Auto Events (66)
Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI), today announced that the all-new 2015 Subaru WRX made its world premiere at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Designed around the product concept "Pure Power in Your Control," the next-generation WRX harnesses the intense power and superior environmental friendliness of its brand new 2.0-litre horizontally opposed direct-injection turbocharged (DIT) engine. With a thoroughly stiffened body and chassis, the new WRX offers drivers a precise and perfected driving experience. Along with its new six-speed manual transmission, the 2015 WRX newly adopts a Sport Lineartronic transmission that offers smooth shifting as well as an eight-speed manual shift mode with sharp shifting response, allowing drivers to enjoy an even more spirited driving experience.
Equipped with the Subaru symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive system build around the SUBARU BOXER engine, the WRX remains the symbol of Subaru AWD sport performance. Since the first model hit the streets in 1992, the WRX has a reputation and worldwide support from sports car enthusiasts as a distinctive sports sedan combining impressive sport performance with the practicality of a four-door vehicle.
Pure Power in Your Control
During the development of the WRX, the product concept "Pure Power in Your Control" was established to reach an even higher order of absolute speed and driving excitement in the sport sedan segment. This goal has been pursued through previous generations of the WRX, finally culminating in the development of the all-new 2015 model. This product concept was embodied to maximize the potential of the turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine and the pursuit of ultimate control in steering response. To this end, the body has been made lighter and more rigid, integrating extensive chassis reinforcements.
Stiffer Chassis and Body
Chassis and body performance has been thoroughly enhanced to give drivers better control over the SUBARU BOXER engine and Subaru symmetrical full-time AWD. Working to stiffen both body and suspension while optimizing suspension geometry has quickened both vehicle response to driver steering input as well as raised the performance limits for cornering. In addition, multi-mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and Active Torque Vectoring have been added for a more precise and enjoyable driving experience. Many hours of in-depth suspension tuning have resulted in very flat cornering in performance driving situations as well as a comfortable ride. New electric power steering is employed with more rigid steering gearbox mounts for improved fuel economy and a more direct steering feel.
The 2015 Subaru WRX is equipped with a new high-performance 2.0-litre horizontally opposed DIT engine for improved power delivery with an eye on efficiency. The WRX's new DIT engine boasts improved performance over the outgoing model, producing a maximum 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 258 lb. ft. of torque from 2,000 to 5,200 rpm while maintaining a high level of environmental performance.
The 2015 Subaru WRX also represents the first time a manual transmission has been paired with the DIT SUBARU BOXER engine. A new, optional Sport Lineartronic transmission provides greatly improved shift response for a sportier ride than the high-torque Lineartronic CVT found in the 2014 Subaru Forester XT. A new six-speed manual transmission optimizes the gear and gear stick ratio from the outgoing five-speed model to keep engine speeds lower, enabling better fuel economy and quieter driving at high speeds. The newly introduced Sport Lineartronic transmission draws out the full potential of the 2.0-litre DIT SUBARU BOXER engine in terms of power, torque and environmental friendliness, allowing for a rewarding driving experience. In Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE), selecting Sport Sharp (S#) switches to eight-speed shifting. SI-DRIVE's Sport Sharp mode within Sport Lineartronic emulates traditional shift points to let drivers feel the WRX's impressive power and performance.
Versatile, yet Stylish
The Subaru WRX from earlier generations remains unrivalled in terms of character; this next-generation model has further honed its distinctive character by improving visibility and useable space. The wheelbase has been enlarged by 25 millimetres in order to improve rear legroom and give the 2015 version more elbow and shoulder room without increasing total body width. The bottom end of the A-pillar has been extended 200 millimetres towards the front, while the mounting of side mirrors on the front door panels have added a new quarter window and keep the dashboard and window sills lower, all for better visibility and sleek styling. The front and rear door openings have also been enlarged, making ingress and egress much easier. New 60/40-split folding rear seats, along with a larger opening, have expanded trunk space for greater versatility.
Befitting of Subaru's flagship performance model, the 2015 Subaru WRX presents itself as an AWD performance car with aggressive yet refined styling. The exterior updates begin with Subaru's unified design motif, a hexagonal front grille. The front end now offers a dynamic, solid shape with a nose cone design and new hawk-eye headlights paired with the aggressive wide and low styling the WRX is known for. The C-pillar now smoothly transitions into the trunk surface for a flowing silhouette. Front fender ducts and special sharp side sill spoilers show off the sporty nature of the WRX. The rear design further enhances the WRX's appeal. A diffuser-integrated bumper and twin dual mufflers emphasize the low centre of gravity. Specially designed rear combination lamps were given a thin shape to highlight vehicle width. A small rear spoiler also enhances aerodynamic performance. A shark fin antenna adds further refinement. New 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels in gunmetal grey are lighter and more rigid. New LED lighting is employed for the headlights, tail and brake lights to improve fuel efficiency by conserving power.
