2019 Ford Ranger – Experience

2019 Ford Ranger – Experience

We all know the saying, ‘Built Ford Tough” and we’ve seen that proven in the Raptor and F-series, but can the new Ranger live up to this? I take the new 2019 Ford Ranger on an epic journey through the back roads of the Whistler valley to find out if little brother has what it takes.

Photo Credit – Mike Markov

Our journey begins in Richmond, BC, with a tour around the different available models. I have to say the styling is very sharp; it is a similar shape to the F150 but proportioned down perfectly to create an all-new vehicle. With three different trim levels, XL, XLT, and Lariat, and surprisingly no stripped-down base model with a hand-cranked window lever and a bench seat here. All very similar models with a few added features make this Ranger good at all price levels.

Driving through city traffic, the Ranger is quick to accelerate and very easy to stop which I learned first-hand having to brake hard as a driver decided to turn left in front of me with no signal, oh yes did I mention I was in Vancouver?  After a short time later, we were through downtown and into Stanley Park. The Ranger is equipped with a 2.3 Litre EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 270 horsepower and generates 310-pound-feet of torque.

The first stop on the trip is the Sea to Sky Gondola, which if you have never been before it is a must see when traveling highway 99.  Incredible views of Howe Sound, Squamish, and the surrounding Coast mountains. There are plenty of things to do at the top; a restaurant with a large deck to sit out and take in the views, some hiking trails, a suspension bridge, and even rock climbing. Word of advice make sure you’re well hydrated first before attempting the rock climbing, especially on a hot day. You don’t want to be hanging off a rock only to find your head spinning and heat exhaustion taking over, which was a situation I unfortunately found myself in, adding insult to injury by having a toddler pulling on my pant leg asking me to leave the playground. 

Back on the road and heading through Squamish on the way to Whistler, this highway has gone through many upgrades leading up to the 2010 Olympics, and I was amazed how quick it is to reach Whistler. The hotel for the night is the Nita lake lodge which is very different from a typical hotel you would find in the village; this luxury lodge is just 5 min away from the village nestled next to Nita Lake with beautiful views of Whistler Mountain. This resort has world-class dining, and the staff are exceptional. Morning brings on great anticipation, as today is the day we get to take the Ranger out off-roading. 

A short drive away I find the entrance to the Callaghan Valley which leads to the many forest service roads that first cut through this valley. Plenty of new growth forest throughout and some of the trails are covered in brush making it tight for a full-size truck to get through but manageable with this mid-size truck. Traversing the switchbacks, the elevation gain becomes apparent, and the views are incredible. Some steep sections with a lot of loose rock. I switched on the terrain management system and selected the gravel function. The choices are; gravel and snow, mud and ruts, or sand. Each mode alters transmission gearing, throttle response, and steering control to help navigate the terrain. This is very similar to the Ford Raptor and provides excellent traction without wheel hop or loss of control. The road had a few sections that were washed out from the melting snow. The hill decent feature allows the truck to control the braking so you can concentrate on steering and avoiding obstacles as it descends some 28-degree hills. The Ranger I was driving featured a rear differential lock that came in handy when I noticed one wheel hanging in midair.   After a long day of four wheeling it was nice to be back down and back on the pavement. The transition from off-road to the pavement is quite an effort for most vehicles and to have the ability to provide firm but agile suspension off-road, and a smooth, comfortable ride on the road was seamless in the Ford Ranger.

It looks like little brother might even have a few tricks that big brother doesn’t know about. The 2019 Ford Ranger, Ford tough certified.

Key Features

  • Models
    • XL – Starting at $30,596
    • XLT – Starting at $35,139
    • Lariat – Starting at $41,389
  • Fuel Efficiency
    • 11.8L/100km City
    • 9.8L/100km City
  • Engine
    • 2.3L EcoBoost
    • 270hp
    • 310ft/lbs. torque
  • Towing
    • maximum 1650-lb. payload
    • 7,500-lb. tow ratings
  • Optional FX4 Offroad package, with Terrain Management System and Trail Control
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Automotive Reviews Experiences Truck

2019 Ford Fusion Energi – Roadtrip

2019 Ford Fusion Energi – Roadtrip

After taking the 2019 Ford Fusion - Energi on an extended road trip around BC. Our conclusion; Ford is providing some much needed relief at the pump

The new Fusion Energi is projected to offer an electric-only range of 40 km, which is an almost 20% improvement on previous generations. Ford’s engineers have accomplished what all our bosses regularly ask of us; do more with less, in the form of a new 9.0-kilowatt-hour battery with higher energy capacity, and no change to the physical size of the cell.

