We're all a little intrigued by the future. It's fun to speculate where technology will be in ten or twenty years, because really, anything is possible. The new year especially, is a time to reflect on the last year's personal and worldly changes, as well as to surmise the coming year's. The automotive industry is no different. Every year, manufacturers present their newest concept cars. Some are totally feasible and end up being selected as the next year's newest models. Others are completely outrageous and unpractical, and never end up being produced. These ones are our favourites; they're over-the-top, innovative, and creative.
In anticipation for what we hope to be a great new year, we're looking back on a few of the most futuristic concept cars that were (and still are) way ahead of their time.
Mazda Furai Concept
The Mazda Furai concept from 2008 looks like a souped up Batmobile. The Furai was designed to look like a race car meant for the road, and haven't we all, at some point, pretended we were driving a race car down an empty highway? (*Disclaimer: We do not encourage speeding.*) The TopGear website even refers to the Furai as, "the defining concept car of its era". Unfortunately, it never made it to mass production, but the design was so ahead of its time that perhaps once all the kinks are ironed out, the Furai can make a brand new entrance that doesn't end up in flames.
2005 Ford-Shelby GR-1 Concept
Maybe it's just the chrome finish, but the 2005 Ford-Shelby GR-1 looks like the Terminator-cum-spaceship, to us. If only the exhausts threw flamethrowers. The GR-1 was almost feasible to manufacture, aside from a few tweaks to meet safety regulations and an unappealingly low sales projection. But like the Furai, this car was enough ahead of its time that it could still make a comeback in the future.
eXtremes by Marianna Merenmies
The three-seater crossover designed for the "eXtreme" Russian climate would fit right in with James Bond's snow-chase scene in Spectre. Lightweight and aerodynamic, its upward-opening doors make it the perfect getaway car for a Secret Service Agent. Made with a carbon fibre frame, the eXtreme protects against heat, cold, and noise. Just throw in some bullet-proof windows and it's almost as if it were developed for Russian spies.
The Lamborghini Ferruccio by Mark Hostler.
The Lamborghini Ferruccio concept looks like it's about to transform into Optimus Prime's worst enemy. The aggressive design and narrowed headlights that resemble glaring eyes look like it's ready to attack anyone who gets in its way. Every part of the Ferruccio was inspired by the brand's lineage: it's named after Ferruccio Lamborghini, the company's founder, and inspired by the Countach and Miura designs.
McLaren JetSet by Marianna Merenmies
The JetSet concept is a sleek and undoubtedly attractive to its intended premium clientele. The car's thin rear reduces its weight and increases its travel efficiency, making it easier to navigate through the high-traffic city streets. Generally, a sharp design evokes a more futuristic feel, but the JetSet is curvy in all the right places, and the unexpected fins are what elevate a generic sports car to an innovative one.
Taihoo Car Concept 2046 By Hao Huang.
The Taihoo looks like a hover board. Is there anything more futuristic than a hover board? We don't think so.
We're conditioned to react more favourably to terms like premium and exclusive, as though these words dictate the true quality of a product or service. We will happily pay a higher price tag thinking we're getting a better value for them. After all, higher price equals higher quality, right? When it comes to gas, our biggest decision is whether to use regular (cheaper) gas or premium (more expensive) gas. When we choose premium, we feel like we're doing better for our vehicle, whereas when we "settle" for the cheaper option, we can have the false impression that we're hurting it. AAA recently published an article announcing that in 2016, Americans wasted $2.1 billion on premium gas for vehicles that really don't need premium gas.
We get it, a car is one of the largest purchases you'll make in your life, so why not treat it well in order to lengthen its life. But what exactly is the difference between regular and premium gas, and is the extra 15-20 cents worth the upgrade?
Premium gas is more expensive because it has an octane level of about 92-93, as opposed to regular gas, which has an octane level of 87.
What does that mean?
Octane levels are designated with your car engine's compression ratio in mind. That is, the ratio of the volume of your car's combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity.
When your car requires the use of a premium gas, the lower octane levels in regular fuel can increase your car's exhaust-gas temperatures and can sometimes lead to knocking (that sound you hear when the fuel and air mixture in your car's cylinder doesn't start correctly, and a pocket of the mixture explodes outside of the normal combustion front).
If your car requires premium gas, these two symptoms can have adverse effects on your car in the long run. If your car does not specify that it requires premium gas, that means the lower octane levels of regular gas will not cause the increased exhaust-gas temperatures that can lead to knocking.
Premium gas does help your car's performance, however it will only improve its ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h about half a second more quickly than with regular gas.
