It’s not often in these comparison stories that we get to compare two brand-new, never-before-seen vehicles.

But here we are: the Toyota Corolla Cross and Volkswagen Taos are the latest entrants from each manufacturer in the always-expanding small/compact (some can argue “subcompact” – I’m not quite sure with these) crossover game, and they are two similar, but also divergent combatants.

They both are aimed at young, likely active families and both come powered by four-cylinder engines from a pair of manufacturers that are well-versed in a number of crossover/SUV segments. They also have some brand pedigree, more obvious with the Toyota – we all know how successful the Corolla line of compact cars has been through the years – but you have to reach a little further for the Taos, as we’ll see in a moment. So, on paper, they are each perfectly viable choices for buyers.


This is interesting in that the Taos in clearly a VW with its big, famous emblem on the snout, squarish silhouette, bright and very GTI-esque “Cornflower Blue” paintjob, and somewhat edgy 18-inch two-tone wheels. I find the Corolla Cross to be more reminiscent of a Jeep Cherokee than anything by Toyota.

The squared-off fenders, smoked grille, the shape of the leading edge of the taillamps, C-pillar shape – even the headlamp lenses – recall the famous Jeep product and in all honesty, I rather like it. It looks way chunkier and more purposeful in person than I ever thought it would be, and the Cypress paintjob fits the mold well. I really like the exterior styling of this car, I think more so than I do that of the VW, handsome as the latter is.

What I do like about the Taos, however, are its overall proportions. It recalls the Tiguan before the North American version of that big-selling Veedub became a three-row crossover, by that I mean the Taos is more Golf-on-stilts, as the Tiguan once was. Which stands to reason because if you know anything about VW, you know that they’ve cancelled both the Golf and Golf Sportwagen for the North American market (not counting the halo GTI and Golf R models), and so it falls to the Taos to kind of pick up the slack left by those two models. That, by the way, is where the Taos’ “all-new” designation gains a bit of an asterisk, as it is very similar in size and scope to the former Tiguan. The Corolla Cross, on the other hand, is something we haven’t really seen before from Toyota in that it falls between the smaller C-HR and larger RAV4 in size. The important designation between it and the C-HR, though, is that the Corolla Cross is available with AWD and the C-HR is not.

2022 Corolla Cross

Inside the Taos, there’s no denying it’s a VW – same climate controls, same infotainment system with strange MS-DOS style font, same tuxedo-like ambiance, especially when finished in black leather, as seen here.

I am, however, a big fan of the digital gauge cluster and the ability to connect wirelessly to Apple CarPlay, both features that the Corolla Cross can’t lay claim to. The Toyota does, however, get a decent-sized TFT display between its analogue gauges.

While I like how the Taos’ interior is a little classier, the Corolla Cross’ interior is a little airier with more flared surfaces, a less-cluttered centre console and larger seats. On the one hand I do like that, but there’s something to be said for how ensconcing the Taos’ interior is. Add the fact that it gets an optional panoramic glass roof while the Toyota makes do with a more traditional sunroof.

Performance, Ride and Handling

While these do both have four-cylinder powerplants, the Taos gets a turbocharger which pushes its torque figure to 184 lb–ft, a nice number considering the Taos’ size.

The Corolla Cross makes more horsepower, though, as does most everyone else in this category. Which, it has to be said, is a bit of a problem for the Taos – on paper.

In practice, though, the Taos has an additional trick up its sleeve that helps get the most out of that power, and that’s its dual-clutch seven-speed automatic. Which, it has to be said, can be had only if you spec AWD as FWD models get a torque converter eight-speed auto. The result, coupled with that generous torque figure, is athletic forward progress once past a dabble of turbo lag that only a quick-shifting dual-clutch can provide. It feels way quicker that the numbers suggest, and that’s just on tip-in. The torque curve really comes into its own once at speed, the multiple ratios are there to allow great power application across a broad rev band.

The Corolla Cross – like its so-named sedan and hatchback brethren – gets a CVT automatic. Of course, these transmission types are good for fuel economy and they can make for some smooth acceleration, but they rarely make for what I would call strong acceleration and, regrettably, the Cross is no different.

Dabbing the accelerator pedal will garner a response, but not an especially athletic one and the more you press on, the more strained it feels. It may have more horsepower the Taos, but unlike the Taos which makes the most of the power it has got, the Cross is just the opposite, as its 2.0-litre four-banger feels constrained by that transmission. I don’t expect a vehicle like this to put its power down like a sports car, but I do expect it to not leave me wanting when it comes to menial everyday tasks like passing a truck on a two-lane or entering a freeway. I won’t say that the Corolla Cross can’t do this stuff. I can just say that I found myself thinking about it a lot more before I attempted such tasks and that the powertrain just doesn’t instill as much confidence as does the Taos’.

What the Corolla Cross does return, though, is a more comfortable ride than the Taos. Even the harshest bumps are well ironed out by the Cross’ dampers and it flows over most any road with grace and comfort. Add a slippery shape and smart sound deadening work around the wheel wells and front bulkhead, and you have a properly serene ride.

The Taos, for its part, has the better handling out of the two. The steering is nice and direct (if a little woolen on feel) and the dampers have been tuned for a driver looking for a more athletic and responsive drive. Again, if you’re going to go after buyers longing for their Golf, this is the kind of thing you need to do.

That suspension tuning and those big wheels, however, do make for a firm ride and one that will get upset over repeated bumps such as what you might find on a pockmarked city street. Also contributing to some less-than-smooth progress is that DSG box as creeping forward in traffic with dual-clutch boxes is often a challenge to do, and such is the case here. Aggressive shift mapping will cause some lurching that you need to be ready for. When you really get moving, though, ‘oh boy’ is that Taos a willing dance partner.


When it comes to interior comfort, both of these punch above their weight class, but in somewhat different ways.

As mentioned before, the Cross’ interior has more open space, feels a little easier to breathe in and provides some really comfortable and supportive chairs that will coddle both front and rear passengers on long journeys.

The Taos, though, provides the roomier back seat both in terms of head- and-legroom, where the Corolla Cross betrays its connection with the smaller C-HR with what is a bit of a deficit of rear legroom. This is not a shot at only the Corolla Cross. I have driven most of the competition in this segment, I can safely say the Taos cleans the clock of most of them when it comes to how generous its back seat is.

