA is roughly $3000 more expensive.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. Based on the reliability of the previous-generation Mercedes B-Class, predicted reliability for the first three years is average at best, declining after that. The six-year/110,000 km powertrain warranty is longer than the four years/80,000 km offered by Mercedes, making it a better prospect than the Mercedes for those who plan to buy instead of lease. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L-4 T (208 HP)
Transmissions: Seven-speed dual clutch
Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 10.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Infiniti note that pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and dynamic cruise control will be available


Additional airbags: n/a

Warranty: 4/80,000, 6/110,000
Current Generation Debut: 2017
Country of Origin: England

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Kia Niro

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
Hybrid exclusive compact CUV based on the component set from the Hyundai Ioniq.  
Comments
Based on the same component set at the Hyundai Ioniq, the Niro is a five-door tall hatchback that Kia will market as a compact hybrid CUV. The Niro’s 103 horsepower Atkinson cycle 1.6L four combines with a 43 horsepower electric motor for a total system output of 146 horsepower. Kia has only announced a conventional hybrid version thus far, but a plug-in was shown at the Geneva show in March. 
Though tidy enough and unlikely to offend, the exterior styling of the Niro is not the styling tour-de-force observers have come to expect from Kia. Design aside, the Niro s exterior envelope encloses a commodious cabin with good space for four adults and whatever chattle they choose to bring with them. Attractive instrumentation, practical controls and attractive materials make the Niro a good space to inhabit. The Niro went on sale in the spring winter of 2017.

Pricing
No pricing details are available at this time.

Reliability
Not rated as too little information is available on Kia's hybrid system reliability.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB

Occupants: 2/3

Engine: 1.6L-4 H (146 HP combined)

Transmissions: 6A (dual clutch)  

Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: n.a.
Highway Fuel Economy: n.a.
Active Safety Features: Available adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings.

Additional airbags: No information is available
Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2017

Country of Origin: South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 MINI Cooper

 


 

 

What’s new
The MINI Seven Edition, commemorating the original name the Austin Mini bore when it was launched in 1959, is new for 2017. 

Performance
The 1.5L turbo triple is quick, flexible and smooth at normal speeds and now has a smoother idle than it did when the current Cooper was released. The conventional six-speed automatic transmission works very well with the 1.5L three-cylinder engine. The big 2L turbo in the Cooper S furnishes strong acceleration with an engaging exhaust note, but is quiet when cruising. Though very firm, the ride of the Cooper S does not jar occupants, and allies with impressive handling controlled by near telepathic steering.
The cabin of the new MINI may appear to be virtually the same as the last one, but its ergonomics, with easily scanned gauges and logical controls placed where you expect them to be, are a huge improvement over the previous MINI. Front seat occupants enjoy comfortable seats and plenty of legroom, but those in back will find space tight and access limited. Trunk space is limited from the back of the rear seat to the tailgate but the space is deep below the window line and regularly shaped. MINI has improved the look and feel of the cabin trim pieces.

Comments
Two and four-door hatchbacks and a convertible model are available. 

Pricing
The four-door Cooper is priced $1250 higher than its two-door equivalent. The Cooper S is priced $4250 more than the 1.5L triple, with the John Cooper Works variant priced $7500 higher than the S. The convertible body style costs $6500 more than a three-door of the same trim level. The Essentials package is very good value, the Navigation package is priced to reflect the value of its and the Style, Loaded and Visibility packages offer good value. Overpriced leather, metallic paint and satellite radio options. 

Reliability
Not rated as too little information is available on the new generation. The previous generation was rated below average. Warranty ends at four years 80,000 km, with no subsequent powertrain warranty.

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV, 2HB


Occupants: 2/2


Engines:

1.5L-3 T (134 HP-Cooper)*, 2L-4 T (189 HP-Cooper S, 228 HP John Cooper Works)
 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A*  


Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive


City Fuel Economy:  8.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.8L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Active cruise control sold as the Driver Assistant package. 


Additional airbags: Front knee airbags


Warranty:  4/80,000 with no additional powertrain warranty


Current Generation Debut:  2015


Country of Origin: England and Holland


IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 MINI Clubman 

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
The Clubman is based on the same platform as the BMW X1. BMW engines replaced the previous Peugeot supplied powerplants. 

