Ranger Raptor is coming
Ford of Europe revealed an all-new Ranger Raptor pickup, and unlike previous versions, Ford has confirmed the top Ranger will come to Canada. To boost off-road capability, the Ranger Raptor gets a host of frame reinforcements as well as an all-new suspension using Fox Live Valve adaptive shocks that use a Teflon-infused oil and have Bottom-Out control. New skid plates protect the underside, all-terrain tires, are fitted, and the Ranger Raptor adds wider fenders, a special grille, and gets interior upgrades as well. Powering the Euro version is a 284 hp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, but we expect North America to receive an engine more like the 400 hp Bronco Raptor's when this Ranger arrives in Canada next year.
Mazda has released pricing for its latest crossover, the 2023 CX-50. This Mazda, the first built at a new plant in Alabama, offers a more rugged appearance and capability than Mazda's other crossovers. Similar in size to the CX-5, though slightly larger, it will offer a 187 hp 2.5L four or a 256 hp turbocharged 2.5-litre four and goes on sale in May. All-wheel drive is standard. 2023 Mazda CX-50 arrives in GS-L trim that includes Mazda's driver assistance suite and leatherette interior for $37,900 plus destination. The GT is $42,850 and the GT Turbo is $45,350. A new trim, called Turbo Meridian, that offers all-terrain tires, rocker panel protection, and outdoor specific accessories, will arrive later in the year.
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2023 Mazda CX-50 (CNW Group/Mazda Canada Inc.)[/caption]
More Audi Q5 options
Audi has expanded the Q5 crossover lineup, offering a new more affordable entry-level trim. The 2022 Audi Q5 40 offers a 2.0-litre turbo-four like its Q5 45 sibling but makes less horsepower. Just 201 hp, in place of the 261 of the 45. It lacks the Q5 45's 12V mild-hybrid system but runs on regular gas instead of premium and boasts 8.1 L/100 km highway economy instead of 8.4 (both are 10.3 city). The model trims nearly $3,000 from the Q5's starting price with an MSRP of $45,250 before destination. The Q5 40 is offered only in Komfort trim.
No more license plate stickers for Ontario
Premier Ford has announced the end of licence plate renewal fees effective early next month, along with refunding any plate renewal fees going back to March 2020. The end of the charge is expected to save the average Southern Ontario driver $120 per vehicle, and $60 for those up north. It's expected to cost the province $1 billion per year. The legislation is expected to be introduced Tuesday, and if passed on time refund cheques could begin to hit the mail in late March.
Electra Battery Materials Corporation is getting $250,000 from the government of Ontario to help develop two new battery production lines at a facility in the north of the province. The government says the facility, to be built in Cobalt, ON, could supply more than 1.5 million EVs and employ up to 250 people. The Battery Materials Park would also have battery recycling facilities to help reduce the amount of new materials required in the process. Electra calls the new investment part of a "battery materials park study." In 2020, the federal and provincial governments announced a $10m investment in the same facility to build the first cobalt refinery in North America.