lunes, 28 de diciembre de 2009

2010 Mustang

The new 19-inch wheel package, and the Shaker 500 audio system. It was perfect for our drive through the Los Padres forest and its tightly winding roads.

Heading out of Malibu, we enjoyed a bit more of PCH until we picked up the 33  (that's how they say it in Cali-no "I" before the interstate number) and wound our way north toward Ojai, where we'd stop for the night. The route took us through the mountains, where we experienced many elevation changes and tight, winding roads. The GT's revised suspension and 19-inch Pirelli's kept the car glued to the road, and we could maintain a nice conversation at regular room level while stirring the shifter to whatever gear required by the 3.73s to keep the car around 3,500 rpm for a blast through the twisties. It was a great road and a great ride that really taxed the new car's suspension, and it handled the road with aplomb.

On day two it was more of the same as we headed out of Ojai toward Willow Springs, though we did have a bit more open road to really stretch the Mustang's legs. We had our GoPro video camera mounted on the rear quarter of our GT during this part of our drive (be sure to check out our website for videos of our driving route), and even at triple-digit speeds our video was smooth and stable, a testament to the ride quality the engineers tuned into the GT.

After a nice lunch at Willow Springs, another technical presentation was given to us on the new Track Pack option. Ford had a small sample of Track Pack-equipped GTs for us to track with at Streets Willow. We were able to try the Track Pack option with the Advance track in Normal, Sport, and Off modes, and if you had the courage and the driving skill to put the GT at its limits, you could really tell the difference. This was yet another testament to the time the engineers put into the product. More than once I could feel the Advance Track reel me in from the edge while navigating the course. Putting the GT through its paces at the same rate with the AdvanceTrac off put the car sideways through several of the turns, but the Mustang was still very controllable. Just a light lift of the throttle and some counter steer brought the steed right back in line.

All in all, we have to say  the 2010 is going to be another  grand slam hit for Ford, just like the '05. Right now Ford needs every time at bat to be an out-of-the-park hit. Pricing for the 2010 Mustang will start at $20,995 for the V-6 coupe and heads north to $35,995 for the Convertible GT Premium. Our Grabber Blue GT Premium Coupe with Comfort Group, Shaker 500, 3.73 Axle Package, and 19-inch wheels was priced at just under $35K. Tick off the Glass Roof and Electronics Package and you'll be a sneeze away from $40K. That's getting up there, but it's nice to know you can finally have your Mustang optioned with many of the goodies your neighbor's import has had for years.

2010 Mustang

On sale Spring 2009


4.0L SOHC V-6 or 4.6L Three -Valve V-8

Coupe or Convertible/ Base and Premium offerings

Five-speed automatic or five-speed manual

3.31/3.55/3.73 gear ratio packages

(3.55/3.73 with manual only)

17-,18-, and 19-inch wheel and tire packages (seven total)

Four interior colors (Stone, Charcoal Black, Saddle, Brick Red)

Two accent colors (Cashmere, Grabber Blue)

Nine exterior colors (Red Candy Metallic, Kona Blue, Grabber blue, Sunset Gold, Sterling Gray, Brilliant Silver, Black, Performance White, and Torch Red)

Major Options:

Glass roof

HID headlamps

Comfort Group

Electronics package

Shaker 1000

Rear video camera


Great new styling

Upscale interior

Plenty of options

Best handling Mustang GT yet


Some options only available in Premium Package

Jury still out on rear styling

Some of us still want more power
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2009

The new Loewy-Exner 1947 Studebakers were a sensation. The envelope body, integrated fenders, flat flanks and distinctive trunk outline combined to form what we now call a "three-box" design - it had a clearly delineated hood, cabin and trunk. The Starlight coupe, as it came to be known, was particularly futuristic with a rear window that wrapped all the way around from door to door, making the roof seem to float above it.

Studebakers were so symmetrical front to rear that humourists soon began calling them the "coming or going cars," suggesting they couldn't tell the front from the back. But in spite of ridicule, Studebaker was charting the future direction in automobile styling. A small independent from South Bend, Ind., had stolen a march on Detroit's giants. The Big three would take until 1949 to bring out their full line of postwar, three-box cars. The new 1947 Studebaker Champion, Commander and Land Cruiser were introduced in April, 1946. The Commander and Land Cruiser were essentially Champions with a longer wheelbase and the hood, front fenders and rear doors extended.

The 1947 Studebakers were all about styling, because their technology was carried over from prewar designs. The 2.8-litre, 80-horsepower six-cylinder Champion engine came from the prewar Champion, and the 3.7L Commander/Land Cruiser six dated back to the early 1930s.

Styling remained unchanged except for trim and grille treatments until 1950, when the "bullet nose" models arrived. By this time, the rest of the industry had caught up and Studebaker no longer held the styling advantage.

In spite of some excellent designs such as the Hawk series and the futuristic Avanti, Studebaker suffered the plight of other independent automakers and disappeared from the scene in 1966. It built its last cars in its Canadian plant in Hamilton, Ont.

But for those few years following the Second World War, the audacious little company from South Bend had led the industry in styling.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

viernes, 18 de diciembre de 2009

Studebaker history went back to 1852 when Clem and Henry Studebaker's blacksmith shop in South Bend, Ind., began building wagons. They grew into what they claimed was the world's largest producer of horse drawn vehicles.

The company entered the automobile business in 1902 with an electric car, but soon switched to gasoline-powered cars. Studebaker developed a reputation for building reliable, quality cars that excelled in setting stock car speed records. It acquired Pierce-Arrow in 1928, which brought a brush with extinction in 1933, but the company survived through the 1930s Depression.

Studebaker broke new ground in 1939 with the introduction of its all-new Champion, a lighter, slimmer version of the full-sized car. It proved very popular and set the tone for the company's cars for many years.

During the Second World War, automakers contributed to the war effort. When peace came, there was a rush to return to civilian car production to meet the pent-up demand created by the industry shutdown from February, 1942 to the fall of 1945. Companies returned to building slightly modified prewar designs while preparing their new postwar models. Studebaker began producing its 1942 designs with new trim and mouldings, but the 1946 lineup did not include the Commander and President models it had offered in 1942. It only produced the Champion, now called the Skyway Champion.

During the war, Studebaker had engaged industrial designer Raymond Loewy, creator of the original 1939 Champion, to style a new postwar car. Loewy favoured light cars with svelte, tight lines, and those were the principles that guided him in shaping the new Studebaker.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

martes, 15 de diciembre de 2009

The Gladius has more than enough for sporty riding. The suspension also makes the grade. In fact, the Gladius' single largest performance advantage over the last SV650 I rode lies with its superior suspension. The front and rear springing is stiffer and the damping seems more robust. I doubt either the forks or the rear damper are up to the rigours of a full-on track session, but there's plenty of control for sporty street riding. Ditto the brakes, which feature dual 290-millimitre  discs up front clamped by twin piston Tokico calipers.

Indeed, my biggest complain regarding the Gladius is that it doesn't come with Suzuki's anti-lock brakes, which are such a boon to beginners and expert riders alike. The ABS system is generally such a low-cost item (usually around $500) that it should be at least offered as an option to the Gladius' $9,199 suggested retail price.

And Suzuki should also bring in that neon green/pearl black version the Europeans get - it's the bomb.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

martes, 8 de diciembre de 2009

All New Suzuki Gladius

Never mind that Suzuki's newest middleweight V-twin has a slightly fey name, its moniker referring to a short, stubby little sword favoured by Roman soldier. Similarly ignore for just for a moment longer the fact that the Gladius is by any estimation extremely "well put together." No, what you really need to know is that the new Gladius is very much based on Suzuki's enormously successful SV650, the quintessential beginner's bike that also doubles as everything from a touring mount to a quasi-serious race bike.

