Like everyone in the city with a camera, I have made a short film about the smoke from the fires in the north of the province that covered Edmonton on May 30th. Enjoy!
It certainly made for a surreal look to the city, with everything being quite yellow-tinted and dark, and the air quality was… as good as it looks. I swear, you walk around outside for a minute and you could taste it for hours afterward.
You can see the reasoning behind the adoption of midsize utes, especially ‘round these parts, what with our magnificent potholes (a lot of people don’t know this, but Alberta’s provincial flower is actually a pothole) and also my city’s latest safety innovation – giant speed bumps that’ll rip a low slung car to shreds at speeds over 10km/h
There is also the height advantage over traditional sedan-style vehicles; which makes for better sightlines looking out from the driver’s seat, but also allows for easier entry and exit from the vehicle. If you’re like me, you know a lot of older people, and the one thing they point out in any car I show them is that squat/crouching into a low door becomes increasingly uncomfortable with age.
Even I increasingly notice this as well, despite being a fresh-faced cherub whose limbo skills are still topnotch, and I dislike having to grab the pillars and hoist myself out of a car like I was mounting a pommel horse.
Anyway, that’s not the big picture here, let me run it down:
For 2019 the Cherokee gets a new engine choice in its lineup – a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder that delivers pretty spectacular performance with a max 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque – combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission. There are two other engines available for the Cherokee lineup (2.4L and a 3.2L six-cylinder).
I’ll vouch for the 2.0L in my test vehicle, it gets the Cherokee off the line quickly and remains ready for sudden bursts of acceleration even at highway speeds; but also brings unexpected fuel economy.
The company states a NRCan rating of 9.8L/100 km for the engine – which is really good for any 4×4 vehicle, and I got slightly better than that from the one I drove (mind you, for the most part it was just me in the Cherokee, without any sort of load and not towing anything, so expect it to go up if you regularly transport the up-to-five people the vehicle’s seating is configured for).
Speaking of seating, the Cherokee used here was a North 4×4 trim, which got fabric upholstered seats throughout. Black-on-black styling made for a pretty dark interior, but all the surfaces feel good and the seats in both rows are comfortable and acceptably roomy.
From the driver’s position, you get fairly good all round visibility, helped out by the backup camera, but this one lacked a few features I would have liked to see, especially at the pricepoint of this one; most notably a rear cross-traffic sensor.
I didn’t mind the Cherokee experience, overall, the overall footprint of it is comparable enough to an average sedan, so daily driving and maneuvering isn’t as clumsy as a truck or full-size utility vehicle.
The ride is very good, and stays smooth on all road surfaces (and, it handles those speed bumps I mentioned earlier with ease). There is an engine start/stop function that helps bolster fuel economy, especially in city driving.
The exterior appearance has improved for 2019 (especially the headlamps – this looks way better than those slitty little lights on the previous generation).
A list of things I didn’t care for in my North 4×4 test vehicle would include:
It didn’t have heads-up display. There was a big digital speed readout that could be displayed on the cluster, though, so maybe that isn’t a big deal for most people, but I like my HUDs.
The information touchscreen on the center console is by today’s standards, small. The rear seats don’t fold fully flat when put forward, so the cargo floor is uneven. The power rear door doesn’t have a button to close it on the door itself, so you have to use either the keyfob or the button on the dash.
Finally, this may be a difficult car for a buyer to spec out – I’ve included the sheet that came with this one here, so you can check out the list of options (and if you want further puzzles, check out the company website for a list of the options/powertrains/trim levels).
This one here though, a 2019 “North” trim 4×4 with the turbo 2.0L and three of the option groups, came to $44,115
(In case you are wondering why I wouldn’t buy one, it is because my favorite is the ‘real’ one: the three-door Cooper. That thing is my jam, man. Oh, and also the price, but I’ll save that ‘til the end, to build suspense).
I tell you, though, the 2019 Countryman, in this case all dressed up in the John Cooper Works package, is the one that works the best for where I live – a magical kingdom where the potholes rule the road, and periodically a wicked ‘polar vortex’ weather pattern moves through; as happened during my time with the test car.
Right off the bat, I’ll give it full marks for its cold-start cooperativity, and for having heated seats and steering wheel, as I experienced the Countryman during a record-setting time in February, (where we set a new benchmark for most days with temps below -20C, apparently).
My Countryman was equipped with a pricey John Cooper Works package, not unlike the last time I got up close with the largest of the MINI fam, and the overall experience in my time in this one was much the same.
