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

BMW 330e: The Electric BMW For The Poor Man

The Cheapest Electrified BMW which is not so cheap at all.

Electrification in on the agenda of every manufacturer even if the real returns and real mass production are still years away.

With the Tesla factor, a rising star from California aiming to manufacture 500K pure EV’s in 2018, all big players take EV’s more seriously now and want to be well-prepared for a sudden turnaround.

And BMW is not an exception. Apart from i-cars, the Bavarians are working to develop plug-in hybrid versions of existing models as a transitional technology.
As the least expensive plug-in hybrid in the BMW portfolio, we lived with the 330e Sedan. This is the member of the 3 Series Family, the world’s number one luxury lineup which is also due for replacement next year.

Engine and Powertrain

The 330e has the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder from the shelf, which produces 180 hp and 215 lb-ft. With an electric motor placed under the trunk floor and in front of the 8-speed transmission, a total output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque is available to the driver. As the technological interpretation of BMW, the transmission ratios to be used in all-electric mode, and a torque converter isn’t required.

Driving Impressions

With rear-wheel drive only, the 330e sprints from 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, and is quicker than its two xDrive sibling, 320i xDrive (7.6 s), and almost as fast as the 330i xDrive (5.8 s). BMW data tells us that even though the 330e doesn’t have AWD, added batteries and cabling bring an additional 88 kg compared to the all-wheel drive 330i. And as in many other makes and models that have not been developed as a hybrid or EV from the design studio,a sacrifice is the trunk space is almost inevitable. The batteries reduce the volume from 480 L to 370 L. But, it is still good enough for an ordinary life with the car.

BMW has engineered the car to provide 50/50 balance over the front and rear axles.

The products of Bavarian luxury brand are known for providing a dynamic driving pleasure and a sporty feeling no matter what engine is under the hood. The 330e is no exception.
Electric-only acceleration is immediate, and for a second or two, you may have the illusion of driving a Tesla or Chevy Volt. But this doesn’t last long and the powerful turbo-four “intervenes, as you want to drive in a dynamic mode and hit the gas pedal further. Finally, this is not a Prius. The transition between electrons and carbons is seamless and you notice that the advanced and sophisticated engineering school at BMW has not left anything to chance.

BMW’s press release says the 330e can go 40 kilometers on a full charge. During our one-week test in late April when the temperature was swinging between one and 20 degrees in Ontario and in a mixed driving mode, we could achieve pure electric distances of up to 30 plus.
Obviously, this BMW does not aim at competing with cars like Tesla and the Chevrolet Volt with a range extender. However, this Bimmer gives you the option of three driving modes: To utilize both gas and electric to optimize range and performance (AUTO eDrive), to use electric-only (MAX eDrive), or save the electricity and use gasoline-only (SaveBattery).

With the powerful turbo-engine, you do not only not have any range anxiety, but a typical BMW drive like in conventional gas-engine models.

All other features inside and out do not differ much from a traditional BMW 3 Series, different models of which we tested earlier.

And with the green license plate, you can drive in the HOV/Carpool lanes without any passengers in your vehicle. This helped us a lot while commuting between Burlington and North York using HOV lanes in QEW and the 403 in the morning and evening rush hours.

Conclusion

A mature and reliable model family on the one hand, the 3 Series is coming to ages. And with the new models from Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 as the main competitor, a brand new model is on its way for 2018 model year that could be launched at the IAA in Frankfurt in September.

Specifications:

Model: 2017 BMW 330e Sedan

Paint Type: Alpine White
Base /as tested MSRP: $52,550 /61,250

Optional Equipment:

Premium Package Enhanced ($5,550) includes:

  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Alarm System
  • Universal Remote Control
  • Comfort Access
  • Rear View Camera
  • Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
  • Through Loading System
  • Park distance Control, front and rear
  • Head-Up Display
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
  • Harman/Kardon Sound System
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services Package

Driver Assistance Package ($2400) includes:

  • Electric Rear Sunshade
  • Manual Side Sunshades
  • High-Beam Assistant
  • Active Blind Spot Detection
  • Driving Asisstant
  • Surround View
  • Heated Rear Seats
  • Speed Limit Info

Smartphone Connectivity Package ($750)

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

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, Burak McKars, Basak Mc Kars, Dan Gunay

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

Lincoln Continental: Lincoln’s Flagship On The Road

Continental Moves Lincoln Forward

We had the opportunity to drive the 2017 Lincoln Continental on Ontario roads for a week.

