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2017 Toyota Sienna - Fuel Economy Review + Fill Up Costs

 In this episode, we test out the fuel economy in the all-new 2017 Toyota Sienna. One of the few remaining contenders in its class, the Sienna is a popular choice in the minivan segment offering ample space and comfort in a sporty package.

On a full tank, we were able to get 479km of driving at a fuel economy of 13.2L/100km. Filling the tank back up cost $70.56 for a full tank using standard gasoline at $1.04/liter. Watch the video below. 


Real world test results:

- Tested fuel range: 479km

- Fuel economy: 13.2L/100km

- Fuel economy (mpg): 17.8mpg


Closest competitors:

- KIA Sedona

- Honda Odyssey

- Dodge Caravan

- Chrysler Town & Country

Ford reveals GT numbers...and it's good news

The long-awaited 2017 Ford GT supercar has been unveiled, talked about and even dissected at its Ontario-based Multimatic production site. However, the few things not disclosed were the performance numbers; at least until now. 

With production beginning, Ford finally revealed that the Ford GT will spew 647 hp at 6,250 rpm and peak torque numbers of 550 lb.-ft. at 5,900 rpm from its 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine. These numbers mark the GT as the most powerful EcoBoost engine produced by Ford that can top out at a speed of 347 km/h.

The 2017 GT was always suspected to receive more than 600 hp, but it's nice to finally see something official. According to Ford, the GT set a 2:09.8 lap time at Calabogie Motorsports Park near Ottawa, bettering times of some close competitors in the McLaren 675LT and the Ferrari 458 Speciale. A strong power-to-weight ratio coupled with its advanced active suspension system to achieve those quick lap times.

“The Ford GT is all about performance,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer. “We achieved considerable weight savings with the carbon fibre architecture. We then reinvested some of that savings into where it counts most – performance, specifically, the active dynamics. The result is an even faster car.”

Now that we have all the numbers in place, it's time to get the first 250 vehicles produced for 2017 and out on the road for some real life testing. In total, there will be 1,000 units produced over a four year period at an approximate price of $450,000 USD.

  • Published in News

2017 Lincoln MKZ review

Lincoln has spent the past few years introducing their crossover and SUV lineup, equipping them with the latest technology and cutting-edge designs. While we have seen these in the new MKC and MKX crossovers, it’s now time for the luxury automaker to rejuvenate the sedan category as well.

With only two sedans being offered, Lincoln doesn’t provide a full offering like BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. Instead, the brand plays in a different luxury space along with Infiniti, Acura and Cadillac.

Its fleet-preferred Continental was discontinued in 2012 and brought back this year, while the alternative MKS has been deemed one of the slowest sellers in the full-size segment. Hence, Lincoln has been heavily reliant on the success of its entry-level offering, the Lincoln MKZ.

The Lincoln MKZ is currently the sole breadwinner for the brand in the sedan segment. Redesigned in 2013, its state-of-the-art technology and futuristic design was lauded by buyers. Arguably, it was the first Lincoln to reposition the entire brand toward a younger market.

For 2017, the MKZ has been redesigned with the most striking changes at the front of the car. The sweeping headlights on the outgoing model have been replaced by multi-element LED headlights. There's nothing conventional about them with five individual HID lighting elements that offer great wide-angle visibility on the road, while the bright LED lighting strip accentuates the sheer width of the headlights. The dual grille has been replaced by a chrome-infused Jaguar-like design that echoes the shape of the Lincoln logo.

When inside, one realizes how modern the interior has gotten. The annoying touch-sensitive buttons on the outgoing model that required you at times to take your eyes off the road, have been replaced by physical dials and knobs to control temperature and audio.

Another welcome change, the old MyLincoln Touch system has been replaced with Sync3 through an eight-inch touchscreen. How is this better? The outgoing Microsoft-based touchscreen was terrible for its performance issues and screen freezing. The completely redesigned Sync3 is based on Blackberry’s QNX system over a Linux platform. Aside from the logo and background, it doesn't differ from the Sync3 system found on Ford vehicles.

