Archive for March 2020

2020 BMW X7 M50i

BMW X7 – The German Behemoth

As SUVs get bigger, BMW decided to enlarge their icon, X5 and created the X7. Is the X7 really the bigger version of X5 or practical version of the 7-Series? Though they may look similar wit the X5, the X7 is definitely a German Behemoth that offers unique luxury and comfort if you pay the premium.

With its 6-figure starting price, it does almost everything good and to be honest, it must be good to be able to compete in this very competitive segment. However, this makes our job more difficult to find any flaws unless you are very picky. In our test, we will not only review the good sides, but will try to explain what can be improved for the next generation or during the mid-cycle refresh.

Exterior and Interior

Is it the bigger version of the iconic X5?

Aside from overall sizes, one of the biggest differences from the iconic X5, it is the only 3-row SUV option in BMW’s model lineup. This means it is significantly bigger than its smaller sister.

Rear design matches perfectly with the front

Though it is big, it carries same design elements compared not only to X5, but almost all BMW lineup. If you remove BMW emblems, it is noticeable from 2 miles away that this is a BMW. Same huge BMW grille, headlights, taillights, rims – BMW keeps it is traditional design all around the car.

M package offers bigger brake calipers which makes the X7 stop quicker

Things are not really much different when you get inside the X7 and this is where it gets disappointing. The reason is not that it is bad, in fact it is an excellent interior, but too generic and it is almost same with almost all BMW lineup. A premium SUV with 6 figure price tag must have unique interior that should not make you feel like you are sitting in $40,000 3-Series. Again, our concern is not the interior quality, but the interior and mostly dashboard design.

Excellent interior quality, but have many common parts with cheaper BMW products
Typical button layout in the center console

If we look from the positive side, if you are currently driving a smaller BMW and would like to upgrade to X7, this will still feel like you are at home. From the first minute, you will know all button layout, infotainment system with few small difference.

Lots of legroom and headroom in the second row

As previously mentioned, material quality and craftsmanship is on par with 6-figure premium SUV, nothing surprising there. It can also offer great legroom and headroom all around the car, even in 3rd row. I (6’1″) can easily sit behind myself in the second row, and even in 3rd row if I adjust them correctly and my knees won’t touch to front seats which is quite impressive.

Lots of space in the third row either, but you may need to move 2nd row a little bit forward to fit the adults
A/C buttons are located in the ceiling for the 3rd row seats
You can fold down the 2nd – 3rd row seats from the trunk

What’s even more impressive is the luxury all around the car. BMW didn’t cut any corners when it comes to features and luxury even in the 3rd row. 2nd row seats are power-adjustable and their movement range is excellent. 3rd row seats are also electric but they are not as adjustable as the second row, which is understandable. However, we were hoping to find ventilated seats in the 2nd row rear seats, as this is getting very common feature in 3-row SUV segment for even half of the X7’s price tag.

Lots of cargo space when 3rd row is down.
You still have plenty of cargo space even if you carry 7 passengers

Engine and Drivetrain

This section is also an important factor why someone would pay 6 figures for this type of vehicle. Our tester is the M50i version which has 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood. It produces 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The peak torque is available from 1800 rpm all the way up to 4800 rpm, that means it is flat all around the mid RPM range and it makes all types of driving experience much better and smoother.

Under the hood, there is a V8 4.4L Twin-Turbo engine that pumps out 523 horsepower

This impressive engine is matched with BMW’s famous 8 speed torque converted automatic transmission and traditional rear biased All Wheel Drive system. This combination is enough to give it a 0-60 mph time under 4.5 seconds, which is very good for a vehicle that weights over 5500 lbs.

V8 + Twin Turbo + All-Wheel-Drive + 5500lbs = When you have all of these in one paragraph, that means there is a penalty for having everything all together. It is the fuel consumption. In our tests, we couldn’t get it lower than 15.0L / 100 km even on the highway. Our average consumption was around 18.0L which is pretty high but acceptable as if you are on the market for a vehicle that has 6 figure price tag, fuel consumption should not be your priority.

