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Car Reviews

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan vs. 2020 Subaru Forester: Compare Crossover SUVs

2020 Subaru Forester

Just like every culture has a distinct take on a stuffed dough ball—empanada, pierogi, panzarotti—every automaker has a distinct take on a compact crossover. The 2020 Subaru Forester is the steamed bun of this analogy, and the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan is the lesser known bierocks. 

Both are distinct, both are boxy, both have good standard features, but the Forester stands out a bit more. On our menu, it earns a TCC Rating of 6.8 compared to the Tiguan’s 6.0. This score partly reflects the relative freshness of the Forester, which was overhauled for 2019 and won our Best Car To Buy 2019 award. A refreshed Tiguan is planned for 2021, yet it’s not without its charms, which we outline in detail below. 

MORE: Read our 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan and 2020 Subaru Forester full reviews

2020 Subaru Forester

2020 Subaru Forester

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Both compact crossovers don 17-inch wheels and a conservative two-box shape. Both wear lower body cladding that suggests some off-road ability, but the Forester does it better with nearly an inch more of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. While the Forester is a couple inches taller, the Tiguan is longer and wider and is roomy enough to fit a third row that can haul grade-schoolers around town in a pinch. 

The Forester has a steeper windshield that offers excellent outward vision. The Tiguan’s conservative exterior carries over inside with a clean cabin design that isn’t as busy as the two-screen approach of the Forester. The Forester’s dash is topped with a hooded screen for vehicle info and active safety features. Functionally, it helps to compartmentalize all the possible info, but we prefer the look and feel of the Tiguan that has aged well inside. 

Both start around $26,000, but the Tiguan’s optional all-wheel drive adds another $1,300. Since the Forester comes with all-wheel drive and better basic features, it’s the better deal. But the Tiguan has more grunt and is sportier than the Forester. It uses a 184-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 with an 8-speed automatic transmission making 221 pound-feet of torque. Drive modes can enhance the steering feel or delay the shift points for added fun, and even though the 8-speed can dawdle under heavy throttle on passing moves, it’s more responsive and has more snarl than the Forester. Its slightly lower ride height also adds a bit more handling prowess. 

2019 Subaru Forester

2019 Subaru Forester

2019 Subaru Forester

The Forester uses a more workmanlike 182-hp 2.5-liter flat-4 engine powered by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) making 176 lb-ft of torque. The flat-4 can be noisy, but the CVT is one of the better ones in that it is hardly noticeable as it finds the best “gear” for the driver’s inputs. This may not equate to fun, but even with all-wheel drive, the Forester is way more efficient than the Tiguan, which is probably more important. The EPA rates it at 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined, whereas the all-wheel drive Tiguan rates 20/27/23 mpg. Even with front-wheel drive, the heavier, larger Tiguan only gets 25 mpg combined. 

Both compact crossovers offer spacious cabins with comfy front seats and roomy enough back seats to fit five passengers. The available third row in the Tiguan, which costs $595 with all-wheel-drive models, is functional in a pinch. A family of five would want to size up from either vehicle and consider the VW Atlas or Subaru Ascent for more room, however.

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Both models come well-equipped with standard active safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Since the Forester is newer it comes with more safety tech, including active lane control and adaptive cruise control. It earned top scores in crash testing from both the NHTSA and the IIHS, which gave it a Top Safety Pick+ award. The Tiguan, which comes with blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts, earned a Top Safety Pick award, but hasn’t been tested by the NHTSA.

Standard equipment on the base models includes split-folding rear seats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, cloth seats, Bluetooth connectivity, at least one USB port, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, which are better than the native infotainment systems of either. While the Forester Touring model tops $35,000 and the Tiguan SEL Premium balloons to $40,000, we prefer the base model Tiguan S ($27,265 with all-wheel drive) and the Forester Premium ($28,405) as the sweet spot of features and value. Premium adds heated front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a panoramic moonroof to the Forester.

All things considered, the 2020 Subaru Forester dough ball does it better than the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan, as our TCC Rating indicates. The Tiguan is more fun to drive and the available third row offers some interior flexibility, but the Forester excels at what is more important to most consumers with better features, safety scores, and fuel economy.

