Forget golf, try country club racing


Track days offer enthusiast drivers a chance to test the limits of their talent on local closed courses without shredding their licences. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) east of Toronto, for example, hosts more than two dozen a year for marques such as BMW, Porsche and Ferrari.

But tracks such as CTMP and Mont-Tremblant are old-school venues with limited access. Those who need more are embracing the automotive equivalent of the private golf and country club.

Private track clubs are nothing new in the United States, where enthusiasts ante up tens of thousands of dollars to join California’s Thermal Club or the Motorsport Ranch in Texas.

Country-club tracks that combine hot lapping with luxury amenities have been absent from Canada but two British Columbia projects are finally bringing the concept north.

A group of ex-racers that includes Formula One and IndyCar champion Jacques Villeneuve is behind Area 27, being developed in British Columbia’s South Okanagan.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Resort (VIMR) is being built in the Cowichan Valley by the island’s German Auto Import Group (GAIN).

Construction has begun on a course about 45 minutes north of Victoria, designed by Tilke Engineering, the German company responsible for most of the newer Formula One circuits. It’s scheduled to open next May.

Area 27, named for the racing number used by Villeneuve (who designed the five-kilometre course) and his legendary father, Gilles, will be located on Osoyoos Indian Band land. President Bill Drossos said once Ottawa approves its 99-year lease, former Players-GM series racer Trevor Seibert’s excavating company will break ground this fall, with driveable pavement in place by May.

Racer Richard Spenard – who coached Villeneuve, Patrick Carpentier and the late Greg Moore – will oversee driver training.

Details of club arrangements at VIMR were not available. GAIN principal Peter Trzewik turned down an interview request after his company cancelled recent plans to invite journalists to tour the project, citing a forest-fire threat.

The buy-in for Area 27 will be $30,000 for a charter family membership, plus $3,000 in annual dues, climbing to $40,000 once memberships, which are transferable, rise past 200.

Drossos said the club has sold about a third of its initial target of 300 memberships to fund construction.

The heavy financial hit has not scared off “regular people,” Drossos said. Members range from middle-class gearheads to wealthy entrepreneurs.

“We’ve got one guy who’s a mechanic at Canadian Tire, a senior tech,” he said.

Although Area 27’s website features images of Ferraris, Porsches and McLarens (a $105,000 corporate member), Drossos said the place is not about supercars.

“Most of the people that buy those cars buy them to [say] ‘Look at me, look what I have,’” he said. “We’ve got some older guys with vintage cars, like old Morgans, Austin-Healeys.

“There’s only really one common denominator, that’s a desire to want to drive their machine and find out more about themselves, to become a better driver and have a venue to use their car. Or bike; we’ve got a lot of motorcycle members, too.”

Membership has drawn from British Columbia and Alberta, with interest from Ontario and as far away as Mexico, including people who have Okanagan vacation homes.

“They’re looking at keeping a car out here and just fly in two or three times a year,” Drossos said.

If Area 27 has a model, it may be Virginia International Raceway (VIR), which opened in 1957 in the heyday of sports-car racing but closed in 1974. It was resurrected as a motorsport resort in 2000 and now has about 400 members. Initiation fees are $3,000 (U.S.), with $175 monthly dues.

VIR also hosts races and is a testing venue for auto makers, something Area 27 expects to be as well. And like VIR, Area 27 plans housing development on the property. You can buy or rent a villa at VIR or rent a suite right over the pit-lane garages.

“One thing, though,” said marketing director Mike Rose, “is you can’t sleep late.”

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What things to try to find when buying a used electric vehicle


Electronic cars constructed under 7,000 of Canada’s 1.9 trillion yearly fresh automobile sales a year ago, but older EVs significantly find their approach to the usedcar industry.

Info offered to World Driveby displays searches on its automobile-income site for battery-electrical automobiles increased within the last half a year from 0.05% to 0.09% of full searches. Listing opinions practically doubled to.23%.

That’s a decline inside the ocean over a website that gets eight-million sessions monthly, but its a certain upward trend. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Product S will be the mostly researched and shown.

But does buying a used EV change from stopping the tires on, declare, an additional-palm Honda Civic? What do you really need to test form normal points, body injury, important techniques including the motor and wheels, and making sure all-the tools and settings purpose?

There are always a number of elements, and equally advantages and disadvantages to picking employed over new.

In Ontario, Quebec or British Columbia, a fresh cross or EV purchase is qualified to receive 1000s of pounds in rewards and concessions, with all the maximum paid-for battery-electrics including the Leaf, Mitsubishi imiev, Toyota Heart or many Teslas. English Columbia’s Scrap-It system clothes up these spiffs if you’re eliminating an inside combustion-operated car off the trail. Ontario and Quebec offer concessions for investing in a residential speedy-recharge product.

None can be acquired for secondhand EVs, maybe from issue for incentivizing the identical car twice. Also the receiving-place discount isn’t accessible.

That’s an effect around the applied-EV industry, says Brian Murphy, vicepresident of article and investigation at Canadian Black Book, which trails EVs and plugin compounds tendencies.