Sportier Interior Finishes
The Subaru WRX is purposefully designed to resemble a cockpit: from the moment the door is opened, the driver is transported miles from the daily grind. New for 2015, WRX models introduce a D-shaped steering wheel with an easy-to-hold grip shape that offers a smaller diameter for improved operability and tactile feedback. As a nod towards its racing spirit, a WRX-engraved silver ring encircles the shift lever on manual models. Body-hugging seats, decorative carbon trim panels and metal trim accents give the interior a high-quality feel while paying homage to the WRX racing image. To further enhance its performance persona, the multi-function display is now equipped with a boost pressure display screen. The interior is solid black from roof to floor, save for red meter lighting and contrasting stitching, while quality soft-touch materials abound. A new harman/kardon audio system and Aha radio is available on select models.
Following Subaru's safety philosophy of all-around safety, all areas of safety performance have been enhanced. With Subaru symmetrical full-time AWD at its base, active safety was further enriched on the 2015 WRX by making the body lighter as well as improving rigidity and chassis performance along with the VDC system. All of this gives the WRX the best hazard avoidance in its class, ensuring the driving experience is exciting but safe in every scenario. In terms of passive safety, the all-new WRX employs greater use of high-tensile steel. While helping to reduce weight, these changes also enable a stronger body with world-class safety performance in collision tests from the front, rear and sides. Collision-absorbing material has also been added in the side engine compartment for increased pedestrian protection.
Body size (Overall length / width / height): 4,595 x 1,795 x 1,475 mm*3
Wheelbase: 2,650 mm
Engine: 2.0-litre horizontally opposed DIT engine
Displacement: 1,998 cc
Transmission options: six-speed manual or Sport Lineartronic*4
Maximum output: 268 hp / 5,600 rpm
Maximum torque: 258 lb.-ft. / 2,000-5,200 rpm
Tire size: 235/45 R17
LOS ANGELES, CA – Utility vehicles are globally the highest growing segment and Ford showcased their intentions over the next five years with the reveal of the Ford Edge Concept. At this time, it might be just a concept, but this Ford Edge looks to be primed for production.
Ford’s “One Ford” plan has them always on the pulse of global trends. With almost one utility vehicle sold out of every five vehicles worldwide, Ford’s future plans are aggressive towards the utility segment. Ford is projecting that utility vehicles in the industry will be up +115% by 2017 and if you can believe it, Ford is going on an all-out attack by forecasting a +2,218% increase of Ford utilities at that same time.
It seems like a crazy jump and it probably is a tad embellished, but Ford will be investing heavily in the massive Chinese market and making more utility in-roads in Europe. Furthermore, they expect increases in the North American market where they’ve seen plenty of success already from their SUV roster that includes the Escape, Edge, Explorer and Flex.
The Edge and Explorer have been strong sellers particularly along the American coasts, especially in California, so they were most delighted to show off the Edge Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Edge in particular has been the best-selling five-passenger medium utility SUV in Southern California.
The Ford Edge Concept will see plenty of new technologies that aim to enhance the driving experience and not just more connectivity. Ford’s focus is more than bells and whistles and their aim is to ease the driver away from any stressful conditions on the road.
“The next-generation Edge – previewed in the Ford Edge Concept – will build on these cornerstones to create a global vehicle with technology to make life easier, and design and craftsmanship to appeal to customers around the globe,” said Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company.
There are several highlights of the Edge Concept that stood out, but none more than the Fully Assisted Parking Aid function. We’ve all seen park assist on vehicles, which are included on several Ford products. The Edge Concept takes that a step further by allowing drivers to sit back and allow the car to perpendicularly park in the spot. To further blow your mind – you don’t even have to be in the car for it to park itself. With the use of a remote control, the Edge Concept parks itself.
You might ask yourself, why would anyone get out of the car before parking? A valid question, indeed.
Now, think about those moments when there’s one spot left and that spot has been made smaller by the poor parking around it. If you park, you won’t have much room to get out of the vehicle. There’s the perfect scenario to utilize this new technology. To put the cherry on top, you can get the Edge to pull out of the spot on its own when you’re ready to come back in.
