It is that time of year when automotive journalists and publications come together to choose their “best of” picks for the previous model year. What is the best car, truck or SUV is an important question and one that organizations such as AJAC (Automotive Journalists Association of Canada) help solve by voting on the Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year. As a consumer, it’s good to know you can trust the opinions of a group of professional automotive experts as to which vehicles you may want to consider when purchasing your next vehicle.
At vicariousmag.com, we have similar experts on staff, many of whom are AJAC members, and we decided to take a different approach to sharing our opinions of 2016. It’s Christmas and nothing says Happy Holidays more appropriately then sharing our opinions and passions through a song. Not an actual song, that would require singing on key, but using a song as the basis for our top picks for the year. So, without further ado, here is the first vehicle on our list of the 12 rides of Christmas- 2016! Number 11 follows tomorrow and so on until Christmas Eve! Fa-la-la-la-la!
Thinking back on 2016 and on all the vehicles I’ve driven, there are several standouts but my ride of the year is the Rolls Royce Ghost. For a couple of reasons.
Firstly, when I picked up the car, my wife, Pat, and I were marking our 50th anniversary, a milestone statistics say only 5% of married couples reach. So two five percenters got to live like one percenters for a couple of days.
Secondly, there’s nothing like a Ghost-ly experience to make your day.
When Patrick Kirkwood of Ferrari Maserati Roll Royce of Alberta handed me the key to the most luxurious automobile I’ve driven in 20 plus years of reviewing cars, it had gone just 8 km.
This car carries its 2,970 kg bulk with dignity and style. The interior is pure luxury: leather, wood, even deep lamb’s wool floor mats that encouraged Pat to kick off her shoes and wriggle her toes in that deep, soft, pile as she leaned back to enjoy the ride.
Her chauffeur (me) kept shoes on although features like rear theatre and picnic tables, it did cry out for a chauffeur…except I like to drive and this car is a dream to control.
There’s an abundance of electronics on board but it’s the simplicity of the features that’s striking. Controls are easy to use, thoughtfully laid out and don’t cause distraction. Within 15 minutes I was comfortable with all the systems.
Driver aids include active cruise control with stop and go, lane departure warning, head-up display, side view camera, rear-view camera with top view and all the usual driving nannies. Optional night vision provides a ghostly image of animals and humans within its considerable coverage range.
Our anniversary route took us from Calgary to the Post Hotel in Lake Louise, famous for its service, attention to detail, great wine cellar and outstanding kitchen. Hey, you gotta splurge on your 50th!
In a car like this, you never take the direct route. Getting there is way more than half the fun. Besides I wanted to experience the Ghost more fully.
Subdued elegance hides a playful side and its 6.5L V12 with 563 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque has plenty to play with. A near-seamless eight-speed automatic transmission handles the shift work.
A host of optional equipment boosted the $337,275 entry price to a total of $473,443.95 (including fees, $5,800 for freight and $3,800 for PDI). GST brings the tab to just under a half-million bucks.
There’s not a ghost of a chance I will afford one of these beauties with the Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood, but it was a spook-tacular few days.