Acura sells a lot of ILX sedans, and a key reason is value. For a sub-$30k price it gets a standard 201-hp 4-cylinder, an 8-speed dual-clutch auto with paddles, full LED headlamps, adaptive cruise control,…

2017 Acura ILX Premium Road Test Review

Ironically, Acura's compact ILX sedan's biggest competitor might just be the all-new Honda Civic that debuted last year. Certainly the premium-branded model offers more upscale styling, some nicer finishing inside and the performance benefits of a real eight-speed automatic transmission, but the new Civic delivers arguably more advanced styling that also includes full LED headlights in top-line Touring trim, pretty impressive interior detailing, more advanced electronic interfaces, and a more modern ambiance overall. Still, I'd opt for the Acura.

Before justifying my personal bias, the ILX' true compact luxury competitors include Audi's A3 sedan, Buick's Verano, and Mercedes' CLA sedan, the latter of which is more of a four-door coupe albeit still reasonably accommodating in back. Of course, there are others vying for your entry-level premium dollar, including Mercedes' B-Class and Lexus' CT five-doors, plus BMW's two-door 2 Series, although this coupe and convertible duo doesn't Read Full Story
The C-Class has long been one of the premium D-segment’s most popular cars as well as a compact luxury sedan benchmark, and the latest 2016 model is its best effort yet. Along with a 241-hp turbo four…

2016 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Sedan Road Test Review

The compact premium D-segment is filled with sport/luxury hopefuls, but to most buying into this class there are only two considerations. Mercedes-Benz sells more C-Class models than any rival, but that's where things get a bit murky. Arch-rival BMW splits its D-segment sales into 3 and 4 Series entries, which means its overall sales are higher.

Here in Canada, 2016 calendar year-to-date numbers as of September are 8,996 for BMW and 7,208 for Mercedes, with Audi trailing respectably with 5,623 A4 and A5 deliveries, Lexus managing 4,347 sales of its IS, RC and ES (the latter sized more like an E-segment E-Class and 5 Series fighter yet priced much lower), Acura with 3,125 TLX customers, Infiniti with 2,274 combined Q50 and Q60 buyers, Cadillac with 1,871 ATS Sedan and Coupe sales, Volvo with 1,023 S60 and V60 deliveries, Lincoln with 816 sales of its larger mid-size Lexus ES-fighting MKZ, Buick with 693 new Regal owners, and Jaguar finding 196 buyers for its entirely new XE.
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The current Jetta might be long in the tooth but its new 150-hp 1.4L engine is brilliant with 184 lb-ft of torque, its handling great, and its standard 5- and optional 6.3-inch infotainment systems superb,…

2016 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI Trendline Plus Road Test Review

Things have changed dramatically in the compact class since Volkswagen launched the redesigned 2011 Jetta way back in 2010. While once a frontrunner in style, cabin quality, performance and technology, that considerably less expensive car's interior refinement and handling characteristics didn't measure up to previous years, and despite rectifying some of these issues since its debut, others in the compact class have upped their game considerably.

At the end of this six-year experiment of dumbing down the once brilliant Jetta, Volkswagen has been proven correct. The people have spoken with their wallets resulting in Canadian Jetta sales swelling from 14,758 units in calendar year 2010 to 26,749 the following year, 26,904 in 2012, 30,413 in 2013, and 31,042 in 2014, albeit dipping slightly to 27,719 in 2015 despite a mild mid-cycle upgrade, likely attributed to a new Golf that probably pulled some buyers sideways within VW's compact lineup, as well as the fact that this generation Read Full Story
Just ahead of a major refresh, the 2016 Encore remains a strong seller that’s easily up to subcompact luxury SUV standards. Sporting a fuel-efficient 138-hp turbo four, 6-speed auto and FWD with optional…

2016 Buick Encore Premium FWD Road Test Review

Buick hasn't had a lot of hits outside of the Chinese market in recent years, but they can be proud of the Encore's North American success. Those in charge can also take a collective pat on the back for transforming the brand from purveyor of massive land yachts to a serious contender in the eco-friendly subcompact and compact market.

