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autonet.ca • august 16, 2012 • Volume 1 • Issue 19

It’s

Fiesta time! • 2013 Ford Fiesta 2012

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#Limited time financing offers based on new 2012 Honda models. Bi-weekly payment examples based on a new 2012 Civic Sedan DX MT, model FB2E2CEX available through Honda Financial Services on approved credit. MSRP is $16,485, and includes $1,495 freight and PDI, financed at 1.99% APR with $0 down payment or equivalent trade equals $97.07 bi-weekly for 84 months. Cost of borrowing is $1,181.74 for a total obligation of $17,666.74. Taxes, license, insurance, environmental fees and registration are extra. ‡MSRP is $16,485 for a 2012 Civic Sedan DX MT, model FB2E2CEX and includes $1,495.00 freight and PDI. ∞ Offer valid on new unregistered 2012 Honda Civic models when purchased/leased, registered and delivered during the offer period. #/‡/∞ Offers valid from August 1, 2012 through August 31, 2012 at participating Honda retailers. Offers valid only for Alberta residents at Honda Dealers of Alberta locations. Offers subject to change or cancellation without notice. Visit HondaAlberta.ca or see your Honda retailer for full details.


2

Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012

2 0 1 2 O ly m p i a n v e h i c l e s

iNside

new trim spiffs up Lancer new all-wheel drive offering helps keep aging design competing in constantly changing compact world

HArry

Pegg

psdoph@telusplanet.net I ’ve a l w ays l i ke d t h e M i tsubishi Lancer, but I’m disappointed to find there’s not much new about the 2012 version, other than the addition of a new model, the SE AWC, an all-wheel drive version of the SE. Otherwise, the company is standing pat in terms of exterior and interior design and equipment. The AWC initials stand for all-wheel-control, and bringing the system into the mix is a good move, especially with

a price beginning at just a hair over $23,000. But whether it’s enough to keep up to its only real competitor, Subaru’s Impreza, is a question. I s till like th e a g gre s sive, shark-inspired front end, but it’s hard to tell what year of Lancer I’m looking at, and that’s got to be a deal-breaker for some buyers, especially if they’re moving from an older Lancer. Not to say this is not a good car — but it is getting old. Getting into the test vehicle from Mitsubishi Canada is like greeting an old friend. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable and likeable, although the interior plastics look a bit cheap. The AWC model gets standard Bluetooth that hooks up to

my iPhone nearly instantly. But it takes awhile to find the USB connection for the audio system. It’s hidden in the glove compartment. All the dials, gauges and s w i tc h e s a re w h e re th ey’ve been since 2008 — easy to read, easy to reach, totally familiar. Unlike most of today’s vehicles, the Lancer keeps things simple with are relatively few knobs and switches. Comfortable, but dated. The seats are supportive and, in this model, come with standard heat. The view from the driver’s seat is hampered somewhat by the lower section of the large A-pillar, otherwise, prudent mirror adjustment gives a clear look at my surroundings.

Under the hood is a 2.4L fourcylinder engine (this is the only model to have it) that’s rated at 168 horsepower. It’s a willing propellant for the Lancer, but its fun factor is hampered by a noisy CV T transmission — the only shif ter available. Although the combination does deliver a nice punch off the line, I find myself longing for the fivespeed manual found in other Lancer models. The CV T does have “spor t shif t” point s that help a little, and there are paddle shifters which are attached to the steering column rather than the multi-function steering wheel. F o r t h e d r i v e r, s t e e r i n g response is crisp and predictable, and I like the AWC switch on the console which allows selection of all-wheel drive or frontwheel drive. Lancer’s suspension delivers a calm, controlled, easy ride even on rough roads, but it tends to lean a bit when pushed in the corners. Then again, this is not a Ralliart or EVO, so absolute stiffness is not the goal. The family is pleased with the ride, and that’s good enough for me. There’s plenty of head- and leg room for four people, and the cabin remains relatively quiet on the highway save for a bit of wind and road noise. The trunk can contain 34 8 litres of cargo, and that space ex p a n d s g r e a t l y b y f o l d i n g the 60/40 split rear seatback. Unfortunately, the seat does not fold flat and the release mechanism is awkwardly located on the inboard side of the headrests. When all is said and done, Lancer may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still an able performer and handles with the best of them. And it has a nice starting price, although options and acces sories can add up quickly if you simply must have more than the more-than-adequate standard equipment. Lancer is wearing its age well. It still looks good, but four years without a change might be a bit long.

