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APA at the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show 

 

The Auto Show logo celebrates Canada's sesquicentennial 

Known officially as the Canadian International Auto Show, the Toronto show welcomed over 300,000 visitors by the time the show closed on February 26th. APA staff and a Rogers Television crew from our Lemon-Aid Car Show attended the media day. Two major themes were evident this year. The first was the ever-growing number of SUVs; the second was the migration of active safety features further into the mainstream market. This report covers some of the significant vehicles revealed at the show and follows the sequence of the day's unveilings.  

 

The second-generation Mazda CX-5 features cleaner lines

The new CX-5, built on the same wheelbase and essentially the same exterior size as before, offers similar interior space as its predecessor. The cabin is elegant for a mainstream vehicle. The 2L and 2.5L gasoline fours and a six-speed conventional automatic transmission return unchanged. A new 2.2L turbodiesel produces 150 horsepower and up to 280 lb-ft of torque. Mazda’s diesel will do battle with the new diesel that is optional on the redesigned Chevrolet Equinox. It will be interesting to see if the diesel engines are accepted by buyers or if it is already too late for diesel power in North America.

Second-generation Elantra GT makes its North American debut in Toronto 

The Elantra GT is already being built in Slovakia and sold in Europe as the i30; it will be sold as the Elantra GT in Canada, and assembled in South Korean. Roughly the same size as its predecessor, the new car reflects the conservative styling direction evident on newer Hyundai-Kia group vehicles.

Inside, the driver faces clarge, clear gauges in a dashboard dominated by a large, free-standing pod that contains a touch screen flanked on both sides by conventional audio control knobs. Traditional climate controls reside at the top of the dash centre stack. Cabin materials are attractive and there are soft-touch surfaces on the dash top and upper front doors. The front and rear seats are supportive and rear seat legroom is competitive for this size of car. The trunk is spacious.

Two engines, the same normally aspirated 2L four found in the Elantra sedan, and a 1.6L turbo four found under the hood of the Elantra Sport, are offered. A six-speed manual transmission is common to both engines, with a conventional six-speed automatic offered with the 2L and a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual available on the turbo.

A large compliment of active safety equipment, like lane keeping assist, radar cruise control and autonomous emergency braking, is available. The redesigned Elantra GT should reach dealers by mid 2017.

 

The next-generation Hyundai Accent made its world premiere at the Toronto show  

Hyundai Canada scored a major coup by snagging the world debut of the next-generation Accent. Hyundai elected to show the sedan version of the new car because that pre-production prototype sedan body was ready to show, and the hatchback was not. Only the sedan will be offered in the United States, while Canada and other markets will receive a hatchback as well. The U.S. market has traditionally shunned hatchback cars despite their obvious utility.

Like other recent Hyundais, the new Accent looks elegant but is more conservative than its predecessor. The cabin, with large gauges, straightforward controls and attractive matte finishes, looks upscale for this class. The front seats are quite supportive, but the rear seat backrest is a bit too vertical. Cabin space is good for this class of car.

The sole engine for Canada is a direct-injection 1.6L four producing an estimated 134 horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

Active safety equipment has been migrating downmarket for a few years; forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking will be available on the new Accent. The new Accent sedan will be on sale by late 2017, with the hatchback following a few months later.

 

The Volvo V90 R-Design is one sleek wagon

The V90 R-Design is the sportiest spin on Volvo’s elegant V90 wagon. Its cabin is essentially a master class in restrained luxury using sumptuous materials with wagon versatility. A 316 horsepower 2L four is both turbocharged and supercharged to reach a high specific output from a small displacement. Power reaches all wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V90 R-Design will reach showrooms soon.

The 2017 BMW 5 Series is all new 

The seventh-generation 5 Series made its Canadian debut at the Toronto show. It is difficult to identify the car as all new, as unless you are a BMW fanatic, the car looks little different than before. Perhaps it is time to rehire BMW’s radical former styling chief, Chris Bangle, to move the style needle ahead again. The cabin is also very BMW--elegant and traditional to some and perhaps dated to others.

The mainstream engine is a twin-turbo 2L four with 248 horsepower in the 530; a 335 horsepower 3L turbo six is offered in the 540. A 530e hybrid model, powered by a 2L four hooked up to an electric motor for a combined output of 248 horsepower, will be offered as well. Power reaches all wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

Available active safety equipment includes forward collision warning, radar cruise control with heating elements in the sensors to prevent them from getting clogged by snow, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. A self parking system is available; the car can even pull into a tight parking space with the driver controlling its progress from outside the vehicle! The new 5 Series is already on sale. 

 

The production version of the QX50 should be similar to this concept vehicle  

Though labelled a concept, the car shown in Toronto looks production ready. The QX50 is attractive and distinctive. It follows Infiniti’s arc-laden styling, but in a pared back fashion that is not as forced as on some of its models.

Other than a note about the possible use of Infiniti’s Variable Compression Turbo technology, there are no details regarding mechanical elements of the next QX50. The production QX50 should debut at the New York show in April, with sales likely starting near the end of 2017.  

 

Kia's sleek Stinger is actually a hatchback 

Just slightly smaller than its XXL K900, the Stinger is a decidedly sportier spin on a luxury vehicle than its more sedate showroom companion. Unlike the K900, which is hampered by its rear-wheel drive platform (just 26 sold in 2016), most Stingers will feature all-wheel drive, with rear-wheel drive available for performance purists.

Two engines, a 2L turbo four with around 255 horsepower and a 365 horsepower 3.3L V6 turbo, will be offered. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the sole transmission available.

The Stinger’s dashboard is modelled on current Mercedes-Benz themes, including the prominent dash centre vents and the now fashionable free-standing dash-mounted screen. The Stinger should be on sale by the end of 2017.

 

Twin to the Chevrolet Equinox, the GMC Terrain won't go on sale until the fall of 2017

With the new Terrain, General Motors is continuing a strategy first seen on the GMC Acadia, with staggered launches of vehicles based on the same component set. Though the related Chevrolet Equinox is about to go on sale, the redesigned Terrain will not reach dealers until the fall of 2017. The new Equinox is built in Canada but production of the next Terrain is shifting to Mexico. 

The Terrain shares no obvious exterior panels with the Equinox but there is a great deal of parts commonality between the two nameplates inside the cabin. Like the Equinox, the cabin features good space for passengers and cargo.

A 1.5L turbo gasoline four is standard, with a 2L turbo, optional. A 1.6L turbodiesel is new for the model and arrives at about the same time as the 2.2L diesel in the Mazda CX-5. Transmission availability includes a six-speed automatic with the 1.5L and diesel and a nine-speed with the 2L engine.