Automotive Industry and Car Reviews

Old automotive pages from 2007 and Before

The new Porsche 911: more powerful, faster, digital

The new Porsche 911: more powerful, faster, digital
Toronto. Sensation in Los Angeles: the Porsche 911 is now entering the eighth generation. The new 911 celebrated its world premiere on the eve of the L.A. Auto Show. It continues to set the standard when it comes to exclusive sportiness. Unmistakably committed to the Porsche design DNA, a much more muscular look, and an interior featuring a 10.9-inch touchscreen monitor, the new 911 is timeless – and modern. Intelligent control and chassis elements as well as innovative assistance systems combine the masterfully uncompromising dynamism that the classic rear- engine sports car is famed for, with the demands of the digital world.

By News on the Net -- Porsche Cars Canada- Monday, December 10, 2018 - Full Story

Paving the way for more efficient hydrogen cars


Hydrogen-powered vehicles emit only water vapor from their tailpipes, offering a cleaner alternative to fossil-fuel-based transportation. But for hydrogen cars to become mainstream, scientists need to develop more efficient hydrogen-storage systems. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Chemistry of Materials have used metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) to set a new record for hydrogen storage capacity under normal operating conditions.

By American Chemical Society - Friday, December 7, 2018 - Full Story

Buying a used car? Here’s Part Two of some tips on how to negotiate

Buying a used car? Here's Part Two of some tips on how to negotiate
Last week, I wrote part one of this series on buying a vehicle, outlining some of the things you can and should do before going to the dealer or private seller. This week, I’ll outline a few dickering/haggling tips that I’ve used successfully for vehicle purchases (and other things) that might help you in your quest for new wheels.

Remember, these comments are based on my personal experience and may not work for everyone – haggling does require a bit of nerve, after all, and you also need to be willing to stand up and walk away from a deal with which you aren’t comfortable.

By Jim Bray - Friday, November 30, 2018 - Full Story

Buying a used car? Here are some buying and negotiating tips that might help you

Buying a used car? Here are some buying and negotiating tips that might help you
Buying a vehicle can be an intimidating and frustrating experience, but if you keep your wits about you and refuse to be frustrated and/or intimidated you can negotiate a deal that could save you thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, the actual negotiating process can be fun – and it’s cool to see the look on the other party’s face when you have the audacity to offer less than the asking price.

By Jim Bray - Sunday, November 25, 2018 - Full Story

Lexus gives its venerable ES 350 a terrific update for 2019

Lexus gives its venerable ES 350 a terrific update for 2019
It was one of the two original Lexus models first introduced at the end of the 1980’s, when Toyota and Nissan both had the audacity to take on the European luxury marques head to head. Now, it’s just one of many Lexus offerings but, as it has always been, the ES 350 is a really nice car – and it’s even quite affordable in this niche.

You can still get a normally aspirated V6 to power it, too! This is a wonderful thing in an era in which carmakers are downsizing and turbocharging their power plants.

By Jim Bray - Sunday, November 18, 2018 - Full Story

Cars could be powered by water with new Israeli technology

Cars could be powered by water with new Israeli technology
Could cars someday run on water, not oil? Australian-Israeli startup Electriq-Global is giving a wet thumbs-up to a new fuel technology that extracts hydrogen from water and turns that hydrogen into electricity to power the vehicle.

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - Full Story

Acura RLX soldiers on bravely and quite nicely

Acura RLX soldiers on bravely and quite nicely
Acura’s biggest and most powerful sedan is a very nice ride.  I’m not sure that’s enough to make the car stand out in a niche full of really nice luxury sedans, though.

Still, you get a lot of niceness for your after-tax disposable income.

The RLX succeeded the RL a few years back, a luxury sedan I liked a lot, and this replacement has much to recommend. Oomph is plentiful, comfort and luxury abound, and the car will probably outlive its owners. So why do I come away from a week with it feeling kind of “meh?”

