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First Drive: 2020 Audi A4 and A4 Allroad

Cars Driving.ca

The A4's agility, poise, better performance and greater fuel economy make it an appealing option for drivers that aren't defecting to crossovers
'BOLZANO, Italy — Tyroleans appear to be a pragmatic people, judging by the vehicles I spied during my drive. Despite the deep valleys between the Dolomites, the local mountain range, this part of northeast Italy to the south of Austria does not appear to be completely inundated with sport utes and crossovers. Yes, they are around, and considering the amount of snow the region gets during the winter months, emphasized by the number of ski resorts dotting the area, are not without some practicality. Yet wagons and hatchbacks seem to occupy most of the winding roads, many of them sporting German nameplates, unsurprising considering that the signs identifying the cities, towns and villages of the region are in Italian and German. Read More'

U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nations territory

Cars Vancouver Sun

A tug boat owned by Texas-based Kirby Corp. ran aground and sank, spilling 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016.
'BELLA BELLA, B.C. — The company responsible for a fuel spill that contaminated the fishing territory of a First Nation on British Columbia’s central coast has been fined $2.9 million but the Heiltsuk Nation says the sentence is “a long way from justice.” Read More'

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

Cars APTN News

The Canadian Press A Texas-based company is scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty to a diesel spill from a tug boat that ran aground […] . The post U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C.
'Oil barriers try to contain the diesel that spilled from a U.S. tug boat off the B.C. coast.The Canadian Press A Texas-based company is scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty to a diesel spill from a tug boat that ran aground and sank in a First Nation’s fishing territory on British Columbia’s central coast.The Nathan E.Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016 and the Transportation Safety Board ruled last year a crew member missed a planned course change because he fell asleep while alone on watch.Court documents on the provincial court website show Kirby Corp. has pleaded guilty to three of nine counts while a civil case for damages filed by the Heiltsuk Nation is ongoing.The guilty pleas are related to separate counts under the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Pilotage Act for the fuel spill that damaged both fish and birds, and for failing to have a pilot aboard the vessel.Chief Marilyn Slett of the Heiltsuk Nation said the hearing on Tuesday will include a sentencing circle of community members, chiefs, first responders and representatives for Kirby as part of the proceedings that will be held at a gym in Bella Bella to accommodate observers. “It’s more customary to our way to sit in a circle rather than a western courtroom appearance,” she said.Kirby spokesman Matt Woodruff was not available for comment.Slett said her community has waited nearly three years to have a voice in connection with an incident that devastated the lives of so many people who fished in the area for sustenance and employment but have still not been able to return to that culturally significant harvesting practice. “It’s part of our bread basket,” she said of Gale Creek, the site of the spill. “It’s a place where the community would harvest, at a minimum, 25 food species and these included black cod, clams, crab, halibut, kelp, rock cod and various species of salmon. “We have one grocery store in our community so we rely heavily on our marine resources to be healthy, to live.” Read More: Report on grounded tug, oil spill in B.C. released  Beaches were contaminated just when the community was preparing for a commercial clam fishery that would have supported 50 families and no traditional marine harvesting has since been done in the area, Slett said.Kirby has yet to do an environmental impact assessment to determine the state of the spill site as the Heiltsuk continue to use their own resources to conduct research, she said, adding the village site used by five tribes that are part of the nation was previously “pristine.” Slett said she’s concerned about the lack of an adequate oil spill response system nearly three years after the spill despite an Oceans Protection Plan announced by the federal government in 2016 in connection with the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. “The state of marine response today is still the same.Until we are able to come to agreements and partnerships around including  Indigenous  communities in marine response in the central coast the Heiltsuk community is still very much in a vulnerable position,” she said.The Heiltsuk Nation has been in discussions with Transport Canada and the coast guard to provide resources to  First Nations  first responders in case of another spill due to concerns that a contractor did not arrive on site until the evening, hours after the early-morning incident in 2016, Slett said. news@aptn.ca @aptnnews . The post U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C.First Nation’s territory appeared first on APTN News .'

