Archive for May 2017

Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE

Filling All The Niches In The Growing SUV Market

This is not your ordinary SUV, but a Land Rover.

The Compact SUV segment is flourishing and Land Rover wanted a slice from the pie. So, JLR introduced the Discovery Sport as a cousin of the Range Rover Evoque two years ago. It shares the same platform and some components with the Evoque, but slightly longer (80 mm) and more versatile with optional third-row and 5 + 2 seat configuration.

This is our second test drive with the compact, yet capable Disco Sport, (in Corris Grey). Our test vehicle was equipped with a lot of options (see the specs below) elevating the price to almost 70K. With the 2017 model year, we not only had a long-range highway test, but also put emphasize off-road capabilities like hill descent control, gradient release control, roll stability control, dynamic stability control, electronic traction control and were not disappointed.

As you approach Gravenhurst, the stools get bigger:-)))

Driving Impressions

The Discovery Sport is available with only one engine option: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder-gasoline-turbo-charged engine, 240 hp with 250 lb-ft of torque. Even if the nine-speed automatic from the German ZF provides a very smooth torque curve and it cannot hide the fact that this vehicle deserves a slightly powerful engine. I noted this specifically in our long drive from Toronto to North Bay and while accelerating and passing on the highway. Nevertheless, in a country with a tolerated speed limit of 120 km/h, you may get used to this feeling or think that an SUV for 70 Grand should provide more power no matter what. The intelligent full-time all-wheel drive continuously varies the torque split front to rear to optimize traction on all surfaces.

Inside The Cabin

The infotainment screen is big and easy to read. But the buttons around the screen may not be ideal for tall drivers, especially with tall legs.

The cabin looks slightly less luxurious than the Range Rover Evoque but still upscale with Ebony pimento trim.Seats are both supportive and comfortable, although I would like a bit more length in the bottom cushion.

Back from our visit to Nipissing University in North Bay, we had a stopover in Huntsville, capital of the cottage country.

 

This vehicle is not just for high seating position, but also for some off-road adventure far from asphalt.

 

 

Conclusion

Since its introduction in 2015 and based on the proven success of its cousin Range Rover Evoque, the SUV market in North America grew further and even for a truly SUV brand like Land Rover, it is so important to fill every sub-segment. And this LR is not only a capable off-roader, but also fun to drive on the asphalt.

This vehicle is not just for high seating position, but also for some off-road adventure far from asphalt.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle All-wheel drive compact SUV
Power 2.0-liter, four-cylinder-gasoline-turbo-charged engine, 240 hp with 250 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel drive
Transmission Nine-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $50,990 / $69,090
Destination charge $1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  city, highway
Standard features AdvanceTrac with electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, ABS (anti-lock brakes), hill start assist, power mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors,  Multifunctional Message Centre with LCD screen
Options Dynamic HSE Pack: $3,800, Touch-Pro Pack: $2,100, Driver Tech Pack $1,400, Vision Assist Pack: $1,200, Sirius Satellite Radio: $450, Heads up Display: $1,000, Heated Front Windscreen: $400, Ebony Headlining: $350, In Control Apps: $250, Black Contrast Roof $650, Destination & Delivery: $1,600, Green Tax: $100

Article: Varol McKars, Dokan Gunay

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.

2017 Ford Focus Titanium Sedan

A Quick Review

Despite the falling sales in North America, sedans will occupy an important segment in the car market.

As I test-drove the first generation Focus in Europe, this was in the last century, year 1999 to be exact.
Buy then, two features had caught my particular attention: On the (subjectively) negative side, the 5-speed manual gearbox (which was much more common than auto by this time) was tuned for fuel economy with very long ratios reducing the engine revolution but also the driving pleasure. On the positive side, the car’s roadholding was superior and was beyond the compact class.

Driving Impressions

The dashboard is functional with legible instruments and screen.

After nearly 20 years, my impressions are a bit similar to my first drive: The very good, comfortable yet safe roadholding is still there. And surprisingly, I still had an issue with the gearbox. This time, a 6-speed auto transfers the engine’s power to the wheels. The transmission occasionally shifts up and down too early or too late.

The 2.0L Ecoboost engine with 160 horsepower delivers 146 lbft at 4450 rpm

The engine delivers sufficient torque for this class and I never felt under-powered in daily highway and city commuting. The steering response was firm and makes you feel the road surface. And the brakes are well tuned. Although we did not have an instrumental measurement, stopping distance for braking from 100 km/h to zero is well under 40 meters. The average consumption was 10.6 liters is realistic in real-world conditions.

