Ford killed off most of their sedan lineup in April and hardly anybody noticed. Gone are the Fusion, Focus, Fiesta and Taurus. The future is cemented in trucks and SUV’s.
We owned two Ford Taurus wagons in the 1980’s when they were almost groovy and most certainly useful. The first design was ahead of its time. Stylish in a Jube Jube sort of way, and fabulous for packing in cargo.
Now sedans and wagons are going through their own personal shaming. Kind of square and no where. I don’t agree but cannot deny the trend.
So my most recent test drive was the new SUV from BMW called the X2. If you know the X1 then you know the X2. It is lower, edgier and sportier than the X1 but holds nearly the same amount of stuff..
The version I tested started at a base price of $42,250 but with options including M Sport Package and a Premium Package among other upgrades, the total price was $54,845. The X2 is probably a good transition vehicle for people giving up their sporty sedans and turning to a smallish SUV that has the handling and some of the looks of a car.
A newly styled kidney grille brands the front end, but there are also air intakes and fog lamps lashed below the feline headlights that send an aggressive vibe. With the special $900 Galvanic Gold Paint Job, the X2 is projecting a big ego.
It’s fun to drive in that very capable BMW way. Tied down like a tarp over bumps, flat handling on curves, scissor sharp steering, it behaves not at all like a tubby SUV you’d take to the city’s free compost giveaway. With 228 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, it rarely wants for power.
The M Sport package includes handling enhancements that might make the X2 ride too stiffly for some drivers. You do have a choice to dial it back to a comfort setting for a bit of buffer between your skeleton and Hamilton’s decaying roads.
I steered the X2 up to one of my favourite places, Hutchison Farm on Walkers Line near Britannia Road. That drive was lovely, on smoother roads, with no hotheads to spar with in transit. It was opening day at the farm, and the greenhouses were filled with miraculous flowers and herbs. Later in the season strawberries and raspberries will be packed and ready for gobbling by eager customers.
With the trunk loaded up with special geraniums and herbs I carried on exploring, stopping to walk the grounds DeForest Pioneer Cemetery a burial site for United Empire Loyalists, also on Walkers Line.
Music is a nice companion to a road trip so I enjoyed the optional $1,000 Harman Kardon sounds system. Navigation was easy to use, and even found the most obscure places via voice command. The interior is minimalist and efficient with very little ornamentation. The backseat atmosphere is helped by a panoramic sunroof, and seatbacks that adjust. However, the side widows are small and placed high, resulting in cramped views.
If I was in the market for an SUV, I might pass on the X2 for one reason-visibility from the drivers seat. The combination of a lower seating position, side mirror placement and the A pillar blocked a lot of my vision when turning into intersections. For other drivers, depending on their height, this may not be an issue.
The total package for the BMW X2 is a powerful one if you’re looking for driving dynamics packaged with practicality.
Kathy Renwald is an award winning freelance journalist and a regular columnist for the Bay Observer, Hamilton Spectator, Grand Magazine and Wheels.ca. She covers city issues, lifestyle and autos.