2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier 1.5T AWD

Overview

General Motors has a rich portfolio of SUV’s and crossovers across its brands from Chevrolet to Cadillac, Buick and GMC. And the Equinox is still a vitally important product within the multitude of models. Compact SUV’s and crossovers are the most important sector in North America and it matters to have a competitive product. The Ingersoll-Ontario-built 2018 Equinox (worth mentioning for me as a Canadian) is now a better vehicle in almost every aspect and find a better place in bestsellers list.

It’s not as though this particular Chevy is an underdog: Though it isn’t the top seller in the ultra-competitive compact crossover segment.

This third-generation version sheds about 180 kilograms of weight to become a leaner, more responsive and economical vehicle. And this weight loss comes also with new engines.

Driving Impressions

Our test vehicle had the top-of-the-line Premier package with the base 1.5-litre turbo four mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Although I had some hesitation with this engine before driving, 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque, feel good and sufficient for daily driving. You do not feel underpowered due to the “on-demand” power reserves of the turbo and well-calibrated transmission. With 1,605 kg, this crossover is within the limits of the compact class and the AWD system, which is disconnected from the rear axle when not in use, comes as a bonus.

In a mixed mode driving in the city and highway, we calculated an average consumption of 8.6 liters. This did not include more than four passengers at one time and we did not tow anything.

Inside and Outside The Car

The Equinox is definitely not a trailblazer in terms of design. It simply creates more excitement than its predecessor but conservative inside and out.

The cabin and the instrument cluster is well-crafted with quality materials except the lower parts, with the lower-quality plastics. The reconfigurable information display front and centre, the eight-inch centre console touchscreen, with clearly marked icons for a variety of functions, including the latest connectivity technologies — MyLink infotainment systems designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot create a functional “working environment” with high-tech but not-distracting features. With front safety belts not adjustable in height, I ask myself if this was an oversight or cost-saving at the wrong place.

Heated seats and a remote starter are standard on all trims. The Premier trim has features as dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, power windows, door locks and liftgate, power heated outside mirrors, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-zone alert and rear-view camera.

As for cargo capacity, the Chevy’s “kneeling” rear seats — the bottom cushions tilt forward when the split-folding seatbacks are lowered —enables a flat rear load floor with up to 1,798L of space, including 846L behind the back seat. Among all thse features, iti is surprising to see that the middle rear head restraint is missing.

Conclusion

The redesigned Equinox deserves to be a new generation vehicle in terms of fuel efficiency, smooth ride, better handling, up-level interior and competitive pricing. It remains to be seen if these features will be game-changers against established competitors such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape.

Type of vehicle: Compact SUV
Engine: 1.5L DOHC, Turbo
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $34,195 / $40,490
Destination charge: CAD 1,700
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 9.8 city; 7.9 highway

Optional features

Tru North Edition: $5,965  Low speed forward automatic braking, surround vision, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, intellibeam automatic high-beam control, driver safety alert seat, 8-way power passenger seat, lane departure warning, power sunroof, 19″ UItra-Bright machined aluminium wheels, Bose speaker system, HD radio, automatic climate control, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, wireless charging, auto dimming inside mirror, clout driver information centre, driver express up&down power window)

True North Edition credit: -1,965

 

Total Price as Tested: $40,490

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Chevrolet Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

www.chevrolet.ca

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by GMC Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

www.chevrolet.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

 

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Premier HB

Overview

Cruze is an important model for Chevrolet. The bow-tie brand sold four million Cruze sedans since 2011 making it the best-selling Chevy model worldwide. And Chevrolet expanded the lineup, by introducing a hatchback model to a market of approximately 60K units in Canada.

I think that Canada has become more aware of the merits of compact hatchback recently. In my subjective opinion those cars and an introduction to a “SUVish” market. Cheaper than a comparable SUV model, hatchbacks offer much of the versatility and practicality of this class. And there are very strong competitors too: Models such as VW Golf, Mazda3 Sport, Ford Focus Hatch, and Honda Civic HB are globally successful.

The hatch shares the same global platform under the Cruze sedan, has the same wheelbase and almost the same length. While the sedan production is based in the U.S., the new hatch is built in Mexico. Don’t tell this to the President of the United States.