Summary

Styling

Performance

Comfort & Quality

Safety

Features

Fuel Economy

MSRP

Invoice

Fuel Economy – Combined City and Highway

Engine

Drivetrain




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Car Reviews

New car sales 2020: Registrations down 2.9 per cent in February

March’s data reveals expected collapse of new car market materialised last month; April’s figures could be even worse


It stands to reason that if car showrooms are closed, fewer cars will be sold – and that’s precisely what happened last month, as the coronavirus lockdown saw new car registrations fall by a dramatic 44.4 per cent.

The collapse – while expected – brings new-car registrations down to a level lower than any seen since the 1990s, and has seen the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) downgraded its projected annual 2020 sales figure 23 per cent to 1.73 million cars. 

  • Can I drive my car during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown?

But the worst may yet be to come: with the Government only announcing an enforced lockdown over mid-way through last month, buyers may still have been attending showrooms for the first part of March. April, with dealerships deemed non-essential businesses and closed all month, is likely to see all but online new-car sales dry up completely. 

The SMMT warns other European countries that shut down their countries earlier than the UK saw more dramatic declines last month, with Italian sales down 85 per cent, the French market falling by 72 per cent, and Spanish registrations dropping by 69 per cent.

Despite last month’s significant decline in registrations, some 11,694 pure electric cars were delivered in March, accounting for 4.6 per cent of the market. Plug-in hybrid sales, meanwhile, rose 38 per cent. 

The SMMT also highlighted the positive work being done by the automotive industry in the wake of the crisis, with Formula 1 teams and other firms racing to make medical ventilators, and manufacturers pledging both staff and vehicles to help front-line workers.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “With the country locked down in crisis mode for a large part of March, this decline will come as no surprise. Despite this being the lowest March since we moved to the bi-annual plate change system, it could have been worse had the significant advanced orders placed for the new 20 plate not been delivered in the early part of the month. 

“We should not, however, draw long term conclusions from these figures other than this being a stark realisation of what happens when economies grind to a halt.

“How long the market remains stalled is uncertain, but it will reopen and the products will be there. In the meantime, we will continue to work with government to do all we can to ensure the thousands of people employed in this sector are ready for work and Britain gets back on the move.”

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Car Reviews

2020 Nissan Almera dressed up in Drive68 body kit

Thailand’s automotive aftermarket is a large one, and it now has its sights set on the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Almera that was first launched in the country in November last year.

The B-segment sedan looks rather striking when stock, but Ter Studio believes it can make the model look even better with its Drive68 body kit. The modification package is a comprehensive one, starting with a front bumper extension that gives the Almera a more aggressive-looking face.

The new bumper piece further accentuates the fog lamp sections with faux intakes and black surrounds, while introducing a lip that has integrated reflectors in the corners.

The Almera kit also includes new side skirts, a ducktail spoiler, along with a bumper add-on, the last of which features decorative “exhausts” flanking a meshed centre outlet.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor has previously confirmed that the all-new Almera will be introduced in Malaysia next year, so if you need some inspiration on how you can modify the sedan when it arrives, Ter Studio’s body kit might be a good place to start. Thoughts?

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Categories
Racing

JV: Swap 2020 World Championship for unique events

1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, has suggested scrapping the 2020 season and instead run unique non-championship events.

A record-breaking 22-race calendar was on the cards for 2020 until the global crisis put all major sport on hold until further notice.

For Formula 1, that has ensured the postponement or cancellation of the first eight races of the season and there could well be more delays to come.

With the current calendar effectively in tatters, Villeneuve has suggested an alternative option if some racing can indeed be salvaged later in the year.

“It might be smarter to say: ‘There won’t be a championship. We’ll race and each race will be a unique event, like the Indy 500 or the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Villeneuve is quoted as having told French broadcaster Canal Plus.

“Each Grand Prix would be like a Grand Slam rather a round of half of a championship.

“It would also allow teams to use the end of 2020 to prepare for 2021.”

