2020 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Mid-size

The mid-size segment, while not as important as it once was, still serves those seeking no-excuses room and comfort for four adults. Many defections of former mid-size buyers have downsized into the larger compacts now available, while others have migrated to compact CUVs that offer similar passenger space, greater cargo versatility and a higher driving position.

The only all-new vehicles in this segment for 2020 are the Legacy and Outback from Subaru, but the Volkswagen Passat is subject to a surprisingly large update for a car that is already well past its prime.  

Most cars in this segment were once available with V6 engines, but high-performance fans will have to be content with turbo fours in all major players except for the Toyota Camry. Subaru has discontinued its smooth and punchy flat six once available in the Legacy-Outback in favour of a new turbo four. The turbo fours are easier to package and yield lower fuel consumption figures in the U.S. Government fuel consumption tests, but the benefits seldom translate into better fuel economy for owners and don't reward with the silken sound profile of a V6. 

 

Chevrolet Malibu  Hyundai Sonata  Nissan Altima  Toyota Camry 
Ford Fusion  Kia Optima  Subaru Legacy  Toyota Prius 
Honda Accord  Mazda 6  Subaru Outback  Volkswagen Passat 

2020 Chevrolet Malibu

 


 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for the current Malibu in its fifth year on the market. The hybrid model has been discontinued.    

Comments
Shunned by buyers, the undersized 2013-2016 Malibu was replaced by this generation in 2016 and sales increased smartly. The cabin reprises the twin-cockpit design theme used since 2008, and is fully competitive in terms of style, fit, and finish. Rear legroom, which was a significant shortcoming of the previous Malibu, is quite generous due to a much longer wheelbase. The front seats are supportive but the rear seat is mounted a touch too low for adult comfort.
A 160 horsepower 1.5L turbo four is the base engine, which is hooked up to a new CVT. The 1.5L engine is quick and smooth.

Small-displacement turbo engines flatter the U.S. government fuel economy tests, but the real-world reduction in fuel consumption is likely to be modest at best, and the more complex engine may increase service and repair costs. A 2L turbo four is optional and is mated to a conventional nine-speed automatic transmission.  

The ride of the conventional 1.5L Malibu is reasonably absorbent. Road noise is high for a vehicle in this segment. Pleasantly weighted steering and solid braking.

Pricing

The base LS trim is nicely equipped and would suit the needs of many buyers. Moving up to the RS adds sporty trim and a power driver's seat at a tempting price. Migrating to the LT brings heated front seats, a dual-zone climate control and remote starting, but is expensive.  The range-topping Premier trim includes luxuries like navigation, a dual panel sunroof, L.E.D. headlamps, leather seating, navigation, branded audio, the powerful 2L turbo engine and complete active safety suite including autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, blind spot, lane departure and forward collision warnings and a lane keep assist system, at what appears to be an enormous price bump. However, if you don't need the performance of the 2L, the LT Plus package contains the most sought after equipment of the Premier for nearly $6000 less. Chevrolet will lease you a 2020 Malibu but its terms are so disadvantageous that nobody will lease one. Chevrolet is passively saying it expects Malibu depreciation to be swift.  

Reliability
Not rated. Insufficient data. A few complaints have been received regarding fauity throttle pedals on the current Malibu.  

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD  

Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
1.5L-4 T (160 HP), 2L-4 H (182 HP combined), 2L-4 T (260 HP) 

Transmissions: CVT, 9A,
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.2L/100 km.
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.6L/100 km.
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, including pedestrian, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings and a lane keeping assist system 

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

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Ford Fusion

 


 

 

What’s new
The Fusion is subject to only minor content changes for 2020.  

Performance
Equipped with a 1.5L turbo four hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Fusion delivers solid acceleration, is flexible and refined. The Fusion's six-speed automatic transmission functions well but is a bit reluctant to kickdown when requested. Nicely weighted and geared steering. The ride-handling compromise reflects careful development and is in keeping with the Fusion's mission as a large family hauler. Solid brakes. The swoopy styling, especially the swept back windshield pillars, restricts outward vision. The turbo four in the Fusion use more fuel in real-world use than their official fuel consumption figures would indicate. Driven briefly, the Fusion Energi, in full electric mode, was quick, quiet and very economical.

