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News Roundup: Worst-selling cars of 2023, Sweden's futuristic wireless-charging taxis, and more

And also the latest about BMW 5 Series and i5, Aston Martin DB12, Volkswagen Atlas, and Mazda CX-90

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Welcome to our roundup of the biggest breaking stories on from this past week. Get caught up and ready to get on with the weekend, because it’s hard keeping pace in a digital traffic jam. Here’s what you missed while you were away.

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Failure to Launch: 5 vehicles that had the worst sales starts to 2023

Believe it or not, many automakers are still feeling the effects of the chip shortage that caused the Great Covid Vehicle Dearth. Years after saying the worst was over, even brands like Honda and Toyota are still unable to keep up with production demand. But which nameplates are currently faring the worst? We picked through the sales charts to identify the vehicles that had the worst start to the year in each segment

In the SUV/crossover segment, none did worse than the Toyota Venza, down 79 per cent at just 241 sales for the year at the time of writing. The second-gen, hybrid-only SUV’s sales have been on the decline since 2021 and are on track to not even break 1,000 this year. Meanwhile, the mighty Honda Civic is also experiencing a sluggish start, down 43 per cent at 4,000 sales so far. That comes one year after it fell from the position of Canada’s best-selling car, a title it held since 1997. 

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Wireless EV charging is real and happening in Europe now

Volvo XC40 Recharge wireless charging
Two Volvo XC40 Recharge taxi cabs at a wireless charging taxi stand in Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo by Volvo

For anyone who’s dropped their smartphone on a charging pad in a new vehicle or in some modern office or home, the concept of wireless charging won’t feel so alien. But there’s something about applying it to a machine as large as a vehicle that makes the tech feel that much more novel. 

But in Gothenburg, Sweden, a fleet of 20 Volvo XC40 Recharge taxis have been using four wireless charging pads to operate. Volvo teamed up with Pennsylvania-based InductEV to develop the pads that send energy automatically when they detect a compatible vehicle on top of them. The energy flows from the pad to a receiver located on the vehicle, 14 cm away. Charging power here is more than 40 kW, resulting in charging speeds around four times faster than a wired 11-kW AC charger and nearly as quick as a wired 50-kW DC fast charger. 

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Learn more about the futuristic tech currently in operation in Sweden right here

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Signature is here and it is impressive

2024 Mazda CX-90 Signature
2024 Mazda CX-90 Signature Photo by Brendan McAleer

If you were disappointed that the Mazda CX-90 came packaged as a crossover and not a sedan, perhaps you can find some comfort in the fact that the beating heart of the SUV is still that of a sports sedan. The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Signature’s inline-six mild hybrid setup offers “wonderfully smooth power delivery,” according to reviewer Brendan McAleer, cresting at 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. “It’s no sport sedan, as the curb weight and height can’t entirely be disguised with good suspension tuning,” he writes, “but from behind the wheel you can tell just what a phenomenal job Mazda would do on such a project.” And more to the point, this is actually a vehicle that Mazda can sell to consumers. 

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There’s also solace to be found in the interior, which takes its Honda and Toyota rivals to town with upscale materials and layout. The front-end design isn’t bad, either. Click here for the full look and breakdown.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport get mid-cycle update

2024 Volkswagen Atlas

What’s new can always be newer. Case in point, the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport now come with a single powertrain option after a mid-cycle freshen-up: a 2.0L turbo-four good for 269 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Canadian models get standard all-wheel drive. 

A new lighting signature stands out as the most significant exterior change, while the interior has more new features to explore. There’s available ambient lighting in over 24 colour choices, available second-row captain’s chairs, quilted leather seats in top trims, a heated steering wheel with paddle shifters on all levels, plus an entirely new top-tier Peak Edition trim

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In Canada, the new Atlas Cross Sport opens at $48,895 and the Atlas at $49,995 (both plus $2,050 destination). The Peak Edition – featuring all-terrain tires, a blacked-out exterior, and special body cladding – is priced at $53,995.

Introducing the 2024 BMW 5 Series and i5

2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive
2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive Photo by BMW

BMW has introduced the new 5’s, including both gas and BEV options. This is the way. 

For Canucks, there are two options: the 530i xDrive and the top-option i5 M60 xDrive. The combustion TwinPower Turbo 2.0L four is now 7 hp and 38 lb-ft more powerful than its predecessor, allowing it to jump to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds. The electric option is a little more exciting. The 2024 BMW i5 M60 gets an 84.3-kWh battery that connects to a 335-horsepower electric motor on the rear and a 257-hp electric motor on the front for a combined output of 590 hp and 547 lb-ft of torque. According to the brand, with M Launch Control activated, the i5 will make the 100 km/h spring in just 3.8 seconds. Range for the more powerful M60 is estimated at around 350 km. BMW has also guarded the car’s famed 50:50 weight distribution across both electric and combustion models, but it did adjust ride with updated axles and links, stiffening plates in AWD models, the latest power steering system, and more. 

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The 2024 BMW 530i xDrive will start at $70,500 in Canada, and the i5 M60 xDrive will fetch precisely $95,000. Expect both in October.

Check out the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

2024 Aston Martin DB12
2024 Aston Martin DB12 Photo by Aston Martin

When “Grand is not enough,” Aston Martin goes “Super.” As in the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Super Tourer. But what distinguishes grand from super in this case?

Firstly, power. There are engine tweaks like enlarged turbos and bump cams, and optimized compression ratios, which combine to amp the 4.0-litre turbo V8 up to 670 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Aston says the DB12 will get to 96 km/h (60 mph) in an “adequate” 3.5 seconds. New “intelligent adaptive dampers” and stiffer anti-roll bars suggest a smoother ride while touring and less roll when “super-ing.”

Secondly, styling and tech, especially inside where traditional elements such as hand-stitched Bridge of Weir leather and Alcantara trim combine with Aston’s new infotainment system (we’ll update you on how it functions when we drive the vehicle in the coming weeks). 

Complete details about the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Super Tourer available here

Coleman Molnar picture

Coleman Molnar

Coleman Molnar learned to drive in his family's rusty farm pickup as a teenager and continues the forearm-strengthening tradition today from behind the wheel of his 1983 Volkswagen Westfalia. Spot him in the slow lane, or on Instagram @Lietco


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