If an actual World Championship is possible, Villeneuve believes it may not be until September before we see any action. But, that is not something he necessarily wants to see.

“Even if the world opens up and we can have a Grand Prix after the pandemic, it takes time to set up an event,” he added.

“The first Grands Prix on the calendar should take place in September. I imagine the various organizations and Formula 1’s owners will want to hold the maximum amount of races to comply with their contracts’ minimum requirement, but that would be a mistake.

“It would be a pity to start filling up August and then have races unfold from September until Christmas, and even beyond, just for the sake of having a championship.”

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Car Reviews

New Ford Kuga PHEV 2020 review

The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid SUV is at its best when running on pure electric power


  • 3.5 out of 5

    Verdict

    The Ford Kuga PHEV is at its best when running around in its pure-EV mode. The engine is a little intrusive when it kicks in, and the CVT gearbox doesn’t do the driving experience any favours. Thankfully, the Kuga has a usable electric range, plus enough space for all the family. ST-Line brings plenty of kit, and if you’re planning to buy on finance or as a company car, this PHEV version could work out cheaper per month than an equivalent diesel model.

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    We’ve already driven the new Ford Kuga, and been impressed by its handling, interior and strong kit list. The mild-hybrid diesel model did a lot well, but while that car is likely to be the top-seller, this plug-in hybrid will appeal to company car buyers looking to cut their tax bills.

    We’ll start by looking at the costs. There’s no ignoring the fact that low CO2 emissions result in affordable Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax. This Kuga is no exception, with its 10 per cent banding rising by just one percentage point each year for the next three years.

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      Best plug-in hybrids 2020
    • By contrast, the 118bhp 1.5 EcoBlue diesel automatic emits 145g/km of CO2, so you’re looking at a lofty 36 per cent banding – just one percentage point off the most polluting models. In this way the Kuga PHEV makes a strong case for itself.

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      Yet this pales into insignificance if you aren’t able to use the Kuga PHEV as Ford intended. Despite its generous 35-mile electric-only range (28-30 miles is more realistic), you’ll still need regular access to a plug in order to realise its full potential.

      Rely too heavily on the petrol engine and you’ll quickly realise that lugging around a big battery without being able to use it hits fuel efficiency hard. It’ll be worse still if you flick the Kuga into its ‘EV Charge’ setting. Here it uses the engine to top up the cells; we’d avoid this unless you’re due to enter a built-up area or low-emission zone.

      If you’re regularly driving long distances or live somewhere without access to off-street parking, then one of the cheaper diesel or petrol models is likely to be a more cost-effective consideration. Charging the PHEV on a daily basis will show the car in its best light; there’s no quick-charge capability – instead, the fastest you’ll be able to recharge from empty is in 3.5 hours using a 7.4kW home wallbox. A standard three-pin plug should do the same job in around six hours. Beware, if you want to use a public charge point, you’ll need to specify the relevant cable from Ford – at a cost of £195.

      But what’s the Kuga PHEV like to drive if you meet the criteria? Well, the good news is that it keeps many of the diesel’s favourable handling traits; body control is tight, the steering is sharp and the ride is compliant.

      The complications arrive when you delve into the car’s many drive modes. Not only are there the usual Normal, Eco and Sport settings, there’s also a Slippery Deep Snow/Sand mode. And yet this Kuga is offered only with front-wheel drive. On top of that there are four settings for the electric drivetrain; the aforementioned ‘EV Charge’ tops up the battery using the engine, while ‘EV Now’ prioritises any remaining electric energy. ‘EV Later’ holds the state of charge, and ‘EV Auto’ uses the car’s electronics to determine the most efficient combination of petrol and electric power delivery.

      With a full battery, the Kuga will move off in near-silence. The hybrid powertrain, with the Kuga’s raised driving position and good visibility, makes it very easy to drive in town.

      Here the Kuga PHEV is at its best. You’d never call it quick, but power is instant and it’s smooth in its delivery. You can boost the level of brake regeneration by clicking the ‘L’ button on the gear selector; it doesn’t allow one-pedal driving, but it helps to make urban treks as efficient as possible. As long as you’ve enough charge, the Kuga will run at up to 85mph without waking the engine.

