“Everything that matches the 2016 Tucson to an active lifestyle applies just as meaningfully to empty nesters and retirees.”
by Rob Rothwell
Halfmoon Bay, B.C.
Hyundai’s all-new compact Tucson crossover is aimed squarely at pre-family buyers living active lifestyles.
But I’ve got a tip for those drifting into a greyer reality; it’s an ideal vehicle for you too.
Everything that matches the 2016 Tucson to an active lifestyle applies just as meaningfully to empty nesters and retirees, whether their activity includes walking the pooch or sailing above the surf on a kiteboard.
While Hyundai’s advertisements for the Tucson feature square-jawed athletic dudes with defined stubble and bronze skin, it doesn’t mean they don’t intend to sell the snappy crossover to folks like me, on the dark side of fifty.
For marketing purposes, my likeness won’t favour sales. You see, I’m told by those in the biz that you can sell a young man’s car to an old man but not the other way around; this applying equally to women.
While my future as a sales prop is only slightly more certain than winning Lotto Max without buying a ticket, I enjoyed my day behind the wheel of the new Tucson. The meandering route allowed my driving partner and me to explore the many bays and coves along British Columbia’s idyllic Sunshine Coast.
It’s in this sort of environment that the 2016 Tucson will have older buyers admiring its exceptional level of operational refinement and day-long serenity. It delivers a near-premium driving experience, though not a particularly exciting one.
A smooth, absorbent ride was clearly more the priority than searing performance in the corners and on the straightaways, and that’s fine by me.
In redesigning the Tucson, Hyundai engineers focused on all aspects of quality in addition to refinement and styling. The latter of which has given us a vehicle longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor.
Aboard the Tucson, one is immersed in a well thought-out cabin transmitting a sense deportment that was sadly lacking in the former execution. Today’s version is as accurately assembled as the best of them in the fiercely competitive compact crossover segment.
While Hyundai’s soft-touch surfaces and intuitive architecture are praiseworthy, it’s the larger slice of ‘content’ pie which they serve that sets the Tucson apart from its contemporaries under competing nameplates.
“More for less” has always been a Hyundai hallmark, and the Tucson adheres to the credo with its outstanding list of standard and near-standard features, including safety tech such as Blind Spot Detection with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.
Thoughtful touches include heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-level cargo floor, and a remarkably convenient Proximity power liftgate. The latter opening by merely sensing the key in proximity of the liftgate for three seconds.
No longer can the Tucson be considered an entry-level crossover despite its modest across-the-board increase of roughly $400. The upscale climb includes the availability of an optional 1.6L turbocharged I-4 GDI engine harnessed to a segment-exclusive 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT).
The turbocharged mill fortifies the AWD Tucson with 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, and is the obvious choice for passing-lane adherents. The base 2.0L I-4 GDI (required with FWD) is the powerplant of choice for the modest. It shells out 164 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque through the auspices of a six-speed autobox.
Three drive modes – Eco, Normal, and Sport – enable drivers to tweak engine response, shift mapping, and steering resistance, to correspond with the mood of the day. I really didn’t find a need for Sport mode, largely enjoying the Normal setting most.
After spending a day administering the turbocharged and non-turbocharged Tucson variants, I departed the Sunshine Coast with the view that Hyundai has raised the bar for refinement, comfort, and value in the compact crossover segment. Albeit, handling dynamics and sheer athleticism may still belong to the likes of Mazda’s CX5.
Pricing FWD: $24,399 – $26,999
Pricing AWD: $31,549 – $39,599
Base engine: 2.0L I-4, GDI 164 hp. / 151 lb.-ft. torque
Optional engine: 1.6L turbocharged 1-4 GDI, 175 hp. / 195 lb.-ft. torque
Combined city/highway fuel economy: base engine 9.0L/100km, optional engine 9.2L/100km
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity: 877 litres
“There are cars on show for the rich and cars for the super-rich; neither status describes me but it won’t stop me looking.”
You can dream about luxury cars and even touch them at the Vancouver auto show.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V
The new CTS-V is the pinnacle of Cadillac’s renaissance, repositioning itself as a high-performance luxury brand able to compete with the likes of BMW and Audi for the well-heeled 40-something power broker. This 200 mph 4-door sedan houses a Corvette engine, but not just any Vette V8. The 2016 CTS-V is infused with the supercharged 6.2L V8 power plant engineered for the formidable 2015 Corvette Zo6. It eagerly dispenses 640 horsepower and 630 lb.-ft. of torque to the V’s rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission featuring shift paddles. Pulling the CTS-V rapidly down from 200 mph is a set of Brembo cast iron disc brakes, which are more effective at shedding heat than carbon-ceramic setups. No firm price yet.
