Yeah, it’s big.
When we tested Infiniti’s jumbo SUV back in 2009, it was called the QX56 and it was, in a word, huge. Fast forward to 2014 and the proceedings are still massively proportioned although the name has changed, adopting the QX80 moniker. If you think (like most people may be inclined to) that they’ve enlarged the already substantial V8 to 8.0 litres, you’d be wrong- this is just another ridiculous example of Infiniti’s wisdom when they decided to name every car in their range after a watch battery.
So it isn’t an 8.0 litre monster, but 5.6 litres of displacement doesn’t mean it’s a pip squeak. The engine delivers a robust 400 horsepower and 413 pounds feet of torque and makes some pretty good noises doing so- if NASCAR ever moves from pushrods to overhead cams, this is what they’re going to sound like. It has enough muscle to tow almost 4,000 kilos making it one of the few monster SUV’s that allow you to take the boat with you. All these facts translate into prodigious thirst, but I was still a bit shocked that despite my week of all-city driving the QX could only yield a paltry 18.2L/100km. The 7-speed transmission tries to upshift as early as possible and operates transparently in the background, but perhaps some taller gearing might help stave off the insatiable, but unsurprising appetite for petroleum.
If you haven’t already prepared your vehicle for winter driving, you’d better hurry since many parts of the country could be even colder and snowier this time around than they were a year ago.
Towards the end of last winter’s relentless bouts of sleet, hail and snow, it hardly would have seemed possible for the weather to wind up being even worse a year later. But the Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted just that – tear-inducing thermometer readings and road-clogging piles of snow that threaten to overshadow the horrendous conditions of last winter. And central Canada? That part of the country will likely get the brunt of the wintery onslaught, according to the almanac. Keep reading…
Victoria Beckham Approved.
The Range Rover Evoque is an exceedingly rare example of a concept car whose stylish duds didn’t get lost in translation when producing a mass produced vehicle. I mean, look at it; it’s probably the most dramatically styled crossover there is and still looks incredibly sharp even after a few years since it’s debut.
Inside is more of the same. When you feast at the option buffet as the person who ordered our tester did with reckless abandon, you’ll end up with headrest video monitors, a powerful Meridian stereo and a tastefully executed mix of stain finish aluminum and piano black trim. The leather covering most of the surfaces is properly supple, and the stitching running across the dash is meticulous. Though this is an entry level Landie, it certainly feels premium.
We discover huge joy in Ford’s smallest offering
There’s nothing quite like reveling in the unexpected joys of life. Finding money in one’s pocket, for example. Light traffic and a constant flow of green lights on the morning commute. Arguing with your telecom company about some suspect charges on your bill only to be offered an upgrade to your services for less money (OK, that last one is rare.)
After driving Ford’s Fiesta SE 1.0L EcoBoost, I’m happy to report that it’s an unalloyed delight to drive, even if our enthusiasm was a bit unexpected.
Scandinavia’s Sports Car.
One of my favourite off ramps begins with a sharply decreasing radius right turn, followed by the road abruptly straightening out before gently bending to the right again. This is an ideal set of curves to glimpse into the composure (or lack thereof) that so called sports car manufacturers claim to have engineered into their products. We indulged in this set of corners recently as we always do, hitting apexes with micrometer precision and rocketing out the curves on a stout wave of turbocharged torque- this, in a Volvo S60.
Wait…How’d that happen?
Just about perfect.
I’m prone to bouts of extreme laziness, so I don’t mind telling you that I thought about writing the review for Volkswagens Mark 7 GTI like so:
The Volkswagen GTI is the best front wheel drive car there is, period. You should buy it.
Aside from the boss chewing me out for an epic lack of effort, that statement, er, road test, is completely accurate.
Is the magic still there?
OK, we admit it – we’re big fans of BMW M cars. In order to minimize the risk of endless gushing throughout this review, we attempt to answer your most pressing questions surrounding these performance car icons:
Finding BMW’s X6 too big? You’ve gotta see this!
When I picked up the keys to BMW’s new X4, one of their public relations staff told me that like the bigger X6, the little smaller X4 is “quite a polarizing car.”
Turns out he was right.
Throughout my time with BMW’s newest model, reactions were split evenly. “That car looks awesome!” blurted one person excitedly.
“It looks too much like a Pontiac Aztec. And where am I supposed to put my stuff?” asked another.
Polarizing stuff indeed. But whether or not you like the X4, you can’t blame BMW for building it. Despite the X4 being the answer to a question most people aren’t asking, they will probably sell as many of them as they can build. The bigger X6 has been something of a quiet sales success, racking up impressive numbers in a few markets across the globe, one of them being Canada. If you’ve spent any time commuting anywhere across our City of Toronto, you’ve probably seen your fair share of them. There are those extroverts who go for that Armadillo profile but don’t want to step up to the X6, be it for size reasons, cost, or both. BMW will now happily fill that void in their lives with the X4.
A Corolla? Oh yes. Sporty? Um…
With more than 1.3 million examples parked in driveways across Canada, the Toyota Corolla has enjoyed the kind of sales success many manufacturers dream about. Over the years it has solidified its reputation as a durable, loyal method of transporting its owners, many of whom appreciate its thrifty pricing and low cost of ownership. Despite these accolades, one thing the Corolla has never been known for is sportiness, or even fun.
OK, so we’re leaving out the spunky rear-drive AE86 version, but that one was short lived and wasn’t wholly embraced by enthusiasts until it was out of production.
Lexus builds a spiffier Prius, but falls short on Sport.
The Lexus CT200H has a number of things going for it. It’s nicely appointed. It skips across city streets in hushed comfort while returning stellar fuel economy. It even looks pretty cool, a sort of Japanese take on the Volkswagen GTI. In F-sport trim as worn by our tester, it’ll throw itself into corners with more enthusiasm that you’d expect.
Ah yes, the F-Sport trim level, something people ostensibly select if they like all the virtues the CT has but want them delivered with a sporty edge. Judged within that framework, the CT falls quite a bit short.