Mazda introduces Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to refreshed 2019 CX-9

The Apple CarPlay homescreen is a familiar sight to many users, and is now available in the 2019 Mazda CX-9.

Only a couple of years have passed since the award-winning second generation CX-9 was released, but the hard-working folks at Mazda have already endowed the mid-size crossover with additional functionality to its Mazda Connect infotainment system.

During an informal briefing session in Vancouver, the brand says the updates are in part a response to an overwhelming number of customer requests for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. Both services have now been seamlessly integrated, and all users need to do to get started is to plug their mobile devices into a more powerful 2.1-amp USB port, which has the extra bonus of providing quicker charging.              

What’s unique about the setup in the CX-9 is, once connected, not only can you navigate the CarPlay or Android Auto menus using conventional touch inputs on the central display, but via the commander control knob comfortably located beneath the transmission lever as well. Rotate to highlight a different onscreen icon and push to select, or pressing the surrounding Entertainment, NAV and Home buttons will also execute the respective commands. This is part of an overall strategy to minimize manual distractions while on the road.  

What else is new, you ask? SiriusXM Travel Link (five year trial subscription included with vehicle purchase) adds live traffic and incident reports directly to the built-in map, and offers weather, fuel prices, parking availability and sporting event information all at your fingertips.

Aside from the tech upgrades, the crossover benefits from suspension and steering tuning to improve ride quality and handling; better sound absorption materials to reduce noise, vibration and handling; optional ventilated front seats for greater passenger comfort; and the introduction of a 360˚ View Monitor that uses four cameras to give a birds-eye view of the driver’s surroundings.

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is available in four trim levels and starts at $36,700.

Looking for a new Mazda dealership? Visit us at OpenRoad Mazda Port Moody today – we’re located in Port Moody, BC near Coquitlam and Burnaby.

BMW eDrive Explained

The BMW eDrive system architecture.

The BMW eDrive system architecture.

You’ve seen the logo on the various electrified vehicles offered in BMW’s current lineup: eDrive. What exactly does it mean, and how does it work? We’re going to find out in today’s blog post.

Three components

eDrive is the new drive technology found in all BMW i models and plug-in hybrids, and is essentially comprised of an electric motor, high-voltage lithium-ion battery and an intelligent energy management system.

The electric motor is what allows for complete zero-emissions driving — for example, the X5 xDrive40e is capable of travelling up to 30 kilometres without using any fuel — or in certain situations, provide a boost to acceleration.

All eDrive-equipped vehicles rely on a special performance li-ion battery to store energy, and utilize a built-in cooling device to constantly keep the unit at the ideal operating temperature, helping increase output and maintain service life.

bmw e drive 2

Intelligent energy management guarantees that everything is running as efficiently and optimally as possible. It partially does so via a predictive strategy, such as using navigation data to determine at which point during the route to switch over to pure electric propulsion, or when to start the charging process. Another facet is regenerative braking, transferring the kinetic energy created from braking into the battery.

Different modes

Although the hybrids possess TwinPower Turbo internal combustion engines (ICE), they feature a MAX eDRIVE button that forces the vehicle to use electricity at speeds of 120 km/h and under, although the ICE will kick in under heavy load or if the throttle is wide open. The SAVE BATTERY function, on the other hand, ensures the battery’s charge state is maintained so fuel-free motoring may be enjoyed at a later time — useful on the highway. Pop the transmission lever into S, and the ICE immediately kicks in and stays on for those times when instant power is required.

eDrive is currently offered on several BMW cars and SUVs, including the 330e, 530e and the above mentioned X5 xDrive40e.

Want to learn more? Speak to a BMW Sales Executive today at BMW Langley or The BMW Store!

bmw e drive 3

Three subcompact SUVs available with standard transmissions

honda hr-v manual transmission

The Honda HR-V is available with a five-speed stick shift. 

