Mazda keeps hitting all the right notes with MX-5

Mazda keeps hitting all the right notes with MX-5Every now and then, carmakers get it right. They come up with a model that’s well designed, well engineered, affordable, driveable and reliable. Models like the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Mazda 5, Porsche Boxster and, if you go back in time, the BMW 2002 and E30, Volvo 240, MGB, Volkswagen Beetle, Jaguar E-Type and so…

VW Routan was nothing to quack about

The 2010 version of this minivan resembled its Chrysler cousins, although with some shortcomings

VW Routan was nothing to quack aboutBuilt and sold from 2008 to 2012, the Volkswagen Routan featured a VW badge front and centre, but was more or less a Chrysler Town And Country. When it was introduced, Volkswagen claimed the minivan featured “German engineering,” sharing very few components with its counterpart from Chrysler. But the Routan was built at Chrysler’s old…

RAV4 Hybrid offers plenty for 2021

The 2021 version of this SUV is comfortable, driveable, reasonably roomy, thrifty and, with Toyota’s proven hybrid system, reliable

RAV4 Hybrid offers plenty for 2021Back when they were first conceived some 70 years ago, the idea behind sport utility vehicles was to provide practical, usable transportation that could move things and people around with a modicum of comfort. Clearly it was a good idea on the part of car manufacturers. SUVs have almost replaced the conventional four-door sedan as…

Pontiac G8: the blunder from Down Under?

Buying used: Surprisingly, this potent but unreliable road warrior has held its value over the last decade

Pontiac G8: the blunder from Down Under?Designed and built by Holden Australia and debuting in North America in 2008 for the 2009 model year, the Pontiac G8 lasted two seasons. Manufactured in Melbourne and sold Down Under as the Commodore, it was a decent-looking car with above-average handling and performance, and a definite European flavour. It could be had with either…

A tale of two Camrys: XSE and TRD

A tale of two Camrys: XSE and TRDFor the past four decades or so, the two top-selling sedans in Canada have been the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, not necessarily in that order. Not hard to see why. They’re both comfortable, competitively priced and – most importantly – reliable people carriers. They may not always get the blood pumping, but they do…

Buying used: 2010 Ford F-150 pickup offers plenty of options

Buyers should keep in mind that pre-owned F-150s might have been used as work vehicles or regularly taken off-road

Buying used: 2010 Ford F-150 pickup offers plenty of optionsBy 2010, Ford’s F-150 pickup had been the bestselling truck in North America for most of the past 43 years. Apparently, if you parked every F-series truck ever sold in Canada front to back, you’d have a line stretching from Halifax to Vancouver and beyond. Ten years ago, Ford still pretty much owned the full-size…

The 2020 Nissan Sentra offers no-nonsense value

The 2020 Nissan Sentra offers no-nonsense valueAutomobile manufacturers have pretty much mastered the art of building cars. Some 125 years on, today’s breed of automobile is safer, more powerful, thriftier, more comfortable and more reliable than ever. Things like climate control, heated/ventilated seats, satellite radio, accident alert warning systems, anti-locking brakes, hybrid drivetrains, etc., etc., have made driving more palatable than…

Auto industry updates abound

Auto industry updates aboundTime for a roundup of auto news items and industry updates that have come my way lately. Mitsubishi Mirage rates well Mitsubishi wants us to know that their Mirage econo-box has recently received three “best of” awards in Canada for pre-owned cars from Vincentric, a Canadian research firm that gathers data on car automobile ownership…

Buying used: 2010 Nissan Versa

The back seats fold flat effortlessly, and there are various storage nooks and pockets throughout the car

Buying used: 2010 Nissan VersaLike a lot of people in my age group, I’m downsizing. That means – among other things – I’m looking for economical transport. Something that doesn’t take up too much space, offers decent storage, has a decent reliability record, is easy on gas and doesn’t cost a fortune. And it has to be used. So…

Nissan Leaf an ideal battery-powered city vehicle

But range anxiety remains an issue if you want to use this electric car for longer trips

Nissan Leaf an ideal battery-powered city vehicleIn California, they recently introduced an amendment that will make it illegal to sell or purchase new fossil-fuel-powered automobiles after 2035. You will apparently still be able to buy a used gas-powered car, but in California the writing is on the wall when it comes to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Battery-powered cars are certainly…

Buying used: 2010 Honda Ridgeline worth seeking out

This is as comfortable a truck as you’ll find and little touches make everything that much more civilized

Buying used: 2010 Honda Ridgeline worth seeking outIntroduced in 2005, the Ridgeline was Honda’s first attempt to penetrate the pickup truck market in North America. How did that work out? Famously. The Ridgeline was an almost instant success. In 2010, it was propelled by a transversely-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and a full-time all-wheel-drive system. Fuel economy…

Small irritants combine to spoil Infiniti QX50

This mid-size SUV spoils the driving experience with too many convenience features that only serve to irritate – and bump up the price

Small irritants combine to spoil Infiniti QX50The well-known phrase “leave well enough alone” is something carmakers should take to heart. We could throw in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” while we’re at it. But either way, it seems automobile manufacturers are incorporating more and more features and designs of questionable value – or no value at all – into…

Buying used: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

Unlike other hybrid cars, the Volt is designed to run on battery power alone for 60 km before the auxiliary gas engine cuts in

Buying used: 2011 Chevrolet VoltHybrid cars have exploded in popularity over the past few years. It’s to the point where you can’t always get one right away from a dealer and have to place your order and wait. But what about used? Hybrids with a few kilometres on them are making their way onto the used car market and…

Toyota Tundra offers muscles and manners

The engine is one of the most responsive yet well-behaved power plants in this market. Remarkably powerful, yet docile in the city

Toyota Tundra offers muscles and mannersIf I was a traffic cop and I wanted to make city roads safer and fulfil my ticket quota, one of the first things I’d do is pull over every full-size pickup truck that crosses my path. That would be especially true of the jacked-up, fat-tired, lift-kit behemoths that seem to be piloted by testosterone-addled…

Buying used: 2010 Volvo XC60

This sport utility is arguably one of the safest vehicles on the road and it’s loaded with luxury features

Buying used: 2010 Volvo XC60One of the things that cemented Volvo’s presence in Canada was the company’s reputation for building cars that seem to run forever. For example, despite being out of production for some 25 years, the 240 is still a fairly common sight on city streets, at least where I live. The same seems to be true…
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