Waymo Self Driving

Panta Rhei – The Only Constant is Change

Waymo Self Driving

Panta Rhei – The Only Constant is Change

Good Morning Jared – Said the soft pleasant female robotic voice.

I open my eyes, waking up. Looking around I see the date and time flashing on the glass above my head. 7:30 am 7/19/2038. I step out of my sleep tube, stretch and start what is just another day in 2038.

Imagine all the possibilities of our future in 20 years. I try to be a realistic optimist, but after a few episodes of Black Mirror, it can be easy to stray from that path. However, I just want to focus on a few big questions I’ve been thinking about when doing a thought experiment on the future of the automobile industry. I mean the future is pretty clear, residents in Phoenix, AZ are already among the first people to publicly try self-driving cars. So many unanswerable questions.. Insurance, end-user ownership, design and function, aftermarket complimentary products, outdoor recreation, the list goes on.

As an automobile enthusiast who loves to drive and control the intricate machine, we call a vehicle I feel the most pressing concern is how long will it take for it to be near impossible to physically drive a car on the road. It sounds impossible and crazy to even think that but look at the adoption rate of a smartphone and how drastically it has changed the world around it. In just over 10 years we’ve gone from a device barely capable of simple text messaging and phone calls to accessing a rich media filled world that was completely redesigned just for the mobile screen, which we now couldn’t live without. The warning signs are already very clear, you can see manufactures pivoting away from the consumer to a tighter product line able to deliver more value to massive self-driving fleet customers. For example, the recent Waymo Fiat deal for 62,000 minivan taxis’, and Ford getting rid of all cars in North America during the next four years except for the Mustang sports car and a compact Focus crossover vehicle. What does that mean for some future generations chance of car ownership? Will they never experience the joy of slaving away at some crappy summer job for a few years just to buy your first slice of true freedom with your shiny new driver’s license and a car to call your own? Or will it be more of taken for granted luxury as from an early age they could just click a button on an app or have the computer chip in their brain call up a car with no driver to take them wherever their heart desires? The scary thing is, is that no one will ever have to say no you can’t drive its illegal at least not for quite a while, but these massive companies will just price you out of the market and make it even more obscenely expensive than it currently is to own and operate a vehicle.

What does something like that mean for the global automotive aftermarket industry that was valued at $335.23 billion USD in 2016? When you hear talk about job loss from automation, is this what they are referring to? What isn’t clear is how this will work in an area with access to the wild untamed backcountry that Canada is famous for. How is my little Waymo self-driving compact car or minivan going to take me up that steep unpaved logging roads to get to my secret fishing hole? Will it be able to hook up to a trailer or get loaded up with the ton of equipment I required for a nice relaxing week deep in the woods with my family? Right now, I rely on a vehicle that was chosen specifically for this task, which was then taken to a local outfitter who had to further customize and adapt the vehicle to help it perform safely and comfortably wherever I decide to roam. I’m pretty sure the last few times I used Uber while traveling there was no option to choose a lifted 4×4 off-road capable truck, able to tow a boat, trailer or any of my other possible dream toys.

After wasting hours sitting in horrible Metro Vancouver traffic, or witnessing and even experiencing some of the worst aspects of what a ton steel can do to another vehicle or person, can cause a someone to hope and dream of a fast-approaching self-driving transportation reality. But this reality will have far-reaching implications and connections that we can’t even fathom. An ancient old man named Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500 BCE) said it best “Panta Rhei” or loosely translated life is flux as in the only constant is change itself. This cannot be more a more adapt description for the times we live in, where we now see more change in a lifetime than could ever be imagined, and it’s only increasing in pace. No one has any clear indication of where we are headed or what to expect when we arrive but there is no going back only forward, so try to not fear change instead run full steam ahead into the unknown and enjoy your experience along the way

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Experiences
2018 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Driving Towards

2018 Mazda CX-5 – Automotive Review

2018 Mazda CX-5 Exterior Driving Towards

2018 Mazda CX-5 – Automotive Review

The Mazda CX-5 is a perfect example of the precision and quality expected from fine traditional Japanese manufacturing. The bold sporty design combined with luxury features and materials provides consumers an award-winning small 5-seater SUV at a very reasonable price.

