Expert advice | The automobile in question

Our collaborator answers readers’ questions

Smaller, greener

Q: I own a 2017 Subaru Outback with 76,000 km on the clock. I have no problem with this car, except that I find it too big. I’m approaching 71 and would like a smaller car. I’m looking at the Hyundai Kona, the Mazda CX-30, and the Toyota RAV4. I like driving with all-wheel drive and driver height, and I might like to go for a hybrid vehicle. What’s your suggestion?

Hélène B.

A: Among your choices, you have different sizes of utility vehicles. The RAV4 is bulkier than the other two. If that size is appropriate, then you could also consider Hyundai’s Tucson, which is offered, just like the RAV4, with hybrid powertrains (plug-in or not). If, on the other hand, you want a more compact vehicle and you’ve been happy with your Subaru, you should consider the Crosstrek. The latter is also offered in a plug-in hybrid version.

For retirement

PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen Beetle 2018 convertible

Q: For my retirement in 2022, I plan to buy a used convertible. I do little mileage: around 8000 km per year. My budget is around $ 20,000. I would prefer an automatic transmission and a four-seater. So what do you recommend?

Guylaine

A: Assuming this will be your only vehicle, why not treat yourself to a used Volkswagen Beetle? This promises to be more reliable and less expensive to maintain than a Mini Cooper. Unfortunately for you, this category is gradually disappearing and the choice is not very abundant.

Difficult choice

PHOTO PROVIDED BY HONDA

Honda Passport

Q: What is the difference between a Honda Passport and an Acura RDX? What is the best choice ?

Pierre G.

A: The Passport and the RDX have nothing in common. The first drift of Pilot and Ridgeline. The second, from the CR-V. The best choice depends on how you plan to use it, your budget, your tastes and your expectations. The RDX is sportier, more stylized and more technically modern than the Passport. The latter, on the other hand, offers increased versatility and superior towing capacity.

Before taking to the streets

PHOTO JAGUAR LAND ROVER, VIA REUTERS

Land Rover Defender hydrogen prototype

Q: I’m curious about what model year automaker engineers are working on in 2021. In other words, how many years between the drawing board and arriving in a showroom? And how do you guess the long-term trends?

Louis M.

A: Among all manufacturers, the main trend is to reduce the number of platforms. A growing number of models with very different appearances actually share the same base. This sharing precipitated the gestation and development of current cars. Some manufacturers are zealous in announcing cycles at 220, 180, even 160 weeks. We can quibble as to when we count the initial idea, the development of the specifications, the freezing thereof, etc., but the process is generally about five years. As for trends, manufacturers follow very closely those dictated by fashion, interior furnishings, architecture, but also emerging concerns in society. The gradual abandonment of animal leather in favor of recycled materials or produced from plants is one example.

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