The season, though, was different, and so my impressions were more focussed on the all-wheel drive and selectable traction control modes than in the Countryman’s power or dynamic handling (which are both pretty decent in the compact utility vehicle class – my tester boasted a potential 228 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque – and will bring you ample acceleration in more ideal road conditions).
It dealt with the snow very well (but if we’re being honest, I won’t it overshadowed any of the other AWD utility vehicles I have driven in slippery/drifty conditions, it just did the job and stayed under control at all times and of course never got stuck).
A 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts out the power; and delivered fuel economy that, while not hybrid calibre, stayed pretty acceptable by my estimation – I ended up averaging 9.8L/100km, and that’s in winter conditions and deep cold. Also I didn’t put the vehicle in Sport mode very often. JCW brings the action to halt when necessary with big Brembo brakes that could frankly be described as “grabby”. I know the vehicle is intended for performance situations, but I’ll warn you in advance if you’re planning a test drive in a JCW Countryman, braking comes on hard and enthusiastically when you hit the pedal.
Inside the JCW Countryman, the familiar circular motif of the MINI brand continues, with all the gauges, controls and displays framed in round, or at least rounded shapes. All the instruments are easy to read and understand, the switchgear looks quite arty, and most functions run through a centralized knob-and-buttons controller on the console.
An advantage of the Countryman line is that the rear seats are also pretty accommodating for passengers – they had more head and leg room than I expected, and more configurable because they could both slide forward and back, and also recline.
So overall, the Countryman sells itself as a thoroughly practical choice for everyday driving, and is a capable, multipurpose crossover that can handle a wider variety of conditions than my beloved three-door Cooper. Being in the ‘premium’ class of the segment, it brings a higher level of quality and design (and materials) over what you would find in some of the more down-to-earth competitors (like Mazda’s CX-3 for example), but here’s the thing: that all comes with a premium sticker price.
While the ALL4 lineup starts at a not-bad entry point of $31,090 (according to the company’s product guide) this one here, being the extra-tony Midnight Black Edition pushed that up to $39,790, and then with the John Cooper Works Package added (JCW option is another $7,200) and the freight and PDI charges tacked on, we are suddenly looking at a total cost of $49,635
We get a lot of rabbits around here, kind of in cycles that occur every couple of years or so.
I’ve always thought they were pretty neat, and ridiculously cute as babies (which, I just learned the other day, are called kittens. Weird, right?) and this leads me into another long tale of ‘how I met my neighbours’. Check this out:
So I am sitting around my palatial mansion last Friday; because my life is such a laugh-a-minute thrill ride, and I decide to go outside for a cigarette.
(The palatial mansion is a non-smoking building, you see).
Anyway, I go out back into the alley and right away notice that a couple of neighbours are out on their balcony, yelling at something. They spot me and start yelling down, and I’m all “Sup?”
They tell me that a couple of magpies have gotten ahold of a baby rabbit (or ‘kitten’, as we have learned) in the yard of the building next door, and are fixing to croak it.
I go round a small hedge that is the only barrier to the yard, sure enough, two magpies are dragging the little animal around by his legs, getting really pecky with the terrorized critter.
Frightening the birds off with the time-tested technique of waving my arms and yelling obscenities at them, I find myself alone with the rabbit as the magpies settle on the roof of a garage and sit there watching us.
So I can’t really leave, and the rabbit has compressed himself face-first into a curb around the house and is huddling there quaking.
It kinda reminded of that last scene in The Blair Witch Project, you know? With the guy standing in the corner? I loved that film.
At this point my neighbours from the balcony have come down, and now three of us stand around looking at the rabbit. One of them calls 311 and gets an opinion on what to do (and those options were: leave the animal there, as its parent may be around, or box it up and take it inside, but then you gotta whole ‘nother problem).
Of course, we then find the rest of the rabbitlings. Almost invisible, five more of them are huddled in a pile at the base of the weedy little hedge. They had probably escaped the notice of the magpies by not moving around; while the original rabbit was perhaps an ‘early hopper’.
Trouble is, the others are beginning to try to hop as well, but being as they were probably born, literally, yesterday, they weren’t very good at it and also didn’t exercise good judgement. The three of us keep gathering them up and returning them to the rabbit-pile.
Long story short: as the sun starts going down, the magpies leave and the kits become less active and remain in their huddle. And, fortunately, some adult rabbits (or maybe they’re hares, I don’t know to be honest) begin to show up on the perimeter. We all figure this is a good thing, and go back inside.
And thither, my friends, is how I met a couple of my neighbours, Josh and Sarah.
PS: I checked out the hedge the next morning and the whole group was gone, so it looks like they got on with wherever rabbits go when they aren’t hanging out with us.
As with a number of Toyota’s vehicles (I’m thinking of the 4Runner), the company’s full-size pickup is nearing the end of its current-generation product life cycle. The 2019 Tundra is pretty close to the ones we’ve seen on the roads for the past few years give or take a few updates and cosmetic and option/packaging changes.
Our tested vehicle this time out is a 4×4 with Crewmax cab (like all pickups from virtually all the major players, there is a bewildering variety of configurations to choose from) and 5.7 litre V8 engine.
This big iForce powerplant brings a competitive 381 horsepower (and 401 lb.-ft. of torque) to the platform and promises a 1,700 lb payload in the bed and 10,000 lb towing capacity. I’ll just mention here that buyers can still select Tundra with a smaller 4.6 litre eight-banger as well, should you not require that kind of power.
Porting the power through a 6-speed automatic transmission and making it easy between four-wheel drive modes (and 4×2) with a simple knob on the dash, the Tundra is easy to get used to and doesn’t bring a big learning curve to jump in and start driving.
For 2019, the TRD package brings extra toughness and off-road equipment – and a few new standard features (like the Rigid Industries fog lamps, and Fox shock absorbers) in addition to a lot of badges all over the vehicle, inside and out.
TRD Pro pumps up the cost of the Tundra by almost eighteen grand ($17,900 to be exact) but brings it to a level suitable as a proper truck for real world use.
The offroad capability is boosted with an underbody skid plate and fuel tank protector plates, all-terrain tires (mounted on TRD-specific 18” wheels and Remote Reservoir suspension kit.
The branding adds to the appearance inside and out, with TRD performance dual exhaust tips and black badging, and the name is now stamped into the bed side; and some pretty good looking stitching on the leather seats in the cabin.
Passenger space is generous throughout the Crewmax cab, as is storage area; but here’s an interesting thing Elliott pointed out when compared to his 2013 model: the rear seats have been changed to a flip-up style, which has eliminated a behind the seat hidden storage area.
Technology standouts in our test Tundra were clearance and backup sensors (and blind spot monitor), AVN navigation system and an auto-dimming rear view mirror with compass in it.
I won’t pretend I did any serious rough-country driving during my time in the Tundra, but Toyota boasts of the vehicle’s ability on difficult terrain. I did manage to find some snowy trails and a lot of pothole-cratered roads to navigate though (because I live in Edmonton, you see, where our civic flag is just a picture of a pothole swallowing a car) and the truck dealt with urban hazards with ease and a consistently smooth ride.
Even the price isn’t all that off-putting, though frankly I think I may have become somewhat jaded to pickup prices. Sixty-five grand is sixty-five grand, after all, but you can certainly pay more than that for a number of trucks that double as working and family vehicles (like the Ram 1500 we looked at recently).
Detractions I would offer after my time in this one, in addition to the usual stuff that comes with the overall size (the turning circle, the difficulty in any sort of covered parkade due to the overall height) would be:
No smart key. I could open the doors by pushing a button on the fob, but starting the Tundra required the key to be inserted in the ignition. Seems kind of anachronistic in these modern times.
Climbing into the cab was made more difficult by the test truck having no step-in rail or running board.
And of course, fuel economy – the Tundra is rated at a combined mileage of 16.0L/100 km, and I came in closer to eighteen, though in it’s defense, all my driving was done during a week of pretty heavy snow and deep-freeze temps.
Ultimately, it is a decent truck backed by Toyota’s formidable reputation for build quality and long-term value, and despite the age of this current generation continues to offer the best competition to the traditional Big Three options.
Midsize utility vehicles dominate the market, for reasons easy to see – elevated lines of sight for drivers, easier entry and exit due to the overall height, and (in most cases) all wheel drive – make for a package that suits the needs of a large segment of the population.
And, when a buyer wants such a vehicle, but still wishes to stand out from the crowd (and not have their ride easily confused with all the others on the roads), the makers of luxury brands step up and offer just that.
This is the case with the RDX, from Acura, Honda’s luxury arm. They’ve been selling the combination of everyday usefulness and high style (and of course, enhanced performance) since 2006, and with this third generation have put forth a complete redesign to make their popular offering ever more appealing to driver and passenger alike.
Certainly the 2019 RDX is vastly better looking in its redesigned body – the grille alone is an improvement over past models (which the company describes as ‘diamond pentagon’), and follows up with more pleasing and tapered style from front to rear.
I’m a fan of the new look, mostly because I was never a fan of the old look; that cheese-slicer faux-chrome horizontal band that served as the vehicle’s face just didn’t do anything for me.
The ‘A’ badge at the center of the grille has grown quite a bit larger as well; you won’t miss the branding even at a casual glance.
Naturally, one of Acura’s biggest hooks has always been performance. The manufacturer is dedicated to bringing a sporty and, when pushed, adrenaline charged experience to their models, and the RDX continues to bring that with the latest iteration.
It gets a new engine for the new generation, a turbo two-litre (which replaces the 3.5L V6 of past models) that is capable of 272hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. The power comes on quickly and readily – I didn’t find any significant lag or delay when punching the accelerator, regardless of which of the available drive modes I’d selected.
The intelligent, adaptive suspension and all-wheel drive system (called ‘super-handling all wheel drive’ in Acura-speak, SH-AWD for short) keeps the ride under control on slippery terrain, or when performing enthusiastic cornering just for the fun of it.
Inside the cabin, the RDX follows through on the ‘premium’ promise, decking the seating surfaces out in comfortable leather and the dash and door trim with dark wood inserts. It was all quite pleasant to look at and touch in the test vehicle I used for this review, as was the brown-on-black color scheme inside the cabin.
From the driver’s position, the 2019 RDX is great. I love a heads-up information display, putting the pertinent info (particularly the speed) in easy view right in front of you. I am throwing in a special shout-out to the 16-way power adjustable driver’s seat in my Platinum Elite trim test vehicle, Acura offers one of the best driver’s seats available.
The steering feels great, it’s smooth and responsive, allowing a feeling of connection and control. Braking is very effective, without being grabby, even when applying the brakes hard.
As is the case with any vehicle from any carmaker looking to compete in the premium market, technology abounds; some of it good and some of it… well some of it I could do without.
I love the look and design of the center console and gauge cluster, it’s a masterpiece of high-end industrial design. The framing of the mode selector knob and gear selector on the center console looks good, as does the central information display on the dash.
Things I don’t especially care for though, are the gear selector itself (it is the ‘strip-of-buttons’ motif found in an increasing number Honda and Acura products). I just prefer an old-skool shifter. Maybe that’s just me. I feel the same way about the turny-knob selector found in several FCA vehicles, like the Ram 1500.
Another thing I didn’t enjoy in the RDX is the touchpad interface. Similar to what you’ll find in other premium offerings from, say, Lexus’ NX, it is like the pad on most laptop computers. While the one in the RDX is perhaps more precise, I find that with any of these systems, inevitable some sort of grit or crumb or particle of dust ends up on the pad and you feel it under your finger when touching the pad and ew, I hate that.
As for the pricing of the vehicle, well decide for yourself.
The one used for this review was the top-of-the-line trim, a Platinum Elite (with no additional options, and I do like a vehicle that comes pretty much complete without having to tick a lot of boxes to get all the extras required to fully put together the car you want), and it rolls with an MSRP of $54,990 before taxes and destination charges.
In the world of premium crossover utes, that’s actually not out of the norm, and I will mention that 2019 RDX can be had in five different models (base, Technology, Elite and A-Spec), all of which provide the basics of the Acura experience, starting at entry point of $43,990
©Wade Ozeroff 2019
This one, a 1500 in ‘Limited’ trim definitely positions itself near the top. It’s a combination of comfortable and well-appointed cabin, with a piled-on collection of tech and creature comforts wrapped in a body painted ‘Diamond Black Crystal Pearl’ (quite a mouthful there, eh?).
Powered by a 5.7L HEMI eight-cylinder engine dispensing huge power and torque (395 hp and 410 lb.-ft., respectively) and four wheel drive, this is the Ram for the well-heeled and style-conscious buyer.
Of course that comes at a price, and omigawd – have you seen how much you can option the price of a pickup to these days? Equipped as it is, this one bent the MSRP to over thousand dollars (CDN, of course), but I’ll come back to that in a bit.
Clambering up into (and out of) the cabin is aided by a foldout, power running board/step, which is handy because the Ram is a tall vehicle, but once everyone is inside there is a great deal of space in both seat rows, and rear seat legroom is extraordinarily good.
Quality leather wraps the seats, and passengers and driver (me) alike found them extremely comfortable. The climate controls allow for everyone to tailor the heat or A/C to their individual preference, but it was mostly heat that was in demand at the time of year I drove the Ram. On that note, I do love a vehicle with a heated steering wheel. Once you’ve experienced this function there’s no going back.
I loved the sound system in the Limited tester (it’s a Harmon/Kardon rig with 19 speakers), and I very quickly resorted to using the vehicle’s voice-command system for changing stations on the radio, because if I’m being honest here, I found the center stack interface difficult to use.
There’s a big touchscreen (and in the Limited its very big, twelve inches) that will display the various onboard functions of the Ram. You can split the display into up to four quadrants to show multiple info at once, and it is pretty bright. Like, almost too bright, especially at night.
A very good camera system with the Limited helped me out tremendously, as I don’t regularly drive vehicles of this size; so a 360 degree view along with backup cameras and rear cross-traffic alerts was a real benefit.
The ride is very good in the Limited, on virtually any road surface it handles bumps and rough patches well. Steering is at least the equal of any of it competitors, and it handles well (although what I mean is, it handles well for a truck, it’s obviously not a Porsche we’re dealing with here.
Overall, I liked the Ram during my time with it; although I primarily treated it is a good-looking luxury vehicle rather than a work truck. I like the exterior appearance (especially since the company has backed off a bit from the ‘gigantic grille’ look that they embraced for a long time.
It has lots of storage space inside, ample electrical and usb plugs for various devices, and delivers a top-flight passenger experience.
The downsides, for me, were the overall size of the thing, the difficult electronic interface, and of course fuel economy. I shouldn’t get to picky about the economy, of course – I mean what do you expect from a 4×4 pickup? The manufacturer states combined city/highway mileage of 16.1L/100 km, which is actually pretty good for a V8, and I managed to bring it down to 14.5 in a roughly even mix of city and highway use (but I admit, I wasn’t pulling a load or hauling anything in the bed, so that number will only go up if the Ram is driven as intended).
The price, though, dayumn. Clearly, I am showing off my embitterment about my economic and social stats by saying this, but where the heck are all the people coming from who can justify an $85,295 pickup truck?
Limited models start at a little over 74K, but the vehicle I used for this drive included the aforementioned paint job ($275), $445 for a larger fuel tank (124 litres), the Level 1 equipment group ($3,895), folding tonneau cover for the bed ($650), anti-spin rear differential ($525), panoramic sunroof ($1,595), 22-inch wheels ($750), and $870 for hitch receiver and trailer brake controller.
We squeezed our oil straight out of live dinosaurs with our bare hands back then, if I recall correctly, and it was a simpler time; unencumbered with the level of gadgetry and electronic user interfaces of today. I believe the year was 2001
It was also the first time I’d seen a Lexus up close (or any luxury auto, for that matter). I liked it then and I like the vehicle to this day, give or take a few minor points.
Performance tweaks and enhanced handling compliment a serenely quiet cabin, and if upgraded with one of the option packages available the ES does a great job of capturing the spirit of the luxury the brand.
Why, let’s take this one here, for example – an ES 350 (the 350 is the gas-only trim of the vehicle, not to be confused with the ES 300h, which is a hybrid) with the company’s ‘Ultra Luxury package’.
The basics are these: the latest generation is a front-wheel drive sedan powered by a 6-cylinder engine that brings a potential 302 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque, now channeled by an 8-speed automatic transmission (the outgoing gen used a six-speed).
Riding on the company’s GA-K global platform, the ES is slightly lower and wider, and made stiffer with the addition of more high-strength steel throughout.
My test car, wrapped in a paint job called “Nightfall Mica” showed off the exterior changes the new platform ushers in, slimmed-down headlamps and more angling of the A and C pillars enhance the car’s low and sleek appeal.
Driving the ES is a great combination of smoothness and performance. Lexus all about the ride, and I can’t say I’ve ever driven any of their marques that didn’t stack up any of their German luxury competitors, but the 2019 ups the ante with a revised suspension at both front and rear.
It handles deftly, with the suspension and overall rigidity contributing to a maneuverable and responsive experience on the roads and in the curves, and improved power steering setup.
Lexus says that the changes to the steering have also allowed more adjustability of the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, which is a good thing.
