Bringing our first all-electric vehicle home in frigid winter conditions went smoothly for us in 2011. Our dealer was just one suburb away, and our Nissan Leaf hatchback’s limited range didn’t dent our euphoria, especially as my wife hadn’t yet ever driven a pure electric car. But we did need some pre-planning to ensure our giddy, new vehicle enthusiasm wasn’t dashed by that dreaded EV range anxiety.

A key part about owning a BEV is learning how much it lies to you. Or more charitably, how well it estimates how far it can travel given different scenarios and factors – including temperature, distance and terrain. That’s why many owners call the expected range a “guess-ometer.” It’s also why many BEV buyers will look for a vehicle that offers a battery range double the true distance they think they will need, especially in winter.

You will want to consider a few things before you head to the dealership to pick up your vehicle and drive it home. Are you picking it up during a cold snap (- 10 C or lower) or a snowstorm? How far away is the dealership and is there a major elevation change? Are you bringing the kids or the whole family along with you?

While some of these factors have nothing to do with the performance of the BEV, they can potentially decrease the number of kilometres your BEV can travel. Add to that the fact the vehicle might not be at full charge when you take ownership, and you aren’t off to a good start. This happens with new EVs more than you think. Even the battery in high-range vehicles automobile journalists get to test drive are not always fully charged when picked up.

It may seem simple, and perhaps unnecessary, but a quick phone call to your dealer to plug in your new BEV well before you arrive may be all the planning you need to ensure a super smooth and stress-free initial drive home.

Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court

The post Opinion: How to get your new EV home without getting stranded appeared first on WHEELS.ca.

To say Dr. Daniel Sun loves cars might be an understatement. The dentist and father of two counts owning 34 vehicles to date, with a modest six currently housed in his garage.

In addition to his daily driver, a 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53, he has a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle and a 2020 Jeep Wrangler. Sun’s wife, Patricia, a sales representative with Barry Cohen Homes, relies on her Range Rover and a 911 (Type 992) Carrera S. The latter, a 2021 model, was the family’s newest Porsche until last month.

A fan of luxury cars, Sun admits to having a very soft spot for Porsches, especially the iconic 911. His first – a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet — was followed by a 2014 Cayenne Turbo. He’s also owned two air-cooled Porsches: a 1991 911 (Type 964) Turbo, and a 1995 911 (Type 993) Carrera. Most recently, it was the last generation 2015 911 GT3 (Type 991.1), a vehicle Sun loved for its naturally aspirated engine. However, the car was equipped with the brand’s PDK (Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) dual-clutch transmission (Sun prefers manual).

When Sun caught wind that Porsche was introducing the GT3 with a manual option, he reached out to Pfaff Porsche to secure an allocation of the 992 generation GT3. That was December 2020.

Sun received his 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 almost a year later. The timing was right since he had just sold his Ferrari 488 Spider and had room in his garage for the new car. He tells us why he loves the 911 GT3.

“I sold my Ferrari during [the pandemic] because it’s a seller’s market,” said Sun. “There’s a shortage of used cars, so the used car market has been doing really well. There are a lot of people looking for sports cars, so I was able to sell my Ferrari without incurring any major loss. It just made sense to sell.”

“I’ve always loved Porsches; they’re just so well engineered and so fun to drive,” said Sun. “I’ve always wanted to have at least one 911 in my garage. My wife – who also loves cars – has a 992 Carrera S that’s her first daily driving 911. She’s always been driving an SUV, chauffeuring the kids and whatnot. And now that the kids are a little bit older, she wants something that’s more fun.

“For me, GT3 is always at the top on my list in terms of the cars that I want to have in my garage. It’s kind of a back to the basics track-focused car. I just love it. It’s so visceral and engaging to drive, even with a PDK. But I’m more of a traditionalist, I like driving manual cars.

“I’m always on YouTube watching car videos, but when I read the 992 model was coming out with a GT3 with manual transmission and new front suspensions, I got really excited. I contacted my Porsche dealership, where I’ve had a long business relationship, and they were kind enough to give me the chance to purchase the new GT3.”

Sun got his car in Shark Blue with the Touring Package that includes black side window trims, tinted lower front lights, black tailpipes and a Satin Black Porsche logo on the rear. He loves that the engine can rev up to 9,000 rpm. He also loves the car’s ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/hr in 3.9 seconds, and how it is able to reach a maximum speed of 320 km/h. However, Sun hasn’t taken the track-ready car out to test its abilities since its more of a summer vehicle.

“I’ve only driven it from the dealership and to my detailer, Auto Bath Elite,” said Sun. “I got the car fully protected with a full-body paint-protection film and ceramic coating. I haven’t driven it much, but from what I can tell, it’s everything that I expected and then more.

“I tell people, it’s like the steering wheel has a sense of knowing where I want to go with the slightest movement. You can feel the car moving and responding. Just being a naturally aspirated engine, everything responds so instantaneously, there’s no turbo lag. The car is so well built – so solid – and so low to the ground. It just makes you feel really special when you drive the car.

“I plan on taking the car to the Canadian Tire Motorsport racetrack later in the summer. I haven’t done too many track meets, but I’m planning on doing more with this car because this is meant for the track.”

Despite Sun’s tendency to sell and purchase new rides for his collection, he confesses that this might be one exception.

“I don’t have any rules [with what I buy]. I look, and when the right car comes along, I get the itch again. [Laughs] But I’ll be keeping this GT3 for a while.”

This article was edited for space and clarity. Want to be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle? email us at wheels@thestar.ca.

Renée S. Suen is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer/photographer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rssuen

A CLOSER LOOK: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package

EYE-CATCHING ESTHETICS

“I love the GT3’s good looks,” said Sun. “It’s got presence. It has a big wing on the back, and I love how the Shark Blue paint option I picked – it’s a new colour for this model – just pops in the sunlight. I matched that with Stain Neodyme wheels, which is a matte gold finish. I think it’s a great colour combination with the blue paint.

SEATS

“I also love the full racing bucket seats,” said Sun of the $6,740 option. Made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, they have a high-gloss carbon-weave finish, an integrated thorax airbag, plus electric height adjustment and manual fore/aft adjustment.