2022 Volkswagen Taos 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

Less generous, it must be said, are the VW’s seat cushions. They are supportive enough, but not as padded as the items found in the Toyota so in the comfort sense, each one of these giveth, and each one taketh away.

And how VW found all that rear back seat room becomes evident as it doesn’t sport the deepest of cargo bays. On paper, it has more room behind the second row than the Corolla Cross, but the Toyota’s bay is deeper and easier to load.


Strange as the Taos’ infotainment system looks, it’s fast enough, fairly intuitive and offers the wireless connectivity mentioned earlier and is your conduit to the Beats by Dre audio option on my tester. Eagle-eyed (or is that “eared”?) VW-philes will know that VW’s former audio system of choice was Fender – yeah, like the Stratocaster – and this new system doesn’t have quite the punch I’ve come to expect from VW.

The Cross’ system is also an upgraded JBL piece and while it sounds good enough, the Corolla Cross still gets Toyota’s older infotainment system with its somewhat blurry graphics, fussy, alphabet soup-like navigation and less-than-zippy response to touch inputs. Luckily, Apple CarPlay is here – albeit wired – and seems to respond better. It’s where I kept it most of the time.

2022 Volkswagen Taos

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross


The Taos starts at about $2,000 more than the Corolla Cross, and that’s with it getting less speakers and a smaller infotainment display. Add the better fuel economy the Toyota gets, and it’s hard to argue against its being the value champion here.


I think by now it’s pretty clear; for me, the choice is the Taos. I’m willing to spend the extra money for that performance and interior dimensions, not to mention the more robust infotainment.

I do like the Cross’ styling, though, and those seats are top notch. It’s just I had trouble getting past that powertrain no matter how handsome the thing looked. Many will dig the Corolla Cross for its comfort and ride quality; I’m choosing the Taos because I do miss the Golf, and this works as a replacement – for the most part.

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

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Windsor Getting Stellantis Battery Factory

The big news this week is a new battery plant coming to Windsor, ON. Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles/FCA) has announced that the Ontario city will receive a $5 billion investment to build more than 45 gigawatt-hours of EV batteries every year. The plant, a venture with LG Energy Solution, is set to open in early 2024 and could supply more than 600,000 EVs every year. “Our joint venture with LG Energy Solution is yet another stepping-stone to achieving our aggressive electrification road map in the region, aimed at hitting 50 percent of battery-electric vehicle sales in the U.S. and Canada by the end of the decade,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. The CEO indicated that help from all levels of government was part of the project but didn’t detail individual contributions. Stellantis has had operations in the city since 1925 and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens calls the company the area’s largest employer. The new plant is expected to create 2,500 new jobs.

Quebec Cuts EV, PHEV Incentives

The Province of Quebec is cutting its maximum incentives for electric vehicles, though even the reduced amounts are still the highest in the country. The new provincial budget cuts the maximum for an EV from $8,000 to $7,000 as of April 1. More significantly, the maximum rebate for a PHEV, which topped out at the same $8,000 as an EV, is cut to $5,000. Used EVs will drop from $4,000 to $3,500. Further changes may come for 2023 and beyond, and are expected to be announced at a later date.

Hurricane I6 Offers Big Power, Small Consumption

Stellantis revealed an all-new inline six-cylinder engine that it says will improve power while cutting fuel economy and emissions in its largest vehicles. Dubbed Hurricane, the 3.0-litre twin-turbo I6 will be offered in a Standard Output variant designed to optimize fuel economy and a High Output engine aimed at offering more performance but “while maintaining significant fuel economy during heavy use, such as towing.” The SO engine will make “more than 400 hp/450 lb-ft of torque” and the HO “more than 500 hp/475 lb-ft.” Both figures are more powerful than the 5.7-litre Hemi V8 that is commonly found in current Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler models. Stellantis said that the first Hurricane-powered models will arrive at dealers later this year.


Chevrolet Teases Electric Equinox

Chevrolet teased a new Equinox electric crossover this week. In a video posted to Twitter, the brand showed a look around the outside of a rendered 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV. It is styled much more like the Bolt and Bolt EUV than a gas Equinox, with sleek LED lights running across the nose and tail of the crossover. Chevrolet also said in the teaser that the RS model would come first in the fall of 2023, with an LT to be announced later.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Priced 

Also from Chevrolet, the 2023 Corvette Stingray will see a slight price increase. The base model of the sports car will start from $71,998 before destination and fees, with order books open now. The highlight of the 2023 changes is a 70th Anniversary Edition trim for $7,995 on top of 3LT cars that adds special badging, custom luggage, and is offered only in two special paint colours with a two-tone interior. Chevrolet has added more total paint and interior colour choices as well.

Two Years Free Charging for Lucid Air 

Lucid and Electrify Canada have just announced that any buyers who put down a reservation for a Lucid Air by June 30th will get two years of free fast charging on the Electrify Canada network. The luxury electric Air’s 350 kW charging means adding around 350 km of range in 15 minutes on the fast chargers. EC currently has 30 charging station locations and expects that number to grow to more than 100 by 2026.

Lucid Air

Maserati Reveals All-New Grecale

Maserati revealed its all-new Grecale crossover. The luxury performance model will come with a 296 hp or 325 hp 2.0-litre turbo-four with a 48V mild-hybrid “e-booster” or a 530 hp twin-turbo V6. It will also become Maserati’s first EV crossover when the Folgore (Italian for Lightning) arrives next year. Maserati touts the model’s large interior and luxury trimmings including standard leather as well as wood, carbon, and other materials. Top models will also feature air suspension and a 21-speaker Sonus Faber audio system will be on the list of creature comforts.


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Every week, selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we’ll let you know. If not, we’ll recommend one – or the required options – that earns a passing grade.

For anyone not familiar, Genesis is an upstart luxury brand backed by well-known and successful companies in South Korea. Drawing on the engineering might and expertise of that country’s home-market automakers, Genesis has been taking established luxury brands to task by offering vehicles with expressive styling and top-shelf build quality.

After setting table stakes with a range of sedans and SUVs, the company is jumping into the EV market with their GV60. With a popular crossover-like shape and tidy dimensions, this vehicle is – like its mates in the showroom – likely to steal some sales from existing marques. There will be a couple of GV60 trim choices in Canada.

Starting the party is an Advanced trim, making an estimated 314 horsepower and packing a 77.4kWh lithium-ion polymer high-voltage battery. A heat pump for the cabin plus a battery heating system are features which should give the GV60 a fighting chance of retaining precious driving range when Canadian temperatures fall into the nether regions of this nation’s thermometer. Meanwhile, a Performance model uses the same capacity battery but is rated at 429 horsepower.

