2019 Ford Escape Titanium

Just before leaving for Australia last month, I had the opportunity to test drive the brand new 2019 Ford Escape Titanium. I lined up a couple of excursions during the week I had the vehicle including my first trail race of the year, thinking it would be a great way to put the vehicle to the test. Here are some highlights of the vehicle.

LOOK

Over the years, the Ford Escape has gotten a lot sleeker looking. The once boxy compact SUV, now has gotten a major facelift thanks to new key elements such as the 19-inch aluminum wheels with lustre nickel painted spokes and pockets, a body-coloured rear spoiler, both an upper and lower grill, cool looking fog lamps and dual chrome tipped exhaust just to name a few. You can choose from 9 exterior colours including Ruby Red (as pictured above!), Sedona Orange, Baltic Sea Green, etc. With the Ford Escape Titanium’s current look, it comes as no surprise that the vehicle can appeal to a large audience.

SAFETY

Though things such as rear view cameras, reverse/forward/side sensing systems as well as integrated blind spot mirrors have become common in most new vehicles, driving the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium will make you feel that safety was one of the main concerns of the makers of this car. Its additional features like Driver’s knee airbag, SOS Post-Crash Alert System™, Perimeter alarm, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Emergency Brake Assist System, that really make you feel like you can drive with confidence.

PERFORMANCE

If you’re all about the numbers, then you’ll be happy to know that the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium comes equipped with a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with SelectShift® Capability and gives you 245 horsepower. But one of the elements that is most important, in my opinion, is the 2.0L EcoBoost Engine which has automatic Start-Stop Technology, which allows you to reduce not only consumption but also very importantly, emissions while driving around in the city. Other important features like Curve Control, which senses if you’re going too fast and can slow you down using throttle reduction and anti-lock breaking plus Traction Control will help keep the car on the road.

TECHNOLOGY

It comes as no surprise that the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium comes equipped with the latest technological features. From Ford’s Wi-Fi Hotspot FordPass Connect to Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link that allows for turn-by-turn guided navigation and a touchscreen that has swiping, pinching capabilities. Moreover, this ultra smart system comes up with adaptive search results based on your preferences. Other characteristics such as Enhance Park Assist and Parallel Parking, can without a doubt come in handy when maneuvering in tight spots. Finally, the Hands-Free Foot-Activated Liftgate is definitely a nice little extra when grocery shopping or packing the car for a snowboard session or road trip.

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All in all the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium is a versatile compact SV that is suited for all types of lifestyles. Whether you have a family (the interior space/comfort is wonderful!), you’re an adventure enthusiast, a city dweller or use this car for business, the new Escape has appeal for everyone. Plus, it is perfect for the variety of terrain that offers a place like BC. Driving it around from Vancouver to the snowy and slippery roads of Squamish and Whistler or towards Port Coquitlam and the trails of Belcarra Regional Park, the car handled all environments and terrain. go here.

For more information on the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium, go here.

*I was not compensated for this post but Ford lent me the vehicle for the week.

Discovering the New 2018 Toyota C-HR

I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks adventuring around British Columbia with Toyota‘s brand new car, the 2018 C-HR. It was the perfect vehicle for both city and nature discoveries. Its ultra-sleek and unique design combined with Toyota’s best safety features, made it a reliable and fun car to drive, in all driving conditions.

LOOK

Its two-toned colourful exterior turned heads everywhere I went. This car is without a doubt one of the coolest looking vehicles on the market with its modern design. Toyota did a great job imagining a car that stood out from the pack and pushed the envelop on a design standpoint. The vehicle’s standard 17″ alloy wheels and also diamond-cut lines, make it very pleasing to the eyes.

SAFETY 

Toyota is renown for its top of the line safety standards and features. The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes lane departure alerts, pre-collision system with pedestrian and dynamic radar cruise control, just to name a few. The vehicle also comes equipped with 10 airbags, a monitoring system that alerts you if you have low fuel or washer fluid, an ajar door, etc. Moreover, the vehicle also offers the Toyota Star Safety System that features Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more! All of these safety features gave me peace of mind while exploring through the city and mountains and allowed for the safest driving conditions.