Exterior

The exterior of the 2018 Mazda CX-5 was slightly redesigned with a new front grille, and lower placed headlights with sharp LED fog lights. The design of this vehicle embodies the Japanese Mazda KODO idea, reminisce to flowing lines of calligraphy and “soul of motion” that can be found in their art like craftsmanship. While it may be designed with a Japanese focus, they didn’t forget about the intricacies of the Canadian market, with design features such as zinc-coated steel corrosion plates, and an insulated engine compartment for our harsh winter weather.

Interior

Following the high bar set by the exterior design team, the luxury and quality continues to be found throughout the interior of the Mazda CX-5. Starting with the unique signature material found in what they call “Metal Wood,” which provides the warmth and depth of wood paneling with the strength and toughness of metal. Mazda has really focused on the driving experience and how technology can positively impact the massive time-consuming activity of transportation. An example of this that can be found in the interior, is the surprisingly quiet cabin, which has been sound deadened from materials in the floorboards, sound insulating glass, and extensive seal insulation. While outside noise may be minimized, the 10 speaker BOSE professional stereo system was custom designed for the new CX-5 and took into consideration things like cabin size, seat position, and sound variances. These comforts aren’t only for the front passengers, as Mazda has included many features for the rear seats as well, such as heater ducts under the seats, reclining seats as well as available heated rear seats, rear passenger vents, and dual-zone climate controls. The 20/40/20 split can provide up to 1,687 L of cargo space which can easily handle a few large and small suitcases for the family.

Driving

SKYACTIV and i-ACTIV technologies can be found all over the drivetrain of this SUV. The high-efficiency SKYACTIV-G engine helps provide better fuel economy and torque compared to a standard gasoline engine while reducing noise and vibration. The Mazda CX-5 is available in a 2.0 L, 2.5 L, and a 2.5 L with the available new technology of Cylinder Deactivation. This automatically shuts down two of the cylinders in light-load situations such as when cruising at a constant speed to provide fuel savings. i-ACTIV AWD found in the CX-5 can forecast road conditions and adjust to deliver increased traction exactly when it is needed. Monitoring driving conditions 200 per second helps predict road conditions and the technology can ensure optimal distribution of torque and minimizes drivetrain energy loss, meaning that you’re only using fuel to power AWD when it’s required. To put all this refinement to work the CX-5 includes SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS with G-Vectoring Control, which was the winner of the 2017 AJAC Best New Innovation Technology Award. It works behind the scenes to achieve a smoother, less fatiguing drive by responding with fewer steering adjustments and suppressing head and body sway for greater comfort and a higher sense of control during abrupt maneuvers or driving in poor road conditions such as rain and snow.

Technology and Safety

Comes loaded with a slew of sensors, and alerts that help ensure proper safe driving practices. The CX-5 offers many ways to remind you to stay focused on the road and offers an exciting glimpse at how technology will improve the safety and quality of driving in the future

  • i-ACTIVSENSE features:
    • Smart Brake Support
      • Helps avoid or reduce the severity of a collision at speeds above 16 km/hour
      • Alerts the driver and apply the brakes in the case of an impending collision
    • Smart City Brake Support
      • Detects objects ahead and prepares the vehicle by adjusting brake pads closer to the disc
      • The system automatically applies the brakes
    • Pedestrian Detection
      • Detects pedestrians at speeds between 10 and 80 km/hr.
    • Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go Function
      • Relative speed and distance to the car ahead, right down to 0 km/hour, maintaining a safe following distance
    • Distance Recognition Support System
      • Measures the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead and recommends a comfortable following distance.
    • Forward Obstruction Warning
      • Detects vehicles ahead and alerts the driver to an approaching risk of collision
    • Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
      • Detects objects in your left and right blind spots, and alerts you before a fast-approaching vehicle enters your blind spot
    • Traffic Sign Recognition system
      • Uses cameras to read road signs such as speed limit, do not enter and stop signs
    • Lane-keep Assist System
    • Lane Departure Warning
      • Predicts the vehicle is going to unintentionally depart from its lane.
    • Adaptive Front-lighting System
      • As you turn into a corner, the headlights pivot up to 15 degrees in the direction of your turn
    • High Beam Control System
      • Automatically switches to low beams when it detects oncoming traffic and/or a vehicle ahead

