Why be predictable? If you show up in a Jaguar your colleagues will think you paid much more than you did, while you’ll have a lot more fun getting there than if you’d bought a heavier less sporting…

2017 Jaguar XJ Portfolio AWD Road Test

If I were purchasing a full-size luxury sedan the XJ would be top priority, and I'd take it exactly as my most recent tester was optioned.

It looks stately in Fuji White, a name that would probably be more apropos for a Japanese luxury sedan rather than something from Britain. Of course, Cumbria's Scafell Pike would be an odd moniker for anything car related, and at 978 metres it only gets a dusting of white in mid-winter. The Scottish Highlands is a more likely place to find snowcapped peaks, albeit Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui are even stranger names for car paint. Fuji White it is.

The light colour offsets its black glass roof and black rear pillars perfectly, Jaguar finishing off the rear bumper with a glossy black diffuser-style cap featuring a bit of chrome on top and two polished stainless oval tailpipes at each corner. It's a stunning look, finished off with gracefully arcing LED taillights in back and sharply dressed full LED headlamps up front.

The latter Read Full Story
Lexus’ RX has always been a good looking luxury SUV, but now its daring design pulls eyeballs wherever it goes, especially in as-tested F Sport trim. The upgrade adds a unique mesh grille, more aggressive…

2017 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Road Test

I was about to start this story by saying there has never been a more successful luxury SUV created than the Lexus RX, but after a little research I'm finding out that's an old, outdated statistic.

The RX, which was the first car-based luxury crossover SUV ever produced, has been amazingly successful here in North America where it remains number one by a long shot, but within Canada alone it's currently second behind Audi's smaller albeit almost as accommodating Q5, while globally they both get beaten badly by Buick's number-one selling Envision that found 123,397 buyers worldwide during the first five months of 2017 (you can thank China for that), as well as Mercedes-Benz' GLC runner up that sold 117,856 global units over the same period. I don't have exact numbers for the RX in all the countries it's sold in because it didn't make the top 100 vehicles list. So much for starting out this review with a bang.

Of course, with 109,435 total U.S. sales last year and 8,147 Read Full Story
What do you get when you combine a sport wagon and crossover SUV? Meet the new VW Golf AllTrack, a good looking, sporty alternative to an SUV that provides 170-hp, 6-speed dual-clutch auto, AWD performance…

2017 Volkswagen Golf AllTrack Road Test

Drumroll please… And the winner of the 2017 Auto Journalist Association of Canada's Canadian Car of the Year award is (ratatatat) the 2017 Volkswagen Golf AllTrack!

Well that one caught me by surprise, as did the selection of the 2017 Subaru Forester for the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year. Not that these two compact crossovers aren't worthy, but the Subie was merely a mid-cycle refresh, and a mild one at that, and the COTY winner was (as just stated) more of a crossover SUV than a car, or at least that's how VW classifies it on their retail site.

Yes, I'm aware that it's actually a Golf SportWagen and therefore kind of qualifies for Car of the Year, but it's adequately raised and moderately pumped up on oxandrolone thanks to plenty of matte black body cladding including a quad of flared fenders, slick looking aluminized front and rear undertrays plus rocker moulding trim, a set of aluminum roof rails up top, as well as some trick aluminum-finish mirror caps Read Full Story
The 2017 Lexus ES certainly looks the part of a luxury car, but does it provide the interior quality, high levels of comfort, available features and performance most expect from this class? We test a…

2017 Lexus ES 300h Road Test

What can I say about Lexus ES' that hasn't already been said countless times before, other than it's a front-wheel drive, mid-size, premium-branded anomaly that's managed to weather regular storms of negative driving dynamics criticism and come out shining as a top seller in its field?

Of course, there really isn't much else directly in its field to compare it to other than Lincoln's MKZ or the front-drive Acura RLX that's no longer available in Canada. Alternatively we could look down market into mainstream volume brands in order to face it off against its own platform-sharing Toyota Avalon or others like Buick's LaCrosse, Chevrolet's Impala, Chrysler's 300, Dodge's Charger, Ford's Taurus, Kia's Cadenza, or Nissan's Maxima.

