Lexus RX 450h offers comfort in a hybrid package

The RX 450 is roomy, cheap to run and very comfortable. For most folks in this market, that’s more than enough

Lexus RX 450h offers comfort in a hybrid packageAlthough hybrid vehicles have been around for decades (Ferdinand Porsche developed a gas/electric vehicle in 1899), Toyota/Lexus really got the ball rolling when they introduced the Prius in 1997. The Prius has been phenomenally successful, selling over a million units worldwide, and remains the benchmark by which all other hybrids are judged. So successful has…

Buying used: 2011 Infiniti M sedans have plenty of jump

What set this breed of Infiniti apart were the things that pampered the driver and occupants

Buying used: 2011 Infiniti M sedans have plenty of jumpRestyled and re-engineered for 2011, Infiniti’s M sedan was offered as an M37 or M56, and was available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. There were two engine choices: a 3.7-litre V6 and 5.6-litre V8. The latter power plant belted out a hefty 420 horsepower, which was up 95 horsepower from the previous model and…

Toyota Sienna proves the minivan still worth a look

The SUV may have eclipsed the minivan in popularity but, most of the time, they do the same thing

Toyota Sienna proves the minivan still worth a lookWhile SUVs of all shapes and sizes have exploded in popularity, the equally usable minivan has quietly languished. General Motors and Ford don’t make minivans anymore, and while some other manufacturers have taken up the slack, they don’t sell in huge numbers. That’s kind of a shame because, for most applications, a minivan can do…

Buying used: Golf GTI offers exceptional handling

Few competitors could keep up when things got interesting and the GTI was more than enough for most drivers

Buying used: Golf GTI offers exceptional handlingEssentially unchanged from 2010 to 2011, this generation of the Volkswagen Golf GTI actually debuted in the fall of 2006. Power was ably provided by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that developed 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque. Premium gas was required. Transmission choices were either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with…

Buying used: six-cylinder 2011 Chevrolet Equinox a better bet

Consumer Reports gave the V6 version an average used car prediction, while the four-cylinder models are worse than average

Buying used: six-cylinder 2011 Chevrolet Equinox a better betThe Chevrolet Equinox was the first model out of the gate after General Motors’ corporate shuffle in 2009. Made in Ingersoll, Ont., it replaced the Suzuki-built Tracker and was essentially a carryover for GM in 2011. It could be had with two engine choices: GM’s ubiquitous 2.4-litre Ecotec four-cylinder or a 3.0-litre V6. A six-speed…

Mazda CX-30 Turbo has plenty of punch

Mazda has added another compact SUV to its stable

Mazda CX-30 Turbo has plenty of punchSometimes it seems like every other vehicle on the road is a Mazda. Specifically, one of the CX models: 3, 5 or 9. These are very popular SUVs and I’ve driven most of them at one time or another. The CX-5 is the sixth most popular compact SUV sold in Canada, behind perennial leaders Toyota…

Buying used: 2011 Ford Explorer a people mover with frills

This Explorer was aimed more at soccer moms than off-road rock-hoppers, and was still the quintessential suburban grocery-getter

Buying used: 2011 Ford Explorer a people mover with frillsDebuting in mid-2010, the 2011 Ford Explorer signalled a new direction for Ford’s most popular SUV. From here on in, fuel economy would trump performance. Power was delivered by either a Triton V6 that displaced 3.5 litres and developed 290 horsepower, or a 2.0-litre turbocharged Eco-Boost four-cylinder engine that came later in the model year.…

Land Rover Defender utilitarian, retro and capable

The 2021 version conveys a sense of ruggedness and capability that sets it apart from most other Rover products

Land Rover Defender utilitarian, retro and capableIn one of my favourite movies – The Gods Must Be Crazy – a hapless protagonist inadvertently winches his old Land Rover to a massive tree branch and immediately forgets about it. When he remembers what he’s done, the trusty Rover has winched itself off the ground and is hanging in the air like some…

Mazda MX-5 RF may be ugly but it handles like a dream

The RF excels at point-and-squirt city handling, and can carve corners with the best of them

Mazda MX-5 RF may be ugly but it handles like a dreamMazda doesn’t often get it wrong. Over the years, it has produced some very well designed – and successful – cars and trucks. Models like the Mazda5, Mazda3 and, going back, the B2200 pickup have really struck a chord with buyers. They have cemented the company’s reputation as a thoughtful, astute manufacturer that knows how…

New Nissan Rogue built for hockey moms

The 2021 version is a mainstream, garden-variety compact SUV and, all things considered, that’s a good thing

New Nissan Rogue built for hockey momsCar manufacturers have always had an interesting time when it comes to naming their products. Over the years, they’ve given us monikers such as Gremlin, Judge, Duster and, way back when, the Utopian Turtletop – although, in fairness, Ford didn’t choose this last one when unveiling the new 1958 Edsel but they thought about  it.…

Buying used: Mercedes S400h holds its value

Buying used: Mercedes S400h holds its valueBased on the S350 platform, the Mercedes-Benz S400h hybrid was introduced in 2010 and was a completely different animal. It was the first Mercedes sedan to receive a hybrid drivetrain and the first to utilize a lithium-ion battery pack. Th lithium-ion battery pack was – and is – controversial. Under some circumstances, this variety of…

Buying used: 2011 CR-Z hybrid has zip and economy

According to Honda, drivers aged 35 or under and sports car buffs were the primary target, with hybrid customers coming second

Buying used: 2011 CR-Z hybrid has zip and economyIntroduced in late 2010, the Honda CR-Z hybrid bore more than a passing resemblance to one of the company’s most beloved models: the CRX. This was no coincidence. The pint-sized, Civic-derived CRX hatchback was a favourite with tuners and enthusiasts, and many lament its passing in the early 1990s. But the CR-Z was a different…

Mazda3 Turbo is a good car gone bad

For 2021, Mazda has built in so many nanny features that it renders the car almost undriveable – or, at the very least, a pain in the butt

Mazda3 Turbo is a good car gone badSometimes an automobile can be just right – on paper. It can look half-decent, perform well, offer a reasonable level of comfort and hold its own through the corners. But when you slide behind the wheel, it just doesn’t come together and driving it is almost a chore. Take the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo. Please. This…

Buying used: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep’s flagship SUV received a major overhaul in 2011 that included new body style, new V6 engine, interior makeover and more

Buying used: 2011 Jeep Grand CherokeeNeed a pre-owned winter vehicle? How about a Jeep? Jeep’s flagship SUV, the Grand Cherokee, received a major overhaul in 2011. That included a new body style, a new V6 engine, interior makeover and revised four-wheel-drive system. Although it was no longer available with the Mercedes six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, a new Pentastar V6 apparently gave…

News and notes from the automotive world

New car and motorcycle models, e-vehicle updates and a runabout that really went the distance

News and notes from the automotive worldSome year-end odds and ends from various car manufacturers. Acura is about to unveil its 2022 MDX. The company describes it as “the most premium, performance-focused and technologically sophisticated SUV in Acura history.” The latest iteration of the MDX will feature a new exterior design, redesigned suspension, more interior space, and all-new digital instrumentation and…