Interior cabin space is exactly the same and apart from the cooler and sportier design, the main difference originates from the rear cargo space. It is simply more versatile and more practical than the sedan. (It is bigger too: 523L compared to 419 in sedan)

Driving Impressions

Chevrolet offers only one engine: A turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder producing 153 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. Our test vehicle with the range-topping Premier package had a six-speed automatic transmission as standard. With this powertrain the Chevy drives well. Well, obviously this is not a GTI from Wolfsburg. But the ride is settled, communicating well with the road surface and shifts smoothly. I remember my earlier Cruze test with a previous generation model five years ago. By then, I enjoyed the driving with this compact Chevy and appreciate GM’s efforts to create a car that can compete with the Golfs, Corollas and Civics of this world. May the ex-cousin Opel have a share in this automobile refinement?
Fuel Consumption
The official fuel consumption numbers for the gasoline-powered Cruze hatchback are slightly higher than the four-door, at 8.3/6.4/7.4 (city/highway/combined) for the LT manual, 8.1/6.2/7.3 for the LT automatic, and 8.4L/6.4/7.5 for the Premier automatic.
In our one-week, mixed-mode test drive, we came up with an average of 9.2 liters. Not a surprising deviation form the highly theoretical measurements of Natural Resources Canada.
Conclusion
The expansion of the already successful Cruze Family shows the GM takes it very serious to build high-quality, yet affordable compact cars that can compete with the Golfs, Corollas and Civics of the global village.

Type of vehicle: Compact hatchback
Engine: 1.4L DOHC, I4 Turbo W/CWT
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $24,645 / $31,085
Destination charge: CAD 1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 8.4 city; 6.4 highway

Optional features

Tru North Edition: $4,370 (adaptive cruise control, front collision alert, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam control, rear park assist, side blind zone alert, pwer sunroof, MyLink radio with navigation, Bose sepaker system, automatic climate control, heated rear seats, wireless charging, auto dimming inside mirror, clour driver information centre, driver express up&down power window)

True North Edition credit: -775

RS package: $995 

Power Moonroof: $1,695

Engine block heater: $150

Total Price as Tested: $31,085

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Buick Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

www.buick.ca

Total Price as Tested: $36,530

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by GMC Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

www.chevrolet.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

2017 Jaguar XE R Sport 3.5t

Overview

Under the ownership of Tata, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Group successfully continues its model offensive. With the financial strength and confidence thanks to Indian conglomerate, JLR is on its way to become a luxury manufacturer with economics of scale comparable to BMW.

Since to unfortunate S Type under the Ford management, Jaguar badly felt the lack of an entry level sports sedan that can compete with BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class or Audi A4. The new XE Family, introduced last year, expands its offerings to match the depth of the model range a Bimmer can offer.

Earlier this year, we tested the Diesel version of XE (and XF too, in a double-test).

To read this test, please click the link below:

Jaguar XE to XF and Diesel

This Time, we drove the r-Sport version with the 3.0L,

Driving Impressions

Our second test drive with the XE was the opportunity to experience the V6 supercharger with 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.

A couple of months later and compared to Diesel, this is the real Jag to me.  It offers the performance I expect from this car, the magic power reserve-on-demand a supercharger can offer is a feature that makes a car a Jaguar.

We enjoyed our road test also in a closed parking lot and were satisfied with the XE’s flowing, smooth handling and fast driving fast through some twisting roads. The well-balanced chassis and quick steering are what you can expect a luxury sports sedan and we are not disappointed. The XE is easy to to drive fast, and a comfortable enough for long drives, although we did not have this opportunity.

Having said that, only the front seats are comfortable, to provide long-distance comfort and in this regard, the rear seats can accommodate two people only for long drives.

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

The XE will probably be the backbone of Jaguar’s model range over the coming years with new engines and and even body styles like Estate or Sport Brake even if Ian Callum, the chief designer talks otherwise.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Base price:$57,500

Total Options: Comfort & Convenience Package ($1,900), Driver Assist Package (3,100), Metallic Paint ($600), Navigation SD Card ($800), 20 Blade, 5 Spoke Grey Wheels ($500), Destination & Delivery: ($1,375)

MSRP For The Test Vehicle: $71,050 (including other options not included above)

  • Engine:3.0-litre V-6, supercharged
  • Drive:all-wheel drive
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 8.9 combined, using premium fuel.
  • Alternatives: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class, Audi A4

Article: Varol McKars, Dokan Gunay

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars, Dokan Gunay

Test vehicle was provided by JLR Canada via BHG Media

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.jaguar.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

