Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor

Copy Editor, Autos Reporter

Kelly Taylor is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor and award-winning automotive journalist. He’s been a member of the Automobile Journalists’ Association of Canada since 2001.

He was named Automotive Journalist of the Year in 2015 and 2002, a runner-up for the same award in 2014 an 2016 and has earned consecutive Gold Medallion and Best in Newspapers awards from the International Automotive Media Competition (2015 and 2016).

In 2017, he won second place in the Texas Auto Writers’ Excellence in Craft Competition for his review of the 2018 Land Rover Discovery.

He has earned numerous other awards for writing, page design and photography.

His favourite test drive was the Audi R8, which he nearly traded for a Greyhound bus, a Ford Ranger and the Blue Heron Gift Shop in Kenora.

 

Recent articles of Kelly Taylor

Interested in Integra?

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Interested in Integra?

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

There are times when I wistfully remember my 1990 Acura Integra, so imagine my excitement when news came the Integra was returning.

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Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

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The interior of the Integra follows Acura’s minimalist style, placing the luxury emphasis where it should be, performance.

Pathfinder back on track

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Pathfinder back on track

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, Dec. 9, 2022

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a refreshing change for a vehicle that, ironically enough, had lost its way.

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Friday, Dec. 9, 2022

SUPPLIED

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder promises a ‘return to rugged,’ something that switching to an automatic transmission certainly speaks to.

Worth the wait

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Worth the wait

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, Nov. 25, 2022

Look up the 2022 Acura RDX on the company’s Canadian website and staring at you in big red letters are the words, “Go away!”

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Friday, Nov. 25, 2022

Look up the 2022 Acura RDX on the company’s Canadian website and staring at you in big red letters are the words, “Go away!”

Power out the gazoo

Kelly Taylor 7 minute read Preview

Power out the gazoo

Kelly Taylor 7 minute read Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

VANCOUVER ISLAND MOTORSPORTS CIRCUIT, DUNCAN, B.C. — Toyota is investing heavily in a market segment it said a dozen years ago had ceased to exist, hot hatchbacks and sports coupes. And it’s coming with a cool new — or at least new to Canada — name: Gazoo Racing.

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Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

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The 2022 Toyota GR86, nicknamed the Great Six by journalists on our trip: it’s finally the kind of sports car fans of the old Celica can appreciate.

The Jeep that isn’t

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The Jeep that isn’t

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

The 2022 Wagoneer isn’t the largest vehicle I’ve ever driven, but it certainly feels like it is.

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Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

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You won’t miss the name Wagoneer on this vehicle, but don’t strain your eyes looking for the word Jeep.

2023 Toyota Crown brings power, panache and parsimony to market

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2023 Toyota Crown brings power, panache and parsimony to market

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORTS PARK — It’s big, it’s bold and it’s set to become the flagship for Toyota in Canada, a market it hasn’t been sold in since 1965.

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Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

BR-Zee? More like BR-Wheeee!

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BR-Zee? More like BR-Wheeee!

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

NEW marketing slogan for the 2022 Subaru BRZ: you’ll be surprised by its usefulness!

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Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

EVs with a Vietnamese twist

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EVs with a Vietnamese twist

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

NHA TRANG, Vietnam — This upstart automaker is only five years old yet is on the cusp of a massive global expansion driven by a jump into the electric vehicle market.

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Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

The VF 8 competes size wise with such vehicles as the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V.

Crystal blue persuasion

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Crystal blue persuasion

Kelly Taylor 8 minute read Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

HANOI, Vietnam — There are, according to our tour guide, 85,000 people living in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, a section of the city only 88 hectares in size.

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Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

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The Vinpearl Resort in Nha Trang is on Hon Tre Island, a short boat ride from the mainland. It is competitive with some of the best all-inclusive resorts you might see on Grand Cayman.

A ’ute that’s still cute after all these years

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A ’ute that’s still cute after all these years

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

It’s been four years since we bought our 2018 Mazda CX-5, and while the 2022 Mazda CX-5 is, perhaps, the last refresh of this particular generation, no other affordable crossover quite ticks our boxes like our CX-5.

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Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

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The 2022 Mazda CX-5 hasn’t changed much since this generation debuted in 2018, but some clever upgrades should keep the model relevant for newcomers and returning customers alike.

Truck pretender, or contender?

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Truck pretender, or contender?