“They aren’t retaining their price, that is actually what we predicted,” Murphy claims. “To a point, I’d declare it’s also planning slightly worse than what we expected.”

Industry seemingly have taken the provincial rewards from your decreased price of the EV, he claims. “If you obtain an $8,000 discount that decreases the [new] price and examine it for the applied value, the applied price is kind of web of the discount already.”

A fresh 2016 imiev, as an example, features a retail value of approximately $28,000 before concessions. Autotrader provides a minimal-distance employed 2016 in Quebec for $20,000, without concessions. Older designs range between $15,000 to $16,000.

Some extra decline could be because of those who don’t grasp the engineering. Others are looking forward to heightened designs including the new Chevrolet Bolt, using a said array of 380 kilometers. Murphy calls it agame-changer.

“Especially as [a] used-vehicle several decades later on, the Bolt will probably become more popular with the market than one-of its opponents that could have half the product range,” he claims.

But that decline also can produce a used EV a deal, accepting it’s mechanically sound.

As well as the escalating amount of freely accessible receiving areas is starting to allay array panic, suggests Michael Bettencourt, managing editor at, who recently dealt a Leaf to get a used Toyota Cmax plugin cross. It may produce older, quicker-selection EVs more desirable.

“All of the quick, that same specific Leaf can be far more sensible plus a many more beneficial to plenty of people,” Bettencourt says.

Array in a EV depends to the battery’s ability, which improves the next huge questionmark when getting applied: What condition could be the strength cell in?

A battery-EV is pretty straightforward, with less moving elements; basic electronic generator, one-rate sign no engine-seeking preservation.

The battery lithiumion battery-pack, the one largest part, is included in considerable longterm guarantees, frequently nine decades or 160,000 kilometers for substitute if demand ability drops below 70%.

The Leaf’s battery’s problem may be tested using a battery-ability measure around the right-side of the instrument group. Its guarantee kicks in if ability declines below seven cafes from 12 around the measure.

George Iny, of the Car Protection Association, suggests the Leaf retailers its lifetime asking record, including speedy fees that will hurt the battery. A wouldbe consumer can require a readout.

If purchasing applied, verify to find out when the guarantee is transferable. An alternative battery will surely cost upward of $5,000.

One method to hedge your gamble is always to acquire via an automobile maker’s qualified-pre-owned system, which typically supplies a limited warranty. Nissan, Mitsubishi and BMW, as an example, incorporate EV goods inside their plans.

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Buying used: For the first time I’m considering North American SUVs, Durango or Traverse?


Before my dad died, we used to argue about cars. He’d never buy a Japanese car and I’d never buy anything but. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m thinking about getting a North American SUV, and even more surprisingly to me, a Dodge. How does the Durango compare with the Chevy Traverse? – Andre, Calgary

Never say never. Reviewers say the Durango and the Traverse deliver quality and comfort.

But what about dependability? The Traverse finished fourth out of 20 mid-sized SUVs in J.D. Power’s annual (looking at owner’s complaints about 2013 vehicles after three years). It was behind four Japanese SUVs.

The Durango finished 18th – worst was the Nissan Pathfinder.

Others to look at, both foreign and domestic, include the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highlander.

2014 Dodge Durango SXT AWD


Third generation: 2011-present, update in 2014

Average price for base: $30,344 (Canadian Black Book)

Engine: 3.6-litre V-6 or 5.7-litre V-8

Transmission/drive: Eight-speed automatic/All-wheel drive

(litres/100 km): 13.9 city; 9.8 highway (V-6), regular gas

The 2014 Durango got racier looks in a facelift, but didn’t get any sportier on the road. But do you need sporty from a brawny family hauler that seats seven?

“The updated 2014 Durango is appealing for its bold styling and refined interior – however, the Durango doesn’t provide as much cargo room as most of its rivals, and its ride quality and handling aren’t quite up to snuff, either,” review site Edmunds said. “Well-regarded family crossovers like the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse, 2014 Mazda CX-9 and 2014 Toyota Highlander offer considerably more capacity, a smoother ride and more capable handling.”

There were two engines – the standard 290-horsepower V-6 and the optional 360-horsepower, 5.7-litre Hemi. Both beat rivals for towing – 3,265 kilograms for the V-8 and 2,812 for the V-6.

There were five models: SXT, Rallye, Limited, R/T and Citadel. The base SXT was $39,995 new.

The mid-range Limited – $43,995 new and an average $38,050 used – was plenty luxurious, with leather seats (heated in first and second row), park assist and a rear-backup camera.

Consumer Reports griped about “so-so” rear visibility and said it was larger than most mid-sized SUVs, “so it can be a bit of a handful to manoeuvre and park.”

It gave the 2014 Durango below-average used car reliability.

There were five recalls, including one for a glitch that could disable the front airbags.

