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Monday
Sep082014

2014 Silverado 1500

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab 4x4

5.3L V8 355 HP with 6 Speed Automatic transmission

White Diamond with Jet Black leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the Silverado...Click.

We were anxious to spend a few days with the new Silverado, especially that the last time was a few years ago with Clifford.

The competition in the pick up segment is at epic levels in Canada. Yes... discovering this new Silverado generated excitement.

By now you have concluded like us, that grilles on pick ups are massive. This Silverado does not disappoint with a huge grille, complemented by softer lines, its an appealing truck.

The street presence is unmistakable how can you miss that its a pick up, and from the grille a Chevrolet. This tester finished in Diamond White had the luxury look too.

The quiet interior is immense ready to accomodate a work crew or a family, putting any car to shame, and with a myriad of features, including heated and ventilated seats, complemented by an immense sunroof, directly competing with any luxury car. 

Obvious the console facilitates working in the truck, the outlets enable charging, and using various smart devices. 

The instrument layout caught our attention with the small gauges on top, its refreshing to see actual gauges with needle indicators.

Chevrolet refined the interior of this new Silverado with a larger center of the dash screen, a huge panorama roof, a power rear sliding window, a great sound system. In addition to paying attention to details, enhanced by contrast stitching. Agreed most folks also come to expect luxury car features in a top of the line crew cab, obvious this Silverado does not disappoint.

This pick up has the uncanny ability to constantly communicate that its ready to work, its prepared to perform a task. Even the ride improves and smoothes out with a few hundred pounds of stuff in the bed.

Lets not the forget that this pick up has a frame, a 2 speed transfer case with a low range for the 4x4, its a configuration to work, compared to most urban SUV's.

How does it drive?

When a pick up drives like a pick up, feels like a pick up, constantly communicates that its ready to work, its an endearing feature. We get the feeling that the folks at Chevrolet ensured that its a pick up. It certainly has enough power, the 6 speed automatic has a pick up algorithm to smoothly carry or pull a load, the steering is on center, the brakes are strong. 

Its a great cruiser, effortlessly maintaining highway speeds, and feels a little cumbersome navigating parking lots, its remains a crew cab which is huge compared to most cars.

What struck us is the myriad of improvements from the previous version, the gauges in the dash, the steps in the rear bumper, the soft open of the tailgate, the quieter cabin to name a few. The improvements all add up to make a compelling, and capable pick up. 

 

The quick review

 

 

 

Wednesday
Aug272014

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

3.6 L Twin Turbo V6 420 HP with 8 Speed Automatic transmission

White Diamond with Kona Brown / Jet Black Leather interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the CTS V Sport...Click.

By now you are aware that we have some sort of a soft spot for Cadillac. There is something about all the latest Cadillacs that is appealing to us. Obvious that one finished in White Diamond, quickly captures our attention.

Yes Cadillac owns the "pearl white" finish for its cars. 

Now factor in that its a CTS V Sport and it becomes a very interesting car, although a little pricey with a base price of $74,495.

Cadillac's have their own distinctive styling, which produces a compelling street presence. The bolder grille, distinctive vertical LED's. and square exhausts are by now unique to Cadillac.

The interior is inspiring, and superbly finished, the 2 tone leather is elegant, the texture of the wood paneling is unique. Starting with CUE and all the other features that you expect are all present, complemented by an impressive sound system.

You can configure your CTS V Sport...here.

If you had doubts that Cadillac can develop a discreet performance model without resorting to the all out V version with the supercharged V8. This car will reassure you.

This V Sport embodies our perspective of a luxury car with waftability, its elegant, its discreet, its quiet, while delivering an astonishing level of performance. 

The twin turbo V6 with the well calibrated 8 speed automatic is a powerful combination and the transmission has a precise shift algorithm which is well matched to the capabilities of the engine. Yes...when the turbos spool up its exhilarating. The Brembo brakes are reassuring, the steering is precise, the suspension is inspiring. 

The folks at Cadillac have done their due diligence with this version of the CTS. The car instantly communicates that its competent, it has a strong level of power, it has all the features, its right up there with the best in the segment.

There is a special something about luxury cars with a higher level of performance that sets them apart, and reinforces the traditional "luxury factor"...this CTS has an abundance of the something. The entire Strada editorial team was impressed by this car.

We can keep on going here, suffice it to say that this car inspires.

If you are considering a luxury sedan with a higher level of performance than the base engine. While not desiring the "boy racer" versions that many German manufacturers offer. You owe it to yourself to experience the CTS V Sport. 

This CTS will recalibrate your perspective of a luxury sedan that performs.

 

The quick review

 

 

Wednesday
Aug132014

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

2014 Chevrolet Malibu LT

2.5L 4 Cylinder 196 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Ashen Grey Metallic with Grey Leather Interior

The photo gallery slide show of the Malibu...click

We started doing reviews a few years ago with a Malibu, and 100 reviews later we again have the new Malibu. You could not plan this out if you tried, this is our 100th review, its a Malibu.

It is a milestone for us!

We were anxious to spend a few days with this Malibu. Especially to see how it compared to the previous version which was a benchmark car for GM at the time.

The styling is mid size sedan inoffensively appealing. Accompanied by a subdued street presence. Yes we know that styling is a personal preference.

The interior is well executed for this segment, and price range. As you know GM made quantum leaps a few years ago with interiors. This Malibu continues the interior progression. Its as good as it gets in a mid size sedan. Good materials, soft touch areas, contrasts stitching.

This tester has the 7 inch screen in the center of the dash, My Link, as well as navigation, accompanied by a solid performing sound system to enjoy the satellite radio. The front seats are comfortable, supportive and power assisted, the rear seat provides ample leg room for adults. The trunk is a generous size.

You can configure your own Malibu here.

With a 4 cylinder and a 6 speed automatic the performance is middle of the road, like most mid size sedans. Its an impressive, superb highway cruiser that encourages you to cover appreciable distances.

One gets the impression that the folks at Chevrolet did an appreciable amount of due diligence to refine the Malibu so that it does everything well, with a strong value proposition. Its a competent, solid, reassuring car. 

From our perspective Chevrolet did everything right. Compared to the previous model, its an improvement in all areas. With the exception of being inspiring, for some reason Chevrolet overlooked making this car inspiring. 

Why you should consider a Malibu? In a crowded and competitive mid size sedan segment this car is supremely competent, and does everything that you expect very well. It does it so well, in such an unassuming fashion that its quickly taken for granted. 

The Malibu might not blip on your radar screen. We urge you to make it a point to experience the Malibu, it will realign you mid seize sedan thought process.

 

The quick review

 

 

Thursday
Aug072014

2014 Range Rover Sport

2014 Range Rover Sport HSE

3.0L Supercharged V6 349 HP with 8 Speed Automatic

Corris Grey Metallic with Espresso/Ivory Leather

The photo gallery slide show of the Range Rover...click

Range Rover through the years has created its own niche in the luxury SUV market segment. This new Sport is making a solid contribution to expand the niche for Range Rover.

It was presented as a concept a few years ago, has softer lines, a dramatic sloping roof, and still maintains the iconic Range Rover look. Although styling is a personal preference, we find it appealing. The street presence remains compelling, distinctly Range Rover, and as usual attracts attention.

What is it about Range Rovers?

They communicate a distinct message that the owner has risen beyond the increasing noise of luxury SUV's, risen to a higher level. The legendary off road capabilities, which will seldom be used add a unique cachet to the image.

As you would expect the inerior is superbly well finished, and styled with a meticulous choice of materials, and soft touches. It makes you feel good. All the amenities are present, from power seats, heated seats including the rear, back up camera, navigation to name a few. 

Yes...the sound system fills the voluminous interior with authority.

The rear seat provides ample room for adults, augmented by a cool center armrest.

Yes...there are distinctive front LED lights, which are a "de rigueur" feature on a luxury vehicle, these are totally cool.

This Range Rover inspires the moment you open the door, and sit in the driver's seat. The new all aluminum structure is impressive. It feels like a solid block of aluminum.

The suparcharged V6 generates a good level of performance with 340 HP, the 8 speed automatic augments the versatility of the performance, while shifting in an uncanny, intuitive fashion. Although the console shifter requires a learning curve in its "unintuitive" operation.

Be it on the highway or surface streets there is always a reserve of performance that is available. Its a great highway cruiser, while being uncannily quiet.

The steering is precise, and on center, the brakes are good, althought from our perspective they could offer an additional level of stopping power at higher speeds (which are easily attained).

Why you should consider a Range Rover Sport?

You are seeking a luxury SUV, while desiring to make a stronger statement. You appreciate having superb off road capabilities, accompanied by a brilliant terrain management system. You undrestand and appreciate the inovative approach of making an all aluminum structure and body panels.

Make it a point to experience the Sport, yo will be impressed.

 

The quick review

 

 

Monday
Jul212014

2014 Honda Civic

2014 Honda Civic EX Coupe

1.8L 4 Cylinder 148 HP with 5 Speed Manual Transmission

Dyno Blue Pearl with Charcoal Cloth Interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Civic...click

Last time we experienced a Civic was almost 2 years ago. We were anxious to spend a few days with the restyled Civic again.

Yes, its the best selling car in Canada for countless years now, in a very competitive segment. The message is clear this car is loved by Canadians.

The Civic does everything well in a discreet fashion, and you would not expect anything else.

The styling is discreet with a subdued street presence which still conveys the message that its a Honda. The fastback roof line conveys a sporty appearance, the black accented alloy wheels reinforce the sport styling of the car. The restyled front fascia ads a touch of boldness.

The cloth interior is well crafted with attention to all the details. The digital instrument panel is refreshingly different with the center mounted tachometer. The screen in the center of the dash is the correct size, the sound system augments your level of enjoyment. The right hand side Blind Spot camera is an appreciated feature, in addition to the back up camera.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with a wide range of manual adjustments. Obvious that the rear seat is for occasional use only.

You can configure your own Civic here.

Its a car that pleases such a wide spectrum of buyers, and drives in a competent, assured fashion.

Our tester had a 5 speed manual transmission. You have to wonder why not a 6 speed? There is a good level of power, the shifter is smooth, the performance is middle of the road. The steering is on center, the brakes are up to the task. 

Its not a car that will encourage you to get exhuberant, but it does reassure by its middle of the road competence. 

If you are seeking a car in this segment be it a sedan or a coupe. The Civic surely appeared on your radar, or was suggested to you. Make it a point to experience the version that you are seeking.

The quick review