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Jun. 3, 2022

Take even a cursory glance at online pickup truck forums and a fairly constant theme will emerge about the 2022 Honda Ridgeline and all its ancestors.

They’re not real trucks.

True. But who cares?

Those who don’t like the Ridge will fill their pockets with Coloradoes and Silveradoes and F-150s and Rangers. Fine. We didn’t ask you.

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Friday, Jun. 3, 2022

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The interior features a large, touchscreen display, while the transmission shifter uses Honda’s pushbutton/lever contraption.

Ford’s tiny pickup so popular, you’ll be lucky to find one

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Ford’s tiny pickup so popular, you’ll be lucky to find one

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, May. 13, 2022

SALT SPRING ISLAND, British Columbia — People wouldn’t like the 2022 Ford Maverick, they said. Too small, they said. Not trucklike enough, they said. Well, what do they know, anyway?

Ford in Canada is practically sold out — 4,116 sold so far and more on the way, all spoken for — and is not taking any orders until the order bank for 2023 models opens later this summer.

It’s easy to see why.

The Maverick is compact, fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive and much more handy than its small size might suggest.

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Friday, May. 13, 2022

Skyrocketing gas prices fuelling increased interest in electric vehicles

Kelly Taylor 9 minute read Preview

Skyrocketing gas prices fuelling increased interest in electric vehicles

Kelly Taylor 9 minute read Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2022

When William York, an electrical engineer in Edmonton, took a 15-hour, 1,400-kilometre drive to Seattle, he planned the usual stops — bathroom breaks, meals, an overnight sleep — and arrived having taken roughly the same amount of time as most leisurely trips between the two cities.

The difference? York, 35, drives an electric vehicle.

At a time when gas prices are going crazy, it’s reasonable to expect more Canadian drivers will start to consider electric vehicles. As this story is being written, prices in Winnipeg are $1.739 per litre for regular gas. In Vancouver, $1.969. With only 13 years to go before the federal government’s target date for EVs to comprise all new vehicles sold, the pull towards electric is strong.

For York, dispelling the misconception that EVs aren’t suited for longer distances starts by retelling the story of his Seattle vacation. The limiting factor is urology, not technology.

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Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2022

General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra confirmed during her 2022 CES keynote address that Chevrolet will launch the Chevrolet Equinox EV in the 2024 model year.

Look past the me-too styling and the 2022 Forester has a lot to offer

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Preview

Look past the me-too styling and the 2022 Forester has a lot to offer

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Apr. 8, 2022

When the Subaru Forester first arrived, a reasonable question was whether it was a low SUV or a tall station wagon. For 2022, that question is reasonable no more.

It’s grown considerably since its early days, to the point that size-wise, it’s nearly indistinguishable from its mid-size crossover competitors. It is taller and longer than my Mazda CX-5 and just a bit narrower, though that only translates into an extra litre of seats-up cargo space (817 for the CX-5 vs. 818 for the Subie). Seats down, however, the Subie’s extra length means the cargo volume beats the CX-5 by almost 500 litres.

While the Forester’s quirky, Goldilocks-approved size — not too big, not too small — is lost, what hasn’t been lost is the benefits to handling of its horizontally-opposed four-cylinder Boxer motor, which keeps the centre of gravity very low.

That motor, a 182-hp, 176 lb-ft non-turbo across the lineup, means reasonable if not stellar acceleration, which is more than compensated by outstanding fuel economy. For the tank I used during my test week, it averaged less than nine litres per 100 kilometres. By way of comparison, I thought our CX-5’s 9.9 l/100km average was pretty good.

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Friday, Apr. 8, 2022

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The Subaru Forester has an attractive interior that — unlike new offerings Outback and Legacy — doesn’t put every function possible into the infotainment menu system. There are still real buttons and knobs for heated seats, heating and ventilation and tuning the radio.

Honda’s hot hatch is back… almost

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Preview

Honda’s hot hatch is back… almost

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Mar. 18, 2022

Just when you thought you’d never experience a Honda manual transmission again…

OK, the stick isn’t entirely vanquished from Honda’s lineup, but it is, or at least had been, reserved for the hotter models of Civic, the Si and the Type R. And then comes along the 2022 Honda Civic hatchback.

To understand the significance requires having driven Honda’s manuals in the past. While its competitors have since, mostly, caught up, Honda was renowned for producing transmissions and clutches so smooth, so effortless that if you couldn’t learn to drive stick in a Honda, you just weren’t trying.