It’s a unique system that might not be used often, but when needed, it might just be a big stress relief.
Additional technologies in the Edge Concept are Obstacle Avoidance and Adaptive Steering. The Edge Concept can scan the road up to 600 ft. ahead and if it feels that an accident is about to occur, it will brake and steer the vehicle for you preventing any on-coming collision. You always want to be safe and secure, and in my mind, these new technologies are welcoming additions to any future vehicle.
“The rate of change in vehicle technology right now is unprecedented,” noted Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development. “Our engineers around the world are advancing the systems that will ultimately help make drivers smarter, safer and more efficient. From advanced engine systems to collision avoidance and automated driving systems, Ford will continue to lead in delivering the technologies consumers want and need.”
When it comes to design, The Edge Concept has kept its sporty appearance and charisma and has added a little more edge to it. It might look similar to the current model, but it has been lowered and a lot of the work can be seen at the front and the rear. The Ford hexagonal grille that we’ve become used to has modernized itself with a swept-back front grille. It also stays true to the previous Edge as the grille stays attached to the headlights. The LED headlamps have been redesigned stand out with its chrome trim; while the taillights form a molten lava light ribbon that looks super cool. There are currently no door handles, but we know most likely that will not be the case when it gets closer to production.
What would be a car review without touching on the interior? Ford has placed careful attention towards creating what they call a “Dynamic Sanctuary”. The inside is met with premium materials including full leather seats with brush aluminum accents and brushed copper that surround it.
Ford has not forgotten about fuel efficiency. They made mention to the Edge Concept having the next-generation EcoBoost engine with start-stop technology, but they’ve gone further with the use of Active Grille Shutters. These shutters open and close in order to achieve the best engine operating temperature possible while maximizing aerodynamic efficiency. The use of Air Curtains also helps to flatten out air turbulence.
There are many concepts that are more show-stoppers than anything resembling reality. However, the Ford Edge Concept seems to be pretty much a close to production vehicle. Sure, there will be a few changes here and there, but the Edge looks primed to meet the needs for the future. This new Edge should have a 2016 year attached to it and see its first sales by the spring of 2015. For Ford’s sake, let’s hope those utility forecasts stay true.
TOKYO, JAPAN - The world premiere of the 2014 Lexus CT 200h will take place at the 2013 Guangzhou Motor Show in China, on November 21st 2013.
The CT 200h was introduced in 2010, and was the world’s first full hybrid luxury compact car.
With this introduction, it now includes a new Lexus ‘spindle grille’. Also, this compact luxury hatchback offers a more dynamic and sophisticated exterior design. Newly designed alloy wheels and a new rear look which features a more horizontal structure also reinforce its distinctiveness.
All other details about the upgraded CT 200h will be revealed at the upcoming Guangzhou Motor Show. A press conference will be held at the Lexus booth, Hall 5.1 in the China Import and Export Commodities Fair Complex.
LAS VEGAS, NV – A significantly updated 2014 Honda Civic Coupe made its world debut today at the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, offering a first look at new exterior styling updates to Canada’s best-selling passenger car. Honda also announced that the performance-oriented Civic Si will benefit from increased power and larger wheels and tires, making both the two- and four-door varieties even more fun to drive.
Honda also surprised performance enthusiasts by announcing plans to begin sales of street-oriented performance parts developed by Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), Honda’s U.S.-based race engineering company, starting with a full range of performance accessories for the CR-Z sport hybrid coupe that will be available in Canada. A power-boosting CR-Z supercharger package will follow in the spring of 2014. In the longer term, HPD engineers are also investigating other models and platforms in order to expand Honda’s street performance product line.
“We are making a positive statement about our commitment to the fun to drive character of the Honda brand with the further advancement of the 2014 Civic Coupe and Si models. We are on an exciting path forward, as we draw on our past racing experiences and heritage,” said Dave Gardner, vice president of sales and marketing, Honda Canada Inc.
The 2014 Civic Coupe and Coupe Si
Following a major refresh of Civic Sedan styling for 2013, Honda turns its attention to the Civic Coupe and Coupe Si, implementing a host of exterior design changes that include a more aggressive grille, hood, front fenders and headlight design. Additional Coupe exterior changes include new taillight lenses, sportier front and rear bumpers and new side mirrors.
