Archive for February 2015

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.

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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.

 

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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

VW Beetle 1.8 TSI

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The St Lawrence River runs 3,058 kilometres from the farthest headwater to the mouth and 1,197 km from the outflow of Lake Ontario.  In this picture North of Quebec City and across the Orleans Island.

The St Lawrence River runs 3,058 kilometres from the farthest headwater to the mouth and 1,197 km from the outflow of Lake Ontario.
In this picture North of Quebec City and across the Orleans Island.

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Toffee brown metallic is one of 8 exterior colour options for the Beetle. With all the options in Comfortline trim, the MSRP of our test vehicle exceeds 32 thousand.

Toffee brown metallic is one of 8 exterior colour options for the Beetle.
With all the options in Comfortline trim, the MSRP of our test vehicle exceeds 32 thousand.

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Unlike the first generation of the "New Beetle", the current model does not have a vase in the dashboard. Technology package with navigation and 400-Watt Premium audio system costs 1,570 CAD extra.

Unlike the first generation of the “New Beetle”, the current model does not have a vase in the dashboard.
Technology package with navigation and 400-Watt Premium audio system costs 1,570 CAD extra.

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Due to design constraints (you may call it also surrendering to retro design), the luggage compartment is not very efficient.

Due to design constraints (you may call it also surrendering to retro design), the luggage compartment is not very efficient.

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Trois-Rivières  in Quebec is located at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and Saint Lawrence Rivers, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River across from the city of Bécancour.

Trois-Rivières in Quebec is located at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and Saint Lawrence Rivers, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River across from the city of Bécancour.

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Expect to see beautiful small lakes during your scenic drive from La Malbaie to Tadoussac

Expect to see beautiful small lakes during your scenic drive from La Malbaie to Tadoussac

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With its whitewashed walls, red roof, maritime colours, dormer windows and cupola, Tadoussac Hotel, in Tadoussac, QC calls to mind an earlier era.

With its whitewashed walls, red roof, maritime colours, dormer windows and cupola, Tadoussac Hotel, in Tadoussac, QC calls to mind an earlier era.

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The Specifications

Type of vehicle
Engine
Power
Transmission
Brakes
Tires
Price (base/as tested)
Destination charge
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city; highway; as-tested
Optional features: 

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Gokche Erkan, Cagdas Ongen

Test vehicle was provided by Volkswagen Canada

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

http://www.vw.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.

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Jaguar XJ-L 3.0 AWD

 

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The new XJ was a true revolution when it was launched in 2008. Now, we are used to its elegant and sleek design.

The new XJ was a true revolution when it was launched in 2008. Now, we are used to its elegant and sleek design.

The coupe-like design with some limited headroom especially in the rear is less conservative than its German rivals.

The coupe-like design with some limited headroom especially in the rear is less conservative than its German rivals.

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The instrument panel with conventional look is a configurable TFT screen.

The instrument panel with conventional look is a configurable TFT screen.

The navigation is not the fastest one you can have at a large, luxury car with a six-digit price tag. However, it works very precisely.

The navigation is not the fastest one you can have at a large, luxury car with a six-digit price tag. However, it works very precisely.

 

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Cruising at around 120 kmh significantly limits your joy of driving.

Cruising at around 120 kmh significantly limits your joy of driving.

Williamsport, PA was settled by Americans late in the 18th century and the town began to prosper due to its lumber industry. By the early 20th century the town reached the height of its prosperity and the population has since declined by about a third from its peak of around 45,000 in 1950.

Williamsport, PA was settled by Americans late in the 18th century and the town began to prosper due to its lumber industry. By the early 20th century the town reached the height of its prosperity and the population has since declined by about a third from its peak of around 45,000 in 1950.

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Greater Carlisle Chamber of Commerce, PA

Greater Carlisle Chamber of Commerce, PA

The Washington Monument, Washington DC

The Washington Monument, Washington DC

 

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Driving from Washington DC to New York City via Baltimore Harbor Tunnel

Driving from Washington DC to New York City via Baltimore Harbor Tunnel

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2014 Jaguar XJ-L 3.0 AWD

In Manhattan, every square foot of land is very precious...

In Manhattan, every square foot of land is very precious…

...so, you are lucky if you find a parking spot even if...

…so, you are lucky if you find a parking spot even if…

...it may cost 40 dollars or so for slightly more than one hour.

…it may cost 40 dollars or so for slightly more than one hour.

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I would not advise to go to Little Italy in Manhattan, NYC by car.

I would not advise to go to Little Italy in Manhattan, NYC by car.

Sittting in the rear helps you feel as the CEO of a big company.

Sittting in the rear helps you feel as the CEO of a big company.

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2014 Jaguar XJ-L 3.0 AWD

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The Specifications

Type of vehicle
Engine
Power
Transmission
Brakes
Tires
Price (base/as tested)
Destination charge
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city; highway; as-tested
Optional features: 

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Gokche Erkan, Cagdas Ongen

Test vehicle was provided by Jaguar Canada

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.

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Range Rover Evoque

 

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2014 Range Rover Evoque

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The historic Village of Elora is less than a two-hour drive from Toronto and a nice weekend-escape destination.

The historic Village of Elora is less than a two-hour drive from Toronto and a nice weekend-escape destination.

 

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The leather dashboard has an ergonomic design smoothly tilting towards the driver.

The leather dashboard has an ergonomic design smoothly tilting towards the driver.

