Post Tagged with: "SUV"

The Invisible Parasol And The New Ford Escape

By Peter Dushenski @carenvy

There are 31-year-olds who live in their parents’ basement and volunteer at the soup kitchen. There are 42-year-old single mothers who work from home as angel investors. There are 88-year-old snow birds who drive to Phoenix every winter, not to golf, but to run in the marathon. Everyone has a story. Some more unusual than others.

These stories, and generalizations thereof, are what marketers zero in on like Obama on Osama, and vice versa.

Marketers, like politicians and terrorists, want to know all about us. They want to be our pen pals but they don’t want to write back. That sounds a bit like stalking because it is. But the goal of marketing isn’t just to creep, it’s to sell.

Obviously, marketers can’t talk to every single potential buyer – asking them what they like and don’t like – that’s too time consuming and too expensive. Fortunately for them, there are terabytes of cheap personal data at the ready. As buyers have opened themselves to the world of the web, giving away their innermost desires as a means of “sharing”, marketers are now able to peg us with alarming accuracy. That’s part of the reason why, even though finding one without corn starch is nearly impossible, we have 145 kinds of yogurt at the grocery store. It’s also why Google Ads assaults my father with “Collector’s WW2 Uniforms” ads whether he’s checking out CarEnvy or It’s also why we have cars like the Mercedes CLS63 AMG and its simply sultry Shooting Brake sister. Specificity of both supply and demand are on the up and up. Differentiating ourselves from the masses has undeniable appeal.

As a result, as any marketer worth his square glasses will tell you, there are infinite and one niches. Due to the abundance of data now available, these segments of the population are often diced so finely that the greater whole to which they belong is lost entirely. Marketers are effectively staring at Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte so closely that they’re unable to see even a single parasol.

In marketing today, a man who likes fast cars, cold beer, and high-impact sports is as invisible as the parasol. He’s too big to notice. And yet he exists, defiant of their ignorance.

Which brings us to the 2013 Ford Escape.

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A Friendly Visit To The Electric Zoo In The Infiniti JX35

By Peter Dushenski @carenvy

Beneath miserably heavy clouds on an drizzly Sunday afternoon, I found myself listening to XM Radio’s live coverage of Electric Zoo, one of the world’s premiere electronic dance music festivals.

Having already completed my chores for the morning, I was driving aimlessly through the city. With scattered light pouring into the cabin from the twin sunroofs, Axwell’s now famous set was playing on the 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround sound system. Axwell was giving New York, and yours truly, a musical treasure.

Having attended the Electric Daisy Carnival this summer, I had a new appreciation for super-scale music festivals. On top of mind-bending lights and sounds, having tens and even hundreds of thousands of people singing and dancing together is an unmatchable experience. With EDC fresh in my mind, the 2013 Infiniti JX35 was my festival on wheels with everything but the lasers.

Oh, except it also has lasers.

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Compact Crossover Challenge: Is It Tired In Here Or Is It Just Me? [Comparison Test]

by Peter Dushenski

Wallpaper paste. Golf. Grass growing. Curling. Watching somebody play videogames. Country music. Baseball. And of course compact crossovers.

You wouldn’t wish any of these exceedingly dry pursuits upon the fatherless punk who picked on you in junior high, much less voluntarily choose to have a conversation about them, and yet, auto manufacturers seem to talk of nothing else. “If it’s not a compact crossover, it won’t sell”, their sharply dressed marketers likely say to their in-office baristas between creative thinking sessions, “and I would know”. Which they do, right?

Customers want economical high-seated hatchbacks, and even if they don’t, it’s remarkably easy to convince them that they do. Most of our lives demand nothing more than a Fiat 500 but wily manufacturers don’t stay in business by producing what people need, merely what they’re willing to pay for. In the year 2012, no manufacturer, from the most luxurious to the most mainstream, can think of a better way to rake in dollar bills than the small raised wagon also known as the compact crossover. Land Rover now has the Evoque, Porsche’s Macan is in the pipeline, and the Ford Escape has been the best selling SUV of any kind for the last 8 years in Canada. We’ve all been convinced that the compact crossover is the panacea for modern life.