2017 Buick Envision Premium II AWD

Overview

We are living in the era of SUV’s and crossovers. And how would a legendary automobile manufacturer like Buick escape this reality? And especially in the red-hot compact SUV  segment? With the “new” Buick Envision, the compact-sized, model fitting between the subcompact Encore and the full-sized Enclave, Buick can now claim that it offers a complete model range of SUV’s and crossovers. With this model produced in China, the country Buick owns its survival to, it will compete in the small luxury segment against the more established players such as Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC and even Cadillac XT5 from the same house

Engine

Our test vehicle had a 252-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, offered exclusively in Canada with all-wheel drive and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The twin-scroll unit delivers 260 pound-feet of torque, of which 90 per cent is available starting at 1,800 rpm, with the full load coming on-board from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm.

Driving Impressions

The boosted four is now only quiet, but you also enjoy the wide torque band as you you drive a bigger engine with at least six cylinders. Even if we may live in the last times (as some experts argue) of the internal combustion engine, the turbo technology has its golden times, in my subjective opinion. The engine is designed with balance shafts and sound-attenuating components, and is isolated on a hydraulically damped substructure that helps quell noise and vibration. Four powertrain mounts are used, says Buick, rather than the conventional three. All these features offer a quiet and refined driving as you would expect from a premium brand.
Handling light years away from the street  cruisers of earlier decades. It is still a buick of modern times. Roadholding, steering and braking are softer and more indirect than a BMW X3, but you always feel secure in sharp corners or during acceleration in the curves. The interior is well-finished. The material quality is less than premium in more “remote” corners of the dashboard. The rear seat is very roomy for this class and here we have to give some credit to the tasted of buyers in China, Buick’s biggest market. In this country, a roomy rear seat for the “boss” is so important that longer versions of even compact luxury cars like BMW 3 Series may be offered. The list of active safety equipment includes forward-collision warning and lane-departure mitigation systems, as well as automatic braking.
Conclusion:
For Buick, it is the right thing to do to fill this important gap in its model range. It remains to be seen how well the Envision will perform in this hyper-competitive market segment. The chances look good, even if we should not expect a sales leader in its category.

Type of vehicle: Compact SUV
Engine: 2.0L DOHC DI I4 Turbo/W/VVT
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $49,565 / $55,530
Destination charge: CAD 1,700
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.8 city; 9.1 highway

Optional features

Driver confidence package: $1,975 (adaptive cruise control, front automatic braking, surround vision)

Power Moonroof: $1,695

Midnight Amethyst Metallic: $495

Total Price as Tested: $55,530

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Buick Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

www.buick.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt Premier

Overview
The Chevy Bolt is the first EV, offered by a big auto manufacturer that is affordable in price and reasonable in range. These two conditions are very crucial to pave the way of EV’s to be sold in large numbers. And GM apparently has achieved this.
The timing of the Bolt’s launch at the end of 2016 was also crucial. Prior to launch of Tesla Model 3 GM demonstrated the strength of a big manufacturer against Tesla, the poster child of EV’s. Tesla has a long way to go to become a large-scale producer of cars and Model 3 will be a real and tough test for this.
The Bolt is a functional, user friendly car, before it moves at all. It may be defined even as a sub-compact SUV with a very usable space for passenger and cargo. Unlike some other vehicles that are electrified afterwards, the Bolt is designed from the beginning as an EV. The battery pack is under the floor, thus making an excellent weight distribution and low centre of gravity. And it offers a deep luggage that is not filled with battery.
Driving Impressions
Bolt’s electric engine delivers 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, it accelerates to 100 km/h in 7 seconds. With instantly available torque, as you would expect fro man EV, it offers a significant amount of driving pleasure. Add to this a range of 320 kilometers, this car is quite practical for daily use. Moreover, it allows for energy regeneration while braking and it makes more sense especially when you drive in the city. I read in some forums that courageous drivers without range anxiety tested the limits of the car and claim the the actual range may reach 400 kilometers.
With a standard 120-volt outlet, at your home you need a 12-hour charge to get a range of 76 kilometers. It means that range will be a constraint if you rely only on your home outlet while driving the car to its limits every day.
If you install a 240-volt charger at your home, your can fully charge the battery in less than 10 hours and can enjoy the full range practically everyday. And this is a very reasonable investment when you drive an EV.
And in a super-fast charging station, it is possible to fully charge the battery in about one hour.
Conclusion:
The sales performance of the Bolt will be very indicative about the short-term success of EV’s. In Ontario you can receive up to 13K as provincial and federal incentive and this makes the Bolt highly affordable.
The final decision to buy and EV depends on individual needs for every driver and family how and when to amortize the price difference with a gasoline car. (See the specs below).
No matter what calculations you have, once you drive the Bolt, the driving pleasure remains the same.

