Heading down to the Canadian International Autoshow this week? Looking for a new car and want to know what’s hot and fresh? Here’s our breakdown of the show’s best for families and enthusiasts. As always, they lean towards cars that are good for families, with a couple fun ones sprinkled in that caught our eye.
I’ve been watching this one overseas for a long time. It slots between the tiny Juke, and the mid-size Rogue, and seems like the perfect bigness for singles, DINKs (dual-income, no kids), and small families. It’s a little curvier and more sporty-looking than the bigger Rogue. It’s finally coming here, and Canada gets to keep the fun Qashqai (Cash-k’eye) name, while the US is stuck with “Rogue Sport” — yet another reason to buy it, because I always love it when manufacturers recognize that Canadians are not Americans.
This little C-HR is another mainstream cute ute joining the likes of the Buick Encore/Chevy Trax, Honda HRV, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Juke. What I like about this is that it’s showing Toyota can really breathe style into its products — even if it does look an awful lot like Honda’s HRV. Either way, Toyota’s styling game is on point these days. Now, if Toyota could just bring back more of the fun it had when cars like the Celica, MR2 and Supra were in its lineup.
I loved this one last year, and very nearly bought one when it came out earlier this year. This all-weather wagon has great style, is built on VW’s much-lauded platform that underpins much more expensive cars, and is wonderously capable of hauling your peeps and stuff with its generous trunk. It should be on anybody’s shopping list if they’re looking for a new family car for a family of four or less.
The current Mazda CX-5 is my go-to recommendation for people in the market for a small, affordable SUV. I love its handling and fuel economy, the simple driver-focussed interior, and just-right size of it. It’s not over the top flashy, but it has enough style to feel more expensive than it is. The new CX-5 looks to have stayed true to the original, and just dials up the style. I’m hoping for some turbo boost to make its way into the engine range, possibly trickling down from the larger CX-9, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
Let me preface this by saying that minivans are my guilty pleasure. I probably wouldn’t buy one (because pride), but I get great joy in the idea of hauling my peeps in the sort of comfort and luxury that minivans afford. This was also my daughter’s top pick. When you only ride in the back seat, you literally have a different perspective on what makes a car great.
Big screens, comfy captains chairs, and slick exterior styling which borders on sporty — the Pacifica would be top of my list were I shopping for a minivan (followed immediately by the Honda Odyssey, of course).
Though I haven’t yet had the pleasure of driving it yet, I’ve heard the new Elantra has the special sauce. It supposedly hits all the right points to make for a car that is better than you expect. Add a turbo motor, aggressive exhaust tuning, and sporty touches and you get a great, compact sport sedan. This car is near the top of my list of must-drives in 2017.
Wagons are not popular. That’s a fact I’ve had to accept despite my desperate love affair with them. I’m not sure how the wagon stigma came to be, but I don’t think you can roll up in a wagon with any sort of swagger that doesn’t involve a cardigan and some well-worn loafers. That said, Volvo’s new V90 may be the prettiest car at the show. If anybody can sell a wagon despite the stigma, it’s Volvo. I hope this wagon can make driving wagons just a little sexy.
I love hatchbacks. For the most part, they’re just as functional as SUVs, but have better handling and lower prices. The last generation Cruze was one of my favourite cars to recommend for people looking for a commuter, or inexpensive second car. The Cruze was great on gas, but its turbo motor felt great around town on the highway. The interior was quiet and the seats were amongst the most comfortable I’d ever sat in. The new Cruze sedan doesn’t have quite the same appeal for me as the last one, but the hatchback (especially the RS version) is a slam dunk for me. I love it.
Like the new Cruze, this is another hatchaback, but in another class. The Civic Type R has been my desktop computer backgroud on and off for almost two decades. It has always been the forbidden fruit. It has never been sold in Canada. Until now. The Type R is coming, and it looks better than ever.
In the hall of exotics, across from the $3 million Bugatti everybody will be drooling over, you’ll find this tasteful, classic Porsche. Except it’s not a classic. At least not all of it. This is a special Porsche, which has been “reimagined” by Singer. It’s built on an older Porsche chassis, but almost everything bolted to it is new. It has been meticulously designed to be the very best Porsche money can buy. And money, you’ll need. The price of one of these understated legends is around $500,000. So, it’s not exactly in everybody’s snack bracket, but Singer would be my first visit after picking up my lotto winnings.