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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 The sweeping headlights on the outgoing model have been replaced by multi-element LED headlights.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 The dual grille has been replaced by a chrome-infused Jaguar-like design that echoes the shape of the Lincoln logo.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annoying touch-sensitive buttons on the outgoing model that required you at times to take your eyes off the road, have been replaced by physical dials and knobs to control temperature and audio.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.

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.

First Drive: 2016 Honda Accord


Markham, ON – Now well into in its ninth-generation that began in 2012, the Honda Accord is still holding court as a family pleaser. The evidence is there with it being the No. 1 choice for Canadian consumers in the intermediate sedan segment, but with current advancements in technology and a strong competition presence, Honda felt that it was time for it to be upgraded.

New for 2016, the Honda Accord has been refreshed with some added styling and technology to take on that competition and according to Honda Canada, “set a benchmark for the intermediate segment.” That statement seems counter intuitive to the conservative styling nature of the brand, but the Japanese-company plans to set those marks by offering modern technology that focuses on connectivity, as well as safety technology not seen throughout the spectrum of trim lines.

The centrepiece of Honda's connectivity plan is Apple Car and Android Auto. It's not new to the automotive game, as I recently encountered this in the new Volkswagen Jetta, but it's a first for Honda. The practice of this system is to create familiarity for the passengers. All you need is your Smartphone plug-in chord and connect it to the Accord. From there, familiar apps pop up on the screen, similar to your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Therefore, you can use your favourite apps that might include Google Maps or Slacker Radio the same exact way you would use them on your phone in the comfort of your car.

After testing out both Apple Car and Android Auto, the best part about this system is that the functions work quickly without any lag. You don't have to wait for things to load up. Once the Accord detected the device and we went through the approval process, I was allowed to rifle through menu options, or talk via Siri to give navigational or text message instructions.

Honda's intuitive seven-inch infotainment system wasn't just about Apple Car and Android Auto. We tested out its on-board Garmin navigational system, and it was a relief compared to the other archaic and inferior base options around. Honda could better its touchscreen if it does away with the touch volume scrolling system, but that will have to be an argument for another day.

As seen on both the new HR-V and Pilot, the new Accord will come with the host of Honda Sensing safety technology in an aim to be the safest Accord ever. For its efforts, the 2016 iteration has already been awarded top-honours with a Top Safety Pick + from the IIHF. The suite of Honda Sensing technology that includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is available for all trims, but comes standard in the sedan from the EX-L trim and up.

Technological additions are not the only changes made to the new 2016 Honda Accord. Both the sedan and coupe have gone through front fascia alterations that come off more aggressive and sporty. I mentioned the conservative nature of Honda, and especially the Accord, but these changes even though not earth shattering, provide a glimpse of a subtle spark within the culture.

The sedan gets a lot of chrome as two horizontal bars sit underneath a larger silver chrome strip that stretches towards the “Jewel Eye” LED headlights. As for the coupe version, it differentiates itself with a copper brushed chrome strip that sits on top of a sporty mesh design. Both get standard LED taillights, as well as an aluminum hood that takes over from the heavier steel version.

Under the hood, the Accord 2.4-litre four-cylinder (185 hp and 181 lb.-ft. of torque) and 3.5-litre V6 (278 hp and 252 lb.-ft. of torque) are carry-overs, so there's not much new to report. However, Honda has improved fuel economy rating slightly with a revised 8.6 L/100 km in the city and 6.4 L/100 km on the highway split. All sedans and coupes can be paired with either a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT).

On the drive around Markham into the community of Kettleby, situated in the northeastern King Township in Ontario, I was able to take out the automatic Touring sedan that sits on 19-inch aluminum wheels. It wasn't a long drive, but it allowed me to experience the comfort and driving capabilities of the new Accord.

