Are you the 2015 Mini Cooper S ALL4 Paceman? If you are, you’re one very rare gem that’s full of fun yet about as practical as go-fast sporty types get. Based on the Mini Countryman CUV yet much lower…

2015 Mini Cooper S ALL4 Paceman Road Test Review

What's your favourite Mini? With so many different models to choose from even diehard fans of the diminutive brand will have trouble coming up with an answer. Mine used to be the Clubman, but it's temporarily unavailable while undergoing a wholesale six-door transformation so I'll reserve judgment on the finished product until I've spent time with it. I also have a soft spot for new 5-Door, but if I've got to choose just one it'll have to be the Paceman.

The Paceman is Mini's version of the BMW X6, or maybe I should say the more recently added compact X4, or better yet the upcoming X2 that will be based on the same platform architecture as the next-generation Countryman. BMW created the sport activity coupe segment when it introduced the X6 eight years ago, a vehicle dreamed up by combining the idea of a rakish four-door coupe with a crossover SUV. Critics panned it for its tighter rear quarters and lack of cargo space, but fans bought them up by the boatload because they were Read Full Story
Are you considering a four-door compact sedan? If so, check out Trevor Hofmann’s review of the 2015 Mazda3 in GS trim, complete with Convenience and Moonroof packages. Fully featured and near premium…

2015 Mazda3 GS Road Test Review

I'm not sure which Mazda3 I like better. The five-door Sport with its rakish profile and handy hatchback design or the sleek, contemporary four-door sedan with its more traditional stance and secure trunk, they're both so good looking.

Of course, that's just my opinion, and to be completely honest there are a number of very stylish compacts currently on the market. It's always a personal taste issue, but there are a few undeniable design traits that are more appealing to the majority of new car buyers than others. While certainly trendy, today's car buyers seem to like big, gaping grilles, and the new 3 delivers with the largest maw in the model's history. It just so happens the 3's grille manages to satisfy the crowd's appetites in a particularly elegant way. A discrete chromed collar wraps its lower extremities before melding seamlessly into the car's elegantly jeweled headlamps, these just above a sporty cluster of available driving lights and fogs at each corner. The hood Read Full Story
Have you ever considered a BMW? Never thought you could afford one? You probably can ante up for the sporty yet fuel-efficient BMW X1 xDrive28i. Standard with all-wheel drive and a host of other notable…

2015 BMW X1 xDrive28i Road Test Review

There's only one compact crossover SUV that's more fun to drive than the BMW X1 xDrive28i, and that's the BMW X1 xDrive35i. Although with no straight-six powered X1 available, I was happy to "settle" for the turbocharged four.

I say the word settle in jest, of course, because it's hardly the word best suited to describe how I felt. The tiny X1 is much too enjoyable a CUV in any of its trims to feel like one version is a compromise compared to the other. They're just different. The lightweight 28i four uses sophisticated twin-scroll turbocharger, Valvetronic fully-variable valve control and BMW's double-Vanos system that continually adjusts the timing of the intake and exhaust camshafts to deliver strong acceleration with 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the latter fully available from just 1,250 rpm all the way up to 4,800 for seriously attentive response to throttle input. Certainly 59 more horsepower and 42 additional lb-ft of torque to make takeoff and passing performance Read Full Story
Today on CarCostCanada, Trevor Hofmann reviews the ultra-popular 2015 Toyota RAV4 in barebones LE trim. Even as a base model the RAV4 has a lot to offer as you’ll find out in this detailed review, but…

2015 Toyota RAV4 LE AWD Road Test Review

When I have opportunity to test the base trim level of any given model I jump at the chance. No, it's not because there's less to write about, making my workload easier, but rather because more often than not automakers load up the cars we journalists get to drive in order to show off all the fancy features on offer, and these cars don't always reflect the vehicles the majority of real buyers are purchasing. On that note I'll hazard to guess that the barebones RAV4 LE is very popular.

