With Halloween looming on the horizon, kids across the country are practically bouncing off the walls – and that’s before inhaling all the candy they collect on October 31.
Meanwhile, we adults get to look forward to the retail industry bombarding us with Christmas-themed advertising and decorations starting November 1. At least all the leftover Halloween goodies will be on wicked sale.
For car shoppers, November is a relatively light month for vehicle introductions: Just two manufacturers were able to confirm that new models would be in showrooms in the weeks immediately following Halloween. They’re notable ones, however: BMW’s third-generation X6 will begin shipping across Canada in November, and Lincoln will complete the rollout of its Corsair compact crossover, which began arriving in showrooms in late October.
Meanwhile, the updated 2020 Subaru Impreza economy car is set to arrive with more affordable active safety and driver assistance features, and the Ram 1500 pickup has a new generation of its EcoDiesel engine on offer.
2020 BMW X6
At the BMW X6’s launch in 2008, some brand loyalists were afraid the “sport activity coupe” (as BMW calls it) was a taste of things to come from the German auto industry.
They had good reason to think so: BMW followed the bold X6 with the compact X4 of 2015, and then Mercedes-Benz rolled out coupe versions of its GLE and GLC utilities.
Now that consumers are paying more attention to the SUV coupe trend, BMW stylists opted to work some subtlety into the design of the third-generation X6. The tauter lines of the brand’s latest styling language work well to make it appear less bulky than it is.
The 2020 BMW X6 boasts more power than its predecessor. The xDrive40i model’s turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine gains 33 hp and 35 lb-ft of torque for new totals of 335 hp and 330 lb-ft. Meanwhile, a V8-powered X6 M50i gets a new 4.4L engine whose 523 hp and 553 lb-ft (up 78 hp and 74 lb-ft) make it nearly as fast as the outgoing X6 M.
BMW says the V8’s reinforced pistons and piston rings will help it stand up to serious abuse, and the crankshaft uses a viscous damper to tame unwanted vibration.
As with BMW’s other recent designs, the third-gen X6 comes standard with iDrive 7 – the latest version of the brand’s infotainment system – and a busy-looking digital gauge cluster.
The 2020 BMW X6’s options list includes an off-road package with an electronically controlled rear differential and four modes that optimize the car’s ride height and powertrain for driving on snow, sand, gravel, or rocks.
To boost on-road performance, BMW’s four-wheel steering system is a standalone option. Like other such setups, it aids low-speed maneuverability by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts, and turns all four wheels in the same direction at high speeds to improve stability.
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2020 Lincoln Corsair
The Lincoln Corsair compact crossover replaces the MKC, becoming the latest model to ditch the luxury brand’s “MK” naming scheme. This new design brings some flair to the luxury compact crossover class by borrowing styling cues from the mid-size Aviator.
Like the MKC before it, the Corsair shares its basic architecture with the Ford Escape. We think the brand’s designers have done a good job of masking that relationship while coming up with a less-generic look than that of the new-for-2020 Escape.
Push-button transmission controls carried over from the MKC work on a new eight-speed that replaces the MKC’s six-speed. The Corsair’s turbocharged engines are also MKC holdovers: a 2.0L four-cylinder makes 245 hp and 275 lb-ft, and a 2.3L generates 285 hp/305 lb-ft.
You can get more speed from any of the Corsair’s German competitors, but Lincoln has made it clear it never intended its new compact utility to keep up with the Schmidts. Instead, Lincoln wants the Corsair to coddle its occupants with a smooth, quiet ride and options like 24-way massaging front seats. There’s an unexpected upscale touch in its warning and alert chimes – rather than electronic chirps and beeps, they are recordings of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The closest the Corsair comes to promising driver engagement is with suggestively named driving modes like Excite, Slippery, and Deep Conditions. If you’re after a sporty drive in a small crossover, the BMW X1, Audi Q5, and Acura RDX are better bets.
Lincoln’s latest attempt to gain the youth vote takes the form of a comprehensive list of high-tech features. A smartphone app turns your mobile device into the car’s key and lets you set your preferred positions for the power seats, mirrors, and steering column. There’s a standard Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless smartphone charging is optional, along with a 14-speaker Revel sound system.
2020 Subaru Impreza
When the 2020 Subaru Impreza arrives in Canada next month, it won’t look much different from the 2019 version, as the sole cosmetic change is a gently restyled front fascia.
Instead, Subaru hopes to bump this compact’s profile by making its EyeSight suite of safety assist features more affordable, offering it in all Impreza trim levels for the first time. The safety system is bundled with the car’s optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The change effectively lowers the price of the EyeSight suite by nearly $6,000 for buyers who option it into the entry-level Convenience trim.
Other 2020 Impreza updates include the addition of Subaru’s Starlink connected car system, which becomes standard in most trims. It allows an Impreza driver to connect with the car via smartphone to operate the door locks and start the engine remotely.
This is the ninth consecutive year Subaru has managed to hold the Impreza’s base price to $19,995 for the Convenience trim sedan with manual transmission. Other 2020 Impreza trims see their prices increase between $600 and $800.
2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The Volkswagen emissions scandal may have killed diesel’s appeal in cars and crossovers, but compression ignition technology is alive and well in the pickup truck segment.
Ram was the first truck maker to bring diesel to the light-duty truck market in 2014, but the so-called EcoDiesel engine was notably absent in the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500, thanks to questions about its compliance with emissions regulations.
But the EcoDiesel is back on the 2020 Ram 1500’s options list in an all-new motor that generates 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, increases of 20 hp and 60 lb-ft. That’s more torque than both Ford’s and GM’s light-duty diesels (introduced in 2019 and 2020 respectively), which Ram hopes will boost its comeback attempt.
Ram can’t claim best-in-class fuel economy, however, as GM’s diesel is a touch thriftier. Instead, Ram is focussing on the EcoDiesel’s promise of 1,600 km of driving range on a single tank of fuel, which it says is farther than its diesel competitors can travel between fill-ups. That claim applies to a specific configuration that combines the rear-wheel drivetrain with an optional 125 L fuel tank.