With the highway robbery that happens at a gas station these days, it’s great to see manufacturers offering more fuel-efficient technologies. The week we had the new Ford Fusion Energi coincided with the unaffordable $1.60+ a litre gas prices in Metro Vancouver. So, we decided to put this car through the paces and take it on an extended road trip to put the fuel savings to the test. In our previous experiences, we have found that the PHEV, fits more closely with our lifestyle, as we often must use the vehicle beyond the capabilities provided by an all-electric car. (Unless you have access to the proper charging infrastructure) 

With the 20-degree weather, we had this spring; it was a perfect time to do an extended trip up the Fraser Canyon. Leaving the house with the sunrise, we left the valley and headed out to Hope. Here in the shadows of the mountains, we filled up the car and our stomachs to get ready for our little adventure. Driving north through the canyon is a sight that is quite amazing, with steep vertical mountain cliffs, twisting highways with dark tunnels, and lush wet green forests; you see the BC that I picture in my head.

Upon leaving the canyon, you exit the Trans-Canada and turn off on to the Cariboo highway leaving the mountains behind as the landscape slowly turns to the rolling pasture land for the cowboys. Much of this highway follows the route of the original Cariboo Wagon Road, which in the early 1800s was a critical part of BC’s gold rush history. There were many neat little historic markers dotted between the small rustic farming and logging communities. A sad thought throughout the trip was seeing the devastation caused by the recent terrible wildfire years.  There were many times where on one side of the highway was a green forest, and out the opposite window, the view was kilometers and kilometers of charred stumps with not much else.

Our first day ended in Williams Lake, which presented us with one of our most surprising insights of the trip. But to get that I should first start with, a few months ago, we were visited by some family from Saskatchewan. They loved seeing so many electric cars driving around Vancouver, but lament the fact that without the proper infrastructure, they couldn’t see many people in their community adopting to them anytime soon. When they said this, I agreed and thought that made sense, however now after this trip; I think I might disagree! Most Canadian cities provide access to power for their block heaters! When we parked at our hotel in Williams Lake, we were surprised to see each stall had a wooden post with 120v power access. Now while it won’t solve all the world’s problems at once, this does seem like something that might actually give those more electric resistant places a leg up in terms of charging infrastructure. The power required to start your cloud spewing diesel truck in the dead of winter, might also just help speed up the adoption of a greener alternative. In our situation, it provided us with a free 40kms! (one full charge of the Ford Fusion Energi).

After another day on the road and a night in Quesnel, we were on our way home. Having never driven the 99 through Lillooet, we decided to take the scenic route and turned west just before Cache Creek. Boy were we happy that we did that, Highway 99, must be one of the most beautiful drives in BC. I thought the canyon was stunning but, on the way home we were pulling over what felt like every 30 minutes to try and take in the breathtaking view. The twisting mountain pass must have also been one of the quietest, as we must have only seen a dozen vehicles as we drove through the emptiness between Lillooet and Pemberton. The only thing we regretted about the detour (and we did regret it at the time,) was after a late lunch in Whistler; we arrived in North Vancouver just in time for the horrible Friday rush hour traffic.

After all, was said and done, we had spent almost 24 hours and drove nearly 1500 km’s in the Ford Fusion. Having carefully tracked our fuel receipts, we calculated that we spent only $150 on the gas for the entire trip, stopping in 100-mile House both ways.  The onboard computer gave us a trip average of 5.7l/100km, which was pretty impressive real-world numbers.

