PAGE 2 | AUTOMOTIVE | SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2010
2010 Cadillac SRX The Cadillac SRX, completely redesigned for 2010, has smooth performance and a luxurious interior that put it in line with class leaders. Best of all, it costs several thousand dollars less than all of them. Based on the Provoq concept revealed in 2008, the 2010 SRX is smaller and more luxurious than the model it replaces. With a starting price around $33,800, the new SRX is a great value — it’s one of the least expensive SUVs in its class. On top of that, the SRX has better fuel economy than most of its more
2010 CADILLAC SRX
expensive rivals — its 18/25 city/highway base rating is
surpassed only by the Acura RDX (and it actually gets
one mile per gallon less on the highway, but one more in the city). That confused wagon as you knew it is gone. In its place is a pure crossover. It’s smaller, a bit more distinctive and fitted with a new engine lineup topped by what’s thought to be Cadillac’s first-ever turbo in North America. But most critical for GM’s storied luxury brand, and the company as a whole, is that the SRX is a realistic competitor for segment-leader Lexus. Now, the SRX’s excellent value equation makes it hard to pass up.
2010 Mazda Miata From the minute you get in until you arrive at your destination, the Miata leaves you nothing short of thrilled It has 167 horses, of the Clydesdale variety, under the hood of a car that only weighs as much as one of the Rocky Mountain refreshment bringers. The 2010 Mazda Miata, like the horse, is complexity free. It forgoes hardcore German electronic engineering, it’s not handmade or bespoke, and it will not likely aid you in your bar pick-up game. But what this car will do is have you spending every minute of free time driving it. The Miata is one damn fun car. For the 2010 model,
2010 MAZDA MIATA
the engineers at Mazda utilized the Japanes mantra, “Jinba Ittai”, which tranlsates into “horse and rider as one.” Whether it is the
intentional structural implementation of aluminum, including the roof, trunk, engine block and cylinders, or linking the
engine, transmission and differential to one power plant, creating a perfect 50/50 front and rear weight ratio (by actually factoring in the driver’s weight), everything Mazda engineers did was to bring the Miata and it’s diver into a harmony not seen since Boyz II Men ruled the airwaves. This car exudes balance. Driving with the sixspeed close-ratio short shift manual, left me with nothing but smiles. Flicking the car around corners, drifts onto on-ramps, lane flicks under tractor trailers, the Mazda doesn’t just make you want to drive, it makes you the drive.
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee If the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee were organic, it would be a mutant, part crossover and part sport utility vehicle. But Grand Cherokee might better be described as a mixed breed. Ever since its debut in World War II, Jeep has nurtured its reputation as the planet’s popular-priced goanywhere conveyance. There are three versions of the Grand Cherokee: Laredo, Limited and Overland. All are available with rear-wheel drive or different versions of Jeep’s allwheel drive systems, as well as V6 or V8 engines. The starting price for the base two-wheel drive Laredo is $30,995. It is powered by a 280-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. Tested for this review was the top-of-the line Overland model with Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive system but without the off-road adventure package. It was powered by
2011 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE
the optional ($1,495) 360horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 engine. The V8 engine is the famed “hemi,” pioneered by Chrysler Corp. It is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. Included in the QuadraDrive all-wheel drive system is Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which enables the driver to choose among five modes for different condi-
tions: automatic, mud/ sand, rock, snow and sport. The last is performance oriented for on-road driving; it tightens the suspension system and recalibrates shift points for a sporting rear-drive handling feel. Also part of the package is an air suspension system, which Jeep calls QuadraLift. It automatically levels the Grand Cherokee at all four corners and can be manually adjusted to raise
and lower the ride height by as much as 4.1 inches. In the boondocks it can increase the ground clearance to nearly 11 inches. It also automatically lowers the ride height slightly at highway speeds for better fuel economy. On the highway, the Overland is surprisingly smooth and quiet given its SUV orientation. There is little wind, mechanical or tire noise. Inside, the front seats are supportive and comfortable, with good lateral support, and the surroundings featured real wood trim (plastic on lower-priced models). Instruments had easily readable white on black numerals. The Overland’s standard equipment includes a leather and wood steering wheel with a rim that is way fatter than generally found on vehicles these days. But it offered a reassuring grip that was appreciated after long hours behind the wheel.
2011 Volkswagon Tiguan Volkswagen is giving its Tiguan crossover a mild face-lift offering new powertrain combinations. The 2011 Tiguan goes on sale in June in Germany and later in the year in other markets. In Europe, the 2011 Tig-
uan will be available with two new BlueMotion fourcylinder engines — a 109horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel and, slightly later, a 121-hp 1.4-liter TSI gasoline unit. The Blue Motion engines are being offered only on front-wheel-drive variants. Prices in Germany start at just over $31,000. VW also is making available its seven-speed dualclutch gearbox, replacing the six-speed automatic, as well as keyless entry. Besides the redesigned spoiler and grille the 2011 VW Tiguan facelift gets new fog lights, headlights with LEDs, and new alloys. Other changes for the 2011
2011 VOLKSWAGON TIGUAN
Tiguan definitely include the front fascia, but the rear styling is very similar to 2010 model, as is the profile. The Tiguan will keep its Bi-Xenon headlights,
panoramic sunroof, dual exhaust tips and features like heated sideview mirrors. A slightly greater wheelbase above the 102.5 inches will change the control of the Tiguan. The Volkswagen Tiguan scored a perfect five out of five stars in 2010 across all frontal and side collision impact tests. Standard safety features includes antilock brakes, height-adjustable telescoping steering wheel, and a full complement of airbags. Fuel economy is expected to improve upward from the 19/26 miles per gallon for the manual transmission and 18/24 miles per gallon for the automatic. These numbers were good before in the class, if they improve due to the new engine, expect them to be at or near the top of the class.
AUTOMOTIVE | SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2010 | PAGE 3
2011 BUICK REGAL
2011 Buick Regal With a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a driver-selectable suspension system and a rigid Euro-tuned chassis, the new Buick Regal is a Buick like no other. The woodywagon Buick that your family owned and loved back in the seventies is a distant spec of history in its rearview mirror. Development of this car started in Germany where GM’s globally led engineering team created the Opel Insignia: the 2009 European Car of the Year. The Insignia is currently the best-selling midsize sedan in Europe and it arrives in Canada as the Buick Regal. The Regal has a longer wheelbase and a larger trunk than these two and notable features include a six-speed automatic transmission and a selectable driving mode option. The turbo version of the Regal is not available until the fall, but dealers may get some early demos you can test drive. The 2011 Regal is offered in premium CXL trim with two drivetrain options, and initial production will be sourced from Germany. Additional trim levels will be offered for the 2012 model year and its production will switch to Canada next year. The standard engine is an 2.4-litre direct injected Ecotec four-cylinder engine rated at 182 horsepower (136 kW) that comes with a six-speed automatic trans-
mission – both Americanmade components. The transmission has a manual mode and it’s a combination that provides decent power and excellent highway fuel consumption.
PAGE 4 | AUTOMOTIVE | SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2010