Considering a subcompact SUV? There are lots to choose from with 4 more just added for 2016, but despite a reasonable $27k starting price Buick’s Encore offers a rich looking chrome-detailed design…

2015 Buick Encore Premium AWD Road Test Review

When you think of innovators amongst automotive brands, does Buick come to mind? Certainly in its formative years the 112-year old brand had its fair share of breakthroughs, its "valve-in-head" engine design, known since as the overhead valve (OHV) engine, might be its most significant, but that took place even before most of its current LaCrosse owners were born (tongue firmly in cheek). Still, my 50-something age group remembers larger than life semi-luxury family sedans and wagons with pillow-top upholstery in tufted velour, slabs of faux woodgrain interior trim and sometimes a similar woodie treatment used for the exterior, plus a cloud-like ride and boat-in-the-water handling, not to mention fuel economy similar to a mega yacht's.

Stuck in our dated pasts, some of us forget that we're only as old as we think we are, and Buick, which is in the process of truly reinventing itself, is now being discovered by a whole new generation of buyers that never knew the company for anything Read Full Story
Cadillac’s sales are declining but cars like the new CTS should help it find new buyers. Styling is sharp yet not too radical and the CTS’ interior is superb with impressive refinement plus more leather,…

2015 Cadillac CTS 3.6L AWD Road Test Review

Forget for a moment that Cadillac's ever-changing model naming strategy has moved its D-segment four-door's C-segment designation up to E-segment size, dropped a new A-segment named sedan and coupe back into the D-segment, and for some reason previously gave its slightly larger than E-segment luxury sedan a 4x4-style X nomenclature, or for that matter that a completely updated naming scheme will at some future point see all Cadillac's cars rebadged with CT nameplates followed by a single digit relative to size, plus all crossover utilities similarly redubbed XT with the same nod to suffix numerology (the Escalade will escape such rebranding), and instead of rubbing your eyes in bewilderment just consider the domestic brand's rather impressive lineup.

The ATS has out-BMW'd the 3 Series for driving feel and handling, the SRX is doing its job of leading the brand's sales despite the upcoming XT5 soon relieving it from duty, the Escalade is far and away the best-selling full-size Read Full Story
Few cars have as much impish attitude as Mini’s 3-Door hatch, while its top-line JCW is the “M” of subcompacts. For 2015 it’s been totally redesigned with a 228-hp 4-cylinder with 236 lb-ft of…

2015 Mini John Cooper Works 3-Door Road Test Review

In case you're wondering whether anyone will notice that you spent a lot more for a JCW than mere mortals pay for a regular Cooper or Cooper S, don't worry. From it's bold red horizontal grille rib and unique badging, up to its gaping hood scoop and then down to its heavily ducted lower fascia, past its bulging fenders to unique optional machine-finished 18-inch five-spoke alloys with black painted pockets on 205/40 Pirelli Cinturatos framing standard JCW-branded glossy red four-piston fixed calipers that hover over massive dinner plate-sized ventilated discs, back up to a wing-like rooftop spoiler, flap open to wrestle with a turmoil of otherwise chassis-unbalancing air, quad-vented rear bumper cap housing big fat twinned centre-mounted slash-cut exhaust pipes protruding out back, the JCW is a car that will get you as many looks as it'll attract Speed Racers pulling up alongside to check you out and possibly tempt weaker minds into a quick side-by-side sprint.

Even on the way Read Full Story
Jumping to 2nd in monthly sales after just 6 months of availability, Mazda’s new CX-3 is a rising star within its subcompact SUV class. And it’s no wonder thanks to sporty styling, a standard 146-hp…

2016 Mazda CX-3 GS Road Test Review

MX-5 aside, the CX-3 is the sportiest looking new Mazda, but it's more Dakar rally raid than take it to the track on Sunday. It looks like it could go anywhere, although let's be clear, this isn't the intention. Rather, you'll look oh-so stylish pulling up to the ski hill in this subcompact SUV, and you'll get there using less fuel than the majority of snow slaying 4x4s.

