Those who design the popular vehicles of today must consider more than just the driver’s experience. Because while many vehicles are still used to shuttle one or two adults into work day after day, they’re also called upon to transport the rest of the family, along with all of their belongings, to and from the plethora of after-school and weekend activities that make up modern life.
Here are the biggest and most recent family-vehicle stories, debuts, and reviews from the past month.
A First Look at the 2023 Honda HR-V
The more familiar you are with the new-generation 2022 Honda Civic, the fewer surprises you’ll find in the 2023 Honda HR-V. Because the second-generation crossover shares the same Honda Global Architecture platform with the Civic, giving it a longer wheelbase and wider rear track to build off of. But that’s not all the two vehicles have in common: there’s also the independent rear suspension, sharpened steering, and a 158-horsepower 2.0-litre four paired exclusively to a CVT transmission that now offers hill descent control.
Interior features include upgraded materials, hundreds of litres of added cargo space behind the rear seats, and a variety of screens up front depending on trim. Honda’s Sensing ADAS system is at work under the surfaces, now with a wider field of vision to spot objects, animals, pedestrians, and all the other things that ought not to be but still might be on the road.
The cost of such a package in Canada starts at $28,730 for the base-model 2WD LX, which is a couple grand more than the previous entry option, and tops out with the the EX-L, which now demands $37,130, around $2,000 less than the previous trim-topping Touring.
Elsewhere in Honda Land, the new CR-V was just revealed in the full, giving us a clear look at its improved power, cargo space, and more-mature styling. Plus, surfaced shots of the 2023 Honda Pilot reveal a compilation of features borrowed from other Honda products, like the face of a Ridgeline, the rear end of an Accord, and the global light truck platform of the 2022 Acura MDX. Get a look at the spy shots of the 2023 Honda Pilot here.
Get camping in these 5 nature-ready trucks and SUVs
With the snow and ice mostly melted from the country’s many mountains and forests, it’s time to get out and enjoy all the natural wonders Canada has to offer. And to make sure you’re well-equipped, we’ve rounded up the five best cars and trucks to take into the wild for a weekend of adventure and/or relaxation.
In building the list, we looked at factors like roof heights, cargo space, what kind of accessories are available, and whether it offers a space for sleeping. It’s little surprise, then, that of the top five camping ve
hicles, four are trucks and SUVs. But one car-ish vehicle, the Subaru Outback, did make the cut for its accessible cargo setup (which is long enough for most people to sleep in), turbo engine, AWD setup, and many, many available accessories. Other vehicles that made the count include the Chevrolet Suburban, Honda Ridgeline, Ford F-150, and the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gets rugged with Woodland Edition
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was already a highly useful vehicle before the boys and girls at Toyota Racing Division (TRD) got a hold of it. Now, for the first time ever, the popular midsize SUV hybrid has been tweaked and beefed up into Woodland Edition form with upgraded coils, bump stops, and springs to keep suspension running smooth over roots and rocks, plus a number of external and internal finishes and features to make it more at home beneath the forest canopy.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition sits on Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires mounted on bronze-coloured wheels, and further distinguishes itself with special projector-beam headlights and integrated fog lights, roof rack cross-bars, dual black chrome exhaust tips, black badging, and black mud guards. But perhaps the most useful off-grid addition in today’s connected society is the 20-volt outlet in the rear cargo area that can charge or run devices like laptop computers.
Ontario toddler dies after being forgotten in hot car
Tragedy struck the Ontario city of Bancroft in late June when a mother forgot her 23-month-old child in the family SUV and later returned to find him dead. Mayor Paul Jenkins, who is a longtime friend of the family, says they have “a long road to recovery” after the child was left in the vehicle instead of dropped off at daycare as was intended.
“She obviously thought she had done that and the child was accidentally left in the car for the day,” said Jenkins. “It’s such an unfathomable situation.”
The heartbreaking incident is unfortunately not isolated, with an average of 38 U.S. children and one Canadian child dying in similar scenarios each year. In response, the automotive industry has been rapidly developing and outfitting new vehicles with cameras, alarms, and sensors that monitor the backseat and can notify drivers when passengers are left alone.
The most memorable RVs from the big and small screen
Recreational vehicles are a common sight on North American roadways come summer. They can roll from province to province or state to state, house a family, and offer all the comforts and amenities of a proper home from wherever there’s a hookup.
And you won’t spot them solely on highways either, but in many TV shows and movies as well. In our list of the most famous movie and TV RVs, we highlight some of the most recognizable jalopies, like the interplanetary ‘Eagle 5’ Winnebago from Spaceballs, the rolling meth lab 1986 Fleetwood Bounder from Breaking Bad (which actually survived filming despite being canonically crushed in the TV show), and the action-ready EM-50 Urban Assault vehicle (actually a GMC Motorhome) from Stripes.
Check out the full list at the link above and feel free to leave your favourite TV RV in the comments if it didn’t make the cut.