- BC Games
DRIVE TIME: Check out West Van Police Department's updated ride and other new cars
West Vancouver Police Department gets behind the wheel of the new Ford Police Interceptor sedan
What’s black and white and 260 horsepower? The new Ford Police Interceptor sedans that you’ll soon be able to spot on the streets of West Vancouver.
The West Vancouver Police Department is replacing its aging fleet of Crown Victorias with the Interceptors.
The first 2013 Ford has just arrived and a second is due by the end of the year.
Ford has a long history of supplying police departments with purpose-built vehicles that dates back to the 1950s. When the U.S. car company discontinued the Crown Victoria in 2011, the WVPD opted for the Interceptor as a replacement because it met all their requirements for a service vehicle. (The VPD, meanwhile, have gone with the Dodge Charger.)
WVPD Const. Jeff Palmer said durability and an all-wheel drive platform were important factors when selecting a new police vehicle.
“[That] gives us real flexibility in responding to winter calls in the British Properties and Cypress Mountain,” he says. “It gives us a broader range of vehicles that have better capability for poor road conditions.”
Under the hood, the Interceptors have a 3.5-litre V-6 engine rated at 260 horsepower.
The six-speed all-wheel drive vehicles have four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, several other safety features and all of the emergency lighting is LED.
The EPA fuel economy ratings for the vehicles are 18 miles per gallon (city) and 26 MPG (highway).
The rear-wheel-drive Crown has a 4.6-litre V-8 that produces less horsepower (205) while burning more fuel — 14 MPG (city) and 21 MPG (highway) — than the Interceptor.
The new Interceptors cost approximately $44,600 each and will be phased in as the WVPD’s current fleet of Victorias are retired (either when the vehicle reaches 160,000 kilometres or a certain age). When possible, the WVPD plans to transfer over and re-use components from its retiring fleet vehicles to help reduce costs.
The WVPD already has two unmarked Interceptors — a sedan and an SUV — in the traffic section.
When the new vehicles arrive from Ford they are already painted black and white. A North Shore company then adds the WVPD’s decals.
Other police-specific modifications for the vehicle include rooftop emergency lighting, a prisoner transport cage and dashboard and centre console mountings for a computer, radio and other accessories.
“With the all-wheel drive they handle very sure-footed,” says Palmer. “They handle very well and they’re more fuel efficient but they still have all the speed and power that we need for safe emergency responses.”
- The Outlook
2014 Tacoma offers sportier look and more multi-media options
Toyota’s best-selling Tacoma keeps on truckin’ in 2014, with a sporty new appearance package, new audio system options and more.
The brand-new optional SR Package offers a new look for the popular Tacoma by adding “colour-keyed” fenders, door handles, bumpers, grille and mirrors, along with smoked headlight lenses and a black finish 16-inch Baja-style wheels.
The new Tacoma also offers upgraded Entune Audio options (four in all) — a touch-screen navigation, entertainment and information system— which, for 2014, moves the backup camera display from the rear-view mirror to the Entune display unit.
The Tacoma, as always, offers something for all types of driving needs, with a variety of models and options available, including four-cylinder and V6 engines, 2WD and 4WD, three cab styles, two bed lengths and long list of other available features and options, including the luxury Limited Package.
All Tacoma models come with the Star Safety System that includes, among other things: Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop brake override technology (SST). Also standard on all 2014 Tacomas: front seat-mounted side airbags, roll-sensing side curtain airbags (including a cutoff switch), and a front advanced dual-stage airbag system.
For more about the 2014 Tacoma features and models, visit toyota.ca
Toyota Texas produces one millionth truck
It’s been said that the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
However, today in San Antonio, Toyota trucks are shining. Recently the 2,800 team members at Toyota Texas, on the city’s South Side, celebrated the milestone of assembling the plant’s one millionth truck – a Sunset Bronze Mica coloured, 1794 Edition Tundra.
Toyota Texas produces the Tacoma and Tundra trucks and will celebrate its 10-year anniversary since groundbreaking this fall.
The new 1794 Edition Tundra is considered a tribute to the ranch, founded in 1794, on which the truck plant is located.
