Buying used: 2011 Mustang convertible offers top-down fun

Once the top is down, you understand. As well as improving all-round visibility, it gives this car a whole new dimension in driveability

Buying used: 2011 Mustang convertible offers top-down funWhen Ford introduced its Mustang convertible in 1964, it was powered by an optional 260-cubic-inch (4.3-litre) cast-iron V8 engine that developed just over 160 horsepower. It was later bumped up to 289 cubic inches and more, and Ford went on to sell over a million of the first-generation Mustang in its first year of production.…

Lexus RX 450h offers comfort in a hybrid package

The RX 450 is roomy, cheap to run and very comfortable. For most folks in this market, that’s more than enough

Lexus RX 450h offers comfort in a hybrid packageAlthough hybrid vehicles have been around for decades (Ferdinand Porsche developed a gas/electric vehicle in 1899), Toyota/Lexus really got the ball rolling when they introduced the Prius in 1997. The Prius has been phenomenally successful, selling over a million units worldwide, and remains the benchmark by which all other hybrids are judged. So successful has…

Buying used: 2011 Infiniti M sedans have plenty of jump

What set this breed of Infiniti apart were the things that pampered the driver and occupants

Buying used: 2011 Infiniti M sedans have plenty of jumpRestyled and re-engineered for 2011, Infiniti’s M sedan was offered as an M37 or M56, and was available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. There were two engine choices: a 3.7-litre V6 and 5.6-litre V8. The latter power plant belted out a hefty 420 horsepower, which was up 95 horsepower from the previous model and…

Buying used: 2011 Infiniti M sedans have plenty of jump

What set this breed of Infiniti apart were the things that pampered the driver and occupants

Buying used: 2011 Infiniti M sedans have plenty of jumpRestyled and re-engineered for 2011, Infiniti’s M sedan was offered as an M37 or M56, and was available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. There were two engine choices: a 3.7-litre V6 and 5.6-litre V8. The latter power plant belted out a hefty 420 horsepower, which was up 95 horsepower from the previous model and…

Toyota Sienna proves the minivan still worth a look

The SUV may have eclipsed the minivan in popularity but, most of the time, they do the same thing

Toyota Sienna proves the minivan still worth a lookWhile SUVs of all shapes and sizes have exploded in popularity, the equally usable minivan has quietly languished. General Motors and Ford don’t make minivans anymore, and while some other manufacturers have taken up the slack, they don’t sell in huge numbers. That’s kind of a shame because, for most applications, a minivan can do…

Buying used: Golf GTI offers exceptional handling

Few competitors could keep up when things got interesting and the GTI was more than enough for most drivers

Buying used: Golf GTI offers exceptional handlingEssentially unchanged from 2010 to 2011, this generation of the Volkswagen Golf GTI actually debuted in the fall of 2006. Power was ably provided by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that developed 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque. Premium gas was required. Transmission choices were either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with…

News and notes from the auto industry

A new Outlander, Nissan honoured for safety features, Kia offers a new ‘life utility vehicle,’ Ford‘s new Bronco goes modular

News and notes from the auto industryWith spring just around the corner, automotive updates, news releases and new vehicle launches are coming thick and fast. Here are a few that have come my way: Mitsubishi has just released its 2022 Outlander. Here’s how the manufacturer describes it: “Based on the product concept ‘I-Fu-Do-Do,’ which means authentic and majestic in Japanese, the…

Buying used: six-cylinder 2011 Chevrolet Equinox a better bet

Consumer Reports gave the V6 version an average used car prediction, while the four-cylinder models are worse than average

Buying used: six-cylinder 2011 Chevrolet Equinox a better betThe Chevrolet Equinox was the first model out of the gate after General Motors’ corporate shuffle in 2009. Made in Ingersoll, Ont., it replaced the Suzuki-built Tracker and was essentially a carryover for GM in 2011. It could be had with two engine choices: GM’s ubiquitous 2.4-litre Ecotec four-cylinder or a 3.0-litre V6. A six-speed…

Mazda CX-30 Turbo has plenty of punch

Mazda has added another compact SUV to its stable

Mazda CX-30 Turbo has plenty of punchSometimes it seems like every other vehicle on the road is a Mazda. Specifically, one of the CX models: 3, 5 or 9. These are very popular SUVs and I’ve driven most of them at one time or another. The CX-5 is the sixth most popular compact SUV sold in Canada, behind perennial leaders Toyota…

Buying used: 2011 Ford Explorer a people mover with frills

This Explorer was aimed more at soccer moms than off-road rock-hoppers, and was still the quintessential suburban grocery-getter

Buying used: 2011 Ford Explorer a people mover with frillsDebuting in mid-2010, the 2011 Ford Explorer signalled a new direction for Ford’s most popular SUV. From here on in, fuel economy would trump performance. Power was delivered by either a Triton V6 that displaced 3.5 litres and developed 290 horsepower, or a 2.0-litre turbocharged Eco-Boost four-cylinder engine that came later in the model year.…

Auto industry news and notes

Recycled batteries and other components, plus new models and partnerships

Auto industry news and notesIt’s time for a few odds and ends in the automobile business. Acura has a new, fourth generation 2022 MDX set to go on sale later this month. The flagship SUV will feature a new exterior redesign that the company describes as “bold and athletic,” new front suspension and revamped interior layout, among other things.…

Land Rover Defender utilitarian, retro and capable

The 2021 version conveys a sense of ruggedness and capability that sets it apart from most other Rover products

Land Rover Defender utilitarian, retro and capableIn one of my favourite movies – The Gods Must Be Crazy – a hapless protagonist inadvertently winches his old Land Rover to a massive tree branch and immediately forgets about it. When he remembers what he’s done, the trusty Rover has winched itself off the ground and is hanging in the air like some…

Mazda MX-5 RF may be ugly but it handles like a dream

The RF excels at point-and-squirt city handling, and can carve corners with the best of them

Mazda MX-5 RF may be ugly but it handles like a dreamMazda doesn’t often get it wrong. Over the years, it has produced some very well designed – and successful – cars and trucks. Models like the Mazda5, Mazda3 and, going back, the B2200 pickup have really struck a chord with buyers. They have cemented the company’s reputation as a thoughtful, astute manufacturer that knows how…

New Nissan Rogue built for hockey moms

The 2021 version is a mainstream, garden-variety compact SUV and, all things considered, that’s a good thing

New Nissan Rogue built for hockey momsCar manufacturers have always had an interesting time when it comes to naming their products. Over the years, they’ve given us monikers such as Gremlin, Judge, Duster and, way back when, the Utopian Turtletop – although, in fairness, Ford didn’t choose this last one when unveiling the new 1958 Edsel but they thought about  it.…

Buying used: Mercedes S400h holds its value

Buying used: Mercedes S400h holds its valueBased on the S350 platform, the Mercedes-Benz S400h hybrid was introduced in 2010 and was a completely different animal. It was the first Mercedes sedan to receive a hybrid drivetrain and the first to utilize a lithium-ion battery pack. Th lithium-ion battery pack was – and is – controversial. Under some circumstances, this variety of…

Buying used: 2011 CR-Z hybrid has zip and economy

According to Honda, drivers aged 35 or under and sports car buffs were the primary target, with hybrid customers coming second

Buying used: 2011 CR-Z hybrid has zip and economyIntroduced in late 2010, the Honda CR-Z hybrid bore more than a passing resemblance to one of the company’s most beloved models: the CRX. This was no coincidence. The pint-sized, Civic-derived CRX hatchback was a favourite with tuners and enthusiasts, and many lament its passing in the early 1990s. But the CR-Z was a different…

Mazda3 Turbo is a good car gone bad

For 2021, Mazda has built in so many nanny features that it renders the car almost undriveable – or, at the very least, a pain in the butt

Mazda3 Turbo is a good car gone badSometimes an automobile can be just right – on paper. It can look half-decent, perform well, offer a reasonable level of comfort and hold its own through the corners. But when you slide behind the wheel, it just doesn’t come together and driving it is almost a chore. Take the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo. Please. This…

Buying used: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep’s flagship SUV received a major overhaul in 2011 that included new body style, new V6 engine, interior makeover and more

Buying used: 2011 Jeep Grand CherokeeNeed a pre-owned winter vehicle? How about a Jeep? Jeep’s flagship SUV, the Grand Cherokee, received a major overhaul in 2011. That included a new body style, a new V6 engine, interior makeover and revised four-wheel-drive system. Although it was no longer available with the Mercedes six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, a new Pentastar V6 apparently gave…

News and notes from the automotive world

New car and motorcycle models, e-vehicle updates and a runabout that really went the distance

News and notes from the automotive worldSome year-end odds and ends from various car manufacturers. Acura is about to unveil its 2022 MDX. The company describes it as “the most premium, performance-focused and technologically sophisticated SUV in Acura history.” The latest iteration of the MDX will feature a new exterior design, redesigned suspension, more interior space, and all-new digital instrumentation and…

Buying used: 2011 Nissan Juke fails to dance

Besides its unorthodox appearance, there are plenty of reasons to look closely if you're interested in buying this car

Buying used: 2011 Nissan Juke fails to danceIntroduced in mid-2010, the Nissan Juke was, to put it mildly, controversial. Some saw it as one of the homeliest cars to ever come down the pike, while others loved its idiosyncratic appearance and deviation from the norm. Built on Nissan’s B platform – also used for the Versa – the Juke came with one…

Mazda keeps hitting all the right notes with MX-5

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

VW Routan was nothing to quack about

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

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

RAV4 Hybrid offers plenty for 2021

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

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

Pontiac G8: the blunder from Down Under?

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

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

A tale of two Camrys: XSE and TRD

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

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

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

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

The 2020 Nissan Sentra offers no-nonsense value

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

Auto industry updates abound

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

Buying used: 2010 Nissan Versa

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

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

Nissan Leaf an ideal battery-powered city vehicle

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

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