What? Audi is thinking about messing with the success of its current design language? Everything must change, even the popular German brand renowned for its keen sense of style. Ushering in this next-generation…

Upcoming Audi A9 concept to debut new design direction

While it is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, having one of your most celebrated designers snagged by a mainstream value automaker, which then produces premium-level cars that appear inspired by your much more expensive mid-size and full-size flagship models is never good. Such is what Audi has experienced since Peter Schreyer was headhunted by South Korean brand Kia and its Hyundai parent, and having since become one of three presidents of the former (the first non-Korean to be so honoured) and Chief Design Officer of both.

Now with V8-powered sport-luxury Kia models like the new 2015 K900 doing a credible job of going head-to-head with the Audi A8, and Hyundai models such as the new Genesis 5.0 Ultimate even more effectively targeting the German brand's A6, it's time the four-ringed brand changed up its image.

While today's Audi designs are revered as some of the most attractive in the industry, almost universally praised by customers and pundits Read Full Story
Looking for a compact crossover with loads of luxury upgrades for a reasonable price? Toyota has an answer that might suit you to a T, and to help you make your choice Trevor Hofmann reviews the improved…

2015 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited Road Test Review

If you were looking for something new in the 2015 Toyota RAV4, don't hold your breath any longer. Being that the newest version came to market early last year as a 2013 model, this 2015 RAV4 is carryover from the 2014 iteration other than new wheels and the deletion of one colour and the addition of another, Shoreline Blue Pearl for Hot Lava, and that 2014 model was a carryover from the year before. This, however, will hardly matter to the thousands of Canadian compact crossover buyers who will choose to ride the RAV wave this coming year, as it's a very good CUV that deserves every bit of the success it enjoys.

When the all-new totally rethought fourth-generation 2013 RAV4 debuted, I tested a mid-grade AWD XLE model and was duly impressed with its sleeker styling, more car-like ride and handling, better automatic transmission, improved fuel economy, nicer interior detailing, easier folding rear seats, and much more functional liftgate design. Almost everything I liked about Read Full Story
Love your Mini but wishing it was a little quicker? Auto journalist Trevor Hofmann reviews a brand new John Cooper Works Hardtop that just might be the answer to all of your go-fast dreams, while delivering…

2014 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop Road Test Review

Try to look this car up on the Mini.ca website and it will be glaringly absent, made all the more obvious by six other 2014 models available with special John Cooper Works upgrades. You can get a new 2014 JCW Clubman, Convertible, Coupe, Roadster, Paceman or Countryman, but the 2014 JCW Hardtop is nowhere to be seen. What's the problem? The fact is that Mini never made one. With the all-new Mini Hardtop having only arrived in base Cooper and mid-grade Cooper S trims for the 2014 model year, the JCW version, which is expected to be the most powerful production Mini ever made at somewhere around 230 horsepower, is still forthcoming.

The car you see here is a brand new 2013 John Cooper Works Hardtop that I drove only a couple of weeks ago. And what of the 2014 designation in the title of this review? Ah, yes that. I (ahem) "mistakenly" typed that in just out of habit. Oh alright… with 2015 model year Minis upon us I admit that I did it on purpose so that I could include this Read Full Story
Today on CarCostCanada, auto journalist Trevor Hofmann reviews the advanced new Cadillac ELR, an extended-range hybrid electric that can run on EV power for up to 60 km and both gasoline and electric…

2014 Cadillac ELR Road Test Review

I have to admit, I'm a changed man. Don't get me wrong, as I'm still easily swayed by the sound, feel and performance of a powerful internal combustion engine, but if it was my hard earned money on the line I would likely opt for a different type of performance, the electrically propelled plug-in kind.

The new Cadillac ELR is the car that's converted me to the church of electric. I've enjoyed numerous EVs and extended-range EREVs before, including the Chevy Volt that shares underpinnings with this crested wreath model, but none of them have made me aspire to own one. The ELR, on the other hand, is so good looking from onset, so beautifully detailed inside, and performs so well in all other respects, that I want to find a way to drive it daily.