In the auto world, a movement has brewing in recent years known simply as “save the manuals.” In an increasingly CVT, dual-clutch and plain old automatic transmission dominated North American landscape, some manufacturers are still choosing to produce vehicles equipped with standard gearboxes, albeit only on certain models and in limited quantities (hey, we’ll take what we can get.) Surprisingly, it’s not just sports cars that are benefiting from this effort, but even small crossovers like these ones we’ve highlighted below.

BMW Cooper S Clubman ALL4

MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4

For people who don’t need a full-blown crossover yet want more room than a car and all-wheel drive, it doesn’t get much better than the Clubman ALL4. Under the hood, a zippy turbocharged 2.0-litre motor serves up 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, and towards the back there is a load of cargo space behind the second row and of course the signature dual split rear doors.

mini cooper s clubman dash

A six-speed manual is regular equipment, implementing a little electronic wizardry not immediately obvious. A special internal sensor has been outfitted enabling “active engine speed adaptation,” which in plain English means downshifts are automatically rev-matched so transitions to a lower gear are quick and smooth.

mazda cx-3

Mazda CX-3

Mazda’s answer to the subcompact SUV craze is the award-winning CX-3, a vehicle built for urban adventurers. The base trim starting at $19,995 packs in a lot of features for the price including push button start, air conditioning, seven-inch touchscreen display, backup camera and most importantly, a slick shifting six-speed standard gearbox.

2018 honda hr-v

Honda HR-V

Any gearhead will tell you Honda has a reputation for building excellent manual transmissions, which rings true whether we’re talking about the one found in the classic S2000 or the new Civic Type-R.

The technology is proven to trickle down throughout the lineup, because while the HR-V has a CVT option, a six-speed standard tranny belonging to the same lineage is otherwise the norm front-wheel drive grades. The lever clicks into each gear with such precision and tactile feeling — and the fact that it’s mated to a peppy 141-horsepower i-VTEC engine — you almost forget you’re in a subcompact crossover.

Honda's 2018 Clarity Plug-in boasts 76 kilometre pure electric range

2018 Honda Clarity front

This new class-leading plug-in hybrid from Honda finally made its way to Canada last month.

Another electric mobility solution arrived in the Honda Canada camp last month: the 2018 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. It’s claim to fame? A zero emissions range of up to 76 kilometres, which is the highest in its class.

2018 Honda Clarity engine bay

Like the Honda Accord Hybrid, this Clarity utilizes a two-motor hybrid setup consisting of a combination 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder internal combustion engine and starter/generator electric motor, paired with an additional high-output propulsion motor. The former is largely responsible for either providing electricity to the latter that then drives the front wheels, or to recharge the onboard 17-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Together, the system produces a net 212 horsepower.

2018 Honda Clarity range

Depending on the road conditions, the sedan automatically switches between three modes. In EV Drive, only pure electricity is used. Hybrid Drive uses the engine in a generator capacity, as mentioned above. In Engine Drive, kicking in during medium to high speeds or heavy loads, gasoline becomes the primary power source. When operating under normal conditions, a maximum range of nearly 550 kilometres and fuel consumption rating of 2.1 Le/100 km is possible.

2018 Honda Clarity side

To help achieve these impressive numbers, a number of smart aerodynamic features were implemented. First off, the Clarity was designed to have a sleek, low drag shape. Fully functional front inlets reduce airflow under the hood, and similar ducting in the front fenders and rear doors redirect air to move smoothly over the wheels. Specially shaped C-pillars reduce vortexes forming at the rear of the car, and even the tail light lenses are made with a washboard-like surface to optimize air movement.

2018 Honda Clarity interior

Another benefit such drag-reducing engineering is less noise. On top of that, there have been numerous measures taken to give occupants a quiet ride experience. Both the windshield and front door glass are acoustically laminated, and there are noise-insulating materials installed under the hood, instrument panel and floor as well as inside the wheel wells. The rear suspension bushings are also liquid filled to aid in this effort.

2018 Honda Clarity badge

The 2018 Honda Clarity starts at $39,000 and tops out at $43,900 for the Touring trim. A maximum $5,000 rebate is available via the Clean Energy Vehicle for BC government incentive program.  

2018 Honda Clarity rear