2019 Jeep Wrangler – Review

2019 Jeep Wrangler – Review

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler has come a long way from the 1942 Willys military Jeep. Although Jeep has never forgotten its roots, it’s a long drive down the bumpy road to balance technological advancements while still retaining the Jeep look. I think Jeep has done just that very well.

Jeep is an iconic symbol that many recognize, an open air 4-wheel drive vehicle that can take its occupants on an adventure in the back country or travel down a highway in comfort.  The iconic folding windshield has been improved and features a new 4 bolt design at the top of the frame to allow it to fold down quickly. The a-pillars stay in place to allow the rearview mirror to remain.

The instrument panel features a soft touch surface and all controls are easily accessible by the driver, and the new push button start is weatherproof.  Featuring a Uconnect multimedia center that works with iPhone to activate Apple CarPlay and allowing the driver to easily access music, make calls and send/receive text all from the touch screen.

The sport model features 17” black steel wheels while the other models feature 17” aluminum rims. The only exception to that is the Unlimited Sahara that has 18” polished aluminum wheels. 8 way manual adjust driver’s seat with 2 way manual lumbar seats are the norm with some models featuring premium cloth material. Standard 8 speaker audio system om most with an optional Alpine premium audio system on the Sport S, Rubicon, Unlimited Sport S and Unlimited Sahara.

With 6 models and 3 engine choices, Jeep has something for everybody.

Safety

Advanced multistage front and supplemental seat mounted side airbags. Electronic stability control with hill start assist, roll mitigation, traction control and trailer sway control are some of the great safety features of this vehicle.  

Fuel Economy

10.5L/100 km  9.4L/100 km City/Highway

Engine

3 engine choices. A 2.0L I-4 DOHC Direct-Injection Turbocharged engine with eTorque technology, 270 horse power and 295 lb ft of torque mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. 3.6L PentastarTM VVT V6 with Engine Stop/Start technology delivering 285 horsepower and 260 lb ft of torque coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission. 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 with ESS Technology and 8-speed automatic transmission.

The Drive

On road driving was comfortable and everything easily within reach, I found the seats a bit tight on the sides but that wasn’t a big issue. Throttle response was quick and made passing on the highway a breeze. I decided the head to a logging road in the valley to test out the suspension. Small potholes were easily swallowed up by the shocks and suspension but some of the bigger rocks forced the springs into the bump stops. A quick speed adjustment improved that situation.  I came across a branch road that had not been used for a while and according to the map it leads to a bridge across the river. A quick shift into low range and a bit of rock crawling, the bridge came into view, or what was left of a bridge. Completely overgrown with trees and many winters have eaten away at the cedar logs. I stayed for a while gazing into the creek to see if I could spot a fish. It wasn’t too long when the sun ducked behind the peek and a dark shadow was cased over the valley, so I climbed back in to the Jeep and back down to the main road. Although my trip wasn’t epic it was a good day. That is the thing about Jeeps; you can have an adventure whenever you want. If you don’t get it that’s ok, it’s a Jeep thing!

80 percent of the earth is covered by water, Jeep covers the rest

Warranty

  • 3 year – 60,000km basic
  • 5 year – 100,000km powertrain limited
  • 24 hr- roadside assistance

Price (CAD)

  • Sport $33,695
  • Sport S $37,645
  • Rubicon $46,095
  • Unlimited Sport S $ 41,495
  • Unlimited Sahara $45,495
  • Unlimited Rubicon $48,495
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Automotive Reviews

2019 Mazda CX-5 – Automotive Review

2019 Mazda CX-5 – Automotive Review

"From a simple commute to an epic road trip, experiences are formed, and memories are made. Mazda vehicles are more than a mode of transportation"

Granted the opportunity to test the Mazda CX-5 for an extended period, I felt it was the perfect time to put the constant praise to the test. Having now experienced the CX-5 for over 1000 km’s and almost a month of driving in different conditions, I can say that this compact crossover lives up to the hype.

As one of Mazda’s best-selling vehicle, with over 2 million units sold worldwide this vehicle is widely acclaimed including being one of the top 3 finalists for World Car of the Year. Having driven it thoroughly now, I can see why. Mazda had built a car that works, from the highway to city, snow to sand, the CX-5 drives with excitement and style. The high-quality materials mixed with the latest in technology and safety, leaves few things that one could say are missing.

Highlights

  • Great drive, full of the latest conveniences, fuel efficient, all around great value

Lowlights

  • Coffee cup was right near my sleeve! When loaded up with a large baby car seat and a bulky stroller didn’t leave much room for anything else

What’s New

Most significant change in the 2019 CX-5, is the new Signature level trim which features a turbocharged 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine, and all the premium technology and materials that enhance the driving experience. Also noted that the G-Vectoring drive system, Apple CarPlay™, and Android Auto™ infotainment is now standard on all trim lines.

Comparison

  • Toyota RAV4 Starting From $27,990
  • Honda CR-V Starting From $27,490
  • Ford Escape Starting From $25,899

Options

  • Mazda CX-5 GX FWD – $27,850 AWD – $29,850
  • Mazda CX-5 GS FWD – $30,750 AWD – $32,750
  • Mazda CX-5 GT AWD – $37,450
  • Mazda CX-5 GT Turbo AWD – $39,450
  • Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD – $40,950

Driving

The CX-5 fully loaded with all the bells and whistles, was a pleasure in every environment; and we mean every environment. We took the CX-5 to the ocean, up mountains, through desert, and snow… from our daily commute to an extended road trip, this vehicle surely delivers. With Mazda’s six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission, mated to the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T, (which is also found in the CX-9 and the Mazda6), produces 310lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 RPM and up to 250hp.  Currently, Mazda is the only automaker to offer cylinder-deactivation on a 4-cylinder engine, which further improves its efficiency at low cruising speeds. Finally, the G-Vectoring Control Plus helps work in the background to change variables to ensure a smoother ride for everyone on board.

Styling

The new Signature trim takes an already refined CX-5 and intensifies the sophistication even further. With the use of materials like Napa leather and genuine wood, you feel like you could be in an SUV that is easily twice the sticker price. With the available 19-inch alloy wheels, and a wide front grill with large badging the Mazda CX-5 not only can get you anywhere, but it does also so dressed for all occasions.

Tech and Safety

With the package of safety features found in the Mazda i-Activsense technology, the CX-5 helps provide confidence, and assistance to the driver while they are operating the vehicle. The technology like voice command, a vibrating steering wheel when leaving your lane, and a Heads up Display with your speed and the posted speed limit shown on the road ahead of you, helping to minimize distracted driving by providing clear alerts and information to the driver to ensure a safer trip. Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, and the ten speaker BOSE surround sound system helps to provide all the entertainment needed on any journey you are headed.

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Automotive Reviews

2018 Jaguar E-Pace – Automotive Review

2018 Jaguar E-Pace – Automotive Review

With coupe-like lines, wide low stance, with wheels ranging from 17” to 21, subtle F-Type features, the E-Pace immediately looks the part of a Jaguar SUV.

The E-Pace is Jaguars very first compact SUV. They’ve been making quite the name for themselves in the luxury SUV market with the incredibly desirable F-Pace, but will the E-Pace be able to join its ranks? With the single available engine offering, with two different power figures, the E-Pace already puts itself ahead of the competition. 

Sitting on the Evoque and Discovery chassis, the E-Pace’s shell embodies an F-Type inspired design, and I love it. The headlights and taillights are straight from the F-Types blueprints, and the front end is delicately aggressive with its mesh grill accents. Above the rear wheel arches sit body lines that resemble shoulders for a beautiful widebody look. The E-Pace struts more of a boxy look than the F-Pace does with its shorter wheelbase, making visibility a tad bit more driver friendly. The rear hatch window still sits at a wild angle which makes looking for on-comers a little tricky at times. Jaguar had always made the right choice when it came to wheel design and size, making sure the rims didn’t look too cartoonish while still filling the wheel wells perfectly.

The interior is snug but not crowded. It gives you a nice sporty feel with practical and straightforward media controls. Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro infotainment system is on duty in the E-Pace, with a 10” touchscreen featuring tiles that include a touch of whimsy: The tile to connect your phone bears an image of the iconic red telephone booths that were once scattered on the British landscape. WiFi hotspot is available in the S trim level and up. The front seats are comfortable, and the rear seats offer acceptable legroom, with their lower cushions providing good under-thigh support. With better but still only okay visibility, the crystal-clear parking cameras and 360-degree sensors come in handy. There is an optional panoramic glass roof that lets a significant amount of light in, but it doesn’t open, meaning Jaguar does not offer a sunroof for the E-Pace which is odd. Ambient lighting puts you in the mood for a nice calm drive, and the color options for the leather seats are eye-catching.

The E-Pace offers single available engine offering, with two different power figures. It comes with a 2.0 litre in-line four AWD engine that produces 246hp and the R-Dynamic models are tuned to fire out 296hp and do the 0-60 stint in 5.9 seconds (versus 6.4 seconds for the X2 and 6.5 for the XC40) and features a more advanced AWD system that will power all 4 wheels only when needed. To add the cherry on top, its all connected to a 9-speed ZF transmission that gives you the acceleration at any time in the perfect gear and cruises at highway speeds at low revs. The engine has a great growl at wide-open throttle, and it revs eagerly to it’s red-line. All models come with the auto-start/stop feature. The E-Pace offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sports setting, which provides maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. EPA estimates 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the E-Pace P250, similar figures for the R-Dynamic.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the E-Pace offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. For a few extra bucks you can opt for the Park Assist that’ll take the lead on attempting the treacherous parallel park. Forward collision warning and lane-keep assist come standard in the E-Pace. Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes GLA, Volvo XC40 are in the same class, have similar safety features, comparable price tags, competitive power figures, and are all good contenders for your ownership. The midrange P250 SE trim starts at $45,295, and the R-Dynamic reviewed above came with a hefty dollop of options that lifted the final tab beyond $54,000. So, if you’ve got the wallet, a test drive wouldn’t hurt.

Key Features:

  • P250 – 2.0L i4 246 HP TURBOCHARGED GAS AWD
    • Starting at MSRP $49,500 CND 
    • 0-100km/hr 7 sec.
    • Combined Fuel Efficiency of 9.8L/100km
    • 246 HP @ 5,500 RPM
    • 269 ft-lbs torque @ 1,200 – 4,500 RPM
  • R-Dynamic P300 – 2.0L i4 296 HP TURBOCHARGED GAS AWD
    • Starting at MSRP $55,200 CND
    • 0-100km/hr 6.4 sec.
    • Combined Fuel Efficiency of 10.1L/100km
    • 296 HP @ 5,500 RPM
    • 295 ft-lbs torque @ 1,200 – 4,500 RPM
  • Curb Weight 1832 Kg.
  • Trunk Volume 577 L.
  • Seats 5
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Dodge Durango SRT – Automotive Review

2018 Dodge Durango SRT – Automotive Review

The all-new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is one mean, stuff moving machine. The SRT Durango is the fastest, most powerful three-row SUV. Using Dodge’s tested and proven HEMI V-8 provides this SUV with 475 hp and best-in-class towing capability of 8,700 pounds.

This is one beautiful SUV, where everything is functional and highly refined. With the wide rectangular front grill and LED headlamps, and the full-width tail lamp, the classic Dodge Detroit muscle car styling can be found everywhere on the Durango. The SRT takes this styling even further with large 15” red Brembo performance brakes, 20” gloss black rims on Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde’s, and a widebody exterior with a hood featuring a functional cold-air duct and heat extractors.

“This is what you get when you take everything great about the Durango and combine it with the performance of the Charger SRT: a 12-second quarter mile, 8,700-pound-toy hauling, three-row muscle car.”

-Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT – FCA N.A.

The SRT badge is positioned as the ultimate in performance of the Dodge brand, and the SRT Durango lives up to the expectations. Featuring the time-tested and well received, 6.4L 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8, delivering in this situation 475 horsepower with 470 lb.-ft. of torque and an impressive NHRA certified 4.4-second 0-60 mph time. Possible when combined with technology like the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, and track Mode providing 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience. Even the exhaust is tuned to offer an unmistakably deep, high-performance Dodge SRT exhaust note modeled after the Dodge Charger SRT. While to make things more rational there is the Fuel Saver Technology with cylinder-deactivation seamlessly alternates between smooth, high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode and the track inspired V-8 when demanded.

The impressive styling and quality are continued on throughout the interior, with Durango SRT featuring heated and ventilated second-row captain’s chairs for six-passenger seating. Large families will find the captain’s chairs with pass through especially helpful as multiple car seats can be latched into each of the second-row seats, and there’s still easy pass-through for passengers to access the third row. Keeping the minions entertained and quiet is easy with the class-exclusive Blu-ray video rear entertainment system. On the back of front headrest is an HD 9” screen. With the provided inputs for HDMI or RCA, passengers can watch their media or play their gaming systems independently on each screen. Parents will be extra thankful of the included wireless headphones and remote. The specific SRT styling can be found in the interior via the carbon fiber trim, the flat-bottom performance steering wheel with paddle shifters, premium SRT embroidered velour-bound floor mats, and suede-wrapped headliner and A-pillars.

Of course, while the Durango is styled like a muscle car this machine still has all the safety and tech that consumers require these days for peace of mind while transporting their families around safely and conveniently. With things like lane departure, parking assist, and stability control you know that there is support and systems in place that will help you while you undertake the critical role of a taxi driver for your passengers. In total there are over 60 available safety and security features that combined with Dodge’s 3 and 5-year warranty and 24hr roadside assistant will provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.

Key Features:

  • Dodge Durango SRT starting at $68,845 CND
  • 6.4L 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8
    • 475 horsepower with 470 lb.-ft. of torque
    • 12.2L/100Km Hwy, 18.3L/100Km City, 15.6L/100Km Combined
  • 7-inch full-colour customizable in-cluster display centre
  • 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect® 4C NAV multimedia centre
    • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • 506 Watt Beats audio system
  • 3 Year / 60,000km Basic Warranty
  • 5 Year / 100,000km Powertrain Limited Warranty
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – Automotive Review

2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – Automotive Review

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is ready to excite.

Looks:

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is here, a bold design and one that many people are happy to see. The Toyota RAV4 is  one of those vehicles that people see on the roads every day, and it just starts to blend into the background. Over the past two years the RAV4 has kept the competition at bay with it’s updated version. This RAV4 is quite exciting, sleek body lines, lower and a little wider making this more aerodynamic. Swept back headlights and a more aggressive front end are just some of the changes made a few years ago. The rear lift-gate features a one touch operation that has selectable memory height settings, perfect for my family were my wife had it set so low I could barely get my arm in and I had it set so she would need a step ladder to close it.

There are five models to choose from FWD LE, FWD XLE, AWD LE, and AWD Limited, giving a little something for everybody.

In The Cab:

Ample use of soft touch materials can be found throughout the interior. Comfortable front seats and rear seats that take  into consideration the comfort of your passengers. 60/40 split fold down with reclining seat backs that are just as comfortable as the front seats and lots of leg room too. The driver’s seat on the LE models features a 6-way manual adjustment while the Limited model receives an 8 way power adjustable. The cargo area has a capacity of 1.09m and 2.08m with the rear seats folded down.

Safety first:

Many safety items are standard in this RAV4. Dual stage driver and passenger airbags, driver knee airbags, front seat mounted side airbags, roll sensing front and rear head/ side curtain airbag. Star safety system which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, and smart stop technology. There are also lane departure alert, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert available as an option, which I think should be standard on all new models.

Roadworthy:

I am really impressed with how quiet and comfortable the interior is. You can hold a conversation with your children in the back without have to yell over the road noise. I found the 4-cylinder engine to be smooth and responsive.

Verdict:

Improving upon a vehicle that has a proven track record, while keeping up with the latest technologies one reason Toyota continues to be so popular today.

Power:

A 2.5 Litre, Hybrid Synergy drive (HSD), 2.5 Litre, 4 cylinder gas engine with 176 horsepower and 172 lb ft of torque mated to a 6 speed automatic electronically controlled transmission with sequential shift mode.

Pump Frequency:

  • 8.7/6.4 L/100 km (city/highway)  FWD LE, XLE
  • 9.1/6.8 L/100 km (city/highway)  AWD LE, XLE
  • 9.3/6.8 L/100 km (city/highway)  AWD Limited
  • 6.9/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway)  Hybrid

Warranty Support:

  • Basic 36 months/ 60,000 km
  • Powertrain 60 months/ 100,000 km
  • Hybrid batteries are covered for 8 years/160,000 km
  • Hybrid-related components/ 160,000 km
  • Corrosion peroration Unlimited km

Sticker Price:

  • Hybrid Limited
    • $42,145 as tested
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Mazda CX-9 – Automotive Review

2018 Mazda CX-9 – Automotive Review

The 2018 Mazda CX-9, proving that being altruistic doesn’t mean you can’t also take care of yourself. As the pilot that everyone is depending on to get them to their destination, the CX-9 shows us that you don’t have to give up your driving passion when buying a large SUV.

Voted the best large utility vehicle in Canada for 2018 by AJAC and as a top IHSS safety pick, the Mazda CX-9 is full of premium design, craftsmanship, and materials all for an affordable price. Every effort was made to make driving less distracting and more relaxing, in this three-row 7-passenger crossover SUV.

Design

The impressive KODO design is very prominent and unique, with a sleekness and agility combined with a deep muscular stance. The attention to the smallest details is found throughout the vehicle with handcrafted materials such as Nappa leather-trimmed seats, and genuine aluminum and Rosewood trim. I mean even the paint is revolutionary! They specifically designed a new “Soul Red” which is able to deliver an enhanced level of vividness and depth. Mazda’s TAKUMI-NURI robotic painting technology aims to create the most innovative mass production painting process using a semi-transparent paint layer coated on to a reflecting layer comprised of regularly arrayed aluminum flakes, finished with a clear layer that emphasizes translucence.

Drivability

The innovation continues throughout the driving experience, starting with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T 4-cylinder with Dynamic Pressure Turbo.  The Dynamic Pressure Turbo provides a higher level of power at lower levels of rpm with no noticeable turbo lag. A class-leading 310 lbs-ft of torque at a minimal 2,000 rpm gives you immediate power exactly when you ask for it. The Mazda CX-9 also is equipped with SKYACTIV Vehicle Dynamics, which was the winner of the AJAC award for Best New Innovation Technology for 2017. This technology works behind the scenes to provide a smoother, less tiring drive for both you and your passengers. The i-ACTIVE AWD monitors 27 sensors 200 times per second, so everything from steering angle, windshield wiper use, exterior temperature, and braking patterns is considered to perfectly deliver the right amount of traction right to when and where you need it. At 200 times per second, the CX-9 can start to lose traction, use the electromagnetic clutch to shift power from front to rear tires, and regain traction all before your brain could even compute the minor changes in road conditions. Also, ensuring optimal distribution of torque, minimizing drivetrain energy loss, allowing you to only be using fuel to power AWD when required, providing an exceptional combined fuel economy of 9.6L/100 km. As for the size and available room in the CX-9, the 3 rows of seating provided enough room for us to drive 6 full grown adults out to dinner on a few occasions while testing. Although the people in the back rows might not be the most comfortable if they are over 6ft and have to sit back there for an extended period of time. For use as a family vehicle, you could easily take the kids and all their toys out for an extended road trip without any worries.

Safety and Warranty

Mazda offers plenty of standard and available passive/active safety features to help keep you and your passengers/family safe. Using all the latest innovations such as cameras and radar sensors gives your CX-9 an awareness of what is happening in the world around it. The i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies support safe driving habits by helping the driver recognize potential hazards, as well as provide pre-crash systems which help attempt to avert collisions or reduce their severity in situations where they cannot be avoided. Now while these systems are not a replacement for safe and attentive driving, like the backup camera or heads-up display, they provide an extension of your natural abilities and reactions. Mazda provides Canada’s only unlimited mileage warranty program. It features unlimited mileage on the 3-year New Vehicle, 3-year Roadside Assistance, 5-year Powertrain, and 7-year Anti-Perforation warranties. Allowing you to drive the vehicle as you intend, not having to worry about how far or long you are driving.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $36,400 CND
  • Seating 7
  • Towing capacity 1,588Kg. (3,500 lbs.)
  • Cargo volume
    • Behind front seats 2017 L
    • Behind middle seats 1082 L
    • Behind rear seats 407 L
  • Headroom
    • Front – 998mm
    • 2nd Row – 978mm
    • 3rd Row – 899mm
  • Legroom
    • Front – 1041mm
    • 2nd Row – 1001mm
    • 3rd Row – 754mm
  • Fuel Economy
    • 6 L/100 Km Hwy.
    • 4 L/100 Km City
    • 9.6L/100 Km combined
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Range Rover Sport SVR – Automotive Review

2018 Range Rover Sport SVR – Automotive Review

The Range Rover Sport SVR, a thoroughbred English racehorse SUV, that is good enough for the royal family.

It’s no wonder we see so many luxury car manufactures releasing super high-performance SUV’s. I mean what’s not to love? Besides the fact that the whole idea seems to run counter to everything we know about sports cars. Take a look at the styling of almost every supercar.. Low to the ground, aerodynamic, lightweight, minimal features and creature comforts. However “we have the technology!” with the blank cheques from companies like Range Rover, engineers all over the world have been working around the clock to develop superpowered, ultra luxury SUV’s like the Range Rover Sport SVR

The iconic English brand has a long history of luxury and sophistication, for example, Queen Elizabeth II’s herself is a big fan, having a relationship with Land Rover that extends back to 1948, when her father King George VI was presented with the 100th production vehicle. The Range Rover Sport SVR stands proudly on that history as the highest refinement of production Land Rover technology. The SUV is built in the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) state-of-the-art facility – (the Jaguar Land Rover Center of Excellence), which is located near Coventry, England about an hour and a half drive north of London.

“SVO is about pushing boundaries and making vehicles that stand out. These are not just great-looking vehicles. We make outstanding vehicles. Vehicles with real substance and real integrity”

- John Edwards Managing Director of SVO

The SVR is the most expensive production Range Rover available.  With an incredible 575 HP V8 supercharged engine, capable of sending the SUV racing down the road from 0-100km/hr. in 4.5 seconds, making it also the fastest Range Rover created.

Having that much power in an SUV might seem absurd, but when you mate it to an ultra-luxury SUV with all the latest features, technology and comforts you really get the best of everything that the industry has to offer. I mean sure you won’t be able to beat that similarly powered 575hp Jaguar F-Type SVR coupe on a racetrack but believe me… going 0-100 in under 5 seconds is way more than enough for 99.9% of the driving this vehicle will ever do. Plus, with the switchable Active Sports Exhaust, featuring a two-stage active exhaust system letting you set the V8 exhaust notes truly free, allowing you can roll up to any situation as if you were driving a Formula One Racecar

The features of the Range Rover Sport SVR are designed to be either in your face or so refined that you barely even notice them heightening the entire experience. Examples of this refinement can be found in things like the Automatic Access height, which lowers the vehicle slightly helping you to get in and out of the vehicle when parked. As well as the almost $5000 Meridian Signature Sound System, with 28 speakers and 1700 watts. The system tailors the sound experience to the precise acoustics of your Range Rover’s interior and with the Trifield 3D Technology the cabin space is expanded to a 3D audio experience. For a more public display of affluence, available features like the $10,000 carbon fiber exterior package complete with carbon fiber trim and hood, matched with the $10,000 Special SVR paints including chroma and pearl will make you easily stand out from the rest of us plebs.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $133,000 CND
  • V8 Supercharged Engine with 575hp and 700 lb-ft torque
  • Maximum speed 283 km/h
  • Acceleration 4.5 (secs) 0-100km/h
  • Fuel tank capacity – usable 104 liters
  • Cargo space volume Rear Seat Upright 780 liters
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Automotive Reviews
2018 INFINITI QX80

2018 Infiniti QX80 – Automotive Review

2018 INFINITI QX80

2018 Infiniti QX80 – Automotive Review

Introducing the Infiniti QX80, Proving what’s old is still good and what’s new may not be as shiny as one thinks. Going back in time to the first generation QX56 (JA60 here) was the start of a respectable full-size luxury SUV, with a similar 5.6L power plant but with a miserable fuel economy rating of 20L/100 km. The styling was appropriate for the time, but it lacked some of the refinement you would expect from today’s high-end SUVs. In 2011 the QX56 was introduced at the New York International Auto show with an all-new design. No longer sharing the platform with the Nissan Armada, it now was a luxurious version of the Nissan Patrol that had not been sold in North America since 1969. With a few minor tweaks and adjustments, we arrive at new 2018 Infiniti QX80, the next level of refinement for first-class travel. 

Interior

Semi-aniline leather seating with 10-way power driver’s seat and 8-way power front passenger’s seat with dual occupant memory system for outside mirrors, steering wheel, and seat positions linked to individual intelligent keys. Three rows of seating and up to 8 passengers can fit in the spacious SUV. Bose cabin surround system with digital 5.1 and 15 speakers with a Bose Centerpoint 2 signal processor. In-dash CD/DVD player, Sirius XM satellite radio, streaming audio via Bluetooth, USB jack, USB 2, 4 charging ports, rear entertainment system with dual 8-inch screens.

Power

5.6 L V8 engine delivers 400 hp and 413 ft-lbs. of torque mated with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Double overhead camshaft (DOHC), 4 valves per cylinder with micro-finished camshafts, direct injection, variable valve event and lift (VVEL) and continuous variable valve timing control system that optimizes opening of intake and exhaust valves.

Safety

Driver and passenger dual stage airbags, side curtain airbags for the first, second, and third row. Front & rear proximity sensors, backup collision intervention, forward collision intervention, blind spot warning and lane departure warning. Around view monitor system with moving object detection.

Warranty

  • 4 year 100,000 km complete vehicle warranty
  • 4-year roadside assistance
  • 6 year 100,000 km powertrain warranty
  • 7-year unlimited km corrosion perforation warranty

Last Words

Driving the Infiniti QX80 for a week you can appreciate the level of comfort this SUV brings. You drive much more relaxed and stress-free. The cabin is remarkably quiet, very little road noise. There was slightly more body roll than I expected but this is normal with large SUV’s tending to feel this way. A little stiffer suspension would probably cure it but would also sacrifice the smooth ride. Overall, I enjoyed this vehicle and at the tested value of $88,295 I should hope so.

Key Features

  • Starting at $77,350 CND
  • 400-hp & 413 ft-lbs. of torque – 5.6-litre V8
    • Fuel economy of 17.4L/100 km city 12.2L/100 km highway
    • Max towing capacity of 8500 lbs.
  • Rear Entertainment System with Dual 8-inch Color Screens
  • Interior cargo volume of 470.0 litres with 3rd row seats up
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Automotive Reviews

2019 Acura RDX – Automotive Review

2019 Acura RDX – Automotive Review

This BC day long weekend, the wife and I decided to go explore our backyard and really enjoy what was left of our summer. With an invitation to visit a relative’s slice of paradise out on Vancouver Island, and the keys to the all-new 2019 Acura RDX we had it all figured out.

I mean what’s not to love about our beautiful Canadian summers. I’ve always believed that we get so excited about summertime because it is such a fleeting event. Like the feeling of you get from a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day, it is only momentary, so you savor every second.

Lucky for us the newly redesigned 2019 Acura RDX, I was testing was more than capable of delivering us in style to our destination. This is the third generation of the RDX and it really showcases the direction Acura is going. With a low wide aggressive stance and long sculpted lines, this SUV really caught our eye, and we loved the new styling. The look was accentuated in the exclusive new A-spec with a different front and rear fascia, dual oval exhaust tips, sharp 20” shark grey rims, and a diamond pentagon grille that is massive and just really in your face.

Our adventure started well before we actually left, as everyone knows the amount of stuff truly required to leave the comforts of home behind. I mean if I plan on sitting lakeside for hours on end in the sweltering heat, there better be some icey cold ones to keep me alive. However, with the Acura RDX’s class-leading 2,178 litres of carrying space and a full 881 litres of just cargo capacity, with handy underfloor storage, we fit everything we needed and way more comfortably in the backseats.

So, after a week of planning, preparing and packing we were set to go. We decided to try and beat the long weekend rush so Thursday night we took off towards the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Not leaving anything to chance we arrived well before our reserved sailing time and was surprised to see how many other people had the same idea. Thankfully our 2019 Acura RDX came loaded with the ELS Studio® 3D premium audio system, and those 710 watts kept us bouncing around, probably to the annoyance of everyone else around us. Yet having to use the all-new True Touchpad Interface (TTI), wasn’t something I was a fan of it right away, it took some getting used to and the 10.2-inch HD display was surprisingly missing touch capabilities. But after an hour or so of waiting, we started to board the ferry, it was one of those massive new ones and it looked like the whole parking lot, with even the horde of latecomers was going to get to go for a ride. We parked and rushed towards the top deck, there’s just something about watching the city get swallowed up by the horizon and seeing the surrounding blue ocean and the majestic coastal mountains take over your view. While I have never personally experienced it, I assume it must be a similar view provided by those cruise ships that people take up the coast to Alaska and back.

In what seemed like no time at all we were docking in the city of Nanaimo and with another hour or so of driving to go we were quick to get the RDX back on the road. Leaving the ocean behind we jumped on Highway 19 and really let this SUV loose. The new RDX was a real pleasure to drive, with its finely tuned turbo VTEC® engine producing 272hp and 280 lb.-ft of torque (peak torque at a surprisingly low 1600rpm) mated with a smooth shift 10-speed automatic transmission. Even more useful on the windy up and down driving on our coastal mountain highways was the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD.) The onboard computer continuously directs engine power to match weight distribution, available traction, and other road conditions. It can determine the optimal level of power distribution between not only front and back but even between the rear wheels themselves. Changing power distribution based on an analysis of wheel speed, steering angle, lateral G-force gives the RDX the feel of high-performance cornering typically only felt in a high-end sports car.

Just slightly after dark, we finally arrived at our destination, and thanks to the 2019 Acura RDX the travel was almost as enjoyable as the vacation. Well not really because while the newly redesigned RDX was impressive on so many levels, nothing can compare to spending the weekend away, unplugged from the world with no cares or work to do. That’s exactly what we did, soaked up every ray, listened to every story, and savored every moment.

Key Features

  • The RDX redesign features a new, Acura-exclusive platform
  • Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)
  • VTEC Turbo®, direct-injected, inline 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter
  • 272 horsepower @ 6,500 and 280 lb.-ft. of torque (both SAE net),
    • the highest power output among key competitors (X3, Q5, GLC, XC60)
  • Acura True Touchpad Interface with 10.2-inch full-HD display
  • Acura/ELS Studio 3D™ premium audio system
    • 710-watt system utilizes 16 discrete sound channels and 16 speakers
  • Cargo Volume 31.1 cu. ft.
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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class – Automotive Review

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class – Automotive Review

The Mercedes G-Class is the latest victim of the “redesigning” phase Benz is going through. Something that hasn’t been done in over 4 decades. The exterior still screams a “demanding box on wheels” with a just a few minor touch-ups and a few added inches to the stance. The changes made to the exterior are so subtle, they aren’t noticeable to the casual fan unless they are placed side-by-side. The interior, on the other hand, has been completely overhauled and upgraded, and it is a sight to see. If you liked the last box on wheels, you’re going to be happy about this one. The G-Class stays true to its heritage but adds a slew of technology making this luxury SUV more capable than ever.

The G-Class interior has gone through an aggressive, but a much-needed update. More space, more tech, sleek design, all while keeping a few imperative features that have survived previous tweaks. Talking about the grab handle in front of the passenger and the side-hinged barn door with the full-size spare fitted at the rear. The pop-up screen has been replaced with a 12.3” infotainment system (will not come with MBUX interface, yet) that has been molded into the dash. The steering wheel has been swapped for a much more modern looking one with more appealing controls. Mercedes updated the air vents with the classic-style vents that were once used in the older models while removing the out-dated climate control dials and oversized buttons; although the toggle switches for the locking differentials remain a staple design. The shifter has been replaced with what looks to be a touch style writing pad, while the new gear selector sits below it. The cabin has loads of space, which means you will finally be able to fit average sized adults in the back seats now. The driver and passenger receive more shoulder and elbow space, and the backseat passengers are gifted an extra 6 inches of leg room. The driver seat will come with air-filled side bolsters that will adjust according to the driving styles. The G-Class’ interior will (finally) be on-par with the E-Class and S-Class vehicles.

Under the aluminum hood will sit a 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 that will pump out 416hp and 450 ft-lbs of torque and will deliver a reasonable 21mpg. Coupled with the V8 will be a 9-speed transmission, and all together we will get a 0-62mph time of around 5.5 seconds. The AMG version will crank out 577hp and jump to 60 in 4.4 secs. Thanks to the aluminum fenders and doors, the G-Wagen sits 375lbs lighter, meaning exiting and entering doesn’t involve a loud “guh-gunk” anymore. There will be 10.6 inches of air between the G-Wagen and the dirt it drives on, and an independent front suspension which will make it even more capable off-road than before. With the rack and pinion steering set-up, it will make the steering feel very light and will be a breeze to drive around town.

If you are wondering why the G-Class went through a redesign, it is because the Range Rover was becoming more popular with buyers. The out-dated style and tech in the G-class were far behind what Land Rover was able to offer. The Lexus LX570, Lincoln Navigator, and Toyota Land Cruiser are part of the conversation when it comes to size and practicality, but include luxury and the G-Class stands alone. The 2019 G-class has gone through a redesign and has come out the other side better in every way. The exterior tweaks were minimal but effective. The interior overhaul was drastic but vital. Something not many car manufacturers are able to accomplish. The G-class is for making a statement, but throw a bit of practicality and legroom into the mix, and you might be able to justify spending the $130,000 for the G550. Keyword being might…

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