Today on CarCostCanada, Trevor Hofmann reviews the tiny Chevrolet Spark in nicely outfitted LT1 trim. The Spark is GM’s entry in Canada’s small but growing micro car segment, and it’s a good, solid…

2014 Chevrolet Spark LT1 Road Test Review

Chevy's little Spark has been gaining traction in Canada, our market quite enamoured with small hatchbacks albeit just starting to wake up to extremely small city cars. Such is not the case in many other countries throughout the world, such as Manila, Philippines where I'm writing this review. Sparks are all over Manila, as are a bevy of alternative city car competitors.

Up against the Spark a number of Chinese models, particularly the BYD F0, Chana Benni De Luxe, Chery QQ3, Geely LC, and Haima 1, plus the Honda Brio and Toyota Wigo from Japan, the Hyundai i10 and Eon as well as the Kia Picanto from South Korea, and lastly the only car you'll likely be familiar with, the same Mitsubishi Mirage sold here, also from Japan. Strangely missing is the Nissan Micra, while Fiat and Smart don't sell within the Philippines so the 500 and Fortwo aren't available either. Just the same, considering the hefty competition Chevy's Spark does very well in the Philippines, and there's good reason. Read Full Story
Today on Leasebusters, auto journalist Trevor Hofmann reviews the Ford Escape in near-premium Titanium trim. Filled with high-quality materials, fittings and features, the top-line Escape Titanium delivers…

2014 Ford Escape Titanium AWD Road Test Review

Now that Lincoln has launched its new MKC crossover, Ford's Escape Titanium isn't the only luxury model from the Dearborn, Michigan automaker in the compact CUV segment. Yes, it's good enough to qualify as a premium crossover, better in fact than some that wear fancier badges and sell for thousands more, but the blue oval logos minimize its snob appeal, relegating the impressive little ute to mainstream volume buyers.

That's ok of course, as we're all quite happy to have such a great little vehicle made available within such an approachable price range. The Escape Titanium starts at $31,999 with front wheel drive and $34,199 with all-wheel drive, plus $1,650 for freight and pre-delivery prep. My tester was the latter, much appreciated for tromping up the ski hill mid-winter or weekend getaways that get away a little farther than planned, particularly where the road ends and light-duty trails start.

Premium in mind, the Escape Titanium delivers the type of interior expected Read Full Story
Today on CarCostCanada, auto journalist Simon Hill reviews the stylish new Kia Forte Koup in impressively equipped top-line SX Luxury trim. Sleek, powerful, competent through the corners and filled to…

2014 Kia Forte Koup SX Luxury Road Test Review

When it comes to cars, typically you can follow your heart and get something fun or follow your head and get something practical. A few cars, however, do an impressive job of straddling the line between practical and fun. The Kia Forte Koup, which was freshly redesigned for the 2014 model year, is one of them.

Like the Scion tC, which is perhaps the little Kia's most direct rival, the Forte Koup offers genuinely engaging style and a sporty driving experience together with a surprisingly comfortable back seat, good trunk room, and commuter-friendly convenience features. Sure, there are other compact coupes out there - including the Honda Civic Coupe, Hyundai Elantra Coupe and even, arguably, the Volkswagen Beetle - but none of them really look the part quite as well as the Kia Forte Koup does. It's a genuine stunner thanks to the styling efforts of former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, and my test car drew favourable comments wherever I went.

Powering the Forte Koup's Read Full Story
Land Rovers are expensive right? The stylish and extremely accommodating LR4 is probably not as pricy as you think, slotting in below similarly sized and feature-filled off-road capable SUVs from Chevrolet…

2014 Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury Road Test Review

The LR4 is the oldest model in Land Rover's lineup, even predating its current name. Prior to being dubbed LR4 it wore the LR3 nameplate, and while the move up in numerals occurred simultaneously with the 2010 model refresh, anyone familiar with the SUV understood that the revised version was merely an LR3 under subtly restyled bodywork.

That classic two-box design arrived on the scene in 2004 as a 2005 model, and immediately won the hearts and wallets of true 4x4 purists along with well-heeled soccer moms. It replaced a ute that had enjoyed a very long and rewarding tenure, the Discovery II that ran from 1998 through 2004, itself only a mild makeover of the original Discovery that entered production in 1989.