Continental is not only the new flagship for the Lincoln. With the return of this great nameplate, from 1940’s to sixties, FoMoCo finally gets very serious to build a great future for its luxury brand.
I drove almost every Lincoln which came out in the last five years and may call myself as witness of the rebirth of this brand. I can confidently say that Continental is Ford’s ultimate commitment to Lincoln for a safe and bright future.
Starting from the distinctively beautiful exterior design and every detail within thew cabin tell you that Lincoln is ready to compete with the best of the luxury class, at least in material, craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Creativity on the same platform

Well, the cost considerations are still serious too. Even for its new flagship, Ford did not develop a unique platform for this full-size luxury car, but instead remained loyal (do not tell this to anybody) to the Fusion platform, as it did with the MKZ. But The Continental is significantly different from a Fusion (the platform is wider and longer anyway), so you cannot understand it visually.

With its roadholding and driving dynamics, the Continental represents the luxury of the big American sedan.

 

 

 

 

 

Under the hood is a 3.0L V6 engine and AWD which is mated to a 6-speed auto. This vehicle is perfect for silent and luxurious cruising across the continent. Luxury features span from 30-way adjustable leather chairs to natural finished wood to electric door openers. Details such as door handles that mold into the chrome strip going down the belt line, give this car a distinct personality and character. The big panorama sunroof very beautifully complements the sumptuous interior. Push-button shift dials remain as a Lincoln feature, even if this is not for everyone’s driving taste.

Driving Impressions

Even if you cannot (and probaly should not expect the sportiness of a German sedan, Continental is a very comfortable roadmate for long, straight and boring North American highways with speed limits between 100 and 120 kms. I would not have problem to drive this car from New to San Francisco or from Toronto to Montreal. Navigating Italian or Swiss Alps is an entirely different story and Lincoln will most probably never be part of it. My favorite feature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Even in the successful years of Alan Mulally, Ford’s former CEO, Lincoln was largely neglected. (This was probably the right thing to do since the mother company needed and achieved strong recovery before dealing with Lincoln). However, very recently, we witness bolder steps to reestablish the identity of the Lincoln brand. Nevertheless, it will take some more time probably even a model generation to position Lincoln as a truly luxury brand like Cadillac.

Type of vehicle: Fullsize sedan
Engine: 3.0L GTDI, DOHC,
Transmission: 6-speed, select-shift automatic
Price (base/as tested): $60,500 / $76,950
Destination charge: CAD 1,900
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 14 city; 9.5 highway; 12.3 combined

Optional features

Luxury Package: CAD 5,500 (premium LED headlamps, single slot CD player, Revel Ultima Audio, 19 speaker,

Twin-panorama moonroof with power shade: CAD 2,200

30-way power multi-contour seat: CAD 750

Technology Package: CAD 3,000 (Auto-dimming rear mirror, Active park-assist, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, Pre-collision assist W/Ped Detec, lane departure warning)

Total Price as Tested: $76,950

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars, lincolncanada.com

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

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

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.

 

Jaguar XE to XF and Diesel

Diesel As We Know Today Is Still Very Much Alive

Jaguar and Diesel: These two words do not sound very familiar or match well at first. Diesel has hardly been a popular word in North America when we refer to passenger cars. And what happened after VW’s emission cheating scandal, we all know.

Amid the slow but steady rise of EV’s, or at least the talk of it, Diesel has become more a dirty and sinful word rather than an efficient and advanced version of the internal combustion engine.

This doesn’t change that reality that diesel engines are still a viable alternative for efficient and technologically advanced option also for personal mobility.In the last five to 10 years, premium German brands like Mercedes, BMW and Audi introduced powerful and torqey engines for a pleasurable driving experience. In  Europe, diesel-powered cars and SUV’s reached a high market share (sometimes 50 per cent plus in some segments).

The Engine

Recently, we were able to test two different models of Jaguar sharing the same engine.

Both the compact XE, and the midsize XF that we tested, have the same powerhouse under the hood:

Jaguar’s new Ingenium 2.0L engine has its displacement spread over four cylinders. The compression ratio is a monstrous 15.5-to-1 not surprisingly due to the features of this engine type: There’s no spark plug to initiate combustion, and the 20d relies instead on the heat generated by the compression of air to “spark” the ignition. The result of all this squeezing of crude is 180 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 318 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. This wide torque band makes you feel driving a car with a bigger and more powerful engine than it actually is. And in fact, slightly above this torque band, the engine suddenly becomes a bit sluggish and the joy of driving stats diminishing.