Performance
The 1.5L turbo triple has become more refined over the years and is now acceptably smooth as well as sufficiently quick. In MINI tradition, handling is crisp. The ride is more supple than in the previous version of the car. The Clubman's cabin retains a very MINI look, but like the smaller Cooper, the previously scattergun ergonomics have been replaced by straightforward controls. The Clubman cabin is very stylish, with attractive cabin fittings and lots of soft-touch surfaces. Chic two-tone cabin trim options and abundant attractive faux alloy trim. Cargo space is reasonable with the rear seat in place and versatile with it folded.
Comments

Though the Clubman is an XXL size it still looks like a MINI. Very elegant interior and reasonable cargo space. The Clubman and new Countryman are similar in size and concept that, to outsiders, overlap one another. The Clubman is more elegant than the Countryman but the latter has better rear seat legroom. 

Pricing

The base Clubman Cooper starts at $25,490. All-wheel drive is a $2000 option on the Cooper, costs an extra $1000 on the Cooper S and is standard on the low volume John Cooper Works model. Leather upholstery and leather and cloth seating are very expensive options. Metallic paint, L.E.D. headlights and satellite radio options are all very expensive. 

Reliability
Below average. Servicing costs are similar to those for a German luxury car. Short powertrain warranty with no coverage past four years/80,000 km.

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.5L-3 T* (134 HP)*, 2L-4T (189 HP: John Cooper Works: 228 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  9.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 7.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: Passenger side knee airbag
Warranty: 4/80,000 with no further powertrain warranty.

Current Generation Debut:  2011
Country of Origin: Austria

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Mercedes-Benz B250

 

NOT RATED

 

 

What’s new
Apple CarPlay-Android Auto are available this year. Altered option packages with the sunroof and navigation now standalone options for 2017.

Comments
The cabin of the B-Class is fronted by an oversized dashboard displaying big, clear gauges. Comfortable seats and good room front and rear but the rear seat is oddly shaped and does not suit all physiques. Attractive cabin materials. Only one engine, a 2L 208 horsepower gasoline turbo four with 258 lb.-ft. of torque, is offered in Canada. Power reaches the front, or optionally all 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 stopped, is standard. The 2L four is acceptably smooth, and while the seven-speed automatic shifts smoothly, its mission is to reach the highest gear as quickly as possible, and if reluctant to deliver a lower gear, even when asked. With around 6600 units sold last year, the B-Class has been a successful gamble for Mercedes-Benz in Canada.  

Pricing

All-wheel drive, marketed as 4Matic, costs $2300. A number of options, including metallic paint, satellite radio and L.E.D. headlams, are overpriced. The Premium and Premium plus option packages are a bit too expensive considering their content. The Versatility package is tremendous value. Good value leasing. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. The previous B-Class suffered from transmission and turbo engine failures, as well as premature rust complaints. Predicted reliability is below average. 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 in the U.S. should be easily remedied. However, sourcing body parts in the event of a collision in the U.S. could be a problem. Short powertrain warranty. Mercedes-Benz 36 month service contract ($799) that covers the 20,000, 40,000 and 60,000 km scheduled services, is highly recommended.

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (208 HP)
Transmissions: 7A (dual clutch automated manual) 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 9.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 6.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available forward collision, lane departure and blind spot warnings as well as lane keep assist.
Additional airbags: Front seat knee airbags and outboard rear airbags

Warranty: 4/80,000 with no powertrain warranty afterward

Current Generation Debut: 2013
Country of Origin: Germany

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA

 

NOT RATED

 

What's New
Restyled front and rear bumpers. L.E.D. headlights replace the xenon units that were optional last year. Revised option packages. Minor cabin trim revisions including a slimmer free-standing dash screen. Android Auto-Apple CarPlay is a new option for 2017. The 'Night" package replaces the previous AMG group. The high-end CLA 45 4Matic range-topper gets a new Track Package.