The Civic Si Coupe benefits from the same styling enhancements as the standard Civic Coupe, but adds Si-exclusive design cues, including a unique lower front bumper garnish, larger rear decklid spoiler, a distinctive front spoiler and sporty rear air diffuser. The Civic Si Sedan picks up on these same cues, and both the Si Coupe and Si Sedan get larger, 18-inch (+1 inch) wheels and tires with new wheel designs.
The performance-tuned Civic Si Coupe and Si Sedan also get a retuned exhaust system that helps boost peak output to 205 horsepower1 (+4 horsepower) and 174 lb-ft of torque2 (+4 ft-lb).
More details about the full 2014 Civic lineup will be made available at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.
Every November, a different type of auto show takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada called the Specialty Equipment Market Association, better known as just SEMA (which sounds a lot better). SEMA is all about specialty products steered towards the auto aftermarket. It’s a show that can excite any auto enthusiast and the scene in Las Vegas blends well with this type of automotive crowd – it just works hand-in-hand.
It must be noted that SEMA is a trade-only show and not open to the general public. If you just got all of your hopes deflated, take solace in that you can find your pictures and information online.
SEMA begins today at the Las Vegas Convention Center and runs for the rest of the week until November 8th. It’s a spot where the best of the best show-off their latest products and tuner cars for the world to see. It’s a massive show that provides buyers a platform to showcase their products and in 2012 more than 60,000 buyers entered SEMA from all over the world. Additionally, there are seminars, product demonstrations, celebrities on-hand from race car drivers to UFC fighters, and a nightlife scene that’s filled with schmoozing and partying.
Many car manufacturers find the SEMA Show to be a perfect venue to exhibit more cutting-edge vehicles and styles. It’s an opportunity for the manufacturers to let their hair down and support the creativity of some of the world’s top designers in order to see what can be done to some of their existing models.
For this year’s show, Ford vehicles are on display including the 2014 Fiesta from Bojix Design. Modifications are a plenty in this Fiesta starting with its custom paint job using BASF colours with orange accents throughout making it pop. The Fiesta is upgraded with a coilover suspension and powertrain modifications that include a three-inch cat-back exhaust system.
No show is complete without a Ford Mustang and Nitto Tire will have the 2014 Mustang GT on display in fire red along with jet black stripes. Nitto Tire made the Mustang have more street-cred with a bold 3dCarbon body kit to lower the car, as well as a Classic Design Concepts performance grille that makes that Mustang logo come to life.
One of the most talked about vehicles of the year, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will make a splash at SEMA with the release of three separate concepts. Just when you thought the Stingray couldn’t get better – they proved us wrong. The three concepts will be called, the Convertible Atlantic Concept, the Pacific Concept and the “Gran Turismo” Concept. The Atlantic Concept has a Blade Silver colour with a body kit that includes a front splitter, rear diffuser, rocker extensions and custom headlights; the Pacific Concept is more focused on the track with a racing red colour and black stripes fitted with the latest Corvette’s Z51 package; while, the “Gran Turismo” concept is a copy of the one featured in the video game with blue paint and yellow headlamps, along with a carbon fibre rear wing, vented hood and custom new grille.
If you’re looking for a larger vehicle, the Range Rover Aspen Ultimate Series by Onyx Concept might be for you. This edition has bumped the 505 horsepower to an incredible 625 making the Range Rover go from 0-100 km/h in only 4.7 seconds. On top of the power increase, Onyx has provided the Range Rover with a one-inch wider wheelbase, lowered the SUV by an inch, as well as adding new aero fins, front air dams, pillars and side mirrors.
On the other hand of the spectrum, some manufacturers use the show to promote their regular vehicle offerings. Honda’s prepping for the world debut of the 2014 Honda Civic Coupe. Their reasoning is based on the Civic being a pioneer in the aftermarket world. For many decades, the Civic has been re-worked and customized, so Honda felt it was appropriate to give back to that community by debuting the Civic Coupe version at SEMA. Details have not been released yet, so we will have them for you when we find out after the reveal.
Stay tuned for more exciting information from the SEMA Show or go to www.semashow.com for the latest news and pictures.
It’s already October and Halloween is approaching and that can only mean one thing – “TestFest” is upon us. For those that aren’t in the know, TestFest is a week-long event run by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) to eventually determine their picks for Canadian Car(s) of the Year (CCOTY).
How it works?
For this year, there are 58 new vehicles approved and entered into the competition. Each vehicle has been assigned into one of 12 groups and a winner will be chosen from each category group based on the scores assigned from the 79 AJAC journalists attending the event.
Not every journalist votes on each vehicle, but will be assigned to two or three categories to test. Once a journalist begins a particular group, they must complete the group on that same day, conducting back-to-back tests via the same driving route in order to be able to judge them based on the same criteria. Another key factor in AJAC’s voting structure is that these vehicles are tested on public roads and under real-world conditions to provide relevancy for consumers.
My assigned categories
This year, yours truly has been handed three categories that have some exciting contenders. I start out with the Small Car (under $21K) category that pits two long-standing rivals in the compact sedan segment, the Toyota Corolla and the Mazda3 with two newcomers, the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Nissan Versa Note.
The next group I’ve been assigned to tackle is the Luxury Car (under $50K) category. This group has five contenders in it including the Buick Regal, Kia Cadenza, Lexus IS 350 RWD, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250. Many of these vehicles have their pros and cons, but matched-up against each other might just reveal a clear winner. Who knows?
The last group will be my most exciting and that’s the Prestige (over $75K) category. This group also has five entered including the Cadillac XTS, the Jaguar XJ XJR, Mercedes-Benz S Class, the Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid and the Range Rover Supercharged. This is a mixed bag of competitors that are not typically compared against each other, so it’s anyone’s guess who will take it.
You will be hearing a lot about the vehicles listed above along with my top picks, but I will be able to test out other vehicles throughout the week. It wouldn’t be possible to leave TestFest without testing the highly sought-after Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Jaguar F-Type V6-S, or Porsche Cayman.
New venue and winner announcements
AJAC’s TestFest has moved its venue several times over its 28 years of existence and in its 29th edition they will be heading to the Legends on the Niagara GolfCourse in Niagara Falls. This will be new to everyone, so it will take some time to get adjusted to those new routes. We will have to wait and see whether this new venue will surpass the former that was located at the Niagara Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Another new feature to TestFest this year is that category winners will not be announced on the Thursday evening, but we will be treated to an American Idol-style cliffhanger. Ballots will still be tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG, but not revealed until December 3rd at a press conference in Toronto.
After that, we will be provided the Best New Technology winners on January 28th in Toronto and the overall winners will be announced on February 13th at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto.
The day was bright and the air was as thick as ever in downtown Toronto. Not because of the unrelenting smog, but owing to the tire shredding smoke that was being produced down by the waterfront.
It was clear to me that Ken Block arrived early for the Ford Fiesta ST event, as only he could rack up the pile of tire carcasses near the road. Block has become a YouTube drift legend famous for his stylish slide-ways video’s titled “Gymkhana,” which prominently features his WRC Fiesta rally car flying over jumps and drifting between obstacles that look impossible for any mere mortal to attempt.
Block took some time from his busy schedule to join a group of journalists at the waterfront to put on a show of stunts; while promoting the overall star of the event, the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST.
As I was given my credentials for the event, I glanced at them and noticed a typo. I was representing my publication humorously under the name “Max Patterson.” I took it in stride and laughed it off with the organizers and began focusing on my new alter ego.
As initial introductions finished with TheDriver.ca video team, we headed on over to the Fiesta ST that was parked alongside Block’s Fiesta rally car. It was being fitted with a new pair of shoes that would be shredded by the end of the session. The presentation on the Fiesta ST was short, but informative. It was a lifestyle event after all and we were all anticipating what Block had in store for us.
But for those that are interested, the Fiesta ST packs a 1.6-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that cranks 197 horsepower to the front wheels through a six speed manual. With colors names such as “Race Red” and “Molten Orange” this little hot hatch was sure to boost serotonin levels as one powered through the gears.
Ford Canada created a makeshift parking lot course and it was time for us to try out how the Fiesta ST handles on it. The course wasn’t long enough to even try third gear, but nonetheless, it performed wonderfully as the car pulled to redline smoothly. The ST comes with a base price of just $24,999 but leaves you with a smile on your face and an appreciation for the superior build quality. It also doesn’t hurt that it comes with a mountain of standard features to play with.
After running through several laps, we were ushered over to Block’s car where he had emerged from his parked RV. He introduced himself to the crowd and was more than happy to speak with us and have a few pictures taken. Yes, it’s rare for a journalist to take a photo op, but it was a different type of event. Block is a man of few words, who prefers to communicate in race results and screaming engines.
Ford is always filled with surprises and a few names of those invited were put into a hat to win a drift ride around the course with Mr. Block. The course was modified to suit his needs, so whoever was going to win would have one hell of a ride. Sadly, my name wasn’t one of the ones picked, but The Driver’s video host Cynthia Stone was selected to ride shotgun in the heavily modified Fiesta.
