Wagons are rarities these days, but within Volkswagen’s unique brand culture they’re a staple they’d never consider abandoning. Central in servicing a dedicated and enthusiastic clientele, the Golf…

2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Trendline Road Test

All the excitement in Volkswagen's Golf SportWagen family has recently been focused on the new AllTrack, a model I personally applied plenty of praise to earlier this year, but last year's redesign of the AllTrack's more traditional five-door sibling deserves some well earned attention too.

After a comprehensive ground-up makeover for 2016 the Golf SportWagen moved into 2017 mostly unchanged, except for some minor package updates, which is fine by me as it was near ideal already. It's lighter now thanks to VW's new MQB platform architecture that also underpins a wide range of models from subcompacts like the Polo, unfortunately not available here, to larger SUVs including the new mid-size Atlas, while its interior gets all of the premium upgrades enjoyed by other new Golf models.

This said the Golf SportWagen has always been a near-premium product, but it's hard not to appreciate the redesigned model's more sophisticated instrument panel, the impressive leatherwork Read Full Story
The Explorer’s popularity certainly hasn’t faded since becoming a household name in the ‘90s. In fact, the current model is the bestselling SUV in North America and Canada’s top-selling 7-passenger…

2017 Ford Explorer Limited 4WD Road Test

Ford gave its 2016 Explorer a mid-cycle update and it's continued into 2017 more or less unchanged, its rounded edges sharper and less Range Rover like, albeit still paying unabashed homage to the luxury SUV brand's iconic styling as if it were an Invicta Pro Diver 8926 trying to pass itself off as a Rolex Sub.

Scoff at Ford's designers all you want, their plan is working. Last year the Explorer was the number one selling mid-size SUV in North America, while so far this year it's edged past Kia's Sorento to become the bestselling seven-passenger SUV in Canada. It's about to set another modern-day sales record in the U.S. as well, the large mid-size model's success seeming to know no bounds.

I must admit to liking the Explorer's styling, in the same way a well-executed homage to a classic watch gets my respect, if not my investment. I'd sooner buck up for a vintage Doxa Sub, a Seiko 6309 or 6105-8110 Diver, or even a Vostok Amphibia, or something really outside the box Read Full Story
What do you get when you stretch a Yukon Denali by 355 mm? A Yukon XL Denali, and we review an almost fully loaded example right here, right now. At more than $80k in base trim and above $90k as tested…

2017 GMC Yukon XL Denali Road Test

Remember when full-size truck-based SUVs were the environmental equivalent of the antichrist? Hummer was the "Chucky" poster child brand of everything automotively evil, and its 2010 demise at least partially due to socially falling out of favour with the do-gooder elite that helped it get a foothold in the mainstream market in the first place.

That would be pre-California governator Arnie Schwarzenegger in the driver's seat, the real Col. John Matrix even influencing the design of GM's Tahoe/Yukon-based H2 before turning up personally to introduce it in concept form at the 2001 New York auto show. Not long after it became politically incorrect to be seen in anything so carelessly gluttonous with fossil fuels (he first ran for governor in 2003 and was elected in 2006), a photo of Arnold spinning a globe of the world on his finger with the words "Save the Planet - Or Else" on the cover of Newsweek comes to mind. His environmental scorecard wasn't exactly Agent Orange, but then Read Full Story
The Bolt has turned the “affordable” electric vehicle world upside down, more than doubling potential EV range over some competitors and providing a lot more usable performance than all. Today we…

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Road Test

Surprised that Chevrolet's new Bolt EV is the best-selling electric vehicle in Canada? It actually hit number one before 2017's halfway point, and for good reason.

Tons of advertising! Sorry, I couldn't resist that. While partially true the umpteen millions Chevy has spent promoting its newest EV is hardly the main reason it's succeeding. More importantly, the Bolt fully lives up to all the hype being lauded upon it by the bowtie brand itself, industry pundits like me, and now customers aplenty.

How many customers? At the close of November it had accumulated 1,292 paid followers in Canada, and while Tesla Model 3 buyers might scoff at such a puny figure, it's exactly 1,292 more deliveries than Tesla's Model 3 over the same 11 months.

One thing the Bolt has common with the Model 3? Both automakers could've sold many more if more cars were available (or any in the case of Tesla), a local GM dealer (that still had a Spark EV in the showroom last time I dropped Read Full Story
Electric-only Tesla aside, BMW’s i3 was the first premium-branded EV when it arrived on Canadian soil in 2014 and remains so more than 3 years later. Now for 2017 it gets a significant power boost that…

2017 BMW i3 REx Loft Road Test

A lot has happened on the electric vehicle front since BMW came to market with its i3 in the spring of 2014. It was an anomaly amongst premium carmakers at the time, and while no competitive brand has anted up with a subcompact hatchback to do direct battle with this upstart imp, plenty have entered the plug-in hybrid fray.

The i3 started life with a cute albeit unusual exterior design and one of the more appealing interiors I'd experienced up to that point. Today, its outer styling remains quirky yet relatively fresh due to rarity, and its interior is still amongst personal favourites.

It was always a bomb to drive, with quick acceleration and superb handling, the latter surprising when first eyeing its tall, narrow, stubby proportions, and while its approximate 160 kilometres of electric-only range was reasonable for the day, more would've helped. That's how it stayed for its first few years, but for 2017 BMW bumped up the capacity of its battery from 22.0- to 33.0-kWh, Read Full Story
Lexus seems to have created a love it or leave it design language that’s finding more fans than not, its RC sports coupe a more dramatic example of its ever-expanding lineup, especially in F Sport trim.…

2017 Lexus RC 300 AWD F Sport Road Test

Where would you slot Lexus into the premium manufacturer matrix? Are they in the same league as the Germans, more desirable than their British, Swedish and American counterparts, or ahead of their Japanese peers?

In the U.S. Lexus is considered a Tier 1 luxury brand, along with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi; we don't really have such a ranking, or at least I've never been able to find anything suggesting it. Strong sales numbers have a lot to do with their top-tier placement, but it also comes down to their near 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 much if any 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 Read Full Story
Guess what? You can buy a new Acura ILX for just over $26k! You’ve got to act fast mind you, as this includes a $3,500 discount only applicable to 2017 models. You can save more on higher end trims…

2017 Acura ILX Tech Road Test

Newest doesn't necessarily mean best. In fact, sometimes cars that have been around the block a few more times than their immediate rivals can offer better reliability while still delivering strong performance, good functionality, plenty of creature comforts, and good all around value. Acura's ILX slots right into this category.

The ILX is a derivative of Honda's previous ninth-generation Civic that dates back to 2011, which means it doesn't ride on the automaker's new compact global platform that's formed from higher grade steel in order to save weight while increasing rigidity, yet it nevertheless delivers a rigid body structure featuring plenty of sharp angles and complex curves, which arguably combine into a more conservatively acceptable design for those put off by the Civic's somewhat polarizing styling.

Design in mind, the ILX remains one of two Acura models to carry forward without the new "Diamond Pentagon" signature grille, the Japanese brand's bestselling Read Full Story
Scion’s FR-S becomes the Toyota 86 for 2017, thanks to the demise of the youth-targeted brand. It gets a refresh too, while the 6-speed manual version’s engine gets bumped from 200 to 205 hp. Check…

2017 Toyota 86 Road Test

Scion is dead. Long live Toyota.

The Japanese brand's youth-oriented sub-brand was an interesting project. It was more successful for longer in the U.S., particularly California where it was initiated and headquartered in 2003. Compared to Ford Motor's Merkur brand (1985–1989) and GM's Geo (1989–1997)-the General did better with Saturn (1985–2010)-a fourteen-year run is pretty good as far as marketing projects go, the cars it sold only rebranded versions of global Toyota models after all.

It therefore made perfect sense to give the outgoing FR-S a version of its global GT86/FT-86 moniker, the "86" portion of the name paying homage to the now classic rear-drive Corolla GTS/AE86 that's still tearing up racetracks around the world. This said I'd rather have seen Toyota combine old and new by coining FR-86, being that they don't have the rights to use the GT86 name here (exclusive to Europe and New Zealand), and FT-86 (only available in Jamaica and Nicaragua). Read Full Story