Type of vehicle: Compact-size hatchback
Engine: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery propulsion (60 kWh), Electric drive unit
Transmission: 1-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $47,795 / $51,530 (before incentives)
Destination charge: CAD 1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (Le/100 km): city; 1.8 liter equivalent, highway, 2.1 liter equivalent (17.6 kWh/100 km)

Optional features

Driver confidence package: $575 (low-speed forward automatic braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, following sitance indicator, front pedestrian braking, intellibeam auto high beam control)

Infotainment package: $565 (Bose Premium six-speaker system, wireless charging device, USB-charging only ports for rear passengers)

Arttic Blue Metallic: $495 

Total Price as Tested: $51,130

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Chevrolet Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

www.chevrolet.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

BMW 540i xDrive: The Benchmark of Luxury

About the 5 Series

Seven years back, The BMW 535i was the first car I tested in Canada. This was a great driving experience. I can still remember our slaloms at Ian Law Driving School Training ground in Brampton. The steering, the suspension, the roadholding. Everything and each component pronounced sportiness and dynamic driving.

After seven years, I was sitting behind the steering wheel of “not exactly the same car”. Because, the 535i does not exist any more and was replaced by 540i.

Without doubt, the 5 Series is one of the most successful luxury sedans globally. In its 7th generation, the Bavarian company sold more than 7.6 million 5 Series Sedans worldwide since 1972.

The 2017 model is a pioneer in automotive technology with its performance, active and passive safety features and driver assistance systems. Many features are offered as optional extras thus creating a long and “salty” list. (See below in “Specification”)

During our one-week test drive, at some moments, I asked myself whether we need so much technology and if the human factor will be eliminated at the end (which you should think seriously about)

Engine

The 3.0.-liter inline 6-cylinder with twin-scroll turbocharging generates 332 lb-ft of torque and  335 horsepower. This is enough to propel the Bimmer from zero to 100 km/h in less than five seconds. You never feel underpowered and will not even miss and 8-cylinder.

Driving Impressions

Whichever mode you choose, (Comfort, Sport or Eco-Sport), your communication with the road is nothing less than perfect.

As usual, our test car was equipped with all safety and comfort features worth more than 20 grand. Well, just the total of options is worth a not-so-humble new car price in itself.

All these elements create a perfect driving experience you do not want to leave behind after a one-week test drive.

And this BMW does not disappoint us with its sharp and responsive steering, ultra-quiet cabin, superbly comfortable seats with massage function and so much more.

The extended legroom in the rear is palpable compared to previous generations and even can give some disturbance to its bigger brother, 7-Series.

Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for a luxury car in the “upper-midsize or “gehobene Mittelklasse” (as the Germans say) class, you already have a shortlist mostly dominated by Germans. And if you expect a sports sedan at the same time, BMW 5 Series is a wise choice. And you know, you are an achiever who either can afford a price just south of 6-digit. No matter if you pay for it or your employer thinks you deserve it.

Specifications:

Model: 2017 BMW X5 40e

Paint Type: Bluestone Metallic
Base /as tested MSRP: $69,000 /$90,400

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($6,500) includes:

  • Automatic Trunk
  • Universal Remote Control
  • Comfort Access
  • Soft Close Doors
  • Side and Rear Sunshades
  • Lumbar Support
  • Storage Compartment Package
  • Heated Front & Rear Seats
  • Ceramic Controls
  • Adaptive Full LED Headlights
  • High-Beam Asisistant
  • Auto 4-Zone Climate Control
  • Lights Package
  • Active Blind Spot Detection
  • Active Protection
  • Driving Assistant
  • Surround View
  • Park Asisstant Plus with 360 Surround View
  • Head-Up Display
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Harman/Kardon Sound System
  • ConnectedDrive Services Package

Driving Assistance Package ($1,900)

  • Driving Assistance Plus
  • Forward Collision Warning w/Full Braking Function
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Cross-Traffic Alert, Front and Rear
  • Rear Collision Prevention
  • Speed Limit Information
  • Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go
  • Steering and Lane Control with Traffic Jam Asisst
  • Active Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Avoidance
  • Evasion Assist