Some notable facts and stats about Toyota Texas and the one millionth truck milestone:
• If you lined up the one million trucks Toyota Texas has produced, it would stretch approximately 3,700 miles (approximately 5955 kilometres); or approximately from The Alamo to Honolulu, Hawaii.
• The redesigned 2014 Tundra is among Toyota’s most American vehicle ever. Styling was completed by Calty Design Research centers in Newport Beach, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich.; and it was engineered by the Toyota Technical Center, also in Ann Arbor.
• V6 and V8 engines for all Tacomas and Tundras are manufactured at Toyota’s Huntsville, Ala., engine plant; all transmissions are manufactured in Durham, N.C.
• Production at the plant began in October 2006 with the Tundra. Tacoma production was added in the summer of 2010.
• 21 on-site suppliers, who employ 2,900, have had a big hand in ensuring that quality, durability and reliability are built into every truck.
Chevrolet Silverado reflects refinement
DEER LAKE, Nfld.: Refinement is the definition of, and the story behind, the next-generation 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks.
While they are new from grille to tailgate, Chevrolet surveys found the average life of a pickup is 10.4 years with buyers rating durability high on their decision-making list.
So before going into production, GM put more than 9.6 million kilometres (6 million miles) of durability testing on its pickups, which is equal to 240 trips around the world. In addition, the pickups racked up more than 11.2 million real-world kilometres (7 million miles) during final testing, bringing the total to 21 million km (13 million miles).
As a result of all that testing, Chevrolet didn’t rush the Silverado to market. It led off with the first of its three all-aluminum EcoTech3 engines, the 5.3-litre V8.
It, and a 4.3-litre V6 and a 6.2-litre V8, are fitted with variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation which is the reason for the “3” in the engine family name. All engines use a six-speed automatic and are offered in rear- and four-wheel-drive.
The 5.3-litre produces 335 hp and 383 lb/ft of torque. The 4.3-litre, which came out next, has 285 hp and 305 lb/ft of torque to be followed in the fall by the 6.2-litre V8 with 420 hp and 450 lb/ft.
Fuel numbers for the 4.3-litre are: 2WD, 11.9/8.4/10.4L/100km, 4WD, 12.6/9.0/11.0L/100 km city/highway/combined. 5.3-litre 2WD, 13.0/8.7/11L/100 km; 4WD, 13.3/9.0/11.4 L/100km.
At this writing, fuel numbers for the 6.2-litre engine were still being calculated.
Silverados equipped with the 4.3-litre will have towing ratings up to 7,200 pounds, the claimed highest for any base V6 in the segment. Silverados equipped with the 5.3-litre and the maximum towing package, available later this year, will have towing ratings of up to 11,500 pounds, which Chev says is more than any light-duty pickup currently on the market.
Chevrolet will sell the 2014 Silverado with three cabs – Regular, Double Cab and Crew Cab starting at $25,540, $29,435 and $30,995 respectively, not counting the $1,600 shipping fee.
It will be offered in seven basic trim levels including two work versions, a 1WT and 2WT, with the 2WT adding features such as chrome bumpers, high-wear cloth seats and Chevrolet MyLink with a 4.2-inch colour touch screen. The other trim levels are the mid-range LT and topline LTZ with a new luxury version called the High Country arriving later in the year.
Take the three basic models (WT, LT, LTZ), the three engines, three box lengths and two/four-wheel drive versions and you have thousands of assembly permutations before you even start adding the hundreds of options.
In building what customers want, Chevrolet also took changing buying habits into consideration. In 2001, Chevrolet didn’t sell any Crew Cabs, but in 2012, 65 per cent of Silverados sold came in this configuration and the reason why initial production will be the Crew Cab with the 5.3-litre.
So it was not a surprise that the Canadian press introduction of the 2014 Silverados, held in and around Deer Lake, Nfld., featured this version.
Deer Lake is on the west side of the island but very close to the majestic Gros Morne National Park and a fitting place it turned out to be.
Even though it was the end of June, the weather was sun, then rain and sometimes fog with the temperature struggling to get into double digits.
