Category Archive: Special Report

Jan 18

Why Are So Many Auto Manufacturers Offering Electric Vehicles?, Electric Vehicles, Iain Shankland

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Almost every day now we’re seeing announcements of new electric vehicles arriving very soon. Although they’ve been around for a while now – the Chevrolet Volt is now entering its 2nd Generation, and the Nissan Leaf, which has been around since 2012 will be all-new for the 2017 model year. Ford have the Fusion, Focus and C-Max plug in/hybrid models and don’t forget the leader of hybrid cars/SUV – Toyota, as well as Tesla, Kia and now Hyundai.

It’s getting to the point that we’re going to have an abundance of electric vehicles to choose from in 2016 and 2017- and that’s a good thing. So why all this bombardment? Why are so many manufacturers jumping on the Electric Vehicle Bandwagon?

Range Anxiety
The biggest obstacle until now has been the limited range of electric vehicles. Who wants a car that only goes 84 miles (135 kms) – best-case-scenario (from Nissan) between a re-charge?! A re-charge that can take up to 20 hours when charged from 110/120 Volt outlet!! The Nissan Leaf is great if you never leave town, with its entirely useless 84 miles (135 kms) range (the EPA has it pegged at an even worse 75 miles/121 kms). If I left my house heading for Toronto – about 1 ½ hours away with bumper-to-bumper traffic I’d just about get there, but not home without a re-charge – talk about ‘range anxiety!! Nissan are touting the ‘NEW’ 2016 Leaf  will bump it to a “whopping” 107 miles (172 kms), so I’ll definitely reach Toronto, but still have to charge it to get home after spending the night in a hotel. Read the rest of this entry »


Nov 27

For Canadians Crossing The U.S. Border To Save Some Money: It Could Cost You More Than You’ll Expect

©Audrey Durose – Fotolia

A recent poll conducted by BCAA (British Columbia Automobile Association) showed that the majority of B.C. travellers crossing the border for short trip take risks – insurance risks from unexpected medical emergencies.

In a recent cross-border travel poll it was revealed that 77% of British Columbians who have travelled to the U.S. without travel insurance, do so because they believe that short trips don’t justify getting insurance.

With many Canadians making travel plans to the U.S. for Black Friday shopping, travellers should consider the risks with leaving their province – even for a few hours, without adequate medical coverage.

“It’s a huge gamble to leave B.C. [Canada] for any length of time without any, or adequate, travel insurance,” says Hubert Rau, BCAA’s vice president of Insurance Marketing. “Learning from our survey that people are travelling unprotected is troubling. Even a minor, unexpected medical emergency, especially in the U.S., could cost thousands of dollars to treat, let alone all the other expenses associated with a medical incident.” Read the rest of this entry »


Oct 30

The first track-focused street-legal lightweight supercar from Canada

The Magnum MK5 officially unveiled

Magnum MK5 01Created from a passion for motorsport in the late 60s, when original founder Jean-Pierre St-Jacques built Magnum’s first formula racecar, Magnum Cars is now entering the lightweight supercar segment with the introduction of the MK5.

The brainchild of his son Bruno St-Jacques, himself a well-rounded and successful racecar driver, the Magnum MK5 aims to offer an incredible driving experience; the closest that most will get to experiencing a real racecar.

Featuring impressive power-to-weight ratio of 460 bhp per tonne, remarkable handling with cornering forces of over 2Gs, second-to-none build quality, and cutting edge design, the Magnum MK5 strives on offering the ultimate excitement for all the senses, so that both driver and passenger can enjoy the true feeling of a pure and exhilarating car. Having recently completed its development program, including 3 years of extensive track testing, the Magnum MK5 is now ready to be unveiled to car enthusiasts around the globe. Read the rest of this entry »


Jun 18

Dufferin Street In Toronto Is The Worst Road In Ontario

CAA - Worst Roads In Ontario

CAA SCO reveals Top 10 List

TORONTO, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ – For two years in a row, Dufferin Street in Toronto has been voted the worst road in Ontario. Over the years, Dufferin Street has made CAA’s Worst Roads List seven times – not far behind Steeles Avenue which previously earned eight spots on the list.Half of the roads on the 2013 list are from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). This year, Burlington  Avenue East in Hamilton moved up one spot on the list while Finch Avenue West and Bayview Avenue, both in Toronto, jumped five spots. Read the rest of this entry »


Apr 02

CAA Applauds Repeal of Florida IDP (International Drivers Permit) Law

Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

April 02, 2013 13:56 ET

Governor’s Approval Today Resolves Situation for Canadian Drivers in Florida


OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 2, 2013) – The Canadian Automobile Association is pleased that the state of Florida today officially repealed a law that made it mandatory for Canadian drivers to carry an International Driving Permit.

The repeal comes after interventions from CAA, other stakeholders and thousands of Canadian drivers caught unaware by the IDP law, which came into effect with no notice. CAA applauds the government of Florida for repealing the law, a process that ended today when Gov. Rick Scott signed the repeal bill.

“Effective immediately, Canadians in Florida can go back to doing what they have always been able to do – drive with peace of mind in the Sunshine State using their provincial driver’s license,” said Jeff Walker, CAA Vice President of Public Affairs. “CAA is pleased that the voices of its members and others were listened to by state officials, and that the state of Florida has removed any uncertainty.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Apr 01

Car Makers Sharpen Their Crayons For April Fools Day

With another April Fools day in the record books it’s time to review what kind of pranks the auto makers have been getting up to. It’s funny to see the extremes they’ll go to just to prove they actually have a sense of humour. Here are our favourites from this year.

