Every year, car manufacturers trumpet the latest and greatest in four-wheeled metal at the Canadian International Auto Show. And here we are, a year later, about to repeat the cycle. But how have last year’s stars fared since then? Some made it to showrooms while others have yet to appear. And most will be on display at the show again this year. Let’s take a look:
This sleek coupe made its Canadian debut at the 2013 show with a fresh design and featuring a considerably upgraded version of the extended-range drivetrain used in the Chevrolet Volt.
One year later: It is just now making its way to production and Cadillac stores.
We saw this concept car at last year’s show and learned of its trick drivetrain, with electric motors driving the rear wheels, and a gasoline engine/hybrid drive system the fronts.
One year later: It is in the final development stages and promised by the time the 2015 show rolls around.
Arguably the star of last year’s show, its Toronto debut came less than a month after it made a huge splash at the Detroit auto show.
One year later: Stingrays are selling as fast as the Kentucky plant can get them off the line.
Another “hottie” shown last year was this stunning little convertible – the spiritual successor to the famed E-Type, equipped with either a V-6 or V-8.
One year later: The F-Type has helped Jaguar post impressive sales gains after landing in dealer showroom late in the year along with the XFR-S – also introduced in Toronto last year.
This seven-seater is one of those success stories where Canadians recognize a good thing when they see it. The second-generation Rondo made its North American debut in Toronto.
One year later: It has been a hot seller here, but is no longer sold in the United States.
Mini John Cooper Works GP
This tiny terror is the fastest production Mini, powered by a twin-scroll turbocharged engine featuring 211 horsepower and 192 ft-lb of torque.
One year later: Mini sales were up 30 per cent in 2013, no doubt helped by the appearance of the John Cooper Works GP, 50 of which were earmarked for Canada.
Mercedes-Benz showcased its refreshed E-Class lineup, which featured new safety features and improved fuel consumption numbers.
One year later: Since it crossed the Atlantic in the fall, the decline in sales of that model has reversed.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe concept
The wildly futuristic concept was shown last year and hinted at a possible design direction for its luxury sedan.
One year later: The styling cues featured on the concept have been applied to the next-generation Genesis, which will appear in Hyundai showrooms within a few months.
Ford Fiesta ST
Ford showed us this hot hatch – featuring 197 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque – and it was favourably reviewed in the media and received by enthusiasts.
One year later: None of this has halted the Fiesta’s slide in sales, which peaked in 2011 after the introduction of the smallest Ford.
Mazda6 SkyActiv diesel
Shown last year, this clean diesel sedan was promised as a 2014 model.
One year later: We are still waiting. It has been delayed twice for reasons not fully explained. It is believed the engineers are tweaking the system so that it can be sold here without an exhaust treatment additive system.
Honda Accord plug-in hybrid
This plug-in hybrid sedan with claimed mileage of 2.0 litres/100 km made its Canadian debut in Toronto.
One year later: Accord sales have taken off. The 2013 sales numbers almost doubled those from the previous year.
The Korean budget auto maker unveiled its first foray into the premium market with this full-size luxury sedan.
One year later: It made its way to dealers in late spring and has been meeting sales expectations since. And just last month, Road & Travel Magazine named the 2014 Cadenza sedan as the International Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show.
Last year, the talk at the Canadian International AutoShow was all about infotainment and connectivity. This year, the emerging trend is autonomous driving. A number of cars, using electronics, are able to keep you in your lane, bring you to a complete stop and follow traffic without the driver touching the wheel or brakes.
The most basic of these systems use cameras and radar or sonar to warn the driver that he or she has wandered from the lane. Some sound an alert, others flash a light or shake the steering wheel and one – Cadillac – vibrates the seat under your bum on the appropriate side. The more sophisticated of these can actually steer the vehicle around corners by maintaining a position relative to the lines painted on the road.
These units form the basis for the emerging generation of autonomous systems that work with cruise control to maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front, even if it comes to a complete stop and then starts up again.
Is this good news or bad? There are two views – on one side are those who feel this is a disastrous move towards making drivers even less involved,. They see it as a dangerous move toward more distracted driving. On the other side are those who say these systems will help reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by inattentive drivers.
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