Honda has made improvements in its ride and handling, but they were hardly noticed on this drive, perhaps more time might have played the trick. But for this mid-size sedan transporter, it does everything you want it to. Not only is it super quiet, it drives like a gazelle, smoothly accelerating and coasting on highways and city streets. We managed to achieve a 7.8L/100 km combined rating, which is right in there with the best of them.

The seats have ample legroom and headroom, and place you in a driving position that's upright and comfortable. The same can be said for the rear seats; while the trunk was spacious and had room for at least three-to-four sets of golf clubs.

What more can you want from this family sedan? If I had the choice, I was ready to sign this out for my next long road trip, and it had Sirius satellite radio to boot.

There are many great choices in the market without a clear-cut favourite that include the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima. For a starting price of $24,150, and the Touring cost beginning at $31,090, the 2016 Honda Accord is the reliable and respectable choice of the group, and these refreshing changes certainly provide it a modern touch and a little bit of flair that could potentially separate itself from the rest of the pack.

In short – 2015 Buick Verano

Likely safe to say that, unless you have been living under a rock or visiting a distant galaxy, you may be fleetingly familiar with General Motors' renaissance marketing and advertising campaign for their previously staid Buick marque. With Buick now being touted as “no longer the car your father would drive” (paraphrasing), I’m here to tell you that I would agree. And, for the most part, overall, they may be onto something with design, styling and technology which now has much broader and ready appeal.

The 2015 Buick Verano boasts an interior that's high on quality materials and comfortable seats. The model tested and driven came with leather seating. The front passengers are quite comfortable, with the driver's seat especially well bolstered for a car of this size. The rear seat isn't as generous – if you are an average-size North American adult.

The Verano's standard seven-inch touchscreen interface is generally agreeable, but honestly, Buick has fallen into the more button approach that other manufacturers seem to love. Note to engineers – less is more – please. Determining the appropriate button to push while driving is a distraction.

The Verano Turbo which, not surprisingly, comes with a turbocharged engine generates 250 horsepower from its 2.0 litres, and comes with either a six-speed automatic (as tested) or a six-speed manual transmission. To be clear; all Veranos are front-wheel drive.

The Buick Verano has a driving style that makes it feel like a bigger, more substantial car. That’s meant as a compliment. It's quiet, the ride is smooth (too much for some tastes, perhaps), and this small Buick sedan manages to evoke driving experiences of larger, more expensive (Buick) models such as the larger Regal and LaCrosse. What makes this all the more interesting, size-wise, at least, it’s much closer to its corporate sibling, the Chevy Cruze.

While the Verano would never be considered “sporty”, the turbo offers zippy acceleration but it feels as if the suspension is still tuned more for comfort. There is also some terrific technology on board such as forward-collision warning.

For the record, the 2015 Buick Verano, as tested, is probably way up there as one of the most comfortable cars available at this specific price point.

The base engine can run on regular unleaded gasoline, while premium is recommended for the turbo. But I digress.

As tested:
Price: $35,950 – plus applicable taxes
Engine: 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged EcoTec
Power: 250hp/260 ft-lb of torque (yes, you read that right – no corrective lenses for you!)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel economy (L/100km): City 11.4/ Hwy 7.9

Pros: A well-appointed value-laden North American built compact sedan. Quite comfortable up front for the driver and passenger, less so for adults in the rear. As a small family “take-me-to-Grandma’s-house” car, overall, few complaints. For the price as tested, this Verano is in some pretty good company – from the usual Asian manufacturers.

Cons: Tight for space in the rear for two average-size adults – especially for longer trips. Small point, but premium gasoline is recommended for the turbocharged engine. If you are not aware, when a manufacturer “suggests” premium, higher octane gasoline, know that it does, indeed, make a difference to the vehicle’s overall performance.

Long and the short: Worthy overall of consideration for your everyday transport dollar. Will new – and old – consumers embrace the new Buick, breathing life into this mature marque? Time and sales will tell.