      The issues come when you ask for a bit more shove, or when the charge is depleted. The engine drones away in the background as it tries to feed the battery, and you find the usual issues with CVT gearboxes. Hard acceleration causes the revs to soar and the engine to groan; we’d prefer a conventional auto ’box like the one in the Hyundai Ioniq.

      Elsewhere, much of what we said of the diesel rings true with the plug-in. The interior is built to a high standard, and on ST-Line and above, you get great digital instruments. The rotary gear selector isn’t the most tactile, but it makes space on the centre console.

      ST-Line is likely to be a popular choice – not only for that dash, but also for its sportier styling, 18-inch alloys and black roof rails. That’s on top of the Titanium’s LED lights, climate control and B&O stereo, at £2,100 extra – or about £25/month more (on a £393/month bill) on a three-year PCP deal.

      That’s particularly competitive when you compare costs with those of a similar ST-Line diesel auto (£407/month) – although the PHEV has a much larger balloon payment at the end of the agreement.

      The Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid is about £600 a month in mid-spec SRi Nav trim, even with Vauxhall’s £2,000 deposit contribution.

      Model: Ford Kuga 2.5 Duratec PHEV ST-Line
      Price: £35,185
      Engine: 2.5-litre 4cyl petrol PHEV
      Power: 222bhp
      Transmission: Single-speed CVT automatic, front-wheel drive 
      0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
      Top speed: 125mph
      Economy: 201.8mpg
      CO2: 32g/km
      On sale Now

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    Car Reviews

    Volvo's Q1 2020 sales down by 18.2% due to Covid-19

    Volvo’s consecutive years of charting record growth has been abruptly disrupted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, and in the first quarter of 2020 it sold 131,889 cars globally. That’s a drop of 18.2% compared to the same period last year.

    Last month, the Swedish brand sold 46,395 cars, down 31.2% compared to the March 2019, mostly due to weaker demand in Europe and the US. It sold 70,510 cars in Europe, down 18.5% from Q1 2019, and shifted just 19,485 cars in the US, representing a reduction of 11.7%. Both these markets are expected to deteriorate further as they battle the rampaging Covid-19 outbreak.

    On the flip side, the China market is currently showing signs of recovery, with Volvo claiming that showroom traffic is improving. In China, Volvo sold 20,780 cars, a 30.5% drop from the same period last year. Some provinces which began easing movement restrictions in the beginning of March have seen an increase of activity in dealerships, and Volvo has also reopened four of its manufacturing plants in China.


    A breakdown for the total number of cars Volvo sold globally in Q1 2020

    For Q1 2020, the Volvo XC60 was the best-selling model with 36,930 units sold (down from 46,259 units in Q1 2019), followed by the XC40 (34,268 units; up from 28,903 cars) and XC90 (18,327 units; down from 22,073 cars).

    Its SUV range accounted for 67.9% of the total sales in the first quarter (up from 60.3% in Q1 2019), while the Recharge plug-in hybrid line-up stood at 14.7%, nearly doubling last year’s first quarter figure of 7.4%.

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    Car Reviews

    Tesla Q1 2020: Production And Deliveries Set New Q1 Record

    The quarterly results are now in.

    Tesla has just released its Q1 2020 sales and delivery report and the numbers are now in. See how Tesla fared this quarter right here.

    Tesla released some record-crushing numbers for Q1 2020. Not overall records, but rather records for any Q1. Per Tesla:

    In the first quarter, we produced almost 103,000 vehicles and delivered approximately 88,400 vehicles. This is our best ever first quarter performance.

    At 84,000 global deliveries of the Model 3, Model S and Model X combined, Tesla far exceeded all expectations, which were more or less in the upper 70,000 range.

    For Q1 2020, Tesla lists Model 3/Y deliveries at 76,200. Meanwhile, combined Model S and Model X deliveries hit 12,200.

    On the production front, Tesla says Model 3/Y production hit 87,282 for Q1, while Model S and X were at 15,390 combined.

