Monday, February 20, 2017

CIAS 2017 Info: Looking Forward Through A Review of 2016

Maserati Display in Auto Exotica
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

All the pretty motorized horses are rolling into the City of Toronto this weekend. Drawing what should be guaranteed to be another stellar collection of new and collectible automobiles, the 2017 edition of the Canadian International AutoShow has opened with a new sense of new while what was new in 2016 begins an unfortunate transition to being outdated.

Although one year is not a drastic distance back in time, consider the fact the generational life of an automobile is roughly 6-10 years. As the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow is now underway, let's take some time to reflect what transpired at the 2016 gathering of motoring excellence in Toronto

Civic Responsibilities: 2016 Honda Civic Wins Big

2016 Honda Civic at 2016 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy


The 9th generation version of the Honda Civic released in 2011 was an example where a devotion to a proven formula almost proved poisonous. Although the 9th generation Civic did not deviate from its solid build quality or practical nature, a changing driving world requested more from the car considered long as the benchmark for the compact category, For the 2016 model year, Honda launched their 10th generation with a much greater punch. The radically characterized 2016 Honda Civic came first as a sedan and was quickly joined by a coupe. Turbocharged engine power was introduced on the North American Civic for the first time and a new hatchback arrives for 2017.

In 2016, the Canadian International AutoShow served as a love fest for the compact sedan built approximately an hour away from Toronto in Alliston. AJAC (Automotive Journalists Association of Canada) named the 2016 Honda Civic Sedan the Best Small Car last year before presenting the vehicle the highest honour of Canadian Car of the Year. The last time the Honda Civic won the overall award at the Canadian International AutoShow was in 2006.

Following the Canadian Car of the Year award, the Civic went on to defend a sales streak. For the 19th consecutive year, the Honda Civic was Canada's best-selling car.


Electrified Motoring Found More Traction 

Kia Niro Hybrid at 2016 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

Electrified automobiles have evolved to become a permanent fixture of auto show floor space. These days, almost every concept car involves either an electric or some kind of hybrid powertrain configuration. The trend towards electric-assisted motoring is also commonplace with production vehicles.

At the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow, Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model X were two major all-electric vehicles making splashy appearances in Toronto. During the 2016 Kia press conference, a same-day world debut in North America featured the Niro. A more traditional gasoline/electric hybrid powered vehicle, the Kia Niro presented an affordable, versatile option for efficiency-driven drivers. While not the first Kia hybrid, the Niro was the first model from the automaker to be solely based on a hybrid powertrain. Whether calling it a wagon or a crossover, the Niro's urban-friendly design can travel approximately 957 kilometers on a tank of gasoline.  

Dieselgate Leads to Volkswagen Smokescreen 

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen ALLTRACK
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

When the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow transpired, the scandal of Volkswagen's so-called 'Dieselgate' emissions rigging was still a leading headline. Months after the revelation of the TDI engine emission cheating was revealed, German auto company now faced the need to discontinue their popular diesel powerplant availability in the United States as well as Canada. By 2016, expectations existed that word of a settlement would be presented to Volkswagen owners of the affected TDI models. A preliminary settlement had been presented to American owners but no announcement was made to Canadian owners.  

Needless to say, the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow's presentation by Volkswagen was tainted by the diesel engine scandal. A company that once highly-promoted their TDI technology, Volkswagen appeared without their once-hailed diesel powerplants. A diversion of focus on the troubles of the brand, the Toronto auto show showed off the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen Alltrack and a real-life GTI Vision Gran Turismo Roadster.

Canadian Volkswagen owners with affected would not gain a proposal to settle from the automaker until the end of 2016.




Toyota U Squared Concept Global Auto Show Debut


Toyota U Squared Concept at 2016 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy


While the Canadian International AutoShow's positioning after the prestigious events in Los Angeles and Detroit as well as one held in Montreal means a great deal of vehicles have been visible to North American audiences before the mid-February exhibition in Toronto, there is usually a few vehicles automakers are tempted to save a global or significant North American debut.

Toyota gave media at the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow a reason to light flashbulbs in Toronto by unveiling the U Squared Concept. Along with creating a nightmare for new media to properly express the U Squared name, Toyota promoted the utility vehicle as a hip but spacious option for work or play. A highly adaptive rear cargo area with a ramp-like rear tailgate and a retractable roof panel demonstrated the Toyota U Squared Concept's creative van-like practicality. Only a concept design, Toyota has not given much indications towards adapting a large deal of elements in a future production vehicle.

For 2017, utility shifts to performance as Aston Martin will headline the auto show in Toronto.






Fans of the Van: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica


Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Canadian Premiere at 2016 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy


Considered the biggest all-new product introduced since the Fiat-Chrysler merger, the Pacifica minivan carried a weight of expectations. A drastic rethink of the pioneering family vehicle that gave Chrysler Corporation salvation from financial woes of the early 1980s, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica was first of all given a more premium character. High-tech convenience features such as a rear entertainment system incorporating unique games, Stow 'n Vac and standard Active Noise Cancellation are included on the 2017 Pacifica. Arriving initially with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, a Pacifica Hybrid operating as a partial plug-in electric is expected to appear soon at dealerships in 2017.  


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chevrolet Hits the Redline with Special Edition Series

Photo Credit: General Motors

Every automaker wants to amass a distinct personality with their vehicles. Often involving a flagship or halo car that defines assembles the full extent of a brand's design and engineering. Other times, the process of establishing a strong brand impression is extended across the broader lineup of vehicles. With Chevrolet in the 2000s, the SS performance moniker was used in an expansive manner across to convey the best of the bow tie badge. Some analysts would argue the SS branding was was perhaps used too liberally, the result did end up in multiple range-topping models exhibiting ample sport attitude to otherwise humdrum products such as the Chevrolet Cobalt.


Photo Credit: General Motors


Revealed at the 2015 SEMA Show, Chevrolet unveiled a new mindset claiming to allow buyers to define elements of their vehicle's personality with customized accessories. Classified by Chevy as the Redline special edition, black nameplates outlined with red will adorn nine models along with black Chevrolet bow ties. In addition to the special edition badging, all Chevrolet Redline vehicles wear special black wheels accented by a red hash marking. The Redline special edition package will be available on the following models.



  • Camaro LT/SS Coupe and Converible
  • Colorado LT
  • Cruze LT Sedan and Hatch
  • Equinox LT
  • Malibu LT
  • Silverado Double Cab LT Z71 
  • Silverado Crew Cab LTZ Z71
  • Traverse Premier
  • Trax LT 




Photo Credit: General Motors

Aside from the special badging and wheels, Chevrolet's Redline employ unique design elements. These styling touches differ depending on the specific model. Short of providing a list of features, only a few samples of what we will see with the Redline models is official for the time being. With the Chevrolet Camaro Redline, you will find black hash marks on the fenders above the front wheels. Redline versions of the Colorado and Silverado, on the other hand, will be equipped with red tow hooks.

Further details of the production Redline range has yet to presented but the SEMA Show concept vehicles may offer some additional hints of what features may be found on the special edition products. For example, the Chevrolet Trax Red Line Series concept featured tinted taillight lenses, a suspension lowering kit and a Trule supplied roof mount system.

With Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks already available for order within the Redline special edition range, the remaining models will be rolled out in time for end of this year.

Friday, February 10, 2017

475-Horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Set to Provide Big Smoke for 2018

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US

The rise of the sport utility/crossover vehicle vehicle over the past two decades has been driven primarily by one aspect; versatility. Elevated viewpoint for the driver, high ground clearance for better all-weather driving and optimized cabin space are practical characteristics for sport utility vehicles. Also, there are some less practical reasons why individuals choose these particular vehicles is to achieve a unique sense of performance.

With many large, three-row crossover vehicles relying on powerful V-6 powerplants, the Dodge Durango is a remaining source for scarcer V-8 engine power. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 has served as the soul for the Dodge sport utility vehicle since the 2004 model year. A grunt from an eight-cylinder engine underneath the Durango's hood will be a little more forceful heading into 2018 as SRT hands have tuned-up the 7-passenger vehicle.



Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US

For the first time on the Dodge's full-sized crossover vehicle, the impact of SRT performance badging propels the Durango. Set to make its public debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show starting on the 9th of February, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT bills itself as being the most power three-row SUV in America.

Subtle yet meaningful, enhancements made to create the 2018 Durango SRT only provide a veil to a beastly large HEMI poweplant. Under a no-nonsense functional SRT hood with a center air inlet and heat extractors, a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine is installed. Generating 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, the Dodge Durango SRT's engine is fed by a cold-air duct in order to optimize performance. Fuel Saver Technology adds some civility to the HEMI power unit allowing less gasoline to be used through certain driving conditions.

Exclusively offered with all-wheel drive, the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 powerplant is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. An exhaust system modeled after the setup found on the Charger SRT sedan is attached to the underside of the sport utility featuring resonators to obtain a true performance sound. This powertrain setup has also served as the performance basis of the Durango's platform relative Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT model.


Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US

Under the thrust of 475 horsepower, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT performs some remarkable feats for a three-row sport utility vehicle. Acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour is accomplished in 4.4 seconds while a quarter of a mile run has been measured at 12.9 seconds in a manner certified by the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association). The performance of the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine can also be allocated towards more useful truck purposes. Towing capacity for the 2018 Durango SRT is rated at 8,600 pounds.

Beyond the highlight of 475 horsepower, the SRT version of the 2018 Dodge Durango enjoys other attractive equipment additions. A sportier exterior involves a revised front fascia featuring a lower valence for greater airflow accompanied by LED fog lamps. The suspension as well as the wheel and tire setup have been matched to the greater performance of the sport utility vehicle. Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires or Pirelli P Zero are mounted to 20-inch wheels. Two wheel designs for the Durango SRT utilize a five-spoke layout and Black Noise finish. Behind the wheels, Brembo brakes with vented rotors as well as six-piston front calipers deliver gripping stopping power.

The ride of the Dodge Durango SRT is enhanced by a stiffer suspension as well as an Active Damping System that provides the driver with seven SRT drive modes. Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Valet and ECO modes can be selected by the pilot of the high-speed performance utility vehicle.

At the controls of the 2018 Durango SRT, the driver will take hold of a flat-bottom steering wheel and will observe instruments including a customizable 7-inch cluster and a 180-mile per hour speedometer. Special leather seating can be upholstered by standard Nappa leather with suede inserts or an optional Demonic Red Leguna surface. Real carbon fiber cabin touches, available Dynamica suede-wrapped headliner and premium velour bound floor mats are also found inside the three-row interior along with the healthy use of SRT labeling. At the center of the dash panel, a Uconnect 8.4-inch infotainment system is supported by a nine-speaker BeatsAudio premium sound system with 506-watt amplifier. SRT Performance Pages with navigation, 5-year trial of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as well as HD radio are part of the Durango SRT's Uconnect unit.



Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US

Available in 11 exterior colours, the 475-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT will arrive in showrooms by the final quarter of 2017. Pricing for the 2018 Durango SRT will be announced soon and will include a one-day education at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving for the new vehicle owners.

If you are unable to attend the 2017 Chicago Auto Show where the sport utility vehicle will be making its high-powered debut, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has prepared the following YouTube presentation of the all-wheel drive Durango SRT serving our viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Chevrolet Hands the Power of Canada’s First Bolt EV to Customers

Photo Credit: General Motors of Canada


It was almost two years ago when the Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept car made an electrifying appearance at the 2015 Canadian International AutoShow. Coinciding with the vehicle’s presence at the auto show was the official news Chevrolet would sell a production version of the all-electric compact. After a short development from car show to showroom, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is ready for the challenging climate of Canada.

At the beginning of February, a trio of electric vehicle enthusiasts has become the first 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV owners. Dean Myers Chevrolet and City Chevrolet of Toronto, Ontario as well as Bourgeois Chevrolet in Rawdon, Quebec (located roughly 60 kilometers north of Montreal) have the distinction of delivering the long-range compact electric car to their customers. Director at Scotiabank Samantha Mesrobian, former president of RenoDepot Claude Michaud and I.T. Executive Joe Winkfein are named as the first members of the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s Canadian reception party. While Mesrobian is trading her Land Rover in favour to the switch to the electrified bowtie machine, Michaud and Winkfein are previous first generation Volt plug-in hybrid owners.

The three Canadian customers of the new all-electric Chevrolet vehicle are now the debut audience of what is effectively a practical battery-powered car. Given a versatile yet compact hatchback profile allowing up to 479 liters of cargo room, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is particularly attractive with an EPA-estimated 383-kilometer maximum range on a single charge. As of the start of 2017, the Tesla Model S sedan and Model X crossover vehicles are the only electric cars available in Canada with a comparable range but a much higher price. Base priced at $42,975 prior to applicable rebates, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV’s standard equipment includes 10 air bags, DC Fast charging capability and 10.2-inch colour touch screen.

For the time being, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is only available in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Those three Canadian provinces currently offer considerable subsidies to the purchase of a battery-powered vehicle. In Ontario, benefits allow the $42,795 to be drawn down to $30,406 (a total savings of $12,389) prior to freight cost. That discount is lower than the $31,434 after-incentive cost calculated in September for the car. A rebate of $8,000 is available for buyers of the 2017 Bolt EV in the province of Quebec. For British Columbia buyers of an electric car, a $5,000 pre-tax sticker price reduction is offered. Chevrolet and General Motors of Canada has expressed the Bolt EV is expected to be offered nationwide by sometime later this year.