2018 FORD Expedition Limited

Overview

Ford’s biggest SUV feels smaller than it actually is

The  biggest SUV of the blue oval brand is entirely new now:

Ford had taken a big risk when redesigning the F-150, its decades-long bestseller with an aluminium body to curb weight and move a bit closer to by then more important CAFE standards. It paid off. And for 2018 model year they applied the same formula to the Expedition, the flagship SUV of the model range.

Driving Impressions  of Ford’s Biggest SUV

After only a few kilometers of our test drive with the new Expedition, it was apparent that the “rightsizing” worked well. When you drive this big SUV, it feels smaller and more responsive than the previous generation. It has a settled roadholding, absorbs well any vertical or horizontal irregularities on the surface. Nicely, you do not notice either that this Ford only has a six-cylinder engine under the hood.

 

The only engine available is a 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 mated to an efficient 10-speed transmission. For the Expedition Ford engineers tuned this powerplant to deliver 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The range-topping Platinum models get a boost up to 400 hp and 480 lb-ft thanks to a software tune and premium fuel. The Expedition offers a class-competitive towing capacity of 4,219 kg.

Our observed average fuel consumption for a one-week mixed-mode drive between Burlington and Toronto was just under 13 liters per 100 kilometers. A respectable figure for a full-size SUV of more than 2,5 tonnes.

The exterior design is more mature, higher quality with finer details like the grill, yet immediately recognizable (at least to me) as an Expedition.

Our test vehicle in Limited trim level had a MSRP of C$73,000 (base) plus options worth 11 Grand (destination charge of C$1,790 included) climbing the price to C$83,994 to be exact.

A fair price for the full-size SUV category considering options like Driver Assistance and Towing packages and the DVD entertainment systems.

Interior

Ford’s enormous experience with the F-150 over the decades is visible in the new interior. With a respectable distance to Navigator, the cabin is functional but not overly luxurious.  Big block dials and buttons are easy to use even with thick gloves on, analog gauges with clear fonts and readings, and a massive center glovebox that could swallow my laptop easily are the main features at first glance.A rotary dial shifter is one of thew novelties in the cabin.  Technology features such as Synch 3 infotainment system (finally mature and reliable after a period of complaints), Apple CarPlay and Blind Spot info system plus the comfortable front seats tell you that there is no immediate need to move to Nagivator, Expedition’s expensive and luxurious corporate cousin.

The rear seats (both the second and third row) offer much comfort and legroom, even if this comfort level comes largely at the expense of the cargo space that offers a volume of 546 liters behind the third row seats. To overcome this “bottleneck” you can order the MAX version with 230 mm longer wheelbase and C$3,000 surcharge. The extra length fully benefits the cargo space.

Conclusion

If you need a large SUV for 7 to 8 passenger plus with a significant towing capacity of more than 4 tonnes that remains drivable under the worst weather conditions in Canada or elsewhere, the Expedition will easily pop up in your short-list.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: 5-Full-size SUV
Engine: 3.5L EcoBoost V6 3.5L engine,
Transmission: 10-speed, automatic transmission
Price (base/as tested): CAD 72,999 / 83.994
Transportation & Handling: CAD 1,759

Optional features: C$9,205

  • Driver Assistance Package (C$5,000)
  • All-Weather Liners (C$150)
  • Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow (C$1,400)
  • Headrest DVD Entertainment (C$2,100)
  • Floor Mat (Reversible, C$150)
  • Destination and Delivery (C$ 1,790)

Total Price as Tested: 83,994

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

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.

 

 

 

2018 MINI JCW Countryman ALL4

Driving Impressions

JCW Countryman: Somewhere between an SUV and a wagon

A couple of months after our test drive with the Mini Countryman, we had the opportunity to drive the JCW version of this hot SUV. John Cooper Works or, JCW for short is the high-performance version of the Mini brand.

In fact, there is little extraordinary about this vehicle. JCW shares not only the same platform with the BMW X1, its corporate cousin, but also has the same, 2.0-liter, twin turbo, four-cylinder engine with 122 horsepower and 152 lb-ft of torque under its hood.

Like the strong emergence of sharing economy everywhere from Uber to AirBnB,, the not-so-new reality of the auto manufacturing is sharing platforms and components while keeping the distinct identity of each brand.

