2012 Range Rover Evoque

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past eight months you have likely seen some of the buzz around the 2012 Range Rover Evoque.  It first appeared in Canadian showrooms in October of 2011, as the newest addition to Land Rover’s 2012 vehicle line-up and since then there has been no shortage of marketing and PR support. However, recently the PR machine seems to have slowed down so we thought now would be a good time to take a closer look to see what all the hype is about.

The combination of Range Rover’s Illustrious lineage as the estate vehicle of royalty, celebrities and anyone who matters, certainly lends itself well to attracting attention when w models are launched. Much of the recent launch fanfare has been around Victoria Beckham’s (a.k.a. Posh Spice) involvement in the interior’s design as she provided input into the final design giving it a “chic” touch.

In spite of being Range Rover’s smallest and most efficient models ever built, the interior stays true to form and portrays the Range Rover luxury look and feel so many other manufactures can only aspire to ever achieve.

The Evoque is available in both a two door and four door model, its new sleek innovative design is intended to appeal to a younger, urban market versus the higher-end larger Range Rover models. And with a competitive starting price of $46,995 CAD it is priced right for the entry level, luxury SUV/Crossover segment.

Along with massive amounts of mainstream press coverage, the kudos and industry awards just keep flowing for Range Rover’s Evoque as it has now won a variety of global auto awards including; 2011 Car of the Year by Top Gear and Motor Trend’s 2012 SUV of the year.

Keeping with Range Rover’s royal theme connection we wanted to point out an amazing video of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II driving her vintage Range Rover in the UK countryside.  It’s absolutely priceless listening to her chit chat with the local rabbit hunters while driving through one of her estates.

So to close, I think it’s safe to say the new Range Rover Evoque is living up to the hype of its launch and if the older Range Rover models are good enough for the Queen, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque should certainly be at the top of the list for any car savvy soccer Mom.  But of course, the big question still remains. Has the Queen added the Range Rover Evoque to her royal fleet line-up?

To be continued….

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2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Review

Earlier this month, we accepted GM Canada’s offer to provide us with a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ test vehicle to do a one week evaluation. In doing the review we drove the Chevy Sonic in both urban and rural environments to experience first hand what GM’s newest subcompact product is all about.  And I have to say, it did not disappoint and exceeded our expectations overall of what a subcompact car should be.  From its unique and distinctive styling, well appointed interior, powerful turbo engine, fun, six speed manual transmission and eco-friendly footprint it really is a solid car able to compete with the best cars in its class.

Our tester was a top of the line 5 door LTZ model which comes with all the bells and whistles including:

  • 1.4L Turbocharged ECOTEC four cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500 RPM
  • 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive
  • Air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, cruise control, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, USB port and auxiliary audio input jack, and Bluetooth: hands free phone and audio connectivity.
  • 17 inch painted aluminum wheels
  • Trunk/storage space – 19 cubic feet with rear seats up and 30.7 cubic feet with rear seats folded down – based on GM Canada’s vehicle information
  • $20,495 MSRP based on GM Canada’s website as of May 27, 2012

Some key facts about the Chevy Sonic:

  • Currently built in GM’s Lake Orion, Michigan plant, the Sonic is the only Subcompact car sold in North America manufactured within the United States.
  • This is really great news for us in North America as it signals more good things to come from GM in the way of innovative and high quality products.

With its modern, machined metal look and driver focused feel the Sonic’s interior has the appearance of a much more expensive automobile inside.  

We found the Sonic’s driver and passenger visibility to be very good overall which is reassuring since there has been some recent criticism about driver visibility within the subcompact vehicle segment.

And with a highway fuel consumption rating of 5.1 L/100 KM as based on GM Canada’s manufacturer information the Sonic is very fuel efficient even for its class.  An effective eco-feature with the six speed manual transmission is a notification on the dash of when to shift to a higher gear in order to save fuel.  While it’s hard to say if this feature will really change anyone’s driving behaviour, it is very cool to know what the optimal shift times are.

The nimble Sonic is a blast to drive. When accelerating off the line it felt solid, ready to give you more. The engine is very responsive as is both steering and braking.  The ride is elegantly quiet and smooth.  Literally, the only complaint over the week was the fact that there was not an armrest on the passenger seat, or a high enough centre console for the passenger to rest an arm – not exactly a big deal in the whole scheme of things.

Competitors to the Sonic in this subcompact class include the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa and the Mazda 2.

