2020 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 priced sufficiently above 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 several years ago and continues with it for 2020. A number of cars and crossovers in this new category don't really fit into the sections other vehicles bearing the same brand name are generally found in, and so are in this Premium Compact section.

Vehicles covered within in the envelope of Premium Compact category include the CLA, GLA and GLB from Mercedes-Benz, the A3 and Q3 from Audi, all five of which represent a move downmarket by their makers. Occupying this category as well are cars from MINI, which are premium priced, and the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, which are priced far higher than conventional cars for the same size. Another car covered in this section is the Acura ILX.

New this year is the Mercedes-Benz GLB, a three-row compact crossover based on the same components as the A-Class. Not returning for 2020 is the Chevrolet Volt and the Mercedes-Benz B250.

Acura ILX  Hyundai Ioniq  Mecerdes-Benz CLA  MINI Countryman 
Audi A3  Kia Niro  Mercedes-Benz GLB  Nissan LEAF 
Audi Q3  Mercedes-Benz A-Class  MINI Cooper  Subaru WRX & STI 
Chevrolet Volt       

2020 Acura ILX

 

 

What’s new
Since Acura treated the ILX, based on the previous-generation Honda Civic, to a bizarre late life refresh for 2019, there are no changes for its ninth, and likely last year on the market. 
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.
Tight rear legroom. Very comfortable and supportive front seats. Excellent driving position. Elegant, conventional dashboard. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the cabin design but cabin materials are underwhelming at this price point. Reasonable trunk space. Unimpressive audio system.

Comments
The ILX, based on the previous Civic, is, except for straight line speed and low-speed refinement, totally outclassed by the new Honda Civic Touring. The sole power team for 2020 is a 2.4L four hooked up to an eight-speed dual clutch automated manual. 

Pricing
Upgrading from the base to the Premium trim, which includes popular equipment such as leather upholstery, heated, power front seats and blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, is very good value. The Premium A-Spec is reasonable value and the Tech A-Spec models includes navigation and a name brand audio system for a good price. A Honda Civic Touring sedan is priced up to 20 percent less than an ILX Tech A-Spec, for what is essentially a newer, better car. The ILX is an excellent lease value for 2020. 

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

Specifications


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

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

City Fuel Economy:  9.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.0L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors  
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.: NR

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: P

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Audi A3

 

NOT RATED

 

 

 

What’s new
The Audi Advanced key, first aid kit, front and rear parking sensors and a theft alarm system with a cabin motion sensor, are all standard on the Komfort trim level for 2020. The S-Line appearance and suspension package is now included when you move up to the Progressiv trim. 

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 MQB variable architecture. To satisfy the American market, the mainstream A3 debuted first as a sedan, followed by a convertible. Both body styles look very Audi, but also look a bit stale, being dated upon release. 
The A3's dashboard features big, clear instruments and pretty simple controls. Comfortable seats and good space in front, and seat comfort and legroom for rear seat riders are at least competitive. The reasonably attractive cabin materials are a bit disappointing not in themselves, but for the fact the A3 turned out to be a much more expensive car than most observers expected it to be, especially since it is sourced in low-cost Hungary. Big, square trunk.
Power stems from two turbocharged gasoline engines, a 2L with 184 (sold as the 40), horsepower and a 2L producing 228 (sold as the 45) horsepower in the A3 and 288 (no suffix for some reason) horsepower in the S3. Audi's suffix system has no systemic logic to it which renders it whimsical. The base 2L is front-wheel drive only, with Quattro all-wheel drive featured twinned with the 228 and 288 horsepower engines. A special order RS3, powered by a 384 horsepower inline five-cylinder turbo, is also avaliable. A seven-speed automated manual is standard on all variants. 