Originally sold as a runabout of modest performance and expense for those who had outgrown their first motorcycle, Suzuki's 645-cubic-centimetre V-twin quickly found a following among the sporty set. They thought that with the simple addition of a performance exhaust system and some relatively easy suspension fiddling, the little Suzuki could seriously intimidate supposedly more sporting machinery. Indeed, in one of Team Rigor Mortis' race track comparisons, the SV triumphed over more sporting weapons up to and including a 1,000-cc superbike. It has become the ultimate learner bike - easy enough to deal with while learning to ride and able to grow with you as one becomes more experienced. There was even a single-marque racing series to emphasize its universal appeal.

The one charge easily levelled at the SV, however, is that of its pedestrian styling. Whether outfitted with a fairing or  naked with just a super-bike handlebar, the SV was the very epitome of blandness. So, for 2009, the SV lineup grows to include the European-flavoured Gladius. Definitely Suzuki's take on Ducati's famous Monster, the Gladius design  was penned in Europe - the Japanese firm finally discovering that the best way to emulate its competitors is to hire some of them.

So, what we have is a trellis frame a la the Monster, a swoopy BMW-like headlight, sexy two-tone paint and an exhaust that looks as if it was liberated from an old Bimota DB3 Mantra. Imagine the staid old SV650 as the girl next door and the Gladius as the decidedly foxier Megan Fox who moves on to the street. On initial inspection, they really are that different.

Underneath the skin, however, they are far more similar. Although Suzuki claims the power band had been extended to even lower rpm, the 645-cc V-twin feels much the same. That's not a bad thing as the middleweight has plenty of mid-range power. There may be only 70 horsepower on tap, but they are healthy.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

sábado, 5 de diciembre de 2009

From ultimate comfort to optimum performance.

For the ultimate in comfort and control, the 911 Turbo is equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard equipment. This system provides continuous adjustment of the damping force at all four corners of the car to suit your driving style and changing road conditions.

Porsche Active Suspension and Management has two driver-selectable modes, "Normal" and "Sport," which share a minimal degree overlap. In either mode, PASM reacts to changes in the road and your driving style by varying damping force at each wheel. The system uses a range of sensors to monitor the car's longitudinal and lateral acceleration, braking, steering angle, brake-pedal pressure and engine torque. A dedicated control unit analyzes all this data, and adjusts damping to suit the situation, within the parameters of the driver-selected mode.

Further driving input is not required, even if road conditions change. If sport mode is selected, for example, the suspension is set to a harder damper rating. If the quality of the road surface falls below a certain threshold, the system immediately changes to a softer rating within the Sport range. This adjustment enhances occupant comfort as well as traction and grip. When the road surface improves, PASM automatically reverts to the original, harder rating.

Likewise, if Normal mode is selected and the car is driven more assertively, PASM automatically switches to a harder rating within the Normal setup range. As the dampers become stiffer, the car becomes more stable, ensuring higher levels of active safety and responsiveness. With Porsche Active Suspension Management, agility is enhanced, without compromising overall ride quality. The result is a new level of harmony between comfort and control.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

miércoles, 2 de diciembre de 2009

Why Buy From a Dealer?

Top 8 Reasons to Purchase from a Licensed Auto Dealer

Accountable: All licensed dealers are government regulated.
Reliable: Dealers stand behind the vehicles that they sell and guarantee they are free of liens and clear.
Financing: Dealers usually have a wide range of financing options available to assist you.
Warranties:Dealers provide full manufacturers' warranties on new vehicles and offer a range of warranties on most pre-owned units.
Service: Trained professionals are available to service and maintain your vehicle.
Disclosure: Dealers are required to disclose the information if  a vehicle has been registered out of  province or if it has been involved in an accident.
Protection: Franchised dealers are backed by government regulated funds in the event of a catastrophe occurring to the dealer.
Safety Inspection: Most vehicles available through a dealership have been safety inspected by trained professionals to meet the standards set by MPI.

Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2009

More About 2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe

Two-part-bed-plate construction which is more rigid than a single piece casting for reduced vibration levels. It also permits sustained use at higher revs: the V6 is red-lined at 7,500rpm.

By continually altering valve lift and therefore the quantity of air in the combustion chamber it provides a more powerful combustion phase to increase torque and power. Best of all, as the valves control the intake rather than a conventional butterfly, response to throttle inputs is immediate. WEL improves fuel economy and lowers emissions compared to standard valve lift systems.

In keeping with the performance profile of the Coupe, infiniti engineers have developed a special aural soundtrack for the car. Equal length tubular exhaust manifolds and a symmetrical exhaust and silencer system have allowed the engineers to create a linear sound with a good balance between low and high frequency notes.

Infiniti G37 Coupe uses the second-generation version of Infiniti's FM platform. The 'front midship' engine location sees the compact V6 mounted in the front of the car, but as low and as far back as possible, with most of the block behind the front axle line. The result lowers the centre of gravity and helps to deliver the optimum front to rear weight distribution.

The fully independent suspension uses lightweight aluminum components to reduce weight as much as possible. A double wishbone set up at the front and a subframe-mounted multi-link arrangement at the rear allied to an extremely rigid body shell, gives the Infiniti G37 Coupe agile handling perfectly in keeping with its performance potential.

Standard features include the intelligent I-key with smart access and push button starter, a six-disc, seven speaker audio system with an RCA AUX-in jack socket for MP3 players. Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control with speed limiter can all be operated via switches on the leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel.

Other standard features include power seats, aluminum pedals and footrest, auto-dimming rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, six airbags and integrated fog lamps. For the perfect driving position, the binnacle is attached not to the dashboard but to the steering column itself, and moves with the wheel when the latter is adjusted for reach and  rake.

The G37 GT version adds extra comfort with leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver's seat with lumbar support and  memory and an 8-way powered passenger front seat. Heated front seats are also standard and the I-key incorporates memory positions for driver's seat, steering wheel column and door mirrors.

High levels of passive safety were a priority at the design stage. As a result, the Infiniti G37 Coupe has a full complement of six airbags, with dual-stage front airbags, seat belt sensors and passenger seat occupancy sensor. The front seats incorporate hip and thorax bags, while there are front-to-rear curtain airbags for protection in a side impact.

Testing every Infiniti in the harshest of conditions ensures the durability and peace of mind that buyers can expect from the products.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2009

Dramatic performance in a thoroughly seductive shape


The Infiniti G37 Coupe offers dramatic performance in a thoroughly seductive shape. Although sharing a great deal of hardware with the Infiniti G37 Sedan, the Coupe is designed to appeal to different buyer.

There are three versions of the Infiniti G37 Coupe on offer - the well equipped G37 Coupe, the more luxurious GT version with leather upholstery, and the sport oriented S version with 4-Wheel Active Steer system, a Viscous Limited Slip Differential (VLSD) and sports suspension settings among other changes.

A long bonnet, short overhangs and dramatically raked roof line give the Infiniti G37 Coupe a silhouette that sets it apart from rival products based more heavily on their saloon counterparts.

Designed as a modern sports car without compromise, the Infiniti G37 Coupe has elegant and sophisticated proportions allied to an expressive, curving shoulder-line to give a feeling of movement even when stationary. The shorter and lower roofline also helps accentuate the Coupe's low centre of gravity and gives a clear indication that this is essentially a rear-wheel-drive car.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2009

Type of vehicle: All-wheel-drive compact SUV

Engine: 3.5L DOHC V6

Power: 268 h.p. 6,800 r.p.m.; 258 ft-lbs. of torque 2,400 r.p.m.

Transmission: Seven-speed manumatic

Brakes: Four-wheel disc with ABS

Tires: P235/50R19

Price: base/as tested: $41,800/$51,800

Destination charge: $1,995

Transport Canada fuel economy L/100 km: 13.3 city, 9.6 hwy.

Standard features: Power door locks, windows and mirrors, Thermatic dual-zone climate control air conditioning with micron air filter, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with in-dash CD player, steering wheel mounted audio controls, DVD navigation system, cruise control, power glass sunroof, information display, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, leather seats, 10-way power front seats, heated front seats, split-folding rear seats, auto headlights, dual front air bags, side curtain air bags, side air bags, crash-responsive Neck-Pro front head restraints, First Aid kit, Tire Pressure Loss Warning system.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

jueves, 19 de noviembre de 2009

The X1

To a couple of degrees. Understeer is also a non-issue for two reasons: The P225/50R17 tires and a top-notch electronic stability/dynamic traction control system (DSC with DTC).

