Malcolm Gunn

Can a small car really be mighty?

How could it miss, really?A cute, fun and economical car with Italian heritage at a base sticker price of just $17,000?Well, it hasn’t missed, exactly, but it has been a bumpy ride for Chrysler’s Italy-based offshoot as it attempts to carve out a decent-sized slice of a rather small niche-market...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 2:59 AM

Forget hybrids: Mazda’s not giving up on gas

It’s common for automakers to give labels to their more fuel-efficient offerings, whether that efficiency is real or perceived. It’s marketing and sales at its finest.There’s Ford’s EcoBoost line of engines as well as Chevrolet’s Ecotec and eAssist. And of course there’s Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 3:20 AM

It might be time to drive the dream

The Honda executive presenting the new Acura NSX supercar never stood a chance.During the media days that preceded the 2012 North American International Auto Show, which wrapped up Jan. 21, he “kindly” invited the Detroit audience of journalists onto the stage for a look. Well, ask and ye shall...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 3:12 AM

Bigger doesn’t always mean better for Buick

For traditional Buick lovers, their world must seem a truly bewildering place.Buyers of the brand’s big floaty sedans used to shop for Park Avenues, LeSabres and, until recently, Lucernes.But that large barge has now sailed, taking with it the last vestiges of what once made Buick the final word in...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 2:36 AM

Chevy Malibu poised to make some waves

From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and beyond, the next-generation Malibu aims to make waves on a truly global scale and shore up the Chevrolet brand in every continent short of Antarctica.Arriving in early 2012, the new Malibu is a direction-changing model in nearly every sense, from its...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 3:21 AM

Volkswagen’s pumped up kicks

When it comes to constructing the “hot-hatch” Golf R, Volkswagen certainly knows a thing “R” two.The automaker is able to call up the requisite firepower and related performance content from its parts bins to build the kind of machine that will attract new fans to the brand that might otherwise end...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 1:55 AM

This Prius has a bit more spark

The Prius is the world’s most successful gasoline-electric hybrid brand with more than two million copies sold since its 1997 launch. The fuel-frugal Toyota celebrates its 15th anniversary by adding a wagon to the lineup as well as the Plug-in Hybrid, or PHV, which arrives in early 2012.Although...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 2:19 AM

Volvo S60 R-Design is safe, practical ... and a little wild

It’s always an internal struggle when your heart screams “sports car” but your head, along with the pleadings of significant others, requires something more practical.Fortunately, Volvo offers a pleasant way to satisfy both sides of your nerve-wracked conscience with the 2012 S60 R-Design.The S60...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 1:45 AM

The greatest car show that you’ve never seen

We came, we saw and our feet and knees are still killing us after walking the miles of aisles trying to figure out the best dirt to relay to you. It’s not easy.The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show is a meeting of buyers and sellers of aftermarket auto parts and accessories from...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 1:14 AM

Cadillac CTS-V will haul something other than your groceries

Left-lane lingerers beware: the Cadillac CTS-V is coming to get you, and in a big hurry.A recent 800-kilometre combination freeway/two-lane drive proved that a CTS-V travelling, shall we say, at full-on passing velocity, is capable of moving anyone, and especially terminally inattentive left-lane...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 1:02 AM

Chevrolet retaliates with Camaro ZL1

It’s your move, Mustang and Challenger. The new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has got your number, or more correctly, has beaten your best horsepower numbers ... by a lot.How does the high-performance ZL1 coupe and convertible square with General Motors’ greenification program of introducing fuel-sipping...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 1:59 AM

Can fuel-saving look this good?

If your passion for cars is matched only by your determination to avoid $1.25/litre fuel stops, the Kia Optima Hybrid appears to have been built just for you.The Korea-based automaker, part of the Hyundai organization, has been aggressively introducing an array of new products at a relentless pace....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 2:12 AM

What you always get ... and more

It has been a rocky road for the Toyota faithful as the company recovers from natural disaster and a rash of very public — and extensive — recalls that threw into question its normally cut-above-the-rest reputation.So, the question is whether the new seventh-generation Camry and Camry Hybrid will...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 1:23 AM

Wrangler gets a heart transplant

The Wrangler’s ancestry dates back more than 70 years, but being on the receiving end of a series of recent improvements has kept this Jeep as up-to-date as ever. Loyalty to Chrysler’s iconic Jeep brand knows no bounds, especially the Wrangler, which some aficionados consider the only true Jeep....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 2:43 AM

Meet the Nissan "Godzilla" GT-R

New and improved is such an overworked, hackneyed phrase that many automakers abuse at will.However when it comes to the 2012 GT-R super coupe that’s now on sale, there really are no other words to describe what Nissan has instituted. The changes are practical, evolutionary and have been undertaken...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 1:26 AM

Kia Rio: Good things come in small packages

It can now be carved in stone with absolute certainty that the dumbed-down, stripped-bare small-car era is officially over. And we have cars such as the 2012 Kia Rio to thank for pushing high-tech and comfort features down to the lowest limb on the automotive tree.The all-new Rio sedan and Rio 5-...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 3:30 AM

Toyota’s old dog still barks

It used to be that picking a small car was pretty easy: there just weren’t that many candidates, plain and simple.Now it’s like trying to pick a puppy from the pound. There are plenty of cute choices with all kinds of bark and sass, and more keep arriving every day it seems.In that respect, the...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 1:19 AM

Mini has got a little surprise for you

People who consider Mini a niche brand will understand why the all-new Coupé was created.This sporty two-seater is a rolling fashion statement that dares to thumb its nose at practicality and convention.It’s a car you would wear like an Armani suit or Vera Wang dress, which is for the label as much...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 2:34 AM

Lean, green cuisine

There’s a revolution under way, and it’s being fought with volts and kilowatts. This is the new-age arsenal of which those shopping for electrically powered automobiles such as Mitsubishi’s iMiEV will become increasingly familiar.The iMiEV hatchback that’s scheduled to arrive here in late 2011...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 2:28 AM

A 21-gun salute to a bygone era

Into this eco-minded age of milquetoast hybrid and electric vehicles, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 comes roaring back to life sporting a honking-big V-8 engine and a serious case of nose-thumbing attitude.Consider this big family sedan a 21-gun salute to a bygone era when full-size North American...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 12:34 AM