Key Features

  • Starting at $27,920 CND
  • AJAC’s Best Small Utility Vehicle in Canada for 2018
  • Mazda Unlimited Mileage Warranty
    • Features unlimited mileage for
      • 3-YEAR New Vehicle, 3-YEAR Roadside Assistance, 5-YEAR Powertrain and 7-YEAR Anti-Perforation warranties
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Automotive Reviews
2018 Lincoln MKZ - Exterior Blue Diamond Side

2018 Lincoln MKZ – Review

2018 Lincoln MKZ - Exterior Blue Diamond Side

2018 Lincoln MKZ – Review

Reintroduced in 2016, the Lincoln MKZ is Ford's attempt at chipping away market share from the German and Japanese leaders in the luxury sedan market. With what is essentially a prettied-up Ford Fusion the MKZ show its worth by the quality of materials and workmanship found all over the vehicle.

The powerful new turbo V6 with 400hp provides the Lincoln MKZ with a chance of gaining a foothold, not with your grandpa, but a newer younger generation looking to enter the luxury sports market.

The 2018 MKZ design is impressive when you think about it. Lincoln was able to take your everyday Fusion, use it as a base, and with just some minor changes fill it with sleekness and swagger. The wider more aggressive front grill gives a nod to it Jaguar cousin, with full double ring adaptive LED headlights and cleaner front lip sure help the MKZ stand out. Additional features such as the retractable panoramic glass roof and 19” aluminum wheels, is showing Ford refinement at some of the highest levels.  I thought the approach detection was a nice touch and was impressed to see things like the Lincoln welcome mat. That level of elevation a few years ago would have only been seen in vehicles well above the price of a fully loaded MKZ. The beauty of the design of this vehicle is that it looks good as a 4-door sedan, it’s not trying to look sporty, and it doesn’t need to be a coupe. Instead, this car is more of a sportscar in a suit.

That sportscar comes in the form of the 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 producing 400hp and 400ft-lbs of torque. Which with the weight it must carry might the MKZ will not break records or seem nimble or agile when driving but will certainly provide you with enough acceleration for an exciting drive in both the city and on the highway. For contrast, the similarly priced Mercedes C43 has only 362 hp and the more expensive 320hp in the BMW 440i. The powertrain on the 2018 Lincoln MKZ Reserve is more impressive in raw numbers even when comparing it to its distant cousin all done out with 380 hp on the 3.0L supercharged Jaguar XE S, which starts at quite a bit more at around $61,500 CND.

All of this refinement is continued throughout the interior and in the technology available for the MKZ. Starting with the available 2.0L iVCT Atkinson I-4 Hybrid Engine, giving you the option to lose the sports car, but get an impressive 5.7L/100km in the city, while keeping all of the luxury and class. Or in things like Active Noise Control, which utilizes technology similar to noise canceling headphones, reducing unwanted cabin noise. One feature that was hard for me to get used to during the test drive was the location of their push-button transmission system. Having to push a button near the radio for Park was odd and I kept reaching down hoping for a familiar knob, dial, lever or button where the cup holder was.

Key Features:

  • Starting at
    • Select $40,550 CND
    • 3.0L Reserve $50,100 CND
    • Hybrid Reserve $45,950 CND
  • Available 3.0L twin-turbocharged engine producing 400 horsepower and 400 ft-lbs torque
  • Twenty speakers on the available Revel® Ultima® System and 14 on the Revel Audio System
  • Standard 11.8/8.4L/100KM City and Highway
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Automotive Reviews
2018 Hyundai IONIQ Exterior

2018 Hyundai Ioniq – Review

2018 Hyundai IONIQ Exterior

2018 Hyundai Ioniq – Review

While the Automotive Industry boasts loudest about its unique outliers, there is something to be said about a vehicle like the Hyundai IONIQ that most accurately satisfies the true requirements of transportation, which is to safely and cost-effectively go from point A to B.

