Profession: TV sports broadcaster
Hometown: Oshawa, Ont.
The vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot
- Joined the CBC Charlottetown in 1985 as a reporter and then turned to sports in 1986; was an anchor/sports reporter for CBMT in Montreal 1988-1992 before moving to Toronto
- Awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to sports
- Hosts CBC Sports Weekend
- Teaches a course in Canadian sports history at Centennial College in Toronto
- Will host the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games with Ron MacLean, Diana Swain and Heather Hiscox
He’s a Gemini award-winning broadcaster and a fixture on CBC Sports Weekend.
Scott Russell has covered every major sports event for more than two decades on CBC – including 11 Olympics, five Commonwealth Games and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. For 14 years, he was also the host and rink-side reporter for Hockey Night in Canada.
Although he’s a huge sports fan and physically active – he completed the Boston Marathon twice – he doesn’t drive a sports car. Russell’s ride is a 2011 Honda Pilot.
Why did you buy a Honda Pilot?
First of all, I love the name of the car. If you could drive the car and be the Pilot, it’s fantastic! I just loved it. It’s got all the bells and whistles and a leather interior. It has so much storage room it’s incredible. I have a dog and a cottage and I put everything in it – I’ve put lumber in it. I’ve always wanted a vehicle like that.
I really love the fact that when I back it into tight places it’s got the sensors so it beeps and everything. It guides me in and particularly, it guides my wife in. There haven’t been any mishaps so far.
It’s great in the winter. It’s four-wheel-drive and we don’t put winter tires on it. We can get quite snowbound up north at the cottage, but it claws right up the trails.
What don’t you like about it?
I’m really trying to think. There’s nothing. The controls are great. The navigation system is fantastic. I’ve never had a GPS before, but it’s built right in and it’s great. The graphics are great on that, too.
I love the storage. It’s terrible to say, I’ve always wanted a bigger vehicle that I could put stuff in. It’s just so good.
How’s the gas consumption?
You know what, here’s the thing. We compared the gas consumption with our last car.
We were driving a Volkswagen Passat. It was a six-cylinder and it had a turbo. The Pilot’s gas consumption compared very favourably and might be just as good as the Passat.
To be honest, I haven’t noticed a huge jump in my gasoline costs. I was a little bit surprised. I thought I was going into a much bigger investment in fuel. But it hasn’t turned out that way
I don’t make any apologies for it in terms of gas consumption. It’s a big vehicle, but it’s a safe vehicle. It gets everything I need into it and it means I don’t have to take two cars when I’m making a major trip. I can get everything I need plus my passengers in that one vehicle. I feel safe in it and I love it.
What does a Pilot say about you?
Pilot says about me that I am the guy in command because, let’s face it, I’m the guy that drives the car. [My wife] may feel comfortable driving it, but I drive the car. It says I like to be up there, high and mighty on the road.
What was your first vehicle?
My very first car was a Chevy Malibu.
My uncle was a car dealer in Cobourg, Ont. He was also a sales manager at Ontario Motor Sales in Oshawa. We’re from Oshawa and we’re a GM family. My folks worked for GM and you had to drive a GM car.
My first job was as a school teacher up in Owen Sound, Ont., and I had to buy a car on my own and it was a Chevy Malibu cause my Uncle Jim said there’s the best car – that’s the most reliable thing.
I bought the Chevy Malibu, but it was a dad car. My grandpa had a Chevy Malibu. I was teaching and the husband of one of my colleagues ran Trelford Motors in Tara, Ont., just outside Owen Sound. He comes up to me one day and says, I see you have a brand new Chevy Malibu. I’d take a trade on that. We just got the new Camaro Z28. And I go, well, I don’t know. He says, I’m bringing it around to the school tomorrow give her a test drive.
I took it out and traded it in right away. I had a Camaro Z28 for four years – it was fantastic! So there’s my sports car in my past.
When I got my first job in broadcasting, it was with the CBC Prince Edward Island. I drove the Camaro from Owen Sound all the way out to Charlottetown. Talk about fuel consumption – it ate a ton of gas! But opening it up on the Trans-Canada Highway was beautiful. Going through Quebec City, all the way out to the east coast and taking it out on to the ferry to get to PEI, it was amazing!
What else have you owned?
When I worked up in cottage country as a kid, I drove a Dodge Fargo pickup truck three-on-the-tree. I have always loved a bigger vehicle and trucks. There’s no way my wife was going for a pickup truck so I got the next best thing.
I once had an old beat-up Chevy Vega that was passed down to me by my mom. It was white. It didn’t have a convertible roof but it leaked. I got in one day after a storm and the water was up to the gunnels of the thing. I loved that thing. It had spoked rims on it – it was kind of cool!
I had it up in Collingwood. I went skiing with my buddies and I couldn’t get a parking spot in the lot at Blue Mountain so I parked it on the side of the road. We went skiing, went into the chalet, had a few pops. I didn’t want to drive so I left the car parked on the side of the road. Heavy snow that night. White Chevy Vega. The plow came by and took the side right off of it. That’s my worst story, right there.”
Why didn’t you buy another GM vehicle this time around?
Do you know what? I would not say I would never go back to North American. I love the Honda product – I think they’ve been fantastic. I have always admired General Motors products. I feel a certain loyalty to Oshawa and Canadian-made stuff. There’s the Honda Ridgeline and the Chevy Avalanche – I like the look of the Chevy Avalanche better. I can see one day going to something like that.
This interview has been edited and condensed.