Its two most popular models in our market include the Verano compact sedan and the Encore subcompact SUV I'm covering here, followed by the near full-size Enclave SUV when comparing yearly sales totals or the new compact Envision when just totaling up September's numbers, with the Regal and LaCrosse following way behind due to slowing mid-size and large car sales compared to SUVs. It's a shame the Canadian division is joining the U.S. market in cancelling the Verano, as we're snapping it up at twice the rate per capita, the opposite occurring with larger models like the Regal and Enclave whereas the LaCrosse is almost four times as popular south Read Full Story
Now that a $240k Bentley SUV is available does the $108k Range Rover still measure up? In most ways yes, especially when fitted with $35.5k optional Autobiography trim that adds leather nearly everywhere,…

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography

As you can likely imagine I'm often asked questions such as, "What's the best supercar you've ever driven?" or "Which company makes the best SUV?" To the former I unequivocally respond "Bugatti Veyron," probably because I've never driven a McLaren F1, but I might still answer likewise. The latter question is getting more difficult after spending time with Bentley's new Bentayga W12, but even then I find myself leaning toward the current Range Rover in full-load Autobiography trim despite being able to buy three for the price of one similarly equipped Bentayga.

Why? I'm a details freak, annoyingly so. Really, I regularly strap on my illuminated double-eye jeweler watch repair magnifying glasses and line up my various new, gently used, and vintage high-frequency manually wound and automatic mechanical and quartz three-hand, chronograph, jump hour, digital, etcetera (no tourbillons yet) watches, before setting each to the atomic clock (ironically sourced from my smartphone), making Read Full Story
The quintessential luxury off-road wagon has been redesigned for 2017, resulting in an altogether better Audi A4 Allroad. Its styling is bolder, cabin more refined, digital screens class leading and sole…

2017 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik Road Test Review

The name Allroad should be familiar to those who follow things automotive, as it was a forerunner amongst car-based luxury crossovers. Many tall all-wheel drive wagons with matte grey body cladding and raised ride height had been and gone before Audi's entry arrived in 1999, but all, including the '79 AMC Eagle, '80 Subaru GL AWD Wagon, '84 Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD Wagon, '85 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon, '86 Nissan Sentra 4WD Wagon, '89 Toyota Corolla "All-Trac" SR5 4x4 Wagon, and '94 Subaru Outback (fill me in on what I missed) were sold into mainstream volume market segments, whereas the four-ringed Ingolstadt brand's modified A6 Avant wagon was one of the first of such CUVs targeting premium buyers. Volvo's V70 XC Cross Country beat it to market by two years, and the two beefed up wagons have enjoyed little competition since.

After a seven-year hiatus the Allroad transitioned from the A6 Avant's mid-size E-segment to the A4 Avant's compact D-segment in 2012 as a 2013 model. We covered Read Full Story
The Mazda5 is hardly new but it offers practical Canadians one of the most versatile people/cargo carriers possible. This compact 6-seat minivan, complete with side-sliders and a rear liftgate, packs…

2017 Mazda5 Buyer’s Guide Overview

Minivans are a still big deal in Canada. This 2017 Mazda5 is no longer available in any other North American market, but it still finds favour here. The 5 was once part of Mazda's Mexican and U.S. lineups, but sluggish sales due to greater focus on SUVs meant the 2015 model year would be its last. It's still popular enough here for a lifecycle extension, however, Mazda stretching its usual four- to five-year tenure into a sixth model year for this practical compact.

The Mazda5 first arrived on the scene in 2005 as a 2006 model, and quickly found favour with smaller families that required maximum utility. Riding on a compact and therefore lightweight Mazda3 platform that, together with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, combined frugal ownership costs with sporty performance, the 5 nevertheless came jam-packed with six seats and rear access via side sliders.

It became popular enough that sales rose to 11,690 units in 2007, a number that becomes even more significant Read Full Story
Like many mainstream volume brands, Kia has been moving upmarket in an effort to grow brand image and profits, the result being some very nice luxury models for modest prices. Enter the new second-generation…

2017 Kia Cadenza Road Test Review

Cadence is defined by Merriam-Webster as the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion of activity. Likewise, the 2017 Kia Cadenza is defined by the beat of its 290 horsepower V6, and the rhythmic motion produced by galloping along country roads.

So what better place to introduce a vehicle that combines power and motion than an equestrian themed resort in Loudon County, Virginia? Yes, the Salamander Resort served as a first-class launching pad for Kia's first-class mid-size luxury sedan.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Lexus ES/GS, Audi A6, Lincoln MKZ/MKS, Tesla Model S, (Hyundai) Genesis G80, Cadillac CTS/CT6, Jaguar XF, Infiniti Q70, Acura RLX, and Volvo S90: There's a ton of competition in the class of luxury vehicles base priced between $40-70k. All have qualities that endear them to followers and conquest owners. The Germans sell you on driving dynamics and safety, the Japanese sell you on luxury without second mortgages to pay for it, the American brands Read Full Story