2007 Canadian International Auto Show Highlights

The 2007 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto opened with the announcement from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), that the Toyota Camry Hybrid had won the award as the 2007 Canadian Car of the Year and the Acura RDX was named the 2007 Utility vehicle of the Year.

Quite a few vehicles had their Canadian debuts at the show and many were being seen in Ontario for the first time.

Audi R8 V8 4.2L FSI

Audi brought the R8 to Toronto for its Canadian debut. This mid-engined semi-exotic brings a heaping load of testosterone to the Audi brand. The 420 hp 4.2L V8 powerplant is the same unit that powers the celebrated RS4. Expect 0-100 km/hr times under 5 seconds and even though price in the $140,000 range, rumour has it you may already be out of luck to nab one of the 100 examples coming to Canada.

Chrysler unveiled the latest Dodge Sprinter as well as the all new Dodge Avenger. The Sprinter is a legend in all its various incarnations around the world and is the most popular truck in Europe. A refreshed front end and a more upscale look adorn these boxy bemoths. A gasoline engine option will now be available. The Dodge Avenger shares a platform with the Chrysler Sebring, but brings a more muscular look to the mid-size segment and should attract a good deal of attention from buyers looking for something different. Chrysler also had their countdown clock peeling off the days till the production version of the Dodge Challenger unveiling in Chicago just under a year from now.

Ford brought the new Focus which is a reworked version of the outgoing model and thus different than model on sale in Europe. Earlier, Ford announced the Five Hundred would receive a facelift and be re-branded as a Taurus. Many journalists had wondered why Ford had killed off the Taurus nameplate, one that had been the best selling car in the USA for so many years.

GM debuted the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS. In addition to more muscular bodywork, a 3.6L V-6 engine, rated for 258 hp becomes standard fare in the CTS, while a 300 hp Direct Injection version is optional. The new Malibu gets all new eye-catching sheet metal and a choice of a 2.4L inline 4 or 3.6L V-6 engines.

Hyundai showed their new Veracruz CUV which is being billed as a true 7 passenger crossover. Canadians will only see All-Wheel-Drive versions of the Veracruz with a starting price f $39,995. XM radios will now come as standard equipment on the Sonata, Azera and Veracruz. Three months of free service is provided with new vehicle purchases.

Mercedes revealed a limited production version of an already limited production car with the 722 Mercedes McLaren SLR. Improvements over the run of the mill SLR include a bump to 650 hp, a sportier transmission, beefier brakes and a lowered, firmer suspension. Apparently 3.8 seconds for 0-100 km/hr on the original SLR just wasn’t fast enough.

Mercedes McLaren SLR

The Mazda CX-9 CUV was making its Canadian premiere. With a 3.5L V-6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission and a price tag that can surpass $50,000 when loaded up, the CX9 appears to be more of a premium model than simply a CX7 with an extra row of seats.

Nissan showed the Rogue which is scheduled to replace the X-Trail for the next model year. The vehicle uses the same 2.5L inline 4 cylinder engine mated to a CVT transmission.

Toyota showed a pair of modified Sienna vans for physically challenged motorists, one with a folding wheelchair ramp and another with a middle row seat that turns and telescopes out of the vehicle.

In order to take in all the sights at the Canadian International Auto Show required moving between 3 large buildings, covering some 850,000 square feet, allowing it to claim the title as the largest consumer show of any kind in Canada. If you plan to attend next year be sure to bring your walking shoes.