Okay, you rate 'em – pick the winners and losers among the new models at this year's Toronto auto show. I'll go first, with a look the North American and Canadian vehicle premiers here. Tomorrow the concept cars. Tell me if I'm wrong!
2013 A4 Sedan: Winner. Nice design, good performance and lots of infotainment gizmos.
2013 Allroad: Winner. This wagon needs to be sold with a diesel, though, not just a 2.0 TFSI gasoline engine producing 211 horsepower.
2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 3: Loser. Because of government regulators, BMW simply must build a 3-Series gasoline-electric hybrid. But hybrids are about saving fuel and regardless of the posted fuel economy numbers – which are impressive – you won't save much with Twin-Power Turbo (306 hp) even if it has an integrated electric motor.
2012 BMW M5 sedan: Winner. Love it: 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, with 200 km/h in 13 seconds. The M5 does that while consuming 30 per cent less fuel and providing 50 per cent more range than its predecessor.
Special Edition 2013 MINI Goodwood: Who cares? We're getting run over with too many Minis.
2013 Dodge Dart: Winner. Riding on an Alfa Romeo platform, the Dart will be sold with three different engine choices and loads of technology. Hope it doesn't break as often as the old Neon.
2013 Ford Fusion: Home run. Best looking car on the Toronto show floor.
2013 C-MAX Energi PHEV: Loser. Another car for government regulators, not real car buyers.
2013 Ford Flex: Loser. I hate to say this because I love the Flex. For some reason, buyers don't cotton to its hearse-like shape but you will not find a more practical family vehicle anywhere with hinged doors.
2013 Lincoln MKT: Loser. Not different enough to justify the price versus its Ford cousins.
2013 Cadillac XTS: Winner. Pretty design, but may get sideswiped by the fact General Motors of Canada stubbornly refuses to develop a separate luxury sales channel for Caddy. This XTS will be sold side-by-side with the ultra-cheap Chevrolet Sonic in GM Canada's dealerships. Love the Caddy, but for a premium car the buying experience can only at best be second tier.
2013 Cadillac ATS: Loser. The design and the dynamics seem right to challenge the BMW 3-Series. But if I want a BMW I go to a BMW dealer. If I want a Caddy in Canada, I go to a Chevy dealer. 'Nuff said.
2013 Buick Encore: Who knows? Buick's new small crossover won't go on sale until next year. Check back in 2013.
2012 Kia Rio sedan: Loser. I'd rather own a Ford Focus or a Mazda3 or a Hyundai Elantra. Each has a far, far more compelling design.
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 550: Loser. Seems like we've seen this movie before. Sure, sure, the next-generation SL 550 is agile and pretty and filled with ground-breaking new innovations, yet sadly I remain unmoved.
2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG: Winner. I am smitten by the 5.5-litre V-8 biturbo.
Smart ebike: Loser. If you ride anything like this you simply must be a loser. Get a real pedal bike or a real motorcycle with a real engine.
2012 Toyota Prius: Winner. Still the gold standard of gasoline-electric hybrids and now $1,805 less expensive and with nearly $800 more content.
2013 Scion FR-S: Winner. If it drives as well as it looks, I might marry this rear-wheel drive sports car.
2012 Prius PHV: Loser. Just buy the regular Prius and be done with it.
2013 Volkswagen Passat CC: Winner. Unlike the regular Passat sedan which is all-new for 2013, the Passat CC is sexy. Memo to car makers: sex sells.