     This electronic overseer not only does all of the usual understeer/oversteer correction - in conjunction with xDrive - it has a neat feature that takes it to the next tier of performance.

     Performance Control uses the brakes to physically turn the vehicle into the corner. If the driver runs into understeer in a left-hand bend, the system does two things: It applies the left rear brake, which turns the car into the corner, and it ramps up the power output to counter the drag caused by the application. On the test route, the system worked to perfection.

     For the driver, everything happens so seamlessly the X1 retains it sure footed feel even as it begins to slip out of control. As with other Bimmers, the system has three modes - on, the DTC mode (which allows the back end to drift out a little before it steps in) and off. The last is for the brave (or foolish) because the DTC mode is so proficient.

     The test drive included some off roading and a delightfully twisty road loop. In the dirt, the fact all of the under-car mechanicals are packaged up and out of the way gives the X1 194 mm of ground clearance. That and the short overhangs give it some real boonie-bashing potential. The road route included a frenetic run to the top of a mountain and back down. The serpentine course demonstrated just how planted the X1 is when its driven with elan - the handling dynamics are first rate and the steering feel is second to none.

     The X1 is a very capable vehicle. It handles exceptionally well, the diesel engine delivers good power and there is decent versatility. If you take from this that the current X3 sport-ute is reaching the end of its life, you're right expect a replacement hot on the heels of the X1's launch in 2010.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info
Wpg Auto Dealer

sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2009

However, that was not the case with BMW's new X1 sport-ute. The heavily camouflaged vehicles I drove were ready to roll except for a few not-quite right interior trim pieces.

     The X1 is based on the 3 Series platform, which means it rides on a 2,760-millimetre wheelbase. This provides plenty of cabin space (enough for four adults to sit in comfort) and good cargo room - 14.8 cubic feet with the 40/20/40 - split/folding rear seats upright and 47.6 cu. ft. with them flat.

     The cabin is also finished in typical BMW fashion. The materials are off the top shelf and the amenities are there for all to enjoy. If you have ridden in a 3 Series, you're familiar with the X.1. In the tester's case, everything from comfortable 10-way power seats, a harman/kardon audio system and power sunroof to a navigation system and iDrive (lifted from the 3 Series) were all in place.

     Mind you, when the X1 lands in Canada, many of these features will be on the options list. Mechanically, the X1 is very well endowed. The xDrive 23d test vehicles featured a sweetheart of an engine teamed with a six-speed manumatic, the latter better than most in that it allows the driver to shift manually even when in Drive. The engine was a delightful 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel that produces 204 horsepower and a very healthy 295 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 r.p.m.

     When the X1 comes in Canada, it will likely be offered with a 3.0L in-line-six gas engine that pushes 230 h.p. and 200lb-ft of torque at 2,750 r.p.m. A 2.0L four could also be in the cards - in Europe, it produces 170 h.p. and 155 lb-ft of torque. However, if there's any justice, the diesel will be offered as an option as it delivers  the pull of the six with a four-cylinder's fuel efficiency.

     Power is relayed to the road through BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Under normal circumstances, it sends 40 percent of the power to the front wheels with the balance going to the rear. If wheel spin occurs, the system can split the power evenly, or it can send all of the power to the rear wheels or any split between the extremes. As with BMW's other xDrive offerings, the X1's system is both seamless and proficient.

     In the ride department, the X1, again, succeeds. It drives more like a station wagon than a typical SUV. To begin with, there is enough compliance in the suspension to deliver a cosseting ride. However, push the X1 harder and the set-up is firm enough to limit body roll.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info

miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2009

Road Test: Toyota Corolla GT-S

Now it burns rubber at the other end.
Toyota is in many ways the General Motors of Japanese carmakers. It has the largest share of its domestic market, it sells its cars through five distinct divisions, and it offers a comprehensive range of vehicles, from entry level turbo scooters to mid-engined sports cars to heavy-duty trucks. With so many nameplates to sell and so many market segments to cover, some sharing of powertrains and platforms is inevitable - if for no other reason than to keep the parts numbers from over loading the computers.
The latest move in this direction is a common, front-drive platform for all three new models in the 1988 Corolla lineup: the revamped four-door sedan, the new five-door wagon, and the formerly rear-wheel-drive two-door coupe. (The carried over Corolla FX models share some of the new line's components but are built on a different platform.) The induction of the GT-S coupe and its SR5 sister into the front-drive fold may come as sad news to fans of opposite-lock powerslides and parking-lot doughnuts. In truth, however, shifting the coupe's tractive power forward hasn't dramatically altered their personalities or shrunk their performance envelopes.
The SR5 remains the wallflower coupe, while the GT-S is the one with the fun moves, All the new Corollas benefit from stronger engines, though. Last year, the GT-S, along with the FX16 and the MR2, was equipped with a twin cam, four-valve-per-cylinder engine, while the other Corollas had single-overhead-cam motors. This year, all the new models are powered by twin-cam engines; the lower order Corollas now have 90 hp on tap, while the GT-S, with a freer-breathing head and port fuel injection rather than a carburetor, has 115 hp under its hood. For trivia buffs, the engine in last year's GT-S produced three less horsepower, the extra power in the new model is a result of minor induction tuning and new fuel injectors. The GT-S is further distinguished from the other new Corollas by disc brakes at all four wheels (the rest have drums at the rear), a gearbox with a taller first gear and a shorter final-drive ratio, variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering (the others get a straight ratio), and bigger wheels and tires.
The front drive platform common to all the new Corollas gives the GT-S and the SR5 a slightly longer wheelbase than they had last year, up from 94.5 to 95.7 inches.
Both models are longer and wider, too, and their rooflines are a remarkable three inches lower. The new coupe body has a more pronounced wedge shape and a cleaner overall look; although the genetic link to the previous model is unmistakable, the package is clearly evolving in the right direction. As the sportier of the two coupes, the GT-S wears rocker-panel extensions, a rear spoiler, and "GT-S Twin Cam 16" decals on both doors. The GT-S and SR5 both have pop-up headlights, while the rest of the line gets fixed lamps.
The GT-S' interior is a comfortable, sporty environment, but we regret to say that we've seen it all before. Although massaged and freshened up the cabin is distinctly familiar both in its general layout and in its design details. Since the car is all new this year, the feeling of dejavu is a little eerie.
Not that there is anything really wrong with this interior, Hyundai would kill for the GT-S' cockpit. Itemize the pieces and everything looks aces. The steering wheel is thick and grabable; the shifter works flawlessly (the GT-S is available only with a five-speed; the analog instruments including a wildly optimistic 150-mph speedo, are eminently readable.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info

domingo, 8 de noviembre de 2009

2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8

The embers of my love affair with the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 first started to glow during a media preview last August when I had the opportunity to fling the Brampton, Ont.,- built retro rod around a race track in New Jersey. With its 6.1-litre Hemi V8, a newly available Tremec six-speed manual transmission borrowed from the Viper, a race bred suspension and uber-effective Brembo brakes, this car truly stirred my emotions.

     The relationship warmed up further when I was assigned to evaluate its category during last fall's AJAC TestFest. Again, being able to experience the menacing growl of that big Hemi, feel the rush of power when it was unleashed, even driving it tamely on public roads all combined to reinforce my passion.

     So naturally, there was much anticipation when I picked up an intimidating black SRT8 for a week-long road test. As we sometimes discover in relationships based on passion, however, things can quickly grow cold.

     The attributes I enjoyed so much during our previous encounters turned into trouble this time. Actually, our reunion started off innocently enough, picking up the gorgeous SRT8 - buffed and polished - at Chrysler's Mississauga office. However, making the two-hour run home later that day turned into a nightmare. The road surface, which had initially been dry, changed to wet and then snow covered. While its sticky, fat, 20-inch performance tires shine on dry roads and can cope adequately enough with a soggy surface, the SRT8 can't handle the white stuff.