“They are lightweight and look stylish. They’re not the easiest seats to get in and out of, but once you are settled in them, they provide so much support on the sides that you won’t find yourself sliding around when going fast on a racetrack.”

REVERSING CAMERA

“With such a low-riding car, having a rearview camera and front parking sensor are a huge assistance,” said Sun of the ParkAssist system and the reversing camera. “I wouldn’t want to damage the front aerodynamic pieces by hitting a curb.”

The post WHY I LOVE MY VEHICLE: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package appeared first on WHEELS.ca.

Dear Ask a Mechanic,

My wife owns a mint, very low mileage 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Recently the check engine light came on, and the mechanic diagnosed it as needing a fuel vapour check valve, part number 8657A070. This part has been discontinued by Mitsubishi and is no longer available. I even tried contacting dealers throughout Canada and the U.S., to no avail. I’ve called Mitsubishi directly for help and had no satisfaction; this situation has me telling those looking at the brand to reconsider. What can I do? – Diamonds Not His Girl’s Best Friend

This is a situation that happens more often than you think.

It’s widely believed that U.S. law requires automakers to carry replacement parts for a period of time. Often it’s claimed to be 10 years, but I can’t find evidence of such a law referenced anywhere for any length of time. There is only the requirement for companies to honour product warranties for their duration. I’m confident that no such law exists here (if any reader has knowledge to the contrary and can point me to it via the email below, I’d be grateful).

Some automakers are better than others at carrying parts for out-of-production models. The popularity of the model(s) using a part and the obscurity/failure frequency of the component tends to determine continued availability. Unfortunately, the fourth-generation Eclipse did not sell in large numbers.

This leaves you with three options.

Option one is to live with the light. With the failed part not causing any driveability concerns or increased emissions on its own (it’s for self-diagnostics), you could continue using the car without any repercussions. I’d recommend buying an inexpensive code reader to occasionally check that nothing else new has cropped up if you go this route.

Option two is to broaden your search beyond the Mitsubishi corporate network. A quick Google search turned up at least one online seller claiming to have your part – shop carefully to avoid fraud. Alternately, these cars are young enough that they can be found in salvage yards, though you’ll have to remove the used part yourself and there’s no guarantee it will be good.

Option three is to use a comparable part from another model to serve the same purpose. This looks like a typical “evap” vent valve, a device common in operation to those in a large number of vehicles. With a little creativity, it’s possible one could be adapted to do the job of your faulty original.

Ask a Mechanic is written by Brian Early, a longtime Wheels contributor and a working Red Seal-certified automotive technician with over 25 years’ experience. You can send your questions to wheels@thestar.ca. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to

The post Ask a Mechanic….. Unavailable Part Frustrates appeared first on WHEELS.ca.

Nearly four years after a grinding crash saw his racing career put on pause and his life nearly snuffed out, Canadian IndyCar  star Robert Wickens of Guelph will return to competition Jan. 28 at Daytona International Speedway.

Wickens and fellow Canadian Mark Wilkins of Toronto will co-drive a Hyundai Elantra N TCR race car, No. 33, in the Michelin Pilot Challenge season opener, a four-hour endurance race kicking off the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona race weekend. The duo will drive a car fitted out with hand controls for Wickens that can be disengaged when Wilkins is behind the wheel

The Canadians will drive for Hyundai Motor North America on a team entered by Bryan Herta Autosport. Herta, a veteran of IndyCar and sports car racing, was keen to sign Wickens after the driver, who’d been left a paraplegic by the IndyCar crash, showed he hadn’t lost his desire to race or skill in the cockpit when he’d tried out a Hyundai Veloster N TCR at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last May.

“Today is a monumental day for us as a team and as fans of Robert Wickens,” said Bryan Herta, in a release. “We have followed along with Robert’s rehabilitation and marveled at his determination and dedication, along with his many, many fans. To now announce that he will be making his professional motorsports return in one of our Hyundai Elantra N TCR cars is truly incredible. We thank Hyundai for their amazing support and helping us build a path for Robert to get back to where he belongs.”

Wickens, a former Formula One test driver and winner of races in the German Touring Car Series (DTM), was an IndyCar rookie in 2018 and took the series by storm. He won the pole and led all but two laps in his first IndyCar race and then went on to score four podium finishes and won the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honor, all in his first 12 races.

The next race, at Pocono, Pa., changed his life forever. On Lap 7, his car clipped wheels with another and was thrown into a fence. The crash broke literally every bone in his body and left him unable to move below his waist.

Since the accident, Wickens’ perseverance and persistence has led to triumphant breakthroughs in his relentless regimes of physical rehabilitation and therapy that continues daily and is followed by his many fans on social media. Wickens and his team of therapists and trainers have become trailblazers in developing innovative technology and treatment methods for the spinal cord injury community.

“I’ve spent a lot of nights thinking and dreaming of this moment, and with the support from Bryan Herta and Hyundai it is all becoming a reality,” said Wickens. “I am hungrier now than I was before my accident to compete for wins again. I’m really looking forward to incorporating myself with the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and to finally get my first taste of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.”

During a press conference Friday, Wickens said that his recovery “had pretty much plateaued. I’m not regaining any more muscle function so it looks, unfortunately, like I’ll be in a (wheel)chair for the rest of my life. . . as long as modern medicine and science stays where it is. It’s a great life; I’ve been able to regain a lot of function. I can stand with support and take a couple of steps with support but so far as leaving the chair permanently, I don’t think that’s in my pipeline right now.”

When he was so grievously injured, he was driving for Arrow-McLaren SP and the team said then that there would always be a car for him when he was ready to resume his career. He said Friday that he is still with the team. “I have to thank them as well for allowing me this opportunity. They know I’m a racer at the end of the day.”

Wickens and Wilkins both said they were keen to go racing this year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park when, COVID-19 notwithstanding, the series returns to north of the border. Wickens noted that when he was injured, in 2018, it was at the race immediately following the Honda Indy and from his perspective, that race was the highlight of his year.

He said he doubted that he would race in the Indy 500 again anytime soon but that was okay because there were other challenges – other cars in other series – to tackle.

“It’s been a long, winding, and difficult road to this point and the journey is not over,” Wickets said later Friday on social media.