As Cynthia was strapped into her passenger seat that resembled something out of a space shuttle, she gave us an enthusiastic thumbs-up before blasting off into the distance. All I could see was a cloud of white smoke and loud bangs from the exhaust. As the smoke settled, I could see Block driving the car with the same precision that a Rolls Royce leather maker achieves. Every slide and drift was executed as it was on rails. He flung his Fiesta in-between tight barriers and parked Fords. Onlookers gathered to watch the spectacle unfold as the air grew thicker and thicker with the smell of burnt rubber and spent fuel. Cynthia’s ride ended but the expression on her face seemed to stretch for miles. It’s not every day that one gets to be a passenger in a 600 horsepower all-wheel drive machine spending more time sideways than going straight.
Block’s show was over concluding the event with a bang and many shrieks. We walked away with our pictures and so much rubber in our eyes we could construct a set of Prius tires. In the end, we drove a fantastic hot hatch and watched the hoonigan himself conquer the waterfront. Nevertheless, we headed home with a satisfied quench for tire carnage and speed mayhem with the Ford Fiesta ST event now entering our rear view mirror.
The Driver participates in Volkswagen’s cross-country journey with five of their TDI vehicles
Eight provinces, five vehicles and six tanks of diesel is the premise for Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel Tour. It was a plan that took several months to create and organize with the goal of an Amazing Race style adventure that would show off Volkswagen’s range of TDI models. An impressive feat to say the least!
In a time where fuel economy is always a concern, Volkswagen wanted to show off their diesel options as alternatives to regular gas guzzlers, hybrids and all-electric cars. For those that are unaware, TDI means Turbocharged Direct Injection. This is a process used by Volkswagen where turbochargers compress air used for combustion thus allowing the engine to generate more power after each quick fire of the cylinders.
There’s has been plenty of debate in favour of diesel engines, but for some reason or another, Canadians have not taken to them like their neighbours across the pond in Europe. In contrast, diesel engines comprise 50 percent of sales, while they account for 2 percent of the Canadian market. Volkswagen have always been leaders in the diesel market with 28 percent of their sales coming from TDI models and they are welcoming any manufacturer challenges to provide more press and attention to diesels. Recently, Chevrolet has jumped onto the diesel game with their Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel and Volkswagen couldn’t be happier.
Setting the stage for the VW TDI Clean Diesel Tour
Many people have dreams of travelling across the country. There’s no better way to see our beautiful country then experiencing the different cultures, people and climate then a continuous journey across it. The best part about it is you really just need to use one road – the Trans-Canada Highway. For Volkswagen, it provides a platform to showcase their TDIs and diesel claims in a real-life adventure.
Travelling across the country is a big time commitment with a lot of planning. Just the thought of planning such a trip might intimidate the best trip organizers and have them shy away from such an undertaking. Hence, Volkswagen split the coast-to-coast adventure up into five legs with the attempt to have five teams along for each stretch. The Driver was invited along for Leg 4 where the travel route would be from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Each team would get to test out all five TDI vehicles on hand across three provinces including the Beetle, Jetta, Passat, Golf Wagon and the Touareg. The Golf was excluded from this adventure, as Volkswagen was showing off all of their 2014 models and the 2015 Golf is expected to be released next year – there are no 2014’s in Canada.
The Driver’s David Taylor and I were sent on this journey through the Prairies and we had our eyes set on bettering the rest of the teams in any challenge that came our way and in fuel-efficient driving. What the rest of the teams didn’t know was that David and I are experts in efficient driving after being participants in AJAC’s Eco Run over the past few years. No matter what the vehicle, we’ve adopted driving techniques that can help reduce fuel consumption that lead to fuel savings. We were instructed by Thomas Tetzlaff, Public Relations Manager at Volkswagen Canada, that this wasn’t an exercise in hypermiling, so we relied on a gentle acceleration, maintaining a steady speed and avoided higher speeds that the other teams succumbed to.
Four of the cars on this trip share the same powertrain, the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine that puts out 140 horsepower and a more impressive 236 lb.-ft. of torque. The higher torque to horsepower on a diesel vehicle is commonplace, as a diesel engine compresses just air (not a fuel/air mixture as in gas engines) at a high temperature, so when fuel is directly injected it ignites automatically without a spark. With this system, the diesel engine needs to do more compression than a gas engine to get the fuel to ignite, hence the higher torque numbers.
The other engine on this journey belongs to the lone SUV, the Touareg. It uses a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine that puts out 240 horsepower and a mind-blowing 406 lb.-ft. of torque.
