Automotive icons are ripe for special editions, from Ford’s Mustang and Mini’s Cooper to this very VW, the car in question being the unusual crossover SUV-style Beetle Dune. Today we bring it to you…

2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune Road Test

The unorthodox Dune hit the market last year and caused quite a stir amongst the VW Beetle faithful. I'm not talking about those who adhere to the wonderful little air-cooled rear-engine "Bug" that put Volkswagen on the global map more than half a century ago, but more so those weaned on the modern-day front-engine, front-drive version that wowed the world as the Concept One when it landed on VW's Detroit auto show stage in 1994 and eventually arrived as the New Beetle in 1997.

It was thoroughly and effectively redesigned in 2010 for the 2011 model year, the "New" internally named A4 version then old, resulting in the simpler "Beetle" nameplate getting the nod for this A5-based third-generation. It remains less frou-frou and therefore appeals to brawnier types, which has inevitably led to some very eye-catching special editions.

The best of these, in my opinion, is the Classic that arrived for 2015, which now seems to be a permanent fixture within the Beetle lineup, whereas Read Full Story
For 2017 Honda has expanded its Civic lineup to include a roomier Hatchback version that also adds more performance and features to its base configuration than the Sedan. The entry-level Hatchback comes…

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback LX Road Test

Those who've lived long enough to remember the advent of the original Honda Civic in the early '70s may still think of it as the quintessential hatchback. Strange then to contemplate that our market has been mostly devoid of Civic hatchbacks for 17 years until now.

Other than a blip on the screen that saw the British-built Civic SiR arrive and leave between 2002 and 2005, this brand new 2017 Civic Hatchback is the first of its kind on North American shores since Honda abandoned the practical design way back at the turn of the millennia. Now, after a week behind the wheel, all past sins are forgiven. Or should I say, most. It's clearly better than ever, although it's styling is somewhat controversial.

Yes, the new Civic Hatchback is a love-it-or-hate-it design that at the very least will turn heads. Its frontal styling pulls plenty of cues from the four-door Civic Sedan and two-door Civic Coupe, which is arguably a good thing, whereas its rear design melds some of both Read Full Story
Nissan’s pint-sized Micra has long been one of our favourite entry-level cars, especially when loaded up in SR trim. That’s how we tested today’s review model, complete with aero styling upgrades…

2017 Nissan Micra SR Road Test

Just in case you're not already aware, there's no better new car for your money than the Nissan Micra. For just $9,988 plus freight and fees, which makes it the least expensive new car in Canada, the 2017 Micra represents the best value in the entire auto industry.

What's more, it's so much fun to drive that Nissan Canada developed a spec racing series dubbed Nissan Micra Cup to tout its performance prowess, a smart way to change common perceptions about life with an entry-level sub-subcompact economy car.

In case you're wondering, the Micra Cup racing-spec car is no more formidable off the line than the just noted stock machine, its DOHC, 16-valve, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine providing an identical 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, which is sports car territory when factoring in the model's scant 1,044-kilo (2,302-lb) curb weight.

To put that last claim into perspective, the pre-owned 1985 Toyota MR2 mid-engine sports car that I Read Full Story
Mazda’s compact 3 sedan and 5-door Sport model combine for lots of sales in the Canadian market, their success due to great styling, superb performance, impressive interiors and plenty of features.…

2017 Mazda3 Sport GT Road Test

Mazda has a much stronger following in Canada than the U.S. We tend to like smaller, sportier, fuel-efficient cars and SUVs, while our American friends traditionally purchase their vehicles one size larger.

Yet that doesn't explain stronger sales of the Toyota Corolla family, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra/Veloster, Volkswagen Jetta/Golf/GTI, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza/WRX, and Kia Forte last year. The salt gets further rubbed into the wound when learning the only two direct competitors it outsells in the U.S., the Dodge Dart and Mitsubishi Lancer, have already been officially discontinued. Yikes!