Pricing

Surprisingly high prices considering that the A3 is essentially a spin on the VW Golf. Moving up from the 2L front-wheel drive model to the 228 horsepower all-wheel drive (marketed under the name Quattro) costs $4800. The Progressiv trim upgrade is priced to reflect the value of its additional equipment and the Technik range topper is reasonable value. The navigation package is significantly overpriced  While the Technik trim upgrade does include navigation, a name-brand audio system, a transister film technology (TFT) gauge package (sold as the Audi Virtual Cockpit), blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors and a heated steering wheel, it is very expensive for the money asked for it. Given the premium pricing of the A3, it is disappointing that the optional Technology package, which includes an active safety suite, costs $1900 extra on the top-spec.Technik trim. The high-performance S3 version of the A3 is priced up to $5700 more than the A3 of the same trim level. Offered only in Progressiv and Technik trim, the A3 cabriolet is priced $6200 higher than an A3 Quattro sedan. The A3 is a very good lease value for 2020 and a good way to enjoy the car and hand it back at the point the short powertain warranty expires.  

Reliability
Insufficient data, not rated. The previous A3 was rated average for the first four years. Fewer complaints have been received about the A3 than for various MINI models and the B-250 and CLA from Mercedes-Benz. Audi's $$1095 scheduled service option (70,000 km is the last service covered) is highly recommended. The warranty ends at 80,000 km with no further powertrain coverage.

Specifications


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

Engines:2L-4 (184 HP)*, 2L-4 T (228HP,  S3 288 HP), 2.5L-5T (384 HP) 
Transmissions: 7A (DSG), 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  8.8L/100 km

ighway Fuel Economy:   6.5L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control with stop and go  


Additional airbags: rear seat side airbags are optional                  

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

IIHS Ratings:

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 Chevrolet Bolt

 

 

 

What’s new
Estimated range increases 34 kilometres, to a total of 417.  The reverse and 360 degree view cameras are now high definition. 

Performance
The electric motor of the Bolt is very strong and delivers vivid acceleration. Handling is very competent but not as precise as that of the Volkswagen e-Golf, but more satisfying than those of the Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Niro and Nissan Leaf. The suspension is firm and can clunk loudly on poorly maintained roads. The steering of the Bolt has a reassuring heft.

Comments
The Bolt is Chevrolet’s all electric car meant to go head-to-head with the Nissan Leaf, and now the Hyundai Kona electric and the all-electric version of the Kia Niro. When introduced, the Bolt looked like a breakthrough product in the affordable electric vehicle field but other makers are quickly catching up. 
According to Chevrolet, the 200 horsepower electric motor can reach 100 km/h from a stop in about seven seconds. GM predicts a maximum range of up to 417 kilometre.
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 and pre-condition cabin climate inside the cabin while the car is plugged in, which minimizes energy draw once the car is under its own power. The EV-specific navigation system of the Bolt is set up to maximize range and also display local charge points.
The tall hatchback body looks crisp and modern. Except for height, the Bolt is smaller is all dimensions than the Nissan Leaf but offers greater cabin space than the Nissan. The cabin of the Bolt is dominated by a sweeping dashboard with a large touch screen at its heart. While the cabin is roomy and dramatically styled, cabin materials are disappointing for a car in this price segment. 

Pricing
The base LT trim is equipped to suit many buyers. At $5300, the Premier trim upgrade, which includes a name brand audio system, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, heated rear seats, a 360 degree camera system as well as a camera-based rear-view mirror, is comprehensive equipped and reflects the value of the additional content. The Driver Confidence package, which is standard on the Premier trim and optional on the LT model, brings blind spot, rear cross traffic and reversing monitors, is available as a single option group on the LT. The $795 Driver Confidence II package adds a forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a lane departure warning and a lane keep assist system for an extra $795 on the Premier. LT buyers who want the Driver Confidence II package must also buy the Driver Confidence package, for an all-in price of $1590. A Federal Government rebate introduced May 1, 2019 of up to $5000 on the Bolt will breathe new life into sales in Ontario. The Federal rebate can be added to the generous rebates of $8000 from Quebec and $5000 from British Columbia. The Bolt is a poor lease value for 2020.

Reliability
Very few complaints have been received. The budget cloth covering the driver's seat car wear prematurely but will be replaced during the warranty period. Electric cars are often reliable due to their simple mechanical elements. The battery pack warranty is eight years/160,000 km. 