2014 Chevrolet Traverse LS AWD

General Motors

Third generation: 2009-present, update in 2013

Average price for base: $24,746 (Canadian Black Book)

Engine: 3.6-litre V-6

Transmission/drive: Six-speed automatic/front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

(litres/100 km): 14.6 city; 10.2 highway (AWD), regular gas

Globe Drive called the 2014 Traverse, built on the same platform as the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, “a safe choice.”

“It’s been a winner for Chevy and is priced better than the fancier [Buick] Enclave,” . “In 2014, it got some more safety equipment like ‘Forward Collision Alert’ and ‘Lane Departure Warning.’”

Edmunds liked the Traverse’s “agreeable” ride, “cavernous” cargo capacity and its ability to seat up to eight. But it said the infotainment system could be finicky.

There were four trims: LS, LT1, LT2 and LTZ. The loaded LTZ – with standard safety systems and ventilated front seats – was $49,545 new and can be found for an average $36,466.

“GM’s recent attention to improving materials quality has helped the Traverse look and feel more premium than in previous years, especially the LTZ,” Edmunds said.

There’s only one engine – the 281-horsepower V-6 – but all trims come in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The AWD tows up to 2,268 kilograms – less than the Durango.

Edmunds recommended that anyone considering the Traverse also check out the Ford Flex, the “more athletic-handling and nearly as spacious Mazda CX-9,” and the smaller Hyundai Santa Fe.

“But with its handsome styling, enormous cabin and impressive day-to-day functionality, the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse more than holds its own in the current population of family-friendly crossovers.” Edmunds said.

Consumer Reports gave the 2014 Traverse better-than-average used car reliably. It went up to best of the best in 2015.

There were , including one to fix a gas gauge that showed more gas than was actually in the tank.

Trying to decide on a used car? Send your questions – placing “Buying Used” in the subject area – to .

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I may take the VW buyback, what similar used car should I get for the money?


My 2013 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI Highline edition is a great car, but considering what’s happening with the diesel scandal, I’m likely to consider the buyback option if it turns out to be reasonable. I’m considering used vehicles such as the Subaru Outback, BMW 328i xDrive wagon, or the Volvo V50 or XC70. – Dave

Don’t count your buyback until it’s hatched – the Dieselgate deal won’t be before the courts for approval until March.

But, if the deal happens, getting rid of your wagon – instead of getting the emissions problem fixed – is something to consider, says George Iny, president of the , a subscription-based watchdog.

“It gets expensive to keep running after 150,000 kilometres,” Iny said in an e-mail. “Transmission, fuel pump, other repairs.”

Under the , owners will get a cash payment and can either get the problem fixed, trade in their cars or get the buyback, with adjustments for options and mileage at the time of the actual offer.

When? That’s “TBD,” Volkswagen’s website said.

For a 2013 SportWagen, the proposed buyback range is $7,488 to $23,004 – plus a $5,500 cash payment.

That puts you in Subaru territory – unless you want to get an older car than you have now.

A 2015 Outback, the newest generation, is $24,959, on average. The is out there for around $20,000.

“Though most small SUVs have rear seats designed for jockeys, the Outback can carry two linebackers and their coach – as well as their shoulder pads and sackfuls of footballs,” Consumer Reports said of the 2015 Outback. “With its elegant blend of SUV- and car-like virtues, the Outback makes a strong argument for the return of the wagon to America’s driveways.”

The 328i xDrive costs $37,309 on average for a 2014 – the diesel is about $4,000 cheaper. There wasn’t one in 2013, so you’d have to go back to 2012 ($24,753).

Same for the XC70. Volvo didn’t sell the V50 after 2011.

“All the cars he’s looking at are interesting to drive and have their virtues – the Volvo and BMW will and should really be purchased with extended warranties,” Iny said. “The Subaru is bland, but likely the cheapest to run.”

2012 BMW 328i xDrive Touring wagon


Fifth generation: 2004-2012

Average price for base: $24,753 (Canadian Black Book)

Engine: 3.0-litre inline-6

Transmission/Drive: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic/All-wheel drive

(litres/100 km): 13.4 city; 9.3 highway (automatic), premium gas

BMW introduced a brand-new sixth generation 3-Series sedan in 2012 – but the wagon stayed the same. But the same was still better than most, reviewers said.

“No other entry-level luxury model can match the Bimmer’s exquisite combination of athletic handling and premium ride comfort,” Edmunds said.

It also liked the “smooth and powerful” engines and upscale cabin. It griped about limited interior storage space, limited rear headroom and pricey options.

Consumer Reports gave the entire 2012 3-Series lineup below average used car reliability, an improvement over its lowest rating – the worst of the worst – in 2011.

You may have trouble finding one – when we checked, there were only two on Auto Trader for all of Ontario.

There were for the 2012 3-Series. It’s part of the recall of potentially explosive Takata airbags.

2012 Volvo XC70 3.2 4D AWD


Third generation: 2007-2016

Average price for base: $28,485 (Canadian Black Book)

Engine: 3.2-litre inline-6

Transmission/Drive: six-speed automatic/All-wheel drive

(litres/100 km): 13.1 city; 9.7 highway, regular gas

By 2012, they weren’t making ’em like the XC70 any more. Instead, crossovers offered more space and better fuel economy.