You've probably experienced arriving at a dealership only to find out the vehicle in the TV or newspaper ad photo wasn't anywhere near as well equipped as the one you could actually purchase for the advertised price. Such "loss leader" style advertising is nothing new, but at least with the RAV4 you won't be disappointed with the base model when you arrive. It's good enough to live comfortably with thanks to an impressive list of standard features such as tilt and telescopic steering; comfortable, Read Full Story
You’re not having double-vision problems. What you’re looking at is Mini’s new Cooper S 5-Door, a much more practical hatchback from the iconic British brand. After your eyes adjust, click through…

2015 Mini Cooper S 5-Door Road Test Review

Mini has been expanding its fortunes lately, from a small carmaker solely building sporty two-door coupes and convertibles to a wider-reaching brand now creating four, or should we say five-door models, starting in 2010 with the 2011 Countryman, the British marque's first foray into the crossover SUV sector, and now for 2015 the new 5-Door.

It's based on the latest Hardtop, a new name given to the outgoing hatchback that has once again been rechristened for 2015 (only a year later) to read 3-Door. More precisely they're all based on the new UKL1 front-wheel drive platform architecture set to underpin all new Mini models as well as six new front-drive BMWs before 2017, starting with the compact 2 Series Active Tourer. My first drive in last year's new Mini Cooper Hardtop (a.k.a. 3-Door) proved positive. The base model's newfound power was wonderful and overall stability through the curves and on the highway impressive, while increased interior room plus better cabin quality and Read Full Story
Today on CarCostCanada, automotive journalist Trevor Hofmann reviews the 2015 Lexus ES 300h in top-line Executive trim. The Lexus ES is North America’s best-selling luxury sedan and the electrified…

2015 Lexus ES 300h Executive Road Test Review

If you have been seriously considering a luxury hybrid due to high fuel costs yet are now reconsidering because pump prices have fallen dramatically over the last month, I have one thing to say to you: think long-term. While nobody can predict the future, this recent decline in the price of oil may be more of a short-term reaction to geopolitical circumstance than any real abundance of cheap crude, and besides, if you had been told seven or eight years ago that gas would be priced near a dollar per litre in the year 2015 (let alone 20 to 50 percent higher as we experienced over the past couple of years), wouldn't you have been planning to purchase a hybrid someday in the future anyway?

No matter whether fuel prices drop another 20 percent, stay level, or go up to their previous highs, the 2015 Lexus ES 300h is a good choice. It remains one of the most comfortably spacious luxury cars in the mid-size segment, not to mention well-appointed and great looking. Of course, styling Read Full Story
Today on CarCostCanada, auto journalist Simon Hill reviews the 2015 Acura ILX in fabulously fun Dynamic trim. Only available with a manual gearbox, this model disappears for the 2016 model year, which…

2015 Acura ILX Dynamic Road Test Review

The beginning of 2015 saw me at the wheel of Acura's driver-oriented ILX Dynamic, a thoroughly entertaining car that owes much of its DNA to the rip-snorting Honda Civic Si. Ordinarily the timing of my test drive might imply that the vehicle in question will be around for a while - the ILX Dynamic is a 2015 model, after all, and I was driving it the week after New Years Day. But by mid-January 2015, Acura debuted the restyled and reengineered 2016 ILX at the Montreal International Auto Show, with a Canadian launch date set for February 2015.

This means that time is already running out for the 2015 model, and while it might be brilliant news for fans of the latest and greatest, it's a sad day for manual transmission aficionados. Because while the 2016 model year will see all ILX trims fitted with the more powerful engine currently strapped into the 2015 ILX Dynamic, it will also see all engines mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that combines the efficiency and immediacy Read Full Story
In his review of the 2015 Toyota Venza, auto journalist Trevor Hofmann calls the vehicle the crossover of crossovers. What do you think of it? Read this review of a top-tier V6 AWD Limited version to…

2015 Toyota Venza V6 AWD Limited Road Test Review

So you want to buy a new vehicle, but a mid-size sedan isn't versatile enough for your active lifestyle and not really your style anyway, minivans are hardly mini anymore and don't even begin to fit your image, and most of the mid-size crossover SUVs are simply too large and truck-like. Fortunately for you Toyota has been busy filling forgotten niches over the last number of years, one of which was a void left by its long-departed Camry Wagon. Rather than elongate the Camry's roofline and add a liftgate to the rear the company rethought the entire wagon concept and in the process reinvented it, the result being a low-slung crossover-like five-door dubbed Venza.

For those in the know the Venza is nothing new. Toyota brought it to market in 2008 as a 2009 model and it's been selling strong ever since. Even after six years on the market with only minor updates its design remains fresh and unique, mostly because there's nothing else quite like it on the road. Certainly the idea of Read Full Story