Archive for February 2015

Range Rover Evoque Autobiography

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

In my humble opinion, the Evoque is probably the most beautiful Range Rover ever.

In my humble opinion, the Evoque is probably the most beautiful Range Rover ever.

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.

The coupe-like sloping roofline with a small rear screen limits the visibility. A design compromise for the sake of beauty.

The coupe-like sloping roofline with a small rear screen limits the visibility. A design compromise for the sake of beauty.

In my humble, subjective opinion, it is one of the most beautiful compact SUV’s on the market. And in the the range-topping Autobiography Trim it offers almost everything you would expect from a luxury vehicle.

The power source is a Ford-based 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, which is available at as low as 1,750 rpm. This is not an impressive figure 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.

2015 Range Rover Evoque Autobiograhy

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.

The centre console and the small screen is coming to ages.

The centre console and the small screen is coming to ages.

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 12 liters. Considering the heavy winter conditions, this was acceptable.

Conclusion

If the low-end of the off-road capabilities of a Range Rover is acceptable to you and urban driving under a prestigious brand is what you prefer, the Evoque will be at least in your short-list.

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 $64,595 / $72,070
Destination charge $1,575
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 Metallic Paint: $1,200, Sirius Satellite Radio: $450, Contrasting Coloured Roof Santorini Black: $650, Parallel Park (with Paring Exit, Perpendicular Park: $800, Adaptive Cruise Control: $1,500, Satin Brushed Aluminium: NCO, Driver Tech Package: $1,200, Destination & Delivery: $1,575, Green Tax: $100

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.

AutoandRoad LOGO

Chevrolet Trax: The Urban SUV

 

 

GM's subcompact crossover SUV is manufactured under the Chevrolet brand since 2013. GM's universal Gamma II platform, carries various models from Buick Encore to Opel Mokka, Holden Trax, Chevrolet Tracker and more

GM’s subcompact crossover SUV is manufactured under the Chevrolet brand since 2013. GM’s universal Gamma II platform, carries various models from Buick Encore to Opel Mokka, Holden Trax, Chevrolet Tracker and more

 

As the price of oil bounces back in the last couple of weeks and in pace with high driving season, Canadians’ love affair with compact and fuel-sipping vehicles may get a boost.

Don’t we also live with a boom of SUV’s and crossovers?

Among so many choices on the market, the Chevrolet Trax may attract more attention than ever.

If you can live with an “ultra-compact” crossover and have an urbanite style, you may easily short-list this cute and tiny GM product instead of a larger-than-life GMC Yukon XL or Chevrolet Suburban from the same house.

My test vehicle was the range-topping 2015 LTZ AWD, as it was usually the case with press vehicles. At $31,625 before destination charge, this model is at least 50 per cent more expensive than the starting price (which is just north of twenty grand). Just the price difference would practically buy you another vehicle, even if Canada’s cheapest (guess what). If you need all-wheel-drive, rear view camera, better audio, bigger wheels, touch screen controls, sunroof and leatherette, and want to create your luxurious mini-SUV, this vehicle may be just for you.

Powertrain

The 1.4 litre turbocharged engine producing 138 horsepower serves also other models across the GM model-range from the Chevrolet Cruze to Buick Verano. This is the only engine option for the Trax. It generates 148 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,850 rpm. The six-speed automatic quickly shifts up to fuel-saving mode, and there is some manual control via tiny plus and minus buttons on the shift knob. During my one-week test drive, I usually had the impression that there was a mismatch between the engine and the transmission. Downshifts during acceleration was lagging behind the driver’s request and you were forced to stay at low revs.

Roadholding

The ride quality was very good and well-tuned between hard and comfortable. I detected some German fingerprints (!) (Keyword Opel). Steering feel is good with adequate feedback and gives even a sporty character. The short wheelbase makes a nice different while driving in city streets with a lot of cornering.

Styling

No matter in which class a vehicle competes today, design language is highly important. Apart from its upscale cousin, Buick Encore, the Trax has competitors like the Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi RVR and Kia Soul. The Chevy’s styling looks more conservative than its Asian competitors.

The functional cockpit. Leather seats are offered as standard in the LTZ trim level.

The functional cockpit. Leather seats are offered as standard in the LTZ trim level.

The infotainment screen, undoubtedly targets a young clientele

The infotainment screen, undoubtedly targets a young clientele

The simply, yet functional instrument display is shared with Aveo and Sonic, as it is the case with the entire platform.

The simply, yet functional instrument display is shared with Aveo and Sonic, as it is the case with the entire platform.

The material quality and craftsmanship inside is good for this price category. Three big, conventional and easy-to-use knobs control climate. Other functions on the touch screen may be appealing to young, digitally born drivers who see their car as an extension of their smartphones. Maybe this is exactly GM’s intention to lure young buyers. But these controls are simply distracting to me, some fine-tuning work remains to be done.

Forget what I said above: Once you start seeing the touch screen menus as your computer on the road and look at those features independently from the vehicle itself (if it makes sense), the menus are easy to navigate, and getting connected is easy.

Sitting high and vertical is good for visibility in any vehicle. The Trax design improves this feature further. Also in the backseat, the head and leg room are good for a vehicle of this size. SUV’s are better than traditional sedans, because they are “more three-dimensional”

With flat-folded back seats the Trax offers 1,371 litres of space. Good enough even for a monthly shopping at Costco for a young family.

Consumption

After a week of mixed use on the highway and the city, my average consumption was 9.8 liters. Not surprisingly this real-world figure is above the theoretical consumption of 8.7 liters.

SUV's and crossovers spread across all segments and GM in North America wants its fair share of it. The success of the more luxurious cousin, Buick Encore paved the way for the more mainstream and cheaper Trax

SUV’s and crossovers spread across all segments and GM in North America wants its fair share of it. The success of the more luxurious cousin, Buick Encore paved the way for the more mainstream and cheaper Trax

Overall a practical, but not so economical vehicle. The small engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission delivers a not-so-pleasant driving experience.

Overall a practical, but not so economical vehicle. The small engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission delivers a not-so-pleasant driving experience.

 

Conclusion:

The Trax is another step that helps North America to embrace small cars and SUV’s. Small vehicles can be beautiful and functional at the same time. Subjectively, I liked the Trax’s overall design (exterior and interior). In its over qualifications, Chevy’s subcompact SUV is a mediocre product.

The products ranging from the Trax to the huge Suburban show how broad the model range of GM’s biggest brand is. It designing and selling compact vehicles like the Trax, GM probably learned how to make more use of know-how and experience of its European subsidiary, Opel.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: Subcompact SUV
Engine: 1.4 liter, 4-cylinder DOHC, Turbocharged, HP, lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): CAD 30,425 / 33.275
Destination charge: CAD 1,650
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): city; 9.7 highway;7.6 as-tested; 10.6
Optional features: Sunroof- Express Open: $1,100

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, 

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

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

www.gm.ca/gm/english/vehicles/chevrolet

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.