     Although there were 425 horses eagerly waiting to be unleashed, I had to rein them in to a crawl in order to stay on the road. True, this car comes with the latest electronic gadgetry, including stability control, but it's all useless if the tires can't grip the road.

     After driving like I had eggs under the go pedal and trying to respond with the softest of touches to twitches in the car's direction, I did manage to nurse the beast home - well, almost home. There's a very slight grade in the approach to my street. In fact, it has only really grabbed my attention previously when trying to plod those final few metres after a brisk walk.

     This night, however, the SRT8, with all its power, couldn't make the snow-dusted grade. I initially made my approach with all support systems engaged as I didn't expect there would be a problem. He slowed for the intersection, then make the turn on to my street nanny kicked in and all engine in its attempt to avoid.

     I backed down the street, manual mode and tried again with a lot of wheelspin, according such a howl from the Hemi, I wake every neighbour within and there was little progress.

     Finally, I reversed all the main road, which was wet and used an alternate route to get home.

     The return run to Mississauga later also included encounter and proved equally challenging. During the intervening day there were times when the roads were true character of the SRT8 with awesome acceleration, stunning and impressive braking, all are the wonderful sounds at the slightest urging.

     Despite my initial passion for time spent with it revealed a while I had noticed previously issues resulting from its low greenhouse, the severity of to peer past the blind spots become more apparent.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info

miércoles, 4 de noviembre de 2009

Toyota Corolla 1988 Model

It is a rare day when an auto-scribe gets to test drive a real entry-level model.

     As a rule, the testers tend to be mid-range models or better, each of which usually features more than its fair share of optional equipment. In a refreshing change, the Toyota Corolla tester arrived as an entry-level stripper - the base CE with not an option to be found other than its automatic transmission ($1,000).

     The CE is a bare-bones sort of car. A couple of days earlier I had been driving a Corolla S - it comes with a minor body kit and a few welcome splashes of colour on the dash and doors along with some fancy blue flecks that are woven into the seat fabric. The CE is, in contrast, fairly described as bland. From its pressed-steel wheels to its beige interior, it can be likened to white bread sans butter.

     In this case, it is not such a bad thing as it caters to those shopping on a budget - $15,160 before the optional transmission, freight, PDI and taxes. The downside is that to get two of the more popular features - air conditioning and power locks - requires another $1,905. If you want power windows, well, that adds $3,040.

     At this point, the base car becomes somewhat more than entry-level. If there is a saving grace, it is that the enhanced convenience package that brings the air and power windows also includes one of the most important safety features offered today - a very good electronic traction/stability control system.

     In the back, the Corolla is all it should be. There is enough room for a pair of adults to sit in comfort and, if you're brave enough to risk the wrath of the teen forced to sit in the middle spot, there's somewhere for the rider to put his feet because the floor is flat. Likewise, the trunk - at 12.3 cubic feet - accommodates a family of four's luggage with space to spare. The 60/40 - split/folding rear seats add the needed versatility.

     With 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Corolla has a decent turn of speed. The 1.8-litre engine, which features variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams, is also a slick operator. The idle is smooth and, when forced to work at the top end of the rev range, it remains commendably quiet. A hand-held stopwatch put the zero-to-100-kilometres-an-hour time at 10.6 seconds, which is on par with most entry-level family cars. Where the engine really shines is its decided lack of thirst for fuel. A week long average of 6.1 litres per 100 km took the sting out of escalating gas prices.

     The optional four-speed automatic transmission works well. The shifts are smooth on the way up and fast when the driver demands a kick down to pass a slower vehicle. However, the Corolla deserves a five-speed automatic box.

     The extra gear would not only put more authority into the launch, it would relax the highway experience and improve fuel economy. If you don't mind shifting your own gears, the manual box is the better choice. The clutch action is light and progressive, and the gate is nicely defined. It also sharpens the response throttle input and shaves the acceleration time by 0.2 seconds while bettering the automatics' fuel economy.

     The Toyota Corolla has been a perennial favourite. While it's true this car does not stand out in any given discipline, it does everything demanded of a family car very nicely. The fact it boasts better than average reliability, enviable quality and excellent resale value underscores its status as one of the entry-level leaders.

Toyota Corolla Specs

Type of vehicle: Front-wheel-drive compact sedan

Engine: 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder

Power: 132 hp 6,000 rpm; 128 lb-ft of torque 4,400 rpm

Transmission: Four-speed automatic

Brakes: Front disc, rear drum with ABS

Tires: P195/65R15

Price: base/as tested: $15,160/$16,160

Destination charge: $1,270

Transport Canada fuel economy L/100 km: 7.6 city, 5.7 hwy.

Standard features:Heated power mirrors, intermittent wipers, manual crank windows, manual door locks, driver's seat manual height adjustment, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio system with four speakers and auxiliary input jack, cloth seating, tilt steering, outside temperature readout, digital clock, front and rear cup holders, dual glove boxes, front and side seat-mounted air bags, drop-down side curtains, active front head restraints, engine immobilizer, tinted glass, carpeted floor mats, splash guards.
Vancouver B.C. Car Info

lunes, 2 de noviembre de 2009

Protect Yourself from Flood-Damaged Cars

Thinking about purchasing of a used car? Protect yourself from buying a flood-damaged vehicle by doing a little research and having the vehicle thoroughly checked by a trusted repair technician.

Hurricanes and tropical storms in coastal areas, however, are only part of the problem. Rain, thunderstorms, and swelling rivers all contribute to flooding disasters that seriously damage vehicles.

Auto-industry analysts caution consumers that the risk of buying a water damaged car is not limited to flood prone areas of the country. These cars often are repaired cosmetically and moved as far as Canada where they are sold to unsuspecting customer.

Before handing over any money to the seller, CAA suggests having an inspection done by a CAA Approved Auto Repair facility.

Here are some tips to help you evaluate a vehicle and rule out flood damage:
Check the trunk, glove compartment, dashboard, and flooring below the seats for signs of water damage such as silt, mud, or rust.
Examine upholstery and carpeting closely; if it doesn't match the interior or fits loosely, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded, or stained materials could mean water damage.
Turn the ignition key and make sure that accessory and warning lights come on and work properly. Make sure the airbag and ABS lights come on.
Test the lights (both interior and exterior), windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater, and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.
Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack.
Sniff around to see if you smell musty odors from mildew.

If the seller does not offer a vehicle history report, use the 17-digit vehicle identification number, or VIN, available on the dashboard to check out the car's history yourself. CARFAX vehicle history reports, available to members at through a link in the automotive section at, can reveal many hidden problems in a vehicle's past, including flood tiles.

jueves, 29 de octubre de 2009

Tips to Help You Finance your Next New Car

Getting a new vehicle is always exciting, but determining how to pay for it rarely is! Here are some tips to help your put in the driver's seat:

Check your credit report for accuracy.Even if you think you have a strong credit rating, ir pays to review your credit report before applying for a car loan. Credit score plays an important role in determining the interest rate you'll receive. Check for possible reporting errors; identify open accounts that can be closed; and review for any signs of identity theft. Be sure to correct any errors promptly. Three major credit card reporting agencies in Canada include Equfax Canada, NCB Inc. and TransUnion Canada.

Explore all loan sources before you buy.Dealer finance departments offer one-stop convenience, but you may not get the lowest possible interest rate. Several loan options are available outside for the dealer. Banks and credit unions can also provide vehicle loans but may require branch visits or pre-shopping  to select your car before approving a loan.

Evaluate your puchase incentive options. Dealers may offer cash rebates or a discounted financing rate, but often not both. You may come out ahead by selecting the rebate and applying it to your purchase price, then using your own low interest rate loan (instead of taking the dealer's rate offer). Bring a calculator or laptop to the dealer to see what option is best for you.

