Archive for July 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt Premier

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

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

Optional features

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

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

Arttic Blue Metallic: $495 

Total Price as Tested: $51,130

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

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

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

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BMW 540i xDrive: The Benchmark of Luxury

About the 5 Series

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

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

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

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

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


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

Driving Impressions

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

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

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

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

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








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


Model: 2017 BMW X5 40e

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

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($6,500) includes:

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

Driving Assistance Package ($1,900)

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

Interior Comfort Package ($2,500)

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

Smartphone Connectivity Package ($750)

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

LED Lighting Package ($2,500)

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

Remote Parking Package

  • BMW Display Key
  • Remote Control Parking

Stand Alone Options

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

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

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

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

Article: Varol McKars

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

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada

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

2017 Ford Focus EV: Again After A Model Year

A Follow-up From Last Year

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

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

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

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


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

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

Driving Impressions

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


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

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

The Specifications

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

Optional features:

P225/50R17 LRR Tires

Total Price as Tested: 33,748

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars

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

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