Honda Civic vs. Mazda3 Comparison: Two Favorites, One Winner

Cars Motor Trend Canada

When the third-generation Mazda3 was unveiled in 2013, we were more than pleased with what it delivered.The Mazda3 was the compact sedan we recommended.In 2014, it won a Big Test comparison against the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, and
'When the third-generation Mazda3 was unveiled in 2013, we were more than pleased with what it delivered.The Mazda3 was the compact sedan we recommended.In 2014, it won a Big Test comparison against the Honda Civic , Hyundai Elantra , Kia Forte , and Toyota Corolla . But only a couple of years later we saw new generations of the Civic, Elantra, and Chevrolet Cruze , and the Mazda3 lost its crown.It came in fourth place in a follow-up comparison, losing to the three aforementioned sedans.The 3 hadn’t lost its magic, though; it simply slipped behind new and improved competition.With the debut of the fourth generation for the 2019 model year, we decided to pit it against our current favorite and Big Test winner : the 2019 Honda Civic.The Players Honda really changed the segment with the 10th-generation Civic when it arrived for the 2016 model year.The styling, technology, driving dynamics, and value helped the Civic get to the top, and it also brought a key ingredient that set it apart from its competitors: fun.For 2019, Honda made the Civic sleeker, adding updated headlights across the board and a black grille to the Touring model.Everything stayed the same under the hood, which means the 1.5-liter turbo-four engine still produces 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, and the CVT sends all that power to the front wheels.Our Civic Touring had a price of $28,220 USD.On the other hand, Mazda decided to try something different with the new 3.The Hiroshima-based brand took its compact a step above and made the design and interior much more premium. “Take the logos off, and you’ll think it’s a luxury car,” associate online editor Stefan Ogbac said.The new exterior is carefully crafted with crisp creases and details, and the updated interior has elegant lines and materials inspired by the most luxurious brands from Japan.Under the hood, Mazda updated the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to produce 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque.A six-speed automatic transmission sends all the power to the front wheels.All of that added luxury comes with a price: Our Mazda3 Premium package had a price tag of $29,415 USD, or $1,195 USD more than our Civic Touring.Inside Mazda and Honda diverge with their interiors, even when we’re comparing both brands’ top-of-the-line models.The new 3’s dash, door panels, and seats are appointed with nice soft-touch leather.Even rear passengers get soft-touch plastics, something Honda doesn’t offer. “Another way I can actually buy into Mazda’s latest premium push is with the edge of the center console, which has a leatherlike material,” senior production editor Zach Gale said. “Sure, it’s a little hard, but you can feel the softness with your hand or knee.Not expected at this price point.” In terms of interior space, though, the Mazda falls short.The back seat feels tight, lacking both head- and legroom.Tall passengers have just enough space before their heads touch the headliner, and both Gale’s and my knees were touching the seat back when the front seat was adjusted to our driving position.The Civic, on the other hand, feels cavernous and provides more than enough room for tall passengers.We prefer Mazda’s 8.8-inch screen over Honda’s 7.0-inch screen, but we’d rather have Honda’s touch-controlled infotainment system than Mazda’s rotary knob.The Mazda3 has a head-up display and a bigger screen, and the display is located on top of the dashboard, making it easier for the driver to operate the screen without being distracted from the road.Ogbac, our resident infotainment-meister, described Mazda’s system as “a step backward” for being a maze of menus. “It takes too many steps to change satellite radio stations—five or more at least,” he said. “Using a knob is really distracting, taking your concentration away from the road.” On the other hand, although the Civic’s infotainment is slow and looks a bit outdated, it’s easier to control.Everything is well organized, and you can get to where you want easier.A volume knob is “new” for 2019, returning after a three-year absence.Both cars have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. “I do wish you could get a larger touchscreen because the 7.0-inch looks tiny next to the Mazda3’s 8.8-inch display,” Ogbac said. “The upgraded audio system is pretty good, too, second best behind the Mazda’s Bose unit.” Driving The previous Mazda3’s driving abilities made the vehicle one of our favorites.Mazda’s powertrain was well calibrated, and it brought a sense of driving enjoyment other cars in its class didn’t have.But for 2019 Mazda did things differently with the 3: It ditched the independent rear suspension for a cost-saving torsion beam, which dramatically changes the way it behaves on the road. “I felt more road imperfections in the Mazda than I did in the Honda,” Gale said.When driving over Portuguese Bend’s broken pavement on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Mazda3’s rear felt like it lost traction whenever we drove over a bump on a corner. “Get ready to feel the rear end skitter and jump around the moment you go over uneven pavement,” Ogbac said.Once you drive over smooth pavement, the ride is refined, but the moment there’s a bump or imperfection on the road, things go down.We also weren’t in love with the 2.5-liter engine.It has adequate power when you’re going straight on flat surfaces, but when you try to merge on the freeway or go uphill, the powertrain struggles.Although the cabin is mostly quiet in normal driving situations, when you step on the gas, you’ll hear a good roar from the engine.The updated engine made the compact sedan 0.1 second faster than the last Mazda3 we tested, getting from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.One other nitpick with the Mazda3: Its brake pedal was hard to predict, feeling like you needed to press down hard in order to come to a stop.This was also noticeable at the track, where testing director Kim Reynolds had a hard time with the braking during the figure-eight test.On the other hand, the Civic felt pretty familiar with its punchy 1.5-liter turbo, which doesn’t exert itself much to go uphill or merge onto the freeway.Although we’ve complained about the loud CVT, it works smoothly and generally does a good job.We also prefer it over the Mazda’s six-speed, which showed some jerkiness at low driving speeds.Its independent rear suspension