Hyundai is making a name for themselves in the green vehicle space with their impressive IONIQ. Going up against powerhouses like the Toyota Prius, Ford C-Max, and the Chevy Volt, the Hyundai IONIQ smashes expectations and offers more trims and options than all the others combined. Establishing a strong market presence with this product line makes sense for Hyundai from both a long and short-term perspective. As this industry must adapt to external pressures such as the rising price of fuel, and a need to switch from the individual consumer to the demands of larger business accounts like ridesharing and autonomous driving fleets.

As we start seeing more of our test vehicles being hybrid or electric it has gotten us really thinking about the importance of how these vehicles work with our current lifestyle, our needs, and the infrastructures we have in place to support them. Starting at only $24,299 CND for the hybrid and going up to $35,649 CND for the all-electric model shows the importance of selecting the vehicle that will best represent your driving needs. Having the opportunity to test both the fully electric and the electric plus IONIQ really showed us how one size does not fit all.

In the end, for us, we were not as comfortable driving without having the familiarity of gasoline as a backup. That’s not to say we couldn’t see the value in the all-electric option, and easily can envision what that driver might look like. I’m sure the ideal candidate would live in a more urban setting with shorter commute times and increased access to rapid charging stations or they might be a more senior member of society who just needs to do errands around town, and is on a more fixed income unable to adjust to rising fuel costs. However, in our situation living in the far outskirts of Vancouver and having to commute all over the valley brought up challenges we felt that the IONIQ Electric Plus was more equipped to handle compared to the just electric option. For example, after a day of driving with a few hours on the road, our poor battery would be completely drained and we would be just starting to dip into the reserve gasoline system, but this was okay as the alternative was to be stuck on the road without any power or a charger in sight…(which almost happened to one of our writers)

The fuel savings alone was enough to make our team pause in interest. With the amount of driving, we do an even moderately fuel-efficient vehicle will easily be $50 a week with today’s record gas prices in Vancouver. With the Hyundai IONIQ Electric Plus, we barely put $20 in for the whole two-week test drive, due to being able to plug the vehicle in each night and start each day fresh with a full battery. So regardless of our feelings on how comfortable we are to changing and using this technology, from an environmental and economic standpoint, it is getting increasingly ridiculous to think that we will keep using fossil fuels when the alternatives are right in front of our face.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $24,299 CND
  • Electric 200 km on a single charge
    • Charging times: 24hours @ 120v, 4.5hours @ 240v, 35 mins @480v
  • Electric Plus 47Km on electric power then 4.1L/100Km Hybrid
    • Charging times: To be Announced @ 120v, 2.25hours @ 240v
  • Hybrid 1000Km on a single tank of gas (Best-in-class 4.1L/100Km combined fuel efficiency)
  • 5-year/100,000 Km Comprehensive Limited Warranty
  • 8 YEAR/160,000 Km Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid System
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Automotive Reviews
2018 Mazda3 - Exterior

2018 Mazda3 – Review

2018 Mazda3 - Exterior

2018 Mazda3 – Review

So much for so little. The Mazda3 is and continues to be a very well rounded car, where it’s clear driving matters. So much so that the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) voted the MAZDA3 Best Small Car in Canada for 2018.

The Mazda3 is always something that never blows me away but always has me taking a second look. This car has everything you need, and even a few things you won’t soon be able to be without. To truly enjoy the Mazda3 you need to look past the numbers, and realize there is so much more to the whole experience than A vs. B. What the Mazda3 really is… is consistency, you know what you’re getting with this car, and you know what to expect, and that isn’t a bad thing. With the Mazda3 they saw the value in not having to swing for the fences, they don’t need to spend finite resources reaching for that one incrementally higher number… Instead, they can offer consistently mid to high-level quality in every aspect of the vehicle.

This is shown in the implementation of technologies like SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS with G-Vectoring Control (GVC). This technology works behind the scenes to do this to minimize driver effort on their daily commute. It can make micro corrections to the steering, and the GVC will reduce the amount of body sway while going around corners or curves. My favorite feature, which I was pleasantly surprised to see at this price range was the Colour Active Driving Display, a visual display of things like posted speed signage and your current speed projected on the road ahead of you. This HUD reminds me of when I first started seeing backup cameras cars, something at first you think might think is gimmicky or unneeded, but it quickly becomes a necessary feature on every vehicle.