FacT FILe

autonet.ca

as tested (before tax): $23,098 Options on test vehicle: none Freight/PDI: $1,350 configuration: front engine, allwheel drive engine/transmission: 2.4L 4-cyl./CVt with sequential shift Horsepower/torque: 168 hp/ 167 lb.-ft. Fuel (capacity): regular (55L) BUILD AND F u e l e c o nPRICE o m y THIS r a tCAR ings (L/100km): 8.7 city, 6.8 hwy Observed fuel economy: 9.4 L/100km over 428km Warranties: five years/ 100,000 km (basic), 10 years/ 160,000 km (powertrain) competitors: sub Kia subaru impreza, Chevy Cruze turbo, mazda 3 Strengths: exterior design, suspension, selectable AwD SUBSCRIBE TO OURno Weaknesses: dated interior, NEWSLETTER manual shifter available, awkward rear seat fold-down release, rear seats don’t fold flat..

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Mitsubishi LancerFIND A all spiffed up

The Lancer’s styling remains current despite having several years under its belt.

• Harry Pegg/qmi AgenCy

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Canadian Olympians have the drive to make it to the greatest festival of sport known to man, but in order to get to the practice facilities, many of them have a different type of drive. This collection shows an even split between sedans and SUVs, with vehicles ranging from one to 16 years in age, build either in Asia or North America. – QMI Agency

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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, August 16, 2012

3

E-BikEs and blackberries Electric bikes booming

The days of taking a bicycle to work and having to dress up and “freshen up” on arrival m ay b e t h i n g s of t h e p a s t thanks to the growing popularity of electrically assisted bikes. German companies are o n-b o a rd w ith e l e c tri c a lly-a s sis te d pedal pushing branded as Audi (e-bike Worthersee), Smart (ebike) and BMW (i Pedelec), either already on the street or being shown around as concepts.

There are also several other manufacturers, such as 50cycles, with its Kalkhoff Impulse. The attractiveness of e-bikes is that users can cruise along with ver y little effort, allowing them to ride to work without working up a sweat. They’re also easy to park and secure, which is becoming particularly important in bustling cities and busy town centers. S c ot t S n a i th , ow n e r of 5 0 c yc l e s , says the company has seen a dramatic increase in sales recently, with urban dwellers apparently choosing to buy an electric bike instead of a second car.

Ford recycling aids diabetes research

• supplied photos Urban commuters are embracing e-bikes.

Ford is partnering up with the first mobile buy-back and recycling company to raise funds for diabetes research, while taking unwanted wireless phones out of circulation. E-Cycle pledges to donate $1 for each mobile phone collected to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for research into Type 1 diabetes. As part of the program, thousands of employees at Ford buildings and plants across the U.S. will collect their personal

Smart Canada solicits urban ideas

Ford employees are recycling for JDRF. mobile phones for shipment to e-Cycle’s facility in Hilliard, Ohio. E-Cycle will cover the cost of shipping and donate $1 to JDRF for each device recycled. Ford sites will compete to see which one can collect the most phones and raise the most money. Ford created the Ford Global Action Team in 1998 to promote friendly competition among Ford sites to raise funds for JDRF. Since inception, Ford, along with busine s s par tners such as the UAW, BP, Mazda, ADESA and WPP, has contributed over $39 million directly to JDRF to fund research.

If you have an idea on how to make the city you live in better, Smart Canada wants to hear about it and share it with others across the country. Some of the ideas so far include green rooftops in Montreal, artistic crosswalks in Toronto, better bike racks in Vancouver and solar powered lane markers for roads across Canada. The Smart city project was launched AND at the end ofBUILD May 2012 to inspire urban PRICE THIS CARideas to make residents to come up with their communities more functional and beautiful for all inhabitants. To join in th e c o nve r s atio n , go to www.thesmartcityproject.ca. Every person with an idea is eligible to receive $50,000 to help turn the plan into reality and also win a new Smart ebike. – QMI Agency