Lineup

  • Fusion SE
    • Starting at $24,090
    • 1.5-litre EcoBoost
    • 10/7L/100km
  • Hybrid SE
    • Starting at $29,695
    • 2.0-litre 188hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder
    • 5.5/5.6L/100km
  • Hybrid SEL
    • Starting at $30,890
    • 2.0-litre 188hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder
    • 5.5/5.6L/100km
  • Energi SEL
    • Starting at $32,590
    • Electric-only range of 40 km
    • 2.3/2.2L/100km
  • Hybrid Titanium
    • Starting at $34,540
    • 2.0-litre 188hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder
    • 5.5/5.6L/100km
  • Energi Titanium
    • Starting at $35,590
    • Electric-only range of 40 km
    • 2.3/2.2L/100km

Key Features

  • Ford Co-Pilot360™ Technology
  • Standard 17” Aluminum rims, with available 18
  • Electric power-assisted steering (EPAS)
  • SiriusXM® Radio with Traffic and Travel Link®
  • SYNC® 3 with 8-in. LCD touchscreen and Apple CarPlay™/Android Auto™
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Automotive Reviews Experiences
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
Model 3 Performance - Red Front Motion

2018 Tesla Model 3 – Automotive Review

Model 3 Performance - Red Front Motion
Chris Jud

Chris Jud

2018 Tesla Model 3 – Automotive Review

More than 2 years ago, on an early morning in downtown Vancouver, my dream of owning a Tesla 3 got to a very slow start.

Waiting in the queue for more than 2 hours amongst other car enthusiasts, I could feel a certain carnival-like atmosphere. It brought me back to a similar experience I had, one where I had waited patiently at a glowing new Apple store for a chance to be among the very first to own an iPhone which was released about a decade ago in 2008. Waiting to enter the Tesla Sales Office, many smart vendors were approaching the queue to offer things like electric docking stations for faster home charging and memberships to special electric vehicle clubs. Finally, I entered the holy grail – a Tesla Sales office and was greeted by a friendly person who helped to take my reservation and a small $1000 deposit.  At this time, while all this was happening across the country, there wasn’t even a picture of the car available yet, as Elon Musk was set to reveal the car to the world a mere 10 hours later. The only possibility to jump to the front of the proverbial queue was to go to an official Tesla location and take this leap of faith.

In the end, this rather bold move enabled me to get production number 30,063 from the worldwide Tesla 3 deliveries. Having a number from this early on in production means it was probably produced during the time when Elon Musk was known for sleeping on the factory floor and would often take personal control of assembling Model 3’s. I can probably claim that our car may have even been produced by the extraordinary man himself.

During those long last few years, you may have read in the news about all the endless delays in production and even a few scary stories about potential quality issues. I regularly got a few sniggering remarks like: “your car is probably being built in a tent” or “Will you get your car this year at all?”  and “hopefully you can get your car before the company goes bust”.

That all changed when a Tesla representative based in Las Vegas, USA contacted us in early July of 2018 and announced that our car has arrived at the Tesla delivery center recently set up in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver B.C. So, on July 9th, 2018 the day had finally arrived where I could take possession after fully paying my dues of a brand new shiny red Tesla 3.  At the time of ordering our Tesla 3 was customized with a multitude of options including; an extended battery (not that I need it but it makes it go faster!), fully panoramic glass roof (which helps make the neighbors envious), 19” tires and special rims (the standard issues are dead ugly) and an improved sound system (what’s the point driving in near silence if you cannot fully appreciate the nuanced performance of Luciano Pavarotti or Lady Gaga).

One special incident at delivery must be mentioned: Each and every representative of this still young and rather unique company was very friendly and took every possible effort to make our experience a memorable event. However, when one extra chirpy employee told us: “Welcome to the family!” suddenly it felt a bit like I was joining a cult…

Now to the question which might interest you most: How is it to drive? Naturally, you would think that I’m biased, but I even took the risk of letting my friend and neighbor do a test drive and asked his wife to inspect and comment on the interior. Both results were positive, and they both mentioned how this is clearly the future of the automotive industry, and I’m pretty sure I heard them walking away muttering something about high gas prices and the possibility of self-driving.. I really like the balanced handling, rapid acceleration and the overall driving experience (in near silence). The interior with its unique single central display will take some getting used to – but like the Apple iPhone in 2008, this car represents the first taste of what’s to come.