The MKZ offers up three performance variants. The base model is offered as a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo outputting a healthy 245 hp (@5,500rpm) and 275 lb.-ft. of torque (@3,000rpm). Step up to the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V-6, and you're in hot-rod territory with a mind blowing 400 hp (@5,500rpm) and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (@2,750rpm) at your disposal. For fuel economy buffs, the MKZ is also offered with a 2.0-litre hybrid engine that puts out 188 hp and a paltry 129 lb.-ft. of torque. The best part about it is you can get the hybrid for the same price as the base model.

It also has some very cool options, some of which have been transported over from Ford. Unfortunately, to get most of these options you would need to upgrade to the Reserve trim and fork over some extra money. For instance, $2,450 can get you the Technology Package with Park Assist which can essentially park the car via a parallel or perpendicular position. Or you can pay an exorbitant $3,450 to turn your car into a four-door convertible. The panoramic roof option replaces the entire roof with one enormous pane of glass that shifts itself over the rear windshield with the push of a button.

Although its tame performance and profile isn't going to turn the heads of Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series or Lexus IS owners; the MKZ’s larger size is attractive to younger family-oriented buyers looking for more space. With 436 litres of cargo space, there's a lot of space in the back, however a narrow profile could cause a bit of stress when travelling. 

The verdict: The 2017 Lincoln MKZ is an attractive entry-level luxury sedan that's perfect for individuals looking for a luxury car with mid-size space at an affordable compact price starting at $42,000. With an outstanding array of luxury, technology and prestige that’s reflected through its rarity, the MKZ is almost as exclusive as any of its German counterparts.

Nissan Qashqai to arrive in Canada in the spring

Windsor, ON – The Nissan Qashqai compact crossover was revealed as the latest addition to the Nissan roster in an exclusive unveiling at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor, Ontario. The reveal occurred a day before the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and Nissan Canada couldn't have been happier to finally let the cat out of the bag. 

“We're convinced it [The Qashqai] will be a game changer in the compact segment,” explains Christian Meunier, Senior Vice President, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America and Chairman of Nissan Canada. 

Meunier was on-hand with the current Nissan Canada president Joni Paiva to tell the journey of the Qashqai finally being approved for both the Canadian and American markets. In the United States, the Qashqai will be known as the Rogue Sport, but will essentially be the same vehicle slotting in-between the Juke and Rogue crossovers. 

The Qashqai may be new to North America, but it has been around since 2007 where it quickly has risen to be one of Europe's best-selling SUV/crossover vehicles. Now, with the compact crossover segment being the fastest growing in sales, it only makes sense for Nissan Canada to add another vehicle for consumers, and as its president Paiva explains, “fill the void in the market.”

Compared to the Rogue, the Qashqai sits 2.3-inches shorter in wheelbase and 12.1-inches shorter in overall length. It has similar stylings to the rest of the Nissan crossover/SUV lineup featuring the signature V-shaped grille, swept-back headlights and boomerang-shaped taillights. 

In the second row, versatility and functionality becomes apparent with a maximum cargo capacity of 1,730 litres when the second row is folded fully flat. Those seats can also be configured to hold one passenger in the back and drop only one side in a 60/40 split. Trunk cargo space sits at 648 litres, more than enough to fit luggage for a family vacation. 


Under the hood is only one offering: a 2.0-litre inline-four that produces 141 hp and 147 lb.-ft. of torque matched to either a six-speed manual transmission (only available in the base S trim) or the Xtronic continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive is available with front-wheel-drive being standard. 

For Canada, there are a couple of unique features that include the aforementioned manual tranny that won't be found south of the border. In addition, heated front seats are standard, while a heated steering wheel and remote control start functions are available.

The 2017 Nissan Qashqai is expected to be released in Spring 2017 and will immediately compete with the likes of the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax, Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Crosstrek.


