“With the expansion this year’s show underwent, the Vancouver show is moving into the big leagues.”

 

As the 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show fades into our rearview mirror, it’s a good time to reflect on what a fantastic show it was.

Yours truly travels all over the world to such exotic locations as Paris, Geneva, Beijing, New York and Frankfurt, for much bigger auto shows. But to me, it’s obvious that the setting for the Vancouver show is, hands down, the best around. The Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre is a stunning building, from the huge windows, to the exposed wood and living roof, it is a world-class venue.

And with the expansion this year’s show underwent, the Vancouver show is moving into the big leagues. By keeping the lower exhibit hall exclusively for the big auto manufacturers to showcase the latest, shiny cars, and adding the upper main ballroom and concourse locations helped the show breathe and provided flow.

As much as the hot new cars get the attention, often the local vendors can create a stir. Like the gang at Fine Vehicles, who buy left-hand drive Land Rover Defenders in Europe and then ship them to England to be rebuilt, before they are imported to Canada. The buyer gets a brand new Land Rover that is unavailable here, starting at $75,000.

The top floor also provided much more walking room for the large crowds to mingle and check out the collection of exotic cars or the vintage Corvette collection.

It’s the lower floor where the big manufacturers spend a lot of money on elaborate stages to promote the latest and greatest from high-horsepower supercars to fuel sipping environment vehicles or practical family crossovers.

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is one of this year’s most anticipated cars, with 650hp and a track ready setup that would make any driver look good. Dodge, not willing to take second seat, actually adds a back seat to its powerhouse Hellcat Charger or Challenger. These two new models come with 707hp and the factory has had to suspend orders so the production can catch up with demand.

Big power may be back but not to worry, the environmentally minded cars were never far from sight. The Vancouver show was chosen to announce the new Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s (AJAC) Green Car of the Year Award. This year’s winner is the Kia Soul Electric Vehicle, providing a practical design with full electric capabilities. Also on display was the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell vehicle, capable of running on hydrogen, with no tailpipe emission, only water vapour.

The hottest trend in the market today is the small crossover vehicles that come in many shapes and sizes, and from all over the world. The Fiat 500X is an example of the latest from Europe, allowing a young family practical, thrifty transportation in a stylish Italian design. Built on the same platform as the new Jeep Renegade, the 500X has more panache and curb appeal.

The 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show marked the 95th year of this annual event and it was the biggest and boldest yet.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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