“But thankfully we’ll be able to move down the road with a bit more speed! Now, let’s go win.”

The post Racing star Wickens to make comeback at Daytona  appeared first on WHEELS.ca.

The 2022 Honda Civic Si, like its predecessor, will only come with a manual transmission. At a time when three-pedal footwells are a scarcity and soul-sucking crossovers are the go-to purchase for many, this compact sedan takes a bold stance. Non-drivers need not apply.

Surely, this will limit the sales of the sportiest version of the new Civic (till the Type R arrives) but it also means that every time you see another Si on the road you just know that the person behind the wheel is just like you and truly enjoys driving.

The new Civic Si is a lighthouse of hope, drawing enthusiasts to the promised land of traffic-free serpentine roads. It’s not going to blow you away with performance or impress your friends with kidney-bruising acceleration. This car is all about how it makes you feel, and with just 1.5 litres of engine pushing “just” 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of twist to the front wheels, it might seem that on paper this is anything but an enthusiast product. Honda, however, is legendary at working its magic and giving you something from seemingly nothing.

After about two weeks of driving the new Si, I came to a simple and honest conclusion. It was one of the best cars I had driven all year, at any price point. Period.

I drove the Civic Touring in the summer and I think it’s probably the best buy in the compact segment. Even the CVT felt good. Honda cleaned up the styling making it more Accord-like but where some see boring, I see 90s Honda. Civics were once simple things and styled with a restrained hand. Form following function and so on, and somewhere along the way it lost a bit of that. The last gen’s mish-mash of origami and odd shapes felt over-styled. This time it’s still clearly a Civic but a classier version than what you’re used to, and that’s no bad thing.

2022 Honda Civic Si

2022 Honda Civic Si

If the outside looks great, the interior is inspiring. With a low cowl, skinny A-pillars, high-quality materials and switchgear, and perfect visibility all around, it’s a clinic in how to do interiors. The hard buttons are big and clearly labeled, and become second nature after a few uses. The climate control dials feel expensive and are foolproof to operate, and that honeycomb grille spanning the length of the dashboard with protruding joysticks looks and feels expensive and doesn’t come across as gimmicky. The Si gets red trim surrounding that grille, as well as red stitching, and red door panels.

The seats, which are also red and adorned with Si logos on the fixed headrests, are exclusive to the Si and are as good as they look. They are heavily bolstered but long-haul cushy, the perfect combination. They make the Civic feel like more than it is. Getting in becomes an occasion. Good seats can do that and these ones certainly do.

The focal point of the interior, though, is that gear lever. It’s reminiscent of old Hondas and feels every bit as good as it looks. Rowing gears here is extremely satisfying. The shifter has a solid, chunky feel and moves through its gates with a snickety mechanical feel. Each shift is an accomplishment, and not at all like the disconnected video game shifters you find in much of the competition.

2022 Honda Civic Si

Honda took to heart the complaints about the last generation’s rev hang issues and has given the Si a lighter single-mass flywheel for better response. The 1.5 turbo has also been reworked to produce torque at a lower, more useful rpm, now 192 lb-ft ringing in at 1800 rpm and holding steady all the way to 5000. Horsepower is down by 5 but you’d never know it. If anything it actually feels quicker.

There are numerous updates to the suspension too: stiffer springs, new dampers, reinforced strut mounts, and thicker sway bars. The Si also benefits from a few components nicked from the Type R like stiffer front and rear compliance bushings, and upper arms and lower B-arms. Even the steering rack has been beefed up.

Like all fun cars, the Si, and its components, the motor, the gearbox, the suspension tweaks, add up to more than what they appear to be on paper. And let’s face it, that’s what the Si is—a fun car. It’s not a track car, and it doesn’t come with a coupon for a free Nurburgring tattoo. It’s meant solely to add a bit of joy to your every day, and there are very few new cars today that can do that. The Si is that car from the instant you hop in. It fits like a glove. Even on winter tires, there was a cheeky sense of confidence that’s been a Civic Si hallmark since basically forever.

The steering, like that in the Type R, is super quick and very precise with a heavier feel than I was expecting, although it does feel artificially boosted. When you floor it, there’s no torque steer, and in between shifts the revs drop faster than they did before, although this car still rewards a shifting style that’s less hurried.

2022 Honda Civic Si

Running through the gears is distilled happiness. You get that old-school Civic fizz as the tach runs up to a slightly disappointing (for a Honda) 6500 rpm redline. Each upshift is met with a satisfying turbo surge. Rev matching like in the Type R is now a thing and it will do it on downshifts and upshifts. If you’re not a fan of that, you can just as easily turn it off via the infotainment system.

A drive mode selector lets you pick from “Normal”, “Sport”, and “Individual”. Each alters throttle response and steering feel. I left it in “Sport” for most of my time with it. In any mode, the Si is quick enough to be fun but not fast enough to land you in trouble and that’s exactly the combination you want on public roads. It’s also very efficient. Even with a heavy foot, I got a combined 7.1L/100 km over a mix of wintry roads.

Handling as you’d expect belies its humble front-wheel drive underpinnings. There’s only a small amount of roll, the brakes have excellent feel, and there’s very little understeer present unless you do something stupid. And thanks to that torque hitting a bit lower down on the scale, corner exits are very satisfying indeed. The whole car acts as a single piece, the shifter, clutch, steering, brakes, all complement each other. Even the ride is just stiff enough without being uncomfortable and on the highway, it’s planted in a way a Civic has never been. Driving the Si is a fluid experience. Even with fake engine audio pumped in it delivers a load of character that you just don’t get at this price point.

2022 Honda Civic Si

In Canada, the Si is priced at $33,150, a bargain for what you’re getting. It’s got everything you get in a “Touring” trimmed sedan minus the leather interior, and we even get things that the US market doesn’t, like a fully digital gauge cluster, heated seats, and a set of awesome shift lights that makes driving it more of an event.

There were few negatives. The backup camera got completely obscured by salt and grime about 5 minutes after I picked it up, and although this one’s more personal, I wish the Si came in hatchback form. Yes, the upcoming Type R will address that, but it will also cost much more.