2017 Lincoln MKX - Fuel Economy Review + Fill Up Costs

In this episode, we test out the fuel economy in the all-new 2017 Lincoln MKX. This mid-size luxury crossover is feature-packed with class-leading luxury amenities and state-of-the-art technology that rival its German and Japanese competitors.

Our tester was equipped with a 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Our test yielded 140 kms on a half tank of gas and gave an average fuel economy of 16.5 L/100 km.

After using up our tank of gas, we were able to fill it back up for $26.59 for a half tank of gas at a fuel cost of $0.976/litre.


Tested fuel range: 140 kms on a half tank; 280 kms on a full tank

Fuel economy: 16.5 L/100 km

Fuel economy (mpg): 14.2 mpg



CAD $26.59 @ $0.976/litre



2.7-litre V6

six-speed automatic

335 hp @ 5,500rpm

380 lb-ft @ 3,000rpm

All-wheel drive

2016 Ford Escape - Fuel Economy Review + Fill Up Costs

In this episode, we test out the fuel economy in the all-new 2016 Ford Escape. In the hyper-competitive compact SUV segment, the Escape is a key player with its powerful, yet efficient engine choices, ample space and innovative technology.

Our tester was equipped with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-scroll EcoBoost engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Our test yielded 504 kms on a tank of gas and gave a decent average fuel economy of 10.7L/100 km.

After using up our tank of gas, we were able to fill it back up for $41.55 at a fuel cost of $0.829/litre.




Tested fuel range: 504km on a full tank

Fuel economy: 10.7 L/100 km

Fuel economy (mpg): 22 mpg



CAD $41.55 @ $0.829/liter



2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost

six-speed automatic

245 hp @ 5,500rpm

275 lb-ft @ 3,300rpm

All-wheel drive

First Drive – 2017 Honda CR-V

Victoria, BC – No one will argue about the Honda Civics success, especially in Canada, as the No. 1 selling passenger car for 18 consecutive years, soon to be going on 19. The Civic has been a pillar of strength for Honda, but there are other reasons why Honda has been able to retain a top-three brand sales position in Canada.

One of those reasons is the CR-V; it's compact crossover, now in its 20th year and onto its fifth-generation. Sales are still strong, but recently the CR-V has taken a step back in terms of 'wow' factor, compared to its other big rivals in the Toyota Rav4, Ford Escape and even the Nissan Rogue. These points haven't been lost on Honda and were even pointed out by Dave Gardner, Senior Vice President of Operations at Honda Canada.

“The compact SUV has been one of our few blemishes,” said Gardner.

Now let's be realistic for a second, the CR-V isn't a blemish. It's refreshing to hear someone talk about its faults, but the 2016 version is still a decent crossover that happens to be tailored to a more conservative clientele. Yes, it also lacks in performance; however, it's nothing to be ashamed about.

In their rhetoric, what Honda wanted to make clear was that there's much more to the company than simply the Civic. And that comes at a time when the largest sales segment is compact crossovers/SUVs, so the Japanese outfit is making its move in prime time. After all, the CR-V helped to invent the compact crossover segment 20 years ago with the debut of the CR-V, when many others doubted its longevity for the North American market.

For 2017, Honda isn't holding anything back on the CR-V as they take every main negative: exterior styling, plain cabin experience, vehicle performance and value; and turn all those into positives.

“We want this [fifth-generation] CR-V, the Civic of the compact crossover segment,” said Hayato Mori, Senior Manager of Product Planning and Business Development at Honda Canada.

For the first drive, Honda hosted a group of journalists on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. We were stationed in Victoria, and the drive would take us down the coast through Sooke and due to personal navigational error into Port Renfrew.

The navigational error wasn't a bad thing at all, as the roads to Port Renfrew were some of the more challenging, curvy roads we would encounter, and that made for an exceptional test of the CR-V's new turbocharged, 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and its handling prowess.