Driving Impressions & Features

Despite its weight and size, driving the X7 is easy and surprisingly not boring. Having a masterpiece engine and drivetrain contributes it’s driving dynamics a lot. Of course, you should not expect a supercar driving characteristics, but it is very good for what it is. At the end of the day, it is a huge car with a V8 and everything is tuned for comfort and smoothness. BMW achieved to have 7-series in SUV platform, and you feel it as soon as you start driving it.

No matter how big it is, it still feels very dynamic despite its weight

As mentioned above, lots of common parts used in other BMW models and that includes thick steering wheel. I am personally not a fan of thick profile steering wheel, and this is no exception. BMW is capable of providing great equilibrium when it comes to being sporty and comfortable with their suspension tune. X7’s suspension leans more towards road comfort despite having M Sport Package.

Same digital gauge cluster used in almost all new BMWs.

Feature list is too long to go through, but I will mention the most important ones:

X7 M50i has an adaptive suspension that can raise or lower itself when you are not moving. However, you can only drive it in standard mode and we wish that it should be adjustable when you are actually driving it for better fuel economy or more off road capability.

Another one is the digital gauge cluster, this is something nice to have, but we wish it is more adjustable. You can still change and customize few things, but not on par with its rivals. In terms of how it looks, it is a hate or love situation, some people are fan of the older generation analog gauge cluster. We are okay with the digital one, but concerned with long-term longevity.

X7’s infotainment is the latest generation and very user friendly

Infotainment system also deserves few words. It is BMW’s latest software and very easy to use especially if you are familiar with BMW’s infotainment system. If you are a totally new user, it may take few minutes to figure things out, but definitely not an overwhelming experience. We are also glad that BMW did not integrate air conditioning screen with the infotainment. In our book, this is an important thing as if the infotainment screen doesn’t work, you will still be able to use air conditioning.

Speaking of integration, as always, it comes with Apple CarPlay but not with Android Auto. This should be changed as BMW should not force its users to replace their smartphones. Android is an open source platform and it should not be too costly to implement it into BMW’s infotainment system. It has been several years that BMW doesn’t have this feature, even Apple CarPlay was not free recently and thankfully they changed their mind about it. It is time to add Android Auto, BMW! You are already too late!

Technology and feature wise, X7 has almost all features that are available with BMW as of 2020, and some important ones – such as Adaptive Cruise Control – works as good as other BMW models. For the whole list, please go to

Price and Conclusion

As of March 2020, BMW X7 starts at C$94,000 with the smaller engine. If you choose the M50i, it starts at $114,050 and this is a really big jump. Unfortunately, this doesn’t end here, as if you choose our tester’s color, which is called Ametrine Metallic, it costs extra $1,000. Our tester also had the Premium Package, which has Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Luggage Compartment Package, Ventilated Front Seats, Diamond looking glass shifter column, Walknappa Leather Dashboard, Ambient Air Package, Massage Function for Driver and Passenger, BMW Drive Recorder and BMW Individual Interior Color. All of these features in one package costs additional $8,000.

There is also Dynamic Handling Package which comes with Integral Active Steering and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview, and this package is additional $4,750. Adaptive Cruise control is surprisingly extra with the X7, which you have to pay $2,000 for Advanced Driving Assistant Package that also has Traffic Jam Assistant, Driving Assistant, Steering and Lane Control, Evasion Assist, Cross Traffic Alert, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, and Lane Keep Assist. Last but not least, Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System is $4,900 extra.

The total comes up to $134,700, which sounds expensive but it is on par with the competition. In fact, it is an SUV BMW specifically designed for the cream of the crop and doesn’t have to be either cheap or affordable. For almost same price, X7 M50i has the most powerful engine in its segment, and it is the fastest one. It has 30 more horsepower than Audi SQ7 and 50 more horsepower than Mercedes-Benz GLS 580. This is what matters for potential buyers more than the small price difference.

At the end of the day, it is a 3-row SUV designed for practicality. However, BMW was able to integrate its driving dynamics into this huge behemoth. It is a great combination of X5 and 7-Series. But including tax and everything, is it really worth C$150,000?

