Strong opinions, loosely held by Mark Kuznicki (@remarkk)

September 4, 2013

Diesel Wunder: 2013 VW Passat TDI

The latest in my series of extended test drives, the VW Passat TDI proved itself to be a long distance road trip champion. I’ll review the infotainment system later in this post, as this has become a focus of this little series, but what really makes the Passat stand out is more mechanical than electronic.

The Road Trip

I had the opportunity to test out the Passat TDI on a whirlwind trip to northern Ontario over a 4-day Labour Day long weekend.

2013 VW Passat TDI - 01

Killarney Provincial Park

Thursday evening was spent battling the rush hour commute out of Toronto, sprinting to our campsite in Killarney Provincial Park on the first epic leg of our journey. The next day after a rigorous morning hike and a swim, we followed the north shore of Georgian Bay to Sault Ste Marie in time for dinner and a nice hotel stay, leaving Saturday morning for our 2 night campsite stay in Lake Superior Provincial Park, with explorations in the park and onward to take in the zombie apocalypse motor inns of Wawa, Ontario.

Spend a night, not a fortune

The Rainbow Room must have been the place to be back in its day

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August 19, 2013

Case study in modern auto electronics: 2013 Ford Edge Limited

Today’s feature-rich automobiles need to fit in with the rest of our digital life. When I jump into the car, I want my iPhone to become an integrated component of the overall experience of driving – providing communications, information and entertainment. After sampling the current state of these integrated in-car infotainment systems, I’m excited but still waiting to see a really polished implementation.

After my recent excursion in the Buick Encore (thanks to Klout and Buick Canada), I reached out to Ford Canada to get my hands on a Ford Escape for an extended test drive of a comparable compact crossover vehicle. The nice people at Ford Canada were happy to help out, but unfortunately no Escapes were available. Instead they provided me with a fully loaded Ford Edge Limited, which is up a size class from the Escape, and $49,000 as equipped. This compared to just over $37,000 for the fully loaded Buick Encore Premium.

This was not really a fair fight in terms of comparing the two. The smaller Buick Encore felt more car-like in handling, and felt to me more deserving of the “crossover” label compared to the Ford Edge, which felt big and much more truck-like in maneuvering around the city. But the Edge’s powerful 3.0L V6 engine easily trounced the Buick Encore’s ECOTEC 4 cylinder turbo in the get up and go of highway driving, and all that extra size on the outside predictably resulted in great space on the inside.

What was more interesting, this Ford Edge gave me  the opportunity to try out the current state of the art of in-car infotainment electronics, to see how it could all work together seamlessly.

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March 4, 2012

Sheppard East Councillors and Honest Choices #TOpoli

If councillors are honest with constituents about the choice they face in the next phase of Toronto’s transit debate (meeting on March 21st), they will need to make clear what specific options are available to them.

This route map from the old Sheppard East LRT plans (shelved under Mayor Rob Ford) is overlayed with the respective councillors from each ward along its route.


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