September 29, 2023

3R Trail

Feel the difference

Toronto traffic woes, the softening of motorcycle culture, and more

Plus the world’s most expensive vanity plate just auctioned for US$15 million

Article content

Welcome to our round-up of the biggest breaking stories on from this past week. Get caught up and ready to get on with the weekend, because it’s hard keeping pace in a digital traffic jam.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Here’s what you missed while you were away.

Toronto considers upping illegal left-turn fines

One of Vancouver's intersections in a shopping district at dusk, seen from above, with cars changing lanes, waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, accelerating, swerving and maneuvering
One of Vancouver’s intersections in a shopping district at dusk, seen from above, with cars changing lanes, waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, accelerating, swerving and maneuvering Photo by Getty

The deputy mayor of Toronto is pitching the idea of increased fines for drivers who make “improper stops” at busy intersections. Currently, the ticket for being that chump who crowded an intersection trying to make a left turn behind somebody who actually had and deserved to be there, is $85 — the proposed increase would bump that up to $450. It would also raise the fine for an improper stop in a community safe zone from $120 to $500. 

As far as columnist Lorraine Sommerfeld is concerned, a bigger stick may be the right tool for this scenario where drivers seem to have lost respect for others like pedestrians and cyclists who share parts of the roads. But will a police officer pulling over offenders near the city’s busiest intersections help or hinder? Click here and read until the end to see Sommerfeld’s simple and elegant proposed solution. 

Advertisement 3

Article content

Has motorcycle culture gone soft?

The Norton Atelier in the Bike Shed in Old Street, London, U.K.
The Norton Atelier in the Bike Shed in Old Street, London, U.K. Photo by Norton

If you’re looking for signs that motorcyclists have changed, look no further than the “ateliers” many of them now shop in. One shining and shimmering example of such an ‘elevated’ vendor is Norton’s new location in London, England, which Motor Mouth David Booth says is “like the interior of a Gucci shoppe.” Triumph, too, is aiming high with its new Bonneville T120, which commemorates a partnership with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, essentially “a bunch of hipsters who don silk vests and tweed jackets and otherwise channel their inner T.E. Lawrence.”

The bike itself has a stitched seat, hand-laid pinstriping, and some special paint, but otherwise is still a standard T120. Check it out at the link above. 

Article content

Advertisement 4

Article content

Was this restoration of a rare Maserati an act of creation or crime?

1956 Maserati A6G/54 Coupe, chassis 2140
1956 Maserati A6G/54 Coupe, chassis 2140, ahead of its auction by Gooding & Co. at its 2021 Pebble Beach event Photo by Gooding & Co.

Here’s a discussion topic for your next rare car meetup: was the restoration put on this one-of-four 1956 Maserati a thing of beauty or a crime against history? Because opinions will vary. 

The car in question is a 1956 Maserati A6G/54, bodied by Italian coachbuilder Frua. Its current owner recently decided to do something about its deteriorating state — “The paint wasn’t even staying on the car anymore” — and hired Vancouver’s RX Autoworks for a full restoration. That’s when the comments started coming in, some saying the work would delete history and others claiming it would result in concours recognition and an even bigger price tag. The debate is ongoing, so go ahead and take sides in the comments section

Advertisement 5

Article content

World’s most expensive licence plate auctions in Dubai for US$15M

World's most expensive licence plate sells for US$15 million in Dubai
World’s most expensive licence plate sells for US$15 million in Dubai Photo by emiratesauction/YouTube

It probably didn’t cost more than $10 to fabricate, but now this rectangular piece of metal has been sold at an auction to become the most expensive licence plate ever. A collector bid US$15 million for the vanity plate reading “P7” at a charity event, where proceeds went to Dubai’s global food aid initiative, the 1 Billion Meals Endowment. The bid, placed by an unnamed individual, beats out the previous record held by local businessman Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri, who paid 52.2 million dirhams (US$14.2 million) in 2008 for an Abu Dhabi plate bearing the number.

Single-digit plates are a sign of wealth and status in the middle eastern country, with some luxury hotels refusing entry to anyone who drives a vehicle with a plate with more than two digits.

Advertisement 6

Article content

Six of the most affordable and reliable vehicles in Canada, but did Canadians buy them?

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid 1
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid Photo by Toyota

Whether you’re looking for a reliable and affordable all-wheel-drive car or SUV, there are some great options currently available in Canada. And, in fact, we’ve got a list of those exact vehicles, separated by segment. Options include the city-friendly hatchback, the 2023 Subaru Impreza, which is a great drive and is even available with a manual transmission; the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross, which acts as a roomier and even more family-centred version of the Corolla sedan (also on the list) and has been given a perfect five-out-of-five from Consumer Reports for reliability; and the 2023 Lexus RX, a fifth-generation SUV with a hot interior and a hotter drive-feel thanks to a potential 367 hp on tap. 

Advertisement 7

Article content

But did Canadians buy these reliable nameplates in 2022? We also compared Consumer Reports reliability rankings to the Canadian sales numbers to learn where the smart money was being spent. And while there was some brand crossover with Toyota and Lexus, the most popular by sales of the ‘reliable’ vehicles in Canada didn’t include any from the above mentioned vehicles. Reliable vehicles included the BMW 3 Series, the Mazda MX-5, and the Toyota Prius. Learn more here

SUV Comparison: 2023 Toyota Highlander vs 2023 Kia Telluride

2023 Toyota Highlander vs Kia Telluride
2023 Toyota Highlander vs Kia Telluride Photo by Clayton Seams

Two new three-row family SUVs, two Driving experts. It’s time to get specific with the 2023 Toyota Highlander and Kia Telluride. (Don’t feel like reading? There’s also a video review.)

Advertisement 8

Article content

Clayton Seams and Stephanie Wallcraft took the pair of mid-size SUVs out for a side-by-side test drive to compare the refreshed goodies inside and onboard. The styling and tech upgrades for the Highlander include a new turbo four-cylinder, the latest infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The biggest news with the Telluride are its two new trims (the top-tier X-Pro and the tested X-Line), and the addition of two 12.3-inch screens for the digital instrument cluster and infotainment system. 

The two Driving experts compare drivetrain, interior, tech, and more, and eventually do pick a winner between the two SUVs. Find out which they preferred right here

Coleman Molnar picture

Coleman Molnar

Coleman Molnar learned to drive in his family’s rusty farm pickup as a teenager and continues the forearm-strengthening tradition today from behind the wheel of his 1983 Volkswagen Westfalia. Spot him in the slow lane, or on Instagram @Lietco


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Join the Conversation