Our first test car, the XE is Jag’s newest sedan and the entry model of the brand competing with the Merc’s C-Class, Bimmer’s 3 Series, Audi A4 and the likes. The XE gives the kind of driving pleasure in a compact luxury car that the British brand lacked since the discontinuation of the unfortunate S-Type under the Ford ownership.

The XE was a bold step for Jaguar to immerse into the compact and volume-rich compact luxury class. Without this market segment, Jaguar could not reach scale of advantages as a global luxury car manufacturer.

The same engine does a very good job under the hood of the midsize luxury XF. In its second generation introduced in 2016, the XF is now a powerful contender against the very established players such as the E-Class from Mercedes and the BMW 5 Series.

Driving each car for one week, we ended up with a very satisfying motoring experience. It reminds us the reality that we should not be in a rush to drive a Tesla for the sake of the environment.

Driving Impressions

 

 

 

 

 

With the smaller XE, we reached an average consumption of six liters on a mixed mood both on highway and the city. With the larger XF, our average consumption was just north of 7 liter mark, which was reasonable considering more than 50 per cent of city driving.

Both cars had standard all-wheel-drive system providing a more settled a confident ride on slipperry, slushly and icy surfaces as the weather was like during our test days. The brakes are very good and birng the car to a very quick stop confidently. Although we did not perform an instrumental measurement, I can roughly say that the car stops in about 40 meters from the deceleration of 100 km/h

Realistically, a luxury car manufacturer would do it very hard in Canada without offering AWD.

Conclusion

Under the TATA ownership, Jaguar made a commitment to become a major player in the luxury segment, instead of remaining a niche manufacturer. With the hot-selling F-Pace SUV and the entry-level XE Jaguar is quickly filling the gaps towards a full-model range.The the XF is a more solid model in its second generation with a more mature design. Both test vehicles were fully loaded.

Jaguar XE AWD Diesel R-Sport (in Ultimate Black) starts from CAD 57,500 and, our test vehicle had a MSRP of CAD 64, 650.

The bigger Jaguar XF AWD Diesel R-Sport has a base price of CAD 68,500. Our test vehicle had options worth CAD 9,000 elevating the price to CAD 77,500.
The pricing point is reasonable for this luxury segment.

Even if it sounds a bit unfamiliar for a Jag to have a self-igniting machine under the hood, it works wonderfully well. You have to “see” it, to believe it.

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.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.

CIAS 2017: The Business Of Showing Cars Gets Better And Better

Canadian International Auto Show, CIAS for short, takes place in Toronto in February every year.
About one month after the Detroit Show, it is, to a large extend a repetition of new model launches in Detroit and unfortunately to a large part a “deja vu” for an auto journalist or blogger, like myself, who already visited Detroit.

This year, it was not much different.
The good thing in Toronto is the crowd of media people is much smaller and you can see and look at everything in a much more relaxed way.
This year though CIAS witnessed the global launch of Hyundai Accent. This is an important step for recognition as a global auto event.

 

The global launch of the new Hyundai Accent Sedan was an important step for CIAS on the recognition as a global automobile event.

The global launch of the new Hyundai Accent Sedan was an important step for CIAS on the recognition as a global automobile event.

Mitsubishi’s crossover concept GT.
The Japanese brand focuses on SUV’s only in recent years and this may change soon by using the platforms of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, of which Mitsubishi is part now.

The legendary FIAT Spider is back again. however, it is a Mazda MK-5 under the skin, which is probably a very smart choice.

CIAS takes place in Metro Convention Centre in Downtown Toronto

JLR Group will sponsor the Invictus Games in Toronto in Fall 2017

Lexus crossover concept vehicle

Bentley Bentayga. Even the ulrta-luxury brands like Bentley cannot escape the SUV storm. This would probably be unthinkable even a few years ago.
Well, did it share some elements with the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 or so?

Auto Exotica is a speical section of CIAS dedicated to super cars like this legendary Bugatti Chiron

McLaren is one the top car in the Auto Exotica section of the NAIAS 2017

To me, the Prius Primer is some sort of apology from Toyota after the awful design of the otherwise very reliable, trendsetting “regular” Prius.
This one looks really very beautiful.

I was able to test drive the new, all-electric Chevy Volt. The first impressions were impressive.
I hope to have a longer test drive during this year.

1969 Plymouth Road Runner adds taste to CIAS as a classic car from the not-too-distant past.

 

NAIAS 2017. The Year’s First News From Detroit

A Great Start into New Year is Always in Detroit

It is a cause of excitement for me at the beginning of every year to visit Detroit on the occasion of NAIAS (North American International Automobile Show, as it is officially known).