First up, the runner up for the best 2013 April Fool’s prank by an Automaker ….


BMW April Fools,

With a royal baby due this summer, BMW proudly announced the launch of the limited edition BMW P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile). Available in Princess Pink or Royal Blue. The soft-top convertible has been designed using our EfficientDynamics technology. With two or four-wheel-drive, it rides as smoothly on a polo field as it does down The Mall and comes with air conditioning and built-in extendable flagpoles as standard. For those who are ‘too posh to push’ this masterpiece of motherhood even comes fitted with N.A.P.P.I.E. (Nanny-Assisting Petrol-Powered Injection Engine).

Read the rest of this entry »


Feb 25

New tool quickly calculates yearly cost of ownership, which Canadians consistently underestimate

BCAA - logoBCAA “Driving Costs” provides real price tag of owning a vehicle

New tool quickly calculates yearly cost of ownership, which Canadians consistently underestimate

BURNABY, BC, Feb. 25, 2013 /CNW/ – A vehicle is the second-largest expense most people have, but a lot of us are not taking into account all the expenses associated with owning and driving a vehicle. Today, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) is pleased to introduce “Driving Costs”, a free online tool that will allow motorists to calculate the cost of vehicle ownership easily and quickly. For everything from gas to licence fees and depreciation, “Driving Costs” will provide British Columbians the real cost of owning and operating a vehicle in our province.

In a CAA study conducted as part of an Ipsos Reid poll of over 2,000 Canadians, about four in five of respondents under-estimate the cost of owning and operating a vehicle, with six in ten Canadians under-estimating the cost by $4,000 or more. The study also reveals that two-thirds of Canadians think their annual grocery bill is bigger than their car ownership costs, which is not true. The yearly ownership cost for an average compact car in B.C. is about $9,500 while the average British Columbian spends close to $5,700 on groceries a year.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dec 07

CANADIANS: Beware of Ambient Auto Center of Oklahoma ads

TORONTO, ON – OMVIC, the regulator of motor vehicle sales in Ontario, has been alerted by the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission (UMVPC), of a potential on-line scam specifically targeting Canadian car buyers.

Address of Ambient Auto Center of Oklahoma

UMVPC alleges Ambient Auto Center of Oklahoma City advertises on the Canadian sites of Autotrader, Wheels, E-bay, Craigslist, Kijiji and Autocatch: their ads offer high-end late model vehicles at prices that may be ‘too good to be true’. UMVPC Investigator John Cobb states, “We have received numerous inquiries about this operation. Their website became active in October and yet they are not a licensed dealer. From what we have seen thus far, all their advertising is targeting Canadians.”

A review of Ambient Auto Center’s website finds claims of “hundreds of used exotic vehicles” for sale and “award-winning service”, and they offer to “ship world wide” (sic). However, according to Cobb, “this dealer has no physical presence – the advertised address for this supposed extensive dealer operation is in fact an empty corn field next to a warehouse owned by the State of Oklahoma. We are making this information public to stop this scam from finding a victim”.

Read the rest of this entry »


Nov 28

A Hybrid May Take a Few Years to Pay Back the Extra Purchase Cost, but You May Never Feel the Financial Hit

[NOTE: this is U.S. information, but still relevant to Canadians]


One of the knocks on hybrid vehicles is that it may take you several years to break even on the extra cost of the hybrid technology despite the money you’ll save on gasoline. That’s true.


However, if you add that additional cost to your loan, rather than your down payment, you may never feel that initial financial “hit” that discourages some from purchasing a hybrid. Plus, you could save thousands during the time you own the vehicle. has developed a tool to help you decide if paying the extra cost of a hybrid makes good financial sense for you ( ). It allows you to base your analysis on several factors, such as fuel costs in your area, the number of miles you drive each year, and how long you plan to keep the vehicle. It also allows you to calculate how much the extra hybrid cost will add to your total car loan and monthly payment.

Read the rest of this entry »


Jun 03

Road Test Special: Buying A New Vehicle – Is It A Pleasure or Painful?

I go under cover and put my own money on the line to find out

Text / Images: Iain Shankland

Every day, many people purchase new and used vehicles over the internet through eBay and other similar sites. In fact eBay claim they sell just short of 1,500 vehicles EVERY DAY! That’s over 500,000 per year. Now I’ve bought plenty of things over the internet, but a new vehicle is one thing I don’t think I could ever do. I do lots of research and comparison shopping before I buy and the internet is used 99.9% of the time to do that, but I have to see and touch things before parting with my cash – especially anything over $50.

So why am I even mentioning this if you know I won’t be giving you my experience of purchasing a vehicle over the internet? Well, I did use the internet to purchase my new vehicle, but I also touched and drove it before handing over my money. Let me explain…

What Does An Auto Journalist Buy When It’s Time To Get A New Vehicle?

When I can drive almost any vehicle in any price-bracket, you’d think it would be quite easy for me to make a decision when it comes time to buy my very own vehicle – but it’s actually quite difficult.

Read the rest of this entry »


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