Comments
Built using a flexible component set that underpins all Mercedes-Benz front-wheel drive vehicles, the CLA is an example of what the German carmakers call a four-door coupe. The CLA is considerably lower than its B250 cousin and has significantly less cabin space. The CLA's cabin is dominated by an over-scaled dashboard that looks like it is was borrowed from a bigger vehicle. Fit, finish and materials are much better than Mercedes-Benz was doing just a few years ago but are a bit disappointing at this price. Most CLAs will feature the same 208 horsepower turbo 2L inline four and seven-speed.automated manual transmission used in the B-Class. The engine and transmission work well enough but the car does not deliver the serenity expected of a luxury brand. The 375 horsepower AMG niche model is exclusively all-wheel drive. The CLA is assembled in Hungary to hold the line on production costs. 

Pricing
The CLA is aggressively priced for a car with a storied grille badge but it is a bit of a ruse as it is simply a mainstream compact car trading off the Mercedes mystique. All-wheel drive, marketed at 4Matic, standard on the CLA45, is a $2200 option on the CLA250. The Premium and Premium Plus option groups are just slightly overpriced, with the Sport package being good value. Reasonably priced sunroof and navigation options but the satellite radio option is overpriced as is metallic paint. Good value leasing. 

Reliability
New car, not rated. Based on the latest version of the front-wheel drive architecture as the A-Class and B-Class, the previous generation of which does not have an enviable reputation for reliability. Predicted reliability is below average. Short powertrain warranty. The Mercedes-Benz 36 month service contract ($799) that covers the 20,000, 40,000 and 60,000 km scheduled services, is highly recommended.

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L-4 T (208 HP*, 375 HP AMG) 

Transmissions: 7A automated manual 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive 

City Fuel Economy:  9.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Attention Assist, Driver Drowsiness Monitor and Collision Prevention Assist are standard. Available  safety equipment includes blind spot detection and lane-keeping assist

Addtional airbags: driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 4/80,000 with no further powertrain warranty

Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin:  Hungary

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Nissan Leaf

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s new
The 30 kWh battery is standard on all trim levels for 2017. The Leaf is now in its sixth, and likely last year before replacement.

Performance
The Leaf is a technical tour-de-force, but for the driver, the technology has been simplified to the point where the Leaf drives in a decidedly normal fashion. The Leaf is awoken by pushing a dash-mounted button which causes the instruments to light up while a welcoming tune plays in the cabin. After releasing the electrically-operated parking brake, the driver uses the console-mounted joystick to select either reverse or drive. Drive needs to be selected twice in succession to put the Leaf into its battery-saving ECO mode. The transmission selector pattern, which is printed on a panel just behind joystick, is not immediately apparent, leaving some drivers hunting around for how to get the car moving. Printing the shift pattern on the joystick itself would be more straightforward.
Once underway, the Leaf gathers speed in a linear fashion in near silence, with only a faint electric whine accompanying acceleration. The Leaf is quick enough in ECO mode and feels quite strong when the transmission selector is in Drive. Acceleration is responsive at all speeds.
The light and numb steering is nicely geared. The Leaf handles tidily enough and has a fantastically absorbent ride that smothers even major road imperfections with aplomb. Braking is secure, with a solid pedal feel that's not easy to achieve with a regenerative braking system designed to send energy back to the battery.
Outward vision is very good to the front, but the rising window line impedes vision for lane changes. Strong air conditioning was much appreciated during a long heat wave. The sound system has satisfying audio quality. Road and wind noise are both well suppressed.
The arc of 14 blue dots at the top of the main gauge cluster is a real-time reflection of how your driving style affects battery usage. A white dot in the fifth circle from the left represents very gentle driving, with more aggressive behaviour leading to more lit dots toward the right side of the arc. Moderate acceleration results in two to three lit dots, with a single lit dot possible during steady-state cruising. Coasting or braking will light dots to the right of the fifth circle, indicating that energy is being returned to the battery.
The gauge indicating how many kilometres are remaining until the vehicle stops is erratic. The kilometres-to-depletion reading plummets at a rate much faster than the actual kilometres travelled. The distance-to-discharge indicator is most accurate when driving in urban-suburban conditions, where coasting and braking return some energy to the battery. Steady-state highway operation uses up available Kilowatts displayed at a rate that exceeds the distance driven by quite a margin. The cost of fill-up is about $2, which is a fraction of what it would cost to drive the same distance in a gasoline car.
The Leaf's cabin is fronted by a dashboard housing a two-level gauge package. The main gauges are housed in a semi-circular binnacle, with the digital speedometer perched on a brow above the main instruments. The gauge graphics are clear and easy to scan but should look a bit more upscale for a car in this price range and importance. Though buttons are used instead of more easily-manipulated knobs, the Leaf's climate and main audio controls are easy to use. However, setting the tone and balance controls requires cycling though several layers of the navigation system.
The front seats are deeply padded and resiliently firm. Other than fore and aft and recline functions, the only other adjustable feature available to the driver involves the tilt of the rear of the driver's seat cushion. Space is good for front seat occupants, but the rear seat suffers both from an odd seat design and disappointing legroom for a tall car of the Leaf's size.
Interior styling is relatively conventional but does have some futuristic monitoring systems for its electric powertrain.
The front and rear seats are equipped with seat heaters to warm passengers directly, to supplement heating cabin air. This helps conserve energy, as electric heating uses up a lot of battery power. The switch for the rear seat heater is oddly placed on the side of the front passenger seatback.
The Leaf's trunk is short from front to back but is very deep below the window line. The rear seatbacks can be folded down but they create a cargo deck that is much higher than that of the trunk floor.
While the Leaf drives remarkably normally, recharging requires some adaptation. The proper sequence is to completely shut off the car, plug the recharger into the wall socket and then connect the car-end of the charger to the charging port on the car. A blown house fuse, an inability to charge, charging with the navigation system and dashboard both lit up and a non-start condition were all adventures that befell the APA's uninitiated staffers. The Leaf's owner's manual was little help, as it proved virtually impenetrable when it came to clear, concise advice on how to charge the car. Once the charging sequence is known, the car can be recharged without drama. 
A lot has been written about the "range anxiety" experienced by those driving electric cars, and APA's staff all felt that anxiety while testing the Leaf. The limited range and capricious "fuel" gauge mean that you won't be able to attain anything like the 160 km claimed for the Leaf in real-world operation. With about 1100 units delivered last year, Leaf sales more than doubled, but it was outsold nearly three to one by the Chevrolet Volt.

