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

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.

And they’re all on the same street I am. Or so it seems.

To put that into perspective, there are 85,000 souls living in an area that if square, would be less than a kilometre long on its sides. If that sounds wild, it’s because it is. Scooters, cars, pedestrians and cyclists all struggle to navigate its narrow corridors. At various points, the street is shoulder-to-shoulder with pedestrians, and this isn’t even a busy tourism season.

There is cold beer on every street corner, running about 50 cents each. Street food is plentiful, from grilled meats to banh mi to pho, and it smells delicious. Since this is a busy area of the city, don’t be surprised if some other aromas aren’t quite as appetizing. Also obvious are the closed shops that did not survive the pandemic.

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.

The styling remains fresh even as the generation nears retirement age, which is a compliment to Mazda’s design process, which makes sure each new design is moulded in clay before that final sign-off. The snouty nose, the detail creases along the sides and the gently sloping roof all combine to create a pleasing profile.

The interior still rivals the best of the luxury brands’, with materials, design and execution all at a high level.

Still, time moves on, and as vehicle generations get longer of tooth, carmakers have to step up with logical upgrades to keep the sales numbers perking along. Having raved about the handling and fuel economy of the CX-5 previously, I want to delve this time into what makes the 22 different from models before.

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.

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.

Friday, May. 13, 2022

Skyrocketing gas prices fuelling increased interest in electric vehicles

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Going Rogue

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Going Rogue

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 5, 2021

The definitions of the word Rogue are few, and none is complimentary. It refers either to an unprincipled person, a person who behaves in an aberrant manner or a large animal driven from the herd.

That last definition seems to apply to the Rogue, which has broken free of the Nissan herd since its launch in 2007, and since 2012 has been the company’s best-selling vehicle in Canada, by a large margin. For the calendar year to the end of the third quarter, Nissan Canada sold nearly twice as many Rogues as its entire car portfolio combined (25,454 Rogues vs. 13,708 cars (even the small crossover Kicks outsells Nissan’s cars, with 14,132 sales)).

So the 2021 model, the latest generation, shows no sign of losing that popularity, and, it seems, looks more like its name would suggest than it predecessors.

With a bolder, rugged exterior, the new two-row, five-passenger crossover seems to eschew the soft-crossover look and feel of even its most recent progenitor. It carries more cues from the 1980s-era Pathfinder than third-generation Versa and looks like it’s ready to rumble… through cottage trails, at least.

Friday, Nov. 5, 2021

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The 2021 Nissan Rogue loses its predecessor’s rounded, car-like appearance and gains a bolder, more rugged exterior styling.

Luxury for landlubbers

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Luxury for landlubbers

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

About 10 or 15 years ago, Ford sent a Lincoln MKZ sedan to Winnipeg for testing. Despite Ford trying to downplay the obvious connection to the Ford Fusion of the day, in the trunk was a pair of front floor mats that fit the MKZ perfectly.

Stitched into the mats? The Fusion name under the Ford blue oval.

So it’s with that history in mind we take a look at the 2021 Lincoln Corsair, the latest in a long line of Ford products to bear the word long associated with 16th-century piracy. Certainly an interesting choice of names given Lincoln’s history of looting Ford parts bins for everything from Aviators to Zephyrs.

Yet, while the Corsair is loosely based on the Ford Escape, this is more than a warmed-over Ford.

Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

About 10 or 15 years ago, Ford sent a Lincoln MKZ sedan to Winnipeg for testing. Despite Ford trying to downplay the obvious connection to the Ford Fusion of the day, in the trunk was a pair of front floor mats that fit the MKZ perfectly.

Stitched into the mats? The Fusion name under the Ford blue oval.

So it’s with that history in mind we take a look at the 2021 Lincoln Corsair, the latest in a long line of Ford products to bear the word long associated with 16th-century piracy. Certainly an interesting choice of names given Lincoln’s history of looting Ford parts bins for everything from Aviators to Zephyrs.

Yet, while the Corsair is loosely based on the Ford Escape, this is more than a warmed-over Ford.

Racing towards a career

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Racing towards a career

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

Carter Friesen never thought his pastime would come to this, at least not so early in his career.

Friesen, 16, a budding graphic designer at Oak Park High School, left Thursday to attend a NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. That itself is exciting enough for any fan of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, but it’s what he’s going to see first-hand that’s really exciting — his own paint scheme on the No. 7 car driven by SS Green Light Racing driver Joe Graf Jr.

In April, he was posting on Twitter some of the NASCAR paint schemes he created in his spare time, and as luck would have it, Graf saw his work and the team commissioned him to design what would be placed on Graf’s car for two races, the first of which was last week in Kansas.

“Most teams aren’t expecting some 16-year-old kid from high school to be designing paint schemes,” the Grade 12 student said. “I’ve always been interested in NASCAR. Even when I was four or five, when we went to stores that sold NASCAR die-casts, I would always buy one.

Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

Carter Friesen never thought his pastime would come to this, at least not so early in his career.

Friesen, 16, a budding graphic designer at Oak Park High School, left Thursday to attend a NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. That itself is exciting enough for any fan of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, but it’s what he’s going to see first-hand that’s really exciting — his own paint scheme on the No. 7 car driven by SS Green Light Racing driver Joe Graf Jr.

In April, he was posting on Twitter some of the NASCAR paint schemes he created in his spare time, and as luck would have it, Graf saw his work and the team commissioned him to design what would be placed on Graf’s car for two races, the first of which was last week in Kansas.

“Most teams aren’t expecting some 16-year-old kid from high school to be designing paint schemes,” the Grade 12 student said. “I’ve always been interested in NASCAR. Even when I was four or five, when we went to stores that sold NASCAR die-casts, I would always buy one.