By Jim Bray - Saturday, November 10, 2018 - Full Story

Mazda enhances its big CX-9 for 2019

Mazda enhances its big CX-9 for 2019
Mazda’s largest bundle of joy goes into the 2019 model year with some new tweaks the company thinks will make this three row SUV/Crossover even more compelling than before.

Tough to do that with a minor upgrade, especially since the CX-9 was such a terrific beast already, but the purveyor of Japanese “Zoom-Zoom” pulled a few rabbits out of their design hats for the new model year and they combine to make this big, three row SUV even nicer.

It still needs paddle shifters, though. Zoom-zoom without paddles for the automatic transmission? Give me a break!

By Jim Bray - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - Full Story

Ford’s Explorer makes visiting Canada’s capital less unpleasant

Ford's Explorer makes visiting Canada's capital less unpleasant
Ford’s “fuller sized” SUV/Crossover, the Explorer, continues to be a compelling vehicle for people looking for a well-appointed ride that can handle up to seven people.

The Explorer, which was really one of the first so-called SUV’s, isn’t all-new for 2018, but it soldiers on as a solid and capable vehicle that also offers good off-road performance, as well as most, if not all, of today’s popular vehicle/connectivity/entertainment technology.

Ford of Canada was kind enough to lend me a Platinum trim level Explorer for the week and a half my wife and I were sentenced to spend in Ontario a few weeks ago. I’d driven the Explorer a few times before and liked it, though it’s a larger vehicle than I prefer, and this time helped cement its basic goodness into my psyche as we visited my elderly Dad and tooled around the area between Ottawa and Trenton, Ontario.

By Jim Bray - Sunday, October 21, 2018 - Full Story

Mitsubishi’s small SUV tries to Eclipse its many competitors

Mitsubishi's small SUV tries to Eclipse its many competitors
Mitsubishi’s new Eclipse Cross SUV is the Japanese automaker’s entry into the entry level compact SUV market, a niche currently occupied by such other Japanese models as the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Qashqai. How does it stack up compared to that competition?

Well, I haven’t driven a Qashqai, but I have driven the Honda, Mazda and Toyota and the Mitsubishi compares with them fairly well. And to sweeten the deal, owners get Mitsubishi’s extensive warranty policy: a 10-year, 160,000-kilometre limited warranty on the power train, a five-year 100,000-kilometre new vehicle limited warranty with five-year unlimited kilometre roadside assistance.

By Jim Bray - Friday, October 12, 2018 - Full Story

Kia’s sporty Stinger is definitely no stinker

Kia's sporty Stinger is definitely no stinker
Kia’s new sporty flagship is a nice four door hatchback – a sports sedan that isn’t quite a sedan but which looks, acts, and (even better!) drives like a sports sedan.

Move over BMW? Probably not, though there’s sure a lot to like about the Kia Stinger, including interfaces that are easy to figure out and to use – something to which a lot of the competition should take notice.

By Jim Bray - Sunday, October 7, 2018 - Full Story

Mazda’s little bundle of joy powers up for 2019

Mazda's little bundle of joy powers up for 2019
It’s amazing how the simple shot of oomph Mazda has added to its wonderful little MX-5 gives its driver an even bigger shot of adrenaline.

Yet there it is:  a car that has always been a joy to drive, yet has never been accused of being over powered, still isn’t overpowered - but it’s powered enough, and for this reviewer that’s the best news since the demise of the turbocharged Mazdaspeed Miata of years gone by.

By Jim Bray - Monday, October 1, 2018 - Full Story

Goodwood Festival of Speed July 2018

Goodwood Festival of Speed July 2018
Photo by Brian Smith @bms_photo

Since 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has drawn thousands of motorsport and automotive fans from around the world. Quite unlike any other motoring event, the Festival of Speed is spread across thousands of acres of the country manor Goodwood estate under the guidance of the Duke of Richmond. This 3-day festival is the quintessential celebration of all things two and four-wheeled and showcases the past, present, and future of motoring. Auto manufacturers represent their brands with huge mobile structures in which visitors can see and touch their current and future vehicle offerings.