Pricing

The $1300 price increase on the base S trim to reflect its 30 kW battery that is standard for 2017. Moving up from the base S to the SV trim level is very expensive for what you are getting. Migrating from the SV to the range-topping SL trim is priced to reflect the value of its contents. The provinces of Quebec and Ontario offered substantial post purchase rebates for Leaf buyers but the Ontario government is slow in processing the rebate cheques. Few people are looking for used Leafs, limiting resale values. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data on the Leaf's innovative technology but few complaints received thus far.

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
80 kW (107 HP) electric motor

Transmissions: None 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  1.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 2.3L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additonal airbags:: None
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (batteries)
Current Generation Debut:  2012
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


Premium Compact Crossovers

2017 Audi Q3

 

 

What’s new
A power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on the Progressiv trimline this year. 

Performance
The 2L gasoline turbo four sounds like a diesel at idle and emits a gruff soundtrack until into second gear, after which it becomes acceptably refined. Acceleration is brisk, rather than quick, and the engine and conventional six-speed automatic transmission work well together. Handling is steady, but the Q3's ride is quite choppy in town, especially when shod with the 20 inch wheels of our test vehicle. Nicely weighted and geared steering but little road feel reaches the hands of the driver. Road and wind noise are well suppressed.
Other than the way the alloy trim fillets are installed in their panels, the Q3's interior is elegant and carefuly contstructed from attractive materials. Big, clear gauges are separated by a crisply marked electronic display. A large format screen perches on top of the centre of the dashboard and, with brilliantly sharp graphics, reflect the manipulations of the Audi MMI control system that occupies the top reaches of the dash centre stack. The MMI permits access to the navigation, audio and telephone systems but only one function at a time. Navigation and audio system glitches were experienced in our short time with the vehicle. Located far away at the bottom of the dash centre stack, the Q3's multiple tiny buttons for fan speed and air distribtion are impracticle for in-car use. With multiple adjustments including thigh support bolsters, the Q3's front seats are very comfortable. Good seat travel permits even the very tall go get comfortable behind the wheel. The rear seat is supportive, but legroom is very tight, making the Q3 unsuitable for transporting a quartet of adults for more than a short hop. Cargo space is reasonable front to rear and side to side, but height below the window line is limited.