Introduction

2015 Land Rover LR4 HSE LUX

The Boxy Classic from the Country of our Dear Queen

I was lucky and proud to drive several Land Rover products on snowy days of southern Ontario.

I was lucky and proud to drive several Land Rover products on snowy days of southern Ontario.

This Land Rover is unique for me. The LR4 was one the vehicles I could test at both ends of the seasonal spectrum. In June last year, that is in midi hot summer, I drove the British icon around the GTA and in the Niagara Region both on and off-road. After a couple of months and one model year, the Land Rover was ready to be tested on the salty, icy and snowy surfaces from Toronto to Hamilton.

This time I sat behind the steering wheel of the top-of-line LUX version with the same engine. Due to the weather, the all-terrain, all purpose Land Rover, arguably the best off-road vehicle had a better chance to show its abilities.

The semi-classic cockpit is very functional. No experiments, just the experience.

The semi-classic cockpit is very functional. No experiments, just the experience.

With a price tag of just short of 87 thousand (including all the options worth of 14 thousand), this boxy machine costs as much as the total price of two, well equipped mass-market SUV’s or top-of the-line midsize sedans.

The LR4 features a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine with Intelligent Stop-Start capabilities that produces 340 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. A smooth-shifting eight-speed ZF automatic transmission,-a German signature in this Indian-owned British vehicle-keeps the engine in the sweet spot, while a single speed transfer case 4WD system helps deliver power to the ground at all four corners. A two-speed transfer case 4WD system is available for the more adventurous buyer.

The 3L, V6 supercharged engine with 340 HP is used across the JLR model range.

The 3L, V6 supercharged engine with 340 HP is used across the JLR model range.

The integrated body-frame construction helps it deliver such a smooth handling, and on-road comfort, you wouldn’t believe that the LR4 is also one of the most capable off-roaders. Four-wheel independent, height-adjustable air suspension, and Land Rover’s innovative Terrain Response system enhances all-terrain performance. It drives you to an inevitable conclusion: “I would drive this vehicle anywhere, anytime and under any circumstances.”

This much snow is not an impediment at all for the LR4 with its light signature on the icy surface.

This much snow is not an impediment at all for the LR4 with its light signature on the icy surface.

In terms of design, the LR4 (Discovery in Europe) is not the most modern model of the range. Also aerodynamically, it is not the ideal vehicle of today’s design interpretation. however, it comes with the bonus of a big, comfortable interior, almost perfect room economy and very good visibility. One weird thing I took note was doors: Yes, I said doors. It surprised me that it was almost always a problem to properly close the doors. An unexpected issue for such a solidly built vehicle.

The high and commanding seating position behind a very prestigious wheel gives driving pleasure and pride while cruising on the Burlington Skyway.

The high and commanding seating position behind a very prestigious wheel gives driving pleasure and pride while cruising on the Burlington Skyway.

The centre console is very functional with ergonomically placed controls and shift dial like in Jaguar models.

The centre console is very functional with ergonomically placed controls and shift dial like in Jaguar models.

I drove the LR4 for more than 600 kilometers, half of this mileage was recorded under heavily winter conditions without any problems but a lot of driving pleasure. The downside is an average consumption of nearly 15 liters. The owner, who can afford this vehicle, wouldn’t probably bother about this.

The first Tim Hortons store was opened in Hamilton, ON more than 50 years ago.

The first Tim Hortons store was opened in Hamilton, ON more than 50 years ago.

Miles Gilbert "Tim" Horton created much more than a Restaurant chain. Tim Hortons became of Canada's most famous and reputable brands.

Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton created much more than a Restaurant chain. Tim Hortons became of Canada’s most famous and reputable brands.

Conclusion:

If you need or want a vehicle with the utmost off-road capabilities, a history of pride and good reputation, this Land Rover will probably be your ultimate choice.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle All-whell drive SUV
Power 3.0, V6-gasoline engine, supercharged, 340 HP
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $72.990 / $86,665
Destination charge $1,575
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 Extended Leather Package: $1,100, Black Design Packafge with 20″ Alloys: $3,500, 7 Seat Premium Leather: $2,500, Tow Package: $650, Vision Assist Package: 2,100, Heavy Duty Package: $1,500, Grand Lacquer Wood Trim: $500, Retractable Cargo Cover: $150,

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.

Introduction

NAIAS 2015. Detroit Impressions

Detroit Motor Show, officially known as NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) has been an impressive start of the automobile world into a new year for 25 years. Being a Canadian auto journalist, I have been regularly attending this great show since 2011.

Detroit this year presents a number of attractive and provocative topics from efforts to reach the passionate CAFE targets to autonomous driving to a design renaissance. Each of these topics deserve a particular attention. However, I will focus on one topic:

Like every year, NAIAS 2015 in Detroit attracted thousands of journalists from all over the world.

Like every year, NAIAS 2015 in Detroit attracted thousands of journalists from all over the world.

The main lesson I draw from this year’s show was a simple one: Whether gasoline or diesel, the internal combustion engine (ICE), the heart of almost each motor vehicle, is one of the longest-lasting and most successful inventions in the history of mankind. It has been 127 years since Mrs. Bertha Benz, Karl Benz’s courageous wife completed the first long-range automobile journey in the history. And the ICE is to stay with us for a couple more decades.

I am not telling you this just because of a 50 per cent drop in gasoline prices in the last six months. Just to the contrary, several manufacturers presented their hybrid and all-electric vehicles in a way, as if they were not aware of this drop. It is probably wise to say that, looking from a broader perspective, those manufacturers are more focused on CO2 emissions (or reduction of it) rather than the consumption itself.

About two and a half years ago, the Obama Administration set a CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) target of 54.4 mpg for 2025. In European terms, it corresponds to an average of 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers. As the name implies this figure represents the average consumption of all vehicles of a manufacturer.

This target would be much more easily (and almost immediately) achievable if a company would produce only compact and subcompact cars such as Toyota Corolla and Ford Fiesta. However, the portfolios of North American manufacturers consist of different models up to 3-ton-trucks. Furthermore, recent, low gas prices encourage people to buy more of big trucks and SUV’s, shifting the balance towards “north”. With gas prices about 1.65 dollars per gallon, the incentives to reach the 2015 target are not good and companies face a big challenge at first sight. But, with a closer look at the industry, I am glad to see that things are moving in thr right direction.

Arguably the biggest news in Detroit came from the manufacturer in Dearborn, MI. Ford demonstrated one of the biggest innovations of recent years in the industry. Starting with the 2015 model, the “Blue Oval Company” switches to an all-aluminium body in the production of its top selling vehicle, the F-150 truck. Considering the fact, that this legendary truck is the top-selling vehicle in North America for almost half a century, you will understand the scope of change and the business risk Ford undertakes. With a weight reduction of up to 317 kilograms for the F-150, Ford’s goal is to make a big difference in this category and come closer to 2015 CAFE standards.