The Pinnacle of practical

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The Pinnacle of practical

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

As practical as the minivan is, as much as it saved Chrysler in the 1980s, as much as it can’t be beat for interior volume for its footprint, there’s one question that comes to mind having driven the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle: Is there really a market for a $70,000 minivan?

“Absolutely,” says Jordan Wasylyk, who, as a product communications manager for Stellantis, has responsibility for Chrysler minivans. “With the Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle, we are targeting customers who desire a vehicle loaded with premium appointments.”

“The lineup includes a range of options, from the budget-friendly Chrysler Grand Caravan… to the Pinnacle model for those who desire a premium people mover.”

There’s some substance to Wasylyk’s assertion: in the second quarter of 2021, Chrysler sold 893 Pacifica models. A breakdown by trim levels is not provided.

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Kelly Taylor photos / Winnipeg Free Press
The Pinnacle is available as either a gas-only or a hybrid gas-electric minivan.

Civic duty

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Civic duty

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

There was a time when the Honda Civic was a small car.

When it first came to these shores, the Civic was smaller than a modern MINI. Today’s version, the 2022 Civic, is larger than some incarnations of its larger sibling, the Accord.

Indeed, the new Civic is only 217 millimetres shorter than the current Accord and only 56 millimetres narrower. Which, ironically, makes a very good case for saving the $8,000 price difference between the two.

This is the 11th generation of the car first launched in 1972. Along the way, it’s had some designs that just didn’t seem to work, frankly. Starting in about 2005, the proportions just seemed a bit off, with a short front deck and a greenhouse that seemed to be falling forward. In the last two generations, however, stretching the wheelbase slightly has helped, and the current design hits all the right marks.

Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

Mark Phelan / Detroit Free Press
For 2022, Honda has toned down some of the aggressive exterior styling of the Civic and very much improved the interior design.

Cooking with… gas-electric?

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Cooking with… gas-electric?

Kelly Taylor 5 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE — Coconut-crusted shrimp are crisping in the air fryer and vegetables are sizzling on the electric grill. Lunch is almost ready, but despite the use of electric appliances, no Manitoba Hydro electrons were the least bit inconvenienced in the process.

I’ve pulled off the road somewhere in the middle of nowhere (somewhere in the RM of Ritchot, actually) and set up the kitchen in the bed of a 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid. On board is a 7.2-kilowatt power centre feeding four 120-volt outlets and one 240-volt outlet.

I’m barely taxing its capabilities, which Ford says include the ability to run an entire job site. If I had a small refrigerator, no problem. If I was building a shed or a deck and wanted to cook chili for the crew while circular saws or electric drills were doing their thing, easy peasy.

This isn’t a story that attempts to say you need to spend $83,713 on this particular pickup to cook al fresco — Hibachis and portable gas grills have been doing that for about $83,613 less for decades — but is rather just a fun spin on a couple of recipes you might like to try at home, while spotlighting some new technology in the move towards greater electrification of vehicles.

Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021

photos by RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
The four 120-volt and one 240-volt outlets on the F-150 PowerBoost hybrid were barely taxed making lunch.

Toyota looks ‘beyond zero’ with new EV

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Toyota looks ‘beyond zero’ with new EV

Kelly Taylor 4 minute read Friday, Jun. 4, 2021

Toyota Canada, as part of the carmaker’s global push to launch 70 new electrified vehicles by 2025, will begin selling its first battery electric vehicle, the bZ4X, by the middle of next year, officials announced at a virtual pan-American unveiling this week.

The bZ4X will join an exploding new segment of electric vehicles — crossovers — an important development for the adoption of EVs. Most EVs to this point — Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi iMiev, Chevrolet Bolt — have been cars, and they have struggled despite generous incentives in three provinces to gain any foothold in a market dominated by the light truck segment. In February 2021, light trucks, which includes pickups, crossovers and SUVs, accounted for 88 per cent of Canadian vehicle sales.

Cyril Dimitris, vice-president, marketing and sales, for Toyota Canada, said following buyers into segments they are buying is key to EV adoption.

“It’s very important that we get cars into the market that people want to buy, and not because of government incentives,” he said. “Certainly, that will lead to greater acceptance of EVs.”

Friday, Jun. 4, 2021

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The bZ4X shares styling cues with some of Toyota’s latest electrified vehicles, including the Venza, a hybrid gas-electric crossover.

U.K. firm buys local automotive software company

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U.K. firm buys local automotive software company

Kelly Taylor 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021

Winnipeg-based Rapid RTC, which provides real-time communications between automotive dealers and customers browsing online, has been acquired by U.K. software developer Keyloop in a deal that promises to expand Rapid RTC’s reach to 16,000 dealers in more than 90 countries.

“When we first started Rapid RTC, we always had a vision of where our products could land and impact the auto industry,” said Glen Demetrioff, who founded Rapid RTC and will remain president and chief executive officer. “The most exciting part now is we’re able to move our products on a much more significant path to being adopted on a global scale.”

Rapid RTC, which began in 1996 as DMT Development Systems Group, supplies software that works with auto dealers’ websites to provide live text and video chat between customers shopping online and sales floor staff. The company rebranded as Rapid RTC — the RTC stands for real-time communications — in 2018. It employs 310 staff in offices in Winnipeg, Toronto, Dallas, London and Paris.

Rapid RTC has a current client list of 4,200 dealers and 27 automakers, from BMW to Toyota and beyond. Shoppers who have accepted a chat invitation while browsing an automaker’s or dealer’s website will most likely have been using Rapid RTC’s systems.

Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Glen Demetrioff and his wife, Sharon, began Rapid RTC in 1996 (as DMT Development Systems Group). He sold the company Monday to Keyloop, a U.K.-based software developer.