After many promises, the new SKYACTIV family of gasoline and diesel engines are starting to roll into dealer showrooms. The "Sky" approach combines gas and diesel engine refinements with weight reduction and chassis improvements. Mazda is also planning to introduce stop-start technology and even regenerative braking. The goal is to improve fleet-wide fuel efficiency by 30 per cent by 2015, above 2008 levels.
The 2012 Mazda5 wagon is also being featured at Mazda. It looks great and seats up to six in three rows of seating. And unlike minivans such as Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, the 5 is really and truly a minivan for a mini price.
The 2012 iMiEV battery-powered car is based on a gasoline-powered "i" car in the Japanese market. Mitsubishi says the zero tailpipe emission i-MiEV will be the first North American production vehicle to be powered by Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV) technology. The car is already in fleet testing and will go on sale at a later date.
The 2011 Quest is all new and represents Nissan's latest take on the minivan. Nissan is touting the "bold styling" and the Quest's "extensive list of family-friendly innovations and amenities" - including one-touch power sliding doors, quick release fold-flat seats, an Advanced Climate Control System and rear storage.
Also being shown at the Nissan stand: the 2011 Nissan LEAF, an all-electric car available in Canada in the second half of 2011; the 2012 GT-R, known in Nissan circles as "Godzilla", which has a new look, new colours, new wheel design and more power (530-hp); 2012 Nissan Nismo 370Z Coupe, the most powerful production Z ever offered with 350 horsepower.
The 2012 iQ is, says Scion, "the world's smallest four-seater. This vehicle is the ultimate small, urban friendly, fuel efficient vehicle that's big on style, features and safety. Packed with 10 airbags, including the world's first rear-window curtain airbag, the Scion iQ defines a new, premium micro-subcompact segment in Canada when it rolls into Scion dealerships later this year."
The 2012 Prius v is, says Toyota, "an all-new crossover addition to the Prius family." It has cargo space "to meet the needs of families with active lifestyles while providing class-leading fuel economy. Toyota is creating a complete Prius brand. That is, the Prius v is one of several Prius models, including the original hatchback and a coming plug-in Prius.
The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is all-new and American-built. The seventh generation Passat is different than the European Passat which was shown last year in Paris. The North American Passat, a completely different car, is larger than the outgoing Passat, and will feature three engines when launched in the summer of 2011. These are the 2.5-litre inline five-cylinder, the 2.0-litre TDI clean diesel and the 3.6-litre V-6.
In Pictures: 12 must-see cars on display at the Toronto auto show