Day One: Winnipeg, MB to Regina, SK
Day one began with the Golf Wagon. It would take us from Winnipeg to Brandon and we were determined to reach some good numbers right off the bat. This led to us being last upon arrival for all of our challenges and meals, but we still managed to win one of the challenges through our wisdom and guile. It could be otherwise worded as taking advantages of mistakes from the other teams.
The Golf Wagon managed a combined fuel economy of 6.1L/100 km, which surprisingly ended up being the best of all of the teams, but we knew we could do better. The afternoon trek from Brandon to Regina saw us blow away the competition by scoring 5.4L/100 km in the Jetta and 5.5L/100 km in the Passat. No one touched these numbers including the Volkswagen representatives who know these cars inside and out.
As impressive as the fuel economy numbers are the drive was smooth and relaxing. There’s something about driving the flat grounds of the Prairies that’s so peaceful while you drive through plenty of farmland, greenery and livestock, followed by plenty of farmland, greenery and livestock, and repeat. It’s nice to have the right vehicles to complement that peaceful ride and the Jetta and Passat provided that for our journey. The air was refreshing and clean and so were the cars we rode – a perfect pairing.
Day Two: Regina, SK to Medicine Hat, AB
As day two began, I wanted to change our approach for two reasons. First off, I didn’t like the fact that one team was bragging about being the first to depart and arrive, while achieving impressive fuel economy numbers. That got my competitive juices flowing. In didn’t take much convincing to the other David, based on my second point that it would be informative to see how well these TDIs perform under a typical every-day driving style.
We set out on the Touareg from Regina to Swift Current passing through Moose Jaw. But before we could get started, we were sent on another challenge at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Heritage Centre which surrounds their Academy. After an initial tour through the museum, we were treated and I say the word treated loosely, to drill training by one of their sergeants. Thanks to the excellent marching and listening ability of Mr. Taylor (I know, shocking); we once again excelled at this challenge.
After being yelled at and disciplined we were back on the Trans-Canada Highway driving a little above the speed limit as one would normally do. The Touareg is fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission differing from the six-speeds in all of the other participants. It was the most luxurious ride out of the five with soft leather throughout the cockpit and comfortable black leather seats. They even enhanced the entertainment console by making it larger and fitted with more options. Safe to say our numbers spiked from the previous day as we achieved an aggressive 8.6L/100 km, well above the rating that Volkswagen promotes.
We continued this driving style with our final car, the Beetle and scored a 6.7L/100 km. However, the number was inflated due to some photo opportunities along the ride from Swift Current, Saskatchewan to Medicine Hat, Alberta. On this final drive, the sky was dark and stormy and we even found a picturesque salt harvest coming from Chaplin Lake, which came out of nowhere.
The Beetle caused some trouble in finding a comfortable seating position, but how could you complain – it’s a Beetle. It’s not for everyone, but it does have enough character and pep to be enjoyed by a certain few who likes its size and charm.
There are many varying road trips, but a cross-country trip with the family would be best suited with the Golf Wagon or the Touareg. The choice of better fuel economy versus luxury and speed would be the decision and that’s up to individual preference. As for the Jetta, Passat and Beetle – they all showcased how impressive their TDI engines could be. Based on the numbers so far, it looks like six tanks of diesel might have been a reach for Volkswagen considering the driving habits of some of these automotive journalists, but it can definitely be achieved. So far the Passat (4.29 tanks) and the Touareg (4.90 tanks) have used the least amount of tanks of diesel with one leg to go.
Volkswagen planned a great journey to show off how much savings diesel engines can provide. There’s a lot of hype about hybrids and it’s about time some love is shown to those diesels. Diesels have always exhibited savings in mileage by bettering fuel economy numbers in gas-powered vehicles by an average of 25-30 percent and the TDI Clean Diesel Tour made that reality. Their past negatives of being smelly have stayed in the past and this new TDI proves they should at least be given a chance. There must be a reason to why they are so successful in Europe and perhaps it takes events like this to show off their true worth and value.
If you were holding your breath whether the two David’s won their leg – you can rest assured that we were victorious with an average of 6.46L/100 km! Was there ever a doubt?
Now that the Frankfurt Motor Show has closed its doors to the public, it gives us a chance to look back at what we saw from what is considered the world’s largest motor show.