Our overall rating for the Chevrolet Sonic is a 4.5 out of 5. With this type of stellar performance, it should be at the top of your list if you are in the market for a new sporty subcompact.

The Gumball 3000 rolls into Toronto….

I really can’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful, warm, May evening than checking out the sights and sounds of the Gumball 3000 race.  Last night, as the caravan arrived in Toronto, the RedlineNorth team captured the glitz and glam of these amazing branded up supercars as they entered the closed off streets of Toronto’s Yorkville area.

Started in 1999, the Gumball 3000 is a modern day Cannonball Run which attracts international socialites and playboys from all over the globe to participate in a cross country road race. For 2012, the race has returned to its roots as racers drive the epic New York City to Los Angeles route.

With a wide range of ultra expensive models being used as street racers there is certainly something for everyone who’s into cars. Along with the cars is the equally impressive star- studded line-up of drivers who have competed in the race including Daryl Hannah, David Hasselhoff, Dennis Rodman and Tony Hawk.  The full list can be seen here. This annual event is like no other in North America. The opportunity to participate should be number one on any car enthusiasts ultimate dream wish list.

Ken Block Gymkhana Four – Bonus Edit

A new edit of the Ken Block Gymkhana Four video has appeared online.  Gymkhana Four was filmed as part of a DC shoes promotion.  The new edit of the video has removed the ‘Hollywood’ aspects of the video (read commercial aspects).

DC explains: “We’ve removed the “Hollywood” aspects of Gymkhana FOUR and instead placed the focus on Block’s behind-the-wheel driving precision by incorporating never-before-seen shots and all-new angles of previous shots.

The time of the video has been reduced from 9:16 to 5:11.  The result? Well you be the judge:

New Edit:

Original Edit:

 

 

 

 

 

Tesla Model S – Sherway Gardens Toronto

For those readers in the Greater Toronto Area here’s your chance to see a Tesla Model S up close and personal.

The Model S is a full-sized battery electric sedan developed by Tesla Motors. The base model will have a range of 160 miles (260 km) when fully charged, and a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) acceleration of 6.5 seconds (4.4 seconds with an upgraded battery ) all with zero tailpipe emissions. Pricing of the Model S starts at $50,000 USD (which includes the $7,500 US Federal Tax Credit).

A beta version of the Model S is currently parked at Sherway Gardens mall in Etobicoke from today until Sunday. The beta version is a 90% production intent prototype of the Model S. Tesla Model SThe viewing hours as as follows:

Wednesday – Friday: 10AM – 9PM
Saturday: 9:30AM – 6PM
Sunday: 11AM – 6PM

In related news Tesla announced today that the first customer deliveries of the Model S to pre-registered buyers will begin on June 22nd, 2012.

Model S

And you thought your car stereo was loud….

For certain car enthusiasts having a loud car stereo is on the top of their wish list. The RedlineNorth team came across the following video which simply blows other car stereos away, quite literally, in terms of pure loudness.

You have to be impressed when a car stereo can shake the windows of a store in a strip mall parking lot and shake women’s hair to the beat of the music.

The car in question is a 2001 SMD Chevy Tahoe installed with the following:

Mac Mini / 10.2″ Touchscreen
Pioneer P710 Bluetooth Headunit
4 18″ Ascendant Audio SMD Subwoofers
10 Rockford Fosgate 6.5″
2 Rockford Fosgate 8″
2 Rockford Fosgate 4″
12 Rockford Fosgate 1″
8 Rockford Fosgate T2500.1 bdCP (Bass) (2 amps on each sub)
2 Rockford Fosgate T1000.4 (Midbass/Midrange)
1 Rockford Fosgate T600.2 (Tweeters)
2 Rockford Fosgate 3sixty.2 Processors
4 350 Amp Mechman Alternators
10 XS Power D3100 Batteries
Second Skin Sound Deadened Top to Bottom
Viper 5901 Security
Ridetech Shockwave Titanium Suspension
Wilwood 6 piston 16″ Caliper Brakes
DJM and Spohn Control Arms
“Meadecherry” Paint by Roy Devore

All of this equals 30,000 watts! Yes, that’s 30,000 watts.

The reactions of some of the people sitting in the Tahoe are priceless.