By Brian Smith - Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - Full Story

Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV puts in a plug for green driving

Outlander PHEV leads the plug-in hybrid segment with more plug-in hybrids
Mitsubishi has unleashed its plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander and I have to admit it’s the nicest Mitsubishi SUV I’ve driven to date.

Not that a plug-in hybrid is near the top of my list of things to look for in a new vehicle, but judging by the number of plug-in hybrids available these days it seems clear that a) people either want such a vehicle or b) car makers are being pressured to add such vehicles to their offerings whether they sell or not (otherwise, why would we need government incentives that force your neighbours to help you pay for your purchase through their taxes?).

By Jim Bray - Thursday, August 30, 2018 - Full Story

Armor All collection can help keep cars fresh with no sweat

Armor All collection
I’ve just washed my car from top to bottom without using water, a pail, or a hose. Or by using someone else’s efforts on my behalf, or someone else’s washing facility.  It was really cool!

And while I think I’ll still use the touchless wash down the street a lot of the time, I’ve learned that you really can get your car clean just by wiping it with a cloth. If it’s the right cloth.

By Jim Bray - Monday, August 13, 2018 - Full Story

Long Lexus RX lets you add passengers

Long Lexus RX lets you add passengers
Lexus’ top selling SUV, the RX series, has received a boost for the 2018 model year in a move that instantly makes it competitive with three row luxury people haulers.

It, as you probably guessed, is the RX 350 L, the L indicating that the vehicle has been stretched a few inches (about four, in fact) to allow for the installation of a third-row bench. It isn’t a third row like you’ll find in a minivan, but it’s in line with some of the competitors whose Steerage class seating is more of the “emergency-public-transit-alternative-type” of vehicle.

By Jim Bray - Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - Full Story

Synthetic suede gives high-end cars that luxury feel

Synthetic suede gives high-end cars that luxury feel
Leather car seats were once synonymous with luxury, but these days, synthetic suede is becoming the material of choice for high-end automobiles. With increased affluence worldwide, and the growing popularity of car-sharing and luxury-driving services, business is booming for manufacturers of synthetic suede. Among these companies, Japanese firms sit snugly in the driver’s seat, reports an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 1, 2018 - Full Story

Harleycans—(on the vroom side)

Harleycans
In my (much) younger years and on another continent, I was interested in motorbikes, like any other young male then. I even got my biking-license, requiring an actual “field test” (in the city) with all kinds of turns, etc. Of course, that was entirely separate from getting my car-driving license.

Somehow though, I never acquired a motorcycle myself. Instead, I rode my brother’s ~20 HP bike a few times, never far, except as “passenger” or via a tow-line to my (pedal-powered) bicycle.

By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser - Monday, July 30, 2018 - Full Story

Mazda CX-3 AWD: an entry level SUV that’s fun

Mazda CX-3 AWDCompact SUV’s are a dime a dozen, but if you’re looking for one that’s not only capable, roomy and efficient, but is fun to drive as well,  the list gets decidedly shorter.

Small and fun SUV’s are available, but most of the lower end ones I’ve driven – the mainstream stuff from mainstream companies such as Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai and the like – seem to focus more on the “UV” (Utility Vehicle) than the “S” (Sport), which is perhaps why the term “crossover” has become so popular.


Acura’s 2019 RDX an interesting and fun compact luxury SUV

Acura's 2019 RDX an interesting and fun compact luxury SUV
It’s being touted as Acura’s new direction and, as such, it’s an interesting case study in how a company responds to the ever-evolving competition.

I was on Acura’s junket to San Francisco when the original RDX came out. It was Acura’s first turbo four, and it was a wonderful SUV that featured what at the time was probably the best audio system I’d experienced in a vehicle.

That ELS audio system is still around, kind of, but it has also marched along with the marketplace—which to me is a double-edged sword.