By on January 19, 2015

2015 Toyota Camry XSE blue crush metallicThe Camry connoisseur, if there is such a thing, would spot the difference.

Unlike some well-known TTAC authors who don’t hide their Camry admiration, I wasn’t on board the Camry love boat. The last SE I drove disappointed me with unimpressive efficiency figures, an interior in need of polish, and an overall sensation of obsolescence. And it was in fact obsolete, as Toyota Canada delivered a Camry Hybrid SE to my driveway in October 2014 when the refreshed 2015 car was already a thing.


• USD Base Price: $27,725

• Horsepower: 268 @ 6200 rpm

• Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 19.3 mpg


Nevertheless, I’ll readily admit I appreciate that Toyota finally located the Camry’s sense of style. When this particular car pulled up in front of our house, I noticed right off the bat that it was an XSE, a trim level Toyota introduced for 2015 to combine XLE luxury with the SE’s sporting intentions. The Blue Crush Metallic also represents top-notch taste.

While it’s my job and I do my best and I take a measure of pride in these things, I didn’t notice key signifiers: twin tailpipes. Granted, Blue Crush arrived on Monday, January 5, the busiest work day of the year for a sales-oriented auto writer like myself. I backed the car into our driveway, refusing to take time out of my busy schedule for an unnecessary late night Volkswagen GTI-like drive to the grocery store. “It’s not like it has a V6,” I muttered. (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2015

2015 GMC Yukon DenaliOver the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014.

Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six full-size SUV nameplates in 2014, up from 7.7% in 2013. At this point, they’re not vehicles built exclusively for the rich and famous, the Secret Service, owners of big boats and RVs, and families with five children.


• USD Base Price: $67,965
• Horsepower: 420 @ 5600 rpm
• Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
• Observed Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg


How well would one version fare when GM Canada sent a CAD $84,695 copy for a one-week stay to a family with one child, no security team, no Jayco, no riches, and no fame? Quite well. But the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali did a better job of making the case for another GM vehicle than it did for itself.

(Read More…)

By on January 3, 2015

2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWDJapanese Automobile History In America 101: The Accord-based Acura Vigor became the Acura TL. The third-generation of that car joined the first Euro Accord-based TSX in Acura showrooms. Both were eventually replaced by less attractive, less desirable sedans, cars which were so much less successful than their predecessors that a new sedan strategy was required for the Acura brand. The fourth-generation TL and second-generation TSX are now extinct.

Alone, the 2015 Acura TLX is stepping in to fill a two-car void. (Read More…)

By on January 1, 2015

2015 volkswagen golf gti redThis is all very normal. I exited my driveway, turned left at the end of our cul-de-sac, then right onto our village’s main two-lane, low-speed thoroughfare, shifted into third and fourth, turned up the satellite radio’s volume, switched the driver’s heated seat on full blast, and finally came to a stop a few kilometres later at a red light.

I’m waiting for the light to turn green, thinking that I must remember my excuse (crackers and hummus?) for leaving the house at 9pm at the end of a busy day just so I could drive this bright red, 4-door, 6-speed manual, 210-horsepower, 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. But it’s an awfully normal car. It’s not barking or bellowing or champing at the bit. Any gear will do. It’s not announcing the roughness of our coastal roads. I can see out of it. It’s completely tractable. It’s just a Golf.

Only a few weeks prior, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8TSI left me impressed, led me to believe that it was a terrific foundation for a GTI, and generated many more smiles per mile than I anticipated. Now, in mid-December, a week-long Christmas present from Volkswagen Canada seemed very much to be that first car, but with plaid seats, an upgraded equipment list, an extra cog in the gearbox, bigger wheels, and slightly sportier exterior styling.

Yes, it’s all very normal, this seventh-generation GTI. When you want it to be. (Read More…)

By on December 26, 2014

Mitsubishi Outlander whitePriced at $40,538 in Canada, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT I drove around for a week in December was disturbingly overpriced.

In the United States, Outlanders start at $24,050. But the GT S-AWC starts at $29,045 with all-wheel-drive, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a V6 engine in place of the 4-cylinder/CVT combo. A $6100 Touring package for buyers who want leather, sunroof, upgraded audio, a powered driver’s seat and tailgate, navigation, and a handful of active safety features takes the price up to $35,145. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2014

2015 Cadillac XTS VsportGM delivered the Epsilon II platform to the company’s most upmarket division to produce a car with, among other things, more flamboyant styling. Later on, Cadillac added all-wheel-drive, threw in enough equipment to call it a Platinum edition, and by replacing the 3.6L V6 with a twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6, yielded enough straight-line performance to justify the Vsport label.

This all-wheel-drive Cadillac XTS is not an outright Cadillac V car, not like the XLR-V, the STS-V, and what will soon be the third-generation CTS-V. Instead, the Vsport tag, first seen on the third-gen CTS, is a midway point. Except in the XTS’s case, there will be no V, presumably because upping the ante would just be silly, given that the 410-horsepower XTS Vsport already manifests torque steer despite its AWD configuration.

This, therefore, is Maximum XTS, the latest, flashiest, fastest car in a long line of big Cadillacs stretching back to your grandfather’s Fleetwood Brougham and his boss’s post-war Sixty Special. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI13 years ago, the Golf-based Volkswagen GTI produced 180 horsepower from a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. Over the last week, I’ve been driving a brand new Golf that’s also fitted with a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder. It generates 170 horsepower.

In 2002, you could pair Volkswagen’s 1.8T with a 6-speed manual transmission. Our test car used a 5-speed manual.

Is this progress? Strangely, yes. (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2014

2015 Honda Fit EXPerhaps as a result of having twice left our spacious two-bedroom apartments for smaller dwellings with less than 500 square feet of living space, my little family has come to love storage. Though we now have a basement and a shed in which to toss assorted detritus, we still look back fondly on the days when our only available storage space was located in the apartment building across the street or in the multiple small closets of the “bachelor pad” that we pressed into more-than-bachelor duty. But not too fondly, mind you. Space for people and stuff is a good thing.

The 2015 Honda Fit is only 160 inches long, 19.4 inches shorter bumper-to-bumper than Honda’s own Civic sedan; shorter than hatchback rivals like the Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa Note. Yet Honda says the Fit offers more rear legroom than any of those cars. With the rear seats folded, the Fit has 38% more cargo capacity than the Versa Note and 11% more than the Civic. In other words, more of a good thing. (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2014

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 frontWe use a lot of terminology in our quest to classify automobiles which actively pursue thicker portions of your pocketbook.

No matter how many E-Class Benzes ply their trade as German taxicabs, we still allow the S-Class’s high-class image to rub off on the CLA in order to call the entry-level Mercedes sedan an “entry-luxury” car. A 3-Series without leather, lacking a six-cylinder, can still be called a luxury sports sedan. Lexus’s CT200h uses a Prius powertrain, but hey, it’s a Lexus, so it must be “premium” right?

Upscale. High-end. Executive. Premium. Luxury. The words, commandeered by the manufacturers themselves, have lost so much of their meaning because we have lost our ability to place any faith in words which too often turn out to be nothing more than marketing catch-phrases.

But words don’t matter. Forget the words. Ignore the words. Discard the words. Do whatever you have to render the traditional classifying terms null and void.

Doing so will help you accept the truthful message that the new W205 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, tested here in C400 4Matic form, is an honest-to-goodness, legitimate luxury car. Not because it wears a three-pointed star on its key fob, steering wheel, trunk lid, grille, and bonnet, but because it positions you in “the state of great comfort and extravagant living.” (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2014

2015 Porsche Macan SThe Porsche Macan’s diving roofline severely cramps cargo capacity. The centre hump in the rearward portion of the cabin is almost as high as the seat cushion, which could force the Macan into becoming a four-seater depending on the number of legs possessed by its passengers.

The driver’s view out the back is far from expansive, and the driver must also deal with some odd layouts for cruise control, rear wipers, and centre-console mounted switches which are sometimes blocked by the shifter.

The Macan is a pricey piece of kit, with options required on a (USD) $50,895 Macan S to turn it into a car with parking sensors, a backup camera, heated rear seats, and navigation. Our tester costs $58,145 (U.S. market pricing including destination) and it still doesn’t have cooled seats, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless go, blind spot monitoring, sunshades, a proper hi-lux audio system, or any of Porsche’s performance options.

Moreover, even with optional 19-inch wheels, which are free of charge in the U.S. but cost $1440 in Canada, the Macan S still looks like it’s wearing base footwear.

Life’s rough. (Read More…)

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