Although premium gas doesn't really benefit your car if it doesn't require the higher octane levels, it also won't harm it. What it comes down to is whether saving those extra 15-20 cents every time you fill up your tank is important to you.
If you'd like to see if your 2016-2017 vehicle requires premium gas, check out the list on BestRide.com.
(Featured image via BlogTO) Mother Nature hasn't been overly consistent these past couple weeks. Between the pellets of snow last weekend to alternating sunshine and thunderstorms, it's been hard to plan our daily outfits and activities, let alone the long weekend's. Luckily though, it seems like the weather is finally settling down and harmonizing itself, and this weekend is supposed to be sunny and hot (we might even hit a high of 26 on Monday)!
As a proper welcome to the much-awaited spring weather, we've compiled a short list of long-weekend staycation trips, within a couple hours from the city, that you can take with your family, friends, or significant others (or, if preferred, by yourself)!
Healing Salt Cave Niagara Falls, ON
Yes, it's ironic that on our first warm, sunny weekend, we're suggesting you hide yourself away in a cave, but the Healing Salt Caves in Niagara Falls will leave you feeling so refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the summer! We see it as a sort of spring cleaning for your body - the salt caves have infinite health benefits for respiratory, cardiovascular, and dermatological conditions. And really, considering you'll start seeing results and have an easier time breathing after only 20 minutes, you'll still have the rest of the long weekend to spend exploring Niagara Falls (and maybe take a wine tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake) .
Pillar and Post Niagara-on-the-Lake
Speaking of Niagara-on-the-Lake, if you do choose to visit one of their many vineyards, we will obviously not advocate drinking and driving back to Niagara Falls, so why not stay at Pillar and Post, an eclectic and incredibly aesthetically appealing inn. The decor is reminiscent of a very fashionable grandmother, and the skylight in the main lobby would be especially scintillating on a sunny weekend like this one. The inn also offers spa treatments and other [indoor and outdoor] activities!
Classroom Suites Picton, Ontario (Prince Edward County)
The long weekend is the perfect time to visit Prince Edward County. Located a little bit over two hours from the city (sorry, our title lied!), you'll need the full three days to really enjoy everything Picton has to offer. The classroom suites are located about 15 minutes from the Sandbanks Provincial Park, so you can spend the day relaxing on the beach, or get active with a hike through the park. Bursting with vineyards (and the occasional brewery), what better way to spend the first weekend of 20-something degree weather with a wine tasting. For a more laid-back afternoon, wander around the Picton area and stop by and support small businesses like the Ungallery or the Black River Cheese Company (to go with all that wine).
Power Yoga Canada Muskoka
Consistently appearing on Best Trip lists, and with over 100,000 seasonal homeowners each year, Muskoka is the epitome of summer-getaways in Ontario. If you want to really immerse yourself in nature this weekend, get your zen on with Power Yoga Canada . Not only is a retreat a great opportunity to finally spend some much needed outdoors time (after our never-ending run of winter and miserable weather), it will send you back to work on Tuesday feeling relaxed and ready to face that pile of work you left on your desk when you bolted out the door on Friday!
After the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3, the flood of pre-orders both shocked Elon Musk and gave the automotive industry an early insight into the future of electric cars. That is, the potential that electric cars may become much more mainstream in the near future than they ever have been in the past. Despite having been in production for nearly two decades, the Toyota Prius hasn't received anywhere near the attention that the Tesla Model 3 has been getting before it's even begun production. With the prediction that electric cars will become mainstream in the next few years, it might be worth considering switching from a gas vehicle to an electric one. The biggest selling feature of electric and hybrid cars is their lower impact they have on the environment, but "better options" are known for costing significantly more than their "less good" counterparts (healthy vs fast food, solar power vs electric energy).
We decided to do an in-depth comparison of two similar cars to determine whether it makes more sense to go electric or stick with your gas car.
FUEL ECONOMY - Obviously there is no cost of gas with electric cars, though there is the cost of the battery, which needs to be replaced, on average, every 10 or so years. Batteries for electric cars have 8 year manufacture warranties. The cost of a new one is about 1/3 of the cost of the car (approximately $11,666, in the case of the Model 3), but prices are expected to drop significantly by 2020. A mid-sized gas car would cost the driver just over $2,000 in gas per year, if it's driven a distance of 20,000km annually.
An electric car like the Nissan Leaf can drive about 150-200 km on one charge (and some charging units can get your car up to an 80% charge in 20-30 minutes), whereas the Nissan Maxima's 18 gallon fuel tank can get you close to 500 miles (or 800km).