This is a car I’d happily buy with my own money. On paper, the new Golf GTI has more power and that hatchback configuration I desire, but I will reserve comparing the two until I can get my hands on one. For now, the Si is something to be celebrated. It’s a manual-only beacon shining brightly in a world dominated by crossovers and for the driving enthusiast, it doesn’t come much better.

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I could stand and watch the warm-up sequence of the matrix LED headlights on the Audi RS 5 Sportback for minutes at a time, maybe longer.

The perfect pixel choreography that ensues once the unlock button on the key fob is pressed is truly dazzling, as small daytime runners at the top of the assembly light up in amber and white, sequentially, and then back and forth, before the amber side marker and main LEDs light up.

It’s like a digital piano slide – all that’s missing is the music. The light show isn’t just for the fronts either, as the rear LEDs also have a wake-up routine that’s fun to watch, albeit not quite as elaborate.

I mention these lighting sequences because they’re emblematic of the RS 5’s character as a technological and performance powerhouse, where nearly every aspect is turned up to 11. This car is a feast for the senses on many levels.

To reset, the current second gen RS 5 debuted in 2018 as a coupe only, which I had the good fortune of reviewing for this website. The Sportback four-door followed in 2019, and both models received a styling update for the 2020 model year that brought them to their current form.

Like the coupe, the RS 5 is based on the A5, albeit with a much more emotional and aggressive design than its siblings, and a lot more power. Audi retired the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 used in the first gen RS 5 in favour of a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 which produces 444 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.

2022 Audi RS 5

The V6 has the same horsepower rating as the V8, but with an extra 125 lb-ft worth of torque in a smaller package that’s 31 kg (68 pounds) lighter. Power is put to the ground via Audi’s Tiptronic eight-speed automatic transmission and standard quattro all-wheel drive.

Because it’s an Audi Sport model, the RS 5 Sportback receives all the Four Rings best stuff from a chassis perspective. This means a standard RS sport suspension, which can be outfitted with an optional Dynamic Ride Control feature which brings hydraulic roll and pitch stabilization to the party via steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers. All RS 5s are outfitted with standard 19-inch wheels, but several 20-inchers are available, as are carbon-ceramic brakes.

Audi drive select has been expanded to include two new modes, RS1 and RS2, which can be used to store the driver’s preferences for items such as engine sound, transmission, damping and dynamic steering, and can be accessed through the RS Mode button on the steering wheel.

2022 Audi RS 5

Dimensionally, an extra set of doors makes the RS 5 Sportback 60.9 mm (2.4 inches) longer than the coupe overall, but it also rides on a wheelbase that’s longer by the same amount. The Sportback layout provides a commodious 617.3 litres of cargo space with the rear seatbacks folded down.

Inside the cabin, the main draw is Audi’s 12.3-inch HD virtual cockpit instrument cluster display, a deeply configurable screen that can be used to relay loads of information, from fuel consumption data to real time torque and horsepower readings, to detailed navigation maps. Another big digital display is the one located in the centre dash, a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen unit that serves as the main multimedia unit. Seat and trim finishes are a mix of Nappa leather (seating) with red quilted stitching, with piano black plastics, and brushed metallic accents.

2022 Audi RS 5

For the purposes of this review, Audi Canada set me up with a Sonoma Green Metallic tester with a black Nappa leather interior. As the price line below indicates, this car has been outfitted with loads of optional kit, as is the norm for many press vehicles.

Among the option boxes that have been ticked here are three packages: Audi Sport, Bronze and Premium. The Audi Sport package ($3,400) includes RS sport suspension plus with dynamic ride control, dynamic steering, tire pressure monitoring system and speed limit increase to 280 km/h.

The Bronze Package ($11,200) covers 20-inch five-arm bronze wheels, matte carbon front spoiler and mirrors, black optics and black rings, black Nappa leather interior with bronze stitch and matte carbon inlays.

Finally, the Premium Package ($3,100) delivers a load of kit, including top-view camera, Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, rear seat USB charging, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane assist, and more. Stand alone options include sport exhaust ($1,350), head-up display ($1,100), carbon fibre engine cover ($650) and red brake calipers ($500).

2022 Audi Rs 5

At first glance, the RS 5 Sportback’s blacked-out trim, 20-inch wheels and flared fenders exude an unmistakable Audi Sport look that aligns well with the car’s performance credentials. I’m drawn to finer details, such as frameless windows, a wide and low Singleframe grille that sports a unique RS honeycomb pattern, and curvaceous character lines that trace the car’s muscular sheet metal. Lighting may be the RS 5’s most dazzling feature, but the car’s visual appeal runs much deeper than a cool light show.

Sliding behind the steering wheel, it’s the details that attract my attention again: a stunning and seemingly endlessly customizable virtual cockpit display, carbon fibre trim accents in the dash and centre console, a honeycomb stitch pattern in the Nappa leather seats and a magnificent Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system.

The more time spent in the RS 5, the more convinced I became that for as engaging as it is to drive, it’s just as much fun to experience. Several times during my test I just sat in the cockpit, staring at its screens, while running my fingertips over its varied surfaces. It’s quite a sensory experience.

2022 Audi RS 5

Yes, the sloping rear roofline and smallish greenhouse are negatives for outward visibility and make the car feel smaller inside than its exterior dimensions suggest, but they don’t diminish the car’s value much.

As for the drive, well, you can probably imagine what the RS 5 Sportback is like: it’s thoroughly grin-inducing. Tapping the RS Mode button skips all the fiddling and just lets all the Audi Sport hang out. And it’s a truly delightful experience: loud exhaust with off-throttle backfiring, hair-trigger acceleration, weightier steering, delayed transmission upshifting and a stiffer ride.

2022 Audi RS 5

I didn’t try to replicate Audi’s performance numbers, zero-100 km (62.1 m.p.h.) in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 280 km/h (174 m.p.h.) but, dear reader, believe me when I say the RS 5 Sportback is fast. It’s fast off the line, it’s fast in mixed traffic, and it’s fast on the highway. Quattro all-wheel drive delivers power to the corner that needs it to get the car through turns with steering that provides good feedback with minimal understeer.