To be totally fair, while the LR4 might first have appeared like a subtle refresh as I inferred a moment ago, I for one would choose it over an LR3 any day of the week. While its design details were more appealing, notably its revised grille and side engine vents Read Full Story
Like what you see? So do a lot of other Canadians. The new Toyota RAV4 is quickly becoming one of the most popular compact CUVs in the country, and for many good reasons. Read Simon Hill’s review of…

2015 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited Road Test Review

There's probably no Canadian automotive segment as hotly contested as small SUVs and crossovers. Over the course of 2014, three times as many small SUVs were sold here compared to once-dominant midsize sedans, with the numbers standing at 327,219 small SUVs and crossovers versus 108,548 midsize sedans by the end of November.

Chasing after these sales is a wide array of rivals including heavy-hitters like the Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5 and, of course, the Toyota RAV4, which by mid-December was tracking for a solid second-place finish in the 2014 sales race, ahead of the Honda CR-V and just behind the top-selling Ford Escape.

That kind of success depends on doing all of the important things right, and the Canadian-built RAV4 certainly delivers where it matters. It's roomy, comfortable and nicely thought out, its proven powertrain offers reasonable performance with decent fuel economy, and ultimately it has very few real flaws. If words Read Full Story
The name Volkswagen might mean “peoples’ car” in its direct German translation, but the brand’s flagship Touareg crossover SUV, especially in top-tier Execline TDI R-Line trim, isn’t exactly…

2014 Volkswagen Touareg Execline TDI R-Line Road Test Review

My partner and I stepped up into our Volkswagen Touareg TDI test vehicle and both breathed out a collective "Whew!" It's beautifully finished inside. This is nothing new for the Touareg, however. It shares underpinnings with the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne after all, a platform architecture that will soon host ultra-premium marque Bentley's upcoming SUV and may also bear the weight of an off-road capable Lamborghini. That's quite the fraternity to belong too, but humble VW wears its pin well.

For all points and purposes the Touareg is Volkswagen's flagship model in North America, the six-figure Phaeton (which incidentally shares its undercarriage and more with the Audi A7 along with the Bentley Continental and Flying Spur) long since eliminated from this market. Starting at $50,975 plus $1,600 for freight and pre-delivery prep, the Touareg's base price nudges up against the Volkswagen CC's full-load price of just under $52k. The little Tiguan, which starts at a hair under $25,000, Read Full Story
The elegant little Fiat 500C shows that you don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to drive something very special. Read Trevor Hofmann’s review of the 500C in top-tier Lounge trim to get a full…

2014 Fiat 500C Lounge Road Test Review

What's the cutest car available in Canada? Some might point to the Smart Fortwo, simply because it's outrageously small, or Scion's more oddly angular shaped although slightly larger iQ for the same reason, but the even larger yet still tiny Fiat 500 would probably be most peoples' first choice.

Fiat got the proportions just right when the Dante Giacosa-designed Cinquecento initially hit the European market in 1957, helping to make the impish rear-engine two-door one of the best selling cars on the Continent with 3,893,294 units sold throughout its 18-year tenure, and did so once again albeit 50 years later in March of 2007 when it presented the current completely redesigned Type 312 retro version at the Geneva auto show. I was there to witness (and ride on the ultimately-cool indoor rollercoaster with 500-styled cars that Fiat created for the show), and saw first-hand how even jaded journalists went gaga for the adorable little city car.

Ahead of 500s hitting European Read Full Story
In the market for a mid-size crossover SUV? Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport is a good place to start or end your search, or so relates Trevor Hofmann in his comprehensive review of a mid-grade 2.4 Premium…

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.4 Premium AWD Road Test Review

I've had a number of opportunities to get behind the wheel of the Hyundai Santa Fe this year and each stint has been a pleasure. From the near full-size Santa Fe XL in nicely outfitted Luxury AWD trim to an even more lavishly appointed five-seat Sport SE model, I've found them comfortable, accommodating, feature-filled, and enjoyable to drive, not to mention great looking.

I've got to admit to liking the Sport's styling more, its rear quarters displaying one of the best looking sets of taillights in the crossover sector. Up front its bright trapezoidal grille gets one less chromed cross-member resulting in three thicker slats from top to bottom, while the fog lamps are larger, bolder, more rectangular units that match up well with the smaller CUV's performance-oriented image.

After that last point I need to interject that image isn't the Santa Fe Sport's only sporting characteristic, the regular-length crossover living up to its model designation nicely. In base trim Read Full Story