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4

Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, August 16, 2012

TEST DRIVE

2 0 1 2 f o r d f i e sta

Fiesta is ready to party Modern shape should appeal to younger drivers — the girls and the guys — without the need for extra giMMickry

gLeN

WOODCOCk glen@manicgt.com

T h e f i r s t th i n g yo u n oti c e about our 2012 Ford Fiesta test car is the colour. It’s red. Oh, man, is it red. One of the reddest reds I’ve seen on an automobile in a long time. And not just red on the outside, but on the inside as well — seats, door panels, steering wheel and control panel — all trimmed with black. The other thing that’s immediately noticeable is the wild graphics applied to the car’s flanks. Ford calls this a “graphic t a t to o” a n d I ’m n ot s u re I ’d sp en d $5 0 0 for something I

can’t quite decipher. Especially when, combined with the Race Red paint job, it elicits comments such as: “Driving your daughter’s car today?” And, “Nice wheels - for a girl!” I’m n ot sure th e se are th e r e a c t i o n s Fo r d s t y l i s t s h a d hoped for. The thing is: Fiesta has such a modern shape that it appeals to younger buyers anyway — both girls and guys — without the need for gimmickry. In a subcompact market segment crowded with excellent front-wheel-drive of ferings, Fiesta is one of the best. Our test car is the popular fivedoor hatchback that starts at $13,999 (it’s also available as a four-door sedan for the same buy-in). But our tester is a top-

of-th e-lin e SES, loade d with $4,850 worth of options to bring its MSRP to $23,849. And even without the extras it’s already packed with good stuff including cruise, air conditioning, auto-dimming rearview mirror, capless fuel filler, ABS, electronic stability control and Ford’s SYNC voice-activated connectivity system. The only engine available is a 1.6-litre Duratec inline “four” with either a six-speed stick or optional six-speed automatic. There’s not much dif ference in fuel economy, and with the automatic, Fiesta can deliver 0-100 km/h acceleration in 10.7 seconds. Passing from 80-120 km/h takes 9.2 seconds. The speed-sensitive electric power steering is quick and precise, making Fiesta nimble in

• gLEn WOODCOCk/QMi ageNCy The Ford Fiesta is fun and frugal in its entry-level trim, but there are plenty of package options available as well.

FaCt FILE traffic with a tight turning circle. On the highway, it has no trouble keeping up with traffic in the fast lane and delivers a quiet ride. About all you hear in the well insulated cabin is tire noise. T h e s i x- s p e e d a u t o m a t i c wants to rush through the first few gears — a fuel economy measure, I’m sure — but then takes its own sweet time shifting into high. Shifts, however, are smooth, and Fiesta’s lack of low-end torque isn’t as noticeable with the automatic as it is with the stick. The manually operated front b u cket s a re sup p o r tive, b u t only the driver gets a flip-down centre armrest. Instrumentation is sparse — just speedometer, tach and fuel gauge — but of more importance to younger buyers is Ford’s voice activated SYNC connectivit y system which is activated by a button on the steering wheel. It provides hands-free cell phone use and access to your digital music library, with information visible on a six-inch LCD screen. The 80-watt, six-speaker premium sound system that’s part of the SES package also provides a sixmonth prepaid subscription to Sirius satellite radio. Luggage space is easily accessed through the rear hatch and can accommodate 4 35 litres behind the rear seats. With standard features such as power windows/locks/heated mirrors, tire-pressure monitoring system, seven air bags and push-button ignition, even the base Fiesta hatchback feels like a premium small car. But none of this should come as a surprise, because when it made its debut in 2011 Fiesta was named Best Small Car under $21,000 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Fiesta is one of the vehicles that have led Ford to the top of the heap in Canada and sales show no sign of slowing down. In fact, June 2012 was the best month ever for this excellent small c ar that app eals to so many people in so many ways.

trim level: ses as tested (before tax): $23,849 Freight/pDI: $1,500 Options on test car: premium interior package ($1,400), automatic transmission ($1,250), premium exterior package ($800), graphic tattoo ($500), intelligent access ($500), remote starter package ($300), block heater ($100) Engine/transmission: 1.6L 4-cyl./six-speed automaticAND BUILD power/torque: 120 hp/112 lb.-ft. PRICE THIS CAR Fuel (capacity): regular (45L) Fu e l e c o n o m y ra t i n gs (L/100km): 6.9 city, 5.1 hwy Observed fuel economy: 6.1 L/100km over 655km Warranties: three years/ 60,000 km (basic), five years/ 100,000 km (powertrain) Competitors: Chevrolet sonic, Fiat 500, Honda Fit, Hyundai accent, Kia rio, Mazda2, Nissan SUBSCRIBE TO OUR Versa, toyota yaris NEWSLETTER Strengths: size, handling, fuel economy Weaknesses: so-so acceleration, a bit pricey at this trim level