The all-aluminium body of the 2015 Ford F-150 is perfect example of technological innovation and strategic business risk with rewards.

The all-aluminium body of the 2015 Ford F-150 is perfect example of technological innovation and strategic business risk with rewards.

_DSC3458

 

SMDI (Steel Market Development Institute), the lobby organisation of the American steel producers, presented the latest steel applications in the automotive industry thus reminding us that the competition between steel and aluminium will intensify.

As the engines get smaller, the additional power comes more and more (on-demand) from turbo-charging instead of displacement. This is another step towards CAFE target while staying loyal to ICE.

General Motors introduced the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle with a gas generator as range extender supporting the battery instead of directly moving the vehicle. This system eliminates the range anxiety, which is still an impediment for electric vehicles, with a market share of about 1 per cent in North America. Nevertheless, you should not expect a big change for electric vehicles as long as the gas prices stay so low.

Realistically we can expect more popularity of hybrid vehicles that can combine the advantages of conventional engines and cleaner driving while using the existing infrastructure. No charging stations are required (except plug-in hybrids to a certain extent).

The German Schaeffler Group presented a number of innovations such as new automatic transmissions, decoupling systems for four-wheel vehicles, new roller bearings that reduce friction, and new variable diameter pulleys for CVT transmissions.

Newest generation, 9-speed automatic transmission, developed by the German Schaeffler Group raise the bar for full harnessing the engine's potential and to generate a flat, torque curve

Newest generation, 9-speed automatic transmission, developed by the German Schaeffler Group raise the bar for full harnessing the engine’s potential and to generate a flat, torque curve.

Conclusion: With hundreds of innovations and improvements, driven by tens of manufacturers and hundreds of suppliers, we have a good chance to reach the 2015 CAFE targets while keeping ICE. The principle will be the same, but we will have much more efficient and effective engines.

All-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles still remain largely experimental with a tiny market share.

No matter how much one gallon of gas will cost in 2020, the industry looks capable of reducing CO2 emissions from 172 to 130 grams per 100 kilometers.

With the 2008 financial crisis in the almost distant past, The North American Automotive Industry is capable of achieving this goal.

 

Highlights from Detroit 2015

NAIAS 2015. Ford GT

Ford GT was arguably the star of this year's Detroit Auto Show

Ford GT was arguably the star of this year’s Detroit Auto Show

The GT will boost the image of already successful Ford to higher skies

The GT will boost the image of already successful Ford to higher skies

 

The new MKX is a bold statement that Ford is very serious about making Lincoln a luxury brand that can survive in the long term.

The new MKX is a bold statement that Ford is very serious about making Lincoln a luxury brand that can survive in the long term.

NAIAS 2015. Luxury in Motion NAIAS 2015. Luxury in Motion

F 015 Luxury in Motion Concept from Mercedes is an intellectual and design exercise on the not so distant future of mobility.

F 015 Luxury in Motion Concept from Mercedes is an intellectual and design exercise on the somewhat distant future of mobility.

NAIAS 2015. Luxury in Motion

NAIAS 2015. Acura NSX NAIAS 2015. Acura NSX

The Acura NSX is an impressive car that would and should hardly see the light of the highway in a country with decades-old speed limits. Who will build new racetracks?

The Acura NSX is an impressive car that would and should hardly see the light of the highway in a country with decades-old speed limits. (Except racetracks of course)
NAIAS 2015. Mercedes Maybach

NAIAS 2015. Mercedes Maybach

Maybach returns as a subbrand of Mercedes, the range-topping version of the S-Class

Maybach returns as a sub-brand of Mercedes, the range-topping version of the S-Class

NAIAS 2015. Alfa Romeo 4C NAIAS 2015. Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo returns to North America with the 4C. VW was so willing and passionate to acquire this brand a couple of years ago.

Alfa Romeo returns to North America with the 4C. VW was so willing and passionate to acquire this brand a couple of years ago. The FCA Boss always said “No”

NAIAS 2015. Buick Avenir Concept NAIAS 2015. Buick Avenir Concept NAIAS 2015. Buick Avenir Concept NAIAS 2015. Buick Avenir Concept

 

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.

AutoandRoad LOGO

2015 Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8 S/C Autobiography

The British “Uber-SUV” Delivers the Best of Two Worlds

Range Rover (or should I say Land Rover (LR), the broader term and company name, which covers both Land and Range) is arguably one of the top names when we think of a vehicles that can go beyond the asphalt and paved roads.

No matter how the surface is, Range Rover is able to transmit power to the four wheels effectively.

No matter how the surface is, Range Rover is able to transmit power to the four wheels effectively.

 

Torque vectoring is one of many high tech features the Range Rover has for superb off-road driving in snow, mud or gravel.

Torque vectoring is one of many high tech features the Range Rover has for superb off-road driving in snow, mud or gravel.

What would be a better alternative the the Range Rover in South Ontarian winter.

What would be a better alternative the the Range Rover in South Ontarian winter.

I wish I would have a red or blue vehicle for a better picture.

I wish I would have a red or blue vehicle for a better picture.

This name has been part of the automobile history since 1948 and sold in more than 140 countries. LR has tough years if not decades behind. Once owned by Ford and then by BMW, LR (as part of the Jaguar Land Rover Group), since 2008, the Indian Industrial Conglomerate is LR’s controlling shareholder. Things are getting better and better since then. The British Royal brand, tarnished by lowest scores of initial quality studies several years ago is flourishing again as the increasing global sales suggest. New or newer products and more models to choose from with much better quality promise a better future.

My recent test vehicle from the Range Rover range was the Range Rover Sport 5.0 V8 S/C Autobiography. This long model definition suggests to top-of-the line version of this sporty, big SUV.

The combination of high-quality plastic, leather and metal is simply gorgeous and impressive.

The combination of high-quality plastic, leather and metal is simply gorgeous and impressive.

510 horses under the hood and ready to run at any moment are comparable to the most elite class of the automobile world from Ferraris and Lambos to superlatives like Porsche Cayenne Turbo or BMW X5 M50. This power propels the newly aluminized, lighter-weight Sport to 100 kilometers an hour in just 5.3 seconds. The top speed exceeds 250 km/h that I could not test for the predictable reasons.

The 5L V8 engine delivers 510 HP with a staggering torque of 502 lb-ft. The German-built, 8-speed automatic transmission connects the power-plant to the road excellently.

The 5L V8 engine delivers 510 HP with a staggering torque of 502 lb-ft.
The German-built, 8-speed automatic transmission connects the power-plant to the road excellently.

Speeding or accelerating is only one of the beautiful features of this “Uber-SUV”. With active damping suspension, long wheelbase and the high, majestic seating position on top of the fine leather, the can show to other participants of the traffic around you, what kind of mobility you can afford. Mobilizing a torque exceeding 600 lb-ft while listening to the magic sound of superchargers “on duty” is a driving experience you will never forget. The German, ZF-eight speed automatic transmission delivers this huge torque to the four wheels in 275/45R21 format. At your discretion, you can increase your control over the vehicle by shifting to manual mode via the shift paddles at your fingertips.