With straightforward design and attractive materials, the Fusion’s cabin is a success. The interior is fronted by a dashboard containing what has become Ford's universal gauge package featuring a conventional speedometre flanked by changeable electronic displays. The instrumentation works well enough but the universal nature of the shared components diminishes the individuality of the various vehicles in Ford’s lineup. Comfortable seats ally with sufficient cabin space to allow for four (or five in a pinch) adults to contemplate a long journey. Big trunk, but the small trunk lid makes loading awkward. On the Energi PHEV, poor battery packaging results in essentially no trunk space, a disadvantage for a roomy car that would otherwise be ideal for long road trips. 

Comments
A 1.5L turbo four hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission is the sole conventional drivetrain for the Fusion this year. Two hybrids are offered. A conventional hybrid twins a normally-aspirated 2L four with an electric motor to create 188 combined horsepower. The plug-in "Energi" model employs the same hardware but its lithium-ion batteries can power the car in full electric mode for the first 43 kilometres, after which the car reverts to "conventional" hybrid operation.

Pricing

The SE 1.5, with blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, reversing sensors, alloy wheels, heated power front seats, navigation, the Ford Co-Pilot Assist package with adaptive cruise control with stop and go as well as navigation, is comprehensively equipped. The hybrid model is reasonably priced and moving up to the SEL trim is a bargain. The Titanium hybrid is lavishly equipped and priced to reflect the value of the additional content. The plug-in Energi model is priced from $2570 (Titanium) to $3360 (SEL) more than the hybrid equivalent, but does qualify for substantial rebates of $4000 from Quebec, $2500 from B.C., and an additional $2500 from the Federal Government. Due to the rebates, the Energi models are the most popular of the Fusion lineup. Ford will not lease you a conventional Fusion in 2020 and the lease terms for the hybrids are such that Ford is quietly admitting it expects Fusion resale value to be poor. 
Reliability

Predicted reliability is average. There have been few complaints about the Fusion since the 2016 model year.  

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines: 1.5L-4 T (181 HP)*, 2L-4 H and Energi  (188 combined) 

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

City Fuel Economy:  10L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.0L/100 km
Active Safety Features
Standard forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, lane departure and rear cross traffic warnings, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control with stop and go. 
Additional airbags: knee airbags for front occupants
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 5/180,000 hybrid components
Current Generation Debut:  2013
Country of Origin:  Mexico, United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: P

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Honda Accord

 

What’s new
2020 is the last year a manual transmission will be offered in an Accord.  

Comments
The 10th generation Accord was a radical re-imagining what the Accord could be and totally rebooted the nameplate. Its silhouette has echoes of the Civic but eliminates a lot of the extraneous styling gargoyles of the Civic, resulting in a sleek elegance. The cabin looks upscale and is constructed from attractive components. A 1.5L turbo four is standard, with a 2L turbo optional. A six-speed manual is standard with both engines. The 1.5L is hooked up to a CVT; with the 2L mated to a conventional 10-speed automatic transmission. A hybrid model is also available. Responding to negative comments about the infotainment system in the Civic and Pilot, Honda developed a new infotainment interface for the Accord that is delightfully straightforward to use. The climate controls are not only easy to use but its control knobs turn with satisfying precision. Seating is comfortable, but the very wide centre console is in exactly the wrong spot for drivers with long femurs, resulting in knee pain. The rear seat is supportive, legroom is abundant but headroom may be tight tor the super tall. The trunk of the Accord is spacious. 
The 1.5L turbo four powering the Accord is quick, flexible and quiet when cruising but drones annoyingly at low speeds and when gentle acceleration is needed. The CVT harnesses the power of the 1.5 turbo very well. While numb, the steering is precise and nicely weighted and brake pedal weighting and feel are excellent. Honda has done a good job at reconciling ride and comfort on the Accord. Driver's sit low in the new Accord and the high beltline results in less than panoramic visibility. The fastback-like rear window gathers snow quickly and the rear defroster could be more effective. Driven in very cold weather, the engine never seemed to warm up, heating was deficient, as was defrosting. Mixed fuel economy of 13L per 100 km was very high but might reflect both the extreme cold during our time with the car as well as the extended idling necessary to clear frost from the windows. The APA has received a number of complaints about the cold weather operation and poor heating from Accord owners.  
Pricing

