Few premium sport utilities offer as much size, style, on and off-road performance, features, and decadent luxury than the Infiniti QX80 Limited, so today on CarCostCanada we review a fully loaded example…

2016 Infiniti QX80 Limited Road Test Review

Talk about imposing. The QX80 makes a statement unlike any other SUV, or really any other vehicle on the road. It's big, massive actually. But its rounded curves make it seem smaller than it actually is.

To put it in perspective, at 5,305 millimeters (208.8 inches) the QX80 is significantly longer than any other regular wheelbase luxury SUV on the market, only coming up short when compared to the long-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV and Lincoln Navigator L models. Ditto for its 3,075-mm (121.0-inch) wheelbase, although you'll need to add Land Rover's Range Rover LWB to that list. As for width, its 2,031 mm (79.9 inches) straddles the middle ground, although at 1,925 mm (75.8 inches) high it's one of the tallest in its big rig category. It's no lightweight either, the big Infiniti weighing in at 2,671 kilos (5,888 lbs), which means it's only lighter than the Lexus and two long-wheelbase domestics.

Fortunately it's also endowed with a very potent 5.6-litre V8 capable Read Full Story
Not everyone wants a luxury badge to go along with their luxury sedan experience and for these there’s the Toyota Avalon. After a mid-cycle refresh that includes a new grille and front fascia, new LED…

2016 Toyota Avalon Limited Road Test Review

I want to let you in on a secret. Last year only 765 Canadians either already knew about this and came back for more or had an "aha!" moment and drove away a winner. Maybe it was you and now you're checking out this review for verification that you made the right choice. Of course, you already know you did and that's why you smile every time you see a loaded Camry XLE driver pass by and grin even wider when someone pulls alongside in a Lexus ES 350. The secret? The Toyota Avalon, of course.

At just $38,990 plus freight and dealer fees the base Avalon is about $4k more than a loaded Camry XLE V6 and $2.4k less than the Lexus ES 350, yet it rides on the same stretched Toyota K platform architecture as the premium-badged luxury sedan, is powered by the same engine, and gets filled with even more standard and optional features.

Granted, I can understand that many buying a full-load Camry can't fit another $4,190 into their budgets, but right here, right now I'll attempt Read Full Story
Just because something is newest doesn’t make it best. Proof is the 2016 Ford Escape compact SUV, now in its 4th year yet one of the most impressive in its class. Today we test a top-tier Titanium model…

2016 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD Road Test Review

Many Canadians will remember 2015 as a down year, especially when it comes to the price of oil, our directly related sagging economy and concurrently plummeting dollar, yet the new reality of a devalued currency hasn't effected automotive sales one iota, at least in certain sectors. In fact, we've had our best year yet in the compact crossover SUV segment.

Of the 13 models currently sold in the mainstream volume branded compact CUV category, only five didn't experience best-ever sales. Sliding sales from some of these models might be easy to explain due to old designs that don't fully measure up anymore, such as the GMC Terrain, but while it lost ground the identically aged Chevrolet Equinox gained a few hundred sales over its 2014 tally, although didn't come close to its strongest calendar year. The aging Kia Sportage and mostly new Mitsubishi Outlander experienced similar results, gaining numbers in 2015 while not achieving best-ever results, leaving only that Terrain and this Read Full Story
Is the updated Terrain Denali a premium SUV? With a base of more than $42k it’s pricier than every luxury-badged rival except the 4 Germans and then only $235 less than Audi’s bestselling Q5. GMC…

2016 GMC Terrain Denali AWD Road Test Review

I walk up to my Terrain loaner and immediately notice the big chrome grille up front and bold "DENALI" lettering down the side of the front door, which I must say has me a bit excited. I remember hearing that GM was updating this model and, while the previously one hadn't fully impressed, I was looking forward to putting less than ideal memories to rest. After all, Denali is GMC-speak for luxury, a word that carries a lot of swagger in pickup truck circles.

