Everyone’s gone away for the weekend… Just me holding down the fort here. Well, let’s get right to it.

Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news
This is what normal wheels look like on a Formula 1 car. Click image to for article

Automotive News:

Not much in the way of announcements this week, unless you count the announcement of an upcoming announcement for the 2016 Nissan Titan. We do, however, have firm pricing and availability for the 2015 Acura TLX; and a rumoured autumn launch for the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

The land from down under was the source of two stories this week: Chief Toyota Engineer casts doubt on future Subaru BRZ, and a completely unsubstantiated report of a new Mazda RX-7 powered by a 450 HP rotary turbo. I’ve dug into this a little and haven’t found any corroborating reports in Japanese, so an acute hypertension–inducing level of salt is the recommendation here.

Perhaps the biggest news this week was not about cars themselves at all, but the highways. New legislation in B.C. has raised speed limits on certain routes and clarified other rules of the road (also see the forum discussion). Meanwhile, Germany will impose a user fee on all (foreign)* Autobahn drivers, starting in 2016. *Technically, German license plate holders still have to pay the fee, but the amount will be deducted from their annual vehicle tax.

Since it’s Saturday, here’s some trivia: only 50 cars were sold in Cuba in the first half of 2014. Now go forth and win an argument with that information.

Test Drives:

You might notice this list has a lot more articles this week. That’s because I thought this week was really solid. Not that we don’t usually have a solid lineup, but a couple of my pet favourites showed up.

Two very different storys from Honda and Acura this week: Tom Sedens drove the Honda Accord Sport (with manual transmission) and appreciated the nod to driver engagement in a package built for comfort. Jeff Wilson got the Acura ILX Tech and found it wanting in both driving experience and technology.

Jacob Black spent a week with the Kia Forte5, which at the SX Luxury trim, literally checks every box available. In fact, there’s maybe too much power on offer… If sedans are more your speed, Simon Hill took a spin in Hyundai Elantra and found the same formula at play: workhorse performance coupled with an extensive features list at an incredible value.

Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news
2014 Honda Accord Sport, 2014 Kia Forte5 SX Luxury, 2014 Toyota RAV4. Click image for article

James Bergeron has a week with a well-equipped BMW 228i. His review wraps up on Monday, but so far, it’s proven to be a better daily driver than the M235i.

Justin Pritchard took a break from his usual diet of trucks and crossovers in the Cadillac ELR, which impressed with its ride and styling, not to mention its fuel efficiency. Of course, if it’s the ultimate in refinement that you’re after, you’ll want to check out Jeff’s review of the Jaguar XJ L.

Last but certainly not least, Paul Williams took a Toyota RAV4 to Red Bay, Labrador. The popular SUV proved capacious and capable on the road.

Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news
Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news
Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news
Weekly Digest July 4 to 11 general news
2015 Lexus NX, 2015 Audi A3 e-tron, 2014 BMW 335i GT vs. 2015 Volvo V60, 2014 Mazda MX-5. Click image to enlarge

First Drives:

Jacob got a taste of the new Lexus NX, and raves about the interior and handling. (The Lexus design language of late continues to be polarizing, but the NX wears it well.)

Paul checks out an unlikely pair: the Hyundai Sonata sees subtle but significant improvements to safety, ride quality, and refinement; the Chevrolet Suburban sees subtle but— well, it seems comfort and refinement are a common theme.

Jonathan recovered sufficiently from his weekend blitz in Austria to pen a first drive of the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. As you might have read last week, he has the gasoline A3 this summer for a long-term test. So how does the A3 e-tron compare? Despite the increased weight from the electric motor and batteries, clever engineering ensures nimble handling similar, if not superior to the non-hybrid sedan.

Comparison Tests:

Brendan revisits the BMW 335i Gran Turismo, this time in the context of the Volvo V60. Or as he puts it: Bratwurst vs Meatballs.

And for those considering a summer getaway, we’ve got a blast from the not-so-distant past: Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Forester.

Feature Articles:

From the department of shameless self-promotion, it’s The Best of Autos.ca from 2014… so far.

If you’re currently driving a Ford hybrid, you may be interested to learn about their revised fuel economy numbers. With Natural Resources Canada set to change its fuel economy testing procedure for 2015, consumers can expect to see more “restatements” like this.

The Lexus NX introduces a new version of the Remote Touch interface. Jacob reports on the update and the Display Audio interface for base trims of the NX.

In motorsports, Lesley visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed; Jacob delivers Black Flag: The Reader’s Choice Edition; Justin analyzes why the Mazda MX-5 is an ideal track car for beginners.

Though Google is pushing forward with their driverless cars, it’s their current offerings which will have the largest impact in the foreseeable future. Lesley participated in the Young Drivers of Canada Distracted Driving event, where drivers were fitted with Google Glass devices to experience first-hand how disruptive a tiny little screen in the corner of your vision can be.

Forum Threads:

It’s summer so naturally people are thinking about getting their cars to run and look their best. Forum member SKYMTL inquires about BMW’s No-Charge Scheduled Maintenance, while SeasideLass wonders about “dry” car wash. But hey, if the weather’s good, why not hit the trails on a mountain bike instead?

That’s it for this week. As always, if we done goofed, let us know in the forums.

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