First Drive: 2016 Nissan Maxima


Ottawa, ON – Floundering in a diminishing segment, Nissan was at a crossroads with the Maxima, it's full-size sedan. The choice was simple: completely change or pull the plug on the second-longest Nissan nameplate, beginning in 1981.

Now in its eighth-generation, Nissan went ahead and launched the 2016 Nissan Maxima in a very lucrative Super Bowl advertisement back in February. Nissan executives wanted to create a luxurious marvel that seems to be more premium than what we are accustomed to, a similar situation to what Nissan has done with its Murano SUV.

To test out the new refined showpiece of Nissan, they invited a number of journalists to Ottawa for a drive up to the Quebec Laurentians, and back. It was a great opportunity to not only feel the comfort of what Nissan is calling a jet fighter-styled cockpit interior, but also the power behind this so-called “sports sedan.”

Nissan simplified the buying process by only offering up four trim levels with no options. The base SV starts at $35,900, more than $2K less than the previous starting price; the second-tier SL at 38,950; the sports-tuned SR at  $41,100; and finally, the Platinum edition that tops out at $43,300.

It's a system that's less complicated at the dealership level, but customers might have a hard time deciding what's more appropriate for their lifestyle. The two trims on hand for the drive were the SR and Platinum, and after a day with them, I still can't figure out which I prefer.

On one hand, the range-topping Platinum is decked out with a panoramic moonroof, wood-tone finishes, an around-view monitor and power tilt/telescope steering. That all sounds great, but then you go to the SR and its sporting 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, and a sports-tuned suspension with some features that include Active Ride Control, Active Trace Control and Active Engine Brake.

A big drawback for the SR is not being able to have it with that panoramic moonroof – it just couldn't be done for lower body rigidity of the vehicle. So instead, you're left with a decision.

One decision that doesn't have to be made is with the engine. All Maximas come with an updated 3.5-litre V6 that not only improves on power from 290 hp to 300, but betters its fuel economy numbers to beat out other like-minded V6s in the premium large sedan category, as well as some in the mid-size sedan range. On our drive, the Maxima managed both in both trims an 8.5L/100 km with plenty of power surges to see what's really under that hood.

Also new in the Maxima is a refined Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that's been fine-tuned to have a wider gear ratio range that can get aggressive when pushed. I did find their to be a little lag after acceleration contact, but it's miles beyond what we used to think of CVTs.

The drive through the twisty Laurentians areas was a perfect spot to test out the handling of this large sports sedan. The most notable thing about the drive was how quiet it was. Only when that accelerator got pressed down to pass a few slow moving vehicles and trucks when two-lanes turned to one, the Maxima lit up and loudly CVT'd its way passed them. Otherwise, the journey was consistently relaxed and smooth, aided by the updated version of Nissan's NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats.

The interesting thing about the new Maxima is given its large dimensions, its width is not noticeable while driving. It seems less like a full-size, as in the Hyundai Genesis, and more like its sibling, the Altima. I'm not sure whether it's the sleek silhouette design that makes the Maxima feel smaller or the lightweight feel (the Maxima dropped 82 lbs., giving it an excellent power-to-weight ratio), but it was evident and that's a big check mark for me.

The two drive modes offered are: Normal and Sport, so naturally we tested both out. Normal mode added an extra layer of comfort and smoothness in the Platinum trim, especially over some rough chopped up areas around Quebec; while the SR felt more suitable in Sport mode with quicker response times and better cornering stability. Road feel was always present allowing you to manage the steering with crisp and accurate responses.

As smooth as the drive is, so is the design. Nissan turned this sedan from just another number option in its portfolio into a star. The V-motion grille might seem a bit large and more suitable for a larger vehicle, but the signature boomerang LED headlights supply it with a lot of character. The silhouette gets a sleeked-back cool look with a blacked-out A-Pillar and aggressive lines going across its body into its rear, where it takes on a more muscular backside.

Inside, the all-new Maxima shines with soft comfortable leather that's elevated with authentic contrast stitching on the dash, seats, door panels, you name it. The craftsmanship feels luxurious and more in-line with the Infiniti brand than Nissan.

