The Canadian International Auto Show media preview featured 41 “New to Canada” vehicle premieres and for the first time ever a “World Premiere”, which was video cast globally, of the 2018 Hyundai Accent.”

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack has been awarded the  2017 Canadian Car of the Year, by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

AJAC also declared the Subaru Forester the 2017 Canadian Utility of the Year at the Canadian International Auto Show kickoff here in Toronto.

“It is such a great honour to have AJAC name the new Volkswagen Golf Alltrack as its car of the year,” said Maria Stenström, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada Inc.

“By adding our 4MOTION all-wheel-drive to the Golf SportWagen, Canadians now have a fantastic new alternative to choose from.”

Shiro Ohta, chairman, president and CEO of Subaru Canada, was equally ecstatic: “It is an honour that AJAC and its members recognize Subaru’s continued commitment to improvements in safety, performance and convenience.”

More than 1,000 cars and trucks from every major auto manufacturer were displayed at this year’s show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The CIAS media preview featured 41 “New to Canada” vehicle premieres and for the first time ever a “World Premiere”, which was video cast globally, of the 2018 Hyundai Accent.

Accent is already a popular subcompact in Canada and the all-new 2018, which is slightly wider, longer and has stack of exterior and interior upgrades. An updated 1.6-litre engine, which has more low-rpm torque and paired with a six-speed manual or automatic, will help this Accent achieve a seven per cent improvement in fuel economy. On the inside it’s roomier and a new dash features a seven-inch touch-screen display. The new-tech upgrades available include an automatic emergency braking system.

Show fans love concept cars and an advanced peek at style elements of future Nissan sedans, the Vmotion 2.0 Concept offered that and more. Described as “The ultimate companion to a lifestyle on the go,” a goal of the award winning Vmotion design is to make the entire mobility experience safe and seamless. It features Nissan Intelligent Driving, which will ultimately allow a fully autonomous drive mode, and is a key contributor to the company’s vision of zero emissions and zero fatalities.

Excitement over the BMW display was mainly about a series of unveilings of the 7th generation all-new 5 Series. Revered by auto writers and enthusiasts for its excellent driving dynamics, BMW claim the new 5 Series is the most innovative ever.

The advanced technology systems roll-out includes Remote Control Parking. Utilizing the Display Key, it’s manoeuvred into the parking space after the driver positions the vehicle in front of the location. The driver can start/stop the engine and oversee control of functional operation, from outside the vehicle.

A plug-in hybrid, the BMW 530e xDrive, also joins the 5 Series line. The BMW eDrive system positions the electric motor upstream from an 8-speed Steptronic transmission, which allows its ratios to be used in the all-electric mode. It’s expected at Canadian BMW retailers next month, but no pricing information is yet available.

Over at the Lexus display, there was some interesting future tech.  Making its Canadian debut was the UX Concept, a luxury compact utility vehicle. E-mirrors replace traditional side mirrors and it comes with dedicated in-cabin screens connected to rear-facing cameras. Lexus also claims the UX styling blurs the lines between “outside” and “inside” and seamlessly connects the cabin to the outside world. It also features a Kinetic Seat – a revolutionary concept with a spider web structure that mimics the role of the human backbone to stabilize head movement and combat driver fatigue.

The Lexus LF-FC is a spacious hydrogen fuel cell-powered grand touring sedan. Imaginative technology includes an advanced human-machine interface that allows the driver to use hand gestures to control various vehicle systems.

Gonzalo Contreras, Product Manager at Ford of Canada, offered a guided tour of a pre-production 2018 Ford Expedition. “We haven’t had a new Expedition for twenty years,” said Contreras. To be honest, I had forgotten that this full-size SUV even existed. It exists in a relatively small segment (less than one percent) of the Canadian vehicle market that’s dominated by GM products.

Contreras expects the market split will change with the intro if this stylish new Expedition. Built on a truck chassis, yet 300 lbs lighter than its predecessor, this Expedition is longer, comfortably seats eight adults and will offer the best towing capability in the segment. It also comes with the Ford’s clever Pro Trailer Backup Assist system that allows anyone to back up and manoeuvre a trailer as well as a professional.      

bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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