Volvo has been busy redesigning its entire lineup, but the S60/V60 line is the solitary holdout, not due for an update until next year. Rather than wait around we review the current 2017 S60 with its…

2017 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Premier Road Test

Volvo has been very busy remaking its entire brand over the past few years. It started with a focus on powertrains, which saw its various five-cylinders and V6s gradually replaced by a lineup of efficient direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinders. Pricier trims went a step further by integrating both turbocharging and supercharging into the same 2.0-litre four, while the all-new award-winning XC90 SUV even has a plug-in hybrid version of the latter that's good for a soul-stirring 400 horsepower.

That XC90 ushered in the second phase of Volvo's metamorphosis, a wholesale brand-wide redesign that included an entirely new level of opulent luxury and future-tech feature sets. The XC90 was quickly followed by an entirely new mid-size luxury sedan dubbed S90 (replacing the S80), this model including a wagon variant named V90 (replacing the V70), plus an immediately more popular raised crossover model that-in Volvo tradition-goes by the name of V90 Cross Country (replacing the V70 Read Full Story
Mazda has a much stronger following in Canada than the U.S. We tend to like smaller, sportier, fuel-efficient cars and SUVs, while our American friends traditionally purchase their vehicles one size larger.…

2017 Mazda3 Sport GT

2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
Still one of the best looking cars in the compact class, this 2017 Mazda3 Sport GT deserves its strong sales. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Mazda has a much stronger following in Canada than the U.S. We tend to like smaller, sportier, fuel-efficient cars and SUVs, while our American friends traditionally purchase their vehicles one size larger. Case in point, from a list of 13 direct competitors the Mazda3 was fourth most popular in our compact segment through 2016, but only ninth in the U.S. I think it deserves better here in Canada let alone its poor showing in the States, but the success of any car is as much about the massive marketing spend of the industry’s big players, as it is quality of goods and value for money. Mazda has long made excellent products that perform better than average and deliver a near-premium look and feel, yet they’re a relatively small independent Japanese brand that doesn’t have the advertising clout of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, the big domestic brands or the Koreans.
2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
The “Sport” designation refers to the 5-Door hatchback model in Canada, while the sedan only goes by Mazda3. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Fans of this alternative import carmaker tend to like Mazda’s more exclusive cachet, especially those who appreciate better than average driving dynamics. I happen to like Mazda’s styling more than most other brands as well, while its interiors are second-to-none within the categories it competes in. Take this Mazda3 Sport GT. Its deep, wide, chrome-trimmed grille with blackened slats has great style and a totally unique presence on the road, its top corners visually bleeding into this model’s projection LED headlamp clusters, while its sporty yet clean lower fascia incorporates tasteful splashes of chrome, LED driving lights, and the tiniest of LED fog lamps. The rest of the bodywork flows gracefully from front to back, the car perfectly proportioned despite its compact dimensions, while its backside is finished off with a discrete body-colour rooftop spoiler, elegantly simple LED taillights, and a matte black diffuser-style bumper cap with integrated dual chromed tailpipes at each side. It’s one great looking ride from all angles.
2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
This GT model’s two-tone leather, metal and high-quality composite interior is a step above most rivals. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Inside it’s downright premium, especially in my tester’s two-tone black and “Pure White” motif. The dash top, much of the instrument panel, and the door uppers are surfaced in high-quality soft touch synthetic, whereas the door inserts and armrests are finished in padded and stitched leatherette, and the seats get covered in optional perforated leather. A semi-digital colour TFT primary instrument display is laid out in a sporty motorcycle centre-pod design, while an available class-exclusive head-up display powers up from the dash top to project critical info where it’s easiest to see without taking eyes from the road. At centre, a 7.0-inch fixed tablet-style infotainment display could be straight out of an Audi, BMW or Mercedes, and just like these premium marques it’s controlled with a knurled metal rotating dial on the lower console. Another metal-trimmed dial allows volume control, while an electromechanical parking brake joins an aluminized Drive Selection rocker switch featuring “SPORT” mode next to the leather-clad/satin-silver aluminum adorned shift lever.
2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
The leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, semi-digital gauges, tablet-style infotainment, and dual-zone auto HVAC give the GT premium appeal. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The stylish metallic treatment enhances other areas in the car as well, including the steering wheel that’s also leather-wrapped and filled with high-quality, well damped, tight fitting switchgear, this at least as good as the buttons, knobs and switches on the centre stack that include a nicely sorted dual-zone auto HVAC interface in GT trim. I almost forgot to mention my favourite steering wheel appendages, a set of paddles for swapping gears. The Sport GT comes standard with a six-speed manual, as do the base GX and mid-range GL, but the GT is the only trim to get paddle-shifters when upgrading to the six-speed automatic. I’ll go into more detail about these and how the entire car drives in my upcoming road test review, the GT also on the receiving end of a more potent 2.5-litre direct-injection, DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder making 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque instead of 155 and 150 respectively for the base 2.0-litre four.
2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
The autobox gets paddles on the steering wheel, Sport mode can be selected via the metal rocker switch, and infotainment is controlled with this knurled metal rotating dial. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
All Mazda3s ride on a fully independent MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension with stabilizer bars at each end, while new for 2017 G-Vectoring Control (GVC) optimizes handling by momentarily retarding engine output when vehicle weight transfers from front to back upon turning the wheels, which shifts weight back towards the front wheels for added traction. This is similar to how racing drivers “load” the front wheels by subtly tapping the brakes before a corner, giving them a cornering advantage, but this automated system goes about its processes completely unnoticed. Along with all the features mentioned so far, the $26,820 Sport GT includes standard 18-inch alloys on 215/45 all-seasons, auto on/off and auto-leveling headlights, power-adjustable heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, bright finish window trim, pushbutton ignition, a tilt and telescopic heatable leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, rain-sensing wipers, an intermittent rear wiper, heatable front seats, a wide-angle rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming audio, a six-speaker stereo, HD radio, AHA and Stitcher internet radio, two USB ports and an aux jack, SMS text message reading and reply, illuminated vanity mirrors, an overhead console with a sunglasses holder, a powered moonroof, a rear armrest with cupholders, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, tire pressure monitoring, hill launch assist, Smart City Brake Support sub-20-km/h autonomous emergency braking, advanced blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, all the usual active and passive safety equipment, and more.
2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
Again, love the two-tone leather. Will fill you in on comfort and support in an upcoming review. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The aforementioned leather upholstery, metallic interior trim, and head-up display comes as part of a $2,900 Premium package that also adds proximity-sensing keyless access, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a six-way powered driver’s seat with manual lumbar, auto high beams, dynamic cruise control, voice-activated navigation, nine-speaker Bose surround audio, and a slew of active safety features including forward collision warning with high-speed autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, these features making the Mazda3 one of only a handful of compact models to achieve a best-possible Top Safety Pick Plus rating. On top of this my tester is upgraded further with a $1,350 Technology package that boasts adaptive cornering headlights, satellite radio, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, traffic sign recognition, active air shutters to reduce drag and help safe fuel, and Mazda’s i-ELOOP regenerative braking system that first harnesses kinetic energy when slowing or braking and then repurposes into the electrical system for yet more energy savings.
2017 Mazda3 Sport GT
Is it roomy or comfortable enough? Stay tuned… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
So equipped the Mazda3 GT achieves a claimed 8.7 L/100km city and 6.6 highway, which is considerably better than the regular GT automatic that’s rated at 9.0 and 6.7 respectively—the GT manual gets an estimated 9.6 city and 7.0 highway. Those that prioritize fuel economy over performance can opt for a more basic Mazda3, which gets an 8.4 L/100km city and 6.4 highway rating for the auto or 8.6 and 6.4 with the manual. I’ll go into more detail about Mazda’s advanced Skyactiv engine and transmission technology in my review, these being critical components of the company’s core ethos of simultaneously maximizing performance while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions, a philosophy that driving enthusiasts can easily get behind…
Hyundai has built a lot of great compact cars over the years, but the new Elantra Sport might be its first true foray into true sport compact territory. It boasts a 201-hp turbo-four, 6-speed manual or…

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Road Test

Hyundai introduced its redesigned 2017 Elantra sedan so early last year that I'm having trouble thinking of this latest test car as a 2017 model, but so it is. Truly, by the time the 2018 model rolls around later this year the Elantra Limited that went to press on March 29, 2016 will be more than a year and a half old, but we're really only talking numbers.

