Category Archive: Road Test Special

Dec 06

Road Test Special: Do You Have A Winter Emergency Kit In Your Vehicle?

Snow Crash, Road-Test.org, Iain Shankland
By Iain Shankland

Imagine this…

You’re driving home from a relative or a friend’s house one winter evening. When you left home it was a clear, bright sunny day – but an unexpected snow storm has quickly moved through the area and you’re trying to get home quickly and safely. The road you’re driving on could be a major highway or a country back road, but either way, it’s deserted and you see very few vehicles.

Rounding a bend you start to slide off the road, and before you can do anything about it you’re well and truly stuck in the snow. You may be right beside the road, so someone passing by will see you (and hopefully won’t slide right into your car), or you may be off the road just far enough that a passing motorist wouldn’t see your vehicle as they passed by. (I came up on one motorist a couple of years ago that went into the centre median and the only visible signs of his car were the tail lights.)

You know you have to get out and see if you can at least move the car or dig it out. Unfortunately you didn’t put any winter boots on – you’re wearing dress shoes – oops! And you didn’t bother to bring gloves or a hat with you because the car was nice and warm after idling it for awhile before you left home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 07

Winter Tires Vs. All-Season Tires. Is Your Car Ready For Winter?

Winter Tires Vs. All-seasons Tires – The Facts
Winter Tires Vs. All-seasons Tires, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org
By Iain Shankland

Has winter arrived in your part of the world yet? In my area we usually get our first big snowstorm on or around the 15th of November, but so far this year we’re still having well-above freezing temperatures with no snow in sight!  The inevitable is going to happened sooner or later, but my usual concern when the snow starts to fly is: when do I change from my summer tires to my winter tires? Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 31

Ford Changed The World When He Gave Us The Model T – Tesla’s Going To Change It Back Again

Ford brought the Model T to the masses – Tesla plans to do the same…with the Model 3Road-Test.org

Tesla. What’s the first thing you think of when you read or hear that word?

For me, it was a very expensive electric car that the Hollywood gang loved to be seen-in – so they could tell us how to live our life and save the environment from their ivory tower. For that reason alone, I completely ignored the car and everything about it.

But I was wrong – so very wrong. What changed my mind? Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 17

Electric Vehicles – The Answer to Every Urban Commuter’s Prayers

…Or Are They?

Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org, Tesla StationAt this year’s Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) the stand-out theme would have to be Electric Vehicles (EVs) – at least that’s where most of the manufacturers seem to be spending their time, energy and design money. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with electric vehicles – don’t get me wrong – but the fact that they’re being touted as an urban commuter – I’m not so sure about that.

Over the past few years I’ve written a couple of articles about EVs and hybrids – their pros and cons, and a lot of people have wondered why they haven’t really caught on. Well, it’s starting to look like the EV has gained enough momentum that it might actually dominate the market in the not too distant future. Manufacturers are all on board, sure there’s the odd hold-out like Mazda, but overall the manufacturers are fully committed to embracing electric – some are also looking at hydrogen and hybrid in tandem – or maybe they’re just hedging their bets. Read the rest of this entry »

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May 06

Off The Beaten Track – Auburn IN, An Auto Museum-land In The Heart Of America

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum (ACD), Road-Test.orgLast year my wife and I made a special trip to Battle Ground, Indiana (just outside of Lafayette), to visit one thing that had been on our ‘bucket list’ since the day we met…Wolf Park [WolfPark.org]. It took us 8 hours of driving to get there – but it was worth every minute. Our experience of getting a wet kiss from a real wolf and plenty of photo opportunities can be found HERE.

What we didn’t expect on our journey was the wonderful city of Auburn, Indiana. We stopped in Auburn for a coffee break – only to discover there are a number of auto and air museums there. If you love cars and/or planes – this is your mecca. You simply MUST take the time to visit Auburn, or even make it an actual trip destination.

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum (ACD), Road-Test.orgIf you’re planning a trip to the Indy 500 or even a NASCAR event at either Michigan International Speedway (MIS) or Chicagoland Speedway – you aren’t far from Auburn. Located a little over Read the rest of this entry »

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May 05

The Best Car Cleaning Article – EVER!

Road-test.orgAccording to the calendar, it’s Spring!  According to the thermometer, Spring is a myth here in South Central Ontario and we’re experiencing “Sprinter” (Spring/Winter). Regardless, in your region it’s either time to Spring clean your vehicle, or it soon will be!