Some insiders  may even go so far as to call this Mini “The British BMW”.

The  performance Mini is not short of driving pleasure and in my subjective opinion, more fun to drive than the X1. With the sport suspension and tightly calibrated steering it demonstrates that it is differently positioned than the BMW. Mini’s biggest body style weighs 1,657 kg and still about 20 kg lighter than the Bavarian. However, expecting the go-cart like driving characteristics of of the original Mini is not realistic.

Here, we are talking about an SUV with utility in mind. Four people sit comfortably even for long journeys. With a low-centre of gravity the view is closer to a wagon than to an SUV (and this is the case without forgetting the real-wagon,the Clubman).

Conclusion

JCW of Mini is owned by BMW, the German company which is  the biggest manufacturer of luxury cars. Not surprisingly, BMW expands its menu of SUV’s from top to bottom, from the almighty Cullinan of Rolls Royce to JCW, the performance cat.

Rnjoy the JCW and one day, toy may find yourself behind the steering wheel of of Rolls Royce SUV.

Base MSRP: $38,8900

Optional Equipment:

Essentials Package: $1,450

  • Panorama Sunroof
  • Storage Compartment Package
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Centre Armrest In Rear
  • Adjustable Rear Seats)

 

Wired Navigation Package: $1,200

  • On-Board Navigation MINI Connected XL
  • Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB
  • Wired Package
  • 8.8″ Touch Screen

JCW Style Package: $550

  • Chrome Line Interior,
  • MINI Yours Interior Style Piano Black Illuminated

 

 

Stand Alone Options:

  • MINI Yours Lounge Leather: $2,250
  • 19″ PJCW Course Spoke RFT (19 x 8.0, 225/35 R19): $800
  • Harman Kardon Sound system: $750
  • Head Up Display: $750
  • Metallic Paint: $590
  • Dynamic Damper Control: $500
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio: $450
  • Picnic Bench: $250
  • Performance Tires: $50

Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars, 

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.

 

2018 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

Overview

BMW X1: Unmistakably a BMW with good room economy

BMW’s new compact (or-subcompact) SUV clearly demonstrates the BMW driving dynamics and pleasure in a downsized format. Not much of a downsizing when it comes to price: Our fully-loaded tester costs XXXXX including options worth XXXX.

Like it is the case with all other manufacturers including the noble Rolls Royce which is part of the BMW Group), the SUV fever burns also the Bavarian manufacturer of fine and sporty vehicles.

Companies like BMW or Mercedes have lower volumes than large-scale manufacturers. So, it is more than vitally important for them to occupy every possible segment of the market. And SUV’a are on the rise in every segment while we hear more and more news of product cancellations when it comes to sedans. Remember Ford’s announcement to discontinue Taurus, Fusion and Fiesta.

While the Bavarians are about to launch X7, the biggest BMW SUV ever, late this year, volume models like X1 always matter. The X2, the smallest “sport-SUV” on the market since early this year shows the German commitment to fill all the gaps.

The X1 shares the same platform with the Mini Countryman, the group’s  other brand that we already tested.

Engine and Driving Impressions

Introduced as 2016 model year and in its second generation, X1 is avialable in Canada only with one engine option: 2.8i with two-liter turbo four and 8-speed auto delivering 228 horsepower. This is not the most perfect BMW experience when it comes to power, but you will enjoy it unless your other car is a 6 or 7 series north of 300 horsepower. The maximum torque of 258 lb-ft is spread over a broad range of rpm’s and gives you the impression of having a larger-displacement engine than it actually is. The average consumption is slightly more than 10 liters and acceptable fore this weight (1,677 kg) and body class.Three different drive modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport) add variety to your driving menu as we are familiar from many other models. This is how you justify the price difference of several thousand dollars over more mainstream models.

Perfected over almost decades, the infotainment screen with i-drive controls is a textbook example of good ergonomics

A few words about the 19-inch run-flat tires: I have never been a fan of this type of expensive rubber. With today’s high-quality, ordinary tires and relatively clearer roads (no more horseshoe nails dropped on the road for a couple of decades), I do not think we need this sophisticated tires. Narrow sidewalls of BMW’s run-flats make you feel pure discomfort when you travel on rough surfaces like tram tracks.