While the Genesis brand is aimed at luxury buyers, they seem to be incorporating the ethos of their parent company which has a rap for providing a wealth of value in terms of feature count. Standard kit on the Advanced include the likes of quilted Nappa leather seating (heated all around and ventilated up front), a 12.3-inch screen for infotainment plus one more of equal size ahead of the driver for gauges, and a heads-up display. A so-called Vision Roof should permit stargazing while waiting for the car to recharge.

Other gee-whiz tech includes Face Connect and Fingerprint Reader, both of which sound like terrifying tools from Soylent Green but are tools we use every day on our smart devices applied to the operation of the car. Typical safety kit like forward collision avoidance assists and lane keeping are present as well. One should note the retina-searing neon yellow paint colour shown in many promotional materials for the GV60 is limited to the Performance trim, though this tasty Hanauma Mint is available on the Advanced.

What We’d Choose

It is always difficult for the gearheads at Wheels to argue against more power, especially when the GV60 Performance trim comes with an over-boost function capable of bumping output to over 480 horses. Packed into a machine of these proportions, acceleration should be extremely rapid. While the price spread has not yet been announced for this country, the brand’s home market of Korea shows an eight per cent increase when selecting the Performance model.

2022 Genesis GV60

Beyond the hedonistic indulgences of speed, the Performance variant adds goodies like a surround view monitor and 18-way driver’s seat plus a 17-speaker B&O-branded sound system. Throw in the brand’s Remote Smart Parking and there’s a strong case to be made one should pop for the top-trim when shopping for a Genesis GV60.

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The Mazda CX-50 has arrived, and from what I can see, it faces a couple of challenges. One, Mazda is embarking on the path that many others have: the path towards electrification, which it says means a fully electrified line-up by 2030.

The CX-50 gets two powertrains, one of that is turbocharged and one that is not. A hybrid model developed in partnership with Toyota (the CX-50 is the first Mazda to roll off the line at the new Huntsville, AL manufacturing plant shared with the Japanese giant) is on the way, but we’re going to have to wait.

Two, it shares a spot in the C-segment crossover portion of Mazda’s line-up with the CX-5, an absolutely massive seller for the brand and one the newcomer will surely be cross-shopped with for likely the first few years of its existence.

For its part, Mazda insists that while the two are similar in size, they appeal to different audiences: the CX-5 to more urbanized families and the CX-50 to more outdoorsy or lifestyle-centric folks – so there’s plenty of room in the showroom for both.

Not to mention that when placed side by each, the stylistic differences are quite marked. The CX-50 is longer and lower, its curves – especially around the wheels – are chunkier and squarer.

With its blacked-out grille, wing mirrors and body cladding, fender flares, and its larger 20-inch unique wheels, the CX-50 looks the more purposeful (or more playful, depending on your perspective) vehicle and manages to convey a surprisingly divergent message from the CX-5. The customary Mazda styling cues are still present: five-point grille, squinting headlights (LED on all trims, matched by LED taillights on the top-spec GT Turbo trim seen here), taillights that appear to blister out from the CX-50’s body and roof spoiler. I remember at one point during my test seeing the CX-50’s nose section popping out from behind a parked car at it looked properly menacing, and if I didn’t already know what the rest of it looked like, I sure as heck would have walked over there and checked.

Inside, save for two major details, the stylistic differences are less marked. The door pulls are a little chunkier, the central storage bin sees its traditional lid swapped with a dual-lid that Mazda says, “recalls a toolbox” and there’s some cool contrast-colour stitching. The major details? The panoramic sunroof option (a Mazda first – yes, surprised us, too), and the Terracotta interior colour choice, which is top drawer. Brown hues don’t always work; this one does. Black is your only other interior colour choice at the GT trim level.

2023 Mazda CX50

Otherwise, you have the same partially digitized gauge cluster, heads-up display, shift lever, infotainment control, and steering wheel.

What you don’t have, however, is the same infotainment system as the CX-5. Since the CX-50 is part of Mazda’s “seventh generation” of vehicles along with the Mazda3 and CX-30, it also gets the latest in Mazda infotainment. It’s faster than previous, has a larger screen and native support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That’s all great, but it isn’t a “tiled” set-up like so much of the competition, so there’s a lot of scrolling in order to navigate the menus. You still get a volume control knob beside the main control knob, though, which is great as it makes adjusting the volume easy when at speed on the road.

The front seating positions are right on, thought there is a little less headroom here and what feels like less room overall in the back seat. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the storage floor in the rear cargo area is one of the longest in the segment, so shaped to pack the types of items Mazda envisions CX-50 owners like to pack: coolers, tents and sleeping bags – long, thin items best packed lengthwise.

2023 Mazda CX50

The turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder is good for a CX-5-equalling 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque on 87-octane fuel, expanding to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft if you spec 93-octane.

2023 Mazda CX50

Speed off the line is properly robust, the CX-50 rewarding generous throttle inputs with properly brisk acceleration. The engine note sounds just a little strained when you really get on it, but you are making good forward progress.

More so if you’re in “Sport” mode which increases throttle response and hangs on to gears a little longer – it’s the same six-speed auto we’ve seen in Mazdas for a while and sometimes, it feels like it holds on a little too long. It might be time to start thinking about a new dual-clutch transmission option – but this is the first time we have an “off-road” mode in a Mazda. What it does is send as much torque as possible to the rear axle from start, optimizes traction control and changes shift mapping, among other things.

The big add when it comes to performance, though, is the addition of a tow mode that changes shift mapping once again to accommodate heavier loads. Thanks to a better cooling system and two-inch hitch, the CX-50 can tow up to 3,500 lbs. — more than any CX-5. We hooked up to an Airstream weighing in at about 3,300 lbs. and while you will feel some drag, you won’t feel uncomfortable while towing. The stability control system is used to regulate trailer sway and while there is no trailer brake control system, there are, of course, aftermarket options.

2023 Mazda CX50

While it’s nice you can tow, I think that most CX-50 buyers are going to be more concerned with how the CX-50 drives and handles. With Mazda’s patented G Vector control tech doing its part to keep as much traction down as possible (and reducing the effects of trailer bob) and well-tuned suspension, it comes as little surprise that the CX-50 will carve corners as well as – or better than – any crossover out there. The steering is a little numb but as direct as one expects, and body roll less present than it is in the CX-5, already a pretty tight affair in its own right.

