2015-2016 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 2016. 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.

Therefore, cars covered in the new segment include the B-Class, CLA and GLA from Mercedes-Benz, the A3 and Q3 from Audi, all of which represent a move downmarket by their makers. Also Included in this section is the QX30 from Infiniti, which are based on the same platform as the Mercedes B-Class, CLA and GLA. Also included in this new category are products from MINI which, while small, are decidedly premium priced, as well as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, which are priced far higher than conventional cars for the same size. Other vehicles covered in this new 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 section. 

A note about mileage figures: The APA's is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel economy figures as those form the Canada EnerGuide were not available when this research was being done. 

2016 Acura ILX  2016 Chevrolet Volt  2016 MINI Countryman 2016 Mecerdes-Benz CLA 
2016 Audi A3  2017 Infiniti Q30  Mercedes-Benz B-Class  2016 Nissan Leaf 
2016 Buick Verano  MINI Cooper     

2016 Acura ILX

 
What’s new
Mid-cycle remake including L.E.D. headlights, improved cabin materials, enhanced sound proofing as well as a number of standard active security features. The previously optional 2.4L engine is now standard and funnels its power to the front wheels exclusively through an eight-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission that debuted in the new TLX.

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, is totally outclassed by the new Honda Civic Touring. The sole power team for 2016 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
Very good value Premium and Tech package upgrades but the A-Spec package is very expensive for what you get. Very good value leasing.
Reliability: Predicted reliability is above average, like the 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:  6.5L/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: 


2016 Audi A3

NOT RATED

 

 

 
What’s new
A convertible version of the A3 emerged during the 2015 model. The key addition for 2016 includes a high-power version of the A3 marketed as the S3. A diesel engine was quietly introduced during the 2015 model year and just as quietly extinguished for 2016 in the wake of VW's diesel scandal. An exclusively diesel-powered five-door hatchback was introduced for 2016 but died in the wake of the diesel scandal as well. A hybrid A3, labelled the E-tron, was announced, never came to market, but was surreptitiously released with no fanfare early in 2016.

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, with a convertible joining it during the 2015 model year. Both body styles look very Audi, but also look a bit stale, especially for all new cars. The traditional hatchback body style, on sale in Europe for over a year now, was announced for 2016 but withdrawn as its sole power unit was the VW E89 TDI that has been the source of so much controversy.
The A3's dashboard features big, clear instruments and pretty simple controls. The display screen on navigation equipped cars extends up from the dash when needed but retracts when not in use. This is better solution to the aftermarket looking permanently mounted screens used by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. 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 Hungary. Big, square trunk.
Power stems from two turbocharged gasoline engines, a 1.8L with 180 horsepower and a 2L producing 220 horsepower in the A3 and 293 horsepower in the S3. The 1.8L car is front-wheel drive only, with both versions of the 2L linked exclusively to the Quattro all-wheel drive system. A six-speed automated manual is the sole transmission available.

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.

Though its base price is a withering $39,200, the base E-tron Ultra is lavishly equipped with leather seating and a large-format sunroof and isn’t significantly more expensive than a well-equipped Ford C-Max Energi.br />

Pricing
Three trim levels, Komfort, Progressiv and Technik are offered. Moving from the base Komfort to the mid-range Progressiv trim level represents good value. Pricing to upgrade from the Progressiv to the range-topping Technic reflects the value of the additional content. Swapping the front-wheel drive 1.8L-front wheel drive power package for the all-wheel drive 2L 220 horsepower all-wheel drive powertrain will set you back $4800 for a car of the same trim level. The diesel engine, if it returns to the market in 2016, commands a $3800 premium compared with a 1.8L front-wheel drive version of the same trim level. The convertible is priced $6600 higher than a 2L version of the sedan. Good value leasing.

Reliability
New car, 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), 1.8L-4 T (180 HP)*, 2L-4 T (220 HP, 293 HP S3) 
Transmissions: 6A (DSG) 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  10.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.1L/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

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Buick Verano 


 

 

What’s new
Based on the previous-generation Chevrolet Cruze, 2016 should be the last year for the current Verano. The new Driver Confidence Package includes blind spot, rear cross-traffic, lane departure and forward collision warnings. Buick is offering 2016 Verano owners free scheduled service at 20,000 and 40,000 kilometres or two years, whichever comes first.

Comments
The Buick Verano, based on the previous-generation Chevrolet Cruze based, 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. The 2L turbo is very quick. 

Pricing 2015
Trim upgrades on non-turbo models balance price and content quite precisely. The turbo is offered in only one highly-equipped version equivalent to the normally-aspirated 1SL. When additional equipment standard on the turbo is accounted for, the value of the engine itself is about $2500. Good value leasing.

