AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Small cars and Mazdas are very popular in Canada. The Mazda3 is constantly battling with the Honda Civic for the title of “Best Selling Car,, and models like the Mazda5 and RX-8 are seen far more frequently in the Great White North than the United States.
With that said, Canada is naturally a very important market for the Mazda2 subcompact, and to commemorate the release of their new hatchback, Mazda is offering the Yozora special edition. Featuring black paint, big alloy wheels (with a snow tire package for good measure), chrome tailpipe, rear spoiler and a graphics package with the numeral “2″ motif splashed all over the front fenders, the Yozora is a little peculiar looking at first glance.
Dig a little further in the press release, and you’ll find a couple interesting nuggets. First is that the Yozora is based on the “entry-level” GX model. Second is that the new rims come shod with Toyo Proxes T1R tires, which are some pretty serious rubber. The base Mazda2 is likely to come with some kind of low-end tire biased towards comfort and low road noise, so the Yozora should be a hoot to drive. If Mazda takes a cue from Porsche and offers a no charge graphics delete option (like the 911 GT3 RS), we’ll be even happier.
GALLERY: Mazda2 Yozora Edition
Press release after the jump:
One of the most famous YouTube videos in the last year has got to be the “Worst parking job ever,” a clip ran by news channel CP24 after a BMW X5 drove over two parked cars at a Newmarket, Ontario gym.
We weren’t sure an X5 could drive over anything, until 62-year-old Tripta Kaushal showed us how it’s done —thanks to hidden camera surveillance footage.
Thankfully, the police caught up to her, and after pleading guilty was given a small $500 fine, ordered to pay restitution to the two victims, six months probation, and banned from driving between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
We’ve embedded the original clip after the jump, as well as Hyundai Canada’s response — see, the blue car is an Elantra GT, and the owner of that wrecked car was given a brand new Elantra Touring in the aftermath.
Sweet deal, and we may just hire Kaushal to run Dakar for us next year…
See after the jump for the original video:
Driving on the longest ice road in the world isn’t exactly a piece of ice cream cake, even for a normal car. But in a solar car that uses as much power as your toaster?
So excuse us for interrupting you regularly scheduled new car news to bring you an inspiring story. Recently, Marcelo Da Luz and his XOF1 solar car made the trip from Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada, covering 111 miles (180km) over the frozen Mackenzie River and Arctic Ocean.
Marcelo’s (self-financed!) car is a marvel — it can accelerate from zero to 50 mph (85km/h) in 6 seconds, drive distances of 130 miles (200km) at night or 300 miles (483km) on a bright sunny day. It is also the world distance record holder for solar vehicles, at 22,180 miles (35,700 km), is the first solar car to operate below freezing temperatures, drive on an ice road, and reached the Arctic Circle…twice.
You can view the CBC National video report on his incredible ice road journey, or a video about the project after the jump.
Toyota Canada has announced that it will expand its product offering significantly in Canada with the introduction of the youth-oriented Scion brand in September of 2010. The launch will be targeted at several major markets including Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In total 45 dealers will be a part of the expansion.
The Scion dealers will operate as a “store within a store” and will be part of existing Toyota dealerships. There will be 18 Scion dealers in Montreal, 20 in Toronto and 7 in Vancouver.
“This is a great time to launch Scion in Canada,” said Larry Hutchinson, Director of Scion in Canada. “As the auto industry emerges from recession, one of the largest and youngest demographics will be entering the marketplace. Young buyers will be looking to the ever-growing small car market. They are not only looking for a safe, high-quality and fuel efficient vehicle, it is important to them that the vehicle reflects their personality and lifestyle, and the stylish and trendy Scion brand will be there to fulfill that need.”
The launch of Scion in Canada will start with three vehicles, all of which are currently offered in the U.S. (Scion’s only other market). The vehicles include the sporty tC, the funky and functional xB and the sub-compact xD. Scion is also expected to deliver new models in the near future, with one possibility being a version of the Toyota iQ mini car.