There were plenty of reveals from production vehicles to concepts, but we wanted to narrow it down for our readers. So after much deliberation, here are The Driver’s top-five most exciting reveals from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
1) Ferrari 458 Speciale
Historically, Ferrari has used the Frankfurt Motor Show as the grounds in which it decides to unveil its new mid-engine V-8 supercar. This year was no exception and Ferrari has left everyone more than satisfied.
The long-awaited successor to the 430 Scuderia, the 458 Speciale is, without a string of doubt, a monster on four wheels. Powered by a tuned-up version of the 458 Italia’s V-8, the Speciale charges to 100 km/h in less than three seconds and continues to sprint to 200 km/h in an incredible 9.1 seconds. This prancing horse’s beating heart produces 597 horsepower with 398 lb.-ft. of torque and officially produces the most amount of power for any naturally aspirated V-8.
2) BMW i8 (Production version)
After what seemed like an eternity of concepts, spy shots, and even a movie cameo (I’m looking at you, Mission Impossible), BMW has finally unveiled it’s much anticipated i8 supercar. As the halo car for the newly inaugurated “i” brand, the i8 has some hefty shoes to fill. Luckily, it appears to be doing a fantastic job as BMW’s first plug-in hybrid.
The futuristic exterior compliments the technology that is housed underneath. The i8 is powered by a combination of a 1.5-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine and an electric motor producing 131 hp for a combined 362 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque. This combo allows it to sprint to 100 km/h in only 4.4 seconds. The i8 will place BMW on the map when it comes to hybrid performance ushering in a new era for the German brand.
3) Porsche 918 Spyder
The Porsche 918 Spyder is a plug-in hybrid that draws its power from a 4.6-litre V-8 engine that produces a whopping 608 hp. When you add in the two electric motors from a 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery – its power can total 887 hp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque.
Those numbers are exciting enough, but Porsche took the 918 to the Nürburgring and set the fastest lap time for any street legal car (apart from the Radical which can hardly be considered street legal). It ran a blistering 6:57 around the “Green Hell” obliterating all doubt of the 918 being an underperforming car compared to its main rivals (LaFerrari. P1).
This gives Porsche fans some needed ammunition in the ongoing mud-slinging war between McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari. While Porsche might be ahead for now, they will have to keep an eye over its shoulder as the others will no doubt be working on something to run the ring and continue the hybrid supercar battle.
4) Mercedes-Benz S Class Coupe
Jeremy Clarkson once described the Jaguar XJ as a rolling sculpture. This moment in Top Gear history is what immediately played in my mind when Mercedes-Benz took the cover off the Mercedes S Class Coupe. Its obnoxiously huge and vulgar but the shape and streaming lines of the body made it just about the most beautiful concept car to have made an appearance this year. Borrowing the front end of the CLA, the S Class Coupe is sure to be a big vista cruiser with style, luxury and performance in mind (if it ever makes it to production, of course).
If you’re a specs junkie, you will be happy to know that under the hood is a 4.7-litre twin-turbo V-8 that generates 449 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. However, the combination of power, style and technology make the S Class Coupe a standout. The biggest highlights are its panel and seats that are made from the finest calfskin and silk carpet made by hand. You don’t see that in every reveal!
5) Spark-Renault's SRT_01E electric race car
Formula E is one of the most interesting racing series to have sprouted up in recent memory. As it draws closer to its inaugural race, it’s time to take a look at the vehicle that will be providing the levels of excitement that’s being promised. Officially, the first car to be homologated for the series is the adequately named Spark-Renault SRT_01E.
The 01E is powered by 441 pounds worth of lithium-ion batteries being housed by a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber. All this together allows the car to weigh a total of 1,793 pounds not including the added weight of the driver. In total, the car has a top speed of 220 km/h with a total horsepower output of 268 hp.
Oh, and one last thing. The series is unique because it requires the driver to change cars at one point in the race.
Frankfurt, Germany – Just before the Frankfurt Motor show began, the Volkswagen Group had a night to remember previewing many of the vehicles that were to be showcased at the event.
Thanks to our friends at AutoEmotionenTV we bring to you footage from that night.
The theme of the night was e-cars and they were celebrated by rolling out the Volkswagen e-Up and e-Golf, the Audi A3 e-tron, and the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid.
Also on hand from Volkswagen was the new seventh-generation Golf, called the Sportsvan and the e.load-up, an electric commercial transporter. Rounding out some of the other manufacturer models were the Bugatti Veryon, the Lamborghini Gallardo and Skoda’s Rapid Spaceback.
The video is in German, but when it comes to cars – they are the ones doing the talking.