The base and special 50th edition Mazda3 is powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L which produces an unsatisfying 155 hp, but upgrading to the premium GT model will include the 2.5L which might sacrifice some fuel economy but will give you a little more impressive 184 hp. Also found on the premium GT is a whole slew of safety features like lane assist making minor corrections to keep you where you need to be monitoring and support to detect objects ahead and either slow you downing or stop the car. Size wise the Mazda3 rightly fits into the small car category. Do not expect the 2nd-row seating to have much or any leg room if you’re a larger person that requires extending the driver’s seat back any further than that of an old lady who drives hugging the steering wheel.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $16,000 CND
  • 155 hp @ 6000 rpm or 184 hp @ 3250 rpm
  • 5/6.2 L/100Km
  • Seating 5
  • Legroom
    • 1073mm Front and 909mm Rear
  • Cargo Volume 350 L
 
 
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Automotive Reviews
2018 Mercedes E400 Coupe Exterior

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

2018 Mercedes E400 Coupe Exterior

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe

A beautiful design of timeless sophistication, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe sets the benchmark for its class.

The new 2018 Mercedes E400 coupe might not be the strongest or the fastest but damn it sure is the prettiest. This car is a modern take on the classic 1950’s personal luxury car. These cars emphasized image over practicality, often with a two-door coupe or convertible styling. They set themselves apart from the spec driven sports cars by placing a greater emphasis on comfort and style. While they usually contained similar engines and powertrains, this power was instead there to accommodate the installation of more luxurious sizes, features, and accessories.

The new body style for the E400 features a class-exclusive B-pillarless design, which no other manufacturer does at this price point. With the frameless side windows down and the extra-large sunroof open the E400 felt incredibly open and airy. At first glance, the coupe does look very similar to its S and C class coupe siblings, but I found the shorter snub nose gave this coupe a more appropriate compact appearance.

The wider and longer design was put in place to attempt to fit two adults in the back seat but let’s face it if you chose the coupe you know it’s designed for two. The sculpting on the car is kept very minimal, and there are almost no creases or hard lines. The exterior seems to flow smoothly like a still pond, and flawlessly form to the shape of the body, the way a red-carpet designer dress fits on an A-list movie star. The car comes standard with 18” 5 spoke wheels, but you can always upgrade to the stylish 19” AMG twin 5 spoke rims.

The E400 can be equipped with the same spectacular sound system found originally only in the ultra-premium S-Class, now you have two different Burmester sound systems options to choose from. The top of the line option has 23 speakers with 1450 watts distributed onto 25 amplifier channels, the “Burmester® High-End 3D-Surround-Soundsystem of the E-class represents an effort which has no equal in this vehicle segment.” Another feature always worth having is the HUD, its one of those things you might think is frivolous and unnecessary, but once you’ve used it, you’ll understand.

Now the E400 isn’t a racehorse, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have something to bring to the table. The twin-turbo 3.0L V6 provides a decent 329hp and 354lb-ft of torque. This powerhouse can launch the car from 0-100km/hr. in 5.3 seconds. While it might sacrifice a few decimal places at the finish line, the E400 instead promises an incredibly smooth, comfortable and enjoyable ride the entire way. Mated with the Mercedes advanced 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, the car provided easy torque, and for those straight roads where you really felt like dropping the hammer, it was more than capable of providing exhilaration and speed. With three different suspension systems including tech like “Air Body Control,” the road will smoothen out before you, and the car will melt into the corners with the poise of a dancer.

Again, and again Mercedes shows that sophistication and class have their place in an environment where everything else has a number which is compared and measured by its peers. The E400 coupe is a design that showcases all that Mercedes has to offer, they provide an exceptional driving experience, in a car that feels more solidly built and engineered than anything else even remotely near its already premium price tag

Key Features:

  • Starting at $72,000 CND
  • Passenger capacity 4
  • Trunk capacity 425 L
  • Transmission type 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic
  • 329 HP @ 5250-6000 rpm
  • 354 lb-ft @ 1600-4000 rpm
  • 3 seconds 0-100km
  • City fuel economy 11.9 L/100 km
  • Highway fuel economy 9.0 L/100 km
 
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Automotive Reviews
2018 BMW M240i Exterior

2018 BMW M240i – Review

2018 BMW M240i Exterior

2018 BMW M240i – Review

BMW’s 2 series is known for providing an exciting driving experience. This is taken to new heights with the BMW M240i. With it's inline 6, near perfect weight distribution and compact weight and size, this car is clearly designed for uncompromising performance.