tackles most road imperfections before you feel any vibrations in the cabin, and when the bumps are big, the springs and shocks get to work to keep cabin movement to a minimum.The Civic also feels planted in the corners, showing low body roll and also providing a fun driving experience. “Its steering is also really quick and direct, giving the driver a connected feel on the road and letting you know exactly what the front wheels are doing,” Ogbac said.At the track, the Civic showed slightly better numbers than the Mazda, getting from 0 to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds and completing the quarter mile in 15.4 seconds at 90.8 mph (146.1 km/h) (15.7 seconds at 90.3 mph (145.3 km/h) for the Mazda3). Our Honda also had better braking numbers from 60 to 0 mph—115 feet over the Mazda’s 117 feet.Safety For 2019, every Civic comes standard with the Honda Sensing safety technologies suite.Customers get adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and other additional techs.During our drive, the lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control worked really well on the highway; the Civic kept a good distance between the car in front of us and read the lane marks correctly. “Honda Sensing is the best suite here,” Ogbac said.But one thing we missed on the Civic was blind-spot monitoring; the Honda still uses the outdated LaneWatch, which displays a camera view of the car’s right side on the infotainment screen when the right turning signal is on.For the driver’s side, there are no alerts or any kind of monitoring.Gale, however, still preferred LaneWatch over blind-spot monitoring.Mazda, on the other hand, falls short on the list of safety technologies, as the 3 doesn’t even get automatic emergency braking standard.To get comparable safety tech on the Mazda3, you’ll have to opt for the Select package; the Select package includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, driver attention alert, and Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection (among others). Although our Mazda3 with the Premium package had these options, we weren’t as pleased with the way they worked.Lane keep assist only intervened when the car had gone over the lane on the highway, and the adaptive cruise control left such a long following distance that we kept getting cut off.Conclusion The final decision in this comparison wasn’t difficult.Although the new 3 has great styling and a premium interior, the changes made to its suspension and powertrain and its lack of standard safety technologies kept it from earning top honors.The new Mazda3 is still fun to drive, but it doesn’t have the same character it used to.If you’re cross-shopping between these two cars, you should also know that the Mazda has worse fuel economy numbers.The Civic, on the other hand, continues to deliver on everything it promises.It can be sporty when you want it to be fun and quiet when you need a peaceful ride.Its value, standard equipment, and interior space are superior to Mazda’s, and it simply continues to be the best car in its class. 2019 Honda Civic Touring Sedan 2019 Mazda Mazda3 (Premium) Sedan DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD Front-engine, FWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head I-4, alum block/head VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 91.4 cu in/1,498 cc 151.8 cu in/2,488 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.6:1 13.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 174 hp @ 6,000 rpm 186 hp @ 6,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 162 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm 186 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm REDLINE 6,500 rpm 6,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 17.0 lb/hp 16.7 lb/hp TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto 6-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.24:1/1.31:1 3.63:1/2.17:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs STEERING RATIO 11.1:1 15.6:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.1 2.9 BRAKES, F; R 11.1-in vented disc; 10.2-in disc, ABS 11.0-in vented disc; 10.4-in disc, ABS WHEELS 8.0 x 18-in cast aluminum 7.0 x 18-in cast aluminum TIRES 235/40R18 91W (M+S) Continental ContiProContact 215/45R18 89V (M+S) Toyo Proxes A40 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 106.3 in 107.3 in TRACK, F/R 60.9 in/61.5 in 61.7/62.2 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.7 x 70.9 x 55.7 in 183.5 x 70.7 x 56.9 in TURNING CIRCLE 37.4 ft 34.8 ft CURB WEIGHT 2,956 lb 3,110 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 61/39% 62/38% SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 37.5 in/36.8 in 37.6/36.7 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.3 in/37.4 in 42.3/35.1 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.9 in/55.0 in 55.7/53.5 in CARGO VOLUME 14.7 cu ft 13.2 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.6 sec 2.6 sec 0-40 3.8 3.9 0-50 5.2 5.5 0-60 7.0 7.3 0-70 9.2 9.7 0-80 11.8 12.5 0-90 15.1 15.5 0-100 19.3 — PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.5 3.9 QUARTER MILE 15.4 sec @ 90.8 mph 15.7 sec @ 90.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 115 ft 117 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.90 g (avg) 0.86 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.6 sec @ 0.67 g (avg) 26.7 sec @ 0.65 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,700 rpm 1,800 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $28,220 $28,820 PRICE AS TESTED $28,220 $29,415 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 12.4 gal 13.2 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 28.32/43.0/33.4 mpg 26.3/40.2/31.2 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 30/38/33 mpg 27/36/30 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 112/89 kW-hrs/100 miles 125/94 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.59 lb/mile 0.64 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular . The post Honda Civic vs.Mazda3 Comparison: Two Favorites, One Winner appeared first on Motor Trend Canada .'

First Ride: 2020 Harley-Davidson Livewire

Cars Driving.ca

A thoroughly impressive bike, with capability and price that earn it the 'halo vehicle' tag it was looking for
'PORTLAND, Ore. — Methinks there’s more than a little hypocrisy surrounding the seemingly ample criticism directed at Harley-Davidson’s new Livewire. Most of said criticism centres on the electric Harley’s reported range, which at its worst — 113 kilometres (70 miles) at 113 kilometres an hour (70 mph) — barely qualifies as miniscule. Thus do the critics — journalists and consumers alike — decry the Livewire as just another Harley “trailer queen.” Read More'