“The Hyundai folks gritted their teeth as the snowflakes swirled but they were smiling by the time the event wound down.”

(more…)

“A six-day, 1,200-kilometre, road trip in an RV through some of the most spectacular scenery this province has to offer…” (more…)

“The centre, developed by the Island-based GAIN Dealer Group (German Auto Import Group) promises members up to 350 driving days a year, thanks to the area’s temperate climate.”

It’s what B.C. performance car enthusiasts have dreamed about for years – a first class, high-speed track.

And that dream will become a reality next spring with the opening of the Vancouver Island Motorsport Resort, just north of Duncan, in the picturesque Cowichan Valley, less than an hour from Victoria.

The centre, developed by the Island-based GAIN Dealer Group, promises up to 350 driving days a year, thanks to the area’s temperate climate.

“This is not aimed just at people with very expensive, new high performance cars,” explains GAIN chief executive officer Peter Trzewik, who expects to announce membership details within a month.

“We hope to see people with older model cars, who want to get out on a good track. We could sell out the membership immediately overseas but instead we are encouraging Canadians and people from over the border in Seattle and Portland. It’s important that this track is used daily.”

And for around half of each month, Trzewick expects to see new car product launches, driving school courses and community charity galas and events.

The circuit, designed by internationally renowned Tilke GmbH & Co, will provide the novice an opportunity to gain proficiency, while challenging the more accomplished drivers.

Phase One comprises 19 corners and elevation changes of more than 25 metres, with a length of 2.3 kilometres. Speeds of up to 200 km/h will be possible on the high-speed sectors of the circuit in the first phase. When Phase Two is completed likely a couple years later, a total of 4.21 kilometres of track will be available

Trzewik says driver safety is a priority so there are state-of-the-art run-off areas providing an opportunity to make a correction, with tire barriers and guard rails in reserve, enhancing the protection of both car and driver.

Members travelling to Vancouver Island will be able to choose the convenience of leaving their performance car at the VIMR in a secure and temperature-controlled storage facility. With this add-on option, cars stored at the resort will be maintained to track-ready condition by specialists, providing the member full use of their car when their schedule allows, with minimal personal effort for repair and maintenance.

Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.

Members who enjoy vintage sports and racing cars will be able to have their cars maintained and repaired by Rudi & Company, a world-renowned specialist in the restoration and repair of the world’s great cars. Assistance with the delivery of a member’s car to the resort may also be arranged with trusted transportation partners.

A 14,500 square foot clubhouse will offer a complete range of services to its members and house a restaurant featuring the very best of Vancouver Island ingredients.

Contact the writer at keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.
Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.
Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.
Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.
Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.
Factory trained technicians representing Alfa Romeo, Audi S-Line, BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, MINI JCW, and Porsche will be available to provide the expertise in keeping modern track cars in perfect running condition. Repairs and maintenance will be completed in the time between member visits to maximize their time driving.

 

Quick Track Facts

Length: 2.3 kms (Phase One), 4.3 kms (Phase Two)

Track width: 10 m

Track layout: 19 turns, 7 left turns and 12 right turns

Top speed: 211 km/h (street legal sports cars)

Maximum incline: 12.5 percent

Maximum slope: 11.5 percent

Track layout combinations: 6

Track characteristics: Extremely lively topography, hanging and banked corners in all sections, run off areas designed with the newest technology and standards preventing damages to cars and bikes and offering the chance to correct and return safely on to the track.

More information and a detailed track drive description is available at: http://islandmotorsportresort.com/

“Also confirmed is a one-of-a-kind 1970 Chevelle, which achieves speeds of zero to 100 km/h in around 4.5 seconds.”

1963 Lincoln

A heavily customized 1963 Lincoln with an assessed value of a million dollars makes its free show debut this weekend.

It will be one of more than 350 premier, classic, muscle and specialty vehicles gathering at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam on Saturday (July 18) for the second annual Ultimate Car Show.

This free community event, put on in partnership with custom car company, 360 Fabrication Inc. of Abbotsford, will take place from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. in the casino parking lot.

Some of the best exotic, classic, and muscle cars in Western Canada are already registered o participate. 360 Fabrication owner Rick Francoeur is looking forward to showing off custom treasures. Also confirmed is a one-of-a-kind 1970 Chevelle, which achieves speeds of zero to 100 km/h in around 4.5 seconds, and one of the world’s most highly modified muscle cars – a 1967 Mustang Fastback, which boasts roughly 700 individual modifications.

Car culture and music fans will also be excited to know that the Hard Rock is also featuring a concert by internationally known band Count’s 77, whose lead singer Danny “Count” Koker stars in History Channel hit Counting Cars.