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)*. 2L-4 T (250 HP)

Transmissions: 6A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy:  11.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants. Rear side airbags for outboard passengers. Available blind spot, rear cross-traffic, lane departure and forward collision warnings.

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 volt 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 and minimize energy draw. 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
No pricing is available at this time.

Reliability:
New vehicle, insufficient data. Previous model was reliable.

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: 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: 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

NEW

 

 
What’s new
The second-generation Volt went on sale by the late fall of 2015, sold out quick and GM started taking orders for an 2017 model in December of 2015.

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 next 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. 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.
Although it has fallen short of GM's sales projections for it, the Volt remains the best-selling car that can run under electric power, outselling the Nissan Leaf in Canada by about 50 percent. Driven briefly in the fall of 2015, the new Volt, with effortless, smooth power, balanced chassis, sharp steering and a real feeling of solidity, is an impressive tour-de-force.
Availability Notice
Despite low gasoline prices and a generation ennui on the part of the public with electric vehicles, the plug-in hybrid Volt has proven very popular, with demand significantly exceeding supply. Those seeking a Volt will need to place a factory order and wait anywhere from three to eight months for their Volt and be prepared to pay pretty close to full list price for it.  

Pricing
The content that accompainies the Premier trim level updgrade is insufficient to justify the $4100 price supplement demanded by Chevrolet.
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:  5.5L/100 km (Gas)
Highway Fuel Economy:  5.6L/100 km (gas)
Electric Mode Operation: 2.2L/100 km MPGe
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: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

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.

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 exclusively.
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 will go on sale in Canada in late 2016.

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 and mates it to a 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
No pricing is available at this time.

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: n/a
Highway Fuel Economy: n/a
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, leaving the plug-in hybrid and all electric exclusive to Hyundai for now.
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 were features of the pre-production Niro examined at Kia Canada s head office. The Niro should go on sale in Canada late in 2016.
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:

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: 


2016 MINI Cooper

 

 

 

What’s new
Third-generation convertible goes on sale in the spring of 2016. Coupe and Roadster models discontinued as MINI rationalizes its model range. John Cooper Works variant returns for 2016.

Performance
The 1.5L turbo triple is quick, flexible and acceptably smooth at normal speeds by is quite diesel-like at idle and at low speeds. The automatic transmission does a good job of harnesssing the three-cylinder engine's energy. The big 2L turbo in the Cooper S delivers 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
With the announcement of the convertible, the third-generation MINI line is now complete.

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 Essentials package is very good value, with the Loaded and Navigation packages priced to reflect the value of their contents. Overpriced leather,  metallic paint, L.E.D. lights 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

Third-gen engines:
1.5L-3 T (134 HP-Cooper)*, 2L-4 T (184 HP-Cooper S, 231 HP John Cooper Works)
 
Second-gen engines:
1.5 L‑3 T (134 HP)*, 2L- 4 T :189 HP S, 228 HP JCW)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A*  

Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.4L/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: NR

Mod. Front: G

Side: NR

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 MINI Countryman and Paceman


 

 
What’s new
Paceman that was expected to be discontinued has returned for one more year.

Performance
The turbo engine, which delivers strong performance in a vocal fashion, mates well with the optional automatic transmission. The Countryman's harsh ride is mated to a less agile feel than experienced in other MINIS. Like other MINIS, the Countryman cabin is very stylish, but suffers from buckshot ergonomics. Attractive cabin fittings with lots of padded 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. The rear seat can be slid forward and back to maximize cargo or passenger space.
Comments
The Countryman is available in Cooper S and John Cooper Works variants. All models feature the ALL4 all-wheel drive system.

Pricing
Upgrading from the S to the John Cooper Works model can cost upwards of $8550, a lot ofr 27 horsepower. The Paceman is priced $1250 more than a similarly-equipped Countryman. Good value option packages. Leather and cloth, leather upholstery and metallic paint are all expensive options.

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:
1.6L-4 T* (181 HP), 1.6L-4T (208 HP: John Cooper Works)

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

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.8L/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: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Mercedes-Benz B250

NOT RATED

 

 
What’s new
Updates for 2016 include Keyless Go, revised front seats and standard Dynamic Select, which offers Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual modes for transmission programming.
No hint of a 2016 model by the end of October 2015.
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. 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 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.

Pricing
The 4Matic all-wheel drive system costs $2300 more than a front-wheel drive B250. Some inidividual options, especially metallic paind and satellite radio, are exceptionally expensive. Premium MPP and MPU packages are priced to reflect the value of their contents but the Premium MPX and MPV packages are overpriced, as are the Exclusive, Sport and Performance AMG packages. 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. Short powertrain warranty. Mercedes-Benz 36 month service contract 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: n/a.
Highway Fuel Economy: n/a
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: 


2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA

NOT RATED

 
What's New
AMG-branded version enjoys a power increase from 355 to 375 horsepower. Keyless Go is standard on all models for 2016. Adaptive dampers are now a stand alone option on CLA 250 models.

