|2016 Mazda CX-3. Spoiler Alert - This one won Category, Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year, and Canadian Green Utility Vehicle of the Year|
You can read my Wheels synopsis on the entrants in the Best New SUV/CUV (under $35k) category here.
Every time that I cover AJAC's Canadian Car of the Year for the Star, I'm asked to guess which vehicles will win their categories. You'd think that being part of the program's organizing committee would give me some insight. All that I can say is that it's a good thing that I don't have a gambling habit, because I'd have dug myself a pretty big hole by now with the accuracy of my predictions.
|2016 Honda Civic. Spoiler Alert - This one won both its Category and Canadian Car of the Year. Deservedly.|
You can read my take on the best small cars in Canada for the Toronto Star here. A heads up: you'll also be treated to a video advert, followed by a short video of yours truly explaining why we track test mainstream cars.
For several years now, the Wheels section at the Star has done a "Best of" guide that loosely follows the category structure of AJAC's Canadian Car of the Year program, but that opens up eligibility to any models on sale for the year in question (Canadian Car of the Year only permits new or substantially updated models for a variety of reasons).
These choices are just that - choices - based on no criteria beyond fitting in the assigned segment. Totally personal opinion based on experience.
As it turned out, my top pick this year also happened to win its category and, eventually, overall Canadian Car of the Year honours. That vehicle is the redesigned Honda Civic.
|2017 Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid.|
January 14, 2016
You can read my coverage of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' North American International Auto Show (Detroit) news for the Toronto Star here.
FCA's biggest news in Detroit was the unveiling of the firm's next generation minivan. Arguably the creator of what we recognize today as a minivan - as distinct from earlier, typically commercial-based small passenger vans - the company clearly remains committed to what is now a shrinking segment with fewer players. For our market at least, the new Pacifica will be available alongside the existing Dodge Grand Caravan, though possibly only briefly. It is effectively the replacement for the previous Chrysler Town & Country, lone holdout of the ampersand in a model name, and the far better selling of the company's vans in the US market.
In spite of the unfortunate name - "Pacifica" was previously worn by a poor-selling, oddly configured large-ish crossover - this new model does have great promise. It will also offer a minivan first - a plug-in hybrid version.
|Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept - Our next Tiguan, sort of.|
January 15, 2016
You can read my Toronto Star coverage of Volkswagen's news from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit here.
With Volkswagen's Diesel Scandal still fresh, Volkswagen's Detroit presentation was heavy on apology, light on news. The Tiguan GTE Active Concept ticks most of the current auto show concept boxes - a hybridized drivetrain, electric-only capability, lots of connectivity. It also happens to be a lightly gussied-up version of the ROW's (Rest Of World's) next-generation Tiguan. The North American model, just like the current Passat, will be slightly larger, and probably have styling differences to suit our tastes. It is also likely to be manufactured on this side of the Atlantic.