“The Volvo XC70 hasn’t developed much beyond its wagon heritage, and countless appealing crossover vehicles have hit the market since the XC was introduced just before the millennium,” Edmunds said. “But the Volvo does excel in some areas like safety and capability, and sometimes those are the key selling points to buyers with active lifestyles.”

XC stood for cross country – and it started as a beefed up V70 (Volvo stopped selling the V70 after 2010). There was also the T6, a 3.0-litre turbo version.

Edmunds liked the “exceptional” seat comfort, safety features including standard City Safety collision avoidance and the cargo capacity. It didn’t like the unimpressive handling, “so-so” fuel economy and the 40.5-metre braking distance.

Consumer Reports gave the 2012 XC70 average used car reliability.

There was to fix a loose wire harness that could deactivate either front airbag.

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Automobiles for if the ideal travels at under $10,000


Idrive a BMW Z4 but it’s not sensible for winter. Plus, I’d want to retain it looking great. Therefore I was hoping to get just a little winter beater. I don’t desire an Truck, but I’d like all-wheel-travel and I’d want it to expense $10,000 or less. Folks keep showing me to acquire a Subaru. – Eli, Ottawa

In case you opt to keep it to beater this winter, preserve it straightforward.

“The best beater can be an old Corolla with four snow wheels,” mentioned Mark Toljagic, an automotive writer. “Or a.”

The Character as well as the Matrix, its Toyota uncle, emerged in a all-wheel-travel model.

And Subaru? Toljagic said he’s never held one, but he’s not just a supporter. Repairs could get costly.

“The previous people consume their head gaskets as well as the fresh kinds burn fat in great amounts,” he explained. “And restoring the flatfour pancake motor is labour-intensive.”

In case you don’t desire to examine older tiny SUVs, just like the RAV4, then that leaves the Honda Suit, Hyundai Elantra Touring and Kia Rio5 – allaround 2010 or before. Nevertheless, you don’t get AWD.

Two different beater bets with AWD? The Suzuki SX4 and, yes, a Subaru.

2010 Suzuki SX4 JX hatchback AWD

  • First-generation: 2007-2013, renew this season
  • Normal cost: $7,863 (Canadian Dark Book)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre, inline-four-tube, DOHC
  • Sign/Travel: six-speed information, continually-variable transmission/ all-wheel drive
  • (litres/100 km): 10.6 city; 7.9 road (manual), 10.2 city; 8.2 road (CVT)

Could be the SX4 hatchback a subcompact or even a crossover? Well, yes.

“Dimensionally, the 2010 SX4 Hatchback is best to Honda’s Suit, nevertheless it’s charged nearer to the Subaru Impreza and Toyota Matrix,” this season. “These two will be the best opponents in character for the SX4 five-doorway, as a result of their functional hatchback figures and accessible all-wheel drive.”

Suzuki supplied the SX4 – bought in Europe because the Fiat Sedici (the state automobile of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin) – being a hatchback and car. In 2010, it got a fresh, slightly peppier, motor and new signals.

Assessment website Edmunds loved the lower-expense AWD process and “airy” cottage. It wasn’t thrilled with all the difficult driving situation, “so-thus cottage components,” plus a tiny gas-tank inside the AWD model.

Top-wheel drive is normal. AWD is recommended around the middle JX cut and standard at the top-of-the-range JXL.

Consumer Reviews loved the awareness, nimble handling, straight-forward settings, “excellent” braking and usefulness. It reported a few hard journey, a raucous cottage and “slightly increased but nevertheless unimpressive fuel economy.

The publication didn’t offer consistency scores for your 2010 SX4 – in its 2010 assessment, it mentioned consistency continues to be above average.

It’s a tiny taste, but you can find no problems about consistency in 15 threads by entrepreneurs at Edmunds.

There have been for your 2010 SX4, including treatments to your driver’s side-door ticket with all the improper tire size.

2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i wagon

  • Third-generation: 2007-2011
  • Normal cost: $9,791 (Canadian Dark Book)
  • Engine: 2.5-litre four-tube
  • Sign/Travel: five-speed information, four-speed automated/all-wheel drive
  • (litres/100 km): 10.6 city; 7.9 road (manual), 10.2 city; 8.2 road (CVT)

The bottom Impreza isn’t as quick because the WRX and, nonetheless it impresses in regards to reality.

“There’s nothing quite interesting about this, but it’s an amazing experience, is nice and sensible inside, has enough gear to preserve you relaxed and entertained, and effectiveness which will meet a strenuous driver,” this season. “However, I’d select the betterlooking and functional hatchback, that is pricier.”

Just like the SX4, the 2.5i comes as both car and hatchback.

“In base 2.5i kind, it plays with lightweight automobiles just like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf,” Edmunds stated. “Though much less gasoline-successful as these designs, its standard all-wheel-travel method pieces it aside for many who live-in locations where water and ideal certainly are a means of life.”

Edmunds loved the AWD and large sitting. It didn’t just like the “outdated” four-speed automatic sign, “below-average” energy economy and “notably poor” sound-quality from your music.

Consumer Reviews provides 2010 Impreza average used-car consistency, up from its toughest ranking last year.

At Edmunds, you can find seller issues about burning fat.

There have been to check and resolve a prospective brake line flow due to rust.

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Challenge of the tedious applied SUVs at under $30,000: Highlander vs. Pilot


2013 Toyota Highlander or 2013 Honda Pilot? They look related – does one have a benefit on the different? My partner and that I care for our four grandchildren while our girl and her partner have reached work and we truly need the excess line. We wish all-wheel-drive for winter. I’m spending with income and would like never to spend far more than $30,000. My partner want anything less tedious, such as a Lexus RX, but it’s very costly and contains no added line. – Akram, Ottawa

Was the 2013 Highlander dreary? Well, when Toyota was advertising its substitute in 2014, it’d the Muppets shout that it “.”

Thus, yep, the 2013 Pilot and Highlander were just a little dreary – but sensible. They caught around so-long to get a purpose.

Consumer Reviews and mentioned the Toyota beat the Toyota when it stumbled on usedcar consistency. For 2013, the Highlander was a lot better than many as well as the Pilot was about common total, in accordance with J.D. Power’s stability review.

The Nissan Pathfinder as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe XL, equally allnew for 2013, were also less trustworthy.

Additional options: The Buick Enclave,, GMC Acadia, Toyota Contract and Mazda CX9.

2013 Toyota Highlander AWD bottom


Second-generation: 2008-2013, renew this season

Normal value for base: ,409 (Canadian Black Book)

Engine: 3.5-litre V-6

Transmission/Drive: six-speed automated/ all-wheel-drive

(litres/100 km): 14.2 city; 10.3 road

In case your relatives and buddies are underwhelmed by your large, sensible Highlander, wow them having its Foreign and Western brand – the Toyota Kluger. If that doesn’t function, inform them Customer Reviews provides Camry-based Truck its best ranking for usedcar consistency.

The Highlander has “long been a fantastic selection, a touch roomier and less expensive than its Lexus RX sister,” the publication stated. “Quiet, large, and relaxing to operate a vehicle, the Highlander has generally had a clean powertrain, relaxed journey, and easyto-use controls.”

There is likewise a 2.7-litre four-cylinder motor, top-wheel-drive model (having an average applied value of $25,509) plus a V6 Cross with CVT ($32,264).

There have been two cuts for 2013: bottom and Minimal, and also a leather package plus a hobby package. The AWD V6 comes standard with backup camera plus a power tailgate.

For your swanky Minimal, you will need to consider 2012, or earlier, to have it at under $30,000.

“While the Highlander’s third-row is less huge than that of some competitors, it’s easy-to attain as a result of a 40/20/40-split-second line using a removable middle couch that encourages walkthrough accessibility,” Edmunds stated.

If you’re trying to find more area, Edmunds advised GM’s group of crossovers.

By 2013, the Highlander was acquiring long inside the enamel – and was boxy in comparison to newer competitors.

“But for a lot of buyers, the Highlander’s usefulness and helpful personality ensure it is a great selection,” Edmunds stated.

In Europe, there is anyone to resolve second-row chairs that could not strongly secure inside their paths.

2013 Honda Pilot LX 4WD


Second-generation: 2009-2015, renew in 2012

Normal value for base: ,069 (Canadian Black Book)

Engine: 3.5-litre V-6

Transmission/Drive: six-speed automated/ all-wheel-drive

(litres/100 km): 13.8 city; 9.7 road

While Toyota released the next creation of its preferred-but-bland Pilot in ’09, it had been greater, greater – and uglier.

A 2012 renovation served, but it’s nonetheless huge and boxy – which has rewards.

“The crossover’s boxy sheetmetal isn’t more likely to set several (or any) hearts aflame, nevertheless the high-roof range means backseaters have a lot of headroom,” Edmunds stated. “Short of the minivan, there aren’t several energy vehicles that will simply take the maximum amount of shipment and folks because the 2013 Pilot.”

Consumer Reviews mentioned the 2013 Pilot had common usedcar consistency.

“The inside isn’t too done as these in a few opponents, and braking and handling aren’t great,” the publication stated.

The Pilot has four cuts – the bottom LX (which can be chosen in fount-wheel-drive), EX, EXL and Touring.

The LX features a rear-watch camera. For leather and hot seats, you’ll need-to go-to EXL ($32,360).

In the long run, it may come-down from what you want best – if you prefer Hondas, you’ll likely just like the Pilot.

“One need look no longer than for the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe or 2013 Nissan Pathfinder to get significantly more inviting inside therapies,” Edmunds stated. “Overall, however, the powerful mixture of energy and performance – and undoubtedly Honda’s topnotch stability popularity – essentially desire that consumers take a peek at exactly what the 2013 Honda Pilot delivers for the party.”

There is anyone to resolve the driver’s airbag address.

Buying used: Three-row SUVs for less than $30,000


I’m looking for a three-row SUV with as much space as possible, but nothing too large – like a Yukon Denali or Cadillac Escalade. My budget is $30,000 and my wish list includes navigation, leather and a vehicle with less than 50,000 kilometres on it. The Honda Pilot is the current front-runner, but I’m unimpressed by its interior. – Jay

You don’t need a studio-apartment sized SUV to get a third row – there are newfangled family wagons that let you haul around your kids’ brownie troupe while still giving you room in the garage for the snowblower.

Hyundai’s Santa Fe XL and Nissan’s Pathfinder are both more wagon than SUV, but they still have plenty of room – the Santa Fe will fit a .

Out of the 20 medium-sized SUVs on J.D. Power’s 2016 reliability study – the 2013 Pathfinder was at the bottom of the list and the 2013 Santa Fe was 17th, with average reported reliability on everything but interior fit and finish.

The , Chevy Traverse, and Mazda CX-9 did better. So did the Highlander, but the average price for the 2014, the first year of its latest version, is more than $40,000 with navigation and leather. The 2013 comes in at more than $34,000.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum


Fourth generation: 2013-present, refresh for 2017

Average price: $$25,659 (Canadian Black Book)

Transmission/drive: CVT/ all-wheel drive

Engine: 3.5-litre V-6

(litres/100 km): 12.2 city, 9.4 highway

For 2013, the Pathfinder switched paths and turned from a rugged truck-based SUV to a staid, practical car-based crossover.

“The original Pathfinder was a Woolly Mammoth in comparison to this 2013 Pathfinder; it seems that unrefined, primitive, unevolved,” Globe Drive . “This latest Pathfinder is just woolly – friendly and useful and comfortable and comforting. It is also massive (seating for seven) yet drives like a sedan and boasts 2,268-kilogram standard towing.”

But the journey to family wagon was a little bumpy. Online, some owners complain of shuddering and transmission troubles. And, Consumer Reports gives the 2013 and 2014 Pathfinder its lowest rating for predicted used car reliability. It called those years the worst of the worst on its list of used cars to avoid. By 2015, used car reliability had risen to below average and it was off the don’t buy list.

Still, it was comfortable inside, had controls that made sense and was roomy.

The EZ-Flex seats slid forward quickly to let your favourite aunt into the snug third row. Its looks were nondescript – , Nissan rejigged the front end to make it look more rugged – and it wasn’t a knockout on the road.

“Handling is disappointing – the Pathfinder lumbers through corners like a large truck,” Consumer Reports said. “Overall, this new model manages to be competent enough but uninspiring.”

It came in the base S, which has front-wheel drive, keyless entry and three-zone automatic climate control, SL, SV and Platinum. SL has leather but no navigation. Platinum has both.

There were in Canada, including one to fix a transmission oil cooler hose that could detach.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL Luxury


Third generation: 2013-present, refresh for 2017

Average price: $27,838 (Canadian Black Book)

Transmission/drive: six-speed automatic/all-wheel drive

Engine: 3.3-litre V-6

(litres/100 km): 13.0 city, 9.5 highway

Hyundai’s 2013 Santa Fe XL was an underdog in sales – the Pathfinder beat it 2:1. But it matched the Nissan for room and style – and had a better gearbox.

“Nissan’s [CVT] is good for what it is – and it’s helpful for fuel efficiency – but the feel is more like a lawnmower or a snowmobile, not a car,” Globe Drive . “The six-speed autobox in the Santa Fe is modern, with nicely timed and managed shifts.”

Compared to the Santa Fe Sport, the XL is longer overall and has a longer wheelbase.

“The seven-passenger version of the Santa Fe is one of the most pleasant and well-rounded three-row SUVs on the market,” Consumer Reports said. “It’s stylish, functional, and easy to live with.”

But, it was tough to climb into the cramped third row, the magazine said.

The base XL comes with front-wheel drive – higher trims get AWD. Luxury gives you leather and navigation.

“As a leisurely commuter and kid shuttle, the ride is luxuriously compliant and the cabin remains whisper-quiet, even at highway speeds,” Edmunds said. “There are a couple demerits, however. The steering has a tendency to wander on the highway, and rear visibility is poor due to the Santa Fe’s thick rear roof pillars.”

Consumer Reports gives the 2013 XL a below average score for predicted used car reliability – but that rises to average for 2014 and above average for 2015.

There were no recalls for the 2013 Santa Fe XL.

Trying to decide on a used car? Send us your questions at

Buying used: Small luxury SUVs for less than $30,000


I’m looking for a smaller luxury SUV and I’ve been looking at a 2012 Acura RDX. I don’t like the looks of the newer one that came out in 2013 and the MDX is too big. What’s another reliable option? (with all-wheel drive), I want to keep it under $30,000. Also, any idea what all the letters stand for in these names? – Jianxing, Calgary

Leather seats are nice and all, but sometimes the biggest creature comfort in a relatively pricey SUV is its ability to stay out of the shop.

In J.D. Power’s 2015 , the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK came in first and the 2012 Acura RDX came in second among compact premium SUVs.

And, when new, Consumer Reports picked both as good bets, although it gave each average predicted used car reliability for 2012.

Alternatives? The , Lexus RX350, Infiniti EX and Volvo XC60. The Audi and BMW were in the middle of the pack on the J.D. Power list. The XC60 was at the bottom.

And the names? While RDX doesn’t stand for any specific words (Road-Driving Xylophone?), GLK stands for Geländewagen Luxus Kompaktklasse, which Google translates to “SUV luxury compact class.”

For 2017, the GLC replaced the GLK (combining the GL with the C-class).

2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC


First generation: 2010-2016, refresh in 2013

Average price for base: $28,846 (Canadian Black Book)

Base engine: 3.5-litre V-6

Transmission/Drive: seven-speed automatic/ all-wheel drive

(litres/100 km): 14.6 city; 11 highway; premium gas

The lowest-priced Mercedes SUV didn’t feel cheap.

“The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 is the second-cheapest Mercedes you can buy in this country, and yet you’d never guess it by the way it looks, feels and drives,” Edmunds said. “Close the GLK’s doors and the metallic thump is reminiscent of closing a bank vault – all that’s missing is that spinning wheel thing.”

But, with a smaller back seat and less cargo room than competitors like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60, the compact GLK “may be a little too compact for some.”

Edmunds liked the solid feel, sophisticated ride, “impeccably crafted cabin” and ample safety features. Besides the tight space, Edmunds also griped about the small rear doors and “middling fuel economy.”

Consumer Reports said the wide doorsills impede access. And, while “the controls are better than in many Mercedes-Benzes, some still aren’t exactly logical.”

Until 2013, a rear-wheel drive version was also available. Adding options could get pricey.

The 2013 added an optional diesel engine, a new front end and new dash – the average used price for the 2013 gas version is $32,255. The BlueTec diesel is $35,418.

The 2012 GLK was part of the to replace potentially-explosive Takata , even though there have been no reported incidents in Canada.

2012 Acura RDX base


First generation: 2007-2012

Average price for base: $21,509 (Canadian Black Book)

Base engine: 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission/Drive: five-speed automatic/all-wheel drive

(litres/100 km): 13.2 city; 10.3 highway; premium gas

In a pack of other luxury SUVs with alphabet-based names, the 2012 RDX stood out because of its price tag.

“The Acura RDX’s price undercuts its similarly equipped rivals by thousands of dollars,” Edmunds said. “But when it comes down to it, the RDX isn’t the most appealing model out there – in terms of high-end luxury or safety features, competitors like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Volvo XC60 outclass the RDX.”

Still, Edmunds said the CR-V-based RDX had sporty handling, “accelerates with surprising authority” despite four cylinders, and was, generally, well-equipped, with features like heated seats and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The bad? It had a firm ride and lacked “a certain premium look and feel.” And while the technology package added navigation and a back-up camera, the 2012 RDX didn’t offer premium features like Bluetooth audio streaming, keyless entry and a power lift gate.

The next year, it was replaced with a with a V-6 – the average used price for the 2013 is $27,055.

Consumer Reports said the navigation system’s dashboard controller “is more awkward to use than a touch-screen interface would be.”

The 2012 RDX was part of the Takata airbag .

We wish a protected, fuel-efficient Truck at under $20,000, what must we get?


We’ve a 2006 Mercedes Bclass but desire an Truck or crossover that’s newer and household-friendly (two youngsters) –. Protection, energy efficiency and price will be the most critical concerns and we should devote significantly less than $20,000 and could obtain employed. We’re bending toward an National model to diminish maintenance charges, and also have looked at the Chevy Equinox and GMC Ground. I also just like the Ford Escape. – Jacquie

Richardson: First, let’s dismiss the belief that National models are cheaper to keep up than Japanese or American. The actual expense of preservation is more about consistency as well as the original benefit of the car, not its resource. A “premium” automobile including the Bclass will surely cost more to keep up as the supplier frequently contributes added assistance, like a loaner vehicle during an oilchange, and also this has to be paid-for whether it’s used or not.

Leeder: a fantastic sanity-check to find out in case your belly suits fact in regards to automobile model quality assumptions is J.D. Strength, which writes free online automobile scores, investigation and studies (Consumer Studies can be an excellent source, but you’ll desire a registration to get into its best information). Along with your budget, you’re probably planning to desire to examine 2013 designs and newer. Apparently, J.D. Power placed the 2013 Equinox as clothes in-vehicle quality and stability, before Toyota’s FJ Cruiser, the Honda CRV and Toyota’s RAV4.


Richardson: The 2013 Equinox features a better V6 motor compared to the 2012, with all the same gasoline intake, and you’ll desire that motor on the underpowered four-tube if you’re consistently holding three or four persons. In addition, it features a moving rear-seat for more household-friendly area. Nevertheless, the similarly-priced Ford Escape was totally fresh for 2013 plus a greater allaround car compared to the Equinox – as pleasing to operate a vehicle and employs less gasoline. Don’t work with the fourwheel-travel types in the event you live-in town.