Developed by Canada’s QNX (a Blackberry company), SYNC 3 has a new eight-inch touchscreen with quicker response and better graphical design. Other new SYNC 3 features include integration of AppLink (to to control smartphone apps), Siri eyes-free capability for Apple iPhone, software updates via Wi-Fi, and enhanced 911 Assist for subscription-free emergency calling.

Other than this, I enjoyed driving this mature car with a solid engineering, good design, good space for this class and the very good level of safety and comfort equipment.

The Future

We already know that Ford will shift the production of the next generation Focus and C-Max from Wayne, MI to Mexico. With falling sales of Focus and sedans in general, its seems also possible that the Focus production may end entirely. At least in North America. As the FCA discontinued its weak-selling Chrysler 200C and Dodge Dart sedans, in today’s unforgiving competition, capacity utilization and scale of production is of vital importance. To me, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Ford stops Focus production and utilizes its North American capacity for new SUV’s, like the legendary Bronco. In this case, importing Focus from Europe would be a more feasible solution.

Conclusion 

For me Focus has a mature, well-facelifted design despite the falling popularity of sedans.

Our future concerns set aside, this automobile is a good choice for more conservative customers who also value a fully-loaded vehicle.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle Sedan 4-door compact car
Power 2.0L, 4-cylinder, inline, GDI gasoline engine, 160 horsepower, 146 lb-ft torque (4450 rpm),

Transmission Six-speed auto,

Price: base/as tested $26,708 / $30,508
Destination charge $1,650
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km)  12.1 city, 9.3 highway, 10.8 combined

Tires: Michelin P215/50R17

Options: Technology Package ($750), Engine Block Heater ($100), Voice-Activated Navigation ($800), Active Park Assist ($400)

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

2017 Lincoln MKC 2.0T AWD

Lincoln Brand Deserves Not Only Survival, But Success

The MKC has an elegant yet relatively conservative body style compared to, for instance Range Rover Evoque or Acura RDX

More than two years ago, we had our first test drive with the Lincoln MKZ. By then with the 2.3L Ecoboost engine. You can read this post at the link below:

Lincoln MKC 2.3 EcoBoost AWD

This time we had another engine from Ford’s inventory:

The proven 2.0L Ecoboost-turbo engine is poerful enough to move this mass forward with an average consumption of 12,2L (during our test drive)

2.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 240 horsepower (on 93 octane, 231 on regular) at 5,500 rpm, with 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm. This engine is slightly less powerful than than the 2.3L engine we tested earlier. The difference is negligible in daily driving. also the price: Our test vehicle, fully loaded (see the details below) has a sticker (MSRP) of $53,975.

Thanks to the panorama roof, the interior is awash with (sun)light

Except the engine (for our test purposes) essentially everything remained the same since our first test.
The MKC is a high-quality product in a surging, but crowded and highly competitive luxury compact SUV segment. The differentiation from its Ford cousin, Escape is good and it has no common sheet metal. The body is elegantly styled with unique-to-Lincoln features like the shift button on the console and the panorama glass.

Sales Figures

As of the first two-months of 2017, only 253 units were sold in Canada, down from 309 in the same period of the previous year.
Ford Escape, on this the MKC is based, reached 5048 units sold in the same period and up from 4721 in 2016. The factor of internal competition also deserves attention: A fully loaded Escape has the roughly the same price as a base MKC.
With regard to MKC’s direct competitors; the sales figures are: Acura RDX 909 units, the BMW X3 770 and Lexus NX 756.

The liftgate opens widely and allows easy loading-unloading

Looking Back in Earlier Decades

Obviously, there is a problem especially when you factor in the rich history of the Lincoln brand. I think the problem lies in the Ford’s mistakes in earlier years: Remember the serial failures with the luxury brands like Jaguar, Volvo and and Land Rover which Ford owned in the previous decades. In an unforgiving, tough statement, may I say that “Ford killed the identity of all these brands and then had to give up”.

Remember the unlucky Jaguar S-Type that borrowed so many parts from Ford Mondeo and had a less-than average quality record.

Now Lincoln is the only luxury brand Ford owns.And even in the last decade, during successful restructuring and re-defining Ford under Alan Mulally, Lincoln was still largely omitted. The design language was still half-defined, as we saw the change in the face-lifted MKZ series. (It is much better now).

So, among at least half a dozen luxury brands in North America, Lincoln is still a fading name and whatever Ford has done so far, is not enough. My 19-year old son, who drove and liked the MKC said, he would not consider buying an MKC or even a Lincoln.