2016 Lexus RC F
The all-new track ready 2015 Lexus RC F adopts the best of the tuning and technology that went into the Lexus LFA Supercar to create an authentic high-performance coupe. Fully capable of running on a racing circuit and featuring the most powerful Lexus production engine to date – s 467 horsepower 5.0L V8. The Lexus RC F is for those ready to immerse themselves in pure driving pleasure. Available in two models starting from $81,650.
Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible
It’s hard to argue with Jaguar’s description of the F-TYPE as being pulse-quickening. It combines effortless, exhilarating performance, instant response and precise, agile handling with everyday refinement and usability.
The Jaguar supercharged 3.0 litre V6 340 hp engine delivers powerful and efficient performance. Select from a rich variety of colour combinations for body and cockpit. Acceleration is clocked at 0-100 km/h 5.3 seconds, with a top speed of 260 km/h. Priced from $76,900
The Mulsanne is the flagship of this esteemed British marque.
It’s simply sumptuous inside, thanks to the use of finely handcrafted materials and painstaking attention to fit and finish. The dashboard is measured to accommodate the thickness of leather that wraps around it precisely. The infotainment screen it surrounds, meanwhile, can be concealed behind a veneered panel when not required for route navigation, rear camera view or other control functions.
The Mulsanne includes a 14-speaker sound system with Digital Signal Processing (DSP). Audio perfectionists have the option to go even further: the Naim™ for Bentley system comprises 20 speakers, 22 channels and 2200 watts of aural perfection.
Under the hood is a re-calibrated 6.7-litre V8 engine, which generates 505 horsepower and takes the luxury car to 100 km/h in a time that matches the lithe Jag F-TYPE.
Expect to pay at least $480,000.
The BMW i8 is a sports car with the fuel efficiency of a micro-car!
This is possible because the powerful plug-in hybrid system with the combination of BMW eDrive technology and a BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder gasoline engine brings together the benefits of an electric motor and a gasoline engine to produce an outstanding driving experience.
And its efficiency is powerfully aided by the carbon-fibre car’s sleek design. The front appears extremely low and wide and everything is arranged to be optimally aerodynamic.
There are cars on show for the rich and cars for the super-rich; neither status describes me but it won’t stop me looking.
Contact: rrothwell [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca
“With four distinct trim levels, the Chrysler 200 can match the wherewithal of many pocketbooks while employing the latest in safety and technology to deliver an affordable upscale driving experience…”
by Rob Rothwell
You can pay a fortune for a premium brand but you needn’t break the bank to buy wheels with style.
Chrysler 200 (starting MSRP $19,945)
Chrysler stunned the marketplace with the introduction of its completely new 200 Sedan, resetting benchmarks for style, panache, and performance within a fiercely competitive segment. And with a starting MSRP of just $19,945, the 200 undercuts many of its competitors, yet its real strength is found in its range of trim levels and power options. The base engine is a 2.4L four-cylinder affair that feeds 184 horsepower to the front wheels through a segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission. Going upscale in the 200 brings with it Chrysler’s powerful 295 horsepower Pentastar 3.6L V6 engine paired with the nine-speed autobox and all-wheel-drive traction. Standard features include eight airbags, Keyless Enter ‘n Go, and Chrysler’s Uconnect 3.0 multimedia centre. Options include Blind Spot Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, and Active Park Assist. With four distinct trim levels, the Chrysler 200 can match the wherewithal of many pocketbooks while employing the latest in safety and technology to deliver an affordable upscale driving experience.
2.4L I-4 10.2L/6.4L100km city/highway
3.6L V6 12.4L/7.5L100km city/highway
Acura TLX (base MSRP $34,900)
The four-door Acura TLX Sedan replaces the former TSX and TL sport sedans, merging their respective strengths into a single product positioned as the brand’s mid-level contender. With a base sticker of $34,900, the TLX delivers plenty of sport-inspired luxury built around a 206 horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder power plant fused to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Propulsion is directed frontward unless the V6 Technology Package and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system with torque vectoring are opted for. In which case, all four wheels share in 290 horsepower produced by the 3.5L SOHC i-VTEC mill. A sophisticated nine-speed automatic transmission further contributes to the engaging performance of the V6-powered TLX. In addition to a more rigid body structure, the TLX provides increased safety and collision avoidance with the use of technology such as Jewel Eye LED headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and Blind Spot Information with Cross Traffic Warning. Comfort and convenience essentials include the availability of premium 10-speaker audio along with voice-activated navigation.