By comparison, the Mazda3 may not be rivaling the Civic for top sales anymore, or for that matter rubbing shoulders with the Corolla and Elantra, but it's still ahead of the others. Therefore Mazda Canada should probably feel pretty good about the job they're doing here, or cry in their coffee cups about the poor results their American counterparts Read Full Story
Nissan has given its popular Versa Note a refresh for 2017, changing up its styling and improving its feature set. Today we test it in top-line SL trim, complete with fog lamps, 16-inch alloys, heated…

2017 Nissan Versa Note SL Road Test

Living with an entry-level economy car doesn't have to be a boring or uncomfortable experience, and Nissan's Versa Note is especially good at dealing with the latter issue.

The Japanese brand's second smallest hatchback gets a mid-cycle update for 2017, highlighted by a particularly attractive new "V-Motion" chromed grille design sourced from previously restyled models within Nissan's ever-growing lineup of cars, SUVs and trucks.

Along with the tiny Micra city car, plus the Juke and new Qashqai SUVs, the Versa Note is in charge of attracting newcomers and fixed income earners to the automaker, its very approachable $14,498 base price one of its more agreeable attributes. For that you get a nifty looking little runabout that's better made than many in the subcompact class.

It's motivated by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing a rambunctious 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, yet its claimed fuel economy is even more smile-inducing at 7.5 L/100km in Read Full Story
Mazda’s CX-3 remains one of Canada’s most popular subcompact SUVs, a segment that’s grown by leaps and bounds since its inception 7 years ago. Now, with 13 entries and 3 more on the way, does the…

2017 Mazda CX-3 GT AWD Road Test

I don't know about you, but 2010 doesn't seem that long ago to me. Can you believe there were only three competing models in the subcompact SUV category back then? In only seven years that number has skyrocketed to 13, while another three have been announced for next year. Just for fun, do you want to guess how many mid-size sedans have been added to the Canadian market since 2010? None. In fact, back then there were 13, whereas now only 11 go up against each other, and one of those is slated for cancellation at the end of this model year. How's that for a turn of events.

You've spoken Canada, and the automakers are listening. Yesterday's Mazda6 owner is today's CX-5 and CX-9 buyer, while even the once mighty Mazda3 is watching its market share slowly erode thanks in part to the highly successful compact CX-5 and this little subcompact CX-3. I can understand why. As much as I still like the Mazda3, especially in five-door Sport form, if push came to shove I'd more likely lay real Read Full Story
Jaguar arrived on the Canadian market with a new compact luxury sedan last year, and it looks superb. Today we review it for a third time albeit with different features, and once again are impressed with…

2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige Road Test

In August of last year, while writing up the brand spanking new 2017 Jaguar XE 35t AWD R-Sport I had just tested, I couldn't find any sales information to determine how well you, Canada's buying public, was responding. Wowed by its beautiful lines, advanced aluminum construction, superb performance, and luxurious, nicely featured interior, I believed it would likely build a reasonably solid following of luxury consumers bored of their mostly German sport sedans, but I couldn't have imagined how dramatically the F-Pace sport utility would steal the show.

By the close of Q2 2017, Jaguar Canada had sold a considerable 1,388 F-Pace models compared to 411 XEs, which once again made the British brand's SUV the most popular vehicle in its lineup, a new reality that probably won't change until the upcoming 2018 E-Pace compact SUV arrives early next year. While XE sales are just 30 percent of F-Pace numbers, it's still Jaguar's strongest selling four-door sedan. Traditionally, when premium Read Full Story
Those not personally invested in the first-generation GLA may not notice that this 2018 version has received a mid-cycle update, but put the new model beside its predecessor and the changes are obvious.…

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic Road Test

While luxury branded competitors scramble to fill niches within all the various SUV categories, Mercedes has long led the way.

The German automaker was one of the first with a serious 4x4-capable SUV, its legendary Gelandewagen, now G-Class, dating back to 1979, as well as one of the first with a luxury crossover SUV in the M-Class, more recently dubbed GLE-Class, a mid-size five-seater that harks back to 1997.

The three-pointed star brand has steadily grown its SUV lineup since then, adding the seven-occupant GL-Class in 2006, now named GLS, the GLK in 2008, now replaced by the entirely new GLC, and more recently this GLA-Class in 2014. The following year Mercedes expanded its GLE-Class lineup by adding a sportier Coupe variant, which was followed up last year by the GLC-Class Coupe.

The last two models have more in common with the GLA than any of the others on that long list. No doubt the success of Mercedes' entry-level SUV, along with the mid-size BMW X6 Read Full Story