This performance has its costs at the pump with an average of over 15 liters. Not because of the owner of this vehicle will suffer from the fuel costs, but for the sake of even more torque, more pleasure and extended range, a Diesel engine would nicely fit to this machine.

The royal rear-seating comfort is ideal for two but comfortable also for three when needed.

The royal rear-seating comfort is ideal for two but comfortable also for three when needed.

With so many driving assistance systems from adaptive cruise control to “DampTronic” suspension that can sense the road surface 500 times per second and “Roll Stability Control” that practically eliminates a rollover risk, you will not feel alone behind the steering hill

The best part though, is hitting the road and challenging the Canadian winter while few others dare to drive.

And a 1,700-watt Meridian audio system with 23 speakers will not let you to listen to the blowing wind outside.

The infotainment screen falls a bit short of the generally very high standard of the vehicle. The menu could be simpler and more responsive. RR surprisingly opted for more traditional shit lever instead of a dial knob.

The infotainment screen falls a bit short of the generally very high standard of the vehicle. The menu could be simpler and more responsive. RR surprisingly opted for more traditional shit lever instead of a dial knob.

The total price including options worth 15 grand (as you would expect from a fully-loaded, impressive media vehicle) reaches 120 thousand. Even at this price range, there are some features which need improvement: A visually more appealing and bigger infotainment system with faster response being on top of my wish list.

Conclusion

If you are wealthy enough and want to combine the highest driving comfort with the ultimate off-road capabilities, Range Rover Sport may be your best choice.

2015 Range Rover Sport V8 5.0

The Specifications

Type of vehicle All-wheel drive SUV
Power 5.0, V8-gasoline engine, supercharged, 510 HP
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $104.990 / $119,715
Destination charge $1,575
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 Ebony Premium Headliner: $450, Climate Comfort Package: $1,000, Premium Audio System: $4,550, 22″ Gloss Black Diamond turned Wheels: $2,400, Full-size Spare Tire: $250, Adaptive Cruise Control: $1,500, Stealth Package: $1,000, Soft Door Close: $600, Paddle Shit, Nobel Plated: $100, Park Assist: $1,200

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.

Introduction

BMW X4 28i XDrive

The Cute Boy or the Ugly Duck

I will make a simple and honest statement right at the beginning: I like this Bimmer only if I am inside this vehicle. I do not want to see the exterior design so much.

The controversial, yet unique coupe-crossover design migrated from the bigger X6 to its compacter cousin.

The controversial, yet unique coupe-crossover design migrated from the bigger X6 to its compacter cousin.

The BMW X6, X4’s source of inspiration and its bigger brother, was and is always a -love it or hate it- car. Apart from controversial design, neither X4 nor X6 are perfect examples of room economy. Being a bridge means belonging to nowhere exactly and these are, to me, bridge designs between a functional SUV and a sexy coupe. Like the X6, the X4 has a sloping roofline, that reduces cargo space and rear passenger headroom with the “added bonus” of poor rear visibility (unless you are fully comfortable with driving aids to tackle that). Yet since its launch in 2008, BMW has sold more than 250,000 X6’s. Please also remember that Mercedes launched a similar (to the X6) vehicle, the GLE, in this year’s Detroit Auto Show stating that this design interpretation has a future for other automakers as well.

And I will tell a secret of the automotive industry: German manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW (I put Audi, being part of the big VW Group, into a separate basket) that strongly dominate the world luxury car market, have their own weaknesses. With cutthroat competition and increasing scales of economics within this decade, the profitability threshold for any auto manufacturer moves up towards to five-million unit. Mercedes and BMW are significantly below this threshold and must make the biggest efforts to increase their production and fill every possible niche and also by using their existing platforms. So, don’t be surprised to see so many derivatives of the legendary 3-Series. About 35 years ago, the most popular BMW model consisted of just a two-door sedan.

Having probably this in mind, the Bavarians decided to produce X4 to fill the gap between X3 and X6 and despite a very similar existing model, the 335i GT. Compared to the X3, the closest model, the X4 is only 14 mm longer, but sits 36 mm lower. Cargo space is reduced by 50 liters with the seats folded up, by 200 liters with them folded down.

The X4's unique design required a big sacrifice of the luggage room compared to X3

The X4’s unique design required a big sacrifice of the luggage room compared to X3

BMW offers two engine choices for the X4. The X4 XDrive28i we tested has a turbocharged inline-four that delivers 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The bigger and more expensive 35i engine is the well-known straight-six and delivers 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. (I tested this bigger engine in various models from Z4 to 335GT and 535i and was positively impressed). When you are so familiar with the more powerful engine, the 28i you may find a bit too weak for a BMW. However, once you sit behind the steering wheel and check the settings, there are good news. Changing from (default) COMFORT mode to SPORT will give you a more genuine feeling of driving a BMW. In COMFORT, the gear changes are faster and the throttle gets very sensitive. The built-in torque display will help you to see the difference visually. If you are not happy with COMFORT, do not even think to switch to more economical and lethargic ECO-PRO mode.

Once you set your mood, welcome to your BMW, a truly driver’s car built around you. No than sufficient power, responsive steering and excellently designed dashboard with the i-Drive system which reached a level of perfection after years of harsh critics.

More pleasantly, the pop-up iPad-style infotainment screen has been replaced by a sunken-in screen that is elegantly integrated into the dashboard – the current 5-series also incorporates it and we think it looks way better. The interior fit and finish of the X4 is excellent as you would expect from a BMW with solid materials, nice leather seats and very ergonomic buttons and controls. Except the push-button for steering wheel heating. It is so weirdly placed behind the steering wheel, on the left side of the steering column, that there is no way to see it and control light, unless you dangerously lean towards the dashboard.

The driver-oriented, highly ergonomic cockpit is a BMW feature for generations.

The driver-oriented, highly ergonomic cockpit is a BMW feature for generations.

The voice recognition system is one of the bests. And if you are not satisfied with that, the magic i-Drive push-and turn button in the centre console and its shortcut menu buttons are so convenient that you can dial any number from your phonebook with almost no distraction, once you have paired your smartphone with BMW’s Bluetooth system. The cabin is well insulated and the ride is fairly comfortable thanks to a moderately soft suspension even in SPORT mode, we expected the suspension and steering to be much stiffer and more communicative considering the X4 is being classed as a “Sports Activity Coupe”. It is probably what we deserve in North America with outdated sped limits, boring, long stretches of highways and lack of curvy and hilly roads.

Fuel economy with the X4 is mediocre. I reached and average 11.2 L/100 km after driving 1711 kilometers in 10 days including a round-trip from Toronto to Detroit for the International Auto Show. Back from Detroit, at the following weekend, we spent a couple of hours in Toronto and Scarborough for a TV shooting (an automobile programme published at Turkuaz TV, the community broadcaster for Turkish Canadians) with a lot of stop and go.