The 2018 features very slightly refreshed styling; with it only having minor changes to both the interior and exterior design.

The model we drove was the 2018 BMW M240i, with the manual transmission. It is without a doubt a win for BMW enthusiast.  The smooth manual transmission was a pleasure to drive even in the steady stop and go of some daily Vancouver city driving, and the slight vibrations felt through the shifter help provide the connection that is an integral part of the complete driving experience.  The true to form sports coupe is quick, nimble, and engaging, and while the interior may be too cramped for four, it could easily be the perfect vehicle for a person in search of a more exciting commute. The M240i is available in coupe, cabriolet, xDrive, with either the automatic 8-speed Steptronic Sports transmission, or the preferred 6-speed manual transmission

With BMW slapping the M-Series logo on everything it’s hard to define what is a true BMW M-class sports car. While the M240i does feature many of the track inspired tech that can be found on M2, it does have a few missing pieces that a full-on track car like the M2 or M3 has such as the electronically-controlled, multi-plate limited slip-differential, wider subframe, and stiffer springs. What it does have though is the impressive output of the M Performance TwinPower Turbo inline 6. This 3.0-litre produces 335-hp, 369 lb-ft of torque and throws this little car from 0-100km in 4.8 secs. This is right up there with the Audi S3 and the Mercedes AMG C43, all with an almost identical 0-100km, but with the S3 having 292hp and the C43 having whopping 362hp. This car also features the M performance suspension tuning setting and variable sports steering. The Servotronic steering can implement a variety of steering ratios that can ensure less effort is required when parking and turning, or improve handling and performance when driving more dynamically.

The interior was only slightly changed in the 2018 model, with the biggest improvement coming from the standard 6.6-inch center touchscreen (or an 8.8-inch optional one). Which I was quite surprised to find out was the first time the 2-series even had the option for a touchscreen. M240i stands on 18-inch M double-spoke rims, with Michelin sports rubber. We recommend the available 12-speaker Harman Kardon Surround Sound audio system, which includes a 360-watt amplifier, five tweeters, five midrange speakers, and two central bass speakers located under the front seats. Also new was some metallic paint jobs like the Mediterranean and Seaside blue, as well as the Sunset orange that is seen in this articles images.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $47,000 CND
  • Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 7.8
  • Engine power in hp at 1/min 335
  • Engine torque (Nm) at 1/min 369
  • Top speed in km/h 250
  • Acceleration 0–100 km/h in s 4.6[4.8]
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Automotive Reviews
2017 Mazda MX-5 RF - Exterior

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF – Review

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF - Exterior

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF – Review

This 4th generation Mazda Miata was an impressive build on the quarter of a century of race-inspired driving. The MX-5 is Mazda’s only current sports car, and as always the only convertible in the lineup.

The MX-5 is Mazda’s only current sports car, and as always the only convertible in the lineup. Mazda pretty much has the small, lightweight and affordable droptop/sports car market all to itself. With a history of being the bestselling roadster, the new addition of the RF or retractable fastback just made sense.  As always MX-5 or Miata as I keep wanting to call it has an excellent power to weight ratio, which has been heightened by the use of premium new aged materials. The use of aluminum and ultra‑high‑tensile steel has shed approximately 20% of the weight of its previous generation model.

Powered by the 2.0 Liter SKYACTIV-G, this naturally aspirated inline-four produces 155hp @6000 rpm. Now while those specs might not be as sexy on paper as the 205hp dished out by the BRZ/86 frankencar, or the 160hp from the very similar Fiat 124. That’s not what this car is about, top speed and acceleration come second to drivability and hugging tight corners. That being said it has an edge on the BRZ/86 by being the lightest in its class and can deliver power more smoothly and on a lower rpm band then its high revving turbo lagging Italian cousin.

