A Porsche for $54k? No wonder the German performance brand’s sales are soaring. New for 2017, the Macan compact SUV starts life with an economical 4-cylinder turbo engine that’s still quick enough…

2017 Porsche Macan Road Test

It's too early to tell exactly why Porsche has improved Macan sales so dramatically since its first full year of availability in 2015 when it sold 2,121 units, to the close of 2016 when its final tally was an impressive 2,800, but its recent ability to target an entirely new audience of entry-level luxury buyers probably had something to do with it.

Enter the all-new 2017 Porsche Macan. No, I'm not talking about the fabulous Macan S and its 340 horsepower 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that's been available since the sporty utility debuted as a 2015 model. That trim continues forward into 2017 as one of the compact luxury SUV segment's quickest and most agile vehicles, but its $61,400 price point, while reasonable for what you get, puts it out of reach of many would-be buyers. Porsche has addressed this issue with a new base four-cylinder Macan that starts at just $54,100, hence the stronger sales numbers.

Yes, it seems hard to believe but you can potentially purchase Read Full Story
There’s a reason Lexus is considered a Tier 1 luxury brand along with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Strong sales numbers have a lot to do with it, but also its almost totally full range of models. For…

2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport

2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport
The F Sport upgrade adds significant style to the already eye-catching RC 300 AWD. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
There’s a reason Lexus is considered a Tier 1 luxury brand along with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Strong sales numbers have a lot to do with it, but also its almost totally full range of models. For a relatively new brand, such a wide assortment of models and body styles means that some don’t sell well enough to make money, but instead provide important branding that trickles down to enhance higher volume cars and SUVs. The IS series was Lexus Canada’s bestselling car last year with more than 3,000 deliveries. This is a polar opposite result from Lexus’ U.S. division sales that saw the more comfort-oriented ES series as the brand’s premium car populist last year and every year prior, by a long shot, whereas that larger front-wheel drive four-door model only found 2,153 buyers during calendar year 2016 in Canada. This shows that Canadians view Lexus in a sportier light than our friends to the south, but still not enough to snap up RC coupes en masse.
2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport
Looking good front to back, the RC 300 AWD F Sport stands out in its segment. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The stylish new two-door hardtop model only managed to pull in 526 luxury buyers last year, which while more positive than the 415 mid-size GS and 95 flagship LS luxury sedans sold during the same 12 months, is still a far cry from the 4,765 BMW 4 Series delivered through 2016. Lexus’ big money was made on SUVs, the RX leading sales for the Japanese brand as well as Canada’s entire mid-size SUV segment at 8,147 units, whereas the fresher NX is already third in its class with 6,295 deliveries. Even the massive LX SUV outsold the RC at 748 units, while the sizeable GX also outshone RC numbers with 551 units down unpaved roads.
2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport
F Sport trim means the primary gauges are fully configurable and navigation fills the infotainment display. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Just the same, we can’t discount the importance of sports models like the RC when it comes to brand image as noted earlier, and the beautiful Infrared painted 2017 RC 300 AWD F Sport parked in our garage this week pulls eyeballs almost as effectively as the same spec car did in Solar Flare orange last year. That vibrant colour isn’t available for the 2017 model year, although seemingly identical Molten Pearl can be had on the even rarer V8-powered RC F super coupe, this being one of the only changes for the regular RC model’s third year of existence. Many thought the 2.0-litre RC Turbo, currently available in the U.S., would’ve been added to the Canadian lineup for 2017 in order to drop the price and hopefully attract more buyers, but Lexus appears to want its northernmost coupes fitted with all-wheel drive and that car is only pushed from the rear, so the $49,050 RC 300 AWD is base here in Canada.
2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport
The F Sport gets a nice set of sport seats. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
It’s arguably better looking with the $4,700 as-tested F Sport Series 1 package (there is no Series 2 package for this model, in case you were wondering) that adds a new front fascia with a larger, bolder grille and unique lower fascia detailing with integrated fog lamps, as well as other exterior styling upgrades, plus unique 19-inch alloys wrapped in 235/40 performance tires (although my tester is fitted with winters), an adaptive sport suspension, a powered tilt and telescopic sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, rain-sensing wipers, front sport seats, NuLuxe pleather upholstery with contrast stitching, memory for the driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, a fully configurable LFA-style TFT instrument cluster, Lexus’ touchpad Remote Touch Interface for the infotainment system, navigation, active sound control, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport
Rear seat roominess isn’t best in class, but it’s acceptable for a D-segment coupe. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The only other notable option is a dealer-added F Sport performance exhaust system integrated within a fabulous looking rear bumper diffuser (for about $2,050 and change). Lexus claims the upgraded exhaust reduces backpressure for increased torque, which might be noticeable given the RC 300 AWD’s modest engine output. Despite its considerable 3.5 litres of displacement, the base V6 makes just 255 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque for fairly relaxed performance due to the coupe’s considerable 1,765-kilo (3,891-lb) curb weight (it’s actually a bit heavier with the F Sport gear). Making it feel even more comfort-biased is a six-speed autobox in a segment filled with snappier eight-speed auto and dual-clutch alternatives. So how does it feel? I’ve told you too much already, but don’t worry as I’ve got a lot more to say in the upcoming road test review. Make sure to check back for the full story soon…
How I love minivans! Well, maybe the love is about what I can get done when I’ve got a minivan at my beck and call, than actually loving minivans. Still, I think most will agree the Sedona goes about…