Interestingly, when the drive select is dialed to comfort or auto, it behaves much like a normal premium sport sedan: quiet cabin, stiff, but not backbreaking ride, and brisk acceleration. Add those benefits to a useable back seat, increased cargo capacity and full-time all-wheel drive, and there’s an argument to be made that the RS 5 Sportback is a near ideal high-performance car.

But have I told you about the lights?

The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.

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Let’s look back at the year that’s been and take stock of the second-hand buys that surprised us with their practicality, build quality and strong bang-for-the-dollar. As always, we place a premium on reliable rides that avoid garage hoists and provide a satisfying ownership experience.

Here are five late-model used vehicles that came through with flying colours – and one dud you’d be wise to avoid.

2018-2020 Kia Rio

You might not know it, but the subcompact Kia Rio is one of the automaker’s most popular models, selling almost half a million hatchbacks and sedans worldwide annually. What started out as a low-buck econobox introduced in 2000 evolved into a European-flavoured “supermini” in its fourth generation. Designed jointly by Kia teams in Germany and California, the Rio is a crisply drawn car that delivers unexpected refinement, high-value content, and a dollop of driving fun.

The cabin is surprisingly handsome and free of gimmicks. Assembly quality is above reproach and the switchgear clicks and moves with Audi-like precision; climate controls utilize the classic three-dial array that’s easy to regulate. The seats are firm, but supportive with decent bolstering. The split-folding rear bench can accommodate three for short durations – legroom is in short supply – and the cargo space is reasonably deep and shaped usefully.

There’s just one available engine, a 1.6-L DOHC four-cylinder making 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque, tied to either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic. It was displaced by a more fuel-efficient 120-hp four-cylinder and CVT transmission for 2020. Rio drivers praise their cars for their solid construction, nimble handling, comfy seats and low ownership costs. A few have reported issues with the infotainment screen going blank, the manual-transmission clutch wearing quicker than expected, and the Korean-sourced tires may be prone to failure.

2014-2020 Mazda6

Mazda’s entry in the (formerly) hotly contested midsized sedan segment has flown under the radar of many shoppers for reasons that confound us. The latest Mazda6, introduced in 2014, is a handsome family sedan with its long hood and fluid sculpting, characteristic of the automaker’s Kodo design language. Its front-drive architecture uses lots of high-strength steel for better structural rigidity and reduced mass, the product of Mazda’s “Skyactiv” engineering ethic developed to improve engine output and fuel efficiency.

Inside, the aesthetic is both fashionable and functional. Materials exude quality and the fit and finish are among the best in class. Most controls are simple and user-friendly, but the touchscreen interface is a step behind the best systems. There’s generous headroom, even for those taller than six feet, although the sedan’s sloping roofline makes the rear windows smaller. Its 2.5-L four cylinder produces 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque, paired with either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. An optional 250-hp turbo four is offered starting in 2019.

Careful chassis development yields above-average driving satisfaction for a family sedan, although the standard engine feels a little underpowered. Mechanical issues? The automatic transmission may emit an audible whine at speed, though post-2016 models appear to have fewer tranny woes. Windshields are prone to cracking easily, a Mazda foible. Beware of fussy infotainment units that may reboot on their own or fail to display intermittently, as well as peeling aluminum wheels and fast-wearing clutches.

2017-2020 Mini Countryman

When is a Mini not a mini? When it’s the second generation of the Countryman crossover that’s found a bigger audience, thanks to BMW’s UKL2 modular platform that underpins several front- and four-wheel-drive Mini and BMW models. The Countryman offers a certain roominess unknown to other Minis, with an abundance of headroom and decent legroom in the back seat. The bigger cabin is dramatically improved with better finishes and more premium features.

The base 2017 Countryman Cooper uses a 134-hp, 1.5-L turbocharged three-cylinder engine that’s mated to a manual gearbox or automatic transmission, both six-speeds. The Cooper S comes with a 189-hp, 2.0-L turbo four-cylinder, available with an optional eight-speed automatic. The John Cooper Works trim joined the party in 2018, featuring a more potent version of the turbo four with 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, paired with the six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic. Note that all these engines require premium fuel.

Minis have never been particularly reliable cars, but the latest generation is considerably better, according to J.D. Power. One mechanical issue cited by owners relates to the high-pressure fuel pump failing at low mileage; driveability issues such as stalling in traffic is a warning worth heeding. Watch for dashboard warning lamps lighting up in unison. Minis typically come with run-flat tires that are roundly despised by drivers for wearing out quickly, riding roughly and being costly to replace. It’s wise to have a budget for fresh rubber.

2019 Mini Cooper

2017-2020 Hyundai Ioniq

The Ioniq is Hyundai’s first model designed from the ground up as a gas-electric hybrid that follows the Toyota Prius recipe pretty closely, minus the weird Jetsons’ styling. The five-door hatchback features an Atkinson-cycle 1.6-L gasoline engine, a dual-clutch, six-speed automatic transmission and a compact 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. If the engine’s 104 horsepower sounds skimpy, know that there’s a 43-hp AC electric motor on hand to help shoulder the load under acceleration.

The Ioniq’s interior is straightforward enough with a simple analog-look instrument panel and a conventional PRND gear selector. There’s plenty of soft-touch materials of good quality. There’s more interior volume than the Prius can muster, although the slope of the roof makes anyone taller than six feet feel cramped sitting in the back seat. The hatchback offers cargo flexibility, but there’s the matter of the obtrusive lift-over height to contend with. Drivers noted there’s no rear wiper to clear the glass.

Owners are thrilled with the hybrid’s utility, real-world fuel efficiency, comfortable ride and perfectly ordinary driving feel, as well as its reasonable pricing. On the negative side, the Ioniq doesn’t have the best brakes or handling in the segment. Mechanically speaking, early builds did exhibit a few issues with the gasoline engine stalling or reverting to low output. Other hiccups include Bluetooth connectivity issues, short-lived air conditioner evaporators in small numbers, and a few transmission and steering column replacements. There’s an 8-year/160,000-km warranty on hybrid components.