Its variation on Mazda's new corporate face might be the best yet. Its large and proud yet tasteful grille is almost stately, and certainly more premium than some luxury branded small CUVs, while its sharp and narrow combination headlamps add to the little soft-roader's animalistic characteristics. Likewise, vertically stacked driving lights and fogs are particularly attractive while adding visual height to the design, these interrupted by a subtle front fender crease that flows past the bottom edge of each headlamp before arcing overtop the wheels and then bending into a beltline that swoops across the front Read Full Story
Scion has updated its 2016 tC with a fabulous new 7-inch Pioneer infotainment system, so now this zippy sports coupe offers state-of-the-art big screen connectivity. Along with 179-hp, 6-speed manual…

2016 Scion tC 6MT Road Test Review

Think of the tC as the Corolla's sportier two-door sibling. A brother from another mother, albeit the same dad. The dad is Akio Toyoda, indirectly at least. He's the man responsible for injecting some much-needed life into a Toyota namesake brand that was too staid and conservative when he took over as president and CEO of TMC in June of 2009, and the rest, as they say, is history. Scion, which is largely made up of reworked Toyota products not available here, has been a direct benefactor.

The tC preceded Toyoda's six-year legacy, if you can call half a dozen years of leadership a legacy. Either way, one of his crowning achievements thus far is the brilliant FR-S sports coupe that wears the Scion nameplate here in North America. Neither the FR-S or this tC is an all-out success story when it comes to sales, but both have boosted the image of Toyota's global operations and morale within Scion, while the result of Toyoda-san's focus on aspirational design and overall refinement Read Full Story
Want a luxury sedan, but your budget won’t allow? How about all the usual luxury features and more for less than $25k? Hyundai’s Elantra Limited is just that care, boasting proximity entry, pushbutton…

2016 Hyundai Elantra Sedan Limited Road Test Review

The Elantra remains as stylish as four-door compacts get, its curvaceous front fascia only upstaged by an even swoopier rear design, both bejeweled with beautifully detailed lighting elements normally found on much more expensive cars. My top-line Limited tester takes everything up a notch, with chrome ribs on the lower grille opening, more brightwork within its upgraded projection headlights, a touch more highlighting its LED side mirror turn signals, more chrome trimming the door handles, while stylish taillights hover over a chromed tailpipe poking through a cool matte-black diffuser-style bumper cap. Those headlights and taillights also get unique LED detailing, the former some of my favourite in the entire industry, while the stylized twinned five-spoke 17-inch alloys with metallic grey painted pockets add just the right amount of sport without taking away from this car's elegance. The car looks classy from head to toe.

No wonder the Elantra is such a big seller. Last year Read Full Story
Honda is cleaning up with its well-executed HR-V, much thanks to the same ultra-flexible rear Magic Seats as its Fit sibling. Today we review it in EX-2WD trim complete with fog lamps, side mirror turn…

2016 Honda HR-V EX-2WD Road Test Review

The new HR-V enters the fastest growing segment in the auto industry, but don't worry Honda fans, as early sales results show that it's fully up to the task of competing in its subcompact SUV class.

Despite three additional models joining this category for the 2016 model year alone, expanding the class to nine in total, the HR-V already ranks second in year-to-date Canadian sales as of September's close with 5,427 units down the road compared to 5,845 for the front-running Chevrolet Trax. I'm looking forward to seeing 2016 calendar year results, however, as the HR-V achieved this impressive feat after entirely missing out on the first half of the year, only hitting the showroom floor partway through June. How it fares against the others is at least as interesting, with the long-in-tooth Mitsubishi RVR in third with 4,398 sales, the all-new Mazda CX-3 in fourth with 4,353 deliveries (it's been available since May), Buick's long-running Encore in fifth with 3,642 sales, the segment Read Full Story
Despite being in its 8th model year Audi’s A4 still looks good thanks to a good initial design and a refresh for 2013, but this is its final year before a complete overall. Today we review the 220-hp…

2016 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv S Line Road Test Review

Style is an Audi trademark, not that they can enforce it by law. We've witnessed others copy some of its design elements over the years and rather than fight back the German brand takes it in stride. Of course, buyers know the difference between an imitator and the real deal, and Audi has never been about aping the latest trend. They're an automaker that's made its mark with innovation, being the first premium brand to promote the merits of all-wheel drive en masse to the point where Quattro is a near household name. All other luxury brands have now followed Audi's AWD lead, while the Ingolstadt-based company was also one of the first to embrace turbocharged four-cylinder power, now another market mainstay.

On that note I suppose it could be said that Audi innovated the big grille era too. The A4's hexagonal singleframe grille is large for sure, but it's proportionally sized to this D-segment four-door fashion statement. S Line trim is standard kit, which means the grille gets Read Full Story