Interior Comfort Package ($2,500)

  • Ventilated Seats
  • Comfort Seats, Front
  • BMW Individual Reading Lights
  • Ambient Air Package
  • Massage Function for Driver and Passenger

Smartphone Connectivity Package ($750)

  • Apple CarPlay Preparation
  • Wireless Charging w/Extended Bluetooth and USB
  • WiFi Hotspot

LED Lighting Package ($2,500)

  • Active LED Headlights
  • LED Fog Headlights
  • High-Beam Assistant

Remote Parking Package

  • BMW Display Key
  • Remote Control Parking

Stand Alone Options

  • M Sport Brakes ($750)
  • Adaptive Drive with Dynamic Damper Control ($3,500)
  • Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection ($2,500)
  • Nappa Leather ($1,500)

Wheelbase (mm): 2810
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4671 / 1881 / 1624

Curb weight (kg): 1873
Engine: 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six
Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5000-6500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1450-4800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic with paddle shifters
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD (xDrive)
Suspension-Front: MacPherson struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Suspension-Rear: Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Brakes-Front: Ventilated discs
Brakes-Rear: Ventilated discs

Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 11.8 / 8.4 / 10.3
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS – 245/45R19

Article: Varol McKars

Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars, Burak McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.bmw.ca

2017 Ford Focus EV: Again After A Model Year

A Follow-up From Last Year

Last year, we tested Ford Focus EV as 2016 model.

So, this year’s test drive, is like a follow-up.

The Focus EV is essentially the same car from 2016 to 2017. With a noticeable difference: For the current model year, Ford improved the range of its only all-EV model from 120 to 200 kilometers.

As the race to build EV’s heat up, and affordable EV’s with a range of nearly the double range, like the Chevy Bold reach the market, Focus EV is lagging behind in this race despite this significant improvement.

 

Early this year at CES, Ford has announced plans to build a range of new electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, revealing plans for seven of its total 13 planned electric cars set for arrival in the next five years. These include a brand-new, fully electric small SUV, and a new fully autonomous car that will be the basis of its new electric ride-hailing fleet, with a target debut date of 2021.

These encouraging plans set aside for now, Fors has to rely on the Focus EV, a derivative of an existing model which wasn’t developed as a dedicated EV.

Driving Impressions

From a different perspective, this is the EV version of a reliable model range which is more affordable and now with a more realistic range. We drove the car several times between Burlington, Mississauga and Toronto with a single charge including return trip. These trips usually avoided rush hours and congestion, but were still encouraging for more daily use of an EV. Based on our real-life experience, this is a considerable improvement. I would go so far to say, it is more important then increasing the range from 500 to 600.

Conlusion:

In this model year and with increased range, the Focus EV is a more serious alternative for people who are looking for an affordable EV. And think this model always as a second car. Focus EV has a natural disadvantage against newer models like Chevrolet Bolt, a car designed as an EV from the beginning.

Let’s wait and see Ford’s EV plan to bear fruits in the next four to five years.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: 5-Door Compact-size Harchback
Engine: 107 kW Electric Motor,
Transmission: 1-speed, automatic transmission
Price (base/as tested): CAD 31,999 / 33.748
Transportation & Handling: CAD 1,650

Optional features:

P225/50R17 LRR Tires

Total Price as Tested: 33,748

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada (via BHG Media)

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.ford.ca

Mini Cooper S Countryman

Overview

In an SUV-hungry market, this Mini looks as the right product at the right time.

The the new generation Countryman is the most spacious Mini offered and marks an important step in expanding the Mini model family.

With the All4, all-wheel driving system, that automatically delivers power to the wheels, the Countyman is a more adaptive vehicle to drive in winter on icy Canadian roads.So, a product, with good chances of success in the premium compact segment.

The design is beautiful. and when I look at the vehicle and its proportions, (which I enjoyed so much) it looks attractive and dynamic.

Not surprisingly, The Countryman is the best-selling Mini in Canada. The all-wheel-drive, four-door Countryman is offered in Cooper S form as well as a high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) model. Both are powered by 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines. A plug-in hybrid version will follow, which is a first for Mini.

Driving Impressions

We tested the Cooper S version with 181 horsepower with the optional six-speed manumatic. The Countryman is the first model in the Mini range with four doors and a wide-opening rear lid. With the standard All4 all-wheel-drive system, the engine’s power is distributed seamlessly between the front and rear axles by an electromagnetic centre differential. The All4 system’s control electronics are integrated directly into the management unit of the Dynamic Stability Control system.