Now you don’t sit in a Miata so much as you wear it.  As a shorter guy, I had the feeling that if you were taller than six and a half feet you might start feeling like you are in a clown car, and with the roof down, you probably would be more comfortable with your head looking over the windshield instead of through it. Another common complaint from passengers and our other drivers was it felt like your butt was dragging on the ground, and that feeling is justified with only just over a foot of clearance from your backside to the road. Throwing everything the Miata or sorry MX-5 had into some of our back road mountain twists and turns certainly brought a smile to my face, and it made the driving experience quite enjoyable, the small cramped interior threw a wrench into the whole daily driver/year round car plan. Creature comforts are kept to a bare minimum, while it had things like weirdly placed cup holders, and a minuscule space for items like keys and phone, there was a lack of space and places like door pockets or a traditional glove box were nowhere to be found.

The model we’re testing was the Mazda MX-5 RF, and with the whole “being a convertible” as a huge selling point, it was nice to have the option of a mechanically lowered hard top. Cruising around with some beautiful sunshine and warm weather, it was easy to see why people fall in love with a drop top.  I expected the hardtop to insulate me better from typical road noises, but while driving the MX-5 around I found myself on more than one occasion checking to make sure the windows were closed due to an incredibly noisy cabin. Also, the RF suffered from some visibility issues due to the impossibly small rear window and thick B-pillars. Backing this small car up also threw me off as normally I would place my arm around the back of the passenger seat to assist in swiveling my body to get a better view out the rear window.  However as the MX-5 cabin pretty much ends right behind the seat, this was quite impossible and had me accidentally punching the back window as I attempted to turn my body.

So while the Mazda MX-5 was a fun car to cruise around in the sun, the size and functionality of the vehicle make it just another toy to play with during the summer.  Starting at 30k this is one expensive cruiser that I would be fine doing without.

Key Features:

  • Starting from $31,900
  • Mazda Unlimited features unlimited mileage for our 3-YEAR New Vehicle, 3-YEAR Roadside Assistance, 5-YEAR Powertrain and 7-YEAR Anti-Perforation warranties
  • Fuel Efficiency
    • City – 8.8 L/100 km
    • Hwy – 6.9 L/100 km
  • 4-Cyl 2.0 Liter SKYACTIV-G
  • Horsepower 155 @ 6000rpm
  • Torque 148 ft/lbs @ 4600rpm
  • RWD
  • Curb Weight 1,058 Kg
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Automotive Reviews
2017 Jaguar XE Exterior

2017 Jaguar XE S – Review

2017 Jaguar XE Exterior

2017 Jaguar XE S – Review

Takes the idea of “fun to drive” very seriously The Jaguar XE is a new addition to the Jaguar stable and is positioned as an entry to the impressive Jaguar lineup.

However, Top Motorist was able to test the pinnacle of XE power, with the Jaguar XE S. The XE is immediately recognizable and offers North American consumers a new choice in European sports cars. The English manufacturer is hoping to eke out some market share from the dominant and always impressive German powerhouses: Audi, Mercedes, and BMW.

Jaguar invested $2.5 billion in facilities to build the XE at its Solihull, U.K., plant. The focus of these upgrades was to build the XE’s with an aluminum body and components, that same technology is also a first for this class of car. These advancements leave the XE not only with sexy lines and curves, but sitting at a curb weight of 3787lb is quite a bit lighter than the Mercedes C43 AMG(3900 lb.), and the BMW 340i xDrive (3802 lb.)

While there were five models of the XE to choose from, this review will focus on the more exciting XE S. This car uses the same engine as the F-type, with a 3.0L V6 and twin vortex supercharger. This machine gives a road-gripping 380hp, going 0-100 in 5.2 seconds. However, at the price point of $61,500, this premium trim has some explaining to do. Both the Mercedes C43 AMG (MSRP $56,600) and the BMW 340i xDrive (MSRP $56,200) are heavier and have less horsepower but will leave the Jaguar XE S fractions behind on the 0-100km, by up to ½ a second.

However, in the end, it’s not all about the numbers. The Jaguar XE S was a very fun car to drive. The almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution and the advanced double wishbone front suspension design that was based on the F-TYPE sports car, provide all the exciting car driving experience I could want. Also with four driving modes: Standard, Eco, Dynamic or Rain/Ice/Snow, the XE is good to go wherever the road may take you whether that might be the track or driving home from a day at the office.