Interior

Included in our options are sport seats with Mocha Dakota perforated leather, costing $950. The seats are comfortable and adjustable for best customization. The dashboard and instrumentation is close to perfection in terms of functionality as we are familiar from other bimmers. Compared to the size of the vehicle, the interior is roomy with high quality materials and workmanship.

BMW X1: The third best-selling model in Canada after 3 Series and X5

Conclusion

A relatively affordable alternative for singles, childless couples or empty nesters who want to tap into the luxury segment of the compact-crossovers. Bey the way, affordable is a relative term and fit for the luxury class. Our tester costs 52 Grand including the options worth of 12 Grand, not less than the price of a decent used car in itself.

Specifications:

Model: 2018 BMW X1 28i xDrive SUV

Paint Type: Atlantic Grey Metallic
Base /as tested MSRP: $40,600 /$52,450

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($5,750) includes:

  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Alarm System
  • Automatic Trunk
  • Comfort Access
  • Satin Aluminium Roof Rails
  • Panorama Sunroof
  • Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
  • Auto Dimming Interior Mirror
  • Sport Seats
  • Lumbar Support
  • Head-Up Display
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • HiFi Sound System
  • Convenience Telephony with Smartphone Connectivity
  • On-Board Navigation
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services Professional

Sport Performance Package ($950)

  • 19” light alloy wheels Y-spoke style 511, Performance RFT
  • Sport Auto Trans w/Paddles
  • Variable Sport Steering

Smartphone Connectivity Package ($750)

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

Driving Assistance Package ($1,750)

  • Driving Assistance include Lane Departure Warning,
  • Forward Collision Warning, High Beam Assistant and Speed Limit Info
  • Park Assistant including Park Distance Control, Front/Rear

Stand Alone Options:

  • Perforated Dakota Leather ($950)
  • Sliding/Reclining Rear Seats w/Cargo Nets ($895)
  • Metallic Paint ($895)

Article: Varol McKars

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

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

2018 BMW 530e xDrive

Managing The Transition From Gas To Electric

As most manufacturers move to electrification, at different paces, I have a feeling that nobody knows exactly when the internal combustion engine (ICE) will be “totally dead.” ICE is one of the greatest technological applications in history and it is still improving and getting better, quieter, more fuel-efficient, more durable and more-else.So, a flexible yet dynamic approach is necessary to shoot this moving target: And hybrids and plug-in hybrids are the intersection of the old and new.
Last year, BMW introduced the seventh-generation 5 Series, a model family which co-leads the executive luxury sedan class worldwide. In my humble opinion, a typical buyer of these automobiles is not much worried about the fuel consumption of e few liters. It is more about witnessing and experiencing a transitional technology that each company and BMW demonstrates. This Bimmer, which with a fully charged battery promises 45 kilometers of quiet, nearly vibration-free driving while keeping a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine under the hood.

BMW 530e has a starting price of at $67,500 and our fully-loaded tester had roughly $16,000 with options rising the price up to $82,750.

The Engine

That ICE is similar to the one in the 530i and four-cylinder versions of various other BMW models, but is tuned specifically for this car to produce 180 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque on its own. The electric motor alone is good for 111 hp and 184 lb-ft, but together they make 248 hp and 310 lb-ft. Unlike a pure EV, a plug-in hybrid’s is expected to allow quiet, smooth urban driving without giving up the traditional power reserve of the “old-fashioned gas-fueled cars.

Driving Impressions

 

During our one-week testing period, we drove BMW’s executive sedan and observed its different moods. Honestly, I always felt some kind of fragility whenever the electric motor moved the car silently and at perfectly useful rates of acceleration for normal driving as if the vehicle would switch to gas at any moment. Possibly a wrong perception. I also knew BMW lets you choose how you use that electric power. From other BMW vehicles I used to drive in the last seven years or so, I am familiar with comfort, sport, and eco pro drive modes. On top of these settings, the Bavarian plug-in hybrid has an additional e-drive selector that toggles through three additional settings dubbed e-drive, max e-drive and battery control. The first two prioritize battery-powered driving to different degrees, while the third lets you command the car to keep the battery charged to a level of your choosing. I occasionally used battery control to run the engine in highway driving between Toronto and Burlington, where it’s most efficient, and the other two settings in stop-and-go city situations. On a very snowy Saturday in February, also the 403 turned to a crowded urban boulevard and the electric features of the powertrain came to play. It smoothly switch from electric to hybrid and to gas and after a while you get used to these transitions. Whatever mode you are in, this big sports sedan has a superior roadholding and communication with the surface, even better than the traditional gas-engined models due to additional weight of 300 kg and conveniently located battery pack under the rear seat. The loss of cargo space compared to to gas-only version is immaterial. On the downside, this additional weight remains with you no matter in which mode you drive and it makes a negative difference during acceleration and cruising.