Approach your purchase as three different transactions.Treat the car-buying process as three separate transactions: 1) financing, 2) vehicle prize, and 3) trade-in value. This strategy will maximize your negotiating opportunities and simplify the transaction by breaking the process into three manageable parts. Pricing information on hundreds of vehicles can be found in the automotive section at

Review your contract closely. Consider taking your contract outside of the dealership to read it carefully and without pressure. Don't sign the documents until your know your interest rate, total amount financed, length of loan, and trade-in value. Also, double-check to ensure that unauthorized "extras" haven't been added to your contract (e.g., extended warranties, rust proofing, etc.) And never sign a contract with blank spaces, or rely on oral promises.

Select the length of your loan carefully. Match the length of your loan term to the length of time you plan to drive the vehicle. Buyers who take out longer terms can find themselves "upside down" on their loan - that is, owing more on the car than it's worth in trade when it comes time to buy a new car.

Birchwood Nissan

3965 Portage Avenue

In the Pointe West AutoParI


The Nissan names, i product names, feature names, and slogans are trademark ,1a owned by or licensed to Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and/or ,ts North American subsidiaries.

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2009

Model Car Closeout Season - Get your Best Deal

The "End of Year Closeout" period at car dealerships is quickly approaching and offer consumers a wide variety of never-before driven cars at steep discounts relative to their new-year model companions.

Purchasing a year-old car is the best deal for you if:

You're going to keep the car for more than five years. If you tend to keep your cars at least five years, then you would be better off to save money up front on the year-end model, because after five years of depreciation the difference between what was a new car and what was a year-end model will be negligible.

There's almost no difference between last year's and this year's model. If the difference between this year's model and last year's model is slight, the best deal from a resale value would be to purchase last year's model.

Year-end models carry the most incentive for you to buy them. Typically, dealers must move their inventory, so dealers will be more apt to offer the consumer a great price on this type of car.

Here are a few money-savvy tips that may help you drive a great deal on your next car purchase:

Educate yourself before you go to buy your car.

Check your credit rating before applying
Explore all of your financing options.
Arrive at the dealership with financing in hand.
Treat the car-buying process as three separate negotiations - vehicle price, trade-in value, and financing.
Read the final contract carefully.
Match your loan term to the time you expect to own the vehicle.

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009

66 Impressions: Honda Pilot

Restyled, designed Pilot is the Honda of SUVs

MONTREAL, Quebec - Having bulked up its second-gen Pilot SUV just ahead of all-time high oil prices, Honda's marketing job has suddenly become one of convincing buyers that the Pilot - much like Goldilocks in her search for a bed - is not too big and not too small, but "just right."

     When Honda polled consumers several years ago ahead of the original Pilot's re-design, researchers heard that costumers wanted it to look more truck-like and rugged than its original incarnation.

     But that was then. Today, with consumer alarm over rising gas prices and North American truck sales in freefall, 'trucky' looks could be more handicap than help when it comes to making sales.

     In fact, the Pilot is more crossover than SUV in that it employs car-like unibody construction. With a redesigned MacPherson strut front and muti-link rear suspension, it rides and handles and generally conducts itself more like a car than a truck.

     Honda scrapped plans to equip the new Pilot with a V8 engine, endowing all five trim levels available in Canada with a smooth and sophisticated 3.5-litre V6 that, when conditions warrant can run on four or even three cylinders, and back again, is so seamless as to be practically undetectable.

     With all six cylinders on active duty, the V6 is good for a respectable 250 hp at 4,800 rpm and 253 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 revs on regular gas. Honda engineers claim an overall seven percent fuel efficiency gain over the previous generation Pilot. Transport Canada rates fuel consumption for AWD Pilots at 13.1 L/100 km (22 mpg) city, and 9.1 L/100 km (31 mpg), highway.

     The new and improved fuel cutoff system - called Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) - is more advanced than the one available last year, which ran on either six or three cylinders. Engineers said that allowing the engine to run on four cylinders significantly increases the amount of time it will run on fewer than six - three cylinders too often didn't deliver the power needed when six were more than required.

     Not to be confused with VCM, Honda's Variable Torque Management 4-wheel-drive system (VTM-4) automatically engages the rear wheels any time the vehicle accelerates to enhance traction, stability and control in all manner of situations. Many competitive systems engage only when the wheels actually slip.

     Standard Hill Start Assist prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards between lifting off the brake pedal and depressing the throttle, when starting off on inclines greater than 10 degrees. With its integrated trailer hitch, the Pilot with VTM-4 has a 2045-kg towing capacity. Honda's claim of 8-passenger seating requires a caveat, in that for maximum comfort, the third-row passengers should ideally be little people or at most, adolescents.

     Second-row passengers get significantly more room, along with rear cabin temperature controls and an available 115-volt modem for connecting devices such as laptops and game consoles. The second- and third- row seats split and fold as well.

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2009

Toyo Garit KX
The Toyo Garit KX is a performance winter tire that incorporates Toyo's superior winter tire  technology using Toyo's Microbit compound and a newly designed tread pattern for great cold weather traction. The Toyo Observe Garit KX is also designed to help maintain the handling characteristics of today's performance tuned vehicles. In addition, added ice traction and advanced grip on snow all with a performance feel on dry roads makes the new Observe Garit KX an unbeatable combination.
     Some key technological features in this tire are the wave sipes placed throughout the undirectional tread design either in high density, angled or wedged effect for optimum braking, cornering and accelerating on any slippery surface. "First Edge Technology" provides instant edge on new tires. Toyo's "Microbit" studless technology combined with a larger footprint further ensuring positive grip and road contact in all cold weather applications. Finally saw toothed edge blocks along with the five circumferential grooves add to the snow traction of the Observe Garit KX.
Hankook Ice Bear W300
Hankook's latest winter tire is created for high performance cars.
     It features asymmetric tread design with four wide main grooves to help superior handling on both dry and snowy roads.
     Super Silica Compound and thin multi-waved kerfs are applied to increase aquaplaning resistance and thereby enhancing its wet traction performance.
     This new winter tire is v-graded and utilizes Stiffness Control Contour Technology (SCCT), which allows speeds up to 240 km/h.
Yokohama Ice Guard IG20
Before designing the latest generation of winter tires, Yokohama engineers set out to solve a fundamental problem: what causes a tire to slip on ice? They discovered the most formidable challenge in winter driving is a thin film of water on icy surfaces that causes micro-hydroplaning.
     But the real breakthrough came when they found that a film as thin as 10 onethousandths of a millimetre is all it takes to completely lose control. And that the danger is at its worst as the temperature rises to the freezing mark.
     Armed with this information, they created Yokohama's most advanced winter tires yet; tires that will set a new standard against which all others will be compared, the Ice Guard IG20.
Castrol Syntec
Short trip city driving, sloppy conditions, traffic congestion and low temperatures are situations calling out for Castrol's Syntetic protection. The synthetic base oil and dedicated additives package combine to insure your car starts easily and runs at its best in any weather.
     Today's  engines have been designed to run and last longer. Easy starting helps reduce cold-start emissions and saves resources. The use of fluids with exceptional characteristics allows today's engines to turn over easily; easier turn over helps save your car's battery and fuel. During the coldest months of the Canadian winter, some oils can get so thick that flow through the engine can be reduced. The solution is synthetic motor oil grades, which contain significantly less water and other impurities providing excellent flow under the most extreme temperature conditions.
     Bottom line: For maximum protection this winter equip your vehicle with a winter emergency kit, proper tires and a Synthetic oil changed. This is Canada after all!
Mobil 1
Mobil 1 with SuperSyn helps protect your vehicle even in the coldest Canadian weather.
     It is difficult to make short trips of less than a kilometer especially in winter, oil has been frozen and needs to warm up and boil off moisture and unburned fuel. This can lead to the formation of corrosive metal eating acids. Mobil 1 helps lower the risk of corrosion by being formulated to retain harmful acids safely in suspension and neutralize them.
     Pour in the performance of Mobil 1 - the world's leading synthetic motor oil - which is available at most mass merchants, quick lubes and automotive dealerships.
Valvoline SynPower
You want to protect your engine, but everyday heat, deposits and wear stress engine parts. Valvoline SynPower Full Synthetic Motor oil is formulated to keep your car running at its best. That's because SynPower is the only leading full synthetic containing special chemistry with more durable anti-wear additives that stay in the oil longer. With SynPower Full Synthetic you get the ultimate protection against the three major causes of engine stress - heat, deposits and wear.
     SynPower Full Synthetic is not just for those seeking horsepower. With a balanced combination of full synthetic base oil and premium additives, SynPower helps prevent engine stress from reducing engine efficiency, fuel economy and performance. SynPower is for anyone who wants to protect their engine and keep it running properly.

martes, 13 de octubre de 2009

SEVILLE, Spain - Mercedes-Benz is another in a long line of automakers looking to stay relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace loaded with confusion. Sure, the company has been making decent bucks since ditching Chrysler - especially in 'emerging markets' like Russia, China and India.