But it’s still a very dull class brilliantly disguised as an interesting one, so I assembled two of these supposedly useful devices, both priced around C$37,000, for a comparison test that might actually make sense; unlike, say, a test designed to find the best 6.2L vehicle for owling (Camaro vs Raptor), or the best fwd 4-banger for very small parking spots (iQ vs Explorer). After a week with Honda’s redesigned 2012 CR-V and 12 days with Volkswagen’s redesigned 2012 Tiguan, not to mention several brow-furrowing days trying to determine which one is better to drive/live with/own, this is the painfully boring truth:

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2011 Jeep Compass: Cheap Romance [Review]

by Lucas Elke

Here at, we’ve been skilled lucky enough to test drive some nippy cars and some zippy cars.  A week with a flashy new car can be compared to spending seven blissful days with a girl who is out-of-your-league sexy.  Your friends and family can’t believe it and constantly tease you about the amount of money you’re paying her to be your arm candy. You stay up late spending time with her/it, and talk about her/it at every occasion. When you wake-up, you’re excited to get back inside and take it for another spin.

Unfortunately, for almost every invigorating week we spend with a beautiful piece of engineering, there’s a boring and bland, seemingly passionless, jaunt with a less-endowed companion.  As similar as a week with a great car is to a week with a great woman, the opposite is hauntingly true for the vehicles that we “pick straws” to drive around town.  You grudgingly putz around while dreams of your last test car float out of the exhaust.  No one calls to hang out because no one wants to spend time with you and your new demo.  It’s nothing more than another notch on the ol’ test driving belt, but an important benchmarking tool nonetheless.  Alas, my week with the 2011 Jeep Compass…

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The Ford Explorer Limerick Review

The 2011 Explorer takes an entirely different tack for Ford, certainly compared to its tire-exploding predecessors, so I’m going to take a similarly atypical approach with this review. It’s a limerick.

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Russian Marque Discovers Most Luxurious Seating Material Ever… maybe.


RussoBaltique is a luxury, armoured car manufacturer that tends towards a certain kind of typically Russian lunacy. While it is the most expensive SUV ever, and is gaudy as all get out, the most ridiculous part is the seating material. The most “luxurious” seating material I have ever heard of isn’t alcantara, it isn’t silk, it isn’t a fine suiting wool, it sure as hell isn’t vinyl, and it isn’t leather, well, not normal leather at least. It is…

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The Toyota Venza is Not Special


The Venza is not some magical new type of car. Every couple of days I seem to run across somebody ranting and raving about how the Venza is a brilliant new Sport Utility Sedan or some such nonsense. It’s not some magical cross-breed between an SUV and a sedan. This is not what the American family has been waiting for, despite what even Time Magazine claims. This is what the American family forgot completely about during the plague of SUVs. It’s not even a remotely new design. It’s a station wagon. If you take a sedan, turn it into a two-box design, and give it a hatch, it becomes a station wagon, not a miraculous virgin-birthed and baptised in angel’s love juice SUV/sedan hybrid. It’s just a station wagon. Remember when most families had one?

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Living With A Sports Car: Nissan 350Z Part IV


Refresher: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

So it’s snowing in Edmonton on May 19. Just phenomenal. And I still don’t have the Toyos on, so I’m driving very gingerly on the bald, disintegrating excuses for tires that currently reside under my Zed.

With the temperature around zero Celsius, grip is an issue, even with the traction control on. I dare not turn it off, for fear of doing a one-eighty and unexpectedly facing on-coming traffic.

Surprisingly though, the Zed handles the cold with aplomb. The windshield wipers have a neat little variable-speed adjuster and the ventilation from the HVAC handles the window fog easily. 

The heated leather seats warm quickly and let me forget that on the other side of the glass are billions of sparkling, white, golf course-killers.

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