The wraparound rear with the liftgate is nice and also provides good visibility

Conclusion:

In today’s market realities, every major manufacturer has to have at least one luxury brand to survive. Ford still has some time to build and define the identity of Lincoln. This brand with a great history deserves to survive.
Remember the long journey of GM’s Cadillac. Lincoln probably needs the same “pilgrimage”.

The Specifications
Type of vehicle All-whell drive compact SUV-CUV
Power 2.0L, 4-cylinder GTDI Ecoboost engine,
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS
Price: base/as tested $48.300 / $53,975
Destination charge $1,900
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km) 12.4 city, 9.0 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 Technology Package $ 2,250 (Active Park Assist, adaptive cruise control, lane assist), Class II Trailer tow Pkg $ 500, Aluminium Trim / Sonata Spin Pkg $ 225

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada via BHG Media

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

http://www.lincolncanada.com

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

BMW X5 40e: Bimmer’s Biggest SUV Gets Boost By Electrons

BMW’s Midsize SUV With Electro Mobility

We as AutoAndRoad tested and wrote about the X5 earlier.

BMW’s biggest member of the SUV Family (for now, until the X7 arrives), based on the 5-Series platform is a great product in the BMW model family and remains so since our earlier test three years ago. (You can read below)

Each Wheel Costs almost 25K: BMW X5 xDrive50i

The first generation X5 went into production in 1999. It is manufactured in Spartanburg, in South Carolina. In its 3rd generation since 2013, the X5 is a mature product BMW offers as a perfect response to today’s SUV-hungry customers in North America.

Say, driving characteristics, roadholding, steering or brakes. Each component adds up to a car-like driving that you would probably not expect from this vehicle; if you are not familiar with BMW driving dynamics.

The model we tested this time was the X5 40e, with e referring to electric. BMW fans and auto enthusiasts will easily remember that the Bavarian company takes electro-mobility very seriously and and they already have a dedicated model family called “i-cars”.
To be well-armed and prepared on the electrification front, it makes sense to add  “electrification” to the core BMW brand.

Back in 2013, BMW launched a lineup of hybrids they called ActiveHybrids. However, those models with very limited electric-only range were the first dots into a steep learning curve and did not find much interest. But this was only the beginning.

Engine and Powertrain

As the company’s first plug-in-hybrid Sports Activity Vehicle (as BMW calls its SUV’s) this model has the well-know 2.0-liter Twin Power Turbo four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery, integrated into its 8-speed automatic transmission.

Driving Impressions

The practical result is a driving pleasure that you would hardly expect from a 4-cylinder engine in a big SUV (pardon, SAV). The combination of ICE and electric motor delivers 308 horsepower and produces 332 lb-ft. With its intelligent, permanent all-wheel drive system, the vehicle securely sticks to the road surface and is fast enough to accelerate to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. (We did not make instrumental measurements but were convinced that this value was realistic.)

BMW says that this model can travel approximately 21 kilometers on pure electric power and the average consumption is 4.3L/100 km (equivalent)

In our real-life test drive biased towards highway driving, we reached an average of 6.8 liters which is still great for this category. During our one-week test drive, pure electric drive was only possible up to 15 kilometers. Maybe, we could not create the ideal test conditions. We think that in the heavy stop-and-go traffic it seems possible though.

 

The high-voltage battery is housed under the luggage compartment. This is a safe and convenient place in terms of crash safety and weight distribution. But, you have to compromise the luggage space, which is still big enough to accommodate for people for a trip from Ontario to Florida or so.

Conclusion

Realistically, for those who can afford a vehicle priced at north of 80 Grand, saving a few drops of fuel is not the main issue. More importantly, you are the ambassador of a mighty German brand that is well prepared and advancing in all fronts of future’s power alternatives (worth to remember that BMW is also working on the hydrogen front)

And with this model, you not only enjoy a refined driving, but also “slightly” contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Specifications:

Model: 2017 BMW X5 40e

Paint Type: Glacier Silver Metallic
Base /as tested MSRP: $74,700 /$84,250

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($6,300) includes:

  • Universal Remote Control
  • Comfort Access
  • Soft Close Doors
  • Manual Side Sunshades
  • Lumbar Support
  • Storage Compartment Package
  • Heated Rear Seats
  • Auto 4-Zone Climate Control
  • Lights Package
  • Active Blind Spot Detection
  • Active Protection
  • Driving Assistant
  • Surround View
  • Park Asisstant (inc PDC Front/Rear)
  • Head-Up Display
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Harman/Kardon Sound System
  • Speed limit Info

Smartphone Connectivity Package ($750)

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

LED Lighting Package ($2,500)

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

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

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

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

Article: Varol McKars

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

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada

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

http://www.bmw.ca