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A National Historic Site, the Wellington County Museum and Archives is housed in the earliest surviving example of a Poor House (later called House of Industry) in Canada. Built in 1877, it was in operation as the Wellington County House of Industry and Refuge until 1947.

A National Historic Site, the Wellington County Museum and Archives is housed in the earliest surviving example of a Poor House (later called House of Industry) in Canada. Built in 1877, it was in operation as the Wellington County House of Industry and Refuge until 1947.

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Select the "surface menu" you want or need.

Select the “surface menu” you want or need.

I think that the high seating position and the commanding view is one of the reasons of booming SUV sales in North America.

I think that the high seating position and the commanding view is one of the reasons of booming SUV sales in North America.

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Crossing the Grand River in Downtown Elora.

Crossing the Grand River in Downtown Elora.

The big sunroof is standard in the 5-door dynamic version.

The big sunroof is standard in the 5-door dynamic version.

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The two-liter, 4-cylinder Turbo engine from Ford (once LR's parent company) delivers 240 HP and 250 lb-ft of torque. The 9-speed automatic transmission is a German ZF.

The two-liter, 4-cylinder Turbo engine from Ford (once LR’s parent company) delivers 240 HP and 250 lb-ft of torque. The 9-speed automatic transmission is a German ZF.

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The 19" Sparkle Finish Alloy Wheels cost 500 CAD extra and give the Evoque a bolder appearance.

The 19″ Sparkle Finish Alloy Wheels cost 500 CAD extra and give the Evoque a bolder appearance.

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The Specifications

Type of vehicle
Engine
Power
Transmission
Brakes
Tires
Price (base/as tested)
Destination charge
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city; highway; as-tested
Optional features: 

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars, Dogukan Gunay

Test vehicle was provided by Land Rover Canada

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.

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Ford Fusion 1.5 Ecoboost

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Liberty Market near Queen Street West, Toronto.

Liberty Market near Queen Street West, Toronto.

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Although the Fusion costs about one tenth of the Bentley Continental Coupe, the appearance does not justify this difference. Do not be shy of parking your Fusion beside the Bentley.

Although the Fusion costs about one tenth of the Bentley Continental Coupe, the appearance does not justify this difference. Do not be shy of parking your Fusion beside the Bentley.

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The 1.5 liter EcoBoost engine delivers 181 HP at 6,000 rpm, and a torque of 175 lbft at 4,500 rpm. However, you do not feel a lack of power thanks to well-tuned 6-speed SelectShift automatic

The 1.5 liter EcoBoost engine delivers 181 HP at 6,000 rpm, and a torque of 175 lbft at 4,500 rpm.
However, you do not feel a lack of power thanks to well-tuned 6-speed SelectShift automatic

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Ford Fusion 1.5 SE Ecoboost

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453 liters of trunk capacity is good enough for a midsize sedan.

453 liters of trunk capacity is good enough for a midsize sedan.

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The Specifications

Type of vehicle
Engine
Power
Transmission
Brakes
Tires
Price (base/as tested)
Destination charge
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city; highway; as-tested
Optional features: 

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 allowed.

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Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 2.0 Turbo

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The Malibu has a beautiful and "clean" design that does not alienate the average buyer.

The Malibu has a beautiful and “clean” design that does not alienate the average buyer.

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The midsize Chevy offers a comfortable and commanding seating for the driver.

The midsize Chevy offers a comfortable and commanding seating for the driver.

The cockpit, centre console and the dashboard with high-quality plastics and fake-wood create a nice and solid appearance.

The cockpit, centre console and the dashboard with high-quality plastics and fake-wood create a nice and solid appearance.

The legroom in the rear is fine. However, the rear seats are uncomfortable and not up to the standards of the middle class.

The legroom in the rear is fine. However, the rear seats are uncomfortable and not up to the standards of the middle class.

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The Camaro-inspired taillights underline the family ties and give the Malibu a sportier look.

The Camaro-inspired taillights underline the family ties and give the Malibu a sportier look.

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The 7.9 liter consumption (as advertised) should be used only for comparison purposes. The actual average I measured was around 10 liters.

The 7.9 liter consumption (as advertised) should be used only for comparison purposes. The actual average I measured was around 10 liters.

In terms of cornering and steering response, the Malibu is much more a European car that about two generations ago. Credit to close cooperation with Opel, GM's European brand.

In terms of cornering and steering response, the Malibu is much more a European car that about two generations ago. Credit to close cooperation with Opel, GM’s European brand.

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The navigation system works perfectly and easier to use than in Cadillac, GM's top brand.

The navigation system works perfectly and easier to use than in Cadillac, GM’s top brand.

The 462 liter trunk space is big enough to accommodate a family of four during long rides.

The 462 liter trunk space is big enough to accommodate a family of four during long rides.

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The 2.0 liter four cylinder turbocharged Ecotec (gasoline) engine with 259 HP delivers 295 lb-ft of torque.

The 2.0 liter four cylinder turbocharged Ecotec (gasoline) engine with 259 HP delivers 295 lb-ft of torque.

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Nothing extraordinary, but good value for your money. This is The Chevrolet Malibu in a nutshell.

Nothing extraordinary, but good value for your money. This is The Chevrolet Malibu in a nutshell.

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The Specifications

Type of vehicle
Engine
Power
Transmission
Brakes
Tires
Price (base/as tested)
Destination charge
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city; highway; as-tested
Optional features: 

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Gokche Erkan, Cagdas Ongen

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.

AutoandRoad LOGO

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