Oh the weather outside is frightful and – sweet mother I’ve been reduced to repeating Christmas jingles. I suppose Christmas came early for Canadian autojournos with the announcement of the Golf Alltrack for the Canadian market. Me, I’ll wait for the HR-V bodykit that makes it look like the ill-fated Aztek. But enough about me, let’s get to the stories.

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Mazda announced unlimited mileage warranties for all their vehicles starting with the 2015 model year. A slam-dunk win for the marketing department, though in reality most city drivers probably would not have run out of miles anyway. It all depends on the length of your commute or the presence of a deep-seated road-tripping instinct. Put another way, your mileage may vary.

Lexus announced the pricing for the 2015 NX, their compact crossover SUV contender. I don’t have a terrible pun this time, you’ll have to ask the target-demographic yuppie parents for one. I mean, they’re shopping for a luxury urban “off-road” vehicle, they’ve got to have a sense of humour.

It’s not the WRX, but the Subaru Impreza is getting a raft of improvements under the hood, starting with the 2.0-litre Boxer four-cylinder. The remaining techonology improvements bring it in line with other Subaru offerings. And unlike the WRX, you can get it as a wagon.

2015 Subaru Impreza Gets Significant Refresh, Minimal Design Updates Acura Updates ILX Sedan Powertrain, Tech and Styling Golf Alltrack to Arrive in Canada After New Golf Wagon
2015 Subaru Impreza Refresh, Acura ILX Sedan Updates, Golf Alltrack to Arrive in Canada. Click image to enlarge

In a similar vein, the top news story of this month was the Acura ILX update. A sedan? I’m as surprised as you are. But what’s not to love about an all-round upgrade? I mean, what more could you possibly ask– Oh, right.

A manual, all-wheel-drive turbo-diesel wagon? And what’s that? The Golf Alltrack even comes in brown? It’s a miracle this announcement didn’t get mailed out with a vial of smelling salts and a fresh pair of underwear.

Speaking of dudes who probably needed a change of underwear, intrepid Autos.ca writers Mark Stevenson and Brendan McAleer were at the Los Angeles Auto Show, walking the floor, taking pictures, staying well clear of the Hot Wheels vendor.

Among the newly announced models were a pair of compact crossovers: the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. Both are based on hatchback stablemates – the HR-V on the Fit, the CX-3 on the Mazda2.

2016 Honda HR-V 2016 Mazda CX-3 2016 Ford Explorer 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle
2016 Honda HR-V, 2016 Mazda CX-3, 2016 Ford Explorer, 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle. Click image to enlarge

Those who want a bit more room will appreciate the 2016 Ford Explorer. But if alternate fuel is more your game, you’ll appreciate the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle – but only from afar, since there are no plans to bring the vehicle to Canada in the near future.

Brendan and Mark were also together at the top of the review charts this month. The former sampled the crisp, smooth flavour of the Volkswagen GTI; the latter weighed less filling against great taste with the Porsche Macan S and Audi SQ5.

Greg Wilson started the month with the sharp-looking 2015 Toyota Corolla 50th Anniversary Special Edition then got a preview of its competitor, the 2015 Subaru Impreza in both sedan and wagon form.

Speaking of wagons, it’s not the Sportwagen, but Simon Hill took the 2014 Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI for a spin and lauded its practicality and driving engagement.

Yokohama IceGuard iG52c Michelin X-ICE Xi3 5 Things to Never Do
Yokohama IceGuard iG52c, Michelin X-ICE Xi3, 5 Things to Never Do in Winter. Click image to enlarge

Winter is coming here. And you know it’s going to be a doozy when my mother, who never ventures outside the city, is getting snow tires on her 1998 RAV4. Little wonder then that the most popular feature stories this month are all about winter tires.

Most of the reviews are based on closed-course comparison testing: the Sailun Ice Blazer WSL2, GT Radial Snow Tires and Michelin X-ICE Xi3. Such setups allow for quick comparisons of several competitors, though they invariably favour the sponsor.

On occasion, our writers have access to a set of tires over the winter season, allowing for a more thorough investigation of their performance across a range of road conditions. Haney Louka had the Yokohama IceGuard iG52c last winter and Mike Lynett has just started a year-long test of the Nokian WR G3 All-weather. Justin Pritchard, meanwhile, drew on his experience with winter tires to answer the question “What is the Best Winter Tire?”

Already got a set of winter-ready tires? Well, here’s a list of things you should look into never do. (That burger’s from Woody’s Burger, in case you’re wondering.)


So that’s it for the top stories in the past month. Don’t let me keep you. Those Hello Kitty steering wheel covers aren’t going to regift themselves.

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