The base LX trim, with a power driver's seat, alloy wheels, the comprehensive Honda Sensing active safety suite, L.E.D. headlamps, Keyless Go and an alarm system, is very well equipped for the price. Upgrading to the Sport trim adds a variety of additional equipment but the upgrade is overpriced. The EX-L, which adds leather upholstery, a heated leather wrapped steering wheel, heated rear seats a power passenger seat and an accoustic windshield, is very good value. The top 1.5L model, the Touring, is priced to reflect the value of the extra content included in the upgrade. The powerful 2L turbo, which mates to a conventional 10 speed automatic transmission is priced $3000 (Touring) and $3200 (Sport) more than an equivalent 1.5L model. The Accord has traditionally enjoyed good resale value but engine and poor heating maladies exhibited by some 1.5L cars may dent interest in the car as it ages. Hybrid: the base Accord hybrid is nicely equipped and the top-spec Touring trim is good value if you desire its additional equipment. Compared with a similarly equipped Accord 1.5 T Touring, a hybrid Touring commands a $4000 supplement. The Accord is a very good lease value for 2020.   
Reliability
Above average reliability has been a feature of previous Accords. However, reports of engine failures and poor heater output on 1.5L turbo models have been received and it is unknown at this point whether Honda has addressed the issues satisfactorily. Unproven CVT and 10-speed automatic transmissions. The three-star rating of the Accord is largely due to the issues experienced by owners of 1.5L Accords.    

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
1.5L-4T (192 HP)*, 2L-4T (252 HP), 2 L-4 H (143 HP gas, 181 HP electric, 212 HP combined) 

Transmissions: 6M, CVT*, 10A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  7.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.3L/100 km
Active Safety Features: On cars with automatic transmission. Standard forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, a lane departure monitor and a lane keep assist system. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors 

Additional airbags: Two frontal knee airbags

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2018
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: M

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Hyundai Sonata

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
While GM, FCA and Ford continue to abandon the sedan segment, Hyundai renews its Sonata with a sleek new design.
Comments
The new platform of the 2020 Sonata results in a car bigger than the one it replaces. The silhouette of the new car resembles that of VW’s slinky Arteon, with a touch of modern Buick thrown into the mix.
Most Sonatas feature crisply marked conventional gauges but the Ultimate trim replaces them with transistor film technology (TFT) instrumentation. Other controls are straightforward, a Hyundai hallmark. Cabin materials on the top-spec model examined are well up to the standards of the current class leader, the Honda Accord. Comfortable seats are installed front and rear and legroom is impressive for all riders. The low-slung roofline adds to the elegance of the new Sonata but makes getting in and out more difficult than it is in taller cars like the Toyota Camry and Subaru Legacy.
Initially a 1.6L turbo four was supposed to be the sole engine for Canada but a normally-aspirated 2.5L four has emerged as the base engine for the car here. The turbo produces 180 horsepower, 11 less than the normally-aspirated 2.5L four, making it look like something other than the upgrade Hyundai thinks it is. Power to the front wheels via a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. The range-topping Ultimate trim includes the Remote Smart Parking Assist system that, when paired to your cellphone, lets the driver pull the car out of a tight parking space without using the keys. 
Safety equipment includes Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection. The system alerts the driver visually and sonically of an impending obstruction and will apply the brakes if no action is taken. Active cruise control with stop and go is standard equipment as well. Lane following assist will maintain the car in the centre of its lane in town or on the highway. Safe Exit Assist alerts occupants when a vehicle is approaching from behind, preventing accidents caused by open doors. Blind spot, driver awareness and and rear cross traffic monitors are all standard. A 360 degree monitor is fitted on models starting with the Luxury trim. The Sonata went on sale in early 2020. 

Pricing

The base Essential trim, with a full active safety suite, L.E.D. headlights, heated front seats and steering wheel, is nicely equipped. Moving up to the Sport trim, with a large format sunroof, a power driver's seat and dual zone climate control, is reasonable value based on content alone but also includes the 1.6 L turbo engine, making the upgrade a bargain. The Luxury trim adds leather seating, heated rear seats, a power passenger seat and a name-brand audio system, at a price that reflects the value of its additional content. With a heads up display, navigation, and the Remote Smart Parking Assist System, among other things, the Ultimate is very good value if you like its equipment. The 2020 Sonata is a good lease value. Leasing is a good way to avoid potential engine failures out of warranty. 