Leeder: Among writers, the 2013 Escape got prime points for the driving character on the RAV4 (which experienced underpowered) as well as the CRV (a lot better than RAV4, but nevertheless with a lack of oomph at some details). That’s worth knowing if you’re the kind of one who values the experience of the journey. In writing, the Equinox loads up. What I can’t see through is its previous nickname: the “Squeak-winox.” a pal who used-to work with the range building Equinoxes once said that’s what it had been described in GM’s seed. Understanding that alone could deliver me up to Toyota.

Richardson: Jacquie says the GMC Ground, that is quite similar because the Equinox but frequently features a extra material. There ought to be an improved package can be found with-it – much more Truck to your income. Nevertheless, the Dodge Quest was substantially redesigned in 2013 and it is an improved car compared to the first-generation. Don’t assume any enjoyment and it’s somewhat thirsty, but is trustworthy, properly-furnished and relaxed, and close to the amount of money for your simple product. Your investment slow four-tube although – don’t also consider it except it’s the V6.


Leeder: Inappropriate, wrong, wrong. Don’t spend your own time with all the Quest. It’s ugly and boring. Blah. Try out the Escape, that is peppy and contains an excellent infotainment program. Then-head down the street to GM and consider the Ground to get a spin, that is edgy in terms of this group moves. Though you’re from the trail, try to find folks operating Travels. Examine their people. Are they bored? Are they unhappy? Both? Yes, I thought so. Choose Toyota or GM with this one.

Having problems choosing what automobile is the better fit-for you? E mail, setting “What Car” inside the issue area.

I would like a-car using a hot tyre at under $17,000, what can I obtain?


After 17 years, my beloved old Saturn is all about to quit. I don’t desire a tough automobile, but want the one that is larger off the bottom therefore it is simpler to be in and out, as my partner and that I are seniors. Protection is paramount; I would like integrated GPS, cruisecontrol, hot mirrors, hot tyre, automated sign, respectable fuel consumption plus a reasonable soundsystem. Our budget is $17,000. Any ideas? – Barb

Richardson: You’re considering a crossover or Truck for the bigger stepin top, and for $17,000 allin, you’re considering a five-yearold used-car, nevertheless, you will get a fair automobile for that, like the alternatives you’re trying to find. Your greatest obstacle could be the hot tyre – it had been a fresh point five years back. Just the topend cuts frequently involved it, and it’ll be challenging to get one. The sole exception I – can consider could be the simple 2013 Dodge Quest, but that’s too-large a car. Hyundai and Toyota were one of the primary to find out the lighting with this, thus if it’s a dealbreaker, you ought to focus on larger-distance Santa Fes and Rondos.

Leeder: That hot tyre – bless the innovation, for your document – will probably be described as a large purchase as of this pricepoint. Thus possibly Barb need to get some good great gloves for your winter. And she must look into a 2013 or 2014 Buick Encore. This five-fit crossover is Buick’s reply to empty nesters trying to downsize. The 2013 product acquired J.D. Power’s top stability prize and when Barb’s blessed, she’ll locate the one that checks the majority of the bins on her behalf wishlist (sans hot tyre, I’m frightened). If she’s a sharp negotiator, it’ll be close to budget.


Richardson: The Encore is really a great car – Buick’s hottest automobile in United States as well as for justification. I’m likely to trust you Jessica – disasters! – and simply your investment hot wheel. If it’s important, you can find replacement heated tyre handles, but hot gloves could have less sloppy wiring and so are more functional. Only Google them online for critiques, but don’t permit a complete automobile be inspired by one tiny point. For the time being, the top bargains will soon be identified with 2012 Honda CR Vs and Toyota RAV4s. They’re trusted, protected, properly-furnished because year with Wireless and GPS, and there are always a thousand forsale since they’re so common. Meaning there’s often a great deal can be found.


Leeder: The CRV as well as the RAV4 are equally excellent ideas. Around the inside, nevertheless, I see them equally somewhat uninspired. Neither will probably experience elegant. While Barb isn’t getting new, my gamble is she’ll feel the Encore offers more of the ‘new car’ experience. It’s more polished inside. But there aren’t almost as much in the marketplace, thus if Barb sees one and wants it, she’ll must react rapidly.


Richardson: 2013 was the initial year for your Encore – there’s previously a redesigned model for 2017, nevertheless the ergonomics are unaffected. Barb could get sit-in a fresh one in a dealer and experience in the event the “fit” is prior to searching for a used one. But don’t bother, Barb. Only go-to any Toyota or Toyota dealer and get what $17,000 RAV4s and CR Vs are around the lot. There’ll likely be five or six, and when you want one, you should buy it that sameday without worries.

Leeder: it is possible to push to Canadian Tire while you’re out and get a good couple of hot gloves.

Having problems choosing what new-car is the better fit-for you? E mail, setting “What Car” inside the issue area.