For a full list of Canada’s Scion dealers, see after the jump:
Full sized sedan will remain front-drive only
The next version of the Chevrolet Impala won’t arrive until 2013 as a 2014 model. It will continue to be a front-drive only vehicle and will share a similar architecture to the upcoming Cadillac XTS flagship. Both vehicles will be built by GM Canada at the Oshawa, Ontario plant.
According to a report by GMI, GM’s new Executive Committee had approved these plans for a new Impala.
With the current Impala already long-in-the-tooth, there have been rumors that General Motors will release an updated version of the current car some time soon to keep it competitive. Chrysler is planning on releasing refreshed versions of the 300C and Charger, although all of these models have had long life cycles compared to the new Ford Taurus.
Edo Competition and ZR Auto have once again teamed up to create the world’s most extreme Enzo. Easily one of the most incredible machines ever made, the Enzo makes 660hp in stock form, but Edo has upped the power to 840 ponies – more than even the FXX.
Ferrari’s FXX is an all-out race car and while it does trump the Enzo in power and overall performance, it isn’t street legal anywhere.
Over a year ago Edo and Canadian exotic tuner shop ZR Auto got together to transform this Enzo into an unreal performer. ZR Auto, it should be noted, became famous infamous after owner Zahir Rana posted a viral video of himself driving at speeds of 300 km/h on Canadian roads in a mostly stock version of this same yellow Enzo. Rana later denied the high speed shenanigans, saying he had faked it all as a stunt to help promote his shop.
It’s not entirely clear if Edo built up the Enzo engine to match the FXX, or if the shop actually managed to finagle a powerplant out of Ferrari’s hands. Either way, the new engine boasts a displacement increase from 6.0 to 6.3-liters with a fully rebuilt top and bottom end. Full power comes on at an alarming 9600 rpm, with 575 ft-lbs of torque at 5800 rpm. Edo even claims that an additional 20hp is possible with the exhaust system removed – but then that wouldn’t make the car street legal, now would it?
Shift times are just 60 milliseconds, the same as in the FXX Evolutione. By comparison a Ferrari F1 car takes 40 ms to complete a shift.
Numerous weight-saving measures were also taken, dropping the overall curb weight of the car by 220 lbs. As a result of these modifications, Edo claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.2 seconds, with a 9.0 second run to 124 mph. The top speed is an estimated 242 mph!
In addition to all of these modifications, Edo also equipped the Enzo XX Evolution with a custom aerodynamic kit.
GALLERY: Edo Competition/ZR Auto Enzo XX Evolution
The last time the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro was spied, it was outside the car’s production facility in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. These latest spy shots come from the other side of the world.
GMInsideNews forum member isszy captured two photos of eight of the drop-top Camaros at a Holden facility in Fisherman’s Bend, Australia.
The Camaro Convertible was originally scheduled to debut as a 2010 model, but due to GM’s recent financial troubles the project was put on hold. Now that GM is out of bankruptcy, the economy appears headed for a rebound and the Camaro coupe is such a big success for the still-struggling automaker, the Camaro Convertible is back on track for a 2010 debut as a 2011 model.
GALLERY: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Spy Photos
'Clean Air Commitment' to offer up to $1,000 off a new Hyundai
In the absence of any real movement by the Canadian government to establish a cash-for-clunkers program like the one that is currently boosting auto sales in the U.S., Hyundai Canada has just announced its own incentive program to get older, less-environmentally responsible cars off the road and get you into a Hyundai.
Currently through the Canadian government’s Retire Your Ride program, those who scrap their car are offered “green” incentives like a public transit pass, a membership to a car sharing program or a $300 cash rebate on the purchase of a 2004 or newer vehicle. That’s hardly as enticing as the $4,500 (almost $5,000 CDN) the U.S. government has on the table to get people in to more fuel-efficient cars.
Hyundai’s Clean Air Commitment acts as a top-up to the Canadian government’s program, and offers an additional $500 to $1,000 of “Clean Air Cash” off any 1995 and older vehicle that is in running condition and has been registered and insured for the last six months.
“Hyundai is committed to clean air in Canada,” said Steve Kelleher, president and CEO, Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. “Our Clean Air Commitment is about our responsibility to deliver a harmonious balance between vehicles and the environment; it’s about clean air now and for the future. Reducing vehicle emissions has a direct impact on the air we breathe, so helping to remove older, more-polluting vehicles from the road just makes sense. It’s something we can do today to immediately impact our environment. We think that’s pretty smart.”
Currently Hyundai is committed to becoming an environmentally-responsible leader it he auto industry and has set a goal of reaching a fleet average of 35 mpg (6.7 liters per 100km) by 2015 – five years ahead of what will be required by upcoming U.S. and Canadian legislation. Hyundai also plans to bring a hybrid version of the upcoming next-generation Sonata to market using the company’s lithium polymer battery technology.
Official release after the jump:
Upgrades net 8% fuel-economy improvement on SH-AWD model
Acura has just released official info on the 2010 RDX luxury crossover with the biggest news being a new base model that comes standard with a front-wheel drive layout – unless if you live in Canada.
Previously only offered with Acura’s SH-AWD system, the new FWD RDX gets better fuel-economy and costs $2,000 less. A spokesperson from Acura Canada told AutoGuide that there just isn’t a market for a front-wheel drive model in this segment, which makes particular sense considering how suited the AWD model is to the Canadian climate.
But not to worry, you fuel-conscious Canadians. Acura Canada says the new RDX (in AWD trim) gets improved fuel-economy by as much as 8 percent. This was achieved through the use of higher fourth and fifth gears, better aerodynamics and an improved lock-up clutch. The new Transport Canada fuel-economy rating for the RDX is 11.7 L/100km city (20.1 mpg) and 8.7 L/100km highway (27 mpg), for a total combined average of 10.3 L/100 km (22.8 mpg), as compared to 11.1 L/100km (21.2 mpg) on last year’s model.
The 2010 RDX continues to be powered by Acura’s turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 240hp and 260 ft-lbs of torque.
Outside the RDX gets Acura’s new corporate “shield” front fascia, a near rear bumper with hexagonal exhaust pipes and redesigned 18-inch wheels. New standard equipment includes a backup camera an electronic compass and USB connectivity.
Official release after the jump:
The Canadian government is currently examining if it will pass a cash-for-clunkers bill that could see consumers get up to $3,500 (CDN) towards a new car when they trade in their older and less fuel-efficient model.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice said a decision on the matter will be made within the next 60 days, as the government continues to be pressured by automakers. The government has also received added pressure after U.S. President Barack Obama signed off on a similar program last month that would see U.S. consumers get as much as $4,500 (USD) towards a new car when they trade in an old one with poor fuel economy.
Automakers are pressuring the government to help out in an effort to boost auto sales. Vehicle sales in Canada, however, are not suffering to the same extent that they are in the U.S. According to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC), vehicle sales were down just 13.2 percent in June with year to date sales down 18.3 percent. Passenger vehicle sales were down 22.9 percent, while light duty truck sales were actually up 1.5 percent.
[Source: The Vancouver Sun]
Late Sunday a judge approved the sale of GM’s assets to a group comprised of the U.S. government, the UAW and the Canadian and Ontario governments under the name NGMCO, Inc. The decision will see GM exit bankruptcy court quickly with the ‘New GM’ assets going to NGMCO, while the ‘Old GM’ assets will be sold off to the highest bidder.
Judge Robert Gerber then placed a stay on the proceedings to for four days to hear objections or appeals, but as most of those have already been dealt with, GM is expected to reemerge as a new government-owner company by Thursday.
In a statement Judge Robert Gerber said that he would, “prevent the death of the patient on the operating table.”
Gerber pointed out the seriousness of the matter and the alternative, stating that, “The only alternative to an immediate sale is liquidation – a disastrous result for GM’s creditors, its employees, the suppliers who depend on GM for their own existence, and the communities in which GM operates.”
The New GM will be majority owned by the U.S. government with a 60 percent stake in the automaker. The UAW will get 17.5 percent, while the Canadian and Ontario governments will get 12 percent.
In response to the news GM’s CEO Fritz Henderson released a statement saying that, “A healthy domestic auto industry remains vital to the global economy and we deeply appreciate the support the U.S., Canadian and Ontario governments and taxpayers have given GM, and the sacrifices that have been made by so many. This has been an especially challenging period, and we’ve had to make very difficult decisions to address some of the issues that have plagued our business for decades. Now it’s our responsibility to fix this business and place the company on a clear path to success without delay.”
The Obama Administration’s auto task force has said that sale of GM back to the private sector could begin as early as next year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Mosport International Raceway Plays Host to Traveling Porsche Experience
Photos: Stew Lawson
For the first time ever the traveling sportscar (and SUV) experience that is the Porsche World Roadshow has made its way to Canada. Held at Mosport International Raceway, just outside Toronto, the former Formula 1 facility played host to the vast majority of Porsche’s fleet of cars, with activities both on and off the track.
The Porsche event will be in Canada for several weeks, offering current and prospective Porsche owners a chance to truly appreciate the capabilities of these amazing machines. But before the event was officially opened, Porsche Canada invited us to bang gears, hit apexes and even go off-roading, to experience just what a Porsche can do.
In total, we had the chance to get behind the wheel and experience a Boxster S, Cayman S, 911 Carrera S, 911 Targa 4S, Cayenne, Cayenne GTS, oh… and a 911 Turbo. Other vehicles on-hand included several Cayenne S models, a Cayenne Turbo and a GT2 (which was strictly reserved for instructors to give hot laps in).
OFF-ROADING IN CAYENNES
First up during the busy day of activities was an off-road course, which was a genuine eye-opener. In just a standard Cayenne I drove through ditches, clawed my way up steep hills and climbed treacherous inclines – even dropping off small cliffs and getting the luxury SUV’s wheels up in the air at times.
Possibly even more amazing is how relaxed such an off-roading adventure can be in a luxurious Porsche cabin that doesn’t creak or squeak. Even the engine seemed relaxed, thanks in part to the low-range gearing that can be selected, a setting that also tells the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) to give maximum range to the active front anti-roll bar, allowing the wheels a greater range of movement.
The only real sounds detectable from inside the cabin are the differentials locking and the traction control ticking and clicking away, giving you maximum grip to get up a dirt slope you never dreamed a Porsche could.
The Cayenne, our instructor informed us (and we experienced), is capable of tremendous off-road feats, even though very few drivers will ever need or want such back-country credentials. Greater off-road capability is possible, however the Cayenne, being a Porsche, needs to sit somewhere in the middle to ensure the best possible on-road performance as well.
Normally a Cayenne has 215mm (8.46-inches) of ground clearance, while selecting the High Level I will give 241mm (9.49-inches) of clearance for speeds below 50 mph. A special High Level II, which we used, stretches the maximum ground clearance to 271mm (10.67-inches) and stays that way for speeds below 19 mph.
In the High Level II setting the Cayenne has an approach angle on gradients of 31.8 degrees and a departure angle of 25.4 degrees, with a ramp breakover angle of 24.7 degrees – all of which we used to their full extent.
OUT ON THE GRAND PRIX RACE TRACK
And so with mud covered SUVs we headed back to the main tent and exchanged our Cayenne keys for a set of sportscar starters. In groups of two we followed instructors out onto the Mosport Grand Prix track (officially the third fastest race track in the world), where we had the chance to toss around a Cayman S, Cayenne GTS and two 911s (a Carrera S and Targa 4S).
I felt the most at home in the Carrera S with the Targa 4S a close second. Both cars kept me pushing the instructor harder in his Boxster S, with the roadster’s smaller and less powerful 310hp 3.4-liter engine no match for the 385hp 3.8-liter engine in the 911s – especially on the back straight.
Having never had the opportunity to track drive a Cayman, I wasn’t as blown-away as I expected to be. There was nothing wrong with the car, as it delivered a well-balanced and neutral experience. I think I can chalk up my experiential discrepancy to the fact that unlike a lot of folks I’ve always felt at home in a 911, despite its rear-engine layout.