Reliability
Predicted reliability is good for the first five years. However, frequent engine failures of four-cylinder Hyundai engines urge caution if you plan to keep the car past the five-year/100,000 kilometre warranty. Servicing the car on the "Severe Service" schedule exclusively at a Hyundai dealer to prevent any gaps in a service record that Hyunidai could step through to deny a warranty claim. An extended powertrain warranty is recommended if the car will be kept beyond the five year/100,000 kilometre warranty. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
1.6L-4 T (180 HP), 2.5L-4 (191 HP)*

Transmissions: 8A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features:
Standard forward collision warning including pedestrians and cyclists. Autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic, lane departure and driver awareness warnings, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise with stop and go
Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag and rear seat outboard side airbags
Warranty: 5/100,000. Hybrid: 8/160,000 on all hybrid system components.
Current Generation Debut:  2020
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: NR

Rear: NR

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Kia Optima

 


 

 

What’s new
Conventional model. Model reduced to a single 2.4L four and two comprehensively-equipped EX and EX-L trims featuring enhanced active safety equipment.   

Comments
The Optima's cabin is fronted by a somewhat 80s-themed dashboard that features clear gauges and logical controls. The front seats are comfortable, as is the rear bench. Cabin materials are very attractive and the interior is quite plush. Only one conventional engine, 2.4L normally-aspirated four, is available. A hybrid model that combines a 2L gas four with an electric motor for a total system output of 192 horsepower, is available. All variants feature a six-speed automatic transmission. A plug-in hybrid model is offered as well.
Driven briefly by the APA, the 2.4L Optima smoothly delivers strong performance and is well matched to its conventional six-speed automatic transmission. Ride and handling are nicely judged for a mainstream family car and the steering, while a bit numb, is accurate enough.

PHEV : The plug-in powertrain produces 202 total system horsepwer and shuffles it around seamlessly. The PHEV is quick, quiet, and mated to a conventional automatic transmission, is surprisingly normal to drive. The steering is light, detached feeling and requires some concentration to keep the car running true on the highway. Mechanical and wind noise are well suppressed, but road noise is more prominent than expected from a car in this segment. 

Pricing
Conventional model. Even the base EX trim features leather seating, power driver's seat, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness monitors, lane keep assist and a forward collision avoidance system. The EX-L is priced to reflect its additional content. Hybrid: Upgrading from the LX to the EX includes a dual panel sunroof and blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, but it is overpriced, as is the migration from the EX to the EX Premium. Though the hybrid is offered with the same EX and EX Premium trim designations as the conventional model, equipment does not really match up to make a price comparison. The Optima PHEV is offered in EX and EX Premium trims. The EX Premium upgrade, adds a dual panel sunroof, a power passenger seat and ventilated front seats, for a low price. Moving from the conventional Optima to a PHEV version costs up to $16,000 more. The PHEV Optima qualifies for rebates of $4000 (Quebec), $2500 (B.C.), and a further $2500 from the Federal Government rebate. The conventional gasoline Optima is a poor lease value for 2020 but the hybrid and plug-in hybrid are worth leasing this year.    

Reliability
Predicted reliability is good for the first five years. However, frequent engine failures of four-cylinder Kia engines urge caution if you plan to keep the car past the five-year/100,000 kilometre warranty. Servicing the car on the "Severe Service" schedule exclusively at a Kia dealer to prevent any gaps in a service record that Kia could step through to deny a warranty claim. An extended powertrain warranty is recommended if the car will be kept beyond the five year/100,000 kilometre warranty.   

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines: 2L-4 H (192 HP combined), 2L-4 PHEV (202 HP), 2.4L-4 (185 HP)*
Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.1L/100 km

Active Safety Features: 2.4L: Standard forward collision warning, blind spot, driver awareness and rear cross-traffic and a lane-keep assist system. PHEV: Adds an adaptive cruise control system

Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag


Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: P

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Mazda 6

 


 

 

What’s new
Only minor updates for the 6 in its seventh year on the market. Revisions include 19 inch wheels on the GS trim, paddle shifters on the GS-L turbo, a 360 degree monitor and front and rear parking sensors on the GT.

Comments
The 6’s normally-aspirated 2.5L four is flexible and delivers good urge and acceptable refinement. The six-speed automatic transmission works unobtrusively and is particularly smooth in stop-and-go traffic, where other automatic transmissions can turn indecisive. Crisp handling but supple ride, solid brake feel, nicely-weighted steering and good overall refinement. Small windows translate to limited outward visibility.
Despite substantial exterior dimensions, the 6’s cabin space is noticeably less roomy than the Accord, Camry and Sonata. Elegant conventional gauges are set in an attractive horizontally-themed dashboard that features an aftermarket-looking stuck-on infotainment screen. The 6’s cabin design, assembly quality and the rich look of its interior components are all impressive at this price point. Audio quality is very good on the GT model driven. A large, but shallow trunk is accessed through a small aperture.

Pricing

The the base GS, with alloy wheels, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, L.E.D. headlamps, Bluetooth, dual zone air conditioning, push button start, a power driver's seat and heated front seats, is comprehensively equipped. The supplement to move from the GS to the GS-L, which includes leather seating, sunroof, radar cruise with stop and go, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, shift paddles and a windshield de-icer, is good value. The turbo engine is a $2000 option on the GS-L but is standard on the GT and Signature trims. With a name brand audio system, navigation, ventilated seats and a head-up display, the price supplement for the GT is less than half of the value of the content delivered. The Signature trim, with Nappa leather, genuine wood trim, Alcantara door panels and a plethora of minor trim upgrades, is reasonable value and results in a very luxurious car.  
The base GS trim is the most popular variant of the 6 and represents a nicely equipped car at a reasonable price. Most frequent cross-shops before settling on a 6 are the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Many Mazda 6 owners return to buy another one. The 6 is a reasonably good lease value for 2020. 

Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient sales. Very few complaints have been received regarding the current car that debuted for the 2014 model year. The cylinder shut off system on the normally aspirated 2.5L four is unproven and previous Mazda turbo efforts have been unsuccessful in the hands of owners. Mazda's unlimited mileage warranties are a plus for high mileage owners.    

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.5L-4 (184 HP)*, 2.5L-4 T (227 HP, 250 HP on 93 octane fuel)

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

City Fuel Economy:  9.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warning, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control with stop and go

Additional airbags:  None
Warranty: 3/Unlimited, 5/Unlimited
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: A

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Nissan Altima

 
 

 

 

What’s new
A memory system for door mirrors and seats is added to the Platinum trim. The faux carbon fibre window switch surrounds have been changed to faux piano black items.  

Comments
After a bizarre styling mis-step with the previous Altima, Nissan joins the contemporary mainstream with the latest iteration of the nameplate.
The interior is clean and modern and features class competitive space. The iOS/Android cellphone interface is standard and the car can sync up to the iOS and Android watches as well.
With direct injection and 80 percent of its internal components redesigned, the 2.5L four is virtually new. The Altima is exclusively all-wheel drive. The 2L turbo four, offered in the U.S. with front-wheel drive, is not available in Canada. 
Pro-PILOT, Nissan's semi-autonomous lane keep assist system, is standard on all but the base "S" model. Lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, rear auto braking, pedestrian intelligent emergency braking and active cruise control are standard on the SV and Platinum trims. The Platinum range-topper, with leather seating, a name brand audio system, is well equipped but its leather upholstery does not project an aura of luxury expected. 

Pricing

With all-wheel drive standard, the Altima finally has a unique selling point compared with mainstream, non-Subaru Japansese-branded cars. The base Altima S is equipped with features such as a power driver's seat, intelligent emergency braking and intelligent forward collision warning. The SV trim upgrade, which includes Nissan's rudimentary ProPilot Assist lane centring system, a full suite of active safety devices as well as rear parking sonar, remote start, heated steering wheel, as well as blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, is a mind-blowing bargain. The range topping variant, the Platinum, boasts leather seating, navigation and a name-brand audio system at a tempting price. The Altima is a good lease value for 2020. 

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. Below average reliability is likely. CVT failures can occur on heavier Nissans at high mileages.   

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.5L-4 (179 HP) 

Transmissions: CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.1/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.5L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. Optional blind spot, rear cross traffic warnings, forward collision warning including for pedestrians and autonomous emergency braking including reverse and adaptive cruise control  

Additional airbags: Dual front knee airbags and rear seat outboard side airbags
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2019
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: M

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Subaru Legacy, Outback

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
Both: All-new generation sedan and wagon move to Subaru's Global platform. Revised 2.5L four and a new 2.4L turbo four that replaces the previous flat-six engine. Subaru's EyeSight active safety system and L.E.D headlights are standard on all trims. 

Comments
Following Subaru’s philosophy of gentle design evolution, both cars bear a strong resemblance to their predecessors.
Compared with the previous Legacy and Outback, the new cars are marginally larger overall but still trim for a cars in their class. The new Subarus are the last mainstream Subarus to move to its Global Platform that debuted on the current Impreza. Subaru notes that the platform of the new cars is 70 percent stronger than its predecessor. The new Legacy and Outback are once again powered by a 2.5L flat-four, but Subaru says that 90 percent of the engine internals are new and it gains direct fuel injection this year as well as a stop-start system. The 2.5L engine produces 182 horsepower, seven more than last year. The previously-available flat-six engine has been discontinued in favour of a 260 horsepower 2.4L turbo flat-four that debuted in the Ascent last fall. Power reaches all wheels via a CVT transmission regardless of engine choice.
Like the exterior, the design of the cabin of the new Legacy and Outback is one of gentle evolution rather than significant change. The biggest departure from the past is the 11.6 inch touchscreen that dominates the dash centre stack on higher-end models. Subaru made a point at the Legacy reveal that while the touchscreen can perform a variety of functions, knobs and buttons are still available for those more comfortable with them. Subaru touted an upgrade in the look of cabin materials for the new cars and the cars are very luxurious. The new cars have very roomy cabins, with a commanding driving position and big windows to aid outward vision. The trunk on the sedan is commodious, and while the cargo bay on the Outback is long and quite wide, it is shallower below the windows than some other competitors. Thicker glass for the windshield and windows in the front doors are said to boost refinement for 2020.
Subaru’s Eyesight active safety suite will be standard on all trims. Added for 2020 is a new Driver Mitigation system that uses facial recognition software to detect driver drowsiness or distraction. Adaptive cruise control, long an Eyesight feature, is joined by a new lane centring device for 2020.

Pricing

The base Legacy, with Eyesight, the iOS-Android cellphone interface, auto climate control, heated seats, a power driver's seat and LED headlights, the base Legacy is quite nicely equipped. With alloy wheels, a sunroof, auto dimming mirrors, a sunroof, Keyless Go, reverse auto braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and dual zone climate control is good value if you like the equipment. The Limited, with luxuries such as leather seating, heated rear seats, navigation, active headlights and a name brand audio system, is a bargain. The Premier trim, with upgraded leather and a power passenger seat, among other things, is priced to reflect the value of the additional content. The Outback, with a power driver's seat, heated front seats and Bluetooth, is nicely equipped. Trim upgrades, from the 2.5i to the Touring and on to the Limited, are very good value. The top Premier trim offers little over the Limited for the money asked. Swapping the 2.5L normally aspirated four for the 2.4L turbo will set you back $2800. The Outback trim levels closely mirror those of the Legacy but Outback buyers are asked to stump up as much as $4700 more for the station wagon body style. The Legacy and Outback are very good lease values for 2020. Comparing the 2.5 Limited trims of both vehicles, it will cost about $60 more to lease and about $100 more to lease the station wagon version of this platform.   

Reliability
Predicted reliability is above average up to around 100,000, after which engine durability problems with the mainstream 2.5L four could become a factor. Subaru claims the oil leaks and expensive head gasket failures have been addressed, but only time will tell whether they have been fixed. An extended powertrain warranty is recommended if you plan to keep the car past the five year/100,000 km powertrain warranty. The 3.6L flat six apprears to be durable. Some reports of CVT troubles have been received. 

Specifications


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

Engines:
2.5L-4 (182 HP)*, 2.4L-4 T (260 HP) 

Transmissions: CVT 
Drive Layout: All-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  9.0L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.1L/100 km

Active Safety Features:  Standard forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and a lane keep assist system. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors

Additional airbags: Front passenger seat cushion airbag and a driver's side knee airbag


Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2020
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: M

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Toyota Camry

 

 

 

What’s new
Gasoline models: Some trim and equipment shuffles for 2020. The IOS-Android cellphone interface is now standard on the LE and higher trims. An Audio Plus feature on the LE Upgrade and higher trims includes a remote start feature. The Premium Audio system on the XLE trims incorporates embedded navigation. The SE gains a new Nightshade black-out package and the XSE V6 model can be ordered with a TRD package for 2020. All-wheel drive versions of the four-cylinder Camry were introduced in the spring of 2020. Hybrid: the iOS-Android cellphone interface is standard on all models and the Premium Audio system on the XLE now includes an embedded navigation system. 

Comments
The eighth-generation Camry is now in its third year after a successful debut. Power stems from a 2.5L four or a 3.5L V6, both of which mate to an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission. Also available is a hybrid model using a 2.5L four hooked up to a CVT. The Camry is about the last volume midsize passenger car to offer a V6 engine. 

The new all-wheel drive Camry uses the multi-link rear suspension and drive system from the conventionally-powered RAV4. The sole engine available is the normally-aspirated 2.5L four. An "on demand" system, the all-wheel driveline defaults to front-wheel drive until it detects wheelspin, when it will send up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels. The drive to the rear wheels will cease once wheelspin has been eliminated.  

Toyota’s Safety Sense-P, with pre-collision with pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control and lane departure warning and assists, is standard, with blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings optional.

With an expressive dash centre stack and some wild shapes, Toyota pulled out all the stops when they designed the new Camry’s cabin. Clear instrumentation and logical controls are a snap to use. Substantial seats and good room welcome riders. Large windows lend an airiness to the cabin and deliver visibility which is exceptionally good in an era plagued by limited glazing.  

Driven briefly, the large capacity normally-aspirated 2.5L four delivers a smooth, linear flow of power and strong acceleration. The conventional eight-speed automatic transmission impresses by its ability to function totally unnoticed. Once a very soft riding car with slightly nautical handling, the Camry, with nicely weighted steering, a good ride-handling balance and solid-feeling brakes, now mimics the performance parameters of the Honda Accord.  

Pricing

The base Camry has all the features which people think are essential. The base model offers a very expensive ($820) Comfort package with heated seats, which should perhaps be standard. Moving up from the base to the LE trim includes heated front seats, a power driver's seat and alloy wheels for only $1370, which is terrific value. The LE Upgrade, with remote start, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, Keyless Go and dual zone climate control, is priced to reflect the value of its extra content. The XLE trim does include leather, a large format sunroof and a number of other comfort and convenience features, but is roughly $2000 overpriced. The XLE V6 upgrade includes a number of additional features, leaving about $3000 of the additional $4300 being for the strong V6. The SE, the base model of the "sporty" themed Camrys, is, with alloy wheels, heated front seats and a power driver's seat, equipped better than the luxury-themed LE for little more money. The SE Upgrade is very good value and includes blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, Keyless Go, a sunroof and remote start. The XSE trim upgrade brings leather seating, a power passenger seat and a dual panel sunroof, but is slightly overpriced for the content delivered. The V6 engine on the XSE is worth about $3000 when other standard features are accounted for in the $5500 price supplement over the XSE 2.5L. The SE Nightshade and the XSE V6 TRD option packages are extraordinarily expensive for what they offer. Opting for the hybrid LE will set you back an extra $3460, with the XLE hybrid priced $4560 higher than the conventional XLE. Moving from the hybrid LE to the SE Upgrade trim costs essentially the value of the additional content. The range-topping XLE hybrid is significantly overpriced. No pricing is available for the all-wheel drive variants of the Camry but the price bump should be similar to the $2100 supplement charged to migrate from the front-wheel drive RAV4 to the all all-wheel drive version. The Camry is a very good value lease for 2020. 

Reliability
Predicted reliability is Above Average as the engine is normally-aspirated and the automatic transmission is a conventional, hydraulic design. The previous Camry hybrids have been reliable and durable. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/3

Engines:
2.5L-4 *184 HP), 3.5L-V6 (267 HP), 2.5L-4 H (208 HP combined)
Transmissions: 8A*, CVT
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 8.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 5.7L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, including for pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings

Additional airbags: knee airbags for both front occupants and outboard rear side airbags


Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (hybrid system components)
Current Generation Debut: 2018
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: A

NHTSA Rating: XXXXX


2020 Toyota Prius

 


What’s new
The battery pack warranty has increased from eight years 160,000 kilometres to 10 years/240,000 kilometres. Revised audio systems incorporate Apple CarPlay. The Technology trim is equipped with Toyota Connected Services that include automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and an emergency assistance button. The back seat now features three seat belts and satellite radio is now standard. The previously white trim cabin accent pieces are now black, two USB ports have been added for rear seat passengers, the front seat heater buttons are now more accessible than before and an extender has been added to the driver's sunvisor. 