Well, it depends. If you are always carrying more than 5 passengers and need a premium SUV, then there are many options in the market. If you need one of the fastest 3-row SUVs with full size luxury car driving comfort, as well as car-like driving dynamics with unlimited budget, than this is your SUV.

However, do not forget that 3-row SUVs for “regular” people are within the price range of C$50,000-C$70,000 range, so you are paying almost two times more for all of these differences. If you just need practicality or if you are tight on budget, this is not an option for you.

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Article: Dan Gunay
Photos: Varol McKars

2020 Mitsubishi RVR GT AWC


The current generation RVR is a decade old but stays fresh thanks to a third facelift in 2019

For people, who are less familiar with Mitsubishi then, let’s say, Toyota or Honda, this japanese brand has a rich and deep history which is not less glorious than these global brands.

The roots of Mitsubishi goes back as far as until 1870, the foundation of Mitsubishi Keiretsu, which would later become Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, one of Japan’s industrial conglomerates. And in 1917, the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. introduced the Mitsubishi Model A, Japan’s first series-production automobile. Finally in 1970, Mitsubishi Motors (MM) emerged as part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

In 2011, MM was the 19th biggest automobile manufacturer worldwide.

Since 2016, Nissan owns one third (34 percent) of MM as Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance. In the last decade or so, Mitsubishi kept its presence in a hypercompetitive global automotive sector. The company focused more and more on SUV’s, following the global trends and practically halted the development of other models like the once legendary Lancer or Eclipse.

As the “Three Diamonds” (what Mitsubishi means) joined the powerful Renault-Nissan Alliance under Carlos Ghosn as CEO (by then), the expectations were higher as Mitsubishi could unleash its full potential and make utilize large scale of economics within the group. However, the Alliance itself is in a crisis in the post-Ghosn era and Mitsubishi is yet to gain advantages. These expectations aside, Mitsubishi manages to keep a model range consisting mainly of SUV’s and protects its in market share in North America. One key factor and marketing success is the class-leading warranty of 10 years.

The RVR Then And Now

The history of RVR goes back to 40 years ago. Mitsubishi had the first and second generation of RVR. The first generation was produced between 1991 and 2001 and this model was sold under the name “Space Runner” and also as; Dodge/Plymouth Colt Wagon and Eagle Summit Wagon as the result of cooperation between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. This was then a compact minivan instead of an SUV.

The second generation was manufactured between 1997 and 2002 as RVR and also under the name “Espace”.

Once a minivan: Mitsubishi Space Runner from 2000

The 2020 RVR GT AWC

Finally the current generation of RVR was introduced in 2010 as a compact crossover SUV. In the USA, it is sold as “Outlander Sport” The 2020 model is the fourth facelift, introduced prior 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Despite all these efforts, the RVR cannot conceal not only its age, but also the need for a new platform. The design reveals itself as a work of the previous decade, albeit with good build-quality with narrow panel gaps. Inside the cabin, you won’t find the high-quality soft-plastics everywhere but it is built solidly. An unexpected problem we encountered with the driver seat: It moved back and forth slighly while driving. We assume that this problem was unique to our tester.

The dashboard and interior are a bit outdated yet have good built quality. Metal shift paddles and big infotainment screen add to modernity
The front legroom is probably the best in this class
The rear legroom is not the best in class but acceptable

With a panorama glass roof in the GT trim, passengers in the rear have 30 mm more headroom than the standard model. The luggage space is also generous for this class, with 566 liters with all seats in upright position and with 1.415 liters with rear seats folded flat. The leather seat coverings give a more upscale look. The metal shift paddles and the new, bigger infotainment screen give a touch of modernity.

With 566/1,415 liters of cargo space is generous for the subcompact class

The RVR is Mitsubishi’s second best selling vehicle (nearly 6,300 RVRs were sold in Canada last year), after the Outlander PHEV, we tested earlier.

To read this test, please click:

Despite its age and not-the-best ride quality in this class, this is a solid vehicle, supported also by a 10-year, industry leading warranty.