BMW 530e xDrive demonstrates the capabilities of the German car maker to apply the transitional hybrid technology with all its fine details (multi-mode features) to a sports sedan which is also one of the most prestigious executive-class cars. Still, A loyal BMW buyer would ask the following question at any time: “Why not buying a traditional Bimmer for sporty driving pleasure and keep a green Tesla for environmentally nasty days in the garage?”

Conclusion

 

The price difference compared to gas-only 530e is $4,500. The 530e has 45 kilometers of electric only range. It will cost you 100 dollars for every kilometer of green range. Will you save the planet?

Specifications:

Model: 2018 BMW 530e xDrive Coupe

Paint Type: Mediterranean Blue Metallic
Base /as tested MSRP: $67,500 /$83,350

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($6,500) includes:

  • Automatic Trunk
  • Universal Remote Control
  • Comfort Access
  • Soft Close Doors
  • Side and Rear Sunshades
  • Through Loading System
  • Seat Heating, Front and Rear
  • Ceramic Controls
  • Adaptive LED Headlights
  • High-Beam Asisstant
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Harmann-Kardon Sound system
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services Professional

Driving Assistance Package ($1,900)

  • Driving Assistance plus includes Active Cruise with Stop and Go
  • Steering and Lane control, Lane Keep Assistant Plus, Cross-Traffic Alert (Front) and Evasion Assistance ($1,000)
  • Parking Assistant Plus w/Surround View
  • Cross-Traffic Alert (Rear)
  • Collision Warning w/ City Braking
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Collision Prevention
  • Speed Limit Info
  • 360 Surround View w/3D View

Interior Comfort Package ($2,500)

  • Ventilated Seats
  • Comfort Seats, Front
  • Leatherette Dashboard
  • BMW Individual Reading Lights
  • Massage Function for Driver and Passenger

Smartphone Connectivity Package ($750)

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

Stand Alone Options:

  • Nappa Leather ($1,500)
  • Dynamic Damper Control ($1,200)
  • Steptronic Transmission with gearshift paddles ($500)

Article: Varol McKars

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

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

 

2018 BMW 440i xDrive Coupe

The “Three” Has A Bigger Meaning Than You Expect

The 3 Series, which the 440i is also part of, is the backbone of the BMW model range.
This is especially true in Canada. In this country, even if we fall in love with German luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes or Audi, we still choose humbly and usually do not go beyond the entry level, name it the 3 Series, the C Class or the A4. And BMW sells 30 3 and 4 Series vehicles for every single 7 Series high-end executive class car.

And the Bavarians put every effort to create a big and crowded family out of the once sedan -and coupe only model family. The blue-and white brand calls-for a while-the coupes, “sporty” sedans of the 3-Series, the 4-Series. Even the SUV models have a two-tiered definition like X3 and X4. Confused. OK. I will stop here and will focus on our tester.

The Ultimate Driving Machine

The base price for 440i xDrive Coupe is C$ 58,350. With all bells and whistles our tester had, the MSRP climbs to C$ 73,990.As per BMW, the turbocharged inline-six delivers 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. And with the M Performance II package, (C$ 2,900) however, sees those numbers swell to 355 ponies and 369 lb.-ft. of torque.The eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic Transmission is easy to play with. Plus with its manual mode, you will not miss the six-speed manual transmission which is available at no cost.

Driving Impressions

This two-door model we tested promises the pleasure of a sporty and driver-oriented auto experience. Even if the technology is at your fingertips, like different settings from Eco-pro to Sport Plus, it remains as a driver-car. During our one-week-long appointment with this two-door Bimmer, We had a rich terrain menu from salty slushy to icy, wet and dry cold thanks to Ontario’s bone-chilling cold and yet still unpredictable weather. The ultimate driving machine drives safely on all kinds of surfaces.The Coupe is 40 millimeters lower than the sedan and 20 millimeters closer to the ground than the convertible. And it has a wider track in front (+14 mm)and rear (+22 mm). The xDrive and the reduced ground clearance help to a more dynamic and sporty driving.The electric steering doesn’t reduce its responsiveness.