2020 Hyundai IONIQ

2017-2020 Honda Ridgeline

Not content to imitate the Detroit Three by building another body-on-frame pickup truck, Honda set out to design a vehicle for people who need a family cruiser for commuting and school-shuttle duties, combined with a cargo bed for lumber and cottage runs. Its pickup took the form of a midsize, five-passenger, four-door crew cab with a 5-foot cargo bed – its sole configuration. Using the Pilot’s SUV unibody platform, engineers reworked it to ensure the Ridgeline has some genuine truck capabilities, including towing a 5,000-lb trailer.

The second-generation Ridgeline, introduced for 2017, provides all the same benefits – including the trick tailgate and the watertight trunk under the bed’s composite floor – but in a more stylish wrapper to appeal to traditional truck buyers. Occupants enjoy a spacious cabin reminiscent of the Pilot with the same layout and premium amenities. The front bucket seats are generous and sightlines are excellent all around. Rear seating is set at a comfortable angle and the bench flips up to yield a flat floor for carrying bigger items, such as bicycles.

The lone powertrain is a 280-hp 3.5-L V6 working through a six-speed automatic transmission. Its standard torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system works well on all surfaces – but don’t confuse it with a true 4×4 system with low-range gearing. With its class-leading ride and handling, garage-friendly size and all-weather AWD, the Ridgeline ticks all the boxes. The few reported reliability issues include faulty fuel injectors in 2017 models, an inoperable rearview camera due to pinched wiring and a fussy HondaLink infotainment interface.

Our Dud: 2017-2020 Chrysler Pacifica

Chrysler arguably invented the front-wheel-drive minivan in 1983, and in 2017 released its next-generation model to replace the aging Town & Country and, eventually, the Grand Caravan. Sleekly styled and filled with innovative options including a triple-pane panoramic sunroof, parallel and perpendicular parking assist and hands-free power sliding doors, the automotive press anointed the Pacifica with numerous awards. But how does it hold up as a second-hand buy?

The Pacifica utilizes Fiat’s “compact wide” platform, complete with an independent rear suspension that permits a low cargo load floor and improved handling and ride characteristics. Its roomy interior accommodates up to eight people using clever Stow ’n Go seating, whose second and third rows collapse into the floor, transforming it from a school bus to a cargo van ready to accept 4×8 plywood sheets in minutes. Powering the Pacifica is Chrysler’s 287-hp Pentastar 3.6-L V6 paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a modified Pentastar with two electric motors for a combined 260 hp in the Hybrid model – a minivan first.

Owners adore the Pacifica for its comfort, advanced safety features and fantastic flexibility in terms of carrying people and cargo, but some have suffered too many problems to recommend it. The ZF automatic transmission exhibits jerky operation, unexpected downshifts, front-axle vibration in low gears and outright mechanical failure. The engine may spontaneously stall in traffic, which distresses drivers. Other faults include blank infotainment screens, intermittent electric power steering, rusted hoods, sliding doors that open on their own, creaking panoramic sunroofs, and a fire risk in Hybrid models. Pass on this dud.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica

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Just like in any industry, there are sad days in the automotive industry. I’m not talking about anything related to sales figures, accident stats or what have you – not even talking about the death of the manual transmission, though you will see a bit of that here – I’m talking about when we have to bid adieu to a model, as we had to do for the Hyundai Veloster – sort of — after the 2020 model year in Canada. The funky, three-door hatch with punchy turbo power was eschewed from the line-up as Hyundai turned its focus to developing and building more Konas and Venues, etc.

Except…the Veloster isn’t actually dead; not fully, anyway, because the N model you see here will find its way to Hyundai showrooms for the 2022 model year, and hopefully for all the gearheads out there, many years hence. Hyundai is bully about its N performance division and is treating it as a pillar of its brand going forward. So, the Veloster, which pioneered the N brand in Canada for the 2019 model year, soldiers on.

Which is a very good thing, because on paper, this is one heck of a hot hatch.

Power from the 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine is rated at 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, sent to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or 8-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is what we have here today. There’s also an electronic limited-slip differential for that extra boost as you pull out of corners or need to scrub off some understeer, often a FWD bugaboo.

Styling-wise, the most eye-catching detail is the paint, which is something called “Shooting Star Metallic”; not sure what that means as I’ve never seen a shooting star up close, but its matte look is a nice fit for a vehicle of this type. The red highlights on the rocker panels and over parts of the lower front splitter shine brightly against the backdrop, and have a day-glo quality to them. Add the two-tone alloy wheels, red brake calipers, and nicely aggressive roof spoiler, and you have a compact that punches above its weight class when it comes to presence.

Inside, it’s not quite as flashy – it’s actually surprisingly toned-down – but there are powder blue highlights on the seats, seatbelts, gearlever, drive mode buttons, and even ‘round the engine start-stop button to add some “N” flare to the proceedings.

The Veloster’s interior digs may be tame on the surface, but it makes up for it by providing a very cool infotainment system with slick graphics, a selection of themes but most of all, one of the coolest drive mode screens you’ve ever seen. What looks like a g-meter is actually a menu for the various systems you can modify – engine, transmission, e-LSD, exhaust sound (!), ESC, steering and suspension – and it starts to make sense the more you play with it. I actually rather like the visual way it does its thing, as it’s a refreshing departure of the lists and scroll-through menus typically seen.

2022 Hyundai Veloster N

You can choose from pre baked-in drive modes, or do as I did and make your own mode, accessible via the powder blue-coloured “N” button found on the steering wheel. I kept most of the systems in the second most aggressive mode, but cranked the exhaust note and transmission all the way up to 11, as it were. The exhaust note is a really, really good one that while artificially boosted, doesn’t sound fake and the DCT is so darn responsive that you’d hate to neuter it by having it in one of the “tamer” exhaust modes. Not I, dear friends; I wanted the full on touring car blat the exhaust can provide, and that feeling of instant thrust you get every time you swap a cog by flipping the wheel-mounted paddles. It is so good that having driven both – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – I think I’d have the DCT over the manual. It is worth noting, however, that vehicles equipped with the six-speed manual should get better fuel economy, according to Hyundai’s claimed figures.

Of course, we can’t just lay all the credit for the zippy acceleration you get at the feet of the transmission; that 2.0 L four-banger is a real peach, with fantastic midrange torque that both helps you get off the line quickly, but still get you the oomph you need to add that extra little bit of speed during higher speed moves on the highway (or the racetrack). Not only that, but if you really want a boost, you can get one – literally – by pressing a wheel-mounted button marked “NGR”.