 

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

by Hayley Thomas

“The pleasure of cruising the coastline was amplified by the views offered from the RDX’s raised stance.”

Exploring beautiful British Columbia for the first time should enjoyed in the comfort and views offered by a high-end sport-utility vehicle.

Having recently moved to the province from Nova Scotia, it was time for my parents to make their first trek to this side of the country, so the pressure was on to find an appropriate vehicle to show off my new ‘home’.

A 2015 Acura RDX was available in the media fleet: Its 273-horsepower, 3.5 litre V-6 engine, along with a 6-speed automatic transmission, persuaded me it would get us where we needed to go.

Hayley Thomas, Driveway Contributor

Hayley Thomas, Driveway Contributor

My parents, Nadine and George Thomas, started their trip in Vancouver, in the heart of the city. On the first evening I offered to take them for a drive around town to show them the hot spots. The RDX offers soft leather seats featuring 8-way power adjustability, coupled with a very sleek and stylish exterior, which incorporates an aerodynamic efficient body. To say we felt cool driving it through the city, with music pumping from the 360-watt audio system, is an understatement.

Within a few days, we were on our way to explore Salt Spring Island. At this point, it was time for my father to get his hands on the wheel to see what the RDX was “really made of.”

Our joint verdict is the RDX offers great handling with an agile yet secure feel – the vehicle integrates Amplitude Reactive Dampers that analyze the driver’s input against the road conditions to adjust the drive to the road you’re travelling.

Like most dads, mine never needs directions. However, when we were on our way to the Saturday Market we “somehow” ended up on a dead-end back road. Luckily, the GPS navigation system gave my mum a much-needed break from map reading. The system has the ability to pinpoint your location almost anywhere in North America, and is equipped with two options of relaying your route: either by voice or a real-time moving map. This feature is a sure-fire way of ensuring you get to where you need to go, while removing any second-guessing from the equation.

We continued our adventures on Vancouver Island from Nanaimo through the Vancouver Island mountain ranges. At this point, I once again took over driving without the hassle of re-setting my seat preferences; the settings were conveniently programmed into the seat position memory. Once back on the road I really put the pedal to the metal – the acceleration was brisk and delivered plenty of power. With that much power, typically comes a hefty bill at the gas station and not because of all the ice cream sandwiches purchased there. However, a comparison check shows the RDX offers fuel efficiency is rivalled by very few luxury SUVs. Given the often-steep gas prices we see these days, the RDX’s fuel economy on average is 10.6 litres/100 km, allowing motorists to enjoy summer drives guilt-free.

The pleasure of cruising the coastline was amplified by the views offered from the RDX’s raised stance. Driving as the sun dipped below the horizon meant it was time to open the moonroof. The moonroof is easily operated with a one-touch power mechanism along with a visor that actively reduces the vibrations and noise associated with having a window open, allowing for a smooth and noise-free ride.

Last, but certainly not least, I had long been awaiting my parents’ arrival with the anticipation of finally properly learning how to parallel park. Much to my surprise, the Acura RDX provides all of the tools required to successfully complete this complex and sometimes dangerous (when I’m behind the wheel) task. The vehicle includes a multi-angle rear-view camera along with reverse tilt dual mirrors that provide curb views. I can now parallel park in the city without chagrin – hold onto your curbside parking spots, fellow motorists.


 

2015 Acura RDX

Base price: $41,390

Price as tested, Tech edition: $44,390 – plus $1,995 freight & pdi

Public speaking just lost the top spot as the most feared task for the young generation.

Distracted, dangerous drivers are now their first concern, new research funded by Ford finds.

Generation Z consumers are more afraid of other motorists driving dangerously than death, public speaking, spiders and snakes, according to independent research company Penn Schoen Berland.

Top fears for Millennials and members of Generation Z:

  • Other motorists driving dangerously (88 per cent)
  • Public speaking (75 per cent)
  • Death (74 per cent)
  • Spiders (69 per cent)
  • Snakes (69 per cent)

“Younger generations are growing up with different fears than their parents or grandparents,” said Kevin Shkolnik, vice president, Penn Schoen Berland. “Younger drivers are worried about distracted drivers, but they think technology isn’t just the problem, it’s also the solution, as we are seeing growing demand for driver-assistance technologies.”

The most worrisome driving situations among survey respondents include:

  • Snowy or icy roads (79 per cent)
  • Manoeuvring into a tight parking spot (75 per cent)
  • Backing out onto a busy street (74 per cent)
  • Monitoring blind spots (70 per cent)
  • Not knowing where I’m going (69 per cent)

Penn Schoen Berland conducted the poll on behalf of Ford Motor Company, surveying 1,000, Generation Z (ages 16-22) and Generation Y (ages 23-34). The online survey was conducted between April 29 and May 4, 2015; the margin of error is +/- 3.1 per cent.

Ford says the new research validates its decision to offer technologies that will help drivers with common driving concerns. Ford has now announced it will migrate driver-assist technologies across its product lineup over the next five years.

“Research like this is important to Ford and other automotive brands because it informs us about the situations that cause consumers the most stress,” said Crystal Worthem, Ford brand marketing manager. “As driver distraction and safety conversations have broadened, we are seeing what technology will help customers tackle their greatest fears.”

The research shows 65 percent of respondents are more likely to purchase a vehicle if it has technology to help with parallel parking. Of those polled, 62 per cent want technology to detect objects in blind spots.

Contact the writer at keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

An average of six youths are killed and 1,660 injured in crashes during grad season (April to June) in B.C. Car crashes are the top cause of preventable deaths for young people in B.C.

If you have teenagers, ensure they have a safe ride to and from grad festivities.

“The incentives are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 1,400 cars off the road…”
(more…)

“The 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD would be my personal “primo-green” pick, if I were lucky enough to have a spare $50K stashed away…”

2015 Kia Soul EV
2015 Kia Soul EV
2015 Subaru Legacy
2015 Subaru Legacy
2015 Honda Fit
2015 Honda Fit
2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid
2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Good news for B.C. auto buyers who want a “green car” – a $7.5 million fund was set aside in Victoria’s provincial budget, in order to bring back a government incentive program that offered point of sale rebates to buyers of plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.

The previous rebate plan expired last spring and details of the new plan are expected to be announced at the Vancouver auto show.

Here are five new-to-market vehicle choices with “green” aspirations. The first four are finalists for the AJAC Green Car of the Year Award, which will also be announced in Vancouver at the auto show next week.

The 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD would be my personal “primo-green” pick, if I were lucky enough to have a spare $50K stashed away.

2015 Honda Fit

Honda Fit may be small on the outside, but its organic shape and an ingeniously versatile seating system makes the most of every bit of interior space. The new Fit also consumes even less fuel, due to a new powertrain and a lighter yet more rigid new body.

A 1.5-litre engine that can produce 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, powers all Fit models. Fuel economy is rated at 7.0/5.7/6.4 L/100km (city/highway/combined) with the new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) have already voted Best New (2015) Small Car (under $21,000) the Honda Fit.

2015 Kia Soul EV

This is a clever electric vehicle adaptation of Kia’s tall 5-door compact car with the funky styling. Soul EV offers the same, user-friendly features as its gasoline counterpart, with seating for four or five and a large rear cargo area. Kia’s polymer (electrolyte) lithium-ion battery pack is compact and easier to hide, as is can be molded into different shapes. In Soul EV it’s centrally fitted under the rear seats and a raised rear floor pan.

The liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor can generate a whopping 210 lb-ft of torque. That’s 59 lb-ft more than the gas engine version of Soul. Yet, its impressively smooth and standing starts are not as jumpy as other electric vehicles. Soul EV has a claimed driving range of 149 km on a single charge.

2015 Subaru Legacy

The redesigned Subaru Legacy won the overall 2015 Canadian Car of the Year Award. A substantial improvement in fuel economy was achieved through a variety of engineering initiatives that included an impressive new (Lineartronic CVT) automatic transmission. It’s also the only car in the “family car” market segment that comes with standard all-wheel-drive.

Legacy was engineered in Japan and is built in the USA in an award winning production facility, for environmental excellence, in Indiana. In fact, the entire 832-acre plant site is designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has rebuilt the 2015 Toyota Camry from the ground up. It’s a sportier, better handling Camry with a striking new design and a passenger cabin that Toyota claim is the quietest-ever. The Hybrid editions come in three model grades and a starting price of just $28,710.

Camry Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine linked with Hybrid Synergy drive and matched to an E-CVT. Fuel economy is rated at an amazing 5.7 L/100km (which is about 50 mpg) in the city and 6.0 L/100km on the highway.

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD

Acura has linked its superb electronic (torque vectoring) Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system with a new hybrid powertrain in this all-new version of the RLX. The gas engine is a 3.5-litre V6 with Variable Cylinder Management and it’s linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

This is the most powerful Acura production sedan ever built and has a claimed combined (gas + electric) peak output of 377 horsepower. Yet, its fuel consumption is a miserly 8.0/ 7.5 L/100km (city/highway). A little pricey (starts at $49,990), but amazing!

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

With many schools in B.C. closing for spring break today, children will be out more during the day. As a driver, do your part to keep kids safe on our roads: Drive cautiously near parks, playgrounds and in residential areas and expect the unexpected.

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