A Nissan-first is a flat-bottomed leather-wrapped steering wheel that's steals the show. It's thick and handy with plenty of buttons to toggle between the radio stations, making a phone call, or figuring out your fuel economy numbers. If you don't like to use your steering wheel for controls, don't worry, you have a eight-inch colour touchscreen or a display commander rotating dial behind the gearshift. A little redundant, and not necessary, but I gather they're trying to accommodate all preferences.

I had a chance to sit in the back, and there's enough leg room for Dikembe Mutombo to relax in and not have to wag his finger. Headroom can be an issue for the taller individual, mainly due to the sloping silhouette, but if you're under 6'2”, there should be no trouble at all. The trunk is spacious, but it doesn't compare to some of its competitors.

Is the 2016 Nissan Maxima a sports sedan? The quick answer is no, but it's a well-designed full-size sedan that's focused on style and performance. The new iteration is light years ahead of the old, and it comes with many standard luxuries, such as heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, a rear view camera and advanced safety technologies that many other premium offerings don't have.

At $35K, the Maxima seems like a perfect choice, but the sales side can get murky, as we reach the $40K-43K mark. Many consumers in that range want to see a distinguished badge, and I'm not sure the Nissan one is what they want. If you take away the desire for status and take this Maxima out for a test drive, you will be pleasantly surprised not only by its exquisite styling, but also by its opulent cockpit.

The Nissan Maxima is currently on sale at dealerships across Canada.

In short – 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum

Back in the day when car rental companies, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Florida offered unlimited mileage and “full size” vehicles, they were not the most popular choice. Yet it always seemed that the mid-size car you had booked was always conveniently “oversold” and you would cheerfully be “upgraded” (at no additional charge) to a gas-guzzling V8 monster that drove as if it had marshmallows for shocks.

Many was the time when in the late 70’s and early 80’s (decades, not temperatures) when I would spend up to six weeks at a time in the Sunshine State on business, driving from region to region, spending nights in towns to this day I often wish I had never heard of. Such was the life of a product buyer for a Canadian travel wholesaler, inspecting hotels, negotiating for blocks of rooms and taking a whittling knife to suggested room rates – all for the benefit of the Canadian traveller.

I would be one of the few individuals who would gladly accept that full size automobile, the veritable land cruiser on wheels that perhaps “achieved” single digit miles per gallon as I drove south, north, east and west, criss-crossing the state in “classics” such as the Oldsmobile Delta 88, the Dodge Magnum and the Buick Riviera. Those cars were almost as wide as they were long and were heavy, lethargic lumps of steel and glass. But I loved them. Why? The feeling of safety. Of invincibility. Of believing that anything that big would take half the time to get to its intended destination.

The memories flooded back when I initially approached the Chrysler 300C recently. This was/is a large, full-size car. It looked solid. Heavy. Dare I say, gangster-like?

I was home!

Powered by a 5.7L HEMI VVT V8 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, this is a vehicle that would likely do well in a fleet of airport limousines where business people could languish in great comfort in the Nappa leather upholstered rear seats, listening to MSNBC via satellite radio through the top of the line Harmon/Kardon system and the non-invasive 19-speaker system as they are driven from the airport to home – or the next hotel for the night.

Do not misunderstand, as far as large luxury sedans go, this, for the dollar, may be one of the better values out there. Heck, there are even cup holders which may either, depending on the rocker switch, keep your beverage warm – or cool – as you desire.

The cabin interior is surprisingly elegant in an understated manner. Everything was where you would like it to be and nothing was a stretch to initiate.

Perhaps most pleasing is the dual-pane panoramic sunroof – especially on a clear still night when the moon is full and the stars fight for dominant position.

But I digress.

As tested:

Price: $51,125
Engine: 5.7L HEMI VVT V8
Power: 363hp/394 ft-lb of torque.
Transmission: eight-speed TorqueFlite Performance automatic
Fuel economy (L/100km): City 14.8/Hwy 9.3. Actually averaged 10.1L/100km combined driving from Mississauga to Barrie.

Pros: A comfortable land cruiser with the soul of a large block V8 HEMI! Room to spare in the front and back seats and room for two full sets of golf clubs and more (or similar cargo) in the capacious trunk.  All in all, excellent value for the dollar for anyone looking to (visually) improve their lot in life – or an airline limo service.

Cons: Not a fan of the dial up transmission – on this or any car, for that matter; I prefer to hold a shifter from time-to-time.

Long and the short: if you are considering a large sedan that can impress on the highway and at the country club, this all-American luxo-barge with the muted growl of a slightly sedated predator is for you.

In short – 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4

With the introduction of the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4, the manufacturer made what some might call a bold and daring move. The vehicle as tested recently, excluding HST, had a price point small change north of $70K. For a Jeep. The venerable, grandfather to the still-expanding SUV category – a market segment which is ever-so-slowly, beginning to outsell Canadians beloved light truck sector.

Jeep categorizes this SUV as a class-leading mid-size. Fair enough. But in this configuration, it competes directly against the likes of the Audi Q7; BMW X5; Infiniti QX70; and the Land Rover LR4 – among others. Perhaps it needs a catchier alpha numeric name?

Can this vehicle compete with the rich pedigree-laden luxury vehicles it might sell alongside?

Simply; yes.

Today's Jeep Grand Cherokee is a good looking, stylish and yet immensely practical vehicle. This SUV will surprise many. The cabin is richly furnished, with well-chosen textures and materials and provides an inviting layout and design. Frankly, this particular Grand Cherokee is loaded – the end result being a very pleasant surprise.

One of the main reasons for the larger than expected sticker price is the availability of an efficient and torque-rich option with the most welcome Ecodiesel 3.0-litre V-6. Offering 420 ft.-lb. of torque, and an inspiring 11.2L/100km in the city and 8.4L/100km on the highway. A full tank of diesel fuel yields approximately 1,200 kilometres and offers best-in-class towing of 7,400 pounds. Coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and you have a vehicle that can drive great distances – all in practical comfort.

Putting aside the fact that it’s a Jeep which to some potential buyers may hold some stigma, this is an impressive, all round vehicle that will offer everyone something more than expected.

The Grand Cherokee has a feel secure on wet or dry pavement, but it's also vastly talented off-road. The most advanced versions can still clamber over boulders and logs with ease, and the new automatic enables a lower crawl ratio that suits the torquey Ecodiesel especially well.

Jeep continues with the well-tested and accepted Quadra-Lift air suspension, as well as the three four-wheel drive systems – Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. It also has the Selec-Terrain management system, which automatically caters the powertrain settings for either sand, mud, auto, snow, or rock.

My time spent with this model reminded me of some off-road escapades in the Kawarthas some four years ago. The Ecodiesel would have likely “solved” some of the deep mud terrain issues we experienced, overcome by towing winches and three, non-standard Jeep Wrangler Rubicons. But I digress.

As tested:

Price: $70,375.

Engine: 3.0L V6 turbo diesel.

Power: 240hp – and a stump-pulling 420 ft-lb of torque.

Transmission: 8-speed automatic.

Fuel economy (L/100km): City 11.2/Hwy 8.4. Actually averaged 7.4L/100km on the initial drive from Mississauga to Barrie.

Pros: a value-laden family hauler – just as comfortable driving to and from the cottage or the board room. Excellent fuel economy – do not be reluctant to consider because it is diesel. Over a seven day period with this SUV, we drove almost 600 kilometres for a combined fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km.

Cons: lack of a third row of seating; pricing – to some. Diesel may also be a negative to those that still associate this fuel with farms and tractor trailers.

Long and the short: worthy of consideration. In this configuration, you will be pleasantly surprised.

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