That stands for “N Grin Shift” – ok, then – and adds an extra 10 hp boost for 20 seconds once pressed. That is a darn cool feature the likes of which has hitherto been reserved mainly for much higher-end cars. Or video games.

Believe it or not, though, as good as the acceleration and powertrain is, it’s actually equalled if not beaten on the Veloster N highlight reel by the chassis. It starts with the e-LSD (which, admittedly, has a foot in both the powertrain and handling camp), which you can really feel doing its work as it pulls you out of turns and helps you rotate through them. I did, however, find the max e-LSD level a little extreme; leaving it on the middle setting provided a good mix of performance and comfort.

2022 Hyundai Veloster N

After all that, it’s all about the steering rack and dampers, both tuned to provide instantaneous response and through doing so, inspiring a level of confidence in drivers. This is a car you can take from apex to apex with a level of assuredness not easily found in this segment. In addition to the responsiveness, there’s a feeling of solidity and quality through the steering rack; very little vibration, very little nervousness over repeated bumps or undulations. That’s what you want from your performance car; the knowledge that very little energy is wasted through unneeded vibrations or system shocks.

2022 Hyundai Veloster N

That Hyundai has managed to build a hot hatchback that can hold its own amongst the traditional leaders in the segment while hardly breaking a sweat really is one of the great modern fun-car stories. As a brand, Hyundai has excelled in the SUV/CUV and hybrid/EV worlds, and the Veloster N is proof that even through all that, they’re allowing themselves to let their hair down a bit and to design some bang-up performance cars in the process.

The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.

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Halo vehicles are a heckuva thing. They’re top-of-class rides meant to showcase the best a company has to offer, usually in luxury or performance, but the best examples have a wealth of both. With consumer preferences having permanently shifted to SUVs, some companies choose to make that style of machine their halo – witness the Cadillac Escalade – shoving aside cars as they chase the Next Big Thing.

Not at Mercedes. And especially not at the performance skunkworks Mercedes-AMG. The mighty SL-Class, now bannered under the latter, has been the cherry on top of an expensive sundae since the 1950’s, representing an aspirational luxury sports car destined for the sunny shores of California or the glamourous heat of Monte Carlo. Drop-top roof? Acres of rich leather? World-destroying powertrain? Check, check, and – in the case of this new 2022 model – definitely check.

The SL has never been a totally rational buying decision, but most of the world’s best cars have always appealed to Id over Ego. For 2022, Mercedes is seeking to clarify its top-rung convertible lineup, binning the S-Class convertible and pushing the AMG GT droptop into a purebred sports car arena. This leaves the mighty SL to do what it does best – prowl moneyed parts of the world with equal measures of luxury and performance.

Under the hood of the new SL 63 4MATIC+ is a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, assembled by hand in Affalterbach by one of AMG’s master builders and adorned with a metal plate signed by the assembler, one Daniel Holzer in the case of our test car. The mill is rated for 577 horsepower and near-as-makes-no-difference 600 lb-ft of torque, all of which is funneled to the macadam through a 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. This is the first time an SL has been offered with power at each corner, deploying programming that is naturally rear-biased and working in concert with active rear-axle steering. Below 100 km/h, the rear tires turn opposite to the fronts up to 2.5 degrees, virtually shortening the wheelbase and making quick work of twisty roads or parking garages alike. Above that speed, the tires turn in concert, helping high-speed stability.

Herr Holzer was on point the day he assembled the engine in this SL 63, as all 577 of the finest German horses were on duty during our trip down the California coast before heading inland up some sinewy roads of the San Jacinto mountains. This route proved the duality of this megabucks convertible and its ability to flip between comfortable boulevardier and popping-exhaust plaything that can induce grins at the flick of a paddle shifter. Spinning the steering wheel-mounted drive mode button to Race unleashes this engine’s snarl and bark, and lift-off crackles ricocheted off the California landscape like shots from a Hämmerli rifle. It’s worth noting there is a separate button on the SL 63’s steering wheel whose sole duty is to select the amount of racket emanating from the roadster’s tailpipes. In other words, those with grumpy back issues can enjoy the Race mode exhaust drama without a sternly tuned suspension setting. In other words, it is possible to set everything to Comfort – steering, traction control threshold, the works – but still relish in tawdry aural delights.

2022 AMG SL 63

The ’22 SL was created on an all-new roadster architecture utilizing a composite aluminium structure, with no part of the body shell adopted from the predecessor or any other model series. In fact, that shell is said to weigh just 600 pounds, contributing to the SL’s 52/48 weight distribution – no mean feat in a vehicle with a jumbo V8 stuffed up its nose. Even with the addition of all-wheel drive and two extra seats, this ragtop weighs just 200lbs more than its predecessor.

And a ragtop this truly is, deploying a cloth hat instead of a folding metal roof, one which raises or lowers in just 15 seconds. Mercedes-AMG insists this material was selected in order to preserve trunk space while saving weight and reducing the car’s centre of gravity. Its closest competitor, the Lexus LC500 convertible, makes the same choice. In practice, a cloth top does permit pert styling while using the leading edge as a neat tonneau when retracted and the triple-insulated lining contributes to a reasonable if not invisible level of road noise. Your author hopes the cloth folding wrinkles disappear with use, lest an SL steam cleaning service become a business opportunity in tony parts of the world.

The company takes pains to emphasize their new SL has returned to 4-seater status, a designation it has not enjoyed for decades, and that humans up to 1.5 metres tall (about five feet, in Queen’s English) can plug themselves into these chairs. In reality, the back bench is little more than an extravagantly upholstered parcel shelf with seatbelts. But the front seats are thrones, adjustable six ways from Sonntag and featuring a so-called Airscarf, fettering warm breezes upon the driver and passenger necks from vents embedded in the headrests cushions which themselves feel as if one is resting their head on a fat puppy. Your long-of-limb author would appreciate a better dead pedal for the driver’s left foot; the existing slab of plastic is misshapen. But that’s small potatoes.

