The All-new 2016 Mazda MX-5

This photo eh. One of my best in a while.

Except where I forgot to wipe the screen smudges.

Taken during a road-trip afternoon adventure. My co-pilot was a photographer, which is why these photos are so sharp.

This ‘Soul Red Mica’ paint job is +$300.

Non-car nerds: You may know the MX-5 by its more colloquial name – Miata. You can still call it that, but it shows your information is dated.

2016 is a big year for the MX-5.

The 26th model year is all-new and fully redesigned, a big deal since it’s the Guinness World Records best-selling two-seat roadster of all time. I bet the designers flipped between, “all right all-new!” and “well if it’s not broke…”

So when I reviewed the 2015 model, I said: because of the rumoured addition of driving aids and a dash screen, my vote goes to buying the outgoing, more pure model.

That’s why I booked a 2016 – did my prediction come true?

I know disliking dash screens makes me the odd one out, and the installation of one was inevitable. But it doesn’t clutter things up like I thought it would, actually, the opposite happened.

But what’s great is how wrong I was about the addition of driving aids – there’s not even a backup camera!

And while there is Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Departure Warning, it’s offered only on the top 2 trims, therefore, totally avoidable.  Nice one Mazda.

The 2016’s more aggressive lines look sharp eh.

The trunk is now larger, too. According to Mazda, it will hold “a pair of standard carry-on bags.” For a barometer, below is one bag of groceries and This Weeks Flowers.

2016 Mazda MX-5 GS

2.0 L 4-cylinder engine
155 horsepower
148 lb.-ft. of torque

Rear-wheel drive
6-speed manual or automatic transmission

Mazda is the only automaker in Canada to offer an Unlimited Mileage Warranty

Starting at $31,900
This one $35,300

Top left > clockwise:

– it seems like your elbow will hit the drink holders while shifting, but it won’t

– it’s the same, slick manual-convertible design – put it down with one-hand in 12 seconds 

– 2 USB ports, a 12-volt power outlet, and Bluetooth is now standard

– a sleeker instrument cluster, reduced from 5 to 3 gauges

While available with an automatic transmission, to actually order one is eye roll.

But the MX-5’s best feature is one you can’t hold.

We drivers want to tear it up, always, everywhere we go. Maybe like me, you have to lecture yourself to stop constantly pressing on the throttle.

But because of the MX-5’s excellent power-to-weight ratio and low stance, the speed feels heightened. The driving experience is fast and exhilarating like we want, but at a speed the law wants, meaning…

… you can’t get yourself into too much trouble in an MX-5.

Blog tag = Mazda MX-5



The 2016 Chevy Trax LT AWD

2016 Chevy Trax LT AWD

1.4 Litre, 4-cylinder engine
6-speed automatic transmission (manual available!)

138 hp
148 lb.-ft. of torque

Starting at $20,880 (2015 price)
This one $29,875

The Trax falls in the subcompact crossover segment, the hottest, and most competitive, segment right now. It’s got some stiff competition, but there’s…

3 Reasons the Trax holds its own

Reason #1 – it was one of the segment’s first-to-market, therefore its had a couple more years to iron out the manufacturing kinks.

LT is the 2/4 trim and the one I’d recommend buying. Anything higher, or more feature-rich, and the Trax’s good value starts to diminish.

In my tester, note the addition of the +$840 LT Plus Package, which adds a 6-way power driver seat and rear park assist, and the +$1,615 Sun and Sound Package, which adds a power sunroof and Bose speaker system.

I can’t be sure if the Bose addition is why this Trax is the loudest radio I’ve had in years, but regardless, I’d take that money and instead upgrade to All-Wheel Drive.

Top left > clockwise

 door pocket storage for days

centre console

don’t let the simple 7″ screen trick you – the Trax’s infotainment system can connect to the internet, turning the dash into a WiFi 4G LTE Hotspot, and standard on all trims. Chevy is the one of first-to-market with this feature, and that’s Reason #2

4 cupholders, plus 2 in the second row armrest

The Trax offers an abundance of storage, and that’s Reason #3.  11 cubbies, non-car nerds: that is a _lot_. And it keeps going outside the photo’s frame.


Why don’t more vehicles have drawers beneath the passenger seat?

It’s the best.

When overtaking a semi, the 1.4 L engine will get the job done, a little loudly and with the smallest pause before it kicks in, but it will. But the Trax excels in an urban centre as a downtown people mover. It was genuinely fun to drive it in downtown Toronto, I had this guy dancing through rush hour.

The seating position is high, but not enough to feel disconnected from the road, there’s more oomph in the lower revs, and the tiny turning circle means toss it here there, haha I beat you to the last parking spot.

In this LT trim the side mirrors are heated, air conditioning and cruise-control are standard, there’s more steering wheel buttons and it’s wrapped in leather, and remote keyless entry, and a ton of airbags inside.

The fabric is a spacey-pattern that feels functional and should wear well over time, and nice touch with the 110 V outlet for the rear passengers.

Blog tag = Chevy Trax



Review the Reviewers

Before relying on the opinion in a car review, check the source. Like, why read about a minivan from someone who usually drives performance vehicles? I prefer minimal and don’t like autonomous aids, so if you do, you probably won’t like my stuff.

Read reviews by both genders, and all ages too.

Because auto journalism is a game of history (I’m at 2.7 years now, and am still considered the new kid.)

Read it online at Autonet.

Favourite line:

The nature of a car guy is to document, share, and debate; that’s why car forums remain one of the largest, most popular genres online. Don’t be shy about asking questions – car guys are an enthusiastic, gentlemanly group! Post precisely and concisely, and you’ll get back some great advice.


Back to ‘Keri on Driving’ – Index



The All-new 2013 Buick Encore

It’s the all-new 2013 Buick Encore.

(non-car nerds: “all-new” means it’s a brand new model, as in, not just updated from 2012 – 13)

Last week, my full review ran across Canada.

Suited to a young, urban dwelling and hyper-connected buyer who is seeking luxury finishes inside a vehicle, the all-new Encore boasts the functionality of an SUV, but the manoeuvrability and fuel efficiency of a compact car.

Read my full review on

I’m glad that the editor chose to highlight this statement:

I predict this shape of vehicle will become a trend – a mini-crossover, like a shrunken SUV.

Nice pioneering, Buick!

Found this in my notes from the manufacturer’s presentation.

Thorax airbag ahaha I have never heard of such a thing. It was so funny to me; by the time they said it the 3rd time, I was dying inside.

Test drive time!

I got to ride with Lesley Wimbush.

She writes for all the biggest names, and will out-drive you.

No dramatics, this was my favourite feature.

It’s a Bose noise cancelling system.

3 microphones (like above) analyze the in-cabin sound waves, then emit cancelling ones. It uses the exact same technology in their headphones (I once wore out a pair).

2013 All-new Buick Encore. Starting at $26,895


The Infiniti G37 Has a Great Growl

Infiniti G37 XS

It’s a real sports car – it’s a rough ride, the steering is tight and requires energy and attention, all is as it should be.

My favourite part is the engine sound.

Infiniti has mastered that quintessential car growl sound.  It sounds in real life, like it does in your head. I talk about the growl in my intro article for the paper, that’s how much I love it.

Pink astrick – note the seatbelt holder.

Coupe’s have longer doors, so to grab the seat belt, it’s a long reach back with a twist, especially if you’re little like me.

This stops that, I love this.  

It seems like a little thing, but it’s every time you climb into the car, that’s a big thing.

Infiniti G37 Coupe – starting at $46,800