PERFORMANCE

Performance enthusiasts will be happy to know that the C-HR contains a 144-hp, 2.0L, 4-cyl VALVEMATIC and a continuously variable transmission. You also have the ability to choose Sport mode, which transforms the vehicle in a simulated 7-speed sequential Shiftmatic transmission, making it that much more fun to drive. But with speed comes the need for a reliable breaking system, something that Toyota has not overlooked. The car’s braking system works with front and rear discs and an Anti-lock braking system, braking assist and electronic brake force distribution, which allows you to keep control of the vehicle no matter what situation may arise.

TECHNOLOGY

It’s impossible to talk about the vehicle without noting some of its great tech features such as the backup camera that comes up in the electrochromic rearview mirror, the rear cross traffic alert with blind spot monitor as well as the Smart Key system, allowing you to start the car with just the push of a button. And for avid music fans like myself, the car boasts an impressive sound system and all the jacks you could need to play your favourite playlists or albums while on the road.

RECAP

All in all, my time driving around with the 2018 Toyota C-HR was very pleasant. It allowed me to discover new parts of British Columbia and drive through windy country roads, mountainous areas, the beach as well as the crowded streets of Vancouver. The C-HR is a car that has all the modern features a driver wants, a spacious interior and trunk for longer trips while never compromising safety or comfort for the driver and passengers of the car.

For more info on the 2018 Toyota C-HR, go here.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

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After having spent a great week with the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid this winter, I was thrilled to have the possibility to try out the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for the very first time on my recent travels to Oregon.

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most coveted trucks on the market, especially out in British Columbia, as this has become the go-to truck for outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With 4×2 and 4×4 models to choose from plus the option of choosing your own engine and transmission combinations, cab and bed sizes, there’s definitely a model for everyone!

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What I was immediately surprised by is the vehicle’s ability to handle the road as well as its interior comfort. Not only do you have an incredible view point from the driver’s seat but you also have access to a wide variety of accessories, that makes your drive the most pleasant. Things like the Cruise Control, Navigation, 7″ Display Screen, Bluetooth Capability, AM/FM CD with MP3/WMA Player, Audio Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Audio Input, 6 Speakers and Advanced Voice Recognition, allow you to relax while enjoying the road. They’ve also added a GoPro mount right at the top of the windshield, thus being the first to include that in the market.

The Toyota Tacoma‘s versatility is also a key feature. All 2017 Tacoma models include an independent front suspension of double-wishbone design with stabilizer bars and multi-leaf spring rear suspension. TRD SPORT models feature sport-tuned suspensions, while TRD OFF-ROAD models are equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers, so that whichever terrain you wish to venture out on, you can have full confidence that the truck will be able to handle it.

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The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro edition comes equipped with a 3.5 Litre, 6 Cylinder Engine, 6-Speed, Automatic transmission, Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (Super ECT) and Lock Up Torque Converter. For those more mechanically inclined, the truck also features Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), 4-Wheel Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control, One-Touch 4WD, Vehicle Stability Control, thus making it the ideal vehicle if you want to pull an RV or trailer for your expeditions.

Toyota is also renown for its top of the line safety features. The truck provides a total of 8 Airbags, Seatbelt Anchor Height Adjusters, Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners and Force Limiters, Assist Grip, Front Tow Hook, Active Front Headrests with Whiplash Protection just to name a few significant items.

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The truck’s roomy and cozy interior as well as its bold and stylish exterior, will make truck enthusiasts and new passengers enviable.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was the ideal companion for my adventures out in Oregon. Below is a short recap video of my adventures with the truck! For more info on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, go here.

Discovering the new Toyota Corolla

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Growing up, the word Toyota was always synonym with the following adjectives: durability, reliability and quality. The Toyota Corolla was also the “it car” when I started driving, many of the kids at school bought used Corollas. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to drive a handful of different Toyota models but had never spent time driving the Corolla. I was therefore extremely excited to have been given the chance to re-familiarize myself not only with Toyota but also with the new Corolla.

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I spent a week test driving the 2015 Toyota Corolla S in and around greater Toronto. My initial thought when I first saw the new Corolla was how sleek and cool the exterior looked. Some of the features of the Corolla I love the most are:

– 6.1” Touchscreen Display Audio with Bluetooth® and 6 Speakers (having great sounding audio in a car is so important)

– Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof (my favorite way to get fresh air and enjoy the sunshine during the warmer months)

– 17” Aluminum Alloy Wheels (sleek sport wheels!)