The symmetrical instrument panel is designed to remind passengers of a sculptural and powerful wing, structured into upper and lower sections. A centre console dominates the gulf between driver and passenger, flowing into the dashboard like smooth California gusts and peppered with metallic panels which pair especially well with optional fiery red upholstery. Those round air vents operate with a tactile and very German click, with a style evoking other models in the AMG catalog.

Taking centre stage is an 11.9-inch multimedia touchscreen in portrait orientation which can be electrically adjusted in its inclination from 12 degrees to 32 degrees. While surely costing a bundle to engineer and produce, it helps ward off irritating light reflections when the soft top is open and is a great party trick. If the driver adjusts its pitch with the roof up, the system remembers its top-down setting and returns to the previously set angle as the cloth lid disappears into its compartment.

2022 AMG SL 63

All of which once again proves the clever dichotomy of this new roadster from the gearheads in Affalterbach. The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 63, with its outrageous soundtrack and extravagant cabin, will likely cause your internal Id to say, “I want it, I want it, I want it.” But, thanks to impeccable assembly and trick engineering, your Ego might reply “After careful consideration, I concur.” Appealing to both sides of the brain? There are only a few halo cars which can turn that trick, and this is one of ‘em.

The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.

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For 2021, Porsche has taken their wildly successful Taycan sedan, added a longer roof for more rear seat room and cargo room plus AWD and the model’s larger 93.4 kWh battery as standard and called it the “Cross Turismo”. It also gets a higher ride height, gravel mode for looser surfaces, and plastic cladding ‘round the wheel arches and rocker panels.

It looks spectacular in this spec – not awkward at all, a fate that has befallen many performance wagons through the years – all squat and wide-hipped and futuristic. I love the headlight lenses, I love the taillight bar and I love the rims, even though the snow tire-clad items on my tester are far from the most spectacular examples you can get. I like them because their large hubs remind me of the brake cooling fins seen attached to the rims of old Group B rally cars. It fits the aesthetic of a more “off-road” sportster like this. The same can be said for the optional small fins around the wheels to help direct stones down and away from both the paint and traffic around you.

I’ll tell you one thing, having now sampled both versions of the Taycan, you can really feel that extra room in the back, and though there’s just 39 litres of additional storage behind the rear seats over the sedan, I was able to slide two adult-sized hockey bags in there plus sticks. That’s made possible by a rear seat that folds in a 40/20/40 split so you don’t lose an entire outboard seat if you need to fit longer items. There’s also seating for three in the back, whilst in the sedan, the third seat is optional.

Forward of the b-pillars, you get pretty much the same feeling here as you do in the Taycan sedan. That’s means a deep, high-bolstered bucket seat, perfect steering wheel placement, a digital gauge cluster that does a pretty good impersonation of the analogue gauges Porsches have become famous for, and one whole heck of a lot of display screens.

If you include the gauge cluster, there are four screens in total: the gauges, PCM infotainment display, supplemental lower display that acts as your climate controls (and a few other things we’ll touch on in a minute) and a display for the front passenger. Said passenger gets their own app screen and can perform tasks such as setting the navigation system.

There are no traditional or “hard” buttons to supplement the touch-activated climate controls. I prefer hard buttons as I find them easier to use when driving as you don’t have to stare at a screen to get them. All you have to do is feel for them, which means less distraction. That’s strike number one against it, I suppose.

Strike two comes in the form of the other controls found there, namely the rear and front trunk (“frunk”) controls. Popping them is done via the touchscreen with not one but two button presses as opposed to hitting one of two mechanical door-mounted switches, as you do in the 718 or 911. I find it more natural to move to door-mounted switches as I step out than to turn back to a display. Which, as it happens, could be more responsive.

Other than those two bugaboos, though, the cockpit is a great place to sit as it is properly ensconcing and keeps all the controls at your fingertips. That includes the tiny little shift dongle sprouting from the dash; it seems strange at first, but it’s not unique as it’s the same item you get in 911s equipped with the PDK dual-clutch automatic.

2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo

Also, very nifty is the way you start your Taycan experience. All you have to do is step up to the car with the keyfob in your pocket, the flush-mounted door handles pop out, you step in, latch your seatbelt and select drive. No need to even hit a power button and that’s very cool in a secret handshake kind of way. Add the fact that Apple CarPlay connects wirelessly and there’s very little you have to do before you get rolling.

You’ll want to get rolling as quickly as possible, too, because in Turbo S form, the Cross Turismo is an incredibly fast car. Power is rated at 616 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, but that hp count increases to a startling 750 hp for a short time during launch-controlled starts. To perform one, all you have to do is activate either Sport or Sport Plus, hold the brake, mash the throttle until you hear a fairly innocent “ding”, release the brake, and proceed to have the skin of your face pulled tightly to your skull as you sprint to 100 km/h in less than three seconds.

After that, the Cross Turismo proves a big, heavy car that handles like something way lower down the weight chart. The steering – as it should be in a Porsche – is ultra-direct and has some nice feel to it, while my car’s air ride suspension and well-tuned dampers do a fantastic job of keeping the body flat through corners and over bumps. This is a big, wide vehicle that is going to be a handful for any chassis to support, but support it this chassis does, to an almost unfathomable level.

I have driven many lighter sports cars – including examples from Porsche – on the same roads I took the Cross Turismo and the big EV didn’t feel out of place at all. In fact, it almost felt like it was faster in these circumstances and that is really saying something.

2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo

Range-wise, NRCan rates the Turbo S at 325 km of range on a full charge, and throughout my test I saw about that. Keep in mind that unless you have a Level II charger at home, you’ll have to plug in elsewhere because the Taycan does not come with a Level I charge cable. It can, however, be charged at a rate of 270 kW on a DC fast charger, meaning a charge time of about 20 minutes from five to 80 per cent – that’s tied with the Audi E-tron GT as the fastest in the biz as of right now. So, you park up, plug in, go have lunch (or even just a coffee), and you’re good.

Good grief, what a car this is. Indeed, I consider myself a die-hard petrolhead that loves his V8s. I should not like this car so much but even I cannot deny that the thrills on offer here really do rival those more old-school powertrains, even eclipsing then in some situations. Add that great wagon body style and ultramodern styling, and all of a sudden, my tester’s $245,000 list price becomes just a little easier to swallow.

2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo

The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.

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