COST - An electric car can cost anywhere from 23,000 to over $100k, obviously depending on its make. The 2016 Nissan Leaf would cost you $32,698+ whereas the 2016 Nissan Maxima starts at 35,900.The Tesla Model 3 sedan will be manufactured to be sold at a base price of $35,000. If you're looking to go cheaper, a bare-minimum electric car would cost you $22,295 for a 2015 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, whereas a lower priced gas car, like a Fiat, would only cost you about $15,000. Another downside to electric cars, if you're looking to save some money, is the fact that because they are much newer than gas cars, it's much harder to find an older, used model at a lower price. If you're a young, first-time car buyer trying to save some money, an electric car might not be your most economically-conscious option.
SAFETY - Due to a few electric car fires, people have been hesitant to make the switch, thinking gas cars are safer. What we fail to report on however, are the nearly 200,000 gas car fires each year that occur in the U.S alone. Though there isn't enough data to conclude that electric cars are safer than gas ones, the chance of an electric car fire is actually significantly lower than that of a gas car fire.
ENVIRONMENT - A mid-sized gas car emits approximately 18,603 kg of greenhouse gases over 5 years, whereas an electric car only emits about 1,930 kg from the production of electricity to power the car.
BONUS - You can actually receive a tax credit of up to $13,000 when you lease or buy an electric car.
To sum up, both vehicles have their pros and cons, and the decision between the two depends primarily on your use for the car. Electric cars produce significantly fewer greenhouse gases, have thus far proven to be safer than gas cars (in terms of fires), and are accompanied by a tax rebate. Gas cars, on the other hand, are more cost-effective, and are much more efficient for long trips.
Podcasts have become increasingly popular with commuters. Many of us will listen to a podcast instead of a playlist during a workout or on the way to work because podcasts offer a little more than a good tune to mindlessly drift off to - they offer information and stories that engage you, sort of like a radio talk show but with less celebrity gossip and more substantial content. A podcast is kind of like reading an article or watching a tv show, but you don't have to look at something to keep up with it. Seeing as we are a body shop, it's important to us that quality information is circulated about cars. If you're a car lover, we've put together a short list of some of our favourite and most useful auto podcasts:
The Smoking Tire pretty much offers anything you might want to hear relating to cars. Their podcasts centre around anything from interviews with leaders in the automotive industry to tips for restoring your car. Their website is complete with videos, merchandise, reviews, podcasts, and even written pieces, like interviews with leaders in the automotive industry.
You don't have to know much about cars to enjoy Car Talk- probably one of the most entertaining car podcasts. Car Talk is almost like a radio comedy show centred around cars, so it's less information-based but more about other listeners' car-related dilemmas (although you'll still learn a few things along the way).
Hosts, Paul and Todd, review cars and help their listeners figure out what car would be best for them. While they occasionally discuss high-end, exotic cars, they most often talk about issues pertinent to the "everyday driver", like affordable cars and relatable situations, like one of their most recent topics: Enthusiast Dad on a Budget. They also have a YouTube channel so listeners can watch the video component of their car reviews.
Detailer and host of AMMO NYC, Larry Kosilla uploads weekly podcasts to provide his listeners with his best tips and tricks for cleaning, restoring, and maintaining their vehicles.This is a great podcast to check out if you restore cars as a hobby or if your car is your most prized possession.
What kinds of podcasts do you guys like listening to? Are there any really great ones about cars that we missed?
Spring is welcomed with chirping birds, longer, sunnier days, and freshly blooming flowers - don't overshadow the beauty of the season by surfacing your dirty, salt stained car from the throes of winter. Most people use spring as an excuse to reinvent themselves, to organize their life, and to focus on new goals and endeavours. Typically goals fall along the lines of cleaning out your closet, starting a new fitness routine to get in shape for summer, or planning some kind of new experience like travelling or signing up for a new class. We don't often think about the "spring cleaning" our cars require. Cars take a beating over the winter, from the engine running twice as hard, to the salt stains and mounds of snow we drive through, so some TLC for your car will help it run more efficiently for all those road trips you'll be taking this summer, and will save you in maintenance costs in the long run.
Change tires. It goes without saying that winter tires are for the winter and summer tires are for the summer, but often drivers put off changing their tires or just don't bother changing them at all. After all, if winter tires can handle driving on ice and snow all winter, they can surely handle driving in the summer. Unfortunately, this mentality will ultimately cost you more, as winter tires aren't meant to be driven in the extreme heat of summer. The humidity can melt the rubber and cause your snow tires to be damaged and unusable in the future.