The RVR is the only model in the subcompact class that offers a lockable 4WD system with its GT package we tested. Most drivers will not notice its absence or even ask for it. But Mitsu’ subcompact offers this feature for instances where you need serious off-road capabilities.

Engine And Powertrain

The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine delivers 268 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque

Our tester, GT AWC has a 2.4L four cylinder engine delivering 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to Mitsubishi’s latest INVECS­III CVT transmission. This combination generates sufficient torque and passing power for your daily needs. We, as AutoandRoad drivers are not fans of CVT’s, but appreciate the fuel economy it can deliver and thus making the average driver happy. Mitsubishi rates the GT versions of the RVR at 9.4 litres per 100 kilometers. Our test, consisting of urban and highway driving almost equally delivered 9.8 L/100 km, which is quite close to “official” figure.

Old design with a recent facelift

Driving Impressions

With MacPherson struts up front and an independent multi-link system in the rear, the subcompact Mitsu drives well, though more truckish than smooth urban cruising. In today’s reality that SUV’s are driven more than 90 percent in urban areas, a new chassis is due. It was apparent that Mitsubishi saved on isolation quality, as we noticed the engine and tire noise infiltrating the cabin at highway speeds.

The GT option offers a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with subwoofers. A nice feature to be found at a subcompact SUV. 


After all ups and downs, the RVR remains a sensible choice if you look for a subcompact SUV

The base, FWD model of the RVR starts at C$ 22,998. Our tester with GT trim and AWD has an MSRP of C$ 33,998. This price is justifiable for a well-equipped japanese SUV that offers a 10-year warranty.

Mitsubishi is on tight budget. It means that model cycles last longer, new models arrive later and the latest technology may wait. The upside is that you buy a reliable and robust japanese product from from an old manufacturer with a warranty that gives you peace of mind and confidence

Article by Varol McKars

Photos by Dan Gunay

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

2020 BMW X1 28i xDrive

The second generation X1 opened a new chapter in the BMW’s history. The smallest SUV the Bavarians offer is based on a new platform, called UKL (comes from Under Class in German) with transversely mounted 4-cylinder engine and shared with the Mini Countryman, BMW Group’s sister brand.

Sharing platforms accross the models and brands within the same group is almost a must to save on engineering and production costs and enable at least some flexibility in production. Remembering also that the X1 and the Countryman are two completely different looking vehicles, this strategy worked well.

Exterior and Interior

Misano Blue Metallic looks great, but it is a $895 extra

It is hard to believe the second generation is already 7 years old, while the exterior and interior still look fresh. The X1 is the most affordable SUV in BMW’s model lineup, but keeps BMW design characteristics both outside and inside.

Rear design looks as good as the front, it doesn’t look like it is released in 2015

Our tester has the M Sport package, which comes with M specific front and rear bumper, and 19″ M Sport wheels and it is an $2250 extra. We are not sure this is really necessary for a utility vehicle, as comfort and practicality should be the priority especially for an SUV which doesn’t have much power.

19″ M specific rims only comes with M Sport Package

Sitting behind the steering wheel, you see that there are lots of common parts used in other BMWs, a mixture of common brand identity and cost cutting. Well, eventually, this is a “budget SUV” even if up to the BMW quality standards. You see less soft touch plastics compared to “higher-class” BMWs, but the Germans kept the distance to non-premium alternatives in this segment.

Our tester with the M package comes with a sporty steering wheel, seats with more aggressive side bolstering, and light gray-white aluminum trim all over the dashboard. M seats are not the most comfortable for long rides as we found that side bolsters are too aggressive for a utility vehicle that produces less than 250 horsepower. It would be a wiser choice to skip the M package completely as you would be saving a couple thousand dollars and regular seats would likely provide a more comfortable driving experience.

It ages gracefully, with some older BMW design elements

Another selling point for utility vehicles is the rear seat legroom and cargo space. Unfortunately this is not the strongest point for the X1, as you won’t be able to sit behind if you are taller than 5’9″. Sport M seats have thicker profile thus leaving less legroom in the rear. However, it still has sufficient overall legroom if you are an average sized family, or if you have smaller kids.

Engine & Drivetrain

2.0L Turbocharged engine produces 228 hp and 257 ft-lb of torque

At the end of the day, this should be an “Ultimate Driving Machine”, shouldn’t it? Well, things are not same as it used to be. Second generation X1 changed it’s engine layout which is transverse, that means it is a Front Wheel Drive based vehicle.

Even though you get an All Wheel Drive version, which is standard in Canada, this still doesn’t change the fact that it always sends the power to the front first, so you will be getting understeering unless you give less throttle input when you are on the limit. That doesn’t mean you cannot go sideways on slippery surfaces like a rear wheel drive car, you just need to be more patient.

Though the infotainment system is very capable, essential features like A/C have hard buttons

The 2020 X1 28i only comes with only one engine option and transmission. The 4-cylinder 2.0L turbocharged engine (which is available accross the model ranges) delivers 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This power and torque curve is adequate for your daily drive with a compact SUV, but you should not expect a fast car. The engine is tuned for more torque in the mid range, and it is very usable power for regular driving.

xDrive + Snow Tires = Very safe but it can also be fun!

Like most other BMWs, the X1 comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It works perfectly almost all other BMWs and X1 is not an exception. This transmission mated to the 2.0L turbo engine offers great fuel economy. We were able to get around 9.5L / 100 km in our test, which is very close to the “official” measurement figures.

Driving Impressions & Features

Usually, if we are talking about a BMW, there are lots of features but you need to pay the premium to have all of those. In our tester, we were missing some crucial ones. For instance, there was no blind spot monitoring, brake hold assist, adaptive cruise control, wireless charging. Those features are available in non-premium brands within $25-30,000 range. In 2020, blind spot must be available in a premium brand that has over $50,000 price range, let alone adaptive cruise control.

X1 has high seating position as you would expect from an SUV

Also a Premium Package is available that comes with heated steering wheel, power folding side mirrors, automatic trunk, comfort access, aluminum roof rails, panorama sunroof, auto dimming mirrors, sport seats, lumbar support, LED headlights with cornering function, park assistant, head-up display, and navigation which costs $5950.

BMW Infotainment system is easy to use and very responsive

On the road, the driving position felt more SUV-like to the X3 and X5 and that is very interesting. As this is a smaller SUV, we were expecting to feel more car-like driving dynamics however that was not the case. Steering feeling was numb, and we noted a delay with the throttle response especially in Comfort mode. Our tester with the M Sport Package, comes with stiffer suspension and bigger rims, leading to relatively less comfort. However, we must admit, suspension tune is excellent but on the stiffer side. If it was our car, we would definitely opt out the M package, as it is just for looks, and the priority should be comfort and practicality rather than how it looks.

Pricing & Conclusion

The X1 28i is the most affordable BMW though with some flaws. Despite its premium pricing point, you definitely feel that it is an entry level model, even if still a BMW. Some important features, that come standard even with compact hatchback cars, are missing. As long as you are okay with those, you will be getting a premium car with great driving dynamics, and the BMW quality.

The X1 28i xDrive starts at $42,100 and goes north of $50,000 range. Our tester had a sticker price of $52,645 which had the Premium Package Enhanced, M Sport Package, and stand alone options like Dakota Leather and fancy metallic paint.

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

Article and Photos by Dan Gunay

2020 Ford Escape

In the most competitive segment of the autos in Canada and in most parts of the world, Ford introduced the new Escape. FoMoCo is relying more and more on SUV’s, CUV’s and trucks while moving away from passenger cars excluding the Mustang. The new Escape is a courageous step.

With 279K vehicles (rounded) sold in Canada in 2019, Ford is the best-selling brand here for 11 years in a row. Out of this number, nearly 40K was an Escape. So the stakes are high.