Comments
The cabin of the Prius, with high, centre-mounted readouts, continues the Prius tradition but the quality of materials, with lots of soft-touch surfaces and matte finishes, is quite good now. Despite lowish fuel prices and no government rebates for hybrids, the hybrid-only Prius remains popular as it still carries a lot of Green street cred. Driven briefly by the APA, the current Prius, with sharper steering, crisper handling and a more controlled ride, is a big improvement in terms of vehicle dynamics than the last Prius. Outward vision is very good to the front but the rising window line of the rear doors places metal where the windows should be, forcing drivers to rely on their mirrors for making lane changes. The tailgate glass is bisected by a solid bar where the horizontal and vertical sections meet, which can block the mirror view of a vehicle following the Prius. The bigger batteries of the Prime plug-in model use up more trunk space than the conventional model.  

Pricing

Prius Hybrid
Migrating to the Technology trim adds a power driver's seat, a sunroof, Keyless Go, a heated steering wheel and blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, but is a bit overpriced. The AWD-e all-wheel drive variants cost only $1000 more on the base trim but includes fog lamps as well, making it a bargain. Like its front-wheel drive equivalent, the AWD-e Technology upgrade is a bit light in value for the price but does add embedded navigation and the larger infoscreen used in the Prius Prime. If you are considering one of the Technology variants, pick the AWD as the additional equipment you get basically gives you the AWD system for free.

Prius Prime
Moving to the "improved" option group costs $2000 but adds a power driver's seat, an 11.6 inch infotainment screen, Keyless Go and wireless cellphone charging for a tempting price. The Technology package includes an improved audio system, self parking, a head up display, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and a variety of comfort and convenience items for a bargain price. The Prime can trigger a $2500 rebate from the Federal government, $4000 from Quebec and $1500 from British Columbia if purchased or leased (36 months in B.C. and 48 months in Quebec). The Prius is a very good value lease for 2020 and the Prime is an exceptional value lease for 2020. 

Reliability
Above average reliability with no serious complaints about the complex hybrid system and good service from a dealer network very familiar with the car.   

 

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB*, 4
Occupants: 2/3

Engines:1.8L-4 H (98 HP gasoline, 134 HP combined)
Transmissions: CVT
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  4.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  4.7L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Standard collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings.  

Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag and a front passenger side seat cushion airbag


Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 km (hybrid components)
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: A

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: A

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Volkswagen Passat

 


 

 

What's new
For 2020, the Passat is subject to a significant update of the design that debuted for 2012. The exterior panels are all new but very familiar and the interior follows the same theme. The previous powertrain, a 174 horsepower 2L turbo four that sends power to the front wheels via a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, returns for 2020. 

Performance
Driven before the 2020 updates, the 2L four was very noisy while accelerating but cruised serenely  The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The Passat delivers a compliant ride but allows more body lean than expected of a VW. That said, the car exhibits very neutral handling characteristics, and is unfazed by big dips or significant mid-corner bumps. Though a bit light and numb, the Passat’s steering provides neutral and linear response to inputs. Powerful braking despite a spongy brake feel.
Fronted by a dashboard with clear gauges, crisp electronic readouts and logical controls, the interior reflects sober, traditional VW style which looks a bit dated. Cabin materials are reasonably attractive but certainly can't compete with the high-end look of the Honda Accord.
The prosaic exterior encloses a massive cabin containing the large, comfortable seats VW is renowned for, allied to expansive legroom that makes the Passat the limousine of the mid-size car segment. Good driving position but the space available for the driver's foot is very narrow.  

Comments
A 2L turbo four, hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission, is the the sole powertrain for 2020.  

Pricing

The base model is a big, roomy car for the price but lacks the expectedactive safety gear as standard. Moving up from the Comfortline to the Highline adds autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and a power driver's seat, at a reasonable price. The Execline adds lane keep assist, adaptive L.E.D. lighting, leather seating, self parking, name brand audio and a sunroof at a bargain price. The Passat is a good lease value for 2020. 

Reliability 
Average reliability predicted for the first four years, deteriorating after that point. High servicing costs as the car ages. Generous four year/80,000 km basic warranty, a year longer than ususal for a mainstream brand. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SS
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (174 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A  
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.2/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.9L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2012
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: NR

NHTSA Rating: