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THE FREE PRESS Thursday, October 24, 2013


The Free Press |

Welcome to the driver’s seat

In a two-hour drive, the only time I dropped the anchors was when one of Amsterdam’s kazillion cyclists cut in front of me. Keith Morgan

The BMWi electric car powered its way with ease around city streets and along picturesque Dutch canals.


The future is electric AMSTERDAM – BMW has joined the race for the electric car dollar. On the evidence of two days driving the funky-looking all-electric i3 through the narrow streets of old Amsterdam and alongside the picturesque canals of rural Holland, the German manufacturer may have a winner. For starters, it is simply great fun to drive. The lithium-ion battery, encased in an aluminum cage below the five-seater cabin, provides enough instant zap to the electric motor to propel the car smoothly to 100 klicks in less than eight seconds. Left the stopwatch

at home, but counting “one-and-two etc.” to count seconds, my lips barely mouthed “six” before the speedo leapt from 80 to 120 km/h while passing. It handles beautifully at any speed and hugs the road; thanks to the technology-laden aluminum platform, that gives it a very low centre of gravity. Turns on a Euro too, as we found during the many U-turns made on blocked streets. Of course, F1 take-offs will suck the battery dry somewhat more quickly but you need not be a snail in the so-called Comfort mode to achieve the advertised 160 kilometres range on a full

Question OF THE WEEK:

you have a car for the tank, sorry, fully-charged Interior and beyond. Way battery. Plug it in at beyond. As the battery home overnight and you runs low, a two-cylinder, are ready to roar; go for 647cc gas engine, which the enhanced charger sits neatly by the side and raring to go in three of its electric brother, hours. kicks in and generates The remarkable efficiency power to top up the is largely due to two battery. Push it and gas factors. The carbon-fibre The lithium-ion stops will be frequent body is light and regenerbecause only a minuscule ative braking generously battery provides nine-litre tank feeds it. juices up the cells. In enough instant zap However, most folks will a two-hour drive, the to the electric motor get a chance to recharge only time I dropped the to propel the car before too many visits to anchors was when one the pump. of Amsterdam’s kazillion smoothly to 100 There is another hope cyclists cut in front of klicks in less than for those living beyond me. Ruined my score, the eight seconds. Hope. Private companies blighter. are seriously evaluating Accepting the more slugKeith Morgan the supply of fast chargish EcoPro and EcoPro+ gers that top up batteries modes will add 20 and in less than half an hour. 40 km to the range. Eyes will be on the Sea-to-Sky Highway Frankly, in this configuration the i3, is where chargers are now found at Brigood for any daily commute between tannia Beach. And they are popping up Vancouver and Abbotsford and most in parking lots the length and breadth journeys in southern Vancouver Island. of the province as the popularity of The very areas where BMW expects to plug-in hybrid models by other brands do the most business. grows. The i3 offers premium brand luxury for few dollars short of $45,000. Shell out View our BMWi3 gallery and read another $4,000 grand for the unimagmore about the electric car at inatively named ‘range-extender’ and



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THE FREE PRESS Thursday, October 24, 2013

Near New: Ford Fusion 2010 to 2012 Price Check 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion (October 2013)


Six standard air bags helped the Fusion attain a top five-star crash-test rating.


Bob McHugh

Amid lingering global financial turmoil, recession recovery was already in high-gear at Ford, with an over a 40 per cent yearover-year sales gain that made Ford the top-selling automaker in Canada, in 2009. It was also the year it launched an all-new 2010 model year version of its

popular mid-sized family car the Ford Fusion. The 2010 Fusion was offered in SE and SEL trim levels with a choice of a 2.5-litre I4 or a 3.0-litre V6 engines and a 3.5-litre V6 powered an all-new Fusion Sport model with all-wheeldrive. Ford also introduced its first hybrid edition of

Fusion with an Atkinson cycle version of the 2.5-litre engine and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (e-CVT). The hybrid’s battery is a nickel-metal hydride type that’s smaller and lighter than competitors and it’s temperature is controlled by

Drives-U-Crazy… Erratic drivers An early morning drive from Kelowna to Vancouver is normally a pleasurable experience. But a recent a jaunt was made much less so by an erratic driver, whose actions required all fellow travellers to watch his antics with great care and attention. The young guy at the wheel of a late model Honda CR-V constantly changed speed, below and beyond the posted speed limit. If he wasn’t passing and cutting in too early, he was inexplicably reducing his speed and dropping back in the passing lane. Thank goodness, he pulled off at Merritt. What drives-u-crazy.





Year 2010 2011 2012


Expect to Pay Today $11,000 to $14,000 $13,000 to $16,000 $16,000 to $20,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.

air extracted from the passenger cabin. Claimed city/ highway fuel consumption is a very impressive 4.6/5.4 L/100km. Fuel consumption ratings for the other Fusion engines are as follows; 9.4/6.4 L/100 km (city/highway) for the 2.5-litre; 11.1/7.3 (city/ highway) for the 3.0-litre V6 models; and 12.7/8.3 (city/ highway) for the 3.5-litre with all-wheel drive. A new optional safety feature on the 2010 Fusion (well worth having) was a Blind Spot system that comes with Cross Traffic Alert, which was a unique to Ford system. Radar sensors in the rear side quarter panels can detect a moving object within a 20 metre (65-ft) range on either side. Great to have when vision is restricted (as it often is) when backing out of a parking stall. This generation is also a quieter Fusion. Changes to reduce cabin noise levels include an acoustic windshield, thicker front-door glass, new hood insulators, additional sound deadening in the trunk and a new headliner in the cabin

that’s made with an absorption material. An air filter that removes respiratory irritants and toxins from entering the cabin was also a new standard feature of Fusion. A new standard innovation was a fuel filler system called EasyFuel. Not only does it eliminate the need to remove a gas cap when filling up, it reduces evaporative emissions. You simply push the fuel-pump nozzle into a gas tank receptacle and it automatically seals shut when removed.

Recalls on the 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion: 2010 - A problem with the manual recliner mechanisms on the front seats may cause additional movement of the seat back. Dealers will replace the seat recliner mechanisms. 2010 - A park pawl in the automatic transmission may not fully engage when shifted into “Park” and this could allow the vehicle to roll on an incline, if the park brake is not activated. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the park rod guide retention pin. 2010/2011- The lug nuts on vehicles equipped with 17 inch steel wheels may loosen and this could result in wheel separation. Dealers will replace the lug nuts on all four wheels, inspect the rear brake rotors and replace them as necessary.

Six standard airbags helped the Fusion attain a top fivestar crash-test rating. If an air bag is deployed, Fusion also has a unique emergency alert system that flashes the hazard warning lights and sounds the horn, to attract attention. An electronic stability-control system with a brake-activated traction control system was a new standard safety feature. The MyKey security system was made a standard feature on the 2011 Fusion, a spotter mirror, to help eliminate blind spots, was incorporated in the door mirrors and the SE edition got standard automatic headlights. No significant changes were made for 2012. Good reliability, owner satisfaction and low cost of repair ratings helped the 2012 Ford Fusion get a “Recommend” rating from Consumer Reports. Ford Fusion buyers also benefit from having a good supply of them on the market and used prices tend to be reasonable. A potentially great value pre-owned purchase.

Bob McHugh For as long as Alexandra Straub recalls, I’ve been writing about cars for over 25 years and I’m a long-term member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). My auto background is mainly in the service side of the industry as I’ve always had a keen interest in knowing how things work. Especially those oily, greasy parts that make the wheels go around.   My first car was an early sixties Triumph Herald Coupe (web example photo) that was traded-in to a dealership where I worked as an apprentice auto mechanic, back in Dublin, Ireland. It spent more time off the road, being repaired, than on the road, during my time as its owner. A Herald had the same chassis and a similar powertrain as the much nicer looking Triumph Spitfire, which was sold in North America. At the BC Automobile Association I initially worked as a mobile Vehicle Inspector in the Vehicle Inspection Service. The vehicle was an AMC Gremlin and it was painted to look like a cut-away or skeleton view of the car’s mechanical bits. A small car with a big gas-guzzling engine, a Gremlin was an odd choice of vehicle for that job and the paint job just added to its weirdness, yet I grew to like it.      Currently I enjoy serving on the AJAC Technology Awards panel and have also been involved in the promotion of trade skills training for young people in BC. When time permits, I still like to get my hands dirty and give my son a helping hand with, his pride and joy, a 1966 Ford Thunderbird coupe.


THE FREE PRESS Thursday, October 24, 2013





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THE FREE PRESS Thursday, October 24, 2013

Best Classic Cars for ten grand or less generation cars as nice as anything to come out of Germany, Italy or the U.S. at that time. Corvairs pioneered the use of turbocharging, and later cars could be made to handle quite well with some relatively inexpensive modifications, in spite of what Ralph Nader said. Incidentally, the 50th anniversary of the book “Unsafe at Any Speed” is coming up the year after next. Good reason to buy a Corvair, we think. Jay Leno loves his red Corsa Coupe.

Rob Sass

Most of the focus on the collector car world cmes from televised auctions where six-figure cars are the norm, so it’s easy to conclude that the average person is priced out of the collector car world. But the fact of the matter is there are still plenty of interesting collectible cars out there for under 10 grand. Granted, they tend to be from the 1970s and 1980s rather than the 1950s or 1960s, but they’re all fun to drive and relatively easy to live with. Here are five of our favorites: 2. 1966-77 Ford Bronco: The Bronco pushes the 10 grand budget the most and you’ll have to look hard to find an unrusted or unmodified original Bronco in this price range, but they do occasionally lurk on Craigslist. Competition for the likes of the International Harvester Scout, early Broncos look right in the way that early Land Rovers do and collectors have taken a big shine to them lately. Buy now.

1. 1985-93 Ford Mustang: The third generation or “Fox” platform Mustang brought affordable V-8 muscle back to the masses. Although it was introduced in 1979, better breathing cylinder heads and a re-designed four-barrel carburetor in 1985 pushed horsepower above 200 for the first time since the early 1970s. The relatively light and simple design of the car made the best use of the newfound ponies. While the oldest are just under 30 years old, the collector world is starting to wake up. Still, nice 5.0-liter V-8 examples of all three body styles (coupe, hatchback and convertible) are still available in LX and GT trim for 10 grand or less.

3. 1965-69 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa coupe: The poor Corvair. Shunned by Chevy fans and import fans alike, it really is a poorman’s Porsche, with styling on the second

4. 1983-91 Porsche 944 coupe: The vintage Porsche market is on fire right now, with some cars appreciating 300 percent or more over the last five years. All have one thing in common — they’re air cooled and the engine is in the back. Water-cooled front-engine Porsches have yet to see the love from collectors, and we think that the 944 is one of the best of the bunch.  A derivative of the nicely balanced but underpowered 924, the fender bulges and smoother and more powerful balance shaft-equipped twin-cam four was just was Dr. Porsche ordered to make the 944 a credible performance car. Maintenance doesn’t come cheaply (break a timing belt and you’ll wish you hadn’t

been born), but the 944 is a bargain-priced precision instrument for dissecting curvy back roads.

5. 1976 Chevrolet Corvette: Malaise-era Corvettes get a bum rap from most Corvette fans but in reality, they’re quite nice and anything but pathetically slow. The move from gross to net horsepower makes it seem as though power was down more than it really was, and mid-1970s Corvettes came in some great colors with nice options like competition-inspired gymkhana suspension and aluminum wheels. Looks weren’t really compromised by bumper standards with Chevy’s solution of hiding the bumpers under body-colored urethane panels among the best of any manufacturer. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at Ten-Grand-Or-Less

The Car Girl’s Garage Why I bought a minivan


When chatting about potential matches, the idea of a minivan came up.


Alexandra Straub

Amy Lawson, 35, leads an active life. She likes to be outdoors, to play sports, surf, bake and has a thriving social life. Professionally, she was recently promoted to be the Territory Manager for Drydock Footwear Group. Her territory covers British Columbia and Alberta. Being on the road is a sizeable component of her work. When it came time to trade in her Nissan Xtrail – which she loved to pieces – she was torn when deciding what vehicle to purchase. “The Xtrail has been a fabulous car,

but I’ve outgrown it and need something that can better accommodate all my equipment,” she says. In the process, she considered SUVs, hatchbacks and crossovers. The Ford Flex, Ford Escape, Honda Pilot, Mitsubishi Outlander were on her list to look at. Amy states, “When I started to research vehicles, the No. 1 thing on my priority list was interior space. I needed lots of it.” She continues, “I didn’t mind if the vehicle wasn’t sexy! I need functional. Good looks were secondary to me.” Because of her current role, it requires travelling around the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, BC and Alberta with various promotional gear, display units, sample products and more. Not to mention, if she can pack in her sports equipment like her bicycle, snowboard or surfboard in, too, that would be even better. Price was also a factor for her. “I had a budget to work with, and I needed my payments to be around $500 a month,” Amy mentions. “And since I’d be spending a fair amount of time behind the wheel, I’d need something that was comfortable, too.” When chatting about potential matches, the idea of a minivan came up. I saw the excitement in her eyes. In her personal life, she is not the typical minivan candidate. With no children to drive to hockey or soccer practice, some people might question her enthusiasm. But to her, it seemed like the perfect fit. “I was just so excited about it. Minivans make life so much easier and you can just do so much with them,” she explains. “It made a lot more sense than a pickup and much more sense than an SUV.” A few minivans/minivan-esque vehicles she looked into were the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Mazda5.

Though the Honda and Toyota appealed to her, it was the Dodge Grand Caravan that had exactly what she was looking for. It was in her price range and had some handy features that would allow easy loading and unloading of her gear. She even really likes its look. Amy tells me, “I can fit two mountain bikes inside with people and still have room for more.” The Dodge Grand Caravan that she selected is the Crewe trim, which also came with some extras. She has a towing package, a rear DVD entertainment system (perfect for passing time on ferry rides!), Stow ‘n Go seats, remote keyless entry to the doors and liftgate and more. While she can’t be happier with her purchase, the signing on the dotted line did make her heart beat quite a bit faster. “There’s a lot of anxiety to buying a car. It’s a big purchase and you want to make sure you make the best choice you can.” And speaking of choices, the biggest question when selecting her chariot of choice? “Should I get the white one or the black one?!” she jokingly asked. She went with black. When looking back on the experience and looking at her Grand Caravan, she happily says, “What I didn’t think would be very sexy vehicle ended up being the sexiest to me. And there’s so much space!” Ladies, if you’re looking at buying a new vehicle and would like some suggestions/assistance, email the Car Girl’s Garage and you could potentially be featured in Driveway. Include your name, email address where best to be reached, a little bit about yourself, what you’re looking for and what price range you need to work with.

October 24, 2013  
October 24, 2013  

Section K of the October 24, 2013 edition of the The Free Press