Nevertheless, sloppy earthen roads and rain-slicked, rocky inclines to great rolling highways stretching off into the horizon proved the perfect setting.
Again listening to buyers, the Crew Cab will for the first time be available with a 6’6” box as well as the previous 5’8” box so the Silverado can still be parked in an ordinary garage but carry a bigger load.
And payload is really what any pickup is about. Depending on two or four driven wheels, the 4.3-litre can handle 877 kg in the short box and 850 kg in the long box in 2WD.
With the 5.3-litre, payloads range from 848 kg in 2WD/long box to 846 kg in the 4WD/long box.
Chevrolet refers to the cargo area as its “smarter box” because of features such as the CornerStep at the outside corners of bumpers plus handholds built into the new box rail protectors for easier access. The bed is also available with new upper tie-down hooks, under-rail light-emitting diode lighting, and an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate.
During the press drive we were offered the opportunity to tow boats, Bobcats and boxes filled to the brim with firewood.
One exercise had us sampling the optional Hill Descent Control that is turned off and on by a toggle switch and the centre stack.
With that huge hood stretching out before you, it still takes all my courage to nose over and go over a cliff not being able to see the ground or how steep it is below. Ergo I stood and watched others to it.
I guess you get used to this with practice, but not me. Safety features are many including Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning with an Active Safety Seat, Front and Rear Park Assist. StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist are standard on all Silverados.
I did most of my driving in what should be the volume seller, the 4WD LT Crew Cab with long box and it drove like a Cadillac DTZ.
The standard equipment list is long and includes MyLink with Bluetooth/smart phone integration/voice activation, 4.2-inch driver info centre and lots of exterior chrome and 17-inch polished aluminum wheels.
I really liked the analog gauges including the four secondary ones for fuel, temperature, oil pressure and volts. I like to see what my engine is doing rather than have a warning light come on after the fact.
What probably stood out most of all is the sophistication of the Silverado from the simple rotary knob to select drive mode to the easy to use MyLink connectivity.
Being a hard worker used to be the only reason for buying a pickup — but that’s all changed.
And this next-generation Silverado shows Chevrolet knows what it takes to get the job done.
-Jim Robinson, Special to The Outlook
GMC Sierra has all work and play bases covered
CALGARY, Alberta – Who says you can’t take it with you?
My wife Mary tapped the switch on the end of the shifter stalk, dropping the transmission into Tow/Haul Mode.
It was her turn to drive and we set off as the rain began to beat on the windshield.
With storms and floods at both ends of our recent travel points – Calgary and Toronto – the concept of pulling your accommodations around with you suddenly seemed like a pretty good idea.
We had arrived in Alberta to tow a 5,200-lb, 24-foot Sportsmen trailer through the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, part of a program GM Canada had designed to illustrate the power and capabilities of the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck.
The GMC Sierra is the number-one selling GM product in Canada, so this latest gen pickup is playing to a very attentive audience.
GM Canada is boasting that the renewed 2014 Sierra 1500 is the most powerful, most technologically advanced, and most refined full-size pickup truck in the brand’s 111-year history.
The new Sierra features redesigned exterior styling, an updated interior, three new EcoTec3 engines and a new Denali trim level, along with new amenities and new technologies including GM’s IntelliLink connectivity.
Let’s start with exterior changes that are, granted, more evolutionary than revolutionary – a more prominent grille, more aerodynamic mirrors, other new trim tweaks, and new standard, single projector headlights instead of the stacked headlamps of the Silverado.
An aluminum hood cuts weight by 8 kg (17 lb) and other aluminum suspension components complement new lightweight wheels paired with low-rolling-resistance tires on many of the models.
Delve deeper under the skin and we come to the three new EcoTec3 engine choices shared with Silverado – a 4.3-litre V6, a 5.3-litre V8 and a 6.2-litre V8. All three engines feature aluminum heads and blocks, standard direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and GM’s Active Fuel Management that seamlessly switches to fuel-sipping four-cylinder operation (yes, even the V6) during cruising conditions.