The reason I won't likely find a way to do so is it's one key drawback, a starting price of $78,250 plus $1,800 for freight and pre-delivery prep, or more precisely the need to pay more than $80k for what is essentially a Volt Read Full Story
The new 2015 BMW M4 Coupe breaks with BMW tradition in so many ways, but according to automotive journalist Trevor Hofmann who brings us today’s review, it stays true to M form in the most important…

2015 BMW M4 Coupe Road Test Review

There are some cars that I enjoy driving around town or out on the open road, and then there are others that I simply must find a way to get onto the track. Such is the case with the new 2015 BMW M4 Coupe.

I can just imagine. Blindly cresting the top of Laguna Seca's corkscrew before deep diving down through 8A ahead of the plunge past 9, the hurtling M4 holding fast to the tarmac on its way through 10 before coming down hard on its massive binders in order to set up 11 ahead of the long kinked straight. Or better yet, getting the speed and apex just right on the Andretti hairpin so as to set up turns 3 and 4 before climbing the long steep hill after 5 and then entering the Rahal straight after 6, I can hardly fathom the speed and control the M4 would be capable of on a track like that.

I've run Laguna Seca more than any other track, and with many more different types of cars. I've tested everything from compact Kias, mid-size Toyota crossovers, Civic Si Coupes, Nissan Read Full Story
A Mini Cooper S is about as much fun as you can have behind the wheel of a car; that is unless you’ve got the keys to a Mini Cooper S Convertible. Today on CarCostCanada, Trevor Hofmann reviews the…

2014 Mini Cooper S Convertible Road Test Review

How can you make a Mini Cooper Convertible better than it already is? That's easy, tag a bright shiny red "S" onto its nameplate.

For years the stylized S on the backside of any Mini model has signified a very worthwhile performance upgrade, not to mention other goodies to go along with its increased price point. The best part is the received reward is much greater than the money needed to move up from the base Cooper, which is why there are so many S-badged Minis zipping around town.

And they certainly zip quickly. Under the stubby little Mini hood is a direct-injected and twin-scroll turbocharged version of Mini's heady little 1.6-litre four-cylinder, complete with 60 more ponies than the base Cooper at 181 horsepower and 63 additional pound-feet of torque at 177, although on overboost the Cooper S gives its driver a 78 lb-ft advantage! Sure, there's more performance yet available in the John Cooper Works version, but that little 208-horsepower mind bomb requires Read Full Story
There’s never a better time to buy a new convertible than the fall when Mr. Sun only peaks his head out of the clouds occasionally, and for that reason prices drop to their lowest of the year. Check…

2014 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Sportline Road Test Review

In one styling update, Volkswagen's once iconic although eventually tired and dated looking "New Beetle" became as fresh and stylish as it was when new, with the added benefit of being much more appealing to the more masculine set.

I fall into that latter grouping, and while not particularly muscled up and hardly machismo, I'm a guy who likes cars with a little more testosterone in their tanks. Something about the latest Beetle's design speaks volumes to those of us who prefer gutsy over cutesy, but I can't exactly place what specific design element does the trick. Likely it's a combination of everything, from its long, wide, rectangular front bumper vents and the squared off edging of its hood just above, to its longer hood-line and front fenders, plus its shorter rear deck, squared off trunk lid and sharply angled taillights. All in all it's a tougher, sportier looking Beetle that easily has enough chutzpa to stare down the surprised deer in the headlights look ingratiating Read Full Story
Choosing a new full-size pickup is tough these days, and General Motors has made things even more difficult with a redesigned lineup of light trucks. Today on CarCostCanada, Trevor Hofmann reviews the…

2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT Crew Cab 4WD Road Test Review

What a great looking truck! I have always liked the styling of GMC pickup trucks more than their Chevy dizygotic twins, and despite a good looking all-new 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 the even better looking (to my eyes at least) 2014 Sierra 1500 shows that this rule isn't about to change anytime soon.

While GMC's half-ton pickup doesn't come in a base Work Truck (WT) trim level like its bow-tie sibling, its least expensive "Sierra" trim level is priced just $614 higher and therefore isn't much fancier, but still somehow the pickup sold through General Motors' dedicated truck and SUV division manages to seem more upscale.

In actuality the base Sierra is about as basic as new vehicles get, not even included carpeted flooring. Of course, if you're dealing with the dirty and often muddy life of construction sites, plush carpeting won't be high on your priority list. Rather, the inclusion of GM's Z85 increased capacity suspension system as standard equipment will be more appreciated, Read Full Story