    Per Tesla:

    Model Y production started in January and deliveries began in March, significantly ahead of schedule. Additionally, our Shanghai factory continued to achieve record levels of production, despite significant setbacks.

    Congrats to Tesla on a record-shattering first quarter.

    Tesla adds:

    Our net income and cash flow results will be announced along with the rest of our financial performance when we announce Q1 earnings. Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more. Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements and mix of directly leased vehicles.

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    Auto News

    A Ford F-150 Hybrid May Be Here Sooner Than Expected

    There’s an electric Ford F-150 in the works (that’s an EV prototype shown up top), but let’s say you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into a world of zero tailpipe emissions just yet. Would a Ford F-150 hybrid be more to your liking? If so, you might be in luck: The option may be on the table in the not-too-distant future.

    According to a leaked document recently posted to newf150forum.com—which looks plausible enough, but, as always, take it with a grain of salt—an F-150 hybrid-electric vehicle could be here as soon as the 2021 model year.

    Said document purports to be a VIN decoder for the 2021 Ford F-150 series. We’re expecting to see the 14th-generation F-150 very soon (the current 13th-gen truck went into production for the 2015 model year), so this could be a snapshot of the all-new truck’s powertrain lineup. Save for the “3.5L HEV V-6” added to the mix, it’s a familiar one, ranging from a 2.7-liter V6 to a 5.0-liter gasoline V8, plus a 3.0-liter V6 diesel.

    A hybrid pickup truck is a unique beast, and a high-risk one; Ford simply cannot afford to mess up anything F-150-related. But it won’t have to totally reinvent the wheel here, as it recently introduced two related SUVs using two somewhat different approaches to hybridization.

    First, there’s the new Ford Explorer hybrid, which uses a 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6. Combined with the hybrid system, this Explorer variant produces 318 hp combined, along with 322 lb-ft of torque. Ford rates the Explorer hybrid’s towing capacity at 5,000 pounds. Not a bad start for the unibody SUV (and conventional gas-powered versions can tow up to 5,600 pounds), but definitely not full-size truck territory.

    Upmarket, though on the same platform as the Explorer, is the Lincoln Aviator. The Aviator’s plug-in hybrid variant starts with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that’s been electrified all the way to a system output of 450 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.

    The F-150 hybrid would likely go with a system closer to that of the Explorer. The 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 already offered in the pickup is closely related to the SUV’s 3.3-liter, for one, and the Aviator’s performance-oriented plug-in setup would add complexity and cost to what is supposed to be the workhorse of the Ford lineup.

    The big caveat for all of this is that even if the VIN decoder document posted to newf150forum.com, dated Jan. 24, 2020, was accurate at the time of writing, the world looks very different just a few short months later. The coronavirus pandemic has forced automakers, Ford included, to push back high-profile debuts (whatever happened to the Bronco?), and unfortunately there’s no end yet in sight.

    But the vehicle-development show must go on, and hopefully we’ll see the new F-150 and all of its variants—as well as all the other stuff we’ve been waiting for—sooner rather than later.

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    Car Reviews

    2020 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2020 Mazda 3 hatchback: Compare Cars

    2020 Mazda CX-30

    Mazda has presented a curious case with its small cars. Following the evolutionary chart of the Mazda3 hatchback leads to a split in what we can now call the Crossover Era. While the lovable Mazda3 continues on one trajectory, the split presents a new subspecies known as the CX-30 subcompact crossover. The CX-3 exists in that split, a small knuckle-dragging step behind, but the larger CX-30 is better adapted to thrive in the American concrete jungle. 

    New for 2020, the CX-30 offers inhabitants a taller ride height, a larger footprint, and a bit more cargo room than the genetically related 2020 Mazda3 hatchback. Is that enough to let it proliferate with car shoppers? Or, will the fun-to-drive nature of the Mazda3 continue to nurture it?