     However, Mercedes-Benz is aiming to keep up with the Joneses in this energy revolution and recently pulled back the curtain on its "Road to the Future" at an event in Seville.

     The company is taking a multi-faceted approach to conversion - or as one colleague generously called it, "throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks."

     The three-part plan is similar to one we've heard before:

Optimization of vehicles with the very latest combustion engines - such as downsizing, gasoline direct injection, turbocharging and BlueTEC - as well specific vehicle optimization initiatives in areas such as aerodynamics, lightweight design and energy management (BlueEFFICIENCY).
Further efficiency improvements via individually tailored hybridization in a number of stages - from the start/stop function through to the Two-Mode hybrid with full electric drive capability.
Zero-emissions driving with fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles.

     On hand were a number of engineers, designers and product planners ready to answer any questions, while the stars of the show - two of MBs' recent concept vehicles, the F 600 HYGENIUS and the F 700 - hauled interested journos around a local racetrack.

     The F 600, launched at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005, is a fairly 'traditional' hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, albeit one wrapped in some pretty funky swan-wing-door threads. The 115-hp fuel cell drive combines with a series of lithium-ion batteries to act as a hybrid, bringing fuel economy down to an amazing 2.9 L/100 km with a total range of over 400 km.

     The F 700, however, is a brand new beast. Revealed a year ago at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, this full-size luxury mobile previews the styling of the next-generation S-Class. The exterior design is full of neat touches, including the yes-they-really-are-there Lucite 'spats' over the rear wheels, improving aerodynamic efficiency without resembling an early '90s Chevrolet Caprice. Mercedes-Benz calls it Aqua Dynamic.

     The interior is equally innovative, with spacious seating for four, however if the passenger seat is unoccupied, the rear seat on the right-hand side can be reclined or swiveled to face away from the direction of travel if, Mercedes claims, "he wishes to talk face-to-face with the person opposite, or to work, rest, or indulge in some audiovisual entertainment." The passengers-side rear door is even hinged at the rear to ease access if the seat is reversed.

     Those passengers riding in the rear won't have their conversation disturbed either, if the F700 has anything to say about it. MB fitted the concept with its new PRE-SCAN suspension, which really is an evolution of the company's ABC system (Active Body Control) that reduces pitch and roll in any number of its high-end products. PRE-SCAN takes all those computers, pumps and pieces.

viernes, 9 de octubre de 2009

Flex Marks the Spot: The Box Ford's Future Comes In

New York, N.Y. - It is, hands down, the best new product to emerge from Ford of Canada's Oakville assembly plant in years. Globally it is Ford's boldest, most original and refreshing new vehicle.

     With a long-list of innovations and style unique to its class, Ford's full-sized 2009 Flex crossover might at first glance appear to be on a collision course with rising gasoline prices. Gas-sipping microcars aren't ideal for everyone, however, especially those who regularly carry up to a half dozen passengers and their luggage or sports equipment.

     Among the current crop of SUVs' pickup trucks and even cross-over-utility vehicles, the Flex is an out-of-the-box front-runner.

     Offered in Canada in two trim levels, it starts at $34,999 MSRP for the well-equipped front wheel-drive SEL, and runs to $42,999 for the all wheel-drive Limited.

     Designers opted for radically distinctive styling in as two-box design with signature horizontal side grooves, 'all-black' green-house and two-tone roof in white or silver.

     Power is delivered via Ford's smooth 3.5-litre V6 Duratec engine linked to an equally smooth, six-speed automatic transmission that it shares with the Taurus X. It makes 262 hp at 6,250 rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 revs.

     Ford projects fuel economy numbers of 12.6 L/100 km (city) and 8.4 L/100 km (hwy) for the front-wheel-drive Flex and 13.5 (city) and 9.5 (hwy) with AWD. Flex will be available next year with the turbocharged ecoBoost engine.

     Inside, the Flex seats six (or seven, with the no-cost optional second row 60/40 folding bench seat) with ample space and comfort and upscale features and details. Thoughtful features include coat and grocery-bag hooks and storage compartments throughout.

     Class-leading technologies include SYNC, voice-activated navigation with reverse camera system, premium Sony sound system and 'surprise-and-delight' features like Ford's EasyFuel cap-less refueling nozzle and exclusive, compressor-driven refrigerated console.

martes, 6 de octubre de 2009

Greetings Dale , Iman , Lawrence
Same video put on all 3 sites to confirm ownership
A teenager could be hired for a hamburger to paste in Java code onto the html of webpages

As the only car with less than 200 hp (197), you might think the Civic Si has no place in this fast company. You'd be wrong. Sure, its acceleration numbers may lag behind the turbocharged mayhem unleashed by some of these challengers, but Honda engineers have been tweaking Civics for over 20 years, now, and they know a good balance when they find it. With limited horsepower and even shorter reserves of torque (139 lb-ft), you won't win any drag races, but keep the engine pinned at 7,000 or 8,000 rpm and the precise steering means you can lose a lot of challengers in the turns thanks to its little weight (1,310 kg) and superb balance. The Si is a joy to put through a slalom, never putting a foot wrong with the front limited slip diff balancing torque between the front wheels when powering out of corners. The Si is also graced by an impeccable interior with a futuristic layout that some will love, and others, well, won't. While Subaru is not quite as old a hand tuning its go-fast compact car, the WRX nameplate has earned plenty of credibility as a more economical version of the rally-bred WRX STi. The 2008 Impreza WRX we had puts out 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque (the '09 will make 265 and 244, so stay tuned), which is right in the middle of this pack. However, the WRX's trump card is Subaru's symmetrical AWD, which puts power down 50:50 front: rear for surges of acceleration that will warp your perceptions into thinking it's the fastest, although it falls a hair short of the Cobalt SS according to Motor Trend's numbers. The long suspension travel and low centre of gravity developed for Subaru's WRC campaigns also translate into a smooth ride over even the harshest roads, and there's no doubt that this is the only choice for year-round grip and performance. Being the safest car in the compact class doesn't hurt either, but you pay for what you get, and the Impreza WRX is one of the most expensive in this group, starting at a heady $33K.

viernes, 2 de octubre de 2009

Chevy Cobalt SS Turbocharged & Dodge Caliber SRT4

Compared to most of our other sport compacts, Chevy and Dodge are newcomers to the game. The Dodge has a leg up going into its second generation SRT4, and the Chevy Cobalt SS got a big engine swap after only a couple of years on the market, but they are still both the newest entries to the sport compact scene in this group. Interestingly, the Yanks are playing the import game, with prices that will shock you considering how much they deliver for right around $25K. In fact, I'm not even sure it's responsible to be selling this much power this cheaply.