The go-cart like driving characteristics of the essential Mini do not exactly exist in this bigger and heavier model, yet it has a dynamic, sporty driving.

The interior has the typical Mini ambiance with toggle switches and the giant, round central display. The “very vertical” A-pillar, a Mini feature helps for a very good forward vision and headroom. The over-years perfected “i-drive” system to navigate the infotainment menus is doubtlessly a great contribution from BMW, the mother company. The seats are comfortable. Also here, you feel the hard, yet ergonomic shells of the German approach is telling about how to build high-quality seating. Sliding and folding rear seats, a high roofline and especially adjustable trunk floor make this vehicle a serious and highly functional compact SUV.

With three drive modes (Sport, Mid and Green) the setups are similar to BMW and help to customize your driving experience.

 

Conclusion

Once peoples’ car with a character, the Mini as we know today is not a cheap alternative for the masses. Our fully loaded test vehicle has a MSRP of almost 45 grands, including options worth 13 grand. BMW positioned Mini as a premium brand. As my daughter, who is a very experienced driver with a lot of BMW and Mini experience calls, “Mini is a cheaper BMW” which is never a negative definition.

Base MSRP: $31,990

Optional Equipment:

Essentials Package: $1,450

(Panorama sunroof, heated front seats, centre armrest In Rear, Front Fog Lights, Adjustable Rear Seats

Loaded Package: $1,800

(Automatic Trunk, Comfort access, Auto dimming interior mirror, electric sets with driver memory, storage compartment package, automatic climate control)

LED Lights Package: $1,400

(LED foglights & headlights)

Wired Navigation Package: $1,000

(On-board navigaiton, MINI Connected XL, Wired Package)

Style Package: $650

(MINI Your sport leather steering wheel, Chrome line Interior, Chrome Line Exterior, Interior Trim Piano Black)

Cargo Package: $500

(Through loading system, storage compartment package)

Stand Alone Options:

Leather Chester: $2,250

Automatic Transmission: $1,500

Harman Kardon Sound system: $750

Mini All4 Exterior Styling: $500

Mini yours Interior Style Piano Black Illuminated: $250

Mini Head-Up Display: $750

Metallic Paint: $500

Park Distance Control, rear: $500

Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars, Burak McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, , Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.mini.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are permitted.

2017 Range Rover Evoque HSE Dynamic: Forever Young

Introduction to Land Rover Driving Club: The compact and urban Evoque

No manufacturer can afford to be absent in the red-hot luxury compact crossover segment neither in Europe, nor in North America. Land Rover’s compact-sized Range Rover Evoque does perfectly fill this market segment even if it is slightly coming to ages. On the market since 2011, the Evoque debuted as a two-door vehicle first. With the following four-door version, the most compact Range could utilize the market potential more effectively.

In my humble, subjective opinion, it is one of the most beautiful compact SUV’s on the market. We tested the Si4 2.0L HSE Dynamic version with 5-Door and obviously All-Wheel-Drive.This is the second model variant after the range-topping autobiography version (which we tested earlier)

The power source is a Ford-based 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 240 horsepower and an impressive 340 pound-feet of torque, which is available at as low as 1,750 rpm. Mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive, it delivers a smooth yet powerful ride and very firm roadholding. This is still a bit short compared to similar SUV’s on the market. Such as: — the 300-hp BMW X3 xDrive 35i ($48,900), 340-hp Porsche Macan S ($54,300), the 354-hp Audi SQ5 ($57,400), 355-hp Mercedes GLA 45 AMG ($50,500). Considering the fact that the Tata-owned JLR Group is getting armed for a fiercer competition with the Germans, apparently more horses must be called for duty.

Not exactly so: The plus side for the Evoque is the its light weight architecture south of 1,670 kilograms, thanks to high-strength steels, aluminum hood and roof panels, polymer and composite front fenders and tailgate and more. You drive  a quick, dynamic vehicle and this is usually what matters at the end of the day.

The Evoque can reward you for your environmentally responsible driving style.

The Evoque can reward you for your environmentally responsible driving style.

Some degree of German technology is at work: The smoothly shifting nine-speed ZF automatic transmission with an adaptive shift program to accommodate different driving styles successfully prevents any feeling of lack of performance.