The inside is as impeccably designed as one would expect from a maker of often $100k+ vehicles. With a simple and pleasing atheistic the XE is sure to turn heads both inside and out. With a push of a button, the Jaguar lets out a deep growl and up pops the JaguarDrive Control which rises to greet your hand. The model we drove had an amazing 825-watt surround sound system delivered through 17 speakers, all designed by another excellent British manufacturer Meridian. My only complaint was similar to the rest of the internet, a disappointment in the laggy 10.2 touchscreens full of useless apps. The lack of physical button’s meant that you had to constantly reach out to make entertainment changes as you were driving. However, with the optional laser Head-Up Display and the high-definition 12.3” Virtual Instrument Display, it was easy to keep my attention on the enjoyment of the ride.

Key Features:

  • MSRP $61,500 CND
  • 380 hp @ 6,500 rpm
  • 332 lb-ft torque @ 3,500 – 5,000 rpm
  • Acceleration 0-100 km/hr.  in 5.2 seconds
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Automotive Reviews
2017 Toyota 86 Exterior

2017 Toyota 86 – Review

2017 Toyota 86 Exterior

2017 Toyota 86 – Review

The rebranded “86” is a refreshing addition to extremely limited Toyota RWD lineup. Born from the ashes of the now dead Scion brand, the 86 is the reincarnate of the FRS.

Starting as the groupthink project by Subaru and Scion, this small, affordable sports car makes a welcomed appearance in the Toyota brand. Being their only current two doors, rear wheel drive car, this addition is a clear nod to the past and the much loved Toyota Celica/Supra.

There wasn’t much that changed during the rebadge except for really the badge itself. You’ll see a few minor tweaks in places like the bumpers and lights. Toyota also did some tuning and re-gearing which is all that differentiates this from the nearly identical Subaru BRZ

The 86 is a sleek car with all the lines and shapes expected in a true sports car. It is a true back to the basics sports car. It’s a lightweight, rear wheel drive coupe, with Toyota focusing on the handling and driving experience. While it does give some much-needed choice to the entry-level sports car line, the “sports” is mostly external. The unique 2.0l flat 4 Boxer engine helps deliver a lower profile and center of gravity, making for a sportier feeling ride.

However, to get the price tag to start at only $29,580, the Toyota scrapped everything that doesn’t fit the sports car image. Unfortunately, that might have meant giving up some raw off the line power. The Toyota 86 powerhouse pushes out a very unsatisfactory 200hp with 156ft. Lbs of torque. This pushes the almost 1300kg car from 0-60 in 6.2 seconds. When compared to similarly priced but much more powerful Nissan 370z, a 332hp v6 that goes 0-60 in over a second faster, the Toyota 86 looks like less of a sports car and more of a daily driver. Except that even the 1.5L Honda Civic Si, puts out the same HP, but with much better fuel economy.

The interior is also quite minimalist. While I expect there only to be two seats in a coupe (who uses the backseat in a two-door??) the cockpit of this vehicle is severely lacking. Toyota drives home the back to basics look with a dash that would look more at home in a higher end car from 20 years ago. Many of the tech goodies found standard in cars that are half the price are missing in this vehicle. While if you’ve never had some of those features, I’m sure your driving experience wouldn’t suffer, drivers who have had the pleasure of using them may be turned off this vehicle just for that reason.

In conclusion, the Toyota 86 is a welcomed addition to the lineup. It marks the re-entry of the Toyota brand into the RWD sports car market. At the under 30k starting point this is a perfect vehicle for a young adult to get their hands on a brand new driving machine. Toyota has ensured that the focus of this car is on the driving experience, especially if you enjoy drifting more so than speed. To keep the price on the lower end, the Toyota 86 cuts out all the frills and leaves you with a fun to drive RWD coupe good for the daily grind yet still suitable for the occasional rip around some winding backroads, or the hugging some curves on the track.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $29,580
  • 2.0L flat 4 Boxer engine
  • 205hp @ 7000rpm
  • 156 ft. lbs. torque @ 6400rpm
  • 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds
  • 1252kg base curb weight
  • Seating for 4
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