News that non-performance models of Civic would only be supplied with the yawnfest of a continuously variable transmission was disheartening. So it was not without ear-to-ear smiles we heard Honda was sending a six-speed hatchback.

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Friday, Mar. 18, 2022

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The 2022 Honda Civic hatchback has a nearly identical roofline to its sedan sibling. Is that a good thing? You decide.

VinFast pulls out all stops to attract first customers

Kelly Taylor 2 minute read Preview

VinFast pulls out all stops to attract first customers

Kelly Taylor 2 minute read Friday, Mar. 18, 2022

A mobile charger, discounts, service packages and a seven-day stay for four at a luxury resort in Vietnam: VinFast is rolling out the red carpet for its first customers in Canada.

In announcing pricing for the VF 8 and VF 9 all-electric sport utility vehicles, the Vietnam-based automaker also announced special benefits for what it calls its “VinFirst” customers.

First, the prices: the VF 8 will start at C$51,250 and the larger VF 9 will start at $69,750.

Canadians now have the ability to stake their place in line for the vehicles expected to arrive by year’s end by placing a refundable $250 deposit. VinFast Canada says 300 Canadians have signed up as of Thursday.

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Friday, Mar. 18, 2022

Buzz is building, but it’s a long way off

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Buzz is building, but it’s a long way off

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Mar. 11, 2022

Like an acid trip that just keeps building, the story of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz took another small step forward this week when VW unveiled its back-to-the-future reincarnation of the Microbus.

The Microbus was the darling of the 1960s, as much a part of the cultural landscape as the Summer of Love and Woodstock. Its simplicity and its quirkiness — combined with a voluminous interior and exterior surfaces perfect for daisies and flowers and other psychedelic motifs — more than made up for its lack of power.

To recapture that magic, VW first unveiled the Buzz concept at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and since then has been delivering dribs and drabs of information every so often to keep the, ahem, buzz going.

Expect another teaser before it hits these shores, however: it’s not due here until 2024.

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Friday, Mar. 11, 2022

Tip of the hat to Taos

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Tip of the hat to Taos

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

In the mountains of New Mexico, about two hours north of Santa Fe, is a charming, picturesque village known as much for skiing as for its beautiful scenery. It was also the home of John Muir, a structural engineer who dropped out and became a long-haired hippie mechanic who wrote an authoritative guide to fixing old Volkswagens.

Legend has it, the fact Muir — who died in 1977 — lived in Taos, N.M., is why Volkswagen named its latest SUV after the town.

“I think it’s a really cool name, but was it named Taos because John Muir lived there? I’m not so sure,” says VW Canada spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff, who has thumbed through many a page in Muir’s manual. “I think it’s just a really cool coincidence.”

Taos, the town, represents everything VW wants reflected in the Taos — it’s a picturesque, artsy community with architecture, vistas, old-style trestle rail bridges and a thriving social scene, he says.

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Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

The interior is nicely laid out, and topline models come with accent lighting that creates a blue hue along accent creases on the dash and doors.

Immortal Highlander remains a leading crossover

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Immortal Highlander remains a leading crossover

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Jan. 14, 2022

Proving it’s as durable as its mythical Scottish namesake — “Ya canna die, Highlander, you’re immortal!” (Sean Connery mode off) — the Toyota Highlander is still here two decades after it launched.

It’s grown over those 21 years: the first was a slightly enlarged compact crossover with only two rows of seats. Since the second generation and beyond, however, it is a three-row vehicle that isn’t huge, but is hardly compact, either.

Today’s Highlander comes in a variety of flavours, from the base model LE at $44,750 to the full-kilt Hybrid Platinum at $57,490. All-wheel drive is standard on all models.

Non-hybrid models use a 3.5-litre V-6 engine, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s relatively miserly, as engines with 295 horsepower go: average fuel economy is 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres.

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Friday, Jan. 14, 2022

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The Highlander takes Toyota interiors in a new direction, with fresh styling and impeccable material selection.

Iconic design for IONIQ 5

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Iconic design for IONIQ 5

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

SAN DIEGO — Julian, Calif. is known for pies, beer and barbecue. It’s not known as a hotbed of electric-vehicle charging stations, though it does, apparently, have three. Those three stations would have been entirely overwhelmed by our visit, with 20 EVs, all the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5, descending on this SoCal town.

From San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter we came, 40 automotive journalists braving the perils of range anxiety and a wicked rain storm to test this, the first Hyundai developed exclusively as an EV.

If this is the future of Hyundai’s EV strategy, it’s off to a good start. Turns out range anxiety wasn’t an issue at all, at least after we remembered the dash is set to read in miles, not kilometres.

The range and the available charging times both answer the key objections many drivers have about switching to an EV. It’s available with up to 488 kilometres of range (most likely 414 km for the option Canadian drivers might prefer: all-wheel drive), and with a 250kW 800-volt direct-current fast charger, can charge from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in 18 minutes, and it can add 108 kilometres of range in only five minutes.

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Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

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A spacious interior made possible by a flat floor containing the batteries, as well as there being no need for a transmission or driveshaft tunnel. All-wheel-drive versions use electric motors at each end.

Tall car or short crossover, take your pick

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Preview

Tall car or short crossover, take your pick

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

I have to start this review with some full disclosure: I own two Mazdas and previously owned a third. The first is a 2018 CX-5 my wife and I got to replace our totalled Toyota Sienna. The second is a 2020 Mazda3 Sport that’s my daily driver. The third is no longer on this Earth: it, a 2001 MPV minivan, met its maker about 15 years ago.

I do not, unless it’s buried deep within a mutual fund I have no direct control over, own any financial position in the company. I just like their cars.

So if you want to take this all with a few grains of sodium chloride, I won’t hold it against you.

In a world where buyers are clamouring for the biggest, baddest SUVs they can find, the 2021 Mazda CX-30 is a pleasant surprise.

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Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

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The CX-30 looks, and drives, like a taller Mazda3 Sport.

Speak like Spock… to your car

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Speak like Spock… to your car

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

There are interesting parallels between the evolution of the human machine interface on Star Trek and in real-life vehicles today.

In the 1960s original series, Capt. James T. Kirk would press a button and speak to the computer. In the 2000s, drivers would press a button and speak to the computer.

In the late-1980s and 1990s, captains Jean-Luc Picard, Kathryn Janeway and Benjamin Sisko would utter a wake-up command, “Computer,” and when the computer was listening, would speak their commands.

In the 2022 Toyota Tundra and Lexus NX — and soon others — drivers will utter a wake-up command, “Hey Toyota” or “Hey Lexus,” and speak their commands.

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Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

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The 2022 Toyota Tundra features the latest in Toyota Connected Services, which includes the ability to understand real-world spoken commands. And one massive touchscreen.

Honda Pilot offers light-duty off-roading, high towing capacity and on-road comfort

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Honda Pilot offers light-duty off-roading, high towing capacity and on-road comfort

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

If you’re looking for a vehicle that approaches the Acura MDX in ability, but is either less expensive or, perhaps, less triggering to those opposed to luxury brands, the 2022 Honda Pilot may be the SUV you seek.

The Pilot tops out its range $200 less than the entry-level MDX, and can be had in nicely serviceable form for as much as $13,000 less.

The value of the differences are in the eye of the buyer: the MDX has 10 more horsepower and an extra gear in the transmission, as well as Super Handling All-Wheel Drive as opposed to Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD system.

The MDX, arguably, has a more refined design, as should be expected when comparing mainstream and luxury versions of what is essentially the same vehicle. The interior trims are a bit more luxe, the exterior a bit sleeker. Again, in the eye of the beholder.

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Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

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The 2022 Honda Pilot offers space and composure in a reliable package.

Call of the Wild-erness

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Call of the Wild-erness

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Subaru has made its name through its relentless pursuit of all-wheel-drive perfection, but it’s never really swung for the fences in log-crushing, rock-crawling off-road ability.

It still hasn’t.

The latest Outback, the Wilderness model, takes the concept further, perhaps further than Subaru has gone before, and the Wilderness does hold its own on all but the worst off-road drives, but a Jeep Wrangler it’s not.

Truth is, it’s not trying to be. Though its approach angle (19.6 degrees) and departure angle (23.6 degrees) and 230 mm ground clearance (almost nine inches) are excellent, the Outback Wilderness is a lifted, ruggedized version of Outback rather than a Bronco-beater.

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Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

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The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness combines rugged styling with extra height and protection for the undercarriage for greater off-road ability.