2.4L I-4 9.6L/6.6L/100km city/highway
3.5L V6 11.2L/6.9L/100km city/highway
Audi A3 (base MSRP $31,100)
Looking remarkably like the highly successful Audi A4 Sedan despite casting a shadow 245mm shorter, the new A3 Sedan is sure to capture the attention of entry-level Audi buyers that scorn the A3’s hatchback design despite the vehicle’s praiseworthy driving dynamics and general practicality. Pricing for the new A3 Sedan starts at $31,100 with the 170 horsepower 1.8L TFSI I-4 power plant turning the front wheels through the auspices of Audi’s six-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Upping the ante to $35,900 secures a 220 horsepower 2.0L TFSI I-4 connected to all four corners via Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive technology. Diesel power is also available in the A3 Sedan, though paired only with front-wheel-drive. Option combinations include Audi’s Styling Package, Navigation Package, and their sport-oriented S line Package. Audi has always been a technology leader, and the A3 Sedan shares in that reputation with a vast array of onboard safety and protection systems.
Fuel Economy: TBD
Mercedes-Benz C 300 Sedan – C400 Sedan (base MSRP C 300 $43,000 – C400 $51,400)
Despite slotting beneath the venerable E-Class in the Mercedes-Benz hierarchy of sedans, the new C-Class Sedan takes on a notably formal appearance and a more upscale demeanor for 2015. It’s also lighter and more powerful thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and a pair of revised engines. The C 300 receives a turbocharged 2.0L I-4 power plant capable of 241 horsepower. Need more oomph? A 3.0L twin-turbo V6 places 329 horsepower under the hood of the C 400. Both engines feed all four wheels through Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive technology. The sole use of 4MATIC is a Canadian-market exclusive. Along with new sheet metal and a lavishly-appointed cabin, the C-Class is equipped with the latest generation of COMMAND by Mercedes-Benz. This highly sophisticated infotainment/navigation system is lifted directly from the S-Class flagship. Audiophiles will appreciate the availability of Burmester surround-sound audio components, which are hand-made in Germany.
C 300 10.9L/7.5L/100km city/highway
C 400 11.1L/8.4L/100km city/highway
BMW 228i – M235i (base MSRP 228i $36,000 – M235i $48,750)
Reminiscent of the legendary 1968 BMW 2002 Coupe, today’s 228i and M235i Coupes combine the outstanding driving dynamics of the stubby BMW 1-Series Coupe, which they replace, with a sleeker, more aggressive interpretation of the iconic brand’s ethos. The 228i is the tamer of the pair, but with 241 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, its 2.0L twin-turbocharged I-4 engine delivers highly spirited performance nonetheless. If outright exhilaration is the target, the M235i is the ticket. Its twin-turbocharged 3.0L I-6 mill produces 322 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of endless torque. For true driver-oriented motoring, both vehicles can be fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox in place of the new 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive traction is also available, but can only be paired with the automatic transmission. With the availability of a manual gearbox backed by a choice of turbocharged power plants, the new BMW 2-Series may just be the “ultimate driving machine.”
228i 9.1L/5.6L/100km city/highway
M235i 11.2L/7.1L/100km city/highway
“Despite the pointy knot digging into the sidewall with extreme pressure, the tire never succumbed to the silent killer in the bush…”
by Rob Rothwell, Driveway
The rush of air escaping a tire is not a sound one hopes to hear deep in the outback.
According to a tire industry study, 84 per cent of tire failures incurred off-road are due to sidewall puncture, often rendering tires irreparable.
So, BF Goodrich has done something about this deflating fact. (more…)
“While the day was filled with fun and excitement, it also served a greater purpose by developing driving skills that are completely transferrable to the street.”
by Rob Rothwell, Driveway Canada
Octane-fuelled learning crosses age and gender boundaries
With comments such as “amazingly passionate” and “best prof ever” peppered throughout the reviews on Rate my Professor, UBC’s physics/engineering Prof Dr. Andre Marziali clearly scores top marks from his students. However, his rave reviews extend beyond the walls of academia to the pavement of the Pacific Traffic Education Centre (PTEC), abutting the Pitt Meadows Airport. (more…)
“SoHo is an ideal locale for the launch of a flagship vehicle from a premium automaker that aspires to many of the same ideals as those driving the district’s renaissance…”
By Rob Rothwell
New York, NY.
Avant garde, the SoHo District of New York City on the densely populated island of Manhattan is home to a culture of creativity, artistry, and some of the best high-end shopping in the world. SoHo is an ideal locale for the launch of a flagship vehicle from a premium automaker that aspires to many of the same ideals as those driving the district’s renaissance. (more…)