Photo Gallery
Login
Powered by Squarespace
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

 

 

Wednesday
May282014

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

1.6L 4 cylinder 197 HP Ecoboost with 6 Speed Manual Transmission

Molten Orange with Charcoal / Orange Interior

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

This Fiesta ST is small with a strong fun factor to make it an interesting car. In addition to having all the styling cues that augment its street presence, while setting it apart. 

The Fiesta captured our attention a few years ago, and we still think its a cool car. 

The ST version raises the coolness, and exhuberance factor to another level.

The street presence of our tester n Molten Orange is bold, forceful, unique, augmented by an authoritative exhaust sound from the dual pipes.  The ST styling accents from the black grille to the rear spoiler are subtle, distinctive, youthful. Instantly conveying the message there is something special about this car.

The Recaro seats reinforce the uniqueness of this car, they are bold, comfortable, while holding you securely in place. While raising the cool factor to the next level, and capturing the attention of the entire Strada Crew. The interior is appealing, while the materials are in line with the price segment of the car. 

The controls are intuitive, the center screen is easy to navigate, yes...automatic climate control in a small car. The sound system is good too, the rear seat is acceptable for adults considering the size of the car. The rear hatch and fold down rear seat enhance the versatility when having to carry oversize items.

You can configure your Fiesta...here.

How does it drive?

The folks at Ford sweated details that make it a pocket performance car. The car immediately communictes a sense that its purpose is to generate a hogher fun factor. Its has a good level of power considering the size of the engine. The transmission is a joy to shift up or down, the electric power steering is direct and precise, the brakes are strong.

Torque steer is almost non existant with the included Torque Vectoring Control.

Yes this car is small, nimble, and encourages exhuberant driving. The sport tuned suspension, which makes the ride a little hard is a joy in situations where you want to get a little aggressive.

This version of the Fiesta inspires a high level of confidence and competence, be it in cornering situations, highway cruising, and navigating surface streets. Its always ready to perform.

There are many choices of small performance cars, and if you are considering one, the Fiesta ST will impress you by the attention Ford applied to the details that make it a well designed and thought. Make it a point to experience the Fiesta ST for yourself...you will be impressed.

The quick review:

 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar252014

2014 Infiniti Q50

2014 Infiniti Q50 S

3.7L V6 328 HP with 7 Speed Automatic Transmission

Platinum Ice Metallic with Graphite Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the Q50...click.

We have had memorable times with the various Infinitis we experienced. Needless to mention we were anxious to see how the new Q50 would compare. 

As expected we were pleasantly surprised.

The fastback sedan styling is discreet, refined, with flowing lines, and authoritative exhaust pipes, while clearly communicating that its an Infiniti. 

The interior is well executed, with excellent materials, and attention to detail. The front seats are supremely comfortable with the adjustable cushion lenght as a bonus.

The rear seat provides good leg room for adults, in addition to easy access.

The center of the dash with the double screens is striking by its simplicity, and intuitive use. In addtion to all the expected features, be it navigation, a superior sound system, climate control. This tester had a drive mode display with several choices...a totally cool feature.

You can configure your own Q50 here.

How does it drive? The previous G versions had a distinctive Infiniti personality, and we expected this to carry over into the Q50. 

The 3.7L V6 upholds the Infiniti growl, delivering abundant levels of power. Throttling up the Q50 is a pleasant experience appealing to the senses. 

The S version has a finely tuned suspension which is as expected a little on the stiff side. Its winter, the pavement is cold, the car has winter tires. During a few moments of better road conditions, the brilliance of the suspension, the advantage of an adjustable steering feel emerge into a Wow moment .

Infiniti calls it "Direct Adaptive Steering" (steer by wire), if you wondered for a moment why anyone would go the length of developing a steer by wire system. Driving this Q50, selecting the various driving modes which alter the steering modes...its a cool experience. Negotiating 90 degree turns with little more than the flick of the wrists is also very cool.

The lingering thought "This car must be exhuberant in on/off ramps, pity its winter".

From our perspective the Q50 upholds the tradition established by the G, and the S version of the Q50 ads an additional sporting aspect. Its truly a luxury sport sedan with a heightened fun factor.

In a busy and competitive segment with a myriad of choices from worthy manufacturers. Why should you consider a Q50?

This car has an undeniable sporting nature in its DNA, always did, and still does. If you are seeking a luxury sedan with an empahasis on sport, fun, a lively engine, great brakes, superlative steering. Make it a point to experience the Q50.

 

The quick review

 

 

Tuesday
Feb182014

2014 Toyota Corolla - Its Efficient

2014 Toyota Corolla S

1.8L 4 Cylinder 132 HP with CVT Transmission

Barcelona Red Metallic with Black SoftTex Leather Interior

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

Must be the TV advertising that prompted us to experience the new Corolla, and during our time with the car we also experienced an appreciable snow fall...its all good.

The styling of this newest version breathes life into the established conservative image of the Corolla. The car is different enough to set it apart, make it stand out, have a street presence that resonates. While still keeping the iconic Toyota styling cues that immediately communicate its identity.

The interior is impressive for a car in this segment and price range. It catches your attention with the detail stitching on the dash and door panels, the contrasting piping on the seats, and the SoftTex leather. In this tester the power seat is power adjustable too.

The seats are comfortable, with adequate shoulder room for the front passenger, while the rear seat is good for adults with acceptable leg and head room. 

The center of the dash touch screen is bigger than expected, the back up camera is a cool feature, the 6 speaker sound system is good, the heated front seats are an appreciated feature. Yes...automatic climate control...totally cool and surprising in this segment.

You can configure and price your own Corolla.

How does it drive? 

Agreed the engine coupled to the CVT in Eco mode is a little buzzy, although one gets quickly accustomed to the sound. At the same time the CVT is great and reassuring in heavy snow transmitting smooth power for maximum traction. The CVT in Sport mode is a revelation, emulating shifts, and tighter aggressive ratios...very cool.

This car is competent on surface streets, with a precise steering feel, and goos brakes, and surprisingly quiet at highway speeds. Obvious it facilitates navigating parking lots, aided by the back up camera and unemcumbered visibility. Its expected from a Toyota...this new Corolla does not dissapoint in being competent and reassuring,

Before we forget...the headlamps are phenomenal.

At a time when many are resorting to CUV's, this car is a genuine revelation in serious snow, with impeccable traction for a FWD car...yes the car had winter tires.

Our initial reservations towards the CVT were quickly subdued when we selected sport mode and the personality of the car immediately acquired several levels of aggressivity. The ratios in the CVT are altered, the transmission now behaves as of its actually shifting gears, with an appreciable elevation in the performance that 132 HP can deliver.

In a segment with many established competitors, Toyota has done their due diligence with the feature content of this car, and its starting price point of $ 19,215. its a lot of car for the money.

 

The quick revue

 

 

Tuesday
Jan072014

2014 Cadillac CTS - Impressive

2014 Cadillac CTS 4

3.6L V6 321 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Phantom Grey Metallic with Jet Black Leather

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

The opportunity to spend a few days with a CTS appeared from nowhere, and yes...we jumped. Suddenly its cold, its snowing, its not the ideal time, or perhaps it is since this tester is an AWD car.

Needless to mention that scheduling the photo shoot was interesting.

Our expectations for the CTS are high and unforgiving. Especially that Cadillac has been renewing itself for a few years now. 

This car is truly impressive, and world class. If you remember the historical line "Standard of the World" its refreshing to see Cadillac uphold the tradition. 

The styling is genuine Cadillac, with softer, refined angles. Accompanied by a bolder grille, and Cadillac insignia. Yes...including the fastback sedan look for which we have an appreciation. The front LED lights make for an unmistakable street presence. At the rear the rectangular exhaust outlets, the subtle spoiler enhance the presence. Everyone immediately knows that its a luxury car, and a Cadillac.

The interior is meticulously crafted, with detail stitching, perforated leather, carbon fiber paneling, and leather that smells and feels like leather. The front seats are snug, comfortable, with an adjustable lenght seat cushion, lumbar support. The rear seat leg room is excellent.

We are not going to list all the features, in a luxury car we expect a superior sound system, the 13 speaker Bose Surround Sound is up to the task. We expect above avarage technology, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert aiding the back up camera is totally cool especially dealing with parking lots during the holiday rush.

The Adaptive Cruise Control is a revelation, in highway and congestion (typical in the GTA) this car literally controls its own speed, accelerates, brakes by itself...it captures the imagination.