The new turbo engine – the same one found in the Civic – is the only one offered in Canada on all trims from LX to Touring. It produces 190 hp and 179 lb.-ft. of torque (more than the Civic) and matched to a reasonably-sounding continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel-drive (AWD) is standard on all trims, except LX, where its placed as an option above 2WD.

Performance improvements were definitely needed on the CR-V. The turbo engine won't show it too much in the numbers, but I definitely sensed some more pep behind the wheel. Throughout the drive, it seemed to carry the perfect amount of power needed for this utility vehicle. Sometimes, there's more than enough power; while other times, there's a lack of oomph, but Honda seems to get it right with this new setup.

It all starts with a smooth initial acceleration that quietly gets up to speed. As you press down on the accelerator, the typical CVT whining doesn't show; instead a more linear acceleration is noticed and appreciated. The quiet ride enhances the tranquil state that's felt behind the wheel, only to be made more comfortable by its seating that provides not only great visibility, but an exquisite driving position with a healthy does of head and leg room. There are many vehicles I get into where I fiddle in agony over an ideal seating position, and the CR-V I have to say, was a pleasure to be in.

As tranquil as it is, there still is a tendency for boredom behind the wheel. It should still be noted, that many crossovers fall into this lack of energy category, so the CR-V shouldn't be picked on. It's still conservative in many ways, just a lot better than it was, and that pleasantly shows in its handling and balance as well. Small inputs to the steering wheel were needed throughout the twists and turns, keeping the CR-V direct at all times, while soaking up plenty of the imperfections on the road. There were, however, certain corners where steering response was a tad slow. Once again, it should be noted, that we were coming in hot, something the CR-V had a bit of trouble managing.

One attribute that Honda was raving about was class-leading fuel economy numbers. For the AWD units, a rating of 8.7 L/100 km can be had in the city and a 7.2 L/100 km on the highway. During the ride on Vancouver Island, the CR-V was able to muster a combined 7.4 L/100 km, mostly from highway-type driving. Regardless of the reason, the number is still pretty decent for a hauler that weighs 1,557 kg, and those numbers can be enhanced by using an Eco driving mode.

One of the glaring blemishes discussed earlier was exterior styling. Honda's conservative nature is well documented, and they didn't re-write the book with this new CR-V, but they sure tightened its shape and image.

It all starts with the new platform its sits on that's broader, bolder and wider. The most noticeable change occurs in its front fascia that showcases a two-layer chrome grille with cool-looking flared fenders and standard LED lighting, that's also featured on the back side. Overall, it's more sleek and larger appearance will attract more attention and that's exactly what the bland looking previous iteration desperately needed.

As impressive as the outside looks, more significant changes are found on the inside. The wider and taller makeup is noticed immediately with a more spacious back row. At times, a crossover can only be as good as its versatility, and Honda made sure of that with increasing rear leg room and cargo space (1.8m of flat cargo space), while retaining a similar overall length. In addition, the centre console can be constructed in three different ways, while a hands-free power tailgate can be accessed through an upward kicking motion and also adjusted with a choice of three heights. 

The design takes on plenty of hard and soft materials that help to elevate the look and feel of the CR-V. Yes, once again it's a big improvement in soft-touch leather, but the faux wood trim comes off a bit cheap. On the other hand, the seven-inch touchscreen is less clunky and easy to use, and that includes the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. What it also includes is the rebirth of the volume knob. Honda has listened to its critics and brought this simple feature back after a two-year hiatus.

Canadians will be treated to a few exclusive perks that include a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats in EX-L and Touring models, as well as a panoramic moonroof for the Touring trim.

Lastly, CR-V owners will be treated to Honda's suite of safety technology, called Honda Sensing, that's standard on all AWD units. New technologies for 2017 include: Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-speed follow and Road Departure Mitigation, and that's on top of the plethora of technology aids that are already a part of the system.

