Time for a few odds and sods from the automotive world.
Vehicles of the year
First up, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) just announced its choices for 2022 car of the year and utility vehicle of the year. The winners are the Honda Civic and Hyundai Tucson.
Prevailing over 250 other entries, these two selections result from months of testing and evaluation by the country’s automotive journalists, from Vancouver to Halifax.
Each vehicle was tested on the same roads and conditions that Canadian drivers face each day, and ballots were scored anonymously on various factors, including performance, features, technology, design, usability and value. This year, the list was first narrowed to 13 category winners and then three finalists for each of the overall awards.
“AJAC is very proud to present our highest honours to the 2022 Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year,” said association president Stephanie Wallcraft. “Our members represent the largest and most diverse collective of automotive expertise in the country, and they test these vehicles in the very same conditions Canadians experience from coast to coast every single day. Canadians can count on these assessments when choosing the vehicles that will best fit their families and lifestyles.”
Kia has more electric offerings
Kia has just thrown its hat into the electric vehicle ring – again. The company’s EV6 should be arriving in dealerships now, with a starting price of just under $45,000. The EV6 will be offered in rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive variations.
It features a lithium-ion battery pack with up to 499 km of driving range on some models. It can be fully recharged via household plug-in current in about seven hours and features “ultra-fast charging” via an 800-volt DC charger that can deliver up to 80 percent of a full charge in about 18 minutes.
It will also have an “Available Vehicle to Load” feature that turns the EV6 into a direct power source for everything from personal electronics to appliances to another vehicle.
The EV6 will also be available in the Canadian market with a heat pump system, with waste heat recycling to help maintain the all-electric range even at low temperatures. First integrated into the Soul EV and available on the Niro EV, this next-generation pump system on the EV6 uses not only the heat from external air but also the waste heat from a variety of electronic components, resulting in a larger capacity for recycling. That’s worth noting for those living on the Prairies.
Subaru has strong sales month
Subaru wants us to know that February was its best month ever for sales of the Ascent, BRZ and Crosstrek.
Furthermore, the 2022 Ascent just garnered an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) top safety pick, the American organization’s highest honour. The Crosstrek remains an IIHS top safety pick on models with the EyeSight feature and specific headlights.
Consumer marketing firm J.D. Power also bestowed the 2022 Canada ALG Residual Value Award for subcompact utility vehicles on the Crosstrek.
Nissan sets up American EV plant
Nissan recently announced that its Canton, Miss., assembly plant would become a centre for U.S. electric vehicle production. Says Nissan: “The company is transforming Nissan Canton with the latest in EV manufacturing technology to support production of two all-new, all-electric vehicles. The investment for EV production will total $500 million, preserving and upskilling nearly 2,000 jobs, with production expected to begin in 2025.”
Given the prevailing geopolitical climate, we can probably expect to see more of these kinds of domestic installations in North America.
Ford does cold-weather tests
And Ford – which just withdrew all of its operations from Russia – has just completed a round of cold-weather testing for its Lightning electric pickup.
Plowing through -34C weather, engineers looked at how the all-electric powertrain adjusts power delivery to the wheels on low-traction surfaces in extremely cold temperatures.
The testing took place at a restricted military base in Alaska and is known as “low-mu” testing.
Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976. He was named Canadian Automobile Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For interview requests, click here.
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