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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, August 16, 2012

TEST DRIVE

2012 mitsubishi lancer se awc

new trim spiffs up Lancer new all-wheel drive offering helps keep aging design competing in constantly changing compact world

HArry

Pegg

psdoph@telusplanet.net I ’v e a l w a y s l i ke d t h e M i tsubishi Lancer, but I’m disappointed to find there’s not much new about the 201 2 version, other than the addition of a new model, the SE AWC, an all-wheel drive version of the SE. Other wise, the company is standing pat in terms of exterior and interior design and equipment. The AWC initials s tan d for all-wheel-control, and bringing the system into the mix is a good move, especially with

a price beginning at just a hair over $23,000. But whether it’s enough to keep up to its only real competitor, Subaru’s Impreza, is a question. I s ti l l l i ke t h e a g g re s s i ve , shark-inspired front end, but it’s hard to tell what year of Lancer I’m looking at, and that’s got to be a deal-breaker for some buyers, especially if they’re moving from an older Lancer. Not to say this is not a good car — but it is getting old. Getting into the test vehicle from Mitsubishi Canada is like greeting an old friend. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable and likeable, although the interior plastics look a bit cheap. The AWC model gets standard Bluetooth that hooks up to

The Lancer’s styling remains current despite having several years under its belt.

my iPhone nearly instantly. But it takes awhile to find the USB connection for the audio system. It’s hidden in the glove compartment. All the dials, gauges and s w i tc h e s a re w h e re t h ey ’ve been since 2008 — easy to read, easy to reach, totally familiar. Unlike most of today’s vehicles, the Lancer keeps things simple with are relatively few knobs and switches. Comfortable, but dated. The seats are supportive and, in this model, come with standard heat. The view from the driver’s seat is hampered somewhat by the lower section of the large A-pillar, otherwise, prudent mirror adjustment gives a clear look at my surroundings.

• Harry Pegg/qmi AgenCy

FacT FILe Under the hood is a 2.4L fourcylinder engine (this is the only model to have it) that’s rated at 168 horsepower. It’s a willing propellant for the Lancer, but its fun factor is hampered by a noisy CV T transmission — the only shif ter available. Although the combination does deliver a nice punch off the line, I find myself longing for the fivespeed manual found in other Lancer models. The CV T do e s have “sp or t sh if t” p oin t s th at h e lp a little, and there are paddle shifters which are attached to the steering column rather than the multi-function steering wheel. F o r t h e d r i v e r, s t e e r i n g response is crisp and predictable, and I like the AWC switch on the console which allows selection of all-wheel drive or frontwheel drive. Lancer’s suspension delivers a c alm , controlle d, e asy ride even on rough roads, but it tends to lean a bit when pushed in the corners. Then again, this is not a Ralliart or EVO, so absolute stiffness is not the goal. The family is pleased with the ride, and that’s good enough for me. There’s plenty of head- and leg room for four people, and the c abin remains relatively quiet on the highway save for a bit of wind and road noise. The trunk can contain 3 4 8 litres of cargo, and that space expands greatly by folding the 60/40 split rear seatback. Unfortunately, the seat does not fold flat and the release mechanism is awkwardly located on the inboard side of the headrests. When all is said and done, Lancer may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still an able performer and handles with the best of them. And it has a nice starting price, although options an d acce s sorie s c an ad d up quickly if you simply must have more than the more-than-adequate standard equipment. Lancer is wearing its age well. It still looks good, but four years without a change might be a bit long.

as tested (before tax): $23,098 Options on test vehicle: none Freight/PDI: $1,350 configuration: front engine, allwheel drive engine/transmission: 2.4L 4-cyl./CVt with sequential shift Horsepower/torque: 168 hp/ 167 lb.-ft. Fuel (capacity): regular (55L) BUILD AND F u e l e c o nPRICE o m y THIS r a tCAR ings (L/100km): 8.7 city, 6.8 hwy Observed fuel economy: 9.4 L/100km over 428km Warranties: five years/ 100,000 km (basic), 10 years/ 160,000 km (powertrain) competitors: sub Kia subaru impreza, Chevy Cruze turbo, mazda 3 Strengths: exterior design, suspension, selectable AwD SUBSCRIBE TO OURno Weaknesses: dated interior, NEWSLETTER manual shifter available, awkward rear seat fold-down release, rear seats don’t fold flat..