Obvious all the other features from heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seat, side blind spot, automatic seat belt tightening, panorama roof, heated steering wheel. to name a few are all present. As well as CUE which we find easy and intuitive to use.

In the segment of luxury cars this CTS is a serious contender with the very best when it comes to features, technology, and interior finishing.

The engine compartment is striking by how well its finished, and reinforces that the folks at Cadillac exerted an extra effort.

You can configure your own CTS...here.

How does it drive?

You absolutely do not expect this car to drive and perform in such a competent, confidence inspiring fashion. Its a luxury sport sedan...we repeat its a luxury sport sedan. Although we had snow most of the time, the dry pavement moments were revealing, good power, responsive transmission algorithm, precise steering, superior Brembo brakes. 

This CTS encourages exhuberance, while telegraphing that you should get even more exhuberant...this car quickly becomes intoxicating. Augmented by an authoritative growl from the engine, abundant passing power reinforced by a quick acting transmission. We need to mention that on/off ramps are a treat...a genuine Wow moment in an all wheel drive car.

The snow fall provided an opportunity to experience the all wheel drive, which is seamless, and confidence inspiring, even if our tester had 19 inch all season tires. Yes...we preferred to be cautious on snow.

Its not inexpensive, we have come to understand that all premium cars are priced in the higher margins, the CTS is no exception...it costs every manufacturer more money to build a premium car.

If you are considering a luxury sedan why should you consider a CTS compared to other well established brands. They are all good cars, but the CTS is a really good car...it will reset your expectations. 

The quick review.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Dec182013

2014 Buick Encore - Its Cute

2014 Buick Encore AWD

1.4 L Turbocharged 4 Cylinder 138 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Deep Espresso Brown Metallic with Saddle Leather Appointed Interior

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

Last time we were in Oshawa we caught a glimpse of the Buick Encore, first thought..."its a good looking small CUV". We were anxious to finally spend a few days with the Encore.

Although styling is a personal preference, we find the Encore appealing, the size, the lines, the fact that its a Buick its all cool. The Encore is part of the emerging small CUV segment which is rapidly gaining popularity in Canada.

Buick is in a unique niche of the small CUV segment.

The comment "Its a cute little truck" was mentioned on several occasions by various folks. The Espresso Brown exterior with the Gun Metal wheels added to the distinctiveness of ths tester.

The interior is stylish with the two tone finish, and contrasting stitching which augments the sense of opulence. All the features that you would expect, from partial power seats, heated seats, heated steering wheel, satellite radio, back up camera to name a few are present. In addition to a good Bose sound system. The seats are comfortable and supportive. The side blind zone alert in the exterior rear view mirrors is very useful.

Lets not forget the automatic climate control.

The rear seat provides adequate room for adults. With the folding feature augmenting the cargo area, the front passenger seat also folds flat to allow truly bulky items in the cargo area.

The traditional higher seating position of a utility vehicle in a smaller package is interesting, it makes comparable small vehicles look even smaller.

You can configure the Buick Encore to your own requirements, and budget.

The fuel economy rating is 8.9L City and 6.7L Highway per 100 kilometers for the AWD version.

Yes...4 cylinder, all wheel drive, 138 HP raises a level of apprehension, even if the vehicle is small.

We were pleasantly surprised, the performance is dramatically better than the specifications would indicate. The shift algorithm on the smooth 6 speed automatic is well calibrated to the capacity of the engine. Our tester never indicated that it was lacking in power especially on the highway (from the perspective of a small CUV with a small 4 cylinder). 

Its quiet, with a refined ride augmented by taunt handling. Its a Buick and you would expect it to be smooth, the Encore does not disappoint. At the same time, it feels like a bigger vehicle.

Its quiet, its smooth, which you expect it from a Buick. But its also sporty with a taunt suspension, a precise steering, solid on broken pavement, competent in on/off ramps, with truly impressive brakes for a CUV.

The drive and ride is more than we expected, and provided several wow moments with the usual "It drives really nice, and its very quiet".

If you are considering a small CUV, and probably did not think about Buick. We urge you to experience the Encore for yourself, from its well appointed interior, its superior driving qualities, and touches of luxury. You will be impressed.

The quick review.