Exterior and Interior

A well-designed and executed dashboard leaves little room for error

Ford Escape has completely new design inside and outside this year. Though it is a subjective matter, I am not a fan of the newer design. It looks much like a raised Focus. If we have to rephrase this, it looks much more civilized and previous generation Escape looks much more rugged and more like a proper SUV. Like it or not, it represents overall Ford design elements really well. If you take off the Ford badge, people would still recognize this is a Ford product. Also, 19″ Aluminum rims looks excellent in my opinion, but it only comes with the top trim.

19″ aluminium wheels are standard in titanium trim level

Interior design is another story. Like exterior, it is completely new, nothing looks similar to the previous generation. It looks much more civilized like the exterior, however this one fits better for the Escape, as the potential buyers are looking for more luxury in this kind of competitive segment. The dashboard has lots of soft touch plastics and leather, maybe not on par with premium German rivals, but pretty good for what it is.

Rear legroom is one of the most important factors for an SUV, as this is a utility vehicle, there has to be plenty of space for families and hauling. Latest generation Escape has significantly more rear legroom compared to it’s previous generation. 2020 Escape is approximately 2 inches longer compared to the 2019, as well as longer wheelbase. The only thing that 2020 Escape falls behind compared to 2019 is the cargo capacity, which is a slight decrease from 68 cubic-feet to 65.4. However, with the sliding second-row seats, Ford offers a smart solution. According to the volume of cargo and the number of passengers you can significantly increase the cargo space when you need or provide more legroom for the rear-seat passengers. And advantage that neither the RAV-4, nor the CR-V can offer.

The cargo room is less than in Toyota RAV 4 and Honda CR-V, however, with sliding second-row seats, Ford offers a more flexible and smarter solution: More room for cargo or passengers depending on the needs.

The steering wheel is probably the only item that looks similar to the one in the previous generation Escape. The buttons are easy to use, and doesn’t take much time to get used to it. The only thing that I wasn’t a fan is the type of leather chosen to use in the steering wheel. It is extremely stiff and doesn’t feel like a leather. It feels more like a polyurethane cheap plastic, so this is where Ford needs to look into it.

The top Titanium trim comes with digital instrument cluster which offers a clear view of the most important information without distraction

The top trim comes with digital gauge cluster, and it is easy to see when it is sunny, and it is not going to hurt your eyes when it is dark. It is not 100% customizable, but it changes its colors depending on driving mode and there are lots of information available. Though we must say, there is a little bit lag when you switch driving modes, and considering this is a brand new car, this shouldn’t be the case.

Probably the most significant change after the overall interior design is the infotainment system and 8 inch touchscreen. Compared to the previous generation, this is also a completely different software, and it works perfectly. This is where Ford really paid attention and unlike the previous gen, it looks much more up-to-date. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and they both work smoothly. The touch screen works accurately and it is very responsive.

There are multiple different categories placed in the bottom which you see Audio, Phone, Nav, Apps and Settings. In the main screen, it is divided to three different sections. You can see your media, nav and other information gathered in one screen. You can also adjust driving assistance settings through the infotainment system. Overall, we enjoyed using the infotainment system, it is a significant update, and can keep up many years without looking outdated.

Engine and Drivetrain

2.0L, 4-cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine delivers 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

New Escape comes with 4 different engines, 2 hybrid and 2 gas powered options. Base trim comes with 1.5L Ecoboost, which is turbocharged 4 cylinder direct injected engine. Base engine pumps out 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. Top trim gas version comes with 2.0L Ecoboost engine, which is also turbocharged, produces 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel. Gas versions come with 8-speed automatic transmission.

Electrified versions of Escape come with naturally aspirated engines. There is no AWD option for Plug-in Hybrid. Both come with Electronic-Continuous Variable Transmission. Both engines have high compression ratio for higher torque curve, and surprisingly they have multi-port injection which means no maintenance like direct injection.

Escape’s AWD system is pretty sophisticated, it sends power whenever front wheels lose traction and the operation is smooth. However, at the end of the day, it is a front-biased all wheel drive system which is focused on fuel economy, rather than the driving pleasure.

Our tester (2.0 Ecoboost) comsumed around 10.0L / 100 km, which is slightly lower than average. However, there are not many options that offer 250 hp in this market, so it is justifiable. Just don’t expect to get the best fuel economy if you are not easy on throttle pedal.

Driving Impressions & Features

Our first impression was that Ford really took its time to develop and improve the interior design compared to the last generation. Infotainment, air conditioning and all the other buttons are placed well. They are easy to reach and they used actual buttons instead of using for most essential features, which is great for longevity.

Tablet-style infotainment screens become more and more popular. It is easier to integrate to different dashboard designs and offer better visibility for the driver and passengers.

The new Escape feels and drives more like a car rather than a truck, compared to the previous generation. The steering feels above average, but nothing spectacular. Getting in and out is easier with 2020 Escape as it is slightly lower to the ground, wider and longer. Suspension tune also feels more like a car, it is very solid and there is not much body roll. Based on our test drives with several Ford vehicles, the blue-oval brand is really good at suspension tuning, slightly on the stiffer side but not sacrificing comfort at the same time. Overall, 2020 Escape has a great equilibrium of stiffness and comfort like the other models.

Compared to 2019, 2.0L Ecoboost engine used in 2020 Escape is not really different, as it has same torque characteristics and high torque in the mid range, the transmission is tuned for road comfort rather than performance. It is not responding well if you use paddle shifters, it shifts late and it feels it doesn’t like manual input. At the end of the day, it is a utility vehicle and it is meant to be driven easy, so we are not blaming Ford for tuning the engine and transmission for comfort.

However, we have to criticize Ford for not letting its drivers to fully disable the traction and stability control. We are aware this is a safety feature, but it is not helping if you are trying to take the Escape off-road. Though it comes with multiple different driving modes, that includes snow, mud and sand mode, it is not letting the driver to fully control as it tries to cut the power in loose surface, no matter what you do or which mode you are in.

In our 2019 Escape test, which you can find here,, we seriously criticized Ford for trying to implement half baked technologies on older platforms, which included the previous generation Escape. Adaptive cruise was one of them, as it was unable to fully stop and start and overall operation was not the smoothest. Finally, Ford offers full-range adaptive cruise control system in 2020 Escape and it works really well.

Pricing & Conclusion

2020 Ford Escape starts at $28,549 CAD and it can go all the way up to $45,000 CAD range, it depends what you need to be honest. Interestingly, Hybrid version top trim is significantly cheaper than gas version, so that would actually be a great buy considering it will be much cheaper to operate the hybrid version in the long term.

Our tester unit was the “Titanium” top trim with gas engine, which costs $40,049 CAD and it comes with all the features available in Escape. The only option for Titanium Package is the Titanium Premium Package, which offers Head-Up Display as well as Panoramic Sunroof that adds up $2,300 CAD.

To sum it up, Ford spent significant time and engineering effort for the 2020 Escape. Though this is our subjective opinion, it looks like a raised Ford Focus, which is not necessarily a bad thing. All manufacturers are trying to market SUVs for more mainstream users, and making SUVs look more civilized inside and outside, they are trying to get more market share. 2020 Escape is just one of them.

Adding Hybrid and PHEV versions also show that Ford is serious about being leader in this class, as it is getting more competitive, which only time will tell. Compared to the previous generation, I think Ford did a great job, but it is too early to say this if the new Escape is the best in its class.

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

Article & Photos by Dan Gunay and Varol McKars.

2019 BMW X2 35i xDrive

BMW’s smallest SAC at the King’s Circle of U of T

On The Road In Toronto And To Ottawa

This article is more about the road then the auto itself.

However, let’s start with the second one:

BMW can be proud of inventing a body-style, which looked somewhat illogical, yet became so popular.

In 2008, The Bavarian company introduced the X6, a vehicle that combines the features of an SUV in a room-inefficient coupe style with a sloping roof costing valuable cargo space. BMW named anf marketed this model as SAC, sports activity coupe. By then, a famous auto journalist defined the X6 even as “a vehicle which doesn’t make sense.”

however, as more and more X6’s hit the roads, People got used and loved this “contradiction”. And many other brands, from Mercedes to Audi and Acura adopted this body style and successfully in most cases.