    We do not ask in vain. According to our TCC Ratings, the 2020 Mazda3 outdoes the CX-30 by nearly a point, with the stalwart earning a 6.7 and the newcomer a 5.8. The score for the Mazda3 factors in the sedan, which has much better outward visibility than the hatch, while the score for the CX-30 does not include a safety rating since it has yet to undergo the evolutionary shock known as crash-testing. Those differences would narrow that one-point gap. 

    There’s much more to it than the numbers, however, so what follows is a breakdown of those key distinguishing traits to help decide which one to domesticate. 

    MORE: Read our 2020 Mazda CX-30 and 2020 Mazda 3 full reviews

    Style and performance

    Back here in the real world of car shopping, the CX-30 has one thing in abundance over the Mazda3: plastic body cladding. It covers the front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, wheel arches, all in the name of rugged American individualism. Or something. Other than that, with their wide grilles and narrow headlights, snub noses with short overhangs, and attractive flowing body lines, they could almost be twins. But the Mazda3 is more pinched at the rear, rounded like a mouse controller while the CX-30 has a more traditional crossover shape that makes for better cargo space even though it’s three inches shorter. 

    2020 Mazda CX-30

    2020 Mazda CX-30

    2020 Mazda CX-30

    The CX-30 is five inches taller and rides 1.5 inches higher off the ground than the Mazda3. The Mazda3 has a longer wheelbase, and a slightly wider rear track. Being lower to the ground and stretched out for balance is what makes it fun to drive. Both vehicles use MacPherson struts up front with springs and a rear torsion beam in back. Critics say some of the sportiness in the Mazda3 left along with the independent suspension, but that would be hard to notice in most everyday driving situations.

    Both are powered by a 186-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4 with a 6-speed automatic transmission powering the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available for $1,400, and the Mazda3 hatchback in top Premium trim can be had with an excellent but endangered 6-speed manual. With a sizable engine for this class, the CX-30 can tend to the louder side when pushed, but once it hits 4,000 rpm the power comes on strong. Sport modes will delay the shift points, and for drivers who enjoy driving, the centered steering, balanced handling, and churning engine will satisfy in either application. When it comes to handling, the CX-30 can only roll its eyes and body. The Mazda3 wins.

    As much power and efficiency as Mazda has squeezed out of this engine, even with fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, it is average when it comes to fuel economy. The CX-30 gets an EPA-rated 25 mpg city, 33 highway, 28 combined with front-wheel drive; the Mazda3 with the automatic rates better at 26/35/30 mpg as a front-drive hatchback. 

    2019 Mazda 3 – Best Car To Buy 2020

    2019 Mazda 3 – Best Car To Buy 2020

    2019 Mazda 3 – Best Car To Buy 2020

    Comfort, safety, and features

    Here too, the similarities exceed the differences. Both offer well-bolstered seats shod in synthetic leather or better on all but the base trim. Rear seats are roomier in the CX-30 thanks to the higher roof, and rear visibility is much better than in the Mazda3 hatch. Even though cargo volume is nearly the same, the CX-30 is more practical because of the more vertical shape of the liftgate. You can stack more. We could carpool to hockey practice by stacking two bags in the back and having the sticks ride shotgun. We couldn’t do that in the Mazda3.

    2019 Mazda 3 – first drive – Los Angeles, January 2019

    Mazda has pushed a premium feel in its cars recently, and that’s most evident in the tuxedo black Preferred and Premium trims. Base models of the CX-30 start at $23,000, while the Mazda3 hatchback is about $1,500 more. Both come with cloth upholstery, power locks, and an 8.8-inch infotainment display controlled by a dial in the console. Step up to Select trim and get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 18-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, and keyless ignition for about $1,200 more than the base model. That’s where we’d go for either, even though base models come with active safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

    2020 Mazda CX-30

    We expect the CX-30 to mimic crash-test results of the Mazda3, which earned a top five-star rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

    Both the 2020 Mazda CX-30 and 2020 Mazda3 hatchback come well-equipped and offer a sporty alternative to their rivals. Much more than numbers, the difference between the two comes down to feel. The Mazda3 is better for drivers who like to drive, while the CX-30 is the more practical everyday vehicle. Options like that support a healthy evolutionary chain.

