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Toyota RAV4 a Fun, Roomy Cute Ute
 By Jim Bray

Sport. It’s a word familiar to car nuts worldwide and it’s generally an indication that the vehicle associated with the word is a little more, well, interesting and fun, than the run-of-the-mill vehicle.

According to my digital copy of Webster’s Unabridged, while the word “sport” can mean “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.” it can also mean “a flashy person; one who wears showy clothes, affects smart manners, pursues pleasurable pastimes, or the like; a bon vivant.”

Toyota 4Runner Off-road Capable
 By Jim Bray

Toyota’s 4Runner was one of the first SUV’s and its newest version is still a compelling vehicle for those who want four wheel drive stability coupled with serious off-roading capability.

I haven’t driven the 4Runner for a few years, but I always liked it, so I was quite interested in trying the 2010 version – and not only I lived to tell the story, with nothing untoward regarding acceleration, brakes, steering, Divine Intervention or whatever, I actually enjoyed the vehicle. Go figure!

The segment-busting 2010 Toyota Venza adds new standard convenience features to the vehicle designed
 By Jim Bray

TORONTO, /CNW/ - With a choice of 4-cyl or V6 and FWD or AWD, the versatility of an SUV and the comfort and drivability of a passenger car, the 2010 Toyota Venza is fresh yet sophisticated in design - leaving it in a class by itself. The latest Venza starts with an MSRP under $30,000 and includes new standard convenient and fun features.

Canadians can look to Toyota for best-in-class fuel-efficiency: Yaris and Prius named 2010 ecoENERGY
 By Jim Bray

The innovative Toyota Prius hybrid and fun, urban-friendly Toyota Yaris are the best in their class for fuel efficiency - something they have done each year since the respective models were introduced to Canadians.

Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency today confirmed that these two Toyota models continue to set the benchmark for fuel efficiency in their categories, while satisfying Canadians’ needs for a “more power, less fuel” driving experience.

Toyota Prius - most fuel efficient midsize

The 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser delivers more power, less fuel
 By Jim Bray

TORONTO, /CNW/ - The Toyota FJ Cruiser is the authentic SUV that masters rocks, streams, mud, sand, snow, ice and whatever else stands between you and adventure. FJ’s strong roots make it the perfect combination of distinctive, utilitarian style, and impressive off-road performance.

For the 2010 model year, the FJ Cruiser adopts an upgraded more powerful and fuel efficient engine, and improved suspension tuning and power steering.

Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Still Good Choices for Economy Cars
 By Jim Bray

What used to be both companies’ entry level – and bread and butter – vehicles have grown up over the decades, getting bigger in every way and far more sophisticated. And that isn’t a bad thing; technology advances. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that endearing simplicity and ease of use that Honda once used in its commercials: “We Make It Simple”.

Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Still Good Choices for Economy Cars
 By Jim Bray

What used to be both companies’ entry level – and bread and butter – vehicles have grown up over the decades, getting bigger in every way and far more sophisticated. And that isn’t a bad thing; technology advances. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that endearing simplicity and ease of use that Honda once used in its commercials: “We Make It Simple”.

Golf GTI: A little Rocket
 By Jim Bray

When the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada named the GTI as its 2010 Canadian Car of the year, I didn’t agree. I thought it should have gone to the Porsche Panamera, because it was a completely new car – as opposed to the GTI’s being merely another generation of a long-running vehicle – and it had represented a bigger risk for its company.

Obviously, my opinion means little in the grand scheme of things, and once I had stopped blubbering in frustration I waited impatiently for my turn with the GTI to come so I could get some quality seat time in it.

Car Wars, Episode Diesel: Return of the Jetta
 By Jim Bray

My love affair with Volkswagen’s current product line continues with the 2010 Jetta sedan and wagon. Heck, if I were French, I’d simply look at the car’s flanks, say “Jetta door!” and be done with it.

Of course that doesn’t make for much of a column, let alone a decent pun.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI Named 2010 Canadian Car of the Year
 By Jim Bray

In an early morning press conference at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the Volkswagen Golf GTI was declared the 2010 Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

The Volkswagen Golf GTI beat nine other “best new” category winners, announced October 30, 2009 to win top honours.

VW New Beetle and Golf City – Reasonably Sublime to Downright Ridiculous
 By Jim Bray

Then there’s the New Beetle convertible.

I got to drive both vehicles back to back, spending about three weeks with them in total – mostly (fortunately) puttering around in the Golf, no pun intended. Well, okay; I did make the pun deliberately. The Golf City restored the good taste for Volkswagens that I’d had before I was infected by the nasty bug.

VW Jumps into “Cute Ute” segment with Tiguan
 By Jim Bray

It’s cute and it’s a ute – and Volkswagen is hoping to score a share of the popular small SUV market with its new Tiguan.

Volkswagen says the Tiguan crossover SUV is an ideal companion for “city adventurers”, a “rare species created to help you navigate your way through the urban jungle”.

A “Non-Coupe” is Volkswagen’s Latest Scoop
 By Jim Bray

Who’d have thought a Volkswagen sedan could be sexy, an object of automotive lust?

Yet automotive lust is the feeling I got during my week with the new Passat CC, a wonderful 2+2 sedan that got me thinking about keeping a VW in my garage for the first time in my life.

VW “Dodges” Minivan Market
 By Jim Bray

From the company whose microbus became legendary among travelers and hippies comes the 2009 Routan, Volkswagen’s first honest-to-goodness “garden variety” minivan.

It isn’t all honest-to-goodness Volkswagen, though; at heart, the Routan is a re-badged Chrysler (hence the Dodge pun in my headline) built, apparently, on a Chrysler platform and assembled in a Chrysler plant. But just as The Who’s version of “Summertime Blues” takes a rock and roll standard and turns it into a “Who-ized” classic, there’s more to the Routan than just a Chrysler with different logos.

VW Jetta Diesel – TDI, not TD-ous
 By Jim Bray

In a time of unstable gasoline prices, one might think a hybrid is the best way to go. But there’s a proven alternative that offers the gas mileage you want without requiring a hybrid’s premium price.

It’s the diesel, an engine that has been around forever but which has also been dumped upon nearly forever for such things as emissions and noise. But today’s diesel can be different from days gone by, if Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” technology is any indication.

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