After a week of week of mixed highway and suburban commuting, my average consumption was 11,6 liters. Very acceptable for this type of vehicle.

Conclusion

Although a replacement is not very far, the almost timelessly beautiful design and the solid Land Rover technology make Evoque a wise choice in the crowded luxury, compact SUV segment.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle All-wheel drive SUV
Power 2.0, four-cylinder-gasoline-turbo engine, 240 hp with 250 lb-ft of torque
Transmission Nine-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $61,190 / $76,240
Destination charge $1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city, highway
Standard features AdvanceTrac with electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, ABS (anti-lock brakes), hill start assist, power mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors,  Multifunctional Message Centre with LCD screen
Options Firenze Red Metallic Paint: $650, Sirius Satellite Radio: $450, Meridian Sound System: $1,100, Black Pack: $2,300, Head-up display: $1,300, Heated Windscreen: $400, Adaptive LED Headlamps + Signature DRL: $1,700, Adaptive Cruise Control: $1,500, Luxury Seating Pack: $1,750, Driver, Assistance Pack: $2,300,  Destination & Delivery: $1,600

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by JLR Canada via BHG Media

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.landrover.ca

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.

Lincoln MKX 2.7T. A Luxury Brand Beyond Ford

A View at Lincoln

Based on the capable and popular Ford Edge, the Lincoln MKX was one of the most-enjoyable luxury SUVs this year. since the Edge itself is based on the mature and reliable Fusion platform, it is no mistake to state that the MKX has a solid foundation.

Realistically, we should not expect a dedicated platform for any Lincoln model in a foreseeable feature. to do that, Lincoln has to prove itself as a major and global luxury player which is probably at least two model generations away.

Or test vehicle was fully loaded and had options worth of $14,575 thus catapulting the total price to almost 70 Grand (to $68,575, to be exact). Lincoln’s new pricing policy shows courage and self-confidence.

Driving Impressions

As the Blue Ovals put great efforts to establish Lincoln as their only luxury brands, MKX’s success is vitally important. The first impressions were a very quiet interior, well-crafted and refined, with high-tech features. Our test vehicle had the 335-hp, 2.7-liter turbo V6 under the hood. This was a smooth engine delivering an effortless thrust and joy of driving.  The handling was sporty and I thought that Lincoln is looking at sporty, premium German brands and got some inspiration. Tall drivers, like my son found the push-button shifter a bit problematic. He says the buttons are too away when you move your seat rearward for a comfortable legroom. The shift dial is a Lincoln feature, and even if it is not to everybody’s taste it will probably remain.The quiet cabin, with abundant wood, brushed metal, and leather surfaces gives you sufficient level of differentiation from a Ford Edge and helps to justify the price difference of about 20 Grands. Convenience and safety features include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and cross-traffic alert.

 

As the infotainment system, Synch-3 replaces MylincolnTouch which is much easier to use.

I myself love the high seating position and the big doors which facilitate entry and exit comfortable.

The exterior design is its own character. Subjectively speaking, I could not make sure which of the cousins is more attractive when it comes to exterior design. Edge or the MKX?

Fuel Consumption

Everything comes at a price. This fully-loaded car with AWD generated an average consumption of 13.9 liters after a mixed mode of driving.

Conclusion

Having tested several Lincolns in the last couple of years, I can say Ford takes Lincoln much more serious to establish Lincoln as a luxury brand with its own identity. And more efforts seem to be necessary on the side of exterior design. Again, subjectively speaking.

The Specifications
Type of vehicle All-whell midsize SUV-CUV
Power 2.7L, V6-cylinder GTDI Ecoboost engine,
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $52.100 / $68,575
Destination charge $1,900
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km) 14.4 city, 10.3 highway
Standard features AdvanceTrac with electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, ABS (anti-lock brakes), hill start assist, power mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors, Easy Fuel capless fuel filler, Multifunctional Message Centre with LCD screen
Options Cargo Utility Package: $350, Technology Package $ 1,100 (Active Park Assist, adaptive cruise control, lane assist), Driver Assistance Package: $2,500, Canadian Touring Package: $2,950, Luxury Package: $5,500, Class II Trailer tow Pkg $ 500, 22-Way Power Driver Seat: $1,500, Enhanced Security Package: $75

Total options: $14,575

Destination charge: $1,900

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada via BHG Media

For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:

http://www.lincolncanada.com

All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.