2017 Kia Sedona SXL+

2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
The Sedona’s lean, long, low design looks fabulous for a minivan. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
How I love minivans! Well, maybe the love is about what I can get done when I’ve got a minivan at my beck and call, than actually loving minivans. Still, I think most will agree the Sedona goes about its practical business with a lot more style than most. It helps that Kia gave me a luxury-lined SXL+ model, which is outfitted about as nicely as anything in the class comes. OK, it’s not as tarted up as a full load Pacifica, but its as-tested $46,895 window sticker doesn’t shock the senses as much as the $58,480 2017 Pacifica Limited I put through its paces recently. I believe the Pacifica is worth the extra money, but this Sedona is also worth every penny and more.
2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
It looks SUV-like from the rear as well. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Kia’s minivan enters the 2017 model year with no new additions and one notable subtraction, the elimination of the SX trim line. Fortunately the new model doesn’t suffer from any lack of options, its available trims still including L, LX, LX+, SX+, SXL, and the SXL+ model currently in the garage. It’s an attractive van no matter the money spent, the Sedona’s long nose, bold grille, sporty fascia detailing, low profile, and wide, solid stance making it look more like a seven-passenger crossover SUV than anything van-like. Of course, the side sliders give away its pragmatic roots, but that’s about it.
2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
Luxury and high-tech abounds. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
All of its trim lines featuring nice chromed exterior detailing, auto on/off projector headlamps, heatable body-coloured side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a rear rooftop spoiler, and more, while features like a tilt and telescopic multifunction steering wheel, powered front and second-row windows, display audio with satellite radio, a backup camera, Bluetooth, illuminated vanity mirrors, seating for seven, “Slide-n-Stow” second-row seats, and more come standard for just $27,995.
2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
Luxurious perforated Nappa leather seats are heated and cooled. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
A 276 horsepower direct-injection 3.3-litre V6 with 248 lb-ft of torque comes standard too, mated to a six-speed automatic with a Sportmatic sequential shifter, while optional Drive Mode Select offers Comfort, Eco and Normal modes. Base models get 17-inch rims, but my SXL received chrome-finished 19-inch alloys for a nicer look and better road holding, but like usual I’ll leave comments about driving dynamics to my upcoming review.
2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
Dual sunroofs add an open, spacious ambience. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Instead, some notable features that come with mid-range trims include HID headlights with auto-leveling and adaptive cornering, power-folding side mirrors, proximity access, pushbutton ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, eight-way powered front seats, driver’s seat memory, three-way heatable and cooled front seats, heatable second-row captain’s chairs, tri-zone auto HVAC, 8.0-inch infotainment with Android Auto, a 360-degree parking camera, navigation, front and rear parking sensors, second- and third-row sunshades, a hands-free powered liftgate, blindspot monitoring and more.  
2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
Second-row captain’s chairs offer leg extensions. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The SXL includes stainless steel door scuff plates, an enhanced LCD/TFT Supervision primary instrument cluster, a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, dual 110-volt household-style power inverters in the console and cargo area, supple perforated Nappa leather upholstery, three-way ventilated front seats, second-row luxury captain’s chairs that slide back and forth as well as side-to-side (with kick-out extendable leg rests no less), plus front parking sensors, lane departure warning, and much more.
2017 Kia Sedona SXL+
How does the Sedona measure up to its peers? (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Special SXL+ features include a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, a 360-degree-surround parking camera, Infinity eight-speaker audio with an external amp and sub, auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous emergency braking. There are additional features that set the top-line Sedona apart from its peers, but I’ll delve into these when I pen my review. Until then, watch this page for our detailed review and massive photo gallery, as this high-value minivan might just be your next family hauler…
BMW’s new M2 makes a good argument for best sports coupe period. Introduced for the 2016 model year, this new 2017 gets few updates but hardly needs any more reasons for performance fans to take one…

2017 BMW M2 Coupe Road Test

Strangely, I can recall almost every moment from behind the wheel of a Canadian-spec 1994 M3 that I drove nearly 20 years ago. In actual fact it was one of the Euro-spec BF91 cars that BMW Canada had imported and sold instantly (3 days) to just 45 rabid fans thanks to a raucous and high-revving 282 horsepower (at 7,300 rpm) S50B30 3.0-litre inline-six conjoined to a five-speed manual that drove the rear wheels of a more rigidly constructed and lighter weight E36 coupe body shell (halted by vented brakes with floating rotors no less). A few years later an example came up for sale with just a handful of kilometers on the odometer, and the reseller, a trusting friend, threw me the keys.

These were pre-auto journalist days when I actually had to buy most of the cars I drove, so therefore my sequential bevy of personal BMWs (5), a Jaguar XJ, and countless beaters before these, had been powered by much less potent engines. That M3 was the most awe-inspiring car I'd driven to that point, Read Full Story