The 2014 Sierra begins with a base 4.3-litre EcoTec3 V6 (285 hp, 305 lb/ft) that offers the most torque of any standard V-6 in the segment, with tow ratings up to 3,266 kg (7,200 lb) - 227 kg (500 lb) more than the most capable Ford F-150 3.7-litre and 318 kg (700 lb) more than a Ram 1500 3.6-litre.
The 5.3-litre EcoTec3 V8 (355 hp, 383 lb/ft) is a $1,125 option. GM boasts that this V8’s 8.7 L/100km highway (2WD) fuel economy rating offers the best fuel economy of any V-8 pickup, and beats the fuel economy estimates of the Ford EcoBoost V-6.
The new 6.2-litre EcoTec3 V8 (est. 420 hp, 450 lb/ft), enabling a 5443 kg (12,000 lb) maximum towing capacity for Sierra 1500, expected to attain the highest rating in the class, will be available later in the year for a premium yet to be determined.
All three engines translate power through six-speed automatic transmissions with Cruise Grade Braking, a feature that automatically downshifts the transmission on downgrades, similar to engine braking on big rigs.
We tried this out while towing in the mountains. On a downhill run, you simply stab the brake pedal lightly and the transmission holds that speed down the rest of the slope, saving brake wear.
But when you do need the brakes, Duralife brake rotors, with a hardened and strengthened surface to reduce corrosion, are expected to last twice as long as conventional rotors and provide quieter braking with less vibration.
We’ve mentioned engine choices but that’s only the beginning of the Sierra selection list which includes Regular, Double (extended) and Crew Cabs, 4X2 or 4X4, short boxes, regular boxes or long boxes (depending on models), and four trim levels – Sierra ($31,615), Sierra SLE ($36,995), Sierra SLT ($44,515) and Sierra Denali ($TBD). There’s no extra charge for varying box sizes and 4WD adds $3,760 - $4,565 depending on the model.
With that much selection, it takes some time to run everything off the assembly line. Currently, GM Canada’s website shows only Crew Cab models available in three trim levels, which makes sense when you consider that Crew Cabs make up 60 per cent of all Sierra sales. Regular cab models, Double cabs and Denali versions will debut later in the year along with the 6.2-litre V8 engine mentioned earlier.
Our testing was limited to Crew Cab models and, specifically, we drove a 2014 Sierra SLE 1500 4WD Crew with the 5.3-litre V8.
This motor pulls confidently, with or without something hooked onto the trailer hitch and the Active Fuel Management indicator, showing that the engine is running on only four cylinders, flashes on often, even when cruising while towing.
With the 4WD, our tester’s fuel economy was rated at 13.3/9.0L/100km (city/hwy). But it’s always been my experience that the real world combined average is closer to the city rating and, here again, our results tended to average around 13L/100km. With our 5,200 lb trailer hooked up, that average jumped to 23L/100km.
Inside, the Sierra Crew Cab is as roomy as you’d expect. Dual-density foam seats are comfortable and there’s optimum space in front and back. Premium materials set a new standard for interior quality and the cockpit and instrument layout is suitably “trucky” and purposeful. Knobs and buttons are biggish and a new six-gauge instrument cluster can add a 4.2-inch colour Driver Information Center with vehicle status information, a trip computer and other information, such as radio and navigation.
An available IntelliLink connectivity system with voice command adds a high-def, eight-inch colour touch screen with easy-to-read icons that control the audio, Bluetooth phone features, and available navigation ($995). Also worth noting, a huge laptop swallowing console, a secondary compartment above the glove box, and a lot of available outlets including 110-volt outlet, up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and an SD card slot.
There are too many other items to detail here – new cargo box management and illumination, technologies that include Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Hill Descent Control, Trailer Sway Control, Park Assist with rear camera that aids trailer hookup, a new Driver Alert Seat with selectable audio or vibrating warnings, the list goes on and on.
It all gives you a pretty good idea of why GM Canada is boasting so confidently about their latest generation contender in a very competitive full-size pickup truck market.
And with three new powertrains, varying trim levels and configurations, along with an updated cabin and a full suite of available amenities and driving technologies, the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 lineup offers pickup truck intenders plenty of choices to choose from.
-Rob Beintema, Special to The Outlook