The 2017 Honda CR-V goes on sale in late December at a cost that's only $400-$1,000 (depending on trim) more than its outgoing model. The starting price is $26,690 for the LX 2WD, but for AWD, you will need to go up to $29,490; while it tops out at $38,090 for the Touring trim.

In the fastest growing segment, Honda isn't taking any chances with its CR-V. Honda doesn't want it just to not lose ground to the Rav4 and Escape, it wants to take over the segment, just like the Civic did in its sedan class. To achieve this goal, improvements to inside-and-out styling will be a big help, as well as the standardization of safety technology, enhanced interior volume, better performance and lower fuel economy.

Will that be enough for Honda? It's hard to say, but with Honda's pedigree and the positive history of the CR-V, it sure can't hurt.

Test Drive: 2017 Cadillac XT5

After being in the market for twelve years, Cadillac’s top-selling vehicle in Canada, the SRX, is being replaced by the all-new XT5. It's a little curious for a brand to transform its top-seller, but it's a fresh start for the mid-size luxury crossover.

From our test drive, the XT5 does a pretty good job at filling its predecessor’s shoes. But the question remains whether it will be strong enough to compete against its highly-acclaimed luxury competitors?

One things for sure, the XT5's looks are a step above its previous version. The crossover balances its sharp lines and edges with smooth curves regardless of your angle. The headlights now blend seamlessly into the curvaceous front while the vertically-stacked LEDs stretch from the mid-section of the hood all the way to the bumper. The high placement of the vertical headlights emphasize the height of the vehicle while the linear LED daytime running lamps distinguish the vehicle as a Cadillac.

In the rear, the signature taillights feature multiple vertical LED elements that run along its side. It looks rather simplistic upon first glance, but it’s at night that the jewel-like taillights really show off the details concealed within.

The interiors can vary considerably depending on trim. The Platinum Luxury Plus trim that we tested showcased an interior laden with soft material – including leather stitching and a micro-suede finish. The leather was of a decent quality, but a few fellow passengers commented the micro-suede looked a bit unpolished and wondered if it might attract dust or lint in the long run. In addition, the XT5 also features Cadillac’s upgraded CUE system now featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – allowing enhanced communication with your phone using Google Maps, Google Now, and Spotify.

A unique feature worth mentioning is the Rear Camera mirror which, with the flick of a switch, transforms your rear view mirror into a full colour 1280x240 wide screen that uses a camera mounted at the back of the vehicle to give you a near-180-degree view of everything behind you. Although it's only available on higher trim levels, it's certainly worth the upgrade. In many cases, I didn’t need to use my side view mirrors for most lane changes as it captured almost everything behind the rear quarters of my vehicle.

Cadillac offers the all-new XT5 luxury crossover in five trim levels including the base XT5 and Luxury on the front-wheel drivetrain, and a choice between Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum on the all-wheel drivetrain. All trims draw power from a 3.6-litre V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic that puts out a class-leading 310 hp at 6,600rpm and 271 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,000rpm.

The standard V6 also features cylinder deactivation, which turns off two of the six cylinders under low engine demand. My test had all six cylinders activated around 65 per cent of the time. The cylinder deactivation kicks in while coasting in the city or lightly engaging the accelerator at a fixed speed.

Cadillac claims the XT5 is 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing SRX. All this combined yielded me a fuel economy of 12.6 L/100m – comparably similar to the fuel economy of the 235 hp Lexus NX 2.0 Turbo I tested last year.

The compact luxury SUV segment is very lucrative for many automakers, attracting entry-level luxury buyers with more space – all for just a few thousand more than a compact luxury sedan. It's also one of the most competitive, with new products constantly being launched, while existing vehicles are being rigorously redesigned.

In the past two years alone, we’ve seen the launch of the Mercedes GLC, the Lincoln MKC, and the Lexus NX – all worthy competitors to the XT5. With its advanced technology and cutting-edge design, the XT5 is a strong contender that is poised to catch attention from buyers and admirers alike.

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