And! While we’re while we’re on the subject, check out the wheel. Strongly reminiscent of the steering in Lexus’ LC halo coupe, as is the cluster with protruding, machined knobs for the drive-mode selector.
The interior is as expected with the ES, nearly flawless and well executed throughout. A two-tone treatment for the leather upholstery in the test car called “Chateau” was genuinely pleasant to look at, and the seat comfort is very good, especially the front row (rear seat passengers also get some additional room as part of the GA-K platform).
Put it all inside a magnificently quiet cabin and top it off with a Mark Levinson premium audio system resonating from 17 speakers (part of the aforementioned Ultra Luxury package), and the ES stands out as it intended to, as an introduction to the brand.
Overall, it isn’t hard to like most everything about the car, and really my big complaint is I don’t like the touchpad interface. I don’t know if I like the touchpad any less than the previous version of the company’s Remote Touch, but I don’t it more either; instead finding it fiddly and imprecise.
Also, entry and exit from the rear doors is a bit of a crunch for taller people, owing to the redesign.
While this isn’t the trim I would choose if I were buying (I’d get the hybrid ES 300h, because fuel econzo, know what I’m saying?) my test car made a solid case for itself.
The Ultra Luxury package on this one, which added everything I want for my entry-lux sedan, pushed that up by over ten grand, bringing the as-driven price of the test car to $61,701 (including freight and PDI)
My new favorite PHEV, right here:
We have a saying out here in Edmonton, a pithy witticism of homespun folksy wisdom “What the heck happened to our fall?” because although we do get a very nice autumn, the beauty only lasts a couple of days and then the wind kicks up and blows all the leaves off the trees and everything looks like a backdrop from a Tim Burton movie.
Thus it was, in the final days of October, that I was delighted to head for Ontario, where the trees are still adorned in colors; and also where the testing days for the Canadian Car of the Year are held.
There were a lot of nice vehicles at the CCOTY event (held at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, formerly called Mosport) but I tell ya, one of my favorites wasn’t an entry in the contest this year – it was this one right here: Toyota’s Prius plugin hybrid.
I had the chance to put some time in a Prime, getting from Pearson airport to the city of Ajax, where the voting journalists make their home for the four days of the event, and commuting to the CTMP site.
Overall, I put about 427 km on the Prius, driving to the site every day; mostly highway kilometers – and this is where a hybrid vehicle saves the day. The Prime will run purely as an electric vehicle for as long as it can (and the Prime has more battery capacity than the regular model Prius) and after it runs out of charge switches to operating as a regular hybrid car, with its gasoline engine in combination with the (dual) electric motors.
The basics are this: the Prime employs a 1.8L gasoline powerplant, which combined with the electric motors yields a net output of 121 horsepower. It’s a front-wheel drive four seater (2+2 configuration) with a CVT transmission, all rolled up in a compact, hatchback body that sports a little more style than the regular Prius.
While the horsepower numbers don’t sound impressive, I never found the car let me down. It handled merging and passing on the highways without causing me a lot of angst or apprehension, and at one point I managed to fit four full-sized adults into it without anyone feeling cramped.
The car is comfortable enough in the driver’s position, with ample overhead space – oh, and hey! – heated seats and a heated steering wheel make for a welcoming environment on cold mornings.
My test car, in a trim level they call Prime Upgrade with an additional Technology package option, gave it a full-featured suite of electronic conveniences with an upgraded audio system and a heads-up display that projected all the pertinent information.
Prime models also get a bigger information screen on the center stack, and satellite navigation system (which is a lifesaver for people like me, I don’t know the area around Toronto/Ajax well at all). Indeed, without the nav system I would probably still be driving up and down the 401).
As for the economy case, even though I was mostly operating in hybrid mode (the fully electric range got used up fairly quickly during highway driving, and the Prime will automatically switch to using the gas engine), I still ended with fuel consumption of only 3.9L/100 km, which actually beats the stated FE number from NRCanada.
When I was just running short distances around Ajax, my fuel consumption was zero, as long I kept it charged; and the hotel I was at (a Garden Inn) provided a bank of Level 2 chargers for guests; which would fully recharge the battery pack in about two-and-a-half hours.
Prime is the only member of the Prius family I hadn’t driven before (or it was, anyway, if you’re following the action from the LA auto, you’ve seen the company introduce and AWD version of the car) and has made itself my personal favorite.
The one seen here, with its Tech package option, came to $38,570