The first global automotive event takes place every year (unlike Paris and Frankfurt that take place interchangeably and like the Geneva motor shows that takes place every year).
However, this year gave some warning signs as important brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley and Mini did not attend. More automobile companies question the benefits of auto shows and look at opportunities to spend this money differently for more targeted and effective marketing.
However, once you are in Detroit for the “show”, it is still glamorous and immersive. Selling autos is an emotional business above all and auto shows help to create emotions.

You can have an overview of the most important launches and events of this year’s show below:

Cadillac’s Escala concept gives you the new design direction of the company.
GM’s luxury brand under the leadership of Johan de Nysschen, the Global President of Cadillac has entered a new era of global success.

 

 

Cadillac’s Escala concept gives you the new design direction of the company.
GM’s luxury brand under the leadership of Johan de Nysschen, the Global President of Cadillac has entered a new era of global success.

 

 

The BMW X2 Concept gives a good idea for the future design direction of sedans and SUV’s. It is an evolution and keeps the connection with the current model families.

The BMW X2 Concept gives a good idea for the future design direction of sedans and SUV’s. It is an evolution and keeps the connection with the current model families.

The 2018 Lexus LS is the flagship of the brand and was the first Lexus model launched 28 years ago.
Loosing ground against Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 Series, Lexus sold only 5514 units in the US last year, down 23 per cent compared to previous year.
Every sedan segment suffers from the falling sales as more people move to SUV’s.

The 2018 Lexus LS is the flagship of the brand and was the first Lexus model launched 28 years ago.
Loosing ground against Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 Series, Lexus sold only 5514 units in the US last year, down 23 per cent compared to previous year.
Every sedan segment suffers from the falling sales as more people move to SUV’s.

The all-new Odyssey from Honda will heat up the competition in the resurging minivan market.

The all-new Odyssey from Honda will heat up the competition in the resurging minivan market.

The Viziv-7 big SUV concept is Subaru’s determination to compete again in the growing 7-seater full-size SUV segment after the not-so-successful Tribeca about a decade ago.

The Viziv-7 big SUV concept is Subaru’s determination to compete again in the growing 7-seater full-size SUV segment after the not-so-successful Tribeca about a decade ago.

 

Ioniq, Hyundai’s new EV model range will compete with Prius of Toyota, before any other model.

Ioniq, Hyundai’s new EV model range will compete with Prius of Toyota,before any other model.

Nissan’s Vmotion 2.0 concept would probably be the next-gen Altima.
Nissan has no intention to walk away from the sedan segment.

Nissan cannot keep up with the surging sales of its Rouge crossover that sold 40K in December alone and making history.
Now, the highly successful compact, European Qashqai will complement as “Rouge Sport” in the US and still as “Qashqai” in Canada.

Guangzou Auto is another Chinese manufacturer that keeps an eye on the North American market.
Although they do not have immediate plans for a launch, the products they display give a hint about the changing quality of Chinese vehicles. Here, the GS 7 SUV and GA 8 SEdan (below)

 

 

 

Atlas, VW’s new 7-seater SUV embodies VW’s biggest hope and the most important product for a brighter future in North America in the aftermath of the emission scandal.

Volkswagen’s I.D. BUZZ concept is another commitment from VW to build electric vehicles.
The I.D. BUZZ marries maximum space utilization with all-wheel drive, electric motors at the front and rear axles, a fully autonomous driving mode, called the “I.D. Pilot,” and a new generation of interior display elements and controls.
And the strong retro design elements referring to the iconic VW Bus is, of course, not a coincidence.

Infiniti’s new X30 compact crossover is an adaption of Mercedes CLA, an outcome of cooperation between Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler.

Q8, Audi’s full-size crossover concept is almost production ready. The battle in the luxury SUV category will intensify.

Whwn we talk about trucks, Ford is probably the first American brand coming to the mind.
Just by manufacturing the F-150 pick up truck, Ford would still be the 7th largest manufacturer in the world.

Take a deep breath: The serial production version of the new Lincoln Navigator will be more practical and will have “normal” doors instead of gull wings.

Now Hyundai has its own “Lexus”.
Genesis, the Group’s new luxury brand starts with G-80 & G-90, two sedans with a very competitive market strongly dominated by Germans.
Remembering what they have achieved so far, take the Koreans seriously.