Then again, this type of car isn't exactly about responsibility, although when driven responsibly in a safe setting like a track or an autocross course, both have a lot to offer, and both return excellent fuel economy if you keep it in check  on weekdays. The Caliber has the edge in wheels and tires (hello, Goodyear Eagle F1s on shiny 19-inch rims), but it still might be a case of to much power. Despite being harnessed by engine management trickery (torque is limited to 214 in first and 245 in second), power gets lost and the car starts to wander around on quick launches as the traction control alternately brakes one front wheel and then the other. Despite the odd sensation, it's still faster than any compact 5-door hatchback has any right to be, and the practicality and loaded options list mean it is a steal. Of course, so is the Cobalt SS Turbocharged, making the switch from the 2007's supercharged 2.0 to the turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0L 4-cylinder first seen in the Solstice GXP and Sky Redline. Not only is it a huge jump from 205 to 260 horsepower, but torque also gains 60-lb-ft, up to 260 from 200. But the real magic of the Cobalt is how it handles all this power, practically banishing torque steer and delivering flat cornering without a punishing ride. But at the end of the day, both of these Americans show their economy car roots with ordinary interiors full of hard grey plastic, but for the price of entry, it's about what you should expect if you want your money spent purely on performance.

miércoles, 30 de septiembre de 2009

2009 KIA Optima

Optima is in a strong position to change the way consumers think about midsize sedan offerings


Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled the 2009 Kia Optima midsize sedan at the New York International Auto Show. On sale in early fall, the refreshed Optima offers a completely modified exterior, which offers a more aggressive, dynamic style than previous models, and is outfitted with a new engine that provides more power and better fuel economy. For 2009, Optima also is larger than its predecessors, which complements its distinctive new styling and separates itself from other vehicles in the growing midsize segment.

"Optima is in a strong position to  change the way consumers think about midsize sedan offerings," said Tom Loveless, vice president, sales of KMA. "Already known for its exemplary quality, safety and value, Optima's sleek new redesign provides consumers with a sporty, fuel-efficient choice and showcases Kia's commitment to providing the best all-around vehicle package."

The 2009 Kia Optima is presented with new front, side and rear styling cues, which build upon Kia's philosophy of creating dynamic vehicles that evoke passion. The fog lamps and lower front grille have been enlarged and the headlamps narrowed to create an aggressively sharper look. Wider side garnishes add sportiness while the acute front lines continue toward the back, ending on a distinctly edged trunk lid. To complete the redesigned rear fascia, taillights are narrowed to enhance Optima's sleeker cosmetic appearance.

Also, new for 2009 is the addition of the sporty SX trim, which complements the handsomely equipped, value-priced LX and luxury-oriented EX trims. Already available with Kia's Rio, Rio5, Spectra and Spectra5 models, the SX line provides another dimension for Optima buyers looking for a sportier midsize. Along with a sport-tuned suspension, SX upgrades include: a black-bezeled front grille and headlamps, LED outside-mirror turning signals, fog lights and hyper-silver-finished 17-inch wheels. EX and LV V6 models are equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, and are fitted with Goodyear tires.

Available in two powerplants - a 2.4 liter four-cylinder or a 2.7-liter V6 engine - and two five-speed transmissions (manual with LX four-cylinder model only), the 2009 Kia Optima introduces a new engine under its hood. When redesigned as a 2006.5 model, the peppy four-cylinder engine delivered 161 horsepower, a 15-percent increase from the previous generation. For 2009, a more powerful 2.4-liter engine takes its place, producing an additional 13 horsepower. Optima's four-cylinder output increases to 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. The available 2.7 liter V6 engine remains a carryover but output has increased to 190 horsepower and 184 lb-ft or torque. The V6 is mated to a five-speed, gated automatic transmission. All automatics feature Sportmatic clutchless shifting.

The introductions of Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and a Variable Intake System (VIS) further enhance Optima's new under-the hood excitement. These added systems improve the vehicle's fuel economy without sacrificing power. Buit on a unibody frame, the front-wheel-drive Optima utilizes independent front and rear suspension systems. MacPherson struts are used in the front with a multi-link layout in the rear and are joined with coil springs and anti-roll bars (standard equipment on all models) to engage drivers with responsive handling and provide utmost comfort whether the road is smooth or less than ideal.

The rest of the center fascia and floor console receive minor tuning for even more intuitive operation whereas the new barrel-type instrument cluster design adopts a sporty red illumination. Optima continues to offer two seat trims in gray or beige color schemes - cloth (LX), leather (EX) -with black leather trim on SX models, which also features aluminum trim, metal sport pedals and a Supervision meter cluster.

Amidst the host of additional options, Optima still offers an array of standard features. The LX is equipped with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, an AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers, cloth seat and door trim, a six-way adjustable driver's seat and four-way adjustable front passenger seat as well as 60/40-split folding rear seats. EX models upgrade to a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescopic functions, leather seat and door trim, leather-wrapped shift knob, automatic temperature control, an auto dimming rearview mirror featuring Homelink and an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat. Convenience and Premium Packages offer further content upgrades, including a power sunroof and an infinity audio system.

As with the rest of the Kia line-up, the 2009 Kia Optima is equipped with many safety features as standard equipment. This includes six airbags (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). The Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), brake assist and four-wheel anti-lock brakes.

The 2009 Kia Optima is covered by Kia's comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000 mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the comprehensive vehicle coverage.

sábado, 26 de septiembre de 2009

Road Test - 2008 Nissan Armada Le

Passes, left me convinced that the Armada is one of the best people haulers on the market. My passengers felt safe and sound as I navigated through blowing snow and dense fog (aided by one of the best OEM navigation systems on the market) with the surefootedness of Nissan's All-Mode 4WD system, as well as electronic traction and stability controls in play.

Acceleration was very linear, even on hills and slippery road surfaces, and once grip was established the engine cruised along quietly as my road mates watched movies on the flip-down, roof mounted screen. I entertained myself grabbing radio signals from outer space via the XM satellite radio, and I must admit that it is nice to have the XM system for journeys like this, as terrestial radio signals fade out quickly when you travel through mountainous regions. The five-speed automatic seemed to adapt quickly to my inputs via the throttle and brakes, but efficiency was the order of the day when on the highway.

The Armada comes equipped with four-wheel disc brakes backed up by electronic systems to prevent locking and wheelspin. I was impressed that even after a few long descents and one panic stop for a wayward moose, they proved fade tree. This is no small feat as the Armada is  a heavy hauler at almost three tons. Factor in the additional weight of passengers, gear and some buyers, maybe even a trailer, and you can see why  Nissan's engineers focused on giving the Armada tremendous stopping power. Had the moose become a hood ornament  the Armada features front, side and curtain deployed airbags as standard equipment.

Steering is precise for such a large vehicle, and its speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering never felt intrusive. The independent suspension absorbed road irregularities with aplomb, helped out by an auto leveling rear suspension and stabilizer bars to counter the effects of the load on board.

There are few vehicles on the road today that can offer as much room, comfort and versatility as the Nissan Armada. Its subtle makeover gives it a fresh face, and brings a new level and refinement to a category that needed some more polish. The 2008 Armada is definitely worth a long look.
Engine:          5.6L V-8
Power(hp):     317
Torque(lb/ft): 385
Weight(kgs.lbs): 2,652/5,834
0-97 KPH (sec):  6.5
Transmission:     5 speed auto
Base MSRP:    $63,298
L/100KM(city/highway): 18.1/11.7

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2009

Matic climate control, power windows/mirrors, cruise, fog lights, aluminum pedals and a GTS-style rear spoiler. No options are being offered.

Mitsubishi's S-AWC system monitors steering wheel angle, throttle position, wheel speeds as well as longitudinal and lateral movements to improve traction and overall handling. In real-time, the S-AWC computer tells the Active Center Differential (ACD) how much torque front and rear wheels should get, while the innovative Active Yaw Control (AYC) rear differential uses a torque transfer mechanism to enhance cornering performance by limiting the yaw movement acting on the vehicle. Combined with ABS brakes sporting EBD, Active Stability Control (ASC) helps keep the car from spinning out while exiting launching and cornering. Three traction modes are available - tarmac, gravel and snow - and the system can be switched off when conditions warrant it.

Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada (MMSC) didn't have to twist my arm to get behind the wheel of this "wicked white" GSR and drive it from Malibu to the Streets of Willow Springs test circuit a little over 100 miles away in Rosamond. The almost three-hour route took me through the heart of Southern California's Canyon Country where the GSR high-performance suspension and five-speed manual truly excel.

While it is wider, heavier and stiffer than previous Evos, its aluminum hood, roof and front fenders translate into a low centre of gravity. Greater compliance is another huge benefit over standard Lancers. Steering is light and precise and, with its weight distributed 59/41 in the front/rear, the GSR is not only predictable and easy to drive, it's so much fun!

Throttle response is also excellent. Power comes on very linearly and the turbo kicks in just below 3,000 rpm with virtually no lag. First to fourth are fairly close together, but the GSR could certainly benefit from a true over-drive gear as it cruises on the highway quite noisily. Pedals could be a bit closer together, but the clutch is firm and responsive and the shifter slides into place effortlessly.

The GSR has barely any rolling resistance and you can feel it asking to go faster into every corner. After several hours on the road and track, the brakes were still going strong - GSR's Brembo one-piece front rotors resisted fade admirably and left me wondering if the MR's standard two-piece front rotors will ever be tested.

On or off the track, the GSR does everything it's told to. Even I was able to put it into a Scandinavian flick on my first attempt with little effort on a small autocross course MMSC had set up.

On the motor sport front, Mitsubishi and Subaru are both upping their support for Canadian rally teams this year. The arch-rivalry between these two fierce and famous rally icons should heat up like never before. Pent-up demand for the Evolution here ought to help propel sales of the GSR above expectations. And, with a track record like the Evo's, there's no reason to believe that Canuck interest in the Lancer family as a whole won't rise.
Engine:          2.OL Turbo 1-4
Power(hp):                         291
Torque(lb/ft):                    300
Weight(kgs/lbs):  1,595/3,509
0-97 KPH (sec.)                  5.0
Transmission: 5-spd man-opt twin clutch 6-spd auto
Base MSRP:              $41,498
L/100 KM (city/highway):12.9/9.0

sábado, 19 de septiembre de 2009

Volvo Celebrates its 15 Millionth Car

It's taken 80 years, but Volvo has finally reached a major milestone in its history: the production of its 15 millionth car, a 2008 C70.

Introduced to the world in 1911 as SKF, the Swedish manufacturer began by producing a little-known car called the OV4, so named for the Swedish term for "open car," with the four denoting the number of cylinders. Modestly popular, Volvo's production line grew slowly but surely, churning out a whopping 297 cars in 1929, a pace that would continue in the post-WWII era as the company was decimated by the global economic depression. As a result, it took Volvo 23 years to produce just 100,000 cars (today it takes just three months for Volvo's factories to meet that same figure). By the 70's, that recession has made way for what is still Volvo's most successful car ever: the 200-series. With a production run that spanned almost two decades (1974 to 1993), over 2.8  million 200-series sedans, coupes, and wagons were let loose on the world. By 1993, the classic three-box model the 200-series exemplified had made way for a more friendly and  modern style seen in the current lineup.

martes, 15 de septiembre de 2009

BMW Introduces In-Car Internet

While the aftermarket has been supplying in-car computers with wireless internet access for a few years now, it's not a step auto manufacturers have been keen to take. The combination of such paid services as OnStar combined with various locale-specific hurdles has long provided manufacturers with ample reason to avoid investment in that technology. But it would appear no one told the folks from Bavaria that, since they've just taken the wrapper off their new ConnectedDrive system that allows anywhere access to the world wide web.

Utilizing the same cellular band as the world famous (and as yet unavailable in Canada) iPhone, the BMW system's broad-scale access trades the faster 3G cellular network's speed for the broad-scale network's wider coverage. It uses the brand's hit-and-miss iDrive controller to enter URLs, check email, and even conduct online banking transactions, and will disallow internet access when the vehicle is moving, with only rear-seat entertainment system equipped cars allowing truly mobile surfing. Sadly, it will debut in Europe before appearing on our shores, but serves as a very good indicator of the things to come.

lunes, 14 de septiembre de 2009

First Drive - 2008 Subaru Impreza WRK STi

A Serious Performer

Most all-wheel drive systems these days apportion torque front-to-rear, and occasionally even side-to-side at the rear, via some unseen, all-knowing electronic brain that must be obeyed. And these systems do a great job for the driver who just wants optimum traction and handling without any fuss.

But some people - say, rally drivers, or those who fancy themselves being one on that favourite gravel road - want more say in how the car behaves, and to know where the power is going all the time. For them, there is the Subaru Impreza WRK STI, which really allows a degree of mechanical customization unheard of before.

The heart of the third-generation STI is the Driver Controlled Centre Differential (refreshingly logical name, that) which offers four different settings, one of which, Manual, has six settings of its own. Auto setting is like "Program" on a camera - the best all around performance for most situations. Auto (-) Active Sport setting opens the centre limited-slip differential and sends more torque to the rear (as in, hang the tail out). Auto (+) tightens the LCD for better control on loose surfaces. And in Manual, the fromt-rear torque split can be changed in six increments.

Its engine is, of course, a boxer four, but specially beefed up and reinforced over even the regular WRX turbo en gine. This latest version, still 2.5 litres small, pumps out 305 hp, or almost two hp per cubic inch, while still being perfectly drivable, and meeting the most stringent Califor nia emissions regs.

The only transmission available is a six-speed manual, but we wonder how long it will be, in this day and age, before a clutchless, paddle-shifted version is offered. Wheels are 18-inch forged BBS units, shod with Dunlop SP600 245/

40-18 tires. Brakes are big Brembos, with four-piston cali pers in front and two-pistons in back, all of which are big ger than the last model’s binders. A double-wishbone sus pension replaces the previous strut-type design at the rear, while the front remains a strong KYB strut set-up. Alas, the water spray for the intercooler, and the big rear wing, didn’t make the cut on the new model.

Based as it is, however loosely, on the new-generation Impreza, the STI gets all the benefits of the stronger body shell, and incidentally is available as a five-door hatchback only. It actually is less of an Impreza than it looks, as it has been thoroughly massaged to the point where it is more closely related to the actual rally cars than to the garden-

variety cars. The most obvious clue to the STI’s intentions is its wide fender flares, rear roofline spoiler and aero ground ef fects bits. The hood scoop, brake-cooling air intakes and engine heat outlets are all functional. It is all business.

Except, perhaps, inside, where some creature comforts have crept into what had been more of a purposeful driver’s environment in the last generation. Yes, it still preserves its rally-roots, especially with the very supportive and grippy front seats, upholstered in Alcantara with leather trim. But otherwise, there is a new emphasis on comfort and spaciousness, which are good things that could hardly have been engineered out of the STI when all Imprezas benefit from them. But for the STI to play in the arena of top-level performance cars, as Subaru wants it to, it had to be equipped with some luxury items. So, okay, there is automatic climate control, and power windows! locks/mirrors, and a good audio system. But cruise control, and a navigation system? How ironic is that, in a rally car for the street? Sounds like the days of actual human navigators in real rallies might be numbered...just set her on cruise, punch in your destination, and all you would have to do is steer the car.

Okay, all kidding aside, the STI is something pretty unique, in the way that it can be completely tailored to driving style and conditions. We still think that most of its owners will let the vari ous computers decide what is best, most of the time. But all the adjustable systems are at least fun to play around with. And there is always 0-to-i 00 runs in the I iv range to amuse the driver, too.

Engine : 2.5 H-4 Turbo

Power : 305

Torque (lb/ft): 290

Weight (kgs/lbs): 1,530/3,366

0 - 97 KPH (sec.)  4.5

Transmission : 6-speed manual

Base MSRP : $44,995

L/100 KM (city/highway) 12.2/8.7

For a starting price of $44,995, you get a serious performer that is equally at home on a paved race track, on a special rally stage, or as a very capable daily driver, in any weather. It’ll haul people and luggage just like any compact hatchback, deliver reasonable fuel economy if you don’t explore its capabilities too often, and be fairly comfortable in the process. All that makes it a good value, too

The Vehicle Dynamics Control system itself has three settings — Normal, Traction (less restrictive VDC and ABS) and Off. As if that is not enough, there is also SI-DAIVE, found in other Subarus, that allows three levels of throttle response, from normal to "hair trigger."

Whew, that is quite a list of driver-adjustable functions, so if one can keep track of how they all work, one can get the most out of the STI. We think, though, that most STI drivers will be quite happy with their car in the "normal, automatic" settings, and well they should be, as it is equipped to be a serious performance machine.