Bottom line is that if you’re in the market for a Mazda CUV, the decision just got a little harder. Drive both of these; you won’t regret it.

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

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From potholes to traffic congestion, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is calling on all road users across the province to nominate and vote for roads they believe are in urgent need of repair. The CAA’s annual Worst Roads campaign provides a platform for Ontarians to give decision-makers a snapshot of what roads are not meeting their expectations.

“Over the past 18 years, the CAA Worst Roads campaign has had a direct impact on road infrastructure and helped to prioritize much-needed road repairs,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president, government and community relations for CAA SCO. “We are proud to see that decision-makers are listening and taking action. Many of the roads on past lists have since been repaired and repaved.”


Some examples of success stories include Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, which made its debut in 2021 as the worst road in the province due to potholes and crumbling pavement, and poor or lacking walking infrastructure. Just one month later, Prince Edward County approved a plan to maintain and rehabilitate more than 75 kilometres of roadway within the region.

Construction on Bell Farm Road in Barrie is expected to be completed this fall thanks to the $13.8 million allocated after it was nominated last year as the worst road within the central region.

Another success story is Lauzon Parkway in Windsor. With a reputation for being bumpy and uncomfortable to travel through, it was ranked the second-worst road in the southwest region of Ontario last year. In June 2021, the City of Windsor announced $8.1 million in funding for its reconstruction over a period of 16 months. While announcing the reconstruction, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was quoted as saying, “I want to tell you … to scratch Lauzon Parkway off that list.” The list he was referring to, was the annual CAA Worst Roads List.


According to the 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, spending one dollar on pavement preservation may eliminate or delay spending six to 10 dollars on costly repairs later on.

“Over the course of the last 24 months, many road and infrastructure projects have already taken place, taking advantage of the lighter traffic patterns. Our roads are the arteries used every day to keep essential workers, goods and services flowing and should be maintained more than ever. Good roads are critical to building a strong economic recovery, and investments in roads create jobs,” says Di Felice.


A recent CAA member survey shows drivers are altering their behaviour to accommodate for road issues — 65 per cent are slowing down, and 64 per cent are swerving to avoid potholes.

“Poor roads cause damage to vehicles, which is problematic because more people are now trying to hold on to their cars for longer as the inventory of vehicles continues to remain scarce due to the global semiconductor chip shortage,” says Di Felice. “Damage to cars caused by potholes and poor road conditions can cost motorists thousands of dollars in repairs.”

The average cost of repairing pothole damage to a vehicle is more than $300, with some fixes topping $6,000 depending on the make and model of the car.

Once the nominations are in, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) assesses each road on the list, analyses how long the road can last in its current condition and offers an explanation for its deterioration.

“The public identifies the problem, we verify it, and the CAA works with the government to get the roads repaired in a timely manner,” says Bryan Hocking, CEO, ORBA. “Funding for road maintenance, repair and replacement needs to be consistent to ensure that quality and safety is maintained, to plan for the future and to literally keep Ontario moving.”

After the campaign wraps up on April 19, CAA SCO will release a list of the Top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario along with a series of Worst Roads in regions across the province. To have your say, visit

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The new Kia EV6 is a big deal for the brand and an even bigger deal for electric cars. It’s their first EV built on a dedicated EV platform and has received so much hype that we were absolutely bursting at the seams with anticipation. Thankfully, the wait is over and the EV6 is finally here.

Based on the new Electric-Global Modular platform (E-GMP) shared with the Hyundai IONIQ5, the EV6 is one part crossover, one part wagon, and wears a convention shattering body that will draw inquisitive stares wherever you take it.

It pulls off the same visual trickery that the IONIQ5 does, looking more like a compact hatchback in pictures but something entirely different in person. The first thing you’ll notice is that the EV6 is not a small vehicle, it’s more in line with a midsize offering like a Subaru Outback but not quite as long.

Wearing sleek bodywork moulded to appear slippery and chiseled at the same time, the EV6 is long and wide, with a wheelbase that’s lengthier than the 3-row Telluride. Not everyone wants an electric vehicle to resemble a spaceship, which this sorta does, but the public response after a few short hours of driving around town was overwhelmingly positive. The new “digital” Tigernose grille is a departure from conventional Kia design but it’s the rear that had me staring the longest. The taillights are embedded within a thin lightbar that lines the top edge of the rear hatch mirrored with a chrome strip on the bottom edge. It’s an intriguing piece of design that’s like nothing else on the road. Clever details like this can be found in the running lights and the rims and even the reverse lights.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-line 2

2022 Kia EV6 GT-line 2

It only gets better when you take a seat inside. In front of you a gorgeous curved display comprised of two 12.3-inch screens takes centre stage. One houses the instrumentation, the other, Kia’s excellent infotainment system. If you tether your Apple or Android phone, which cannot be done wirelessly at the time of this writing, it will display its respective OS in full screen glory and switching back and forth is simple. Kia has also gone capacitive button crazy like so many other manufacturers, but thankfully they left us two knobs that do double duty as either volume/tuning or temperature control.

Because electric motors are small and don’t require much hardware there’s a lot of room for passengers and cargo. The long wheelbase also pays dividends for back seat riders who will find NBA-friendly legroom.

The EV6 will make you think it’s a much more expensive vehicle than it is, and a starting price of $44,995 means you’ll be able to take advantage of federal and provincial rebates. For that entry-level sum you get a 167 hp single motor driving the rear wheels and a 58 kWh battery pack providing 373 km of range. You can upgrade to a 77.4 kWh long-range battery with a 225 hp single rear motor and it will allow nearly 500 km of range to a charge, an impressive figure and the ideal configuration of EV6 if maximum range is what you’re looking for.

Add all-wheel drive, and you get an additional motor on the front axle. Total power rises to 320 with a chunky 446 lb-ft of torque the instant you mash the go pedal. In ideal conditions you can expect up to 440 km of range from this configuration. An EV6 with the GT-line 2 package like the one Kia loaned me gets everything on the order form and tops out at $61,995.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-line 2

Every EV6 gets an 800V charging system, not unlike the one found in the megabucks Porsche Taycan. It makes blazing fast charging speeds of up to 250 kW possible, provided you have access to a charger that can supply it. This means that even a base EV6 can add nearly a hundred kilometres of range in under 5 mins or go from 10-80% battery charge in just 18.