Wash & Wax your car to get rid of all the dirty snow and salt stains, making sure to get right inside the wheel walls. While you're washing, make sure to look carefully for any stone chips that need to be touched up. You may not want to spend the money to fix up any marks on your car, but ignoring stone chips can lead to rusting, which will become much more expensive to repair in the future. It's important to deal with chips as soon as you notice them.
After months of dragging dirty boots in and out of your car, and most likely spilling coffee or hot chocolate in the console once or twice, the inside of your car probably looks as dirty as the roads you were driving on. To clean the mats, first vacuum off any stones and loose dirt, then use a hose or pressure washer to scrub away the stains. To get salt stains off pedals and any leather parts, mix 2 parts water with 1 part vinegar and wipe them down with a cloth.
Spring Tune Up
If time isn't on your side, why not opt to have a professional wash, wax, and clean your car, and have them service it while they're at it? As we mentioned, running a car in below freezing weather all winter can take a toll on the engine. It isn't necessary to tune up your car at the beginning of spring, but it's always a good idea to do everything at once for the sake of having peace of mind that your vehicle is as clean and efficient on the inside as it is on the outside.
March break is the awkward in-between season when it's too warm to do winter things like skiing and ice skating, but too cool to do spring things like go camping and outdoor swimming. It can be hard to keep your kids entertained during March Break: you don't want them to spend the whole week sleeping in and watching TV all day, but you also don't want to spend the week acting as their chauffeur, which only interferes with your work schedule. Instead, why not use March Break as an excuse to take some time off and plan some forced family fun. We've put together a few family-friendly March Break trips within driving distance of Toronto that will not only entertain your kids, but will get you out of work for a few days.
Tap Into Maple (pictured above)runs from March 1st through May 31st in Ontario's Lake Country and Springwater and as the name suggests, celebrates "all things maple". Check out local maple syrup producers, or attend some of their events (syrup-related or not). Over March Break, you can even learn about maple syrup production with a horse and wagon tour through the sugar bush.
Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush is a 400-acre farm a little closer to Ottawa, so it's a bit far for a day-trip, but a great family vacation if you're looking to get away for a few days. Every day of March Break has a different theme that your kids can even dress up to, and if there's still snow you can even bring your skis and toboggans. They offer family packages which include pancake meals, face painting, and horse-drawn sleigh/wagon rides.
What kid doesn't thrive off of doing crazy things that impress their peers? BugFeast! begins March 12 at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory and gives kids the chance to taste foods made with bugs! The event only runs through March Break and will even have food truck-style foods using insects!
If you can't take time off but want to get your kids out of the house for the week, send them to Petit Chefs Academy's March Break cooking camp. At Petit Chefs Academy, your kids will learn how to cook healthy and delicious meals that will hopefully appeal to even the most picky of eaters. Maybe you and your kids can even start taking turns cooking dinner for the family (or at the very least, they'll have a new appreciation for the effort you put into it).
We know that texting and driving is illegal now, which one could hope has lead to a decrease in distracted driving accidents, but that hasn't seemed to stop people from doing other dumb (and downright weird) things on the road. In 80% of collisions, drivers had only taken his or her eyes off the road for 3 seconds prior to the accident, and while banning cell phone usage when driving is a great start, some drivers seem to think some of these driving habits are acceptable by comparison.
Eating - We don't just mean eating a piece of toast in the car when you're in a hurry to get to work. We've heard of people eating full bowls of cereal or entire pies (just two of many weird examples) while driving. With a bowl in one hand and a spoon in the other, what's steering the car? Well, naturally, your foot.
Reading - Was it Oscar Wilde who said you can never be overdressed or overeducated? We're all for catching up on school readings or expanding your literary repertoire, but maybe you should leave it to a time when you're not depending on 4,000lbs of metal to protect you from the oncoming traffic, should you lose control of your vehicle. If you really need to read and the only time to do it is during your morning commute, why not take public transportation instead?
Beauty routines - Hollywood often portrays women as the distracted drivers - painting their nails, putting on lipstick.. shaving their legs? Apparently shaving is a common driving habit for both men and women in a hurry to get somewhere. We just have two questions for people who shave while driving: how exactly do you clean the razor, and more importantly, do you really want to take the chance of getting in an accident while you're running a sharp blade across your skin?
As funny as it may be to see the person in the car next to you eating an entire pie, we (the 3 out of 4 motorists who multitask while driving, specifically) forget just how dangerous distracted driving is. Whether it's texting or eating a pie or shaving your legs, we need to remember to give 100% of our attention to the road.