We're not looking at the usual collection of aged show-car cast-offs at this year's Toronto auto show. That's new and welcome.
The 2012 Canadian International Auto Show has clearly achieved third-tier status. The really big first-run auto shows like Detroit, Frankfurt and Geneva get all the most glamorous introductions, both on the production and concept car side of the ledger.
Second-tier shows like Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles get a decent mix of product introductions and updates, along with a handful of first-rate dream cars. And then we have the Torontos of the world. Ours is first and foremost a sales show timed to help us throw off winter's cabin fever. Spring is a month away, remember.
The concept cars we have in Toronto have all been seen somewhere else at least once, if not more. One or three are pretty current, though – the Acura NSX sports car comes to mind, and Honda Canada has said that the Acura ILX concept we saw in Detroit is now a production model here in Toronto. Fantasy became reality in a month. Now that's rapid-fire product planning, or could it be that the ILX in Detroit was always destined to be a production car (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)?
In any case, now that the Toronto show has been open to the public for a few days, and with Sunday's closing not so far off, I thought it would be interesting to ask you whether Toronto's show cars should remain fantasies or become realities. Yes, yes, in one or two cases, the decision has already been taken – Acura being the most obvious one. That said, what's your verdict on Toronto's show cars? Enjoy the fantasy, or make it a reality?
BMW Vision ConnectedDrive: This futuristic roadster might become a real production droptop, but the ideas here – the brains of communicating computers make your journey as painless as possible — are certainly coming to future BMWs. Enjoy the fantasy or make it a reality?
Fiesta ST Concept: Sorry to spoil the party, but a production version of the high-performance compact car is coming to showrooms of the future. So should it have stayed a fantasy, or is Ford right to make it a reality?
2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept: Here's one shown first only last month at the 2012 Detroit auto show. Future Lincolns are going to take their design cues from what you see here. Should Lincoln have stayed with the fantasy, or are you pumped about the reality?
Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept: With seating for four, this small Caddy looks at what a premium car for the urban dweller might want for navigating narrow side streets, parking in tight spaces and sipping fuel in stop-and-go traffic. Keep the fantasy or make it a reality?
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept: Some measure of reality here. This high-performance coupe was a character in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Stay with that fantasy or make it a reality you can buy yourself?
GMC Sierra All Terrain Concept: GM's engineering types tell me you could pretty much put together this heavy duty pickup concept by raiding various parts bins. Only the lights would be a problem. Good as a fantasy or make it a reality?
Acura ILX Concept: The suspense is over. Acura will build this entry compact premium car. Good idea? Or was the fantasy better?
Acura NSX Concept: Acura is going to make a production version of this high-performance sports car in three years or less. Thumbs up or thumbs down? It's a thumbs-up for me.
Honda Accord Coupe Concept: Again, Honda is toying with us. This "concept" is about 90 per cent of what you'll see this fall when the production version of the 2013 Accord coupe and sedan go on sale. Do you like that reality? Or should Honda scramble to fine-tune it?
Jaguar C-X16 Concept: The world, of course, needs more high-performance hybrid sports cars like this one. Showroom-ready or better as a fantasy?
Kia GT Concept: Kia is readying an up-market rear-drive sedan and this car hints at it. Good idea or bad?
Mazda Shinari Concept Vehicle: Too late. While Mazda will not ever build this exact car, the ideas in the Shinari grand touring luxury car will show up in production cars. Do you applaud this reality or was it a better fantasy?
Infiniti Etherea Concept: Infiniti is readying an entry-level luxury car, so don't be surprised if it looks quite a bit like this concept. Good reality or better fantasy?
Subaru XV Concept: No one should be surprised to see Subaru play with ideas for a small crossover wagon. In fact, this concept arrived as a preview last year of the next-generation Impreza Outback Sport hatchback. Yea or nay?
Volkswagen Bulli Concept Car: VW Canada had to pull all sorts of strings to get the Bulli microbus. Frankly, VW needs to make this a reality. Agreed?