If you plan on using a Level 2 home charger, the EV6 can charge the extended range battery from 10-100% in just over 7 hours.

Plugged into a nearby fast charger, my EV6 used all 50kW of that station’s max power output and stayed there even past 80 per cent charge. And it did this in temperatures well below freezing.

After a recent experience in sub-zero weather with the Mustang Mach-E GT, the EV6’s efficiency was a very pleasant surprise. Much of that can be attributed to the sophisticated heat pump on Canadian market vehicles with the long-range battery that allows the EV6 to keep occupants warm and toasty on a frigid day by siphoning waste heat from electronic components and even capturing some from the outside air. I was averaging 20-25 kWh/100 km consistently throughout the week on a mix of frozen highway and city roads.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-line 2

Kia tells me that the EV6 has been designed to offer drivers a sporty experience behind the wheel. They’ve given it quick steering and relatively stiff springs. Hustled through a corner, there’s minimal body roll and lots of grip but ride quality does not suffer over bumpy roads.

With a dual-motor car like my tester, there’s also a glut of power available at any time. Push the accelerator pedal to the floor and you torso will get glued into the seat as the g-force builds. It’s quite similar to the Mustang Mach-E, a vehicle benchmarked by Kia, and both offer sporty experiences behind the wheel, but like all electric cars you feel little connection to the road.

Paddles behind the steering wheel aren’t for shifting gears, as the EV6 doesn’t have any, but for altering the 5 levels of regenerative braking from near zero to full one-pedal driving. I found Level 2 a nice compromise for my driving style and stuck with it.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-line 2

The EV6 is one of the most advanced vehicles you can get in this price range and even base models come with an array of standard safety features and driver aids including smart cruise control, lane keep assist, and forward collision avoidance. Things get extra impressive with the GT-Line 2 pack that gets an augmented reality head up display and highway driving assist that will centre the vehicle in the lane and even help with lane changes. With an army of 5 radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors a properly equipped EV6 is fully aware of its surroundings and it can avoid a collision scenario from the front or even the side with evasive steering, provided the nearby lanes are clear.

GT-line 2 also gets a 1.9 kW vehicle-to-load (V2L) system with two plug points, one in between the rear seats and one on the rear of the vehicle. You can power laptops, electronics, home appliances, and even camping equipment. In emergency situations it can also provide power to another EV.

The Kia EV6 gives consumers yet another option to go fully electric and with rising gas prices the time has never been better to consider one for your lifestyle. Even with Ontario’s limited charging infrastructure the EV6’s long range and relatively affordable price tag puts it in the reach of more consumers looking for a way to skip the pump. This is an EV you’ll actually want to own and drive and it’s available right now.

The post FIRST DRIVE: 2022 Kia EV6 appeared first on

Updated: March 23, 2022 (11:51AM)

Wednesday, March 23

  • 6:00P-7:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L
  • 8:30P-9:00, REV TV, Winged Nation #8, the biggest names and latest news in Winged Sprint car 2022, All Star Circuit of Champions, ASCS, The World of Outlaws, and more, N


Thursday, March 24

  • 2:00P-4:00, FSR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fr8Auctions 200, Atlanta Motor Speedway, GA, Mar 19/22, R
  • 6:30P-7:30, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L
  • 8:00P-9:00, FSR, NHRA Sportsman Series, Gainesville, Mar 13/22, N
  • 9:00P-9:30, FSR, NHRA in 30, Gainesville, Mar 13/22, R
  • 9:00P-11:00, REV TV, AMA Supercross Monster Energy Series, Round 11, Indianapolis, IN, March 19/22, N


Friday, March 25

  • 11:45A-1:30P, TSN2, Formula 1 Practice: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, L
  • 3:00P-4:30, FSR, NASCAR Truck Series (NCWTS) QUALIFYING, COTA, L
  • 4:30P-5:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, COTA, L
  • 5:00P-6:30, FSR, NASCAR Xfinity Series QUALIFYING, COTA, L
  • 7:00P-8:00, CBS Sports, Trans-Am presented by Franklin Apparel, Charlotte Motor Speedway, March 19/22, N
  • 9:00P-10:30, FSR, NASCAR Truck Series (NCWTS) QUALIFYING, COTA, SDD, R
  • 10:30P-12:00m, FSR, NASCAR Xfinity Series QUALIFYING, COTA, SDD, R


Saturday, March 26

  • 8:30A-9:20, TSN5, Formula 2 Sprint Race: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, L
  • 10:00A-12:00n, FSR, NASCAR Cup Series QUALIFYING, COTA, Austin, TX, L
  • 11:00A-11:55, TSN4/5, Formula 1 Pre-Qualifying: Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, L
  • 11:55A-1:30P, TSN4/5, Formula 1 QUALIFYING: Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, L
  • 12:00n-1:00P, FSR, NASCAR RaceDay PRE-RACE, NCWTS, COTA, L
  • 1:00P-3:30, FSR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series XPEL 225, COTA, Austin, TX, L
  • 2:30P-4:00, CBS Sports, Trans-Am TA2, Charlotte Motor Speedway, March 20/22, N
  • 3:30P-4:30, FSR, NASCAR RaceDay PRE-RACE, Xfinity, COTA, L
  • 4:00P-4:30, TSN2, NASCAR Xfinity Series: PRE-RACE, COTA, Austin, TX, L
  • 4:30P-7:00, TSN2, NASCAR Xfinity Series Pit Boss 250, COTA, Austin, TX, L


Sunday, March 27

  • 7:30A-9:30, FSR, NASCAR Cup Series QUALIFYING, COTA, Austin, TX, Mar 25/22, R
  • 9:20A-10:35, TSN1, Formula 2 Feature Race, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, L
  • 11:00A-1:00P, FSR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series XPEL 225, COTA, Austin, TX, Mar 26/22, R
  • 11:00A-12:25P, TSN1, F1 Grand Prix Sunday: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, L
  • 12:25P-2:30, TSN1, Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Saudi Arabia, L
  • 1:00P-2:00, FSR, Progressive American Flat Track (motorcycle) Texas Half-Mile, Dirt Track at Texas Motor Speedway, March 19/22, N
  • 2:00P-3:00, FSR, NASCAR RaceDay PRE-RACE, NCS, COTA, L
  • 2:30P-3:30, TSN1, F1 Chequered Flag: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, L
  • 3:00P-3:30, FOX, NASCAR RaceDay PRE-RACE, NCS, COTA, L
  • 3:30P-7:00, FOX/CTV2, NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, COTA, Austin, TX, L


Monday, March 28

  • 12:00n-2:00P, FSR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series XPEL 225, COTA, Austin, TX, Mar 26/22, R
  • 6:00P-7:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L


Tuesday, March 29

  • 6:00P-7:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L
  • 7:00P-7:30, REV TV, European Rally Championship Azores Rallye, March 26-27/22, N
  • 8:00P-8:30, REV TV, The Inside Line #14, F1 news, N


Wednesday, March 30

  • 6:00P-7:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L
  • 8:30P-9:00, REV TV, Winged Nation #9, N


Thursday, March 31

  • 6:00P-7:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L
  • 8:00P-8:30, FSR, NHRA Pro Mod Series, Gainesville, Mar 13/22, N
  • 8:30P-9:30, FSR, NHRA Sportsman Series, Gainesville, Mar 13/22, R
  • 9:00P-11:00, REV TV, AMA Supercross Monster Energy Series, Round 12, Lumen Field, Seattle, WA, Mar 26/22, N


Friday, April 1

  • 6:00P-7:00, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub, L
  • 7:00P-8:30, FSR, NHRA QUALIFYING #1, Las Vegas, L


Saturday, April 2

  • 8:30A-10:00, FSR/TSN2, NASCAR Xfinity QUALIFYING, Richmond, VA, L
  • 9:30A-10:00, CBS Sports, Mobil 1 The Grid, N
  • 10:00A-10:30, FSR, NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, Richmond, L
  • 10:30A-12:30P, FSR, NASCAR Cup Series QUALIFYING, Richmond, L
  • 12:30P-1:30, FSR, NASCAR RaceDay PRE-RACE, Xfinity, Richmond, L
  • 1:00P-1:30, TSN2, NASCAR Xfinity Series PRE-RACE, Richmond, VA, L
  • 1:30P-4:00, TSN2, NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250, Richmond Raceway, VA, L
  • 8:30P-10:30, FSR, NASCAR Cup Series QUALIFYING, Richmond, SDD, R


Sunday, April 3

  • 12:00m-1:30, FSR, NHRA QUALIFYING #1, Las Vegas, Apr 1/22, R
  • 12:30P-2:00, FSR, NHRA QUALIFYING #2, Las Vegas, SDD, N
  • 1:25P-3:00, REV TV, FIM MotoGP Gran Premio Michelin de la República Argentina, Termas de Río Hondo, Argentina, L
  • 2:00P-3:00, FSR, NASCAR RaceDay PRE-RACE, NCS, Richmond, L
  • 3:00P-3:30, FOX/TSN3, NASCAR Cup Series PRE-RACE, Richmond, VA. L
  • 3:30P-7:00, FOX/TSN3, NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400, Richmond Raceway, VA, L
  • 7:00P-10:00, FSR, NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Four-Wide Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, L





L = live; R = rerun; N = new (not live); SDD = same day delayed

SN = Sportsnet

FSR = Fox Sports Racing

MTOD = Motor Trend on demand (com) via subscription

DVELO = Discovery-Velocity

tv = (via internet) = Barrett-Jackson Auctions ( via internet

Time is Eastern Time (EDT in season)

Photo: Credit Sam Bloxham-Daimler AG

The post Race Fan TV Listings March 23-April 3 appeared first on

THE STREETS OF WILLOW – The Porsche Cayman GT4 RS marks the first time those two wonderful letters have graced the rear deck and side sills of a Porsche not called “911”.

And it…is…loud.

Especially from the inside, as the airbox sits right there in the cabin with nothing between it and your ear canal.

This particular Cayman needs that huge airbox because underneath it sits the 4-litre flat-six sourced from the 911 GT3, while the “standard” GT4 makes do with a bored out, de-turbo’d version of the 911’s 3.0-litre flat-six. The RS’s engine needs more air for both cooling and power production, which means it gets extra air intakes where the rear side windows used to be. It is a monstrous set-up.

Power is rated at 493 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. That’s down a little on the GT3 RS due to the longer exhaust required by the Cayman’s mid-engine configuration, but up from 414 and 309, respectively, on the GT4.

A deep dive in to what they’ve done to the GT4 to bring it up to “RS” status reads like a laundry list of racing modifications that includes an adjustable carbon fibre rear wing that provides 25 per cent more downforce that the item on the standard GT4; adjustable front splitter and wheel settings; optional ultra-lightweight magnesium wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber; Naca brake cooling ducts; dual-mass flywheel shared with the Clubsport racer; increased body stiffness; special brake rotors and pads, and more.

Of course, it’s eye-catching, to be sure although that doesn’t quite do it justice; absolutely bonkers is probably the better way to go, especially when finished in Racing Yellow, as seen here. Slap a sponsor decal or two on one of these babies, and it wouldn’t look out of place on a racetrack, anywhere.

2022 Porsche Cayman

Or, you can go ahead and spec the $15-grand-and-change Weissach package to have the wing mirror caps, hood, side intakes, and wing all finished in exposed carbon fibre. That’s also how you get those 935-style tailpipes, and if you want those magnesium wheels, you have to start here. Meaning that to get those weight-saving wheels (the grey car pictured has them; the yellow car does not), you have to part with over $30 grand but they save over 21 pounds of unsprung weight. The magnesium-wheeled car felt noticeably more fleet-of-foot. Still, though; that’s a lot of moolah, even considering the GT4 RS’ $166,600 base MSRP.

There are some interior changes, of course, thought they aren’t quite as marked. The yellow centering band atop the steering wheel is one, as is the shift lever that’s shared with the GT3 (it may look like a manual, but it isn’t. And the GT4RS can only be had with a seven-speed PDK automatic), carbon fibre inserts on dash and center console and special badging on the seats and faux suede-trimmed dash if you spec the Weissach package.

It remains a very serious place but a great one to sit in. Perfect wheel angle, seat angle (fixed back carbon items are standard, but these can be switched out) and everything is right where it needs to be.

It makes it a lot easier to get down to the business of driving this razor-sharp mid-engined track monster from Porsche.

The quoted zero-60 mph time is 3.4 seconds and while that isn’t necessarily a face-pulling number, the real drama starts as you take to the track and really start to flow. I didn’t worry about launch control, I just wanted to get out there because this is a car that positively bristles with energy as soon as you fire it up and you can tell it doesn’t want any computerized help. It just wants to run. And to sweat. And to do it all over again, turn after turn.

2022 Porsche Cayman

The Streets of Willow track in California is a twisty desert affair with many a blind corner and a few multi-apex fast sweepers, so it can be daunting.

Unless, of course, you’re in a Porsche GT4 RS with its super-sticky tires and up to 220 pounds of aero. On a dry surface like this, it’s almost impossible to un-stick as that molasses-like Michelin rubber just munches the tarmac below it. And all the while, that magnificent 4-litre flat-6 with its six individual throttle bodies, rigid valvetrain with finger followers and dry sump lubrication is banshee-wailing behind you.

For all its aero addenda and spine-tingling exhaust note, the GT4 RS is actually very much a point-and-shoot sports car with incredibly direct steering, a responsive front end and fantastic body control that just continues to spirit you forward with zero inertia. It also gets increased spring rates so body movement is reduced even further still.

2022 Porsche Cayman

It didn’t take me long to start pushing, pushing, and pushing some more because this car is meant to handle way more than I was ever going to lob its way over the course of a handful of laps. Still, of all the time I’ve spent on the track, and of all the cars I’ve driven in that environment, I’m having a hard time remembering the last time I became “one” with a car this quickly.

You do have to pay for it, though; all told in Weissach/magnesium spec, the GT4 RS costs about as much a 911 Turbo, arguably the flagship of the 911 line.

2022 Porsche Cayman

Here’s the thing, though the GT4 RS is the “halo” of the Cayman/718 line, it is a no-holds-barred affair and in the rarified world inhabited by trackday specials like this, that kind of pedigree counts for something. The GT4 RS is different and more unique than even a 911 Turbo and when push comes to shove and you already have a 911 at home, well, why not, right?

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

The post FIRST DRIVE: 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS appeared first on

For 2022, the Lexus NX has been completely redesigned with new styling, tech and powertrain options.

There are new fascias both front and rear, a vastly re-designed interior and specifically for the purposes of this review, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model to go along with the hybrid seen previously. That’s why there’s a “+” in my tester’s model name, the “+” referring to the owner’s ability to plug in and charge the vehicle for full EV driving over a claimed 61 kilometres.

While the latest NX still gets the big “hourglass” grille emblazoned with the traditional Lexus “L” badge, there are new headlights that now house the DRLs and headlights under the same lens, fog lights, clamshell hood, different wing mirror design and a more tailored look overall. My car’s Executive Package, meanwhile, adds tri-beam auto-levelling LED headlights and special 20-inch wheels.

That Lexus badge we were talking about? Nowhere to be found on the rear deck, where it’s replaced by large “LEXUS” scripting, in keeping with a popular trend seen in the crossover world these days. It’s complimented by a full-width taillight bar which provides a lower, wider look overall.

Inside, however, it’s a different story as the debut of the new NX also sees the debut of a new Lexus infotainment system – dubbed “Lexus Interface” — which Lexus needed. Badly.

Gone is the fiddly, sort-of-but-doesn’t-really work touchpad-slash-cursor system, replaced by a touchscreen interface – and what a screen! It’s an optional 14 inches of swept area (up from 9.8 inches as standard), angled towards the driver and sitting closer than previous. It’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. Both interfaces are wireless, and both span the entirety of the display. Even though the apps take up that much space, the climate controls remain, made up of a combination of a touch interface and traditional dials. It’s all good, but a couple of buttons either side of the volume knob below all that for your seek/skip controls would be nice to have.

2022 Lexus NX 2022 Lexus NX

Other displays include a digital rear-view mirror (important in smaller vehicles so tall rear passengers or loads don’t obstruct your rear outward visibility) and heads-up display.

Which brings us to a bit of a curiosity when it comes to the NX.

You see, unlike what you’d typically expect, the steering wheel-mounted controls that are used to navigate your gauge cluster (partially digitized, in this case, and not much different looking than previous) are actually used to navigate your head-up display, which is where you look to modify your gauge cluster’s contents. Seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it?

Other slight interior issues include the lack of the optional full-length moonroof seen in other NX models as it would add too much weight to a vehicle already weighed down by a heavy hybrid system. There’s also some slightly weird control placement. It took me a good two minutes to find the engine on/off button, for example, and I repeatedly reached for the leftmost climate knob instead of the actual on/off button when I would climb in and prepare to set off. The electronic door releases – both inside and out – took some getting used to as well.

The lack of the full-length moonroof does, however, mean more rear headroom. The seats are comfortable – as you’d expect from Lexus – and there’s no less passenger space in the PHEV than there is in other NX models.

I’m also rather a fan of the virtual assistant you get, which allows to issue commands ranging from turning up the heat, to finding and navigating to the nearest sushi joint. The system also recognizes a multitude of accents, can send ETA messages to those at your destination and can tell whether it’s the front passenger or driver issuing commands.

The most I saw after a full charge was 57 km, which shrunk to about 51 km in the real-world after my test drive. A drive which, I grant you, took place over undulating mountain roads, clogged city streets and open, flat highway. Of course, I’ve driven most every NX-sized PHEV there is out there, and actually hitting an OEM’s claimed mileage figures is rarely realistic as driving conditions are just never going to be perfect.

The NX does, however, make it nice and easy to get the most out of your range thanks to a button marked “HV-EV HOLD CHG” mounted below the shift lever. It allows you to save your charge for later in your drive, perhaps one that starts on the highway but ends on clogged city streets, where an EV motor is more beneficial. There’s also a button marked “Auto EV/HV” which allows you to go the other way and force the vehicle to use its EV motor only.

Beyond that power is rated at 305 combined horsepower fed – immediately – to all four wheels through a CVT transmission. Thanks to its gas backup, it doesn’t run out of steam at speed, either. This is a small crossover that punches far above its weight when it comes to its powertrain.

2022 Lexus NX

Of course, it is also a Lexus crossover, meaning it has to ride comfortably as well. Which the 450+ does, even without the optional adaptive dampers you get with the F-Sport Series 3 package my car didn’t have. Bumps are swallowed up with gumption and body roll, dive and squat – even with the quick off-the-line speeds – are pleasantly reduced.

The NX is the first model to get redesigned in the “new Lexus” era (with the IS being more of a hefty refresh) and it’s a darn good starting point thanks to its great interior tech, easily manageable PHEV system and ultra-comfortable in-cabin and on-road experience. Sure, it may not have gone too far down the well styling-wise, and there are a few interior bugaboos, but darned if the NX isn’t a job well done.

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


The post REVIEW: 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ appeared first on

My friend Gerald Donaldson lives in Toronto, has a rustic cabin deep in the Ontario woods (“You can hear the wolves at night,” he said), writes for the website “F1” and lives and breathes Formula One, among other racing series.

He’s written two dozen books on F1, from biographies of Gilles Villeneuve and James Hunt to the story of McLaren.

Every year around this time, we would sit down and talk about the new season of F1. Usually, it was at a downtown eatery called Over Easy. But then came COVID-19 and it’s been by telephone ever since. And Over Easy is history, I discovered the other day. So, one of these days we’ll have to find a place where we can have one of these conversations while tucking into bacon and eggs (me) and a cheese and spinach omelet (him).

Here is what Donaldson had to say about this year’s series – which is getting under way this weekend in Bahrain. Nicholas Latifi of Toronto has a new partner now that George Russell has moved on to partner with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. The new guy is ex-Red Bull racer Alex Albon and Latifi might find himself in for a fight.

Sebastian Vettel will partner with Lance Stroll of Montreal for another year at Aston Martin and Donaldson thinks this presents an opportunity for the Canadian.

Lando Norris will continue to advance as an F1 race driver, Donaldson said, and dominate his McLaren teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, even though “Danny Rick” is first in the pecking order.

In a surprise, Donaldson said he expects that Carlos Sainz will beat his Ferrari teammate, Charles Leclerc.

The 2022 World Champion will be, according to Donaldson, “Sir Lewis Hamilton.” I agree, but with a twist. And Max Verstappen just signed a new six-year Red Bull contract paying him $50 million a year, the same as Hamilton.

I believe that is an obscene amount of money for two people to be paid to race cars.

The other teams and drivers – Hass F1’s Mick Schumacher and somebody, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon – aren’t really good enough to merit much discussion. And Williams only makes the cut because Toronto’s Latifi is one of the drivers.

It’s a new season with new technology, Donaldson said, so anything can happen, theoretically, although the usual suspects shone through during testing.

“But there’s always sandbagging in F1, so we never really find out who’s hot and who’s not until they actually start racing,” he said. “In short, the cars are going to be harder to drive. The tires are wider, thicker and bigger but they’ve cut down on the aero. This will make it easier to follow another car and to overtake – although that will always be artificial because of DRS (drag reduction system).”

One of the first things about the new season will be the absence of race director Michael Massey, who will have a job somewhere in Formula One or the FIA but not on the starter’s stand.

“He made a mistake that won Max the championship,” Donaldson said. “Hamilton was within a lap of winning his eighth championship and Massey pulled a trick that had never been pulled before and now he’s been replaced by two guys. It will be interesting because they’ve also brought in an adviser, Herbie Blash, who’s an old Bernie Ecclestone employee. “

That aside, Donaldson said there is another side to that story. “Max statistically deserved to win the championship,” he said. “He outperformed Lewis over the season and part of the problem, of course, was that Mercedes didn’t have as competitive a car early in the season. So, it will be interesting between them this year. We’ll see if they still want to murder each other.”

There’s lot of room for surprises this year and this ‘porpoising’ business – the cars are behaving like porpoises, which is a poor analogy because porpoises are smart – is the result of a screwup in the design department of one car that was then copied by others. It has the cars leaping around like calves in the springtime.

Teams McLaren and Ferrari

“I suspect Lando Norris is going to be up there,” Gerry said of the McLaren driver. “Although you’d never know it if you paid much attention to the McLaren PR department. I don’t think they know much about car racing. Ron Dennis would never have stood for this.

“And I think (Ferrari’s) Carlos Sainz will beat his highly touted sidekick Charles Leclerk. Sainz is a more thoughtful driver, and he thinks about it all the time. Leclerc is a guy who has kind of sailed through so it will be interesting to see how they fare together. Ferrari looks like they have a good car, finally, and we need that.”

Team Williams

I told Gerry that F1 journalist David Tremayne reported that Latifi had now endeared himself to the team. He was becoming more technically proficient and was improving as a driver. In short, they had come to like him as a person and a coming talent.

During an overseas media conference, Latifi was asked about IndyCar. “Isn’t that the series where they got to Indianapolis every May and stay for a month?” he asked. Told that had changed, he was noncommittal about the series, suggesting he hoped to be a Formula One driver for years to come.

“His new teammate, Albon, has been out of F1 for awhile but I’m afraid he’s going to whip him,” said Donaldson. “Latifi is a nice, friendly guy but he’s only there because of his money. Mind you, Albon has Wild West credentials – his mother was in prison for seven years for various offences – but I will be very surprised if he beats Albon.”

Donaldson said Latifi should take a closer look at IndyCar. “It’s not a bad place to be anymore. And, in fact, it’s not even an American series these days. At the recent race at St. Petersburg, they only had two Americans in the top 10. The cars are all made in Italy by the same company. It’s technically even. Nobody gets a big jump like they do in Formula One. And the series is entertaining to watch.”

Team Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel could be ripe for the pickings this season, Donaldson said, which would be to Lance Stroll’s advantage. “He’s been there, done that – four times a champion – and last year they were pretty close in performance. I get the sense that he might not be around much longer. He’s probably had enough. So, it’s a good opportunity for Lance, maybe. He hasn’t disgraced himself climbing the ladder and he does belong in the current Formula One world. He’s earned his way.”

I agree with Donaldson on just about everything, although I think Sainz and Ferrari could be a real surprise. Donaldson said that ex-Williams driver George Russell might give Lewis Hamilton a tussle, but not too much of a tussle.

“He’s pretty good,” Donaldson said, “but Lewis is still the superstar. The British media have made Russell a hero already and he hasn’t earned it.”

I agree with Donaldson that Lewis Hamilton will win the championship. But I will add a caveat: because of what happened at Abu Dhabi, he will want to beat Max at every race. He will want to crush his ego.

Which is a good point, Donaldson said. “He will try harder, and nobody tries as hard now. So, it will be exciting.”

Norris McDonald, a past Wheels editor in chief, covers the Canadian automotive and global racing scene for the Star. He is a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. or follow him on Twitter @NorrisMcDonald2.

The post Once more, with feeling, for Lewis Hamilton appeared first on