The trip computer provides  comprehensive, quantitative information about your trip.

The trip computer provides comprehensive, quantitative information about your trip.

So, the X4 is not a champion in fuel economy and the result is not a disappointment. The START/STOP engine feature that shuts off the car when idling and very responsive. You can mute this function with the push of a single button (and the computers will remember the “OFF” setting for the future too).

A piece of off-road doesn't harm when shooting a programme about an CUV like the X4.

A piece of off-road doesn’t harm when shooting a programme about an CUV like the X4.

 

The TV shooting for our motoring programme at the Turkuaz TV took    place in Bluffers Park, in Scarborough, ON

The TV shooting for our motoring programme at the Turkuaz TV took place in Bluffers Park, in Scarborough, ON

The surround camera systems with the vehicle pictogram gives the impression of a satellite image.

The surround camera systems with the vehicle pictogram gives the impression of a satellite image.

 

BMW calls this colour: Melbourne Red Metallic.

BMW calls this colour: Melbourne Red Metallic.

Sales Figures in Canada

According to BMW Group Canada, the X4 started to arrive at the dealerships in July 2014. Total sales for July-December 2014 was 490 units. There was a total of 5,219 X3 retails in 2014.

Conclusion

If a unique, out-of-the crowd design matters to you more than anything else, the X4 has all the features of being a BMW or the “Ultimate Driving Machine” is probably the right choice for you.

Good bye to Detroit after a very busy, two-day media rally in the North American International Auto Show.

Good bye to Detroit after a very busy, two-day media rally in the North American International Auto Show.

Specifications:

Model: 2015 BMW X4 xDrive28i

Paint Type: Melbourne Red Metallic
Base Price: $46,300

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package ($6.000 includes)

  • Comfort Access
  • Rear View Camera
  • Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
  • Park Distance Control, front and rear
  • Lights Package
  • Surround View
  • On-Board Navigation
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Nevada Leather
  • 19″ Light Alloy Wheels, Y-Spoke 608
  • All Season Tires (19×8.5, 245/45 R19)

ConnectedDrive Services Prof with ARTTI Package ($500) includes

  • BMW Online
  • Advanced Real Time Traffic Information
  • Concierge Services
  • Remote Services
  • Internet
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services Package

Stand Alone Options:

  • Metallic Paint ($895)
  • Storage Compartment ($300)

Price as Tested: $53,995

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

Curb weight (kg): 1873
Engine: 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-four
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

Pictures: Varol McKars, Gokche Erkan, Cagdas Ongen

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 allowed.

AutoandRoad LOGO

 

 

 

Lincoln Navigator 4 X 4 3.6 Ecoboost

Old Body, New Heart

The MSRP of the old-school, full-size SUV reaches 78K (to be exact, 77,935) including options and destination and delivery charge.

The MSRP of the old-school, full-size SUV reaches 78K (to be exact, 77,935) including options and destination and delivery charge.

If you need something not less than a full-size, old-fashioned SUV, with the new Lincoln Navigator, you may have mixed feelings:

The body-on-frame structure is heavy and thirsty. And a significant weight reduction in the form of an aluminium body like the F-150 is still a distant dream. But at least you have a modern power-plant under the hood.

Lincoln has replaced the aged 5.4-litre Triton V8 engine with a twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost V6 mated to a six-speed automatic from the shelves of Ford, the parent company. It makes a lot sense to transplant this powerful engine, that I am familiar with from other Ford models such as the Flex.

The 3.5L, V6 EcoBoost engine delivers 380 HP and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, thus  mobilizing the big SUV very well via a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The 3.5L, V6 EcoBoost engine delivers 380 HP and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, thus mobilizing the big SUV very well via a 6-speed automatic transmission.

In addition to the engine transplant, the Navigator sees its first real cosmetic change since 2007, including a new hood and new corporate-look split-wing grille, while the back end gets a power liftgate.

There are still people who need this kind of vehicles such as the Navigator, the Chevrolet Tahoe or the Dodge Durango. Lincoln had to react against the competition especially General Motors which has refreshed all of its “big boys”, Suburban, Yukon, Tahoe, and Escalade for the 2015 model year. Ford apparently did not want to go so far since Lincoln sales and sales prospects are not so promising for a full replacement. The Navigator is far from being among the most popular cars in its segment.

The new engine makes a big difference: The Triton was good for 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet; the EcoBoost V6 delivers 380 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque despite two missing cylinders. My test vehicle was equipped with the 4.10 rear axle, a standard feature with the longer wheelbase Navigator L. This feature helps multiply the torque for maximum acceleration, making towing easier (9,000-pound maximum when properly equipped).I cannot comment on that since I did not perform a towing test.

After a week and 300 kilometers of driving I can tell you something about this engine. It makes the Navigator more dynamic, fun to drive and an upgrade at very low cost.

Now the other side of the coin, fuel economy: My average consumption, mainly on highways and country roads, with soem taste of off-road was north of 18 liters. This is probably still acceptable for a 2,753 kg vehicle with a not-so aerodynamic design. However, in Europe, if you happen to drive such a large vehicle (which is really a remote possibility), a Diesel engine would be the only alternative and you would crazy to look for a gasoline engine in a Navigator brochure.

Ford says the 2015 model is the best-handling Navigator ever, in part to the addition of electric power-assisted steering. Since I was only driven in earlier models I can hardly judge this statement. however, it is true that you have the feeling of moving a smaller vehicle than it actually is, when you steer or maneuver.

The ride comfort is also satisfying. My test vehicle was equipped with the Lincoln Drive Control option, which offers continuously controlled damping, a technology applied to the suspension that monitors multiple vehicle sensors and road conditions every two milliseconds and adjusts suspension needs accordingly. It has its limits though: As I was crossing railway tracks in Mainway, Burlington, this smoothness did not exist so much and body movements were somewhat bone-shaking.

The not-so modern dashboard as vertical as a wall in fact very functional and configurable as in other big Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The wooden part impedes the heating of the steering wheels.

The not-so modern dashboard as vertical as a wall in fact very functional and configurable as in other big Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The wooden part impedes the heating of the steering wheels.

The average consumption above 18 liter is a bit disappointing, but not surprising for a vehicle weighing 2,743 kg.

The average consumption above 18 liter is a bit disappointing, but not surprising for a vehicle weighing 2,743 kg.

Optional 20" polished aluminium wheels cost 750 CAD

Optional 20″ polished aluminium wheels cost 750 CAD

Rear seats offer comfortable space for three.

Rear seats offer comfortable space for three.

You will not feel the lack of sufficient storage space with this big SUV.

You will not feel the lack of sufficient storage space with this big SUV.

Other Features

The Navigator is available only with a four-wheel drive-train in Canada. It comes with Hill Descent Control, along with standard hill start assist. With hill start assist, if the Lincoln is parked on a slope with a grade of five degrees or more, it will remain stationary for up to two seconds after the brake pedal is released, stopping forward or backward roll. With Hill Descent Control, once the desired speed is set, the system applies brake pressure as needed to descend steep grades at a controlled speed.