If you’re interested in getting the best out of your vehicle in terms of performance, economy, efficiency, longevity, value and head-turning admiration, you should give it some special care at least a couple of times each year. That said, Road-Test.org has decided to bring you some Spring Cleaning tips for your vehicle. (While a thorough cleaning inside and out could take you half a day, there’s nothing wrong with splitting these tasks up into more manageable chunks that may fit better with your schedule. Just don’t cheat yourself – or your car – do them all!)

Interior

Clear out before you clean out. Grab a garbage bag for the trash and have a box or basket handy for all those items you will be keeping. Empty your vehicle of all the unnecessary bits and pieces that you’ve been carrying around. Throw out all the trash – check all the corners, crevices and under the seats. Check your glove box and give it a quick purge and tidy too – it’s amazing how many napkins you accumulate from the drive-thru! Put away your winter emergency kits, that bag of kitty litter you been lugging around in case of emergency, snow brushes, snow boards and especially those heavy hockey bags! Every little bit counts, and extra weight can create additional drag which means your vehicle is less efficient. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 25

Have You Switched Over To Your Winter Tires Yet?

slippery_snow-403With temperatures already dipping to the freezing point and some areas of the country already experiencing snow – have you switched over to your winter tires yet?

Remember – there’s no such thing as a good “all-season” tire – just a no-season tire. All seasons tires become suspect when temperatures dip below 7°C – that’s the point where winter tires start to come good. Winter tires aren’t “snow tires” – that’s a term that tire manufacturers are trying to avoid using, because people think the winter tire is only for snow. Not true, winter tires are for cold, snow and ice – they give you superior grip and stopping power.

A very common misconception among drivers of SUV’s and other 4WD vehicles, is that a 4 wheel-drive/AWD vehicle provides them with the safety measures they need when driving on ice. This deadly misconception has no grip on reality (pun intended) whatsoever –a 4WD/AWD vehicle will help you get started from a full stop and will partially help you around corners, but will certainly not help you to stop or slow the vehicle down any faster than a RWD or FWD vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 24

Road Test Special: Kia Open the Doors For An Exclusive Look At Cars And The Kia/Toronto FC Academy

Iain Shankland,  Toronto FC, KIA Canada, Road-Test.org

2013 KIA Soul /Toronto FC

Text: Iain Shankland
Images: Kia Canada / Iain Shankland

Recently I was invited to a special event at the Kia Toronto FC Academy training ground in Downsview – a suburb of Toronto. KIA were showing a select number of journalists’ an insider view of the $21 million training facility along with some new or upgraded Kia vehicles for 2014.

Kia is scheduled to have 47 new or completely redesigned models between 2014 and 2017. Along with a first-look at the newly redesigned Forte 5 and Soul, we also got a look at the mid-cycle refresh of the popular Optima. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 21

Road-Test Book Review: The Top Gear Story by Martin Roach

Top-Gear-Logo

Who’s not a fan of the hugely successful TV show Top Gear? Well if you’re a thin-skinned, tree-hugging Greenpeace activist with a penchant for Political Correctness and you have no sense of humour – you won’t like it. For everyone else it’s the best show on TV.

Part car show, part comedy, part drama, part stupid-and-self-indulgent among other things, the show gets 350-500 million viewers per episode, so it’s obviously hitting the right chord with people around the world. It’s also the most-pirated TV show on earth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 11

The Mercedes-Benz Museum – Stuttgart, Germany

 

Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland

© 2013 Iain Shankland

Travelling to Stuttgart from any part of Germany is easy, thanks to the excellent autobahn and rail system.  On our most recent visit we took in the very impressive Mercedes-Benz Museum.

 

As you walk up to the front doors of the museum your anticipation grows for what lies inside the great glass building, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.   It doesn’t matter if you are a car enthusiast or not – there’s plenty of interesting barrier-free displays to keep adults and children occupied for hours. Displays are in German as well as English, and guided tours are presented in an abundance of languages thanks to the (included) portable self-guided tour device with headphones. For a very reasonable €8 (children are €4) you get hours of enjoyment, a self-guided tour and a nifty Mercedes-Benz lanyard as a souvenir – not bad at all! ( €1 is approximately $1.35 Cdn)

Read the rest of this entry »

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