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2014 Jeep Compass review: one size fits all

Benjamin Yong
Apr 11th, 2014

2014 Jeep Compass; photos by Chrysler Group LLC/Benjamin Yong

The recently refreshed Jeep Compass continues with a styling and performance renaissance for 2014 tweaking the much-improved front end and debuting a six speed automatic transmission. Together with the optional Freedom Drive 4x4 systems, Chrysler presents customers a choice for an entry-level priced daily use compact SUV they can also off-road in.

Aesthetics

Last year, the still-first generation Compass received another mid-model facelift that streamlined the grille and did away with the bug-eyed headlights, replacing them with more modern looking rectangular units. New are some shiny billet accoutrements to the grille and tailgate trim, and a smoked treatment within the front and rear light housings.

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander V6 review: another third row option

Benjamin Yong
Apr 8th, 2014

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander V6 in Diamond White; photos by Benjamin Yong

The completely restyled 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander got a jump on its competitors by being released mid last year, and recent sales figures show the crossover has enjoyed its highest popularity in seven years despite being slotted behind the Lancer and RVR as the third most-sold vehicle in the current five-model lineup. A more conservative but attractive exterior as well as extensive tech and safety features have no doubt contributed to the success, but an underpowered six-cylinder and bland interior hold it back somewhat.

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2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid review: electrification continued

Benjamin Yong
Mar 30th, 2014

2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid in Platinum Ice silver; photos by Benjamin Yong

The introduction of the Infiniti QX60 all-wheel drive crossover utility vehicle marks the third hybrid joining the partially electric fleet at Nissan’s luxury division alongside a couple of sedans, the Q70 an Q50. Essentially a fancier version of the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid that is also new for this model year, Infiniti says the premium seven-seat CUV has class leading fuel efficiency without compromising performance or usability. I spent a week in a press car with all the options to find out if that was the case.

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Congruent with the styling of their other vehicles, the look of the QX60 — originally introduced as the JX35 last year — has a very animalistic quality to it. The pronounced side ridges on the hood look like they trying to flee upwards, and there is a large razor-sharp ridge running down the entire length of the vehicle.

2014 Volvo XC60 T6 review: subtle luxury

Benjamin Yong
Mar 19th, 2014

The 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 in Ice White; photos by Benjamin Yong

The Volvo XC60 has been around for a few years now, but 2014 marks “part of the biggest refresh for Volvo ever” for not only the crossover but also the S60, S80 and XC70, according to the Swedish carmaker. Minor changes to some of the sheet metal, a new grill and headlamp design and a nicer interior are among the updates that make the already good small SUV even better.

Aesthetics

In a sustained effort to eliminate harsh angles on all their vehicles, the XC60 has an immediately noticeable curvaceous look to it. The headlight shape has been elongated and rounded, and the same goes for the grille that has had its previous chrome outline transformed into shiny horizontal bars in the middle. To balance out the bubbliness a menacing blacked-out air intake runs along the lower part of the front bumper above a polished skid plate that has a matching counterpart at the back in-between a pair of exhaust tips. 

2014 Acura RLX review: the new flagship

Benjamin Yong
Mar 17th, 2014

The 2014 Acura RLX; photos by Acura Canada

Replacing Acura’s previous RL flagship, the new-for-2014 RLX tries to position itself at the front of the mid-luxury sedan pack with tech-rich features like its P-AWS (Precision All Wheel Steer) system that is supposed to make the front-wheel-driver handle like its predominantly rear-drive competitors. It also looks as good coming as it does going with its unmistakable “Jewel Eye” headlights that do away with conventional bulbs relying solely instead on brighter and more efficient LED lighting.

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It might be the first time I have wanted to drive a car because of its headlights — but they really do look good. Five dual rows of LEDS live inside each casing with the outer four powering the low beams and daytime running lights and the inner, larger two handle the high beams. According to Acura, the Jewel Eyes last 10,000 hours and use 68 watts in total, 40 per cent less than traditional halogens.

2013 Acura TSX review: end of an era

Benjamin Yong
Mar 14th, 2014

2013 Acura TSX in Alabaster Silver Metallic; photos by Honda Canada

Acura waves goodbye to a legend as the 2013 Acura TSX marks the end of a successful decade-long run in Canada for the sporty luxury sedan. The outgoing model leaves in a form as good as it ever has been, making way for its 2015 Acura TLX replacement. 

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Dropping the base model, the so-called entry-level trim is now the premium package that we tested, which starts at MSRP $34,050. It comes with everything you would expect from a vehicle in this class like HID headlights, power and heated front seats, leather trim, tire pressure monitoring system, etcetera etcetera. I’m not trying to be picky — OK maybe a little — but I would have expected something called “premium” to include a backup camera and navigation that you only get if you choose the technology package (add $4,300) or the V6 model (add $8,300, comes with the tech package by default).

2014 Volvo S60 T6 review: safety adds a dose of fun

Benjamin Yong
Mar 13th, 2014

The 2014 Volvo S60 T6 in Bright Silver; photos by Benjamin Yong

Flash back to the year 1990 — I was a wee lad, riding around in my grandfather’s gold-coloured Volvo 740 sedan (or it could have been my aunts’, or grandmas’, everyone around me seemingly had one back then). Being inside the wedge-shaped box of a car, I remember always feeling safe. It’s probably been that long since I’ve sat inside another Volvo, and recently getting behind the wheel to test the 2014 S60 T6 sports sedan that familiar feeling came back accompanied by another. Excitement.

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Most fuel efficient trucks in Canada

Benjamin Yong
Mar 7th, 2014

Better technology in modern trucks means less money spent filling up; iStock photo

There was a time, not so long ago, when owning a large vehicle like a truck meant paying through the nose when it came time to fill up at the pump. In today's era of going green, there is a plethora of fuel-efficient trucks to choose from meaning you can have the practicality of owning a pickup and still keep a few dollars in your wallet at the same time. Below is a list of just some of the gas-thrifty examples you can find at a dealership near you. 

Toyota Tacoma

Fuel economy rating: 11.2 L/100 km city, 9.4/100 km highway

Toyota Canada photo

Classified as a mid-size pickup, the Tacoma comes standard with a 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine that makes 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. A 4.0-litre V6 is also available, but the base configuration with the five-speed manual is what you want if saving money is more important than towing large loads.

Nissan Frontier

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel review

Benjamin Yong
Mar 3rd, 2014

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel; photos by Benjamin Yong

Cit·a·del (n.): A fortress, typically on high ground. Although not technically a building, the refreshed and newly-transmissioned 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel full-size SUV has a commanding presence on the road nonetheless, towering over smaller and cuter CUVs that have taken over the automotive landscape.

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Backing up the bulk is your choice of the same 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 or 5.7-litre Hemi V8 available when the current platform Durango was first made available back in 2011. Our test vehicle had the latter option, and being the highest Citadel trim came with a completely chromed-out “Chrome-Hex” mesh grille and matching side mirror caps, polished 20-inch wheels and other luxuries befit a top-of-the-line three-row utility vehicle.

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage review

Benjamin Yong
Feb 25th, 2014

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage SE; photos by Benjamin Yong

It’s been a long time since people have heard the name Mitsubishi Mirage, but after a long hiatus and some confusion over what exactly Mitsubishi was going to call their new sub-compact, the Mirage is back in all its three-cylinder glory. Great on gas with decent looks, what it lacks in refinement it makes up in its tiny price.

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