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. Poor engine and transmission programming leads to lacklustre performance in normal driving, overly hyper performance when pushed and generally substandard transmission performance. The CLA is offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive this year. 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 base CLA is nicely equipped but the car ended up costing more than observers expected when it was announcved. The 4Matic all-wheel drive system, standard on the AMG model, is a $2300 option on the CLA 250. The AMG variant is significantly more expensive than the mainstream CLA 250. THe Premium MPP and MPU packages are priced to reflect the value of their contents but the Premium MPX, MPV packages as well as the Exclusif, Sport and Performance AMG packages, are overpriced. Individual options like metallic paint and satellite radio, are very expensive. 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. Mercedes-Benz $789, 36 month service contract 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:  9.0L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.2L/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: 


2016 Nissan Leaf


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s new
Battery pack on the SV and SL trim levels upgraded from 24kWh to 30 kWh, with a maximum possible range of 172 kilometres. Revised graphics on the dash centre screen. 

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. Air conditioning performance 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 120 volt recharging pack is standard on the Leaf. A 240 volt recharging system, which needs to be hard-wired into the building housing it, starts at about $2400.
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 still outsold by the Chevrolet Volt by about 50 percent

Pricing
The SV trim upgrade costs $4700 more than the base S model, but includes about $2500 in additional equipment and the 30 kW (compared with 24 kW) battery pack and a 240 V charger. Good value SL trim upgrade. Leaf buyers can obtain rebates of $8000 from Quebec and $8500 from Ontario when buying or leasing a new Leaf. Though it has limited electric-only range, the Chevrolet Volt might be a more practical day to day choice.

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

2016 Audi Q3

 
 
What’s new
Compact CUV based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan and not related to the current VW Golf MQB architecture that supports the Auid A3. Late-cycle remake released in mid 2015 featured minor cosmetic updates outside and inside.

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
All-wheel drive, standard, standard on the Technik trim level, is a $2500 option on other trim levels. Very good value Premium and Tech package upgrades. Very good value leasing.
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:  11,8L 100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8.4L 100 km
Active Safety Features:

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: 


2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA

 
 
What’s new
The Dynamic Select system and Keyless Go are standard on all models for 2016. Updated Bluetooth and navigation system this year. Power increase from 355 to 375 horsepower on the AMG model. 

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 upcoming Infiniti QX30, based on the Mercedes budget platform, should arrive by the summer of 2016. 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 for four adults and cargo space is adequate. Except for ground clearance, the Mercedes B250 4Matic, with much 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.

Pricing
The base GLA is equipped to suit a lot of people. The Premium package is priced to reflect the value of its contents and the Premium Plus option group is pretty good value. Some individual options, like satellite radio and metallic paint, are very expensive. The $250 walnut dash trim upgrade gives the cabin a real lift and is well worth having. The GLA turned out to be a very expensive car that is underwhelming considering its price tag. At nearly $14 000 more expensive that the GLA250, the AMG model is in another market segment.

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 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:  9.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.4L/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

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: 


2016 MINI Clubman 

NEW

 
 
What’s new
With the five-door Cooper supplanting the previous Clubman, this new Clubman grows to become the biggest MINI ever and also serves as the basis for the new BMW X1. 

Comments
The Clubman is built on a 75 mm longer wheelbase, is 150 mm longer, slightly wider and 120 mm lower than the previously biggest MINI, the Countryman. While physically substantial, the Clubman looks very much like a MINI and also reprises the side-hinged twin cargo bay doors from the last Clubman. The cabin of the Clubman, with a large, circular dial in the centre of the dash, is very MINI. Like the current Cooper, and unlike previous MINIs, the ergonomics of the Clubman, with the speedometre in front of the driver and audio, climate and window controls where you expect them, ergonomics are well thought out. Like the current Cooper, cabin materials and assembly are much better than before. Power stems from the same 1.5L triple and 2L four that power the Cooper and Coooper S hatchbacks. Both engines can be hookd up to a six-speed manual transmission. Automatic transmissions include a six-speed with the triple and an eight speed with the 2L.  

Pricing
The S model, with 55 extra horsepower, is priced $4000 higher than the three-cylinder base engine. The Essentials and Loaded packages are conspicuously good value. Other packages are priced in line with the value of their contents. Leather upholstery, metallic paint, satellite radio and L.E.D. headlights are significanly overpriced.  

Reliability:
Predicted reliability is average at best for the first three years, declining after that.

Specifications


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

Transmissions: 6M, 6A (1.5)*, 8A (2L) 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Active cruise control

Additional Airbags: None
Warranty: 4/80,000 with no powertrain warranty beyond
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  England

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: