Surviving the contact sport of buying a used car

Beware con artists, smoothies, carpetbaggers, excuse-makers and truth-stretchers

Surviving the contact sport of buying a used carA few months ago, I got the chance to take my own advice and put my money where my mouth is. My daughter needed a cheap but decent used car – something sensible, with back door/seat access and a decent-sized trunk. Budget: $5,000 max. Here are some of the cars we checked out: 2003 BMW…

Honda CR-V a treat to drive in almost every way

The unresponsive transmission takes a great deal of the joy out of this otherwise practical, pleasurable small SUV

Honda CR-V a treat to drive in almost every wayAlthough I drive 50 to 60 new cars a year, I still own a 1976 BMW 2002, a ’76 Triumph TR6 and the family schlepper: a 2002 Honda CR-V. The first two cars are my toys, pampered and driven in nice weather, and usually for short distances. The Honda is the workhorse, and is used…

Power plant sets Mazda CX-5 apart from competition

No one wants surprises in this market. The practical, well-thought-out model will win the race every time. This fits the bill

Power plant sets Mazda CX-5 apart from competitionIn a market absolutely saturated with utes, sport utes, sport cutes, and full-size beauts, what can a manufacturer do to make its product stand out in the crowd? In a word, nothing. At least, nothing drastic. This segment of the auto market is not about game-changing innovations (despite carmakers’ boasts to the contrary), revolutionary design…

Forget about speeders, let’s crack down on driving while phoning

You just don’t have the necessary eye-hand-ear co-ordination to drive and carry on a conversation at the same time, not even if you’re using Bluetooth

Forget about speeders, let’s crack down on driving while phoningHey you! Yeah, I’m talking to you … the guy who seems to be talking to himself or, worse, the one with a cellphone plastered to the side of his head. A moment of your time, if you please. I’ve been stuck in traffic behind you for a while and even if you haven’t noticed,…

Mazda CX-3 is a sport cute built for urban driving

It’s a little twitchy at highway speed but around town it’s nimble, easy to manoeuvre and simple to park

Mazda CX-3 is a sport cute built for urban drivingTake a look at what’s filling up the highways and byways these days and you’ll come to the inescapable conclusion that the day of the traditional family sedan is over. The four-door people carrier with a trunk that many of us grew up with seems to be going the way of whitewall tires, bell-bottom pants…

Five things that changed the classic car hobby

Electronic ignitions, new carburetors, synthetic lubricating fuels, eBay and collector car insurance all play a role

Five things that changed the classic car hobbyLike pets and people, cars need to be exercised regularly, especially those with a few miles on them. If those old bones and joints aren’t given a regular workout, they deteriorate. Rubber gets brittle, oil loses its viscosity, gas sheds its octane and moving parts become arthritic. Cars aren’t couch potatoes – they like it…

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is a straightforward value

Mid-size SUV offers high standard equipment level, driver-friendliness and a high degree of usability

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is a straightforward valueAlthough it sometimes seems that every other vehicle on the road is a Hyundai Santa Fe, this mid-size SUV from Korea is actually not even in the best-selling top 10. The best-selling SUVs in Canada are the likes of the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. According to the people who monitor these things,…

The eBay car lot offers plenty of vehicles, but beware shipping costs

A few things you should know before you start shopping for your next car through the online giant

The eBay car lot offers plenty of vehicles, but beware shipping costsBy now, eBay has become almost as much a part of the public consciousness as Google or Microsoft. Founded almost 25 years ago, it’s far and away the world’s most popular online auction house and, on any given day, millions of visitors peruse its listings. It’s estimated that at least 200 million consumers use it…

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline is a pleasure to drive

It’s civilized, practical and, as far as it goes, rugged. Score another one for Honda

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline is a pleasure to driveWhen Honda introduced its Ridgeline pickup in 2006, it was well received except for one thing: it looked funny. It didn’t really resemble a traditional North American pickup, with its high rear deck sides and odd cargo layout. Some said it had more than a passing resemblance to the Chevrolet Avalanche, which wasn’t necessarily a…

Buying used: 2011 Kia Sorento may not age well

It gets average grades for performance and features, but users have had a variety of problems

Buying used: 2011 Kia Sorento may not age wellKia had a landmark year in 2010. As well as dramatically increasing its sales and becoming a legitimate contender in the marketplace, it opened a manufacturing plant in the U.S. – West Point, Ga. The debuting model was the mid-size 2011 Sorento SUV. There are two engine choices: a 2.4-litre four cylinder and 3.5-litre V6,…

Honda Insight wants to be in charge of the driving experience

Driver input these days, it seems, is decreasing incrementally

Honda Insight wants to be in charge of the driving experienceIt all started with cruise control. It was, arguably, the first modern automotive convenience readily available to buyers that didn’t fundamentally involve the operation of the vehicle. When it became readily available – in the 1970s, initially in the RV industry – it was something of a sensation: a feature that allowed you to drive…

Top-down fun and performance with Nissan 370Z Roadster

Buying used: the 2010 version offers plenty of options, including some unusual features

Top-down fun and performance with Nissan 370Z RoadsterWith spring just around the corner, it’s top-down time. If you're in the market for a pre-owned model, the 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster is a decent choice. After a major redesign, in 2009, Nissan lowered the price and reduced the size of its flagship roadster. Strictly a two-seater, it was now shorter and lighter, with…

Fusion Energi puts some spark in the debate about hybrids

The 2019 model can be plugged in overnight and then travel up to 40 km on battery power

Fusion Energi puts some spark in the debate about hybridsThe federal government recently announced funding in this year’s budget for incentives of up to $5,000 for Canadian buyers of zero-emissions vehicles. That’s good, but why not extend the funding to hybrid cars? Given the current technology, a hybrid car makes much more sense than a fully electric one. And if the hybrid is a…

The best and the worst cars of 2015 (and some other years)

According to Consumer Reports, there are plenty of good used cars out there from the last decade – and some models to avoid

The best and the worst cars of 2015 (and some other years)Thinking of buying a used car that’s four years old? Well, every year, Consumer Reports publishes its “Best And Worst” automobile issue. This is arguably the most comprehensive and thorough automobile guide and takes a hard, cold look at new and used cars and SUVs. Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, so they have no axes…

The 2019 Lincoln Continental offers upscale driving at its best

This spectacular-looking automobile drives like a sports coupe and even plows through snow with ease

The 2019 Lincoln Continental offers upscale driving at its bestFord announced a while ago that it would cease production of all its conventional passenger sedans starting in 2020. As well as being a potential game-changer for the company, this is also a huge mistake. Yes, people are buying SUVs and sport cutes in unprecedented numbers, but things change. And right now, Ford has never…
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