Calendar-year 2019 has barely begun, yet there are already all-new 2020 models about to enter showrooms to add to the 2019s that went on sale in late 2018. And with the so-called “light truck” category now providing 70 per cent of sales in Canada, many of those newcomers are pickups, SUVs or crossovers.
Compact crossovers are the largest single vehicle segment, and among the leading players are the all-new Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester, both on sale since late last year as 2019 models. By summer the 2020 Kia Soul should be in showrooms with a new 2.0-litre engine (though still front-wheel drive only). Further out, we expect Ford to reveal its next-generation Escape before year’s end.
On the luxury side, Cadillac’s 2019 XT4 compact posted its first sales in November, and is now followed by the “Urban Explorer” Lexus UX, in front-wheel-drive, gas-engine or all-wheel-drive hybrid versions. In the same subcompact category as UX, the all-new Range Rover Evoque is due in showrooms this spring and will also offer a hybrid version for the first time; the next-generation 2019 Audi Q3 is expected in the second quarter.
In mid-size SUVs and crossovers, Ford has said it will launch the next-gen Explorer this year – details may be revealed as soon as the Detroit Auto Show in mid-January. Further out, Ford is also expected to revive the Bronco nameplate on a more off-road-focused SUV.
Meanwhile, Hyundai has already revealed the Palisade, a large three-row SUV that will effectively replace the Santa Fe XL when it goes on sale this summer, and sister company Kia will launch its new Telluride, based on the same platform.
Action on the mid-size luxury side includes the Lincoln Nautilus, already on sale as an extensive refresh and rename of the former MKX. The fourth-generation BMW X5 is likewise now in showrooms as a 2019 model, getting a head start on its redesigned archrival, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE, which will go on sale this summer with its optional active suspension.
Later in the year, look out for Lincoln’s new 2020 Aviator, a three-row mid-size SUV that will demonstrate Lincoln’s new “Quiet Flight” brand concept along with a staggering 600 lb.-ft. of torque on tap with the available Hybrid powertrain.
Moving up a size class, BMW will finally have a full-size, three-row, luxury SUV contender when it launches the X7 this spring. Pricing has yet to be revealed, but expect it to be competitive with the Mercedes-Benz GLS. In roughly the same price range, the already-on-sale 2019 Audi Q8 forgoes third-row seating in favour of more coupe-like styling than its Q7 sibling.
Cadillac, meanwhile, could unveil its three-row XT6 SUV as soon as next week at the Detroit Auto Show.
We haven’t heard anything official about new minivans this year, though it’s worth noting that the Toyota Sienna is now in its ninth model year and a full redo must be coming soon.
On the pickup side, the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra were all new for 2019, and have been on sale – at least in some versions – for months now.
The newer action is in mid-size pickups. The reborn Ford Ranger is now in showrooms as a 2019 model, with a choice of Supercab or Supercrew cab configurations and three trim levels, and with all 4x4s powered by a 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder engine hitched to a 10-speed automatic.
While the Ranger is an obvious alternative to the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, there’s another mid-size pickup coming from an unexpected source: Jeep.
Long yearned for by Jeep fanatics, the reborn 2020 Gladiator will debut this spring as a pickup derivative of the latest Wrangler. Claiming best-in-class tow rating, 4x4 payload and off-road capability, the Gladiator will combine a crew cab with a five-foot box and a choice of 3.6-litre gasoline or 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 engines.
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