General Motors considers Denali a premium sub-brand and prices its various models accordingly, my tester just ten bucks shy of $49k with freight and pre-delivery prep included, or more specifically $42,365 for the base Terrain Denali plus $4,925 in options, which include the stylish White Frost tri-coat paint at a whopping $1,145, a V6 upgrade at $2,165 that also added a nice set of machine-finished 19-inch alloys with grey painted pockets, $430 for a Class II trailering package, $365 for a Cargo Convenience package that adds Read Full Story
Finding sales traction in the premium segment is difficult for Lincoln, but vehicles like the MKC will certainly help. For under $40k it comes with one of the best interiors in its class plus loads of…

2016 Lincoln MKC 2.0 Ecoboost AWD Road Test Review

There's a lot to like about Lincoln right now. After years of experimenting with various styling directions they finally seem to be on the cusp of culturing a distinctive personality that combines unique design elements in key areas, specifically the eye-catching split-wing grille up front and single slim taillight strip at back, both looking original and quite pleasing on every model they've been applied to, while the drive experience delivers competitive performance balanced with comfort-biased luxury.

The new look has given unique character to all of Lincoln's models, from this MKC compact SUV, the smallest vehicle in its fleet, to the mammoth Navigator SUV, plus the MKZ mid-size sedan, MKX mid-size CUV, MKS full-size sedan and MKT full-size crossover. We actually saw the first signs of the split-wing grille fronting the 2009 MKS, a model I drove at its national launch and, in the ensuing review, stated that its "unique grille treatment" was "a completely new look for Lincoln Read Full Story
Could the 500X be considered a ground floor opportunity? Considering its one of the best in its class yet hardly gained much sales traction so far, there may be a very good opportunity to get a great…

2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus AWD Road Test Review

Tired of seeing the exact same car coming around the corner everywhere you go? Of course, there's a lot to be said for buying a highly successful model. It's often a sign of good design, better than average quality and a strong brand image, but bestsellers can often appear a bit generic in their attempt to appeal to the masses and tend to lack unique character from behind the wheel, both in interior styling and driving dynamics. There's no chance of that with the new Fiat 500X.

As a backgrounder, Fiat first became part of the Canadian road-scape in 1910, two years after arriving in the U.S., although due to poor sales the Italian brand left both markets in 1983. That U.S./Canadian connection proved important to the Italian automaker's future, however, starting with a $2 billion USD compensation payment made by General Motors after choosing to terminate a then five-year-old put option that gave Fiat Group (FIA) the right to sell itself to GM for fair market value, which was money Read Full Story
Cars don’t come much more aggressive looking then this, except the recently revealed Lexus LC 500 that visually expands on all of the RC F’s best design cues, plus its performance and no doubt price.…

2016 Lexus RC F Road Test Review

Cars don't come much more aggressive looking then this, except the recently revealed Lexus LC 500 that visually expands on all of the RC F's best design cues, plus its performance and no doubt price. That future model, just introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, will hopefully be another car for a not too distant review, however the model we currently have available in the here and now is one of the most exciting new sport coupes to hit the premium performance sector for a very long time.

The RC F arrived last year as a powerful complement to Lexus' equally new compact coupe lineup, the RC 300 and RC 350. The Japanese brand just added the RC 200t as the model's new entry-level trim, a car now capable of going head-to-head with its turbocharged four-cylinder German rivals. The "F" targets premium competitors' AMG, M, RS and V performance lines, and does a credible job of both visually wowing with eyeball-yanking contours and viscerally delighting Read Full Story
Few compact hatchbacks are more fun to drive than the 252-hp Focus ST, standard with a 6-speed manual, fully independent sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloys, unique ST styling, ST interior trim such…

2016 Ford Focus ST Road Test Review

If I were to ask, "What's your favourite performance brand?" which carmaker would first come to mind? A prerequisite for me is motorsport pedigree, a qualifier that certainly narrows the field. Better yet, a brand that's long been competitive in multiple disciplines, from grassroots to F1, not to mention endurance, rally, touring car, V8 supercar, Trans Am, drifting, drag racing, stock car, and others in between. No other name can lay greater claim to such diversity of racing series than Ford.

From the lowly Pinto-powered Formula Ford that raised many a would-be challenger up from go-karting into open wheeled single seaters, to blue-oval branded F1 engines, the great Michael Schumacher having piloted a Ford-powered Benetton B194-8 to his first championship in 1994, the Dearborn, MI automaker has long walked the "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" talk. Dodge might currently be missing from the NASCAR ranks, but can anyone imagine February at Daytona without a Ford on the grid? Ford Read Full Story