End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles
End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles
End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles
All-New 2015 Volvo XC90, Affordable Everyday Fun Cars, 2015 Subaru WRX CVT vs VW GTI DSG. Click image for article

What’s that sound? The pitter-patter of children returning to school? The click-clack legions of texting teenagers resuming their rush-hour reign of terror on public transit? Wait no, it’s the teeth gnashing of drivers stuck behind the crawl of parents dropping off the young ‘uns. The Day after Tomorrow Labour Day. It’s not an apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster directed by Michael Bay, but it sure feels like one. In honour of the summer vacation past, we present the Top Stories of August, with an emphasis on fun.

Automotive News
If you thought the Challenger Hellcat was one sexy beast, the bigger, badder, faster 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat will knock your socks off. On the opposite end of the spectrum, rumours are brewing about the next generation of Golf, with radical visual changes in store.

For those who prefer more refinement in their ride, the big announcement in August was of the Volvo XC90, the first to use the firm’s new Scalable Product Architecture, which will underpin every new Volvo vehicle going forward.

The problem with having a nice, new car is the everyone wants to take a ride. Even the mechanic, as the owner of an Audi S4 discovered, when his car went missing from the dealership lot. Turns out the mechanic had taken it home for the weekend for a “diagnostic” and managed to put 500 km on the odometer in the meantime.

There has been concern that as auto manufacturing ramps up in Mexico, production will wind down in Canada. In the case of GM’s Oshawa plant, that volume is moving across the pond to Germany, or just across the border in Michigan. While a shutdown has not been confirmed, it’s unlikely the projected production volume will sustain the plant through 2016 and beyond.

Comparison Tests
Here at Autos.ca, we’re lucky enough to sample luxury performance cars almost as frequently as Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony samples artery-clogging burgers. But such vehicles are, if nothing else, singular. Exhilarating? Yes. Fun? Well… They’re cars you drive, but not necessarily cars you can live with. Which is why our big comparison of the summer was dedicated to affordable everyday fun – seven cars under $30K, all fun, all the time. No bonus points here for guessing the fan favourites – the Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI – which is why they got their own head-to-head with a twist: CVT vs automatic.

For an electrifying match-up of a different sort, we got the BMW i3 vs the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is the reigning EV champ, while the i3 offers up a luxurious cabin wrapped in a stylish exterior – at a premium. While the two cars appeal to vastly different mindsets about plug-in electrics, the consumer pool is ultimately one and the same, hence this comparison.

End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles
2014 VW Passat, 2015 VW Golf, 2014 Audi A5. Click image for article

Test Drives
It’s Volkswagen/Audi at the top of the readership charts this week: James Bergeron’s day-by-day review of the 2015 VW Golf, Jeff Wilson’s test drives of the 2014 Passat and the 2014 Audi A5, and Jonathan’s long-term test update for the 2015 Audi A3.

The only other vehicle on the chart? The 2015 Hyundai Genesis.

First Drives
August was marked by a bevy of first drives, starting with Justin Pritchard taking the 2015 Acura TLX for a spin, and then the 2015 Porsche Cayman GTS and Boxster GTS for some hot laps around the track. Jonathan got a taste of the 2015 C-Class, while Jacob tooled around in a 2015 Honda Fit. It’s hard to say who had more fun, Justin for the bigger numbers on paper, or Jacob for sheer exuberance. (Psst, there’s also the 2015 Honda HR-V, an SUV based on the Fit.)

End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles End of Summer Report: Top Stories of August top picks opinion auto articles
2015 Porsche Cayman GTS and Boxster GTS, 015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, 2015 Honda Fit, 1990 Ruf CTR. Click image for article

Feature Articles
Fun means different things to different people. Fun is not necessarily measured in horsepower. No, fun is defined by a car’s character. Like the “shockingly reliable” 1984 Lotus Esprit Turbo that Brendan McAleer was lucky enough to pilot, or its distant cousin, the 1969 Ford Cortina GT which Paul Williams found in Eastern Ontario. Both hearken back to an era when cars were designed almost by idiosyncrasy, rather than conforming to computer-assisted aerodynamics. Well, if you want horsepower, I suppose we’ve got that covered too: a 1990 Ruf CTR, once the fastest car in the world.

But maybe fun is about pushing buttons. All the buttons. Justin Pritchard was recently asked to pick out a command console worthy of the Starship Enterprise (without the astronomic price tag). And you can get a glimpse of the electric future today with Michael Bettencourt’s notes on what it’s like to take a road trip in the Chevrolet Volt.

And there you have it, the top stories of August. Fret not, there’s still three weeks of summer left – the autumnal equinox falls on September 22nd – plenty of time to head out and do some safe and responsible mischief in the sun. Or skids in the rain in a Jag (not pointing any fingers here).

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