Having driven the C30 T5 a couple of years ago and loved it, I couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to drive another (this time a C30 VER 2.0) while on a business trip/vacation in California. The manual transmission in the C30 T5 is one of the sweetest and slickest gearboxes available; however, since probably 90% of these cars are purchased with an automatic transmission, this provided a valuable opportunity to experience the other side. With the intended sightseeing route, I figured it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to drop the transmission into D and just go.
Mazda call the MAZDASPEED3 “The Wild Child“ – they even have a cool commercial that we’ve included at the end of this road test! When I picked up the MAZDASPEED3, I’d just finished a week of terrorizing the neighborhood with the MAZDASPEED6. I was blown away with the 6, but I wasn’t expecting the 3 to be this much fun! Calling it a Wild Child describes this car perfectly. If you have a need for speed – this is your car!
Based on the present-generation Honda Civic, the Acura CSX is made in Canada for Canadians. Why Honda chose to design and build an entry-level Acura just for the Canadian market doesn’t make much sense to me, but who am I to question one of the most successful automotive companies in the world? Perhaps Acura wanted a car that was priced between the Honda Accord and the up-coming Acura TSX. I first drove the Canada-only Acura CSX back in December 2005. I sampled the 5-speed manual as well as the paddle-shift automatic in the middle of a snow storm, but came away thoroughly impressed by Acura’s entry-level cars. When I found out there was a Type S version available I just had to book one for a week to put it through its paces in the middle of summer.
While many auto manufacturers are trying to re-ignite the passion for retro-vehicles I never thought I’d see Volvo jumping on the concept – after all what cars from their past would be worth re-creating as a modern art form? When you think of Volvo, generally all that comes to mind is safety and square boxy cars. But wait … wasn’t there one car they made that was actually sporty AND attractive? Yes, of course – the P1800! The original car that “The Saint” drove in the TV series back in the 1960’s. That was radical for Volvo, even back then – but could they do it again in the 21st century?
The Volkswagen GTI is the original “Pocket Rocket” from the early 1980’s. Although many enthusiasts would lament that subsequent GTI’s never quite lived up to the original, VW have sought to redress the balance with their latest version. Based on the 5th generation Golf (now called Rabbit again in North America), the new GTI is stuffed with safety features as well as numerous luxury features. Last year’s GTI had a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine pumping out 180 horsepower and 173 lb/ft torque. The all-new 2007 GTI is endowed with a turbocharged 2.0 litre 200 horsepower engine and 207 lb/ft of torque at a very low 1,800 rpm, plus it gets 6 forward gears instead of 5. Also this year there is an available 5-door version in addition to the traditional 3-door variety.