Even if the body is not new, its has a lot of refreshing touches such as; 20-inch wheels, jewel-like daytime running lights, high-intensity-discharge adaptive headlamps with LED accents and power running boards.

Lincoln made a lot of efforts to offer a cabin with luxurious feeling, thanks to dark leather, polished wood and shiny trim bits, even if somewhat old looking (subjectively stated).

Something I want to note is the poorly functioning steering heating. Probably, because of partly wooden steering wheel, it took a couple of minutes to feel to heat in your fingers. A long-time when the external temperature is -10 degrees or lower.

Sync with MyLincoln Touch, the controversial driver connect system, allows drivers to use voice-activated or touchscreen controls to make phone calls, play music, manage the navigation system or set cabin temperature. The system includes a 4.2-inch LCD screen in the instrument cluster, an eight-inch touch screen in the centre stack and traditional knobs for easy operation. I ignored the voice command option and used the knobs, thereby saving myself a world of aggravation.

Comfortable seating for 7 or 8 people.

Comfortable seating for 7 or 8 people.

If you need to be truely off-the road, a smart, urbanized SUV will not be good enough and you will need something like this monster.

If you need to be truely off-the road, a smart, urbanized SUV will not be good enough and you will need something like this monster.

Conclusion

If you really need a full-size, SUV and have a high degree of brand loyalty, this vehicle will be in your short list. However, it is worth checking a few other alternatives in this downsizing market segment.

The Specs
Type of vehicle Four-wheel-drive full-sized luxury SUV
Engine Twin-turbo 3.5L DOHC V6
Power 380 hp @ 5,250 rpm; 460 lb-ft of torque @ 2,750 rpm
Transmission Six-speed manumatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Tires P275/55R20
Price: base/as tested $75,110/$76,185
Destination charge $1,750
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km) 16.2 city, 11.8 highway
Standard features Dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, power-fold 60/40 third-row fold flat seats, voice-activated navigation screen, memory settings for driver’s seat position, exterior mirrors, adjustable pedals and steering column, leather-wrapped and wood-trimmed steering wheel with power tilt column, cruise control and secondary audio controls, THX II premium audio system, Sync, power windows, door locks and sunroof, remote keyless entry, power liftgate, remote start, blind sport information system, scuff plates, rain- and speed-sensing windshield wipers, power-deployable running boards, forward and reverse sensing systems, rear-view camera, power folding exterior mirrors with puddle lamps, integrated blind spot mirrors and driver’s side auto-dimming feature
Options 4.10 rear axle ($75); rubber floor mats ($150); 20-inch polished aluminum wheels ($750)

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Lincoln 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.

Introduction

 

 

Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD

A Look into the Future of the Cat

According to Mr Andy Goss Sales Operations Director of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), 2015 will be the year of Jaguar.

Why should we take this statement seriously?

Although a bit outdated, the XF is a serious rival for the German Establishment in the executive luxury class.

Although a bit outdated, the XF is a serious rival for the German Establishment in the executive luxury class.

JLR Group invested more than 3.5 billion dollars (Canadian) for platforms of new generation-models starting with the upcoming XE, the much-needed sedan in the mid-size luxury class to compete with the C-Class of Mercedes, the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. So, the stakes are high and  Jaguar executives know very well with whom they are dancing.

The Tata Group, the Indian Owner of JLR is confident about the future of the legendary British brands. They not only provide the finances, but also give the authority to the executive management in engineering, manufacturing and marketing. And the Germans are part of this strong team. The four executives at JLR including Mr. Ralf Speth, the CEO and directors of R&D, manufacturing and engineering have a total experience of nearly a century with the BMW. Can you imagine the wealth of managerial experience JLR has access to?

So, with already very good and great upcoming products and a very strong and well-financed management, there are good reasons to give credit to Mr Goss.

The Jaguar Division of JLR currently delivers around one fifth of the Group’s total sales. In 2010, Jaguar sales were around 40K. In 2014, they project this figure slightly above 110K. (final sales figures were not available as I posted this review) and by the end of this decade, the British Cat envisions a sales target around 200 thousand units. A passionate, yet achievable goal.

The XF, a Mature Car

The area around Corus Quay, is the centre of urban transformation in Eastern Lakeshore, Toronto.

The area around Corus Quay, is the centre of urban transformation in Eastern Lakeshore, Toronto.

This was my second test drive with this model after more than one year. The 2015 XF is Jag’s oldest car, launched in 2008. It is hard to claim that this executive class sedan is a timeless beauty, but it is simply gorgeous subjectively speaking.

After one week and 632 kilometers of mixed urban and highway drive in and around the GTA, my feelings were similar to somebody leaving a gourmet restaurant with tastes echoing in my brain. It is always nice to drive an elite automobile like Jaguar.

One of the most impressive features of the XF is its “Instinctive” AWD that can distribute the torque between front and back wheels as needed – up to 50 per cent to the front wheels – with the selectable Winter mode that gives extra torque to the front wheels to overcome snow.

The powerful, 340 HP V6 engine delivers 340 HP from three liters. The amazing sound of the supercharged power plant may cause addiction.

The powerful, 340 HP V6 engine delivers 340 HP from three liters. The amazing sound of the supercharged power plant may cause addiction.

During my test drive, the roads were not snowy and I could not test this feature. Under normal conditions, the XF is a rear-drive luxury car. The 3.0 liter, supercharged V-6 engine pipes its beautiful sound as the superchargers give the extra boost to the heart of this machine. The German-made ZF, 8-speed automatic transmission provides the communication between the engine and the road and shifts very smoothly. The conditions are well met for a comfortable drive in a luxury car. My average consumption was above 13 liters.

Inside the Middle Cat

The Soft grain leather stitched and tailored instrument panel, and Knurled Aluminum with Satin Rosewood veneer complete the British elegance and luxury.

The Soft grain leather stitched and tailored instrument panel, and Knurled Aluminum with Satin Rosewood veneer complete the British elegance and luxury.

2015_Jaguar_XF_3.0_AWD

The cabin is roomy, comfortable and impresses you with the pop-up chrome gear selector. (Also the new Chrysler 200 took probably some inspiration from Jaguar.) The seats are elegant and properly padded. However, some lessons need to be learned from Germans with regard to side bolstering. With impressive cornering abilities, you expect a sportier treatment rather than resemblance to big American sedans from earlier decades.

The touch-screen infotainment controls are uncomplicated, but a bit slow. At least not worse than Cadillac’s CUE system although the XF is not as new as the current XTS, ATS or CTS.

19” Aquila alloy wheels are standard in the Luxury trim level.

19” Aquila alloy wheels are standard in the Luxury trim level.

MSRP for the Jaguar XF V6 SC AWD Luxury is 67,500 CAD. Heated front windscreen, the only option in our test vehicle costs 350 CAD.