KIA Stinger is the brand’s new, performance sedan with “a lot of input” from German engineering and should elevate the brand’s perception to compete with Mercedes, BMW, Audi and the likes.

Chrysler’s Portal electric minivan concept is the vision of the future of family transportation.

Mazda’s highly successful compact crossover, the CX-5 is more refined and better in every aspect. Test drives and reviews in the next few months will probably not disappoint.

Chevrolet’e pure electric Bolt was chosen as the “North American Car Of The Year.
A well-deserved title and congrats to GM for bringing an EV, with nearly 400 kilometers range and perfect room economy.

The all-electric Bolt is on the market months before Tesla Model 3, its main competitor.

The all-electric Bolt is on the market months before Tesla Model 3, its main competitor.

 

 

 

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

 

Overview

Hybrids represent a transformative technology between gasoline and electric vehicles.

Until we fully surrender to all-electric (or, probably fuel-cell) vehicles, internal combustion engine is here to stay for, probably a few decades more. It still keeps getting better, more fuel efficient and still significantly cheaper.

General Motors (GM) of today has a strong portfolio of cars with different versions of electric-drive (EV) technology.

With the Malibu as hybrid, Volt an EV with range extender and free of range anxiety and finally Bolt, as a pure EV with an impressive range of 380 kilometers, GM is doing its part to embrace and develop EV technology. I humbly and subjectively think that while GM is making a business case, the company is paying also for its sins in the past. (Remember the killing of EV-1 in mid nineties)

I drive to Detroit every January since 2011 to visit NAIAS (North American International Auto Show). This year was not exception. And this time, the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was my roadmate.

As soon as I hit the road, I noticed that it is still a pleasure to drive a sedan, in an SUV-crazy North American taste of mobility. The Chevy dirves well, built solid and behaves welI on the road. Part of my trip was under snow-covered parts of the 401 between Woodstock and London in the very early morning hours. I am happy to see to vast improvement in the quality of GM vehicles in the post-bankruptcy era.

Engine And Drivetrain

The Malibu Hybrid houses a new, direct-injected 1.8L I4 engine mated to a two-motor drive unit. This drive unit, based on the one used in the Chevy Volt, provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration. The gas engine is rated 122 hp at 5,000 rpm and 129 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm. One electric motor generates 55 kW of power, while the second motor provides 76 kW of power. In conjunction with the gas engine, total system output rates 182 hp and 277 lb-ft.  Juice is stored in and supplied to the two-motor drive unit via an 80-cell, 1.5 kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack. Chevrolet claims the Malibu can accelerate up to 88 km/h solely on electric power. The Malibu Hybrid also uses the Volt’s blended regenerative braking system to recover kinetic energy during braking.

A new technology launched with this model is Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery (EGHR) system, which uses exhaust heat to warm the engine and cabin. EGHR improves engine warm-up and helps offer consistent fuel economy performance in cold weather. Although I did not have an instrumental measurement, my trip to Detroit in a very cold night was very comfortable, and I assume, this feature was helpful.

Consumption

After one-week test-drive of 1,168 kilometers mostly on the highway and including a return trip from Toronto to Detroit, the average consumption was 7 liters. This is impressive considering the fact that hybrids make a bigger difference when driven in the city. However, it is still significantly higher than Government of Canada measurement of 5.5 liter. So, as advised, always use these figures for comparison purposes.

Conclusion

In the last couple of years, GM achieved a lot when it comes to green, technologies. My impressions with the last generation Volt was amazing. And the full-EV Bolt will most probably will turn another page in the history of EV’s. And for “moderately environmentalists” who will always remain connected to a traditional internal combustion engine, the Malibu Hybrid is a very fuel-efficient hybrid, which drives, equipped and priced well. The cost recovery is still an issue, depending your annual mileage.
If you are, for example, an Uber driver, have a closer look at this vehicle.

Also worth remembering that the Malibu is the only midsize car with a sales growth in 2016 in a market with customers migrating to SUV’s.

Type of vehicle: Mid-size sedan
Engine: 1.8L Hybrid, DOHC, I4 SIDI
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $28,850 / $36,530
Destination charge: CAD 1,650
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 4.8 city; 5.5 highway; 5.1 combined
Optional features

Leather and convenience package: (convenience & tecnology package, leather appointed seating surfaces, heated front seats, 6-way power front passenger seat with power lumbar, Bose premium 9-speaker system, MyLink radio (TM) with navigation, Leather & convenience package credit (-525), blue velvet metallic

Total Price as Tested: $36,530

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

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

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

www.chevrolet.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 GMC Acadia Denali AWD

Overview

The “Jamsa” brand, as it is pronounced in Turkish is part of my childhood memories.