Comments
The sole powertrain is a 2L four hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission sending power to the front wheels, or optionally, to all four wheels.

Pricing

The least expensive Q3 is the $34,300 front-wheel drive Komfort model. All-wheel drive is a $2500 option on all three trim levels. Upgrading from the Komfort to Progressiv trim level and from there to the Technik range topper are priced to reflect the value of content included in the upgrades. Considering its small size and limited utility, the Q3 is quite expensive for what you are getting. The larger Q5 represents better value than the Q3 and is worth the extra money Audi charges to upsize. Despite its shortcomings, Audi's Canadian distributor shifted nearly 4000 units last year.  
Reliability:
Predicted reliability is average at best for the first three or four years, declining after that. There is powertrain warranty past the four year 80,000 km basic warranty.    

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L.4 T (200 HP)

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

City Fuel Economy:  11.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None

Additional Airbags: None
Warranty: 4/80,000 only, with no other powertrain coverage

Current Generation Debut: 2012, 2015 in North America

Country of Origin:  Spain

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA

 

 

What’s new
Apple CarPlay-Android Auto is a new option this year, the power passenger seat is no longer standard and the sunroof and navigation system are now standalone options. The GLA 45 AMG model has a new Track package for 2017.

Comments
The GLA is constructed on the Mercedes budget-car platform that underpins the A, B and CLA models. Unlike the B and CLA, all-wheel drive is standard on the GLA. The main competitor for the GLA currently is the Audi Q3, but the Infiniti QX30, based on the same Mercedes platform, is now on sale. Styling is interesting, if not actually attractive, and eschews the Banana profile, which former design chief, Dr. Thomas Weber, claimed imparted a visual strength to Mercedes vehicles. The cabin, with its overscaled dashboard stocked with overstyled gauges, is essentially lifted from the B and CLA. The appearance of materials used by Mercedes has increased steadily over the past 10 years and the cabin of the GLA looks acceptably plush. The all-black cabin, including the headliner, made our test vehicle a gloomy place to occupy. Cabin space is sufficient up front but rear seat legroom is tight. Except for ground clearance, the Mercedes B250 4Matic, with greater passenger and cargo space and better visibility, is a smarter, more versatile choice than the GLA. Poor navigation system graphics as well as a virtually unlistenable audio system.
Driven briefly by the APA, the 208 horsepower turbo four provided good urge and was acceptably refined. The seven-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission works smoothly, but is determined to reach the highest gear possible in the shortest time and is reluctant in summon a lower gear when the driver requests. Steering is reasonably precise and nicely weighted, but lacking in feel. Solid brakes. 

Comments
All-wheel drive is standard on all GLA variants. Two 2L turbo fours, a 208 horsepower one as well as a 375 horsepower version marketed under the AMG banner, are available. With around 4400 units sold in 2016, the GLA has been a very successful gamble for Mercedes-Benz in Canada. 

Pricing

The base GLA is well equipped. The Premium package is overpriced, the Premium Plus is priced to reflect its extra content and the Sport package is reasonable value, as are the individual navigation, sunroof and power passenger seat options. Some standalone options, like metallic paint and satellite radio, are very expensive. Selecting a full range of options can make the GLA a very expensive car, one that is priced beyond its mandate as a compact CUV, even if it does wear a luxury car badge. The AMG variant is priced so much higher than the mainstream GLA that it cannot really be considered to be in the same market segment. Instead of a GLA, take a look at the B250 4Matic, which is about $4000 cheaper, roomier, with more cargo space and better outward vision.

Reliability: New car, not rated. Based on the latest version of the front-wheel drive architecture as the A-Class and B-Class, the previous generation of which does not have an enviable reputation for reliability. Predicted reliability is below average. Short powertrain warranty. Mercedes-Benz 36 month service contract ($799) that covers the 20,000, 40,000 and 60,000 km scheduled services, is highly recommended.   

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2.4L‑4T (208HP, AMG: 375 HP)

Transmissions: 7A dual clutch* 
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Attention Assist, Driver Drowsiness Monitor and Collision Prevention Assist are standard. Available safety equipment includes blind spot detection and lane-keeping assist

Additional Airbags: No information availabole
Warranty: 4/80,000 with no additional powertrain warranty
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin:  Germany

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: