Buying used: 2011 Volkswagen Golf is a treat to drive

The 2011 hatchback had a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, which made it kind of a hot rod

Buying used: 2011 Volkswagen Golf is a treat to driveThe Volkswagen Golf was completely restyled and redesigned in 2010 and little changed in 2011. The 2011 hatchback came in three and five-door variations and was propelled by a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, which made it kind of a hot rod. With some 170 horsepower pushing a 1,376-kg body, the three-door version with a manual gearbox,…

2021 Toyota C-HR passes (almost) every test

The C-HR is practical and easy to get along with – except for the CVT, which is its undoing

2021 Toyota C-HR passes (almost) every testIf you’ve ever driven in southern British Columbia, chances are you’ve spent some time on the Coquihalla Hwy, also known as Hwy 5. Constructed to coincide with Expo 86 in Vancouver, it’s a spectacular stretch of road, soaring over the coastal mountain range from Hope to Kamloops, with Hwy 97C branching off at Merritt, taking…

Buying used: Drive the 2011 Camaro with enthusiasm

Conveys muscularity and a bad boy persona, with a dash of nostalgia thrown in

Buying used: Drive the 2011 Camaro with enthusiasmIntroduced in 2009 and manufactured in Oshawa Ont., the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro banked heavily on baby-boomer nostalgia. And aside from the fact that it delivered better fuel economy than its predecessors, had better handling and braking, and was more environmentally correct, the driving experience was much the same. This generation of the Camaro was based…

Plenty of new and updated vehicle models on horizon

Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mazda are all trotting out changes, upgrades and revisions for 2022 model year

Plenty of new and updated vehicle models on horizonIt’s that time of year again: car manufacturers are introducing their new and refreshed models for the coming year. Some really are new; others merely breathed upon and updated. Falling into the updated category is the latest iteration of Honda’s Passport SUV. For 2022, it gets new exterior styling that Honda is describing as “bold,”…

Buying used: 2011 Mercedes E-Class has plenty to love

The E-class was one of the prettiest cars on the road and emulated by other manufacturers

Buying used: 2011 Mercedes E-Class has plenty to loveAvailable as a four-door sedan, estate wagon, convertible or two-door coupe, Mercedes-Benz’s E-class was well into its fourth generation by 2011 and still represented the heart of the company’s lineup. Not as pricey or exclusive as the S-class, it was a cut above the C-class stable. It was also one of the prettiest cars on…

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 offers luxury and performance

This is a lively, stable and road-hungry compact SUV that will surprise you with its prowess

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 offers luxury and performanceIf you have any doubt about the dominance of SUVs in today’s market, look no further than Mercedes-Benz – by my count, they have no less than nine distinct models for your consideration in the 2021 model year. That includes everything from the “entry-level” GLA to the Maybach GLS at just shy of $200,000. For…

2011 Ford Fusion a well-appointed, moderately upscale sedan

This vintage Fusion featured a tastefully revised interior, with available leather upholstery

2011 Ford Fusion a well-appointed, moderately upscale sedanIn 2011, the Ford Fusion came out with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, plus a choice of two V6s and a hybrid. Ford introduced a six-speed transmission the previous year and there was an all-wheel-drive version, so they were covering all the bases. The all-wheel-drive version was kind of intriguing. It came with the largest engine…

Tuning out the Mazda CX-5 because of a stubborn radio

Performance is excellent. Lively acceleration, smooth power delivery and whisper-quiet in operation

Tuning out the Mazda CX-5 because of a stubborn radioI want to congratulate Mazda for fitting their 2021 CX-5 compact SUV with the most unco-operative stereo system I’ve encountered in 35 years of testing automobiles. It’s so difficult to access and use it might as well not be there. I couldn’t figure out how to change stations without having to consult the owner’s manual…

Buying used: 2011 Mazda CX-7 has held up well

It featured some great equipment: 17-inch alloy wheels, AC, heated mirrors, privacy glass and more

Buying used: 2011 Mazda CX-7 has held up wellAvailable with front-drive or all-wheel-drive, Mazda’s CX-7 continued on as a steady if unspectacular performer for the company in 2011. This vintage of the CX-7 was essentially a carryover from 2010. While the CX-7 SUV didn’t share its platform with any Ford products, it featured an interesting assortment of components from other Mazda products –…

Genesis GV80 has all the ingredients for the upscale SUV market

The GV80 is a mid-size SUV that feels full size

Genesis GV80 has all the ingredients for the upscale SUV marketAs an automobile manufacturer (they also make everything from deepsea freighters to power tools), Hyundai has had its share of ups and downs. The car that launched the company in North America – the Pony – was popular but deeply flawed. Subsequent offerings – Excel, first-generation Sonata, etc. – sold well enough but often developed…

Buying use: 2011 Golf GTI offers exceptional handling

The GTI is more than enough for most drivers

Buying use: 2011 Golf GTI offers exceptional handlingEssentially unchanged from 2010 to 2011, this generation of the Volkswagen Golf GTI model actually debuted in the fall of 2006. In the 2011 version of this hatchback, power is ably provided by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or a…

Latest auto news from Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Kia

From the funny little Toyota zipping around the Olympics to the Honda Monkey and Acura NSX to the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Fefe Dobson

Latest auto news from Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and KiaTime for some automotive odds and ends that have come my way lately. First, if you’ve been watching the Tokyo Olympics, you may have noticed these funny little model cars zipping all over the place. They’re especially obvious during the athletics events, such as shot put, javelin, relay races and so on, where they schlepp…

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…
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