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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pirelli haPPy with the blues

ProduCt revieW

6

In the case of the P7 Blue, an addition has been made to its already extensive list of dynamic qualities, and that is a reduced rolling resistance, which allows for better fuel efficiency. But contrarily to the other PZero that are usually supplied by the automotive builders and equipped on the cars in the factory, the Blue aims at the after sale market and will target customers that enjoy hitting both the road and the track behind the wheel.

MarC

bouchard marc.bouchard@sunmedia.ca

VALENCIA , Spain — Let’s set the mood here: it’s the European Grand Prix and the streets in downtown Valencia are crowded. The very Grand Prix that was responsible for the locals’ jubilation as their very own Fernando Alonso won the race in his homeland. No need to mention the rave it caused. It was also the timing chosen by Pirelli, high-end and performance tires maker, to introduce and test its latest tire model, the PZero Cinturato P7 Blue, the first serial made tire to have received the AA accreditation from the European administration. The tire is not available in America for now, but it is the next logical step in extending the PZero line celebrating its 25th anniversary. And PZero always rhymes with performance.

Capable test subjects A North American version of the Blue with an adapted name will be made available shortly — which did not prevent us from testing the tire in somewhat “displeasing” conditions (you will get my sarcasm here). It’s on the Ricardo Tormo racetrack that our test took place. To properly test these high performance tires, appropriate cars were obviously needed: on the dry tarmac, a McLaren MP4-1 2, a Lamborghini Aventador, a Lamborghini Super Trofeo and a 2013 Porsche Carrera S. On the wet section: an Audi S5, an Alfa Romeo Giulietta and a Mercedes-Benz

SLK. And finally, to hit the 200km of road ahead, the BMW 3 Series diesel was our carriage. First on the track, my heart skips a beat. My first test car, the Porsche 911, is a car I know very well. And I know its capacities. There’s nothing exceptional to say here except that I have to familiarize myself with the circuit and that my professional driver co-pilot — who does not speak a word of English nor French — is of no great assistance. The result is interesting, but nothing more. I will have to wait for the McLaren or the Lamborghini to really get a feel. The Lamborghini was too brutal for me to take advantage of the track and the tires, but the McLaren, at 230km/h, drives as though it is glued to the tarmac. Despite my numerous attempts to push the limits, the tires did not bulge and remained stuck to the ground without showing any sign of weakness.

slippery bends did not leave a chance to the cars, and some of us were sent waltzing against the cones — but the tires kept on doing their job. Finally, on the road, the tires proved to be surprisingly quiet. Fuel economy can hardly be compared, but the results with our car were interesting nonetheless. Result: the PZero Blue satisfies all expectations — it’s silent and sticks to the road no matter what the conditions are. Now let’s see what will be coming over to North America.

Water worthy On the wet circuit, with less powerful cars, the PZero Blue has proven itself to be versatile. When pushed to respectable speeds averaging 50km/h, the wet and

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going hollywood gLen

woodcock glen@manicgt.com

The first thing that strikes you about the Graham Hollywood is that it looks even better in real life than in photos. And that’s saying something, because the Hollywood is as glamorous and as photogenic as any car made before America’s entry into World War II. The Hollywood in question is a 1941 model owned by Mike and Mariann Burkholder of Indiana. I caught up with them in Cobourg, Ont. at the Graham Owners Club international meet in July, where they had driven the 760 km from their home in Fort Wayne. But that’s a mere jaunt for the Burkholders, who in the last 19 years have put 102,000 km behind the Hollywood’s beautifully sculpted rear end. Even if you don’t know what a Hollywood is, there’s a certain elusive familiarity about its shape. That’s because it was built using the dies of the famous Cord 810/812 Westchester sedan. It still has the Cord’s distinctive “coffin nose” hood, but with a wider grille, and its headlights protrude from the front fenders where the Cord’s were retractable, like those on the later Corvette Stingray. Estimates vary as to how many Hollywoods were made, from a low of 1,400 to a high of 1,800, with another 320380 Skylarks rolling off the Graham Paige assembly line in Dearborn, Mich. If anything, the Hollywood looks too good. Why is that a problem? Because with its short wheelbase, low height, unadorned Moon-type hubcaps and lack of running boards half of the work has already been done to give it the classic 1940s’ hot rod look that’s still a favourite of the customizing crowd. And even though the car, as it came