Interior

For a “somewhat-senior” guy like me, who is used to drive SUV’s or minivans with high a ground clearance and commanding seating position, this Bimmer is not easy to get on and hop out. However, once you have taken your seating position, everything is at your fingertips. Seats are very comfortable and ergonomic with hard shells. I once tested the rear seats, while my daughter was driving me. Once you’ve made your move past the front buckets, they are roomy and comfortable and even the headroom pleasantly surprises. Obviously, they are for two only.

In its 6th generation, the once-demonized iDrive infotainment system works seamlessly. The main iDrive display conveniently arranges infotainment functions into into six live-tiles in two pages in your preferred order and continuously displays real-time information. There is an inductive charging trail (for compatible smartphones) located in the centre armrest and establishes a wireless connection between the smartphone and the car’s external aerial for improved reception especially in areas with a weak signal.

Conclusion

The 440i is a driving machine that delivers far more (or a bit less!) than your daily transportation needs. It is safe, fun and exciting to drive. You will still need a compact SUV for your monthly Costco shopping. Sadly, this Bimmer will remain a dream for so many young people who cannot afford it.

Specifications:

Model: 2018 BMW 440i xDrive Coupe

Paint Type: Glacier Silver Metallic
Base /as tested MSRP: $58,350 /$73,990

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($6,000) includes:

  • Alarm System
  • Universal Remote Control
  • Comfort Access
  • Auto Dimming Exterior mirrors
  • Park distance Control, front and rear
  • Lumbar Support
  • High-Beam Asisstant
  • Surround View
  • Head-Up Display
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Harmann-Kardon Sound system
  • Full digital Instrument Display
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services Professional

Driving Assistance Package ($1,500)

  • Active Blind Spot Detection
  • Driving Assistance
  • Speed Limit Information

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

M Performance II Package ($2,900)

  • M Performance Exhaust
  • M Power Kit

Stand Alone Options:

  • BMW Individual Extended Merino ($1,990)
  • Adaptive LED Headlights ($1,500)
  • Active Cruise with Stop and Go ($1,000)

Article: Varol McKars

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

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

 

2018 MINI Countryman ALL4: On The Road To The North

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: From Burlington to North Bay

This time (we had conducted another test early in the year) I drove this car for a long daily trip from Burlington to Nipissing University in North Bay. This route is almost 800 kilometers with a return trip. And on the cold and rainy day with partial night drive, it makes a difference what type of vehicle you drive.

With 181 horsepower under the hood, the standard all-wheel drive and the optional six-speed manumatic I enjoyed the drive and felt safe on the highway and on the side streets. 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.

Understandably, the go-cart like driving characteristics of the essential Mini do not exactly exist in this model. A fair trade-off for a bigger model with more space for passengers and cargo. Yet a dynamic, sporty driving remains with some resemblance to the products of the German mother (aka BMW).

The interior is unmistakably Mini with toggle switches and the giant, round central display that functions now as the infotainment screen controlled by the BMW inspired -Drive. What I like most is the “very vertical” A-pillar and a retro-design must, allowing a very good forward vision and excellent headroom. The seats are comfortable. with hard, yet ergonomic shells spelling build-quality.

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 to me not a negative definition.

Base MSRP: $29,290

Optional Equipment:

Essentials Package: $1,450

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

LED Lights Package: $1,400

(LED foglights & headlights)

Wired Navigation Package: $1,200

(On-board navigation, MINI Connected XL, Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB, Wired Package, 8.8″ Touch Screen)

Visibility Package: $800

(Rear View Camera, Park distance Control, rear, MINI Head-Up Display

Style Package: $650

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

Stand Alone Options:

Leather Chester: $2,250

Automatic Transmission: $1,500

18″ Pin Spoke Silver RFT (18 x 7.5, 225/50 R18)

Harman Kardon Sound system: $750

Metallic Paint: $590

Picnic Bench: $250

White Bonnet Stripes: $150

Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars, 

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.

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.