– Integrated XM Satellite Radio (XM radio was key for the longer distances that I did with the car during the week. So much more enjoyable than just having regular radio)

– Premium Navigation (which included voice recognition and could easily be used to get to your destination of choice)

– Softex Simulated Leather Seating Surfaces (so much better than leather yet with the same kind of badass feel, easier to clean, eco-friendly and more durable!)

– Smart Key System (which allowed me to get into the car without using the key. All I had to do is approach the car with the key in my bag, press and hold my finger on the handle and the car would unlock)

– Electrochromic Rear View Mirror with Digital Compass (always helpful when backing up or parking)

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I took the Corolla with me to all of my week’s adventures. I went SUPing at the Scarborough Bluffs, went to spend time at the Humber Bay Park, went swimming in High Park, went on a special movie date and also took it to Clarington for the Spartan Race.

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During the week, I got to test the many features of the car, got to bring it through different terrain, whether it’d be the highway, the city streets or on country roads. The car reacted well on all the different terrains. It was high enough from the ground to go over branches and trees in the countryside and had enough horsepower to perform quick lane changes and for speeding up quickly on the highway.

The car’s fuel efficiency was incredibly surprising. I was astonished by how little the car consumed in the entire week I had it, both in the city and on the highway.

Another great feature of the Corolla is its spacious and clean interior. The trunk is big and there’s plenty of legroom and foot room for both the passengers at the front and those riding at the back, which is key for longer trips.

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Key safety features: the car’s 8 airbags, Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) front seats, Tire Pressure Monitoring System as well as Toyota’s Star Safety System™ featuring six advanced accident avoidance safety technologies.

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It comes as no surprise that the Toyota Corolla is the #1 selling compact car in North America. For more information on the car, you can visit the Toyota Canada website here.

Chevy Cruze Diesel Adventure Recap

Last week I had the privilege of test driving a brand new Chevy Cruze Diesel from Chevrolet. I was extremely excited to be partaking in my first ever test drive and to be able to take this beautiful car home for the week!

Since I first got my drivers license 12 years ago, I’ve had the chance to rent a handful of cars for work and vacation. In addition, I also owned a car for over three years. It goes without saying that I’ve driven my share of vehicles over the years and none of them had been a Chevrolet.

It was therefore with much enthusiasm that I picked up my Chevy Cruze last Monday. My goal for the week: take the Chevy Cruze on as many adventures as possible to really see what the car was made of!

First off, I was thrilled to see I was getting a beautiful red car (red is my favorite!) for what would be one of the coldest week’s I’ve ever spent in Toronto since I moved here four years ago. Immediately when I sat down in the car, I was excited to see all of the car’s gadgets. The first thing that really caught my attention was the MyLink radio that came with a voice activated system, which could also work with Bluetooth or with the touch screen display. I was happy to see a USB port, auxiliary audio inputs (we’re in 2014 and some cars still don’t have them!!) as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Since I always forget to bring my audio cable with me, I was happy to have some extra radio stations to choose from with the Satellite Radio feature.

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Other things that immediately made me happy were the comfortable heated seats, that could easily be adjusted, Cruise Control, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which made it so easy to park all week!!) as well the spaciousness of the car. For a compact vehicle, I was pleasantly surprised by how big the trunk was and how much legroom was available for those sitting in the back seats.

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So I took the Chevy Cruze on its first adventure, which consisted in first going to work and then spending the night running errands at Target and Ikea in Mississauga, two stores I rarely get to since I currently don’t own a car.

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photo 5 (10)The thing that I most liked after my first day of driving was the Side Blind Zone Alert, a super neat feature on my side mirrors that alerted me any time there was a vehicle in my blind spot. I know that even if I’m a super prudent driver, there’s been several close calls where I’ve almost gotten into an accident because I didn’t see a car when I was changing lanes. I think having this safety feature on your car will greatly reduce your risk of having that kind of accident.

IMG_4081Tuesday the adventure began with a drive to work (driving to work reduced my commute time by 45mins!) and after work I took the Cruze to my favorite place to shop for healthy food in the city – Whole Foods Market. Driving around with the Cruze reminded me of just how lucky people are to not have to carry big grocery bags around with them on the streetcar or outside. Shopping with a car is so hassle-free. I then followed that up with a nice dinner at the current Toronto hotspot – Playa Cabana Hacienda. I had heard a lot about it but had yet to visit because it is pretty far north in the city. They have an amazing churros poutine dessert, it’s to die for! I capped off the night with a little visit at my friends’ album release party.

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photo 2 (41)On Wednesday I took the car again to meet one of my girlfriends at my favorite vegan restaurant in the city – Hogtown Vegan. Look at that Southern Combo below, it was SO Yummy! The day was really cold so I made full use of the heated seats and features like the defogger. I think it’s so important when driving in the winter time to have a good defogging system in your car as well as good wipers because of all the dirt and slush that gets thrown onto your windshield while driving.

photo (63)I was really excited about my Thursday adventure because it was an activity I’d been meaning to do for quite some time but had never been able to get there. I decided to take Offner, my partner in crime, to Skyzone, the indoor trampoline park located in Mississauga. It was great to take the car on the highway again to see just how great the traction, acceleration and suspension was. The car proved to be solid on all fronts! We had such a blast at Skyzone- not only did we get to jump around on all sorts of trampolines but we also got to do flips, play basketball and dodgeball. I totally recommend checking it out!

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Friday after work, Offner and I headed to Polson Pier to watch the sun set. Polson Pier is my favorite view of Toronto! It was a cold but beautiful day so we also took that opportunity to take a few lovely pics of the car.

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IMG_4016I couldn’t believe that after 5 consecutive days of driving to and from work and around Toronto and Mississauga, I was still left with more than half a tank of gas!

All week I had done a bunch of city driving so I was excited to take the car to the country side and on the highway for a longer period of time. So Saturday, Offner and I headed up North to spend the day antiquing. What made the trip even better was that it was snowing during the entire day, which made it the perfect occasion to see how well the car handled the snow. On the 4+ hrs of driving we did, never did we feel unsafe. The car reacted well when I needed to break rapidly, steering was easy and the car was also heavy and sturdy enough to not slip very much while driving over snow. We were both very impressed! The Cruise Control was super easy to use and always a relief to have when driving several hours. Though we didn’t find what we were looking for, we did bring back some cute little vintage teacups!

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IMG_4177Sunday we took the car on a last spin around the city. We made full use of the radio system, listening to new tunes loudly in the car. As a music fan, I can say that the makers of this car definitely did a good job with the sound system. Every type of music we listened to sounded great.

Before returning the car on Monday morning, I filled up the tank with diesel. I had never driven a diesel car (except a tour van!) before but my dad has always owned and vouched for diesel cars. A lot of cars in Europe still run on diesel but it seems a lot rarer here in North America. I was astonished at how great the Chevy Cruze was on gas. An average of 4.2L per 100km (67 mpg) on the highway & 7.5 L per 100km in the city? Amazing! What I also learned about the car after doing a bit of reading is that the 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel or as they call the Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has the best highway fuel efficiency of any gasoline or diesel powered car in Canada. In addition, the car also meets the very strict new clean diesel standards plus the noise and vibrations that were once associated with older diesel cars are no longer there.

All in all, my 3 favorite things about the Chevy Cruze Diesel were:

-Side Blind Zone Alert

-Gas mileage

– MyLink system

All in all, I truly had a wonderful week with my Chevy Cruze! I was sad to say goodbye to the car but the Chevrolet staff were super kind and even offered me a lift to work after dropping off the car at the dealership.

If you’re on the lookout for a new car, I highly recommend checking out the 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel. The car is safe, has every feature one could possibly want/need, is cool and will give you more bang for your buck!

*Photos by @Offner

 

 

Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Test Drive Week

I’m incredibly excited to have been asked to test drive the brand new Chevrolet Cruze Diesel for the week. I have been in many Chevrolet vehicles since I was a kid so I’m excited to get to spend a week with one of their latest and greatest models, to get to know all about it! I’ve heard lot’s of great things about car: comfort, gas mileage, state of the art gadgets, etc.

I picked up my red hot car this morning and have a full week of activities planned for my #ChevyCruze: snowboarding, antiquing road trip, etc! You can follow my adventure on my twitter: @melsays. I will also have a full blog recap of my week with my car next week!

Welcome to the family pretty little thing! What should we name her?

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