from the factory, had one of the best power-to-weight ratios of its era, it’s just too tempting for rodders to wedge in a small block Chevy V8 to replace Graham’s own 124-hp supercharged inline six. So non-customized Hollywoods are hard to find today. When the Burkholders found their Hollywood in 1974 it didn’t look much like it does today. “It really was a basket case,” says Mike. “It h a d b e e n a p a r t s c a r fo r another Holly wood that was b eing restored. The owner was asking $500, and took $350.” And so began a nine year project that kept the car looking original on the outside, but Mike added a lot of improvements not apparent until you get poking around under the hood. The Hollywood was a Model 119 nonsupercharged version and Mike added a blower to its 218 cubic inch Graham straight six. Zero to 100 km/h acceleration is in the range of 15.0 seconds, which isn’t all that quick by modern standards, but back in the day most of the Hollwood’s heavier competitors were hard pressed to do it in 20 seconds. Mike has swapped the original generator for an alternator so he can run an air conditioner and made other improvements such as wide whitewall radial tires and a Sears-Roebuck cruise control system. Unlike the front-wheel drive Cord on which it’s based, the Hollywood has rear-wheel drive and Mike has replaced the original rear axle with one from a postwar Frazer for better highway cruising. Interestingly, Mike doesn’t feel the Hollywood is as good a car as the one it replaced in the Graham lineup - a car whose radical design proved so unpopular it put the struggling independent on the ropes. “It’s not the quality car that the Sharknose is,” he says. “It will bottom out real quick if there are people riding in the back.” But things like that are easily forgiven in a car this pretty.

StrEEt CRED

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BUILD ANDAugust 16, 2012 Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, PRICE THIS CAR

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JOE

DUARTE

joe.duarte@sunmedia.ca

The other day, while stopped at a red light, I witnessed one of those guys with signs walking up and down between the rows of cars asking for help to get off the street. I’m always sceptical about those people and therefore don’t contribute to their pot (maybe literally), and this guy furthered my prejudice. I always look at the way these people are dressed, and although some do a pretty good job of looking the part, there are always telltale signs. Usually, that’s footwear — you can go without washing your hair in the morning or shaving off the stubble; you can even put on unwashed clothes and smudge a bit of dirt here and there, but nobody can be very happy if their feet are uncomfortable. Homeless people do not wear $150 Nikes, no matter how dirty they may be. The guy on this particular occasion was walking down the lane markings bet ween t wo rows of stopped cars with a sign that said something to the effect of “Tired, hungry and broke. Anything you can spare helps. God bless.” He wasn’t really wearing anything that would validate my suspicions. As the light changed and traffic started to move, he folded

Homeless people SUBSCRIBE TO OUR don’t wear $150 NEWSLETTER nikes, no matter How dirty tHey may be MOREit under his up his signREAD and tucked arm and moved over to the curb. While walking back to the intersection, he reached into the pocket of his ratty jacket and pulled out a cellphone. I rolled down the window and yelled “Sell the cellphone! That USED CAR to eat.” should get you enough In all fairness, though, maybe he just can’t scrape together enough for a place to live with all the added costs of living in today’s world – cellular plansCOMPARE aren’t cheap, you know? Neither is the cost of car insurance if he needs to drive to the high traffic corners where he’s bound to get a higher return on his begging. Or maybe he was just keeping in touch with his homeless budTHE notes VIDEO about who dies, comparing made how much and what kind of meal they were going to be able to scrape up later; or maybe his wife at the dumpster called to ask him to bring milkPHOTO for their baby but come on … GALLERY Can’t they just text each other ONLINE so the phone doesn’t ring and turn people like me off?

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• glen woodcock/QMi Agency The Hollywood was built using the dies originally created for the Cord 810 Westchester.