Endorsed by its sales success, BMW was not hesitant to carry this interpretation of SUV to other members of its model family thus creating X4 the coupe version of X3 and X2, the coupe version of X1.

In addition to our previous review of BMW X1 28i xDrive I was able to quickly review the X2, a “the sportier cousin”.
Thanks to the opportunity BMW Canada provided, I drove with the X2 (2019 model year) from Toronto to Ottawa and back on the same day. The big difference the X2’s more powerful, 2.0L, 4-cylinder, twin-turbo engine with 302 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.

A smoother, more torquer engine and easier acceleration and passing on the highway are the rewards.

The base price of this model was $49,200, and our well-equipped tester with all bells and whistles had a MSRP of 56,650.

With this vehicle I spent an active and exciting week.

In Toronto With Sinan Meydan, Turkish Historian and Columnist

Visiting the historic main campus of the U of T with our guests from Turkey

Mr. Sinan Meydan, a famous and much respected historian and columnist from Turkey and his wife were the guests of the Ankara Library of Toronto (ALT), a cultural organization that promotes Turkish language and literature. After he met the Canadan Turkish community in Toronto at a talk show, he had only one full day to discover the city. As the President of the ALT and also as a tour guide, it was appropriate to lead him and his wife for a Toronto tour. And this BMW X2 was the host vehicle.

Enjoying tea after beer at Mill Street Brewery
The Historic Distillery District is a must-see during a Toronto tour

The compact size and the responsive steering were only two of several features the X2 offers to navigate Toronto relatively easy on a business day and in rush hours. Following a panoramic view of the Toronto Skyline from Koval’s’kyj Park at the end of Polson Street, we had a longer break at the Historic Distillery District. We walked on the cobblestone streets and tried some ales and enjoyed Montreal smoked meat and poutine at the Millstreet Brewery. BMW showed its fine-tuned, high-quality suspension as we navigated the streets with countless potholes at and near the St. Lawrence Area. After a short stop at the Nathan Phillips Square, we found ourselves at the King’s Circle to discover the Architecture and history of one of the most respected educational institutes on the planet: University of Toronto.

The Author finds his book in a distant, overseas country

Our next stop was the Reference Library, where Mr. Meydan was proud to find some of his books in the Turkish Section.

The finale was the recording of the interview for Turkuaz, an ethnic TV station broadcasting for the Canadian Turkish community.

On The Way To The Nation’s Capital

The Big Apple is a perfect stopover on the way from Toronto to Ottawa. Fresh and delicious food for dine-in and takeout
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa

On Thursday of the same week, I hit the road to Ottawa to attend the Memorial Concert Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Ausschwitz Concentration Camp at the Embassy of the Russian Federation. Thanks to Anatoly, my dear friend I had received and invitation from Alexandr Darchiev, his Excellency the Ambassador of the Russian Federation.

With Alexandr Darchiev, his Excellency, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Ottawa and Anatoly, my dear friend

With Viktoriya Yudina as the singer, Mikhail Kuznetsov the pianist and Roufat Amiraliev the violinist, this was a great performance and a memorable concert.

With Viktoriya Yudina, the singer and Mikhail Kuznetsov,the pianist

Many people cried as Roufat played “Schindler’s List” as the opening piece of the concert.

With Roufat Amiraliev, the violinist

At the reception after the concert, guests became very emotional as a group of Holocaust survivors sang with the Ambassador. Remember that nobody knows if thse senior people would be here next year.

Mr. Ambassador dining and singing holocaust survivors

Returning to Ottawa after the reception, I was lucky enough to have Mr. Alexandr Levkovich, the famous composer as my travel companion. Time passed by so quickly as we conversed about different topics from music to international politics and economy.

The X2 delivered good fuel economy with 8,2 liters on the average

The smooth ride in the well isolated cabin of the X2 helped. The avwerage consumption after 959 kilometers of return dirve was 8.2 liters. An impressive figure for a 2.0L, twin-turbo engine.

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Article and Photos by Varol McKars