    Summary

    Styling

    Performance

    Comfort & Quality

    Safety

    Features

    Fuel Economy

    MSRP

    Invoice

    Fuel Economy – Combined City and Highway

    Engine

    Drivetrain




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    Car Reviews

    New Audi e-tron Sportback 2020 review

    The new Audi e-tron Sportback is an accomplished electric car, but it costs nearly £4k more than the standard e-tron

  • 4.0 out of 5

    Verdict

    The Audi e-tron Sportback is not a car that anyone asked for. It has no direct competition, but having said that, as a relaxing, comfortable and premium electric SUV, it hits all the right notes. Whether it’s worth the near-£4,000 premium over a regular e-tron will be down to personal preference on the new look. 

    If you thought coupe SUVs were already niche in themselves, Audi has gone one step further with the e-tron Sportback. This is the first fully electric coupe SUV to hit the market and it’s priced from £79,900, so you’re paying close to £4,000 premium over the standard Audi e-tron. 

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    The Sportback line-up mirrors that of the regular e-tron so there are two versions available, starting with the 50 quattro, which has a 71kWh battery, 217-mile range and develops 309bhp. The more potent 55 quattro, which we’re driving here, uses a 95kWh battery for a 278-mile range, and develops a more eye-catching 404bhp.

    • Best electric cars to buy 2020
    • One thing that doesn’t change, regardless of the version, is the compromise you have to make with the Sportback. It’s 4.9 metres long, like the regular model, but there is around 20mm less headroom in the back, along with an overall luggage capacity that has dropped by 45 litres because of the sloping roofline.

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      • New Audi e-tron GT concept review

      The Sportback swallows a total of 615 litres, the e-tron 660 litres. With the rear seat folded down, the Sportback is slightly behind at 1,655 to 1,725 litres. Is it a price worth paying? To our eyes it's certainly one of the better-executed coupe SUVs, with a well-proportioned, sporty silhouette. 

      On the move, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that the Sportback behaves much like its bigger brother in every way, despite the new look. The first thing that strikes you is just how calm and quiet the e-tron Sportback is at speed The initial surge is acceleration is always quite surprising and entertaining but right after the 5.7-second sprint from 0-62mph, there’s near silence. Nothing rattles, shakes or booms.

      The steering is smooth and consistent with its weighting, which means the car feels stable and secure on the move. Seven driving profiles are available via Audi’s Dynamic Select button, from Eco to Dynamic. But rarely does the ride become firm; there’s alway a degree of suppleness to the ride quality. On the motorway, the e-tron’s air suspension can even drop the ride height by 80mm to help increase range, too. 

      But this is an extremely heavy car, at 2,480kg. The battery alone weighs up to 700kg, so rather than trying to inject the e-tron with any sort of sporting dynamics, Audi has focused on making it refined and soothing to drive rather than truly agile and engaging. In our view, it is the best strategy it could have taken.

      Passengers in the back are a little shortchanged, however. The 20mm lower roofline may not sound like a lot but it is noticeable; those approaching 6ft will feel their heads beginning to gently brush the roof lining. But overall, there is still enough knee and shoulder room to fit three abreast. 

      Up front, there is on change over the standard e-tron. That’s to say there’s a feast of digital displays that are used to operate all of the car functions; the lower set-up gives access to the climate controls, while the upper section is used for navigation and media. As we’ve come to expect from Audi’s latest cabins, everything is beautifully built and ensures long drives don’t become a chore. 

      Speaking of long drives, they are reasonably feasible, thanks to the e-tron’s rapid-charging capability. Hooked up to an ultra-rapid 150kW charger, the battery can be topped up from 10-80 per cent in 30 minutes. The only trouble is finding one; currently there are fewer than 900 publicly available in the UK, compared with around 27,000 slow, fast and rapid chargers.

      Model: Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro
      Price: (from) £79,900
      Engine: 95kWh battery, two electric motors 
      Transmission: Single speed auto, four wheel drive
      Power: 404bhp/664Nm
      0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
      Top speed: 124mph
      Range: 278 miles 
      CO2: 0g/km
      On sale: Now

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