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: 417 km

Active Safety Features: Optional forward collision warning, including pedestrians, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings, and a lane keeping  system 


Additional airbags: Frontal knee airbags and outboard rear seat side airbags

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

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 Hyundai Ioniq

 


 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle refresh updates the exterior and cabin and there have been packaging changes as well. The new 38.3 kWh battery pack on the 2020 full electric Ioniq is linked to a 100 kW motor that has a maximum possible range of 274 kilometres.  

Comments
About the same size as an Elantra, the IONIQ is built on a different platform designed to accept conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric powertrains.
The exterior is modern, crisp and tidy but doesn’t signal the car is powered by alternative powertrains. With a 0.24 co-efficient of drag, the shape is very slippery. The cabin is practical and straightforward; rear seat legroom is more adequate than generous. 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, with sugar cane materials employed to fashion the headlining and carpets.
A 104 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.  


Pricing
Ioniq hybrid: the base Essential trim is reasonably well equipped and would suit the needs of many buyers. The Preferred trim upgrade, with L.E.D., Keyless Go, heated rear seats and steering wheel, a sunroof and blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, is good value. The Ultimate trim, with leather seating, a power driver's seat, a name brand audio sysem, navigation as well as active cruise control, is a great deal.
PHEV: Offered only in the Preferred and Ultimate trims, the plug-in is priced from $5200 (Preferred) to $5350 (Ultimate) higher than the regular hybrid of the same trim level. The Ultimate trim upgrade adds a power driver's seat, leather upholstery, a sunroof and L.E.D. headlamps, at a reasonable price.
Full electric: No full electric pricing details are availability as this written. For 2019, the fully electric Preferred model was priced $5150 more than the Plus, with the Ultimate electric priced $5650 higher than the Ultimate Plus. The fully-electric Ioniq qualifies to a $5000 Federal rebate, an $8000 rebate from Quebec and a $4000 subsidy from British Columbia. The plug-in qualifies for a $2500 rebate from the Federal Government, $4000 from Quebec and $2500 from British Columbia. The Hybrid model is a poor lease value for 2020, but the plug-in and full electric Ioniqs are reasonable lease deals this year. 
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 combined)*, 1,6 L-4 H Plug-in (104 HP gas, 45 kW electric), Electric (100 kW)
Transmissions: 6A (dual clutch/Hybrids)
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  4.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  4.2L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard forward collision warning, including pedestrians and cyclists (BEV and PHEV), autonomous emergency braking, a lane departure monitor and a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control on the BEV and PHEV Ioniqs. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors
Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag 

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

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 Kia Niro

 


 

 

What’s new
Very late entry 2020 model. 
Comments
Based on the same component set as the Hyundai Ioniq, the Niro is a five-door tall hatchback that Kia markets 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.
The plug-in hybrid version of the Niro has a maximum possible full-electric range of 43 kilometres under ideal conditions; with a combined power rating of 139 horsepower. The full electric model produces 201 horsepower and a whopping 291 lb-ft of torque. A 64 kWh battery pack can take on 160 kilometres of charge in 30 minutes when using its standard Level 3 charger, and can be fully charged using a Level 2 charger in 9.5 hours.
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 chattel they choose to bring with them. Attractive instrumentation, practical controls and attractive materials make the Niro a good space to inhabit. 

Pricing

Hybrid: Moving up from the L to the EX is extraordinary value and includes convenience features such as Keyless Go, heated steering wheel, wireless cellphone charging as well as blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors. Moving up to the EX Premium adds active cruise control, lane keep assist, leather upholstery and cooled front seats, at a tempting price. The price for migrating to the SX range-topper reflects the value of the additional content. The Niro hybrid is a poor lease value for 2020. 
PHEV: The PHEV is offered only in the EX Premium and SX Touring trims. The EX Premium, with forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness monitors, lane keep assist and a lane centring device, is good value. Moving up to the SE Touring adds LED headlamps, heated rear seats, cooled front seats, leather seating and a name-brand audio system, at a bargain price. The PHEV versions of the Niro are priced $6000 (EX Premium) and $4500 (SX Touring) higher than the equivalent hybrid models. Quebec provides a taxpayer subsidy of $4000 for Niro PHEV buyers and the Federal Government offers a $2500 subsidy for the purchase or 48 month lease of a new Niro PHEV. The Niro PHEV is a reasonable lease value for 2020. BEV: The BEV version of the Niro is offered only in EX and SX Touring trims. The PHEV and BEV variants only intersect at the SX Touring trim, the BEV version of which commands a $16,500 supplement. Of the BEV models, the SX Touring, with LED headlamps, leather seating, front and rear heated seats, cooled front seats, a name brand audio system, a heat pump system and a full suite of active safety equipment such as forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, active cruise control and a lane keep assist system, is priced to reflect its additional equipment. Niro BEV buyers enjoy an $8000 taxpayer subsidy from Quebec and a $5000 subsidy from the Federal Government. The Niro BEV is a reasonable lease value for 2020. 
Reliability
Not rated as too little information is available on Kia's hybrid system reliability. It is important to maintain the car using the "Severe Service" schedule exclusively at a Hyundai dealer and to keep all service receipts to prevent Kia backing out of a warranty claim. A Kia extended warranty is recommended if you plan to keep the car past the warranty period. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB

Occupants: 2/3

Engine: 1.6L-4 H* and PHEV (139 HP combined), BEV (201 HP)

Transmissions: 6A (dual clutch)  

Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 4.6L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 5.1L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Hybrid: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness warning, a lane keep assist system and an adaptive cruise control system. PHEV: Standard forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and driver awareness warnings, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control. BEV: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, abd rear cross traffic monitors, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control

Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag
Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2017

Country of Origin: South Korea

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 MINI Cooper

 


 

 

What’s new
The previous six-speed hydauiic automatic transmission was replaced by a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. The manual transmission went AWOL for the first half of the model year but returned in the spring. The sole transmission initially for the John Cooper Works model for 2020 is a conventional eight-speed automatic. A full electric MINI, sold as the Cooper SE, went on sale in the spring.  

Performance
The 1.5L turbo triple is quick, flexible and smooth at normal speeds and now has a smoother idle than it did when the current Cooper was released in 2015. The big 2L turbo in the Cooper S furnishes strong acceleration with an engaging exhaust note, but is quiet when cruising. Though very firm, the ride of the Cooper S does not jar occupants, and allies with impressive handling controlled by near telepathic steering.
The cabin of the current 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, is 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 short from the back of the rear seat to the tailgate but the space is deep below the window line and regularly shaped. Cabin materials and fit and finish are impressive. 

Comments
Two and four-door hatchbacks and a convertible model are available. The electric MINI features a 32 kWh battery pack, produces 184 horsepower and under optimal conditions, has a predicted range of up to 250 kilometres.  

Pricing
Migrating from the 1.5L turbo triple Cooper to the 2L turbo four Cooper S, costs $4300. Opting for the high-output of the Cooper S, sold as the John Cooper Works, will set you back an extra $7300. The Convertible body style is priced $6600 more than a three-door Cooper powered by the same engine. Five door hatchbacks are priced $1300 higher than three doors of the same horsepower. The basic Cooper trim is quite well equipped but it might not be easy to find as dealers will likely treat the Classic trim, equipped with a large format glass roof, heated seats and fog lights, a $2000 value for only $1500, as the defacto base model and order accordingly. The Premier trim upgrade, with features such as Keyless Go, auto dimming mirror, rain sense wipers and dual zone air-conditioning, is good value as well. The range-topping Premier+ includes equipment such as active L.E.D. headlamps and navigation, is overpriced. Individual options such as leather upholstery and metallic paint are very expensive. The MINI electric, sold in Classic, Premier and Premier+ trims, is priced up to $18,550 higher than the equivalent 1.5L Cooper. The MNI Cooper is a reasonable lease deal for 2020. Leasing is a good way to compensate for the short powertrain warranty.  

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

Specifications


Body Style:  2CV, 2HB


Occupants: 2/2


Engines:

1.5L-3 T (134 HP-Cooper)*, 2L-4 T (189 HP-Cooper S, 228 HP John Cooper Works), MINI Electric (184 HP)
 

Transmissions: 6M, 7 DSG*/8A/M  


Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive


City Fuel Economy:  8.3L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.4L/100 km


Active Safety Features: Optional adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking


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:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: G

Rear: G

Headlight: P

NHTSA Rating:


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