Still, the 2017 Elantra Sport I tested more recently feels like an entirely different car than the Limited from before. Unlike so many performance pretenders, the "Sport" moniker on this special Elantra sedan's rear trunk lid does more than denote stylish body cladding, larger alloys and racier interior trim with sporty red accents, but rather includes all of the above-done very tastefully I might add-while signifying a completely reworked powertrain and suspension package for a car that really lives up to its name.

First off, the new Elantra Sport is the only version of the four-door model above the base "L Manual" Read Full Story
Possibly you’ve owned one and miss life with the big luxury sedan, or one that needs trading in is be parked in your driveway. Or maybe you’ve always wanted one but never partook; the Chrysler 300…

2017 Chrysler 300 AWD Limited Road Test

Have you ever noticed just how many Chrysler 300s proliferate our streets? It may not come as a surprise to find out the popular model outsells every mid- and full-size premium-branded luxury sedan in the U.S. and Canada, as well as all mainstream volume branded luxury four-doors, except its badge-engineered Dodge Charger cousin.

After being blown away by the concept during a private introduction held in a little theatre-style auditorium at the New York auto show in April of 2003, I've had the luxury (literally) of driving every single iteration since this LX-based 300 started rolling off the Brampton, Ontario line in mid-February 2004. Chrysler launched the car two weeks later in Palm Springs with yours truly and a gaggle of auto scribes in tow, all of which appeared thoroughly impressed by this game changing four-door. I was absolutely dumbfounded then, and even now, some 13 years and one generation later, I must admit to still being quite smitten by the big car. Of course, Read Full Story
With 6,856 Fortes down the road as of May 31, 2017 and 12,296 units sold during the entire 12 months of 2016, Kia seems to be on track for a record year. Of course, we’re only talking five months so…