MSRP for the Jaguar XF V6 SC AWD Luxury is 67,500 CAD. Heated front windscreen, the only option in our test vehicle costs 350 CAD.

Conclusion

I am afraid to be a bit emotional and subjective about Jaguar. Realistically speaking, the XF is a mature car and due for a replacement which will occur in late 2015. When your competitors are names like the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series or Audi A6, nothing less than extraordinary is acceptable.

And with the upcoming new platforms and engines, Jaguar will challenge the Teutonic Dominance and ask for a bigger slice of the world’s elite automobile pie.

We as autoandroad.com and Turkuaz TV (a community TV broadcasting for Turkish Canadians) were happy to shoot the first episode of a new automobile programme with Jaguar in the freezing cold of Toronto on the very first day of 2015.

Stay tuned.

While shooting the first episode of "Automobile World" for the Turkuaz TV.

While shooting the first episode of “Automobile World” for the Turkuaz TV.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Base price:$67,500

Optional Features: Heated Front Windscreen ($350)

  • Engine:3.0-litre V-6, supercharged
  • Drive:all-wheel drive
  • Fuel economy(litres/100 km): 13.9 city/8.8 highway, using premium fuel.
  • Alternatives:Lexus GS, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Acura RL, Audi A6, Cadillac XTS, Infiniti Q70, Kia K900, Hyundai Genesis, Volvo S80

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars, Gokche Erkan, Cagdas Ongen

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.

Introduction

 

 

Lincoln MKC 2.3 EcoBoost AWD

A Big Step Forward for a Returning Luxury Brand

With every new product Lincoln launches, I feel more confident that Ford took all the lessons from its unfortunate history about how not to ruin a luxury brand.

After the MKZ, the Fusion’s cousin, which I drove (both the Hybrid 2.0 and the 3.7 V6), pleasantly for several hundred kilometers, the MKC is another milestone that is already making a significant difference for the brand’s future.

The new compact SUV from Lincoln is the right product for the returning luxury manufacturer. The MKC with the 2.3 EcoBoost engine costs nearly 56 thousand CAD including a bundle of options.

The new compact SUV from Lincoln is the right product for the returning luxury manufacturer.
The MKC with the 2.3 EcoBoost engine costs nearly 56 thousand CAD including a bundle of options.

The MKC is definitely the right product at the right time that can help Lincoln to revisit the glorious eighties. The market for compact luxury crossovers is booming and Lincoln already had a solid foundation to bring a good product in this segment: The best-selling Ford Escape, arguably Canada’s compact SUV. Very smartly, Lincoln used the mature, reliable and modern Escape platform without copying a single sheet metal or interior components.

Not only the products, but also the organization is different. Ford created the “Lincoln Motor Company” with its own design product development and sales teams for the brand’s “reasonable independence”.

Remembering the similarities between the Fusion and the MKZ, at least in the interior, the 2015 MKC is probably the first Lincoln of modern times with its own identity.

For an insider who keeps up with the market developments, it is easy to observe that Lincoln targets a not-so short list of high profile competitors like Audi Q5, BMW X3 (and X4), Mercedes GLK, Acura RDX, Range Rover Evoque and the new Lexus NX. Resemblance to the Q5’s profile is probably not a coincidence either. Interior design is cleaner and simpler with solid buttons and knobs compared to the MKZ with more dash mounted controls. Transmission gear selector has become a Lincoln design feature and continues its presence in the MKC. Like the floating centre console, it is a smart way to free up cabin room. Plenty of soft-touch plastics and real leather, wood and aluminum trim are features you expect in the luxury class and the MKC does not disappoint in this regard.

The interior is entirely different from its Ford cousin. Something we do not see between the Fusion and the MKZ.

The interior is entirely different from its Ford cousin. Something we do not see between the Fusion and the MKZ.

2.3L Ecoboost 4-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine delivers 240 HP and 270 lb-ft of torque

2.3L Ecoboost 4-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine delivers 240 HP and 270 lb-ft of torque

In line with a downsizing trend, the MKC offers two engine options both with four cylinders. My test vehicle had (instead of the base, 2.0 liter model) the new, 2.3L EcoBoost, turbo-four that also powers the new 2015 Ford Mustang. With 285 hp and 305 lb.-ft. of torque the MKC provides an excellent driving pleasure with no lack of power at all. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic, with standard four wheel drive, a feature almost impossible to skip for a luxury car manufacturer in Canada. The theoretical consumption figures are 12.9 (city) and 9.2 (highway) liters respectively. After driving 748 kilometers in one week with more mileage on the highway, I came up with an average of 12 liters. A reasonable figure but not a benchmark for fuel economy.

The ride comfort meets the expectations with front suspension MacPherson struts and a rear multilink setup with gas-pressurized shocks and anti-roll bars. You can customize the ride control by choosing one of the three modes (Normal, Comfort and Sport). Lincoln Driver Control system tunes the transmission’s shifting, steering and throttle mapping accordingly. With so much software even in a mass-market vehicle today, it is quite easy to change the character of the vehicle with the push of a button. I usually chose the Sport mode and “imitated” the driving characters of a German car and this worked so well. Lincoln created a very quiet cabin with additional sound deadener, acoustic glass, felted wheel wells and active noise cancellation technology. This is how you will differentiate yourself from a Ford cousin and persuade people to pay several thousand more than a similar product with the blue oval or any mass-market vehicle.

The MKC, based on the best-selling Ford Escape offers comfortable and luxury travel for four. Consider the third rear seat as an emergency solution.

The MKC, based on the best-selling Ford Escape offers comfortable and luxury travel for four. Consider the third rear seat as an emergency solution.

To justify the price difference with an Escape, more amenities are required. So, the new MKC offers driver-assistance features such as Lane-Keeping System, Blind Spot Information System, collision warning and active park assist. My test vehicle had also the so called “Park Out Assist”, which unfortunately I was notable to test.

With all bells and whistles, the total MSRP of my test vehicle reaches CAD 55,920. A truly premium price for a compact CUV and a test of persuasion for Lincoln.

As Mark Fields, Ford’s new CEO stated in Detroit during NAIAS in January, one third of the profits of all manufacturers originate from the sales of the luxury brands. This is a bold statement he made during the launch of the new MKX, the bigger brother of the MKC with a strikingly similar design.

The MKX will most probably be another leap forward to establish Lincoln as a luxury brand with a bright future.

The navigation system is part of an option package costing a hefty 7,760 CAD.

The navigation system is part of an option package costing a hefty 7,760 CAD.

A light signature on the surface is a prestige feature in many luxury brands.

A light signature on the surface is a prestige feature in many luxury brands.

Hands-free liftgate is part of the expensive option package.

Hands-free liftgate is part of the expensive option package.

You are a potential MKC customer if you are shopping around in the crowded compact luxury crossover segment and an early explorer of a returning brand with a great heritage.

Our average consumption after 748 kilometers of mixed-use was around 12 liters.