Key Features

  • 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds (Performance Option)
  • Optional Dual Motor AWD
  • 500 km on a single charge (Long Range Option)
  • Standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Enhanced Autopilot features today, and full self-driving capabilities in the future
  • All driver controls/information on the central 15-inch touchscreen
  • Car updates over-the-air via Wi-Fi & cellular
  • Currently starting at $64,100 CND
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Automotive Reviews Experiences
2018 Ford Expedition Exterior Front

2018 Ford Expedition – Automotive Review

2018 Ford Expedition Exterior Front

2018 Ford Expedition – Automotive Review

First opportunity to drive this redesigned 2018 Ford Expedition and I decided to take the family on its own expedition.

Early Saturday morning involved motivating everybody to get up and grab their things as we make our way out the door at 6:30 am. First stop was the local gas station to top up the tank to make sure we start on a fully prepared to make it to our destination, Pemberton valley, and more precisely the beautiful Joffre lakes.

Heading over the Port Mann bridge with little to no traffic, I thought this is going to be a breeze. Hit the Ironworkers memorial bridge and then a full stop, where did all this traffic come from? Inching our way up the cut and it finally started to open up again. The Expedition was equipped with an Eco, Normal, and Sport mode settings. I put it in Eco to save on fuel, and instantly it felt like we were driving with an underpowered 4 cylinder engine. Switching back to normal was a noticeably improved driving experience. Driving through upper West Vancouver on a clear sunny day with a beautiful view of mountains on Vancouver Island, entering the Sea to Sky highway I switched to sport mode to tighten up the suspension as we head into our first curve paying close attention to the speed limit to make sure we avoid the temptation of pushing the vehicle to its limits.

It is amazing how fast people drive this highway, at the speed limit I was being passed by vehicles that are 15 years older with blue exhaust smoke pouring out of them. Anyway as we just passed through Lions Bay we come across an accident on the side of the road where two cars swapped paint as they jockeyed in for a better position. The police were there handing both of them tickets. Short delay and back to driving. The new 10-speed transmission on the Expedition is paired with a 3.5L EcoBoost engine producing 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque and the transition from full stop back to highway speed was smooth and seamless. In Sports mode, there is very little body roll for a full-size SUV. We entered Squamish in what seemed very little time, much of which was attributed to this fun to drive SUV.

A quick stop for some food and supplies and we were off again. Climbing a little higher with the breathtakingly picturesque Tantalus Mountain range to the left. Dropping down into the Cheakamus Canyon and around Daisy lake to Whistler where a different form of traffic appeared as many people were out riding their bikes on this warm spring day. Green lake comes into view; I know why they named it green lake wow is it ever green! At this point, I asked everybody how they felt the trip was going so far.. the kids were sleeping and my wife kept saying I was driving too fast.

I decided to rid myself of this annoying cabin noise and put the Expedition into cruise control where the vehicle took over with its advanced technologies including a lane assist reducing unintentional drifting of the vehicle. The adaptive cruise control utilizes radar and cameras to monitor traffic to maintain a set distance between vehicles. Collision avoidance systems help to avoid other vehicles or pedestrians, blind spot system that monitors outside the driver’s view. The cruise control was certainly put to the test with the steep mountain grade and the accelerating and deaccelerating caused by the barely roadworthy Volkswagon van we got stuck behind. As we entered the town of Pemberton and stopped for lunch at the Pony restaurant which was a great choice that my daughter made, we decided that was enough and headed back without ever making it to the final destination of our expedition.

Key Features

  • Fuel economy
    • 13.8/10.7 L/100 km
  • Seating for 7/8
  • Standard 3.5L EcoBoost
    • 400 hp and 480 lb.-ft of torque
  • Up to a maximum of 121.5 cu. ft. (3,440 litres) in the MAX model
  • Best-in-class 9,200 lb. (4173-kg) maximum towing capability

Price CND $

  • XLT   $60,149
  • Limited $73,149
  • Limited Max $76,149
  • Platinum $81,349
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Automotive Reviews Experiences
2018 Vancouver Auto Show

2018 Vancouver Auto Show

2018 Vancouver Auto Show

2018 Vancouver Auto Show

An exclusive look behind some of the premier releases of the new vehicles from the 2018 Vancouver Auto Show.  Media day was chalked full of some first look of the all new 2019 Mustang Bullitt, the 2019 BMW X4 M40, the 2018 BMW M5, the 2018 Corolla Hatchback, and the 2019 Kia Optima. We also provide a glimpse of what you may have missed from the show; giving you a first-hand look at what the Vancouver Auto Show had to offer.  

