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What’s the deal?

My name is Chris Chase, and just like the title says, This Is What I Think Of Your Car: the one you own, the one you want. The opinions are honest, and my own. I’m a car nut, but unlike many, I can see beyond the zero-to-60 times and top speed stats. My aim is to help you sift through the marketing double-speak to figure out what’s really important, and choose the right car for your needs and wants.

Here, you’ll find original car reviews and occasional opinion pieces, plus links to articles published at Autos.ca, where I was Contributing Editor until December 13, when I began working instead for Autos by Sympatico. Leave a comment, or e-mail me at christopher(dot)chase(at)gmail(dot)com.

 

12 responses to “What’s the deal?

  1. Raj

    September 10, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Hi there.

    I appreciate your articles.

    What do you think of the new Explorer? I’m looking at a 2012 Limited upper trim + tech package.

    Worried about reliability & reasale in 2-4 rs.

    Any opinions?

    Also considering Murano which has great deals at present for LE package.
    Could also get a great deal on the Armada.

    Thanks!

    Raj
    Calgary
    rds3@me.com

     
  2. chrischasescars

    September 18, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Hi Raj. I like the Explorer quite a lot. The list of things I don’t like is short. The new touch-sensitive centre stack and touch screen – all part of MyFord Touch – are annoying. I find the ride a little firm, but the seats are terrific. I reviewed a Limited 4WD model a few months ago for the online mag I write for: http://www.autos.ca/car-test-drives/test-drive-2011-ford-explorer-limited. I have heard that the transmission (co-developed with GM a few years ago) can get squiffy thanks to a bad valve body design, but the warranty will cover that if it goes early on.

    If you don’t need the towing or off-road capabilities of the Explorer or Armada, then the Murano is a really nice choice. Nice interior, great engine and the CVT is smooth. There are some doubts about the CVT’s reliability, though.

    Domestic vehicle resale isn’t as much a problem as it used to, at least not with Ford. Their cars have been almost universally good lately, so used ones are selling for more than they used to, at least in comparison to Toyotas and Hondas. If resale is a big deal to you, you could always do a four year lease, if that’s something that suits your situation.

    Hope this helps, and thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me by e-mail: christopher(dot)chase(at)gmail(dot)com.

     
  3. Ray

    October 5, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Hey Chris,

    Love your website and i enjoy reading your honest articles!

    We are considering a compact car (sedan) and need your opinion: Corolla, Civic, or Elantra?

    Previously, we had a Corolla and it went 300K+ kms with nary a trouble so we are leaning more towards the Corolla at the moment.

    Any recommendations?

     
    • chrischasescars

      October 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM

      Hi Ray,

      The Corolla is still a solid buy. My only reservation is a minor one, that being the quality of the interior components, which I think has gone down in recent years, at least in the cars built in Toyota’s Ontario plants. My dad has a 2004 Corolla that he bought new. Has about 150,000 km on it, and has had no problems aside from a bad oxygen sensor and having to replace the exhaust.

      Many reviewers dislike the new Civic. I’ve only driven the coupe, but I think it’s the most entertaining to drive of the three. The Civic’s interior is weird, but quite good functionally. I like the digital speedometer’s placement, so close to the driver’s line of sight.

      No doubt the Elantra has come a long way in a few years. Great car, overall, but if you’ve read my review of it (I believe you commented there too), you know I found a few things about it I didn’t like. That said, it’s a good car, and I think it will be the near-equal of the Corolla and Civic as far as reliability and fuel economy are concerned. The only place you’re likely to lose out is in resale. I don’t think a used Elantra will command as much as a Civic or Corolla until sometime after the next generation Elantra comes out.

      Hope this helps!
      Cheers,
      Chris

       
  4. Ray

    October 6, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    Thank you for your opinion, Chris!

    First things’ first: we got to test-drive them all!

    Call me old-fashioned, but I like Corolla’s plain interior more so than Civic and Elantra.

     
    • chrischasescars

      October 7, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      No argument there. Like all three interiors for different reasons. Honda’s is a little weird for some, and Hyundai’s is a bit overstyled for some. May not age well, either, in terms of appearance. Thanks for reading! Let me know what you wind up choosing. Cheers!

       
  5. mikhailkabakov

    June 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Hi Chris. I’m a regular reader of autos.ca and I’ve especially enjoyed the nine compact car comparison that was written back in May, definitely a surprise to see the Cruze steal the #1 spot. I’ve been considering purchasing a new compact car and there are a lot of good deals out there now. Ford has their employee pricing back, GM and lot of others are doing 0% financing. Honda has a very aggressive starting price of $14,995 for the new Civic. Toyota is doing red tag days etc, etc. In your opinion which one of the nine compacts that you’ve reviewed back in May is the best current value?

    Thanks!

    MIkhail

     
    • chrischasescars

      June 27, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Hi Mikhail, thanks for reading, both here and at Autos.ca.

      It depends what your priorities are. I only like the Focus with a manual transmission. The Cruze is really nice, but only comes as a sedan, so you’re out of luck there if you want a hatchback. The Focus and Cruze are the best-driving cars in the bunch. Honda and Toyota have the best proven reliability, but the Corolla’s not satisfying to drive. The Elantra is a fantastic deal, but I find the styling overdone and the ride is twitchy on rough roads. If I had to choose one of these cars, I’d take a Focus with a stickshift, or a Cruze with either transmission. Those would be my first choices, but this is from the perspective of someone who puts a higher value on how the car drives – especially ride and handling.

      From a purely value-oriented standpoint, the Elantra is a good car (not quite a great one) at a fantastic price. For a buyer looking for value above all else, the Hyundai would be my recommendation.

      Cheers!

       
      • mikhailkabakov

        June 28, 2012 at 8:51 AM

        Thanks Chris! I really like the Ford Focus especially in the hatchback variant. Now I just have to convince my wife to learn how to drive standard transmission.

         
      • chrischasescars

        June 28, 2012 at 8:55 AM

        You’re very welcome, Mikhail! And good luck. ;-)

         
  6. Gardiner Westbound

    February 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Your new and used car reviews are the best in the business. Glad I discovered this site. Have bookmarked it.

     
    • chrischasescars

      February 20, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      Hi Gardiner! Nice to see your name show up here. I left Autos.ca in December to work for Sympatico: autos.sympatico.ca. Mostly new car stuff now, but I’m working toward a major site upgrade in the summer that will add a lot of used car content. Thanks for reading!

       

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