GMC’s history in Turkey is much more prevalent than many of us think or imagine. People of my generation who were born in late fifties and early sixties will remember the military trucks in national parades. When I was at the primary school, my mother took me to August 30th (Victory Day) and 29 October 29th (Day of the Republic) parades with tens of GMC trucks filling Vatan Caddesi, the big boulevard in Istanbul. Following the Korean War, United States donated a bunch of these trucks to the Turkish Army. Even if these trucks are gone long ago, the fact that GMC has produced about 600,000 trucks for the American army in the Second World War reveals its importance in producing commercial and professional vehicles.

 

The name GMC was created as an abbreviation for “Grabowski Motor Company” by Mark Grabowski as the founder of the company. Although very few can remember or even know his name today, General Motors foresaw the bright future of this company in 1909 and only eight years after its foundation. GMC today, is mostly known with its full-size (Sierra) pickups, a derivative of their Chevrolet (Silverado) cousins. GMC has significantly differentiated itself from Chevrolet in the last four years and has expanded its market segment into the SUV segment with Acadia and Terrain. GMC also survived the 2008 crisis when GM killed two iconic brands, Pontiac and Oldsmobile. Today Grabowski justifies GM’s decision as a well performing brand of “professional grade”.

Almost all GMC models are a derivative of the Chevrolet cousins, but differentiate themselves by addressing more professional cuts with the brand “professional grade” slogan. On the other hand, models like Terrain and Acadia are out of traditional commercial vehicles.

We tested the Acadia, GMC’s representative in the very competitive mid-size SUV market.

In its first-generation GMC Acadia, debuted in 2006 as a 2007 model was a cousin to Chevrolet Travers, Buick Enclave and the now-extinct Saturn Outlook. These vehicles were big or oversized crossovers GM created while leaving the minivan segment.

In its second generation, the Acadia is an entirely different vehicle. It is smaller in size, yet more dynamic and fun to drive. Now, it is a big player in the midsize SUV segment and competes with established players like Ford Explorer.

Engine & Driving Impressions

We tested the top of the line Denali version with the 3.6L V6 engine delivering 310 horsepower. With 271 lb-ft of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle never feels under-powered. With active fuel management, cylinder deactivation (reduced to four) and capability for AWD, this SUV feels much more like a car than its predecessor. Our average fuel consumption was just north of 14L and was significantly higher than the “official” combined fuel consumption of 11.3L. Nevertheless, I asked myself why GM did not opt for a more modern and efficient 8-speed transmission.

To me, the magnetic suspension makes the biggest difference in ride comfort. With some exaggregation, I would say it floats on the road surface like a boat.

Interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the last ten years, like almost all other OEM’s, things at GM changed significantly. The quality of interior both in material and workmanship is ages better. The dashboard and the instrument cluster, a balanced outcome of digitalization and conventional displays, is very easy to use and navigate. In the Denali version with six leather seats, comfortable long journeys are not a problem except the limited trunk space when the third row is used. However, whoever is not fully satisfied may consider the bigger Yukon or even Yukon XL.

One unique and trailblazing feature is “Rear Seat Reminder,” designed to avoid those tragic instances when a child or pet is left in a hot vehicle. It is activated when the second-row doors are opened before the vehicle is started. Then, once the vehicle is turned off, an audible reminder in the form of five quick horn blasts sounds – It has the potential to save several innocent souls and should be adapted by other manufacturers.

Conclusion

                

With a model portfolio of SUV’s from Terrain to Acadia and Yukon, GMC is well equipped and prepared on a SUV-hungry market. And the brans new Acadia will only strengthen GMC’s market position.

If you are looking for a mid-size SUV, you will most probably short-list this vehicle.

The Specifications

Type of vehicle: Mid-size SUV
Engine: 3.6L DI, DOHC, V6 W/VVT
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $54,695 / $62,845
Destination charge: CAD 1,700
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 13.3 city; 9.5 highway;11.6 combined
Optional features

Technology package: (Adaptive cruise control, automatic front braking, surround vision $1,975

Skyscape dual-panel sunroof: 1,685

Continuously variable real-time damping suspension: $1,395

White frost tricoat paint: $1,195

Engine block heater: $100

Total Price as Tested: $62,845

Article: Varol McKars

Pictures: Varol McKars, Basak McKars

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

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

www.gmccanada.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.