2019 Honda Passport - Cover

2019 Honda Passport – Automotive Review

Equipped with traveling appendages, I decided to put the Passport to the ultimate test. However, to really test this Passports limits, I figured I would get three friends to accompany me. Four grown size adults on a four-day road trip, let’s see how this goes.

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2019 Mazda3 - Cover

2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review

“Despite sharing the same Mazda3 model name, the two forms represent entirely different personalities”. The completely new design of these vehicles is on the border of drastic and subtle, you could almost call it perfect

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Autoshow Experiences
2017 Ford Raptor

2017 Ford Raptor in Squamish BC – Video

2017 Ford Raptor - Video

Play Video
2019 Mazda3 - Cover

2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review

“Despite sharing the same Mazda3 model name, the two forms represent entirely different personalities”. The completely new design of these vehicles is on the border of drastic and subtle, you could almost call it perfect

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Experiences Video
Experience The Outdoors

Experience the Outdoors

Experience the Outdoors

Experience The Outdoors

Camping is a great way to relieve some stress and spend time enjoying the great outdoors. You can do it by yourself or as a family. Some children complain about being taken from their video games or television programs, but the experience is one they will remember a long time.

You don’t have to be an avid outdoorsman or spend a lot of money to go camping. With proper equipment such as a good tent, warm sleeping bag, and good food you will be fine.  If it’s your first time out, pick a spot that’s not too far, maybe about an hour away. Check the internet for the best locations and pre-book your spot to avoid disappointment when you get there. Most sites have attractive locations such as a lake, ocean, or a river close by that you can plan hikes together. This will provide family activates for the day. 

A good tent can make the trip that more enjoyable. If you don’t own one then here a few things to know about them, A-frame tents are usually smaller and can sleep two or three. They have a screened door and a small screened window to keep mosquitos out. Remember to close the door after entering or exiting, or you will be sleeping with them.  Most A-framed tents come with a fly which is waterproof material to cover the outside of the tent. If you’re camping on the coast, bring a heavy duty tarp to help with the rain. Dome tents utilize flexible poles that provide a strong structure when completed and can withstand stronger winds. You can also have larger dome tents that can you can separate into rooms with hanging walls. Cabin style tents are much heavier but provide much more headroom and more space, the downside to these tents are they are heavy, so plan on driving right to your campsite, and you will be ok. I recommend shopping around to see the tent that best fits your needs remembering you need enough space for your family and gear. 

A sleeping pad or air mattress will help make a good sleeping bag feel more comfortable. Be sure to purchase one that is full length, so you are not constantly rolling off during the night. Preparing food is important to any good camping trip. Make sure you set up your stove in a level area to avoid any mishaps. If it’s your first time, then bring foods that are simple to make. A typical propane stove has two burners and a propane tank attached to the side. These are easy to clean and just as easy to pack away.  Remember to bring lots of garbage bags so you can either take it home with you or use proper facilities at your campsite. Be sure to put your food away in your car preferably to not attract unwanted animals. Clean the area before you go to give the next person the same experience you enjoyed on your camping adventure. 

2019 Honda Passport - Cover

2019 Honda Passport – Automotive Review

Equipped with traveling appendages, I decided to put the Passport to the ultimate test. However, to really test this Passports limits, I figured I would get three friends to accompany me. Four grown size adults on a four-day road trip, let’s see how this goes.

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2019 Mazda3 - Cover

2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review

“Despite sharing the same Mazda3 model name, the two forms represent entirely different personalities”. The completely new design of these vehicles is on the border of drastic and subtle, you could almost call it perfect

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Experiences
2017 Vancouver Autoshow

2017 Vancouver Autoshow – Media

2017 Vancouver Autoshow

2017 Vancouver Autoshow
2019 Honda Passport - Cover

2019 Honda Passport – Automotive Review

Equipped with traveling appendages, I decided to put the Passport to the ultimate test. However, to really test this Passports limits, I figured I would get three friends to accompany me. Four grown size adults on a four-day road trip, let’s see how this goes.

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2019 Mazda3 - Cover

2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review

“Despite sharing the same Mazda3 model name, the two forms represent entirely different personalities”. The completely new design of these vehicles is on the border of drastic and subtle, you could almost call it perfect

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Autoshow Experiences