2017 Kia Forte5 SX

2017 Kia Forte5 SX
For 2017, Kia has given its Forte a brand new look, and it arguably looks best in top-line 2017 Kia Forte5 SX trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
With 6,856 Fortes down the road as of May 31, 2017 and 12,296 units sold during the entire 12 months of 2016, Kia seems to be on track for a record year. Of course, we’re only talking five months so far, with seven more that may not prove as profitable, but things are definitely moving up. It’s difficult for we outsiders to surmise where the sales growth is coming from. VW’s Jetta, Ford’s Focus, Dodge’s Dart, and Kia’s own Soul are having particularly bad years, so some of those who’ve previously bought these competitors may be switching rides, or more likely the Forte is finding a combination of many such conquest sales as well as managing to upsell would-be Rio buyers that haven’t been too keen on little subcompact lately. Now matter how we try to dissect it, Forte sales are up by a considerable margin.
2017 Kia Forte5 SX
The practical hatch gets wrapped in an attractive design to go along with its sporty character. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
From personal experience of driving and reviewing five Fortes since introduced for 2010, I can honestly say it’s about time the market caught on to how good this compact model is. I can speak similarly for most of the brand’s current offerings, Kia a mainstream volume brand that delivers much more than its value-oriented pricing suggests, and backs up its entire line with one of the better warranties in the industry at five years or 100,000 kilometres. Even more brag-worthy, Kia landed on top of the entire auto industry in J.D. Power and Associates’ most recent 2017 Initial Quality Study, while its 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study score placed it in the top five of all mainstream volume brands. What’s more, a new top-five standing in Consumer Reports’ latest Annual Reliability Survey is news worth sharing too. In other words, anyone still having qualms about driving a Kia had better give their head a shake.
2017 Kia Forte5 SX
The SX offers an upscale ambiance thanks to soft-touch cabin surfaces, leather, and more. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
With respect to the car in our garage specifically, it’s a thoroughly refreshed second-generation Forte5 that somehow manages to look better than the already stylish outgoing version. I’ve long found the Forte an attractive compact, whether in 5-Door hatchback, four-door sedan, or two-door coupe guise. As you may have heard, the coupe, or rather Koup was discontinued at the end of 2016 in the U.S. and continues unchanged here in Canada, so you’ll need to step up to this Forte5 or the sedan in order to enjoy all the improvements. At my beck and call this week is the 2017 Forte5 in top-tier SX trim, which is exactly how I’d option this car out if my name were going on the ownership papers. The only issue I’m a bit stumped about is whether to leave its standard six-speed manual as is or upgrade to the seven-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox with paddles. I’m testing it in the latter trim and without giving too much away ahead of my full road test review, it’s damn good. Then again the manual is, well, a manual, which inherently provides more driver engagement. A tough choice, but of note one that most automakers don’t provide at all. Move up into the topmost trim levels of the Forte’s key rivals and you’ll be stuck with an autobox or worse, a CVT, but kudos to Kia, this sportiest Forte5 gets a true performance aficionado’s alternative, which has to warm the heart of anyone with petrol in the veins.
2017 Kia Forte5 SX
A leather-wrapped flat-bottomed sport steering wheel with paddles plus aluminum foot pedals provide a performance-oriented cockpit. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
If that wasn’t already the best part, take heed this sportiest Forte5 gets fitted with a zesty 201 horsepower 1.6-litre turbo four with 195 lb-ft of torque, which is a solid 37 horses and 35 lb-ft more than the already sufficiently potent base 2.0-litre four. I’ll go into more detail about how this little mill reacts to input in my review, not to mention explain how its driver selectable Normal, Eco or Sport modes work while delving into how its 18-inch alloys on 225/40s and sport-tuned MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension manages aggressive behaviour, plus explain how its 0.8-inch larger 11.8-inch front discs and 10.3-inch rears perform under pressure. The Forte5 SX comes swathed in some pretty upscale duds too, such as proximity-sensing access with pushbutton ignition, a flat-bottomed leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic multifunction sport steering wheel, a leather shift knob, alloy pedals, 7.0-inch colour touchscreen infotainment with a rearview camera, UVO eServices, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, AM/FM/MP3/USB/aux and satellite audio, a soft-touch synthetic dash top and door uppers, leather upholstery, three-way heatable front seats, and much more.
2017 Kia Forte5 SX
Heated and cooled 10-way powered leather sport seats with memory make the Forte5 SX pretty luxe as well. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Another quandary would be whether or not to add on the $3,600 SX Premium Tech package, but if it were my money and the prospect of spending many a commute for three or so years lay ahead I’d probably take the plunge as the upgrade includes HID headlamps, a Supervision gauge cluster with a 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone auto climate control, three-way ventilated front seats, navigation with detailed mapping, voice activation, HD radio, a powered glass sunroof, unique red-accented sport seats (with the manual), a 10-way powered driver’s seat with two-way memory, plus blindspot monitoring with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. As it is, Kia added this package and it’s making my weeklong test drive a lot more comfortable. Of course, this will give me more to talk about in my upcoming review, so stay tuned to find out why I think this little Kia is gaining such traction in the compact class while many of its peers are sliding backwards…
The world’s most popular plug-in electric vehicle will soon receive a complete redesign, which is compelling news in itself, but being that Nissan hasn’t shared much about the upcoming model thus…

Nissan to bring ProPilot Assist to market with new Leaf

2018 Leaf ProPilot Assist
Nissan reveals the 2018 Leaf’s digital instrument cluster while also informing that its redesigned EV will also features semi-autonomous driving capability. (Photo: Nissan)
The world’s most popular plug-in electric vehicle will soon receive a complete redesign, which is compelling news in itself, but being that Nissan hasn’t shared much about the upcoming model thus far, we’ll take anything we can get. Along with one solitary image of the new EV’s primary gauge cluster comes news about a single new feature, ProPilot Assist, which is the Japanese brand’s proprietary driver-assistance technology designed to reduce “the hassle of stop-and-go highway driving,” says Nissan in a June 22, 2017 press release. Reportedly, ProPilot Assist will benefit 2018 Leaf drivers by controlling acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving. Along with the announcement, Nissan included a short explanatory video that we’ve attached within this report, which clearly shows how the state-of-the-art technology will assist drivers.
2018 Leaf ProPilot Assist
Check out the video at the end of this story, which depicts the 2018 Leaf’s ProPilot Assist system in action. (Photo: Nissan)
Nissan was clear in its release that ProPilot Assist will evolve to include “increasing levels of autonomy” in coming generations, with the ability to also “navigate city intersections”. ProPilot Assist is part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of technologies, which is the automaker’s “blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.” Nissan has sold more than 270,000 Leafs globally since it became the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle in 2010. The next-generation 2018 Leaf will debut in Tokyo on September 6th (Sept 5 here in Canada). Check out the video…
Tokyo – Automotive Linux Summit – Wednesday May 31, 2017 – Toyota Motor Corp announced that the new 2018 Toyota Camry will be sold in the United States with an infotainment system called…

