Buying used: The 2011 Honda Pilot has stood the test of time

Priced from about the $10,000 range right up to the low $20,000s

Buying used: The 2011 Honda Pilot has stood the test of timeLike its upscale brethren – the Acura MDX – the 2011 edition of the Honda Pilot was a candidate for one of the homeliest models in the SUV market. Offered in four trim levels, it bore a strong resemblance to the Ridgeline pickup and featured a chunky body style with one of the least appealing…

2021 Toyota Tacoma built for weekend warriors

The year's version of this mid-size pickup truck has plenty of bells and whistles, but can it live up to the reputation of its predecessor?

2021 Toyota Tacoma built for weekend warriorsA few lifetimes ago, I decided to bring in the new year by taking a long hike up a well-known trail near Harrison, B.C. The Clear Creek trailhead is on the road to Port Douglas on Harrison Lake, and makes its way northeast, until it kind of peters out somewhere just west of the Fraser…

Buying used: four-cylinder version of 2010 Mazda6 a better bet

Standard equipment level was high: air conditioning, cruise control, power door locks, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls

Buying used: four-cylinder version of 2010 Mazda6 a better betOverhauled, restyled and re-engineered in 2009, the 2010 edition of the Mazda6 was also on the receiving end of refinements and various upgrade of a comparatively minor nature. Some models got a push-button start feature, while others featured a blind spot monitoring system. But for all intents and purposes, the 2010 and 2009 Mazda6s were…

Nissan Kicks a comfortable, serviceable urban runaround

The Kicks, despite its odd moniker, is actually a decent little SUV

Nissan Kicks a comfortable, serviceable urban runaroundOf all the car manufacturers, Nissan seems to display the most imagination when it comes to naming its products. Who can forget the Qashqai, Juke, Armada and, going back, the Fairlady and Pulsar. They also had a model in Japan called the Leopard J. Furie, not to mention the Big Thumb delivery truck. More recently,…

Buying used: 2010 Honda Odyssey holding its value

Why mess with success?

Buying used: 2010 Honda Odyssey holding its valueReintroduced with sliding side doors and a new body style in 1999, Honda’s Odyssey has been a success story ever since. Over the years, this minivan has become more powerful, with a host of upgrades and engineering goodies. But its basic dimensions have remained about the same. Why mess with success? In 2010, it came…

Genesis G70 is a top-drawer copycat sedan, nanny features and all

One of the most unrelaxing vehicles I’ve ever driven

Genesis G70 is a top-drawer copycat sedan, nanny features and allWhen the Japanese automobile industry was just getting on its feet in the 1950s and 1960s, one of the ways it accomplished its goals was by emulating other manufacturers. For example, the concept of assembly-line production, using just-in-time technology, was taken from General Motors, which introduced it during the Second World War. Similarly, when companies…

Buying used: 2011 Lexus GX 460 still top of the class

Plenty of power, almost completely silent and no worse on gas than most of the competition

Buying used: 2011 Lexus GX 460 still top of the classKissing cousin to the 4Runner, the Lexus GX 460 is the upscale version of Toyota’s popular SUV. It has a body-on-frame design and more stuff and a higher price tag, but features the same basic body style, wheelbase, seating capacity and driving experience. In 2011, it was powered by a 4.6-litre V8 engine that delivered…

Buying used: 2010 Toyota Camry has held its value well

When you purchase a Camry, you usually get a four-wheeled appliance that at a minimum gives you years of hassle-free motoring

Buying used: 2010 Toyota Camry has held its value wellThe year 2010 wasn’t the best of times for Toyota. Unintended acceleration complaints and floormat glitches were giving the company fits. No model in the company’s lineup, it seemed, was immune and Toyota appeared to spend most of its time putting out fires. But as it turns out, this was a pretty good year for…

Revived Ford Bronco is worth celebrating

It’s faithful to the original idea behind SUVs

Revived Ford Bronco is worth celebratingIn the world of SUVs, size definitely matters. Some manufacturers, such as Ford, General Motors and others, believe that the bigger the SUV, the better. And many buyers agree. This explains the presence of models like the Escalade, Suburban, Explorer and so on. On the other hand, sport cutes are simply too small for some…

Buying used: 2010 Hyundai Sonata reliable but not flashy

Hyundai engineers emphasized comfort over handling with this generation of the Sonata. So don’t look for snappy handling

Buying used: 2010 Hyundai Sonata reliable but not flashyIn 2010, you could pick up a new Hyundai Sonata for under $18,000, making it one of the best deals going in the mid-size sedan market. That price applied to the base GL, equipped with a four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission. But the equipment level was still pretty high, with standard features like air…

Auto industry notes: new models and features rolling out

New models, retooled favourites and significant new features

Auto industry notes: new models and features rolling outIt's time for some auto industry odds and ends, random notes and updates that have come my way lately. Subaru Subaru has just announced the pricing structure for the 2022 Legacy and Outback. Available in five trim levels, the newest Legacy continues to have a full-time all-wheel-drive system and can be had with a turbocharged…

The 2011 Kia Soul is both cute and practical

The Soul surprised with its reserve power, nimbleness and, in particular, its lack of rattles, looseness or mysterious noises

The 2011 Kia Soul is both cute and practicalThe Kia Soul was introduced to the North American market in 2010. Based on the Rio platform, it was one of the new breed of stubby compact urban crossover wagons, such as the Nissan Cube, Scion xB, Honda Element, Ford Flex and so on. When it hit the market, Kia was also targeting the Dodge…

2021 Infiniti QX80 is an SUV I actually like

Offers style, comfort and performance

2021 Infiniti QX80 is an SUV I actually likeI’ve never really fully understood the SUV market. It seems to me that, most of the time, SUVs don’t really excel at anything. They don’t function as well as minivans when it comes to people-carrying or schlepping stuff around; they aren’t usually as comfortable or accessible as a conventional sedan or hatchback; nor do they…

Buying used: 2011 Mazda CX-7 stands the test of time

The CX-7 was a cut above competitors, but it had less cargo space and was not available with a V6 engine or manual transmission

Buying used: 2011 Mazda CX-7 stands the test of timeAvailable with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Mazda CX-7 got a bit of a facelift in 2011, continuing as a steady, if not spectacular, performer for the company. This vintage of the mid-size SUV is essentially a carryover from 2010. While the CX-7 didn’t share its platform with any Ford products, it featured an interesting…

Lincoln Corsair fussy, uncomfortable and badly conceived

Now and then, a car comes my way I simply can’t get along with

Lincoln Corsair fussy, uncomfortable and badly conceivedNow and then, a car comes my way I simply can’t get along with. Almost everything about it presents an obstacle to a pleasant driving experience. I seem to spend half my time fussing and fighting with it. In this case, it was the 2021 Lincoln Corsair which, despite embodying the pinnacle of automotive design…

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.…
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