Our average consumption after 748 kilometers of mixed-use was around 12 liters.

The Specifications
Type of vehicle All-whell drive compact SUV-CUV
Power 2.3L, 4-cylinder GTDI Ecoboost engine,
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $39.940 / $55,920
Destination charge $1,750
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km) 12.9 city, 9.2 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 Group 102A Package $7,760 (dual power sunroof, navigation, heated and cooled front seats hands-free lifgate, cross traffic alert, heated steering wheel), Technology Package $ 2,250 (Active Park Assist, adaptive cruise control, lane assist), Ecoboost Package with 245/45R19 98V Rated Tires, 19″ PRM PNT 5 Spoke LSTR Wheels

 

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.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.

 

AutoandRoad LOGO

Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 5.3 V8

A Quick Look into Suburban’s History

Chevrolet Suburban

We have at least one reason to take the Suburban seriously: It is the longest lasting sub-brand in the world which has been in use since the 1934-35 model year. Being an iconic part of Chevrolet legacy as a full-size SUV, the original name was “Suburban Carryall”, but Chevrolet eventually dropped the second name.  Since many other manufacturers were using this name, General Motors acquired the intellectual property rights for the brand in 1988, thus Suburban became solidly associated with the bow-tie brand.

The giant SUV could hardly fit into our driveway.

The giant SUV could hardly fit into our driveway.

Overview

Now with the 12th generation on sale, you can see the Suburban (and its cousin GMC Yukon XL) more in public services ranging from police to firefighting and EMS with a small market for private use. You will always spot more than one Suburban serving the secret service protecting President Obama. It doesn’t look bad either as a high-profile company car.

General Motors offers its super-sized SUV's under three different brands: Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade (not in the picture)

General Motors offers its super-sized SUV’s under three different brands: Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade (not in the picture)

I drove the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban’s top of the line LTZ version with the powerful, 5.3 liter, EcoTec, V8 gasoline engine. With 355 HP and 383 lbft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, this powertrain is just enough for moving the nearly three-tonne (2,650 kg) body. Direct injection and variable-valve-timing help to deliver the necessary power output efficiently. However, do not expect much sportiness and that is okay for this type of vehicle. If you can treat the Suburban gently enough, you can even drive in four-cylinder (V4) mode with almost seamless switch on and off of four cylinders. However, this engine will tell you right away: “I can hardly breathe with just four cylinders.” Even with a silky smooth push on the gas pedal, the resting cylinders will jump in.

The electric-assisted steering is responsive enough unless you dare to compare it with a BMW 3 Series car.

With a MSRP of CAD 82,800 (including a 10K option package), my test vehicle’s target clientele is a narrow group who looks far beyond a Ford Escape or a Toyota RAV4.

I ask myself everytime I drive a full-size SUV in North America: When will we see a diesel engine under the hood, so appropriate and overdue for a vehicle of this calibre where high torque and towing capacity matter more than anything else. Maybe, GM is testing the waters with its compact Chevy Cruze Diesel. By the way, do I remember correctly that GM has something in its engine portfolio called “Duramax Diesel”. My test drive delivered an average consumption of slightly above 16 liters.

The strong 5.3 liter EcoTec3 V8 engine generates 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft of torque thus enabling a towing capacity of 3,765 kg.

The strong 5.3 liter EcoTec3 V8 engine generates 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft of torque thus enabling a towing capacity of 3,765 kg.

The capabilities are simply impressive: The Suburban can tow 3,625 kilograms. The cargo volume behind the front seats (with folded-down second and third row) is 3,430 liters.

With folded second and third row seats, the cargo volume is a staggering 3430 liters.

With folded second and third row seats, the cargo volume is a staggering 3430 liters.

In one week I drove the Suburban for nearly 800 kilometers in and around the GTA for different purposes. It provided an excellent level of comfort when transporting six adults (including the driver). During a big before-winter cleanup at home, we transported lots of stuff from old furniture to appliances and scrap metal to Halton Recycling Centre.

The Suburban was the perfect vehicle during winter cleanup and visits to the recycling centre.

The Suburban was the perfect vehicle during winter cleanup and visits to the recycling centre.

A double visit to Halton Recycling Centre was a good opportunity to test 3430 liters of cargo capacity.

A double visit to Halton Recycling Centre was a good opportunity to test 3430 liters of cargo capacity.

The ride quality is superb thanks to its length of 5,7 meters and Magnetic Ride Control, standard on our LTZ model, electronically senses the road surface and “notifies” the shocks instantaneously as to how they ought to respond.

It’s quiet inside the well-insulated and well-crafted cabin with special glass, and new inlaid doors whose seams flank the sides instead of over the roof.

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 5.3 V8

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 5.3 V82015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 5.3 V8

Do not expect single-digit consumption values from a three-tonne SUV.

Do not expect single-digit consumption values from a three-tonne SUV.

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 5.3 V8

General Motors offers its super-sized SUV's under three different brands: Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade (not in the picture)

General Motors offers its super-sized SUV’s under three different brands: Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade (not in the picture)

 

The interior is much more refined and well crafted compared to the previous generation. Up to 9 USB charging ports gives you a good idea about the family size the Suburban addresses to.

The interior is much more refined and well crafted compared to the previous generation.
Up to 9 USB charging ports gives you a good idea about the family size the Suburban addresses to.

Optional 22" aluminium wheels with premium paint cost 985 CAD.

Optional 22″ aluminium wheels with premium paint cost 985 CAD.

Optional power retractable assist steps with perimeter lighting cost 1,920 CAD.

Optional power retractable assist steps with perimeter lighting cost 1,920 CAD.

 

If you can afford this vehicle, a five-digit gas bill will not matter at all.

If you can afford this vehicle, a five-digit gas bill will not matter at all.

Conclusion:

Even if Mr. David Suzuki will not feel very happy about the new Suburban, vehicles of this size will always occupy a niche of the market, since private and public users will need them. And there is still room to be more environmental-friendly with some technology upgrade, such as a modern Diesel engine. Well, GM can save this investment at least until the oil prices bounce back.

The standard MSRP is 70,785 CAD. Our test vehicle, with all options costs 82,800 CAD.

The standard MSRP is 70,785 CAD. Our test vehicle, with all options costs 82,800 CAD.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: Full-size SUV
Engine: 5.3 liter, EcoTec V8 gasoline engine, 355 HP, 384 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): CAD 70,785 / 82.800
Destination charge: CAD 1,650
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): city; 16.3 highway;11,8 as-tested; 16.2
Optional features: Rear-seat entertainment system: 2,095, power retractable assist steps: 1,920, adaptive cruise control: 1,780, Power sliding-tilt glass: 1,325, MyLink Audio and navigation: 995, 22″aluminium wheels: 986, trailering package: 630, theft protection package: 435, engine block heater: 100

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars, Erol Halicilar

Test vehicle was provided by General Motors Canada

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

www.gm.ca/gm/english/vehicles/chevrolet

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.

 

Introduction