Toyota Announces a Linux Based Infotainment System for the 2018 Toyota Camry

Tokyo – Automotive Linux Summit – Wednesday May 31, 2017 – Toyota Motor Corp announced that the new 2018 Toyota Camry will be sold in the United States with an infotainment system called the Entune 3.0 that runs on Automotive Grade Linux. Automotive Grade Linux, also known as AGL, is an open source software platform based on Linux, specifically designed for automobiles. Ten global car manufacturers including Mazda, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda and Mitsubishi already use it. The purpose of the initiative is to work with other car companies to try and speed up innovation for vehicle applications. Automakers will have the ability to fully customize the applications without having to rely on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When a manufacturer develops a new car it requires around 100 million lines of computer code. Approximately 70 percent of it is generic. This means the remaining 30 percent is customized to the specific model. The amount of coding required is one reason why vehicle development takes so long. It doesn’t stop there however, the code needs to be constantly updated and refined to ensure proper operation. The largest vice for current and past infotainment systems in vehicles is how quickly they become outdated. According to a press release by Toyota VP Keiji Yamamoto the AGL platform gives, “greater connectivity and new functionalities at a pace that is more consistent with consumer technology.” By working with open source software such as AGL, changes can be made more rapidly and don’t require a manufacturer to write 100 million lines of new code every single time an adjustment needs to be made. Working with companies like Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki will help Toyota minimize costs and development time. Toyota says the partnership can also help create an industry standard that can operate all internal devices such as music, media and navigation. The collaboration with AGL may also allow future integration of technologies such as autonomous driving functions and integrated car services. Toyota is reducing its dependency on third party companies like Apple and Alphabet (Google/Android Auto) to have greater control of their products. Another reason for Toyota and other car manufacturers to change is to gain control of all the user data. AGL will store all user data that would otherwise be recorded by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Competitive and innovative infotainment systems are more important now than ever before, and moving to AGL is a bold step for Toyota. If the open source collaboration succeeds, don’t be surprised if other car companies like Audi and Volvo jump ship from Apple and Alphabet.
After a report issued by Daimler on May 10th stating it would no longer be selling the 2017 model diesel cars in the United States. Daimler has since become the center of attention of an investigation…

German Police Investigate Daimler AG Offices

After a report issued by Daimler on May 10th stating it would no longer be selling the 2017 model diesel cars in the United States. Daimler has since become the center of attention of an investigation by German authorities. Twenty-three prosecutors and 230 German police searched Daimler offices to seek evidence related to the possibility of diesel engine emissions irregularities. The police and prosecutors say 11 sites are being investigated in the German states of Baden-Wuerttemburg, Berlin, Lower Saxony and Saxony with employees that are “known and unknown” to Daimler. Earlier in the year Daimler admitted that some of its employees were part of a criminal investigation. This investigation comes after a United States federal judge gave the final approval to a settlement for Robert Bosch GmbH to pay $327.5 million USD to American VW diesel car owners. Bosch, the world’s largest car parts supplier, has not admitted to any wrongdoing stating “Bosch neither acknowledges the facts as alleged by the plaintiffs nor does Bosch accept any liability” however, last year it was reported by Reuters that $747 million USD was put aside to cover potential settlements. Investigators confiscated files and hard drives, apparently containing sensitive information. Daimler and Bosch are both based in Stuttgart Germany and in a recent quarterly report Daimler said, “Europe and the United States, have inquired about and are investigating test results.” Last year the U.S. Department of Justice had asked Daimler for an internal investigation to be done because of possible emission irregularities, however, it went mostly unnoticed by German authorities. Since May 23, the launch of the investigation into Daimler has seen its stock price drop three points. Which may be an indication of further fallout, or it may have more to do with the fact that U.S. President Donald Trump said he would like to impose a 35% import tax on all German cars. This import tax is unlikely to happen as the largest BMW factory in the world is located in Spartanburg County, South Carolina and employs 8,800 Americans and has a current daily output of nearly 1,400 vehicles. For now though Daimler says they are fully co-operating with the investigation but refuse to comment on the proceedings.