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Driving Impressions

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Driving Impressions

Experiencing Jinba-ittai.. in the Mazda CX-3

As I walked up to the freshly detailed red Mazda CX-3 at the dealership, its metallic paint, which looked burgundy in the shade, shone a bright red as the mid-morning sunlight hit it. Styled in Mazda’s KODO design language, the CX-3 presents interesting lines, contours and surfaces at nearly any angle. Although it was not the top-flight trim level or the 4WD version, I adjusted the tilt/telescoping steering and settled into the driver’s seat with intense curiosity.

Many of the Mazda 3 and CX-5 owners really love their cars and this new model seeks to be a combination of the two. I also know that Mazda takes pride in infusing their cars with their Zoom-Zoom dynamic driving DNA, or as Mazda likes to call it– Jinba-ittai. This Japanese concept conveys the idea of horse and rider, or in this case, metaphorised as car and driver in perfect harmony. But could that actually happen with a crossover vehicle? Especially with its taller ride height and, presumably, more weight than a sedan?

  • Written by Written by Narend Sooknarine | Photos: Zorce Vader
  • Category: Driving Impressions


For most Trinbagonians who are young and young at heart, the Carnival season is a must in terms of participation. As per the last decade or so, I would normally be raring to go with my fellow photographers who enjoy seeing all the masquerader bands and Kings and Queens over Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Customarily, we would be up in the wee hours of the morning making sure our equipment was in order. I prepped the same way this Carnival Tuesday, except this time I was up at 3.00 a.m. because I was on my way to Mexico for a bucket-list test drive– the new Porsche 911.

Hyundai Tucson Encounter On The Route To The Stars!

If ever you have been fascinated by the constellations, then Chile should top your must-see list. With near-perfect atmospheric conditions– cool, dry air– for optical clarity, the town of La Serena is perfectly positioned for a drive up into the foothills of the Andes, literally above the clouds. The roadways that lead to Chile’s many high-powered telescopic installations are known as La Ruta de las Estrellas (the Route to the Stars). And by no stroke of luck, this is exactly where we were headed to discover Hyundai’s new Tucson!

Ford’s Ranger Sets the New Standard

The atmosphere was bristling with anticipation as our group of invited journalists from the Caribbean and Central America was warmly received at the lavish Bristol Buenaventura Resort Hotel on Panama’s Pacific coast, some two hours from Panama City.

On our first official evening we joined Ford officials and other media representatives for cocktails and dinner. Naturally, the new Ford Ranger was the hot topic of the evening and everyone spoke glowingly of Ford’s performance in their respective markets versus the competition from Nissan and Toyota. We heard from Chris Sirju of The Gleaner about the remote, mountainous regions in Jamaica where Suzukis and Land Rover Defenders are the only means of getting around due to the crude roads and limited infrastructure. Everyone, it seemed, was well aware of who the real performers were in the current market. We did all agree on one thing though– the last few generations of the Ranger had excelled in terms of sales, reliability and on- and off-road performance, a fact that was reflected in the large numbers of happy owners. The Ford team skillfully recognised our concerns and noted our comments without giving away too much.

Toyota’s 86: the Ultimate Underdog

One of the most legendary cars from Toyota is the AE86 Corolla/Trueno hatchback. This small, lightweight, rear-wheel drive sporty economy car gained notoriety in Japan for its tuning potential, proficiency in drifting and for defeating more powerful and advanced cars in downhill road races and in motorsport. It is widely respected as a car that teaches its driver how to exploit and occasionally, defy the laws of physics.

The car even became a co-star in Initial D, which is a must-see Japanese anime series for any serious enthusiast. The protagonist Takumi Fujiwara delivers tofu in an AE86, which he also races on various mountain roads. A few seasons later, he drives his father’s Subaru, an Impreza WRX STi Type R Version V. Tak soon realises that his old, beloved Hachiroku (86 in Japanese, referring to the AE86) cannot keep up. It seems destined (to Initial D fans at least) that Toyota and Subaru should work together. Toyota owns a 16.5 per cent stake of Fiji Heavy Industries, the parent company of the Subaru brand, making such a venture even more feasible for both parties. In reality, this effort that has finally delivered a production car and over 90 per cent of the parts used are specific to the shared platform. It is known as the Toyota 86, or GT86 in some markets, the Subaru BRZ or the Scion FR-S in others. Along with badging, there are subtle exterior and larger interior differences and unique suspension calibrations. All models carry dual exhaust pipes. The 86 also pays homage to the Toyota 2000GT and the boxer-engined Toyota 800.

TT Motorsport Car Clubs

  • Autosport - Drags, Drag & Wind
  • C.A.R.S. - Solodex/Autocross
  • Rally Club TT - Rally
  • Side-B - Off Road
  • Trail Blazers - Off Road
  • Trini Truckin'
  • TTASA - Drags, Circuit, Karting
  • TTDA - Drift
  • TTKA - Karting
  • TTORC - Off Road
  • TTundra - Drag Racing