7


8

Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Thursday, August 16, 2012

TEST DRIVE

2 0 1 2 toyota p r i u S c

Newest Prius somethiNg to C Stingy five-door a winning combination of value and fuel economy, all wrapped up in an attractive urban package

hArrY

PEgg

psdoph@telusplanet.net Toyota Canada took me to “C” recently — Prius C, that is. The new entry in the subcompact segment for 2012, it’s the third in the Prius line – and the smallest of the family whose name stands for City. And while it bears the same name as the re g ula r Priu s a n d th e la rge r Prius V, it has a look all its own. Not Prius-like at all really, it looks like a lot of the other five-door vehicles in the segment. Nothing really stands out except for the huge white- and red-lensed tail lights. In front there’s a vaguely fish-like face centred by Toyota’s signature blue-backed hybrid badge. In between is a hatchback profile that holds the promise of interior space. Once inside I discover there’s

room for four people of average size to travel comfortably, although I find the driver seat cushion uncomfortable. I have a multi-function steering wheel that handles audio, climate and dash display controls. Everything is within easy reach, including a long twig-like shift selector. Set just slightly left of centre is the low binnacle which houses the digital speedometer and information display — and there’s plenty of information. One of the neatest is a display that will tell you how much your trip is costing you. All you have to do is input the cost of fuel in your area and the computer takes it from there. For instance, a 40 km trip in Calgary cost me $1.58. That’s ch e a p, b ut in eve r y other aspect the Prius C cannot be called cheap — it’s too well put together for that, but it is certainly inexpensive. Yes, plastic is the most prevalent finish material in the cabin, but it has

The C is the smallest and most city-friendly of the three-model Toyota Prius lineup

a soft, upscale, look to it. You can get into a base model like my tester for under $21,000 (before taxes) which brings you everything you really need in a car. If you’re not satisfied with cloth seats, and convenience features like power windows, l o c k s a n d m i r ro r s , a d e c e n t audio system, air conditioning, cruise control and well-laid-out interior, you can jazz it up with navigation, moonroof and fauxleather seats (heated up front) and still keep just a shade under 26 grand. There are plenty of larger vehicles with more interior space and more power out there in the same price range, so what sets the C apart? Number one is its fuel economy. Toyota claims it won’t often be seen at gas pumps. It’s true. I drove this base C for a week and still had a quarter-tank of fuel after averaging 4.8 L/100 km. I could probably have done better, but I never babied the car during our time together.

• HARRy PEgg/qmi AgeNCY Photos

FACT FILE

With a starting price under $21,000, the Prius C offers what a driver needs, but you can add your ‘wants,’ too. The lit tle 1 . 5L four-banger under the hood got a workout. If it wasn’t for the boost from the Hybrid Synergy Drive electric motor, the C wouldn’t pull the skin off a pudding. With that extra battery kick the combined 9 9 h o r s e p owe r get s e n o u gh oomph for a brisk star t from stoplights and to handle traffic situations in the city. If you’re thinking about making a pass on the highway, the C requires plenty of space because you’re not going to get much response — other than rev noise — when you step on the gas at 100 km/h, even with the CVT transmission supposedly keeping things in the “sweet spot.” That’s the price you pay for exceptional fuel economy. Number two is handling. The C is surprisingly nimble in city traffic and handles all the bumps and holes of springtime streets without jarring its passengers. On the highway, wind and road noise are about average for the segment, meaning this is no cone of silence vehicle by any means. Compared to the other members of the Prius family, the C is smaller but a bit more cityfriendly and even more environmentally friendly. “ N e a t l i t tl e c a r,” s ays t h e attendant at my usual station. “Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in a couple of weeks.” “Oh, I’ve been around here,” I say. “I just didn’t need fuel.” “Good thing everybody doesn’t drive one of those,” he says. “I’d go broke.”

As tested (before tax): $20,950 Options on test vehicle: none Freight/PDI: $1,565 Configuration: front engine, frontwheel drive Engine/transmission: 1.5L 4 cyl. with hybrid synergy drive/ continuously variable automatic Power/torque: 99 hp combined/NA Fuel (capacity): regular (36L) F u e l e c o nBUILD o m y r aAND tings (L/100km): 3.5 city, 4.0 hwy PRICE THIS CAR Observed fuel economy: 4.8 L/100km over 426 km Warranties: three years/ 60,000 km (basic), five years/ 100,000 km (powertrain), eight years/160,000 km (hybrid components) Competitors: honda Civic hybrid, honda Fit, Nissan Versa, toyota Yaris Strengths: great price, outstanding fuel economy SUBSCRIBE TO OUR Weaknesses: lack of power, NEWSLETTER uncomfy driver seat

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