The Cars and Trucks of 1980s TV Shows

As a kid growing up in the 1980s, one of my best memories is the amazing variety of TV shows that starred the cars and trucks of the day. Although these vehicles were amazing in so many ways, the acting was a different story.  And now looking back some of these vehicles are very rudimentary when you compare them to some of the most basic of today’s cars.  Nevertheless, I would love to have any one of these in a collection some day.

Here is a list of some of the most iconic cars from the hit shows of the decade.  Please feel free to leave a comment with your vote for the favourite choice from the list below.

Dukes of Hazzard aired from 1979 – 1985

The General Lee – 1969 Dodge Charger

The Fall Guy  aired from 1981 – 1986

GMC Sierra Grande 4×4 pickup

The A Team aired from 1983 – 1987

GMC Vandura van

Magnum P.I. aired from 1980 – 1988

Ferrari 308 GTB

Knight Rider aired from 1982 – 1986

1982 Pontiac Trans-Am

Miami Vice aired from 1984-1989

Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari Daytona

Team Hot Wheels Yellow Car World Record

For those who loved Hot Wheels cars as a kid this video is for you. It was taken last year and the Indianapolis 500 . Engineers spent more than a year planning and building a life-size Hot Wheels track for a world-record jump attempt by a four-wheeled vehicle. Wired offers a good background story on how this project came together.

After watching this video it’s hard not be impressed with this effort and the skills of the driver. The car didn’t land flush on the ramp during the landing but he still managed to maintain control. In the end the car managed to jump 332 feet.

Legendary Motorcar Company

As I drove to Guelph to visit the folks over Mother’s Day weekend in GM Canada’s 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ demo vehicle, I thought what better way to break up the drive then to visit Legendary Motorcar Company Ltd located in Halton Hills. If you ever have the chance to be in the Georgetown/Halton Hills area it is must see for the car enthusiast.

Legendary Motorcar first opened its doors in 1985 with a dream of restoring and trading in the finest and rarest of classic and performance cars. Soon after they began producing national show winning restorations and record sales. By 1990 they had expanded to a 12,000 sq ft, facility and began selling European marques, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Porsche while continuing to sell some of the rarest domestic models. In 2002 they moved all operations into its brand new 55,000 sq. ft. facility located in Halton Hills, Ontario. This current location includes: 100 car showroom, fully equipped mechanical and assembly bays, downdraft spray booth and body shop, a conference center and is the set of the Dream Car Garage television show.  The facility is also the current head office of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

With over 90 vehicles currently, it really is a dream car garage, as every vehicle in the showroom would make your garage the envy of the neighbourhood.  From impeccably restored American and British classics, to European exotics to purpose built race cars, Legendary Motorcar Company has it all. Here is an assortment of some of their current inventory which is either for sale, recently restored or being stored for customers. Keeping with the overall dream theme, someday I hope to drive home from this place behind the wheel of one of my dream cars. But for now, I guess I better just keep dreaming…

A legend is gone…

Yesterday, there was some very sad news in the automotive world as we learned of the passing of the  American automotive designer and racing driver Carroll Hall Shelby (January 11, 1923 – May 10, 2012).  Mr. Shelby passed yesterday at Baylor Hospital in Dallas at the age of 89.

Caroll Shelby was most well known for making the AC Motors-based Shelby American Cobra and later the Mustang-based performance cars for Ford Motor Company known as Mustang Cobras. His company, Shelby American Inc., founded in 1962, currently sells modified Ford vehicles, as well as performance parts.

The AC Cobra, also known as the Shelby Cobra in North America, is a legendary sports car that was produced during the 1960s. With it’s amazing horsepower to weight ratio the Cobra had the title of fastest production car of the day during the 60’s. This trait stands out in a story I read many years ago about comedian Bill Cosby, who while rising to fame bought an original Shelby Cobra but had to sell it soon after, as he was too afraid of the immense power from the epic roadster.

Today, there are many companies that build replica Shelby Cobras around the globe.  One of the biggest names in the replica business is California based, Superperformance which sells three different body styles of replica Cobras.

Replica or the real thing, most people will never have the chance to experience the ultimate visceral thrill of the Shelby Cobra on the road or the track so take a minute to listen to one in action.  Here is a video that provides a little taste of the raw power of the AC Shelby Cobra.

There are already many tributes appearing online from all over the globe and there will be many more to come in both the mainstream press and the automotive press about the man who stood for so much in the automotive world.  He will be dearly missed and hopefully his spirit will continue to inspire others to push the boundaries in the automotive industry. We will miss you Carroll Shelby.