The major differentiator in this class is this electrified 300h that brought Toyota's storied Hybrid Synergy Drive to the mid-size luxury class in 2012 (a year after the MKZ Hybrid), but even this is now old news in the premium sector thanks to much Read Full Story
Acura has given its popular TLX a thorough refresh for 2018, with the new A-Spec upgrade most enticing in the lineup. We review it in top-line SH-AWD Elite trim, complete with redesigned front and rear…

2018 Acura TLX SH-AWD Elite A-Spec Road Test

When Acura adapted its Precision Concept-inspired "diamond pentagon grille" to the MDX mid-size SUV I liked what I saw, but I questioned how the bold design would work with other models in Acura's growing lineup. As it turns out there was no reason for concern, at least with the newly refreshed 2018 TLX sport sedan.

In fact, the new grille looks especially good with the new A-Spec upgrade, my tester's San Marino Red exterior paint doing a good job of showing all the glossy black highlights around the sporty honeycomb mesh grille and upgraded lower fascia, the latter adding visual drama thanks to unique matte-black mesh grille inserts at centre and larger fog lamp bezels to each corner. What's more, Acura's signature five-lamp Jewel Eye LED headlights are darkened in A-Spec trim, plus body-colour rocker extensions now run down each side, "smoked" LED taillights enhance the design in back, and an aggressive black diffuser looks menacing below the rear bumper, the latter housing Read Full Story
Toyota’s RAV4 is Canada’s most popular compact SUV, but does that mean it’s best in its class? Check out today’s review of new top-line Limited Platinum AWD trim to find out what we think and…

2017 Toyota RAV4 Limited Platinum AWD Road Test

The RAV4 is number one! At the close of 2016, Toyota's fourth-generation RAV4 became the bestselling compact SUV in Canada, and by a significant margin. What's more, its 49,103 total sales surpassed the mighty Corolla (by 908 units) for the first time ever, yet another sign of shifting consumer tastes from cars to crossover sport utilities. This also means the RAV4 is now the most popular Toyota in Canada.

Sales aren't slowing for 2017 either. In fact, if the RAV4 continues at its current pace it'll easily surpass 50,000 units for another record year. At the close of Q3 2017 the RAV was still in first place with 39,895 sales, beating the runner-up CR-V by 2,181 units and the third-place Ford Escape by 2,718, let alone Nissan's Rogue that's a sizeable 6,715 deliveries behind or Hyundai's Tucson that trails by a whopping 15,650 units. The best of the rest aren't even half as popular, which goes to show how much Canadians like their Toyota SUVs.

Helping boost sales was a Read Full Story
Making the universally adored Mazda MX-5 a more comfortable, refined, all-weather sports car didn’t mean it had to lose any of its notable performance prowess, it’s retractable fastback merely makes…

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF GT Road Test

The current Mazda MX-5, which was originally named Miata in North America and still goes by the moniker in the U.S., is the fourth evolution of the Japanese company's sports car. My test car for an August week was the RF version, or retractable fastback, in reality a folding hardtop that takes 13 seconds to raise or lower. Top up or down, it looked clean and dynamic, more visually aggressive than previous models. It should age well. Trunk space was almost the same as the soft-top version, with my duffel bag, computer case, and test instrumentation all managing to fit.

My big decision was where to go with the vehicle. Vancouver traffic didn't seem like a good idea, so, top down I headed towards the twists and turns of the Fraser Canyon. Next to a motorcycle, a convertible provides the most complete driving experience, to my mind much more fun than being sealed in an air-conditioned box.

The Mazda's 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque don't sound like much, but the car Read Full Story
The Charger SXT is no Hellcat, but its 300-hp 3.6L V6, 8-speed auto and rear or all-wheel drivetrain is plenty capable, whereas its fully independent suspension is surprisingly agile for such a big car.…

2017 Dodge Charger SXT Rallye Road Test

Half a century ago, when the Big Three, Ford, GM, and Chrysler, ruled the North American markets, most vehicles were traditional front-engine, rear-wheel drive, and quite often equipped with thirsty V8 engines. In Australia, the full-size car market was dominated by Holdens (GM) and Fords, which competed on racetracks as well as in the showroom. I drove a Holden Commodore a couple of years ago, and was impressed by the vehicle's overall capabilities. There was also a Vauxhall version in England, and to my mind these set a high watermark for reasonably priced, powerful rear-drive sedans.

My early racing years were spent overseas, and I had no real cultural reference to the muscle car era. However, I was one of the pro drivers giving rides around California's Laguna Seca Raceway in Dodge Vipers during Cherries Jubilee, a massive muscle car and hot rod show. The effort and enthusiasm of the owners, along with the rumble of eight-cylinder iron (and 10 with respect to the Vipers), Read Full Story