The final vehicle was a 405hp Cayenne GTS, which was certainly a surprise. It handled fabulously for a big SUV and I had no problem hanging with the Cayman driver in front of me. Body lean was incredibly minimal and the brakes were equally as good.
BOXSTER AUTOCROSS, 911 TURBO BRAKE TEST
The final two events of the day involved the Boxster S on a large autocross track and a 911 Turbo, which we used for a braking exercise.
The Boxster really is a fabulous vehicle for autocross and when combined with Porsche’s PDK double-clutch transmission (which automatically upshifts, taking one element of difficulty out of the equation) is incredibly easy to drive hard. Even when the body does pitch and roll (as evidenced by the photography) it never felt that way inside the cabin.
As for the braking exercise, it’s arguably a waste of the 911 Turbo’s acceleration talents, however, it proved an excellent way to get a feel for the Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes (PCCBs).
We did also get a chance to try out the Turbo’s torque converter that allows the car to build boost while sitting still for better off-the-line performance. Just place your left foot on the brake, with your right foot on the gas and watch (and hear) the boost build on the dash gauge. Once you’re at a suitable level (0.8 bar or 11.6 psi in our instance) just release the brake and hold on.
HOT LAPS… AKA REVENGE
As the day drew to an end, there was one final event left. Referred to as “Hot Laps” a more accurate name would be “Revenge,” as the instructors took willing journalists out for a full-speed romp on the Mosport track.
Unfortunately, with the huge number of journalists in attendance it wasn’t possible to get a ride in every vehicle. We all drew straws for our “hot laps” and unfortunately I didn’t draw the GT2. Instead I got the Carrera 4S and Cayenne Turbo.
First up was a Carrera 4S, which rocketed around the track with precision and poise. Next was the Cayenne.
As both the Cayenne off-roading experience the Cayenne GTS track drive proved to be the most surprising events of the day, I decided it wouldn’t be wise to pass up a tour around the track in a Cayenne Turbo. Boy was I right… this was no Sunday drive.
Along with two other writers I went for the ride of my life as our 26-year-old instructor manhandled the Porsche SUV with frightening vigor. Throwing the big truck around with the fearlessness of youth on his side, it wasn’t until we reached turn 8 at the end of the back straight that things got really hairy. After shaving off some speed, he flicked the steering wheel and sent us into a completely sideways drift, all four tires screaming for their lives as we defied gravity and never even came close to rolling over. Knowing full well that we were moving at a good clip, I chanced a glimpse at the German-spec speedometer and sure enough it read 160 km/h (100 mph)!
Porsche needs to work this into its marketing materials for the event. “The Porsche World Roadshow: 100 MPH… Sideways!”
AN EASY SELL
As I mentioned earlier, this was the first time the Porsche World Roadshow was held in Canada, and it’s not likely to be the last time either. Every aspect of the experience leaves participants with a specific impression of just how capable a Porsche is.
It’s hard not to think how successful this sort of event must be for securing vehicle sales. Who wouldn’t want to take this experience home with them?
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GALLERY: Porsche World Roadshow
Dealerships to open in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver first
Eight years after the Scion brand was launched in the U.S., Toyota’s youth-oriented offshoot will open dealerships in Canada in 2010. With a dealership-within-a-dealership approach, Scions will be available at several Toyota stores in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Expansion to other urban centers (or “centres” as they say in Canada) is expected but not yet official.
Scion will enter the Canadian marketplace with all three of its vehicles, the tC sport coupe, the xD five-door hatchback and the cube-shaped xB five-door hatchback.
And of course, all Scion models in Canada will be available with numerous accessories and upgrades, from wheels to shift knobs and from stereo systems to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance parts.
“Scion is a unique brand, yet still a member of the Toyota family so it benefits from the same high standards as our Toyota and Lexus lines,” said Larry Hutchinson, Director of Toyota Canada Inc., commenting that in the U.S. 70 percent of Scion buyers are new to Toyota, and over fifty percent of Scion owners migrate to a Toyota vehicle as their needs and wants evolve.
For more information on Scion Canada visit: www.scionnation.ca
Official release after the jump: