Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Canadian International AutoShow in Review: Simultaneous Premieres Unite Toronto & Chicago

2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Grille

As a member of the automotive press, February 12th was show time for Toronto's largest display of new automotive trends and technology. The 2015 Canadian International AutoShow was opened with some indications for the cast of some amazing, new players in the new vehicle sector this year. For 2015, there were some spectacular premieres being captured by cameras and being adored by the attendees. The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Range Rover Diesel, Audi TTS and the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor were all part of the exhibition inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. However, I must admit that this year presented a few more surprises than usual owed largely to some simultaneous vehicle unveilings.

In the past, the scheduling of the Canadian International AutoShow at the same time as the Chicago Auto Show had led to a case of "either or" in automotive premieres. Influence of the Chicago show often resulted in first-time showings to be conducted solely in the major United States city. During this year though, the Canadian International AutoShow and the Chicago Auto Show have been co-hosting the debut of some new shapes on four wheels. In a manner resembling the vehicle premiere used by the Mazda MX-5 last year, it is possible to be in several places at once. For 2015, there were four notable vehicles premiering simultaneously.


2016 Acura RDX


2016 Acura RDX

A month after the introduction of the production model Acura NSX at the auto show in Detroit, the high-performance hybrid is still the photogenic darling it has been through various concept stages over the years. Despite the attention guaranteed for Acura with the premium quality supercar, the luxury brand realizes the importance of presenting fresh-looking vehicles throughout their line-up.

Premiering in both Toronto and Chicago on the same day, the 2016 RDX crossover is the newest iteration of a vehicle that was the second-highest selling product in the Acura vehicle range for 2014. For the 2016 model year, the Acura RDX shines on the road with the brand's Jewel Eye LED headlights. The front and rear fascia have been reshaped for an edgier, lower appearance. Inside, the 2016 RDX features a high-contrast colouring and second-row air conditioning vents for the first time. An enhanced range of high-tech gear is also part of the new Acura crossover under a new Advance Package featuring rain-sensing windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors and ventilated front seats. AcuraWatch technology is also promoted as a technologically sophisticated suite of driver-assisting features. Lane Departure Warning, Multi-View Rear Camera and a windshield-mounted camera/sensor are components of AcuraWatch. 

For 2016, the Acura RDX operates with a more robust 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). Generating an improved 279 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models of new Acura RDX employ better fuel mileage in highway driving (gaining by a mile per gallon with both drivetrains).


2016 Honda Pilot


2016 Honda Pilot at 2015 CIAS

Marketed in the highly-competitive seven-passenger crossover vehicle segment, the Honda Pilot was one of the earlier adapters to using a car-based platform in the early 2000s. Premiering simultaneous at United States and Canada auto shows on February 12th to the media, the three-generation model of the Pilot is a substantial refinement on an already popular family utility vehicle.

The new look crossover arrives in the summertime dropping roughly 300 pounds attached to the 2015 counterpart. The 2016 Honda Pilot is constructed on what is called a "3-bone platform" promising to be more rigid and provide improved sound-deadening for the cabin occupants. Capable of supporting an 82-quart cooler while still offering three full rows of seating, the third-row access has been made easier thanks to increased room. A one-touch sliding walk-in second-row seat is also offered on the 2016 Pilot for even better entry and exit.

The 2016 Pilot retains a 3.5-liter V-6 engine but accepts an all-new version of the i-VTEC powerplant. Using Honda's Earth Dreams Technology, gasoline direct injection is now part of the Pilot as is an available Idle Stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle is at a stop. Connected to the engine is a pair of high gear count transmissions. A six-speed automatic is standard equipped on the 2016 Honda Pilot but a nine-speed automatic is also offered. Recently available on Acura products, the nine-speed transmission on the 2016 Pilot will be the first use on a Honda brand vehicle. A front-wheel drive and an newly-enhanced all-wheel drive is attached to the 2016 Honda Pilot line.

2015 Ram Laramie Limited 


Rear 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Despite being a vehicle engineered for toughness and work duty, trucks increasingly seek out a luxury-oriented clientele. Ford F-150 has the King Ranch and Platinum models allowing the pickup truck to obtain luxury vehicle status while GMC touts highest refinement with the Sierra Denali. Debuting in Chicago just minutes earlier, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Ram brand took the wraps off their new high-end level of pickup trucking in Toronto.

The 2015 Laramie Limited version of the full-sized Ram pickup truck made a striking first impression. The completely unique front grille on the Laramie Limited model, 20-inch wheels and bright chrome accents have proven to be the perfect ingredients for captivation at the Canadian International AutoShow. Ram branding is affixed prominently (including a 20-inch wide nameplate on the tailgate) as a bold presentation on an equipped 1500, 2500 or 3500 model of the pickup truck. Air suspension is included on the 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited while Heavy Duty pickups with six-foot beds are equipped with a RamBox.

The interior of the 2015 Ram Laramie Limited is anything but rustically appointed. Full Natura Plus premium leather seating, real wood trim and gauges touched with diamond knurled Liquid Chrome rings awaken the luxury-seeking eyes of occupants. A 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen system along with a richly-accented center console presents power ports as well as locations for holding a cell phone and a tablet.

2016 Chevrolet Equinox


New Chevolet Equinox at 2015 CIAS

Chevrolet's presentation at the Canadian International AutoShow have recently been high on substance. In 2013, it was the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray garnering press. Last year, if the 2015 Corvette Z06 wasn't tempting to utilitarian-minded drivers, the new Colorado served as a lure towards the Chevrolet exhibit. For the 2015 show, Chevrolet had confirmed the 2016 Chevrolet Volt and the ambitious Bolt Concept car but left one product announcement for the Toronto show.

A vehicle type totaling over 1.4-million in sales since its introduction in 2004, the Equinox was treated to a well-deserved redesign for the 2016 model year. A significantly refreshed 2016 Chevrolet Equinox was brought to light for the month of February adding a new face for what is one of the most important vehicles in the bowtie brand's line-up. Largely a styling revision to the current Equinox with changed front and rear fascia assemblies, the 2016 crossover employs new wheel designs and accent touches. Projector-beam headlights now only provide the 2016 Equinox with a different look but also boasts improved nighttime performance. The interior of the crossover has been overhauled with a new instrument panel and a chrome-trimmed transmission shifter. All 2016 Chevrolet Equinox models will include a seven-inch touchscreen radio with Bluetooth as standard equipment. High-tech safety equipment Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert is optional on LT and LTZ models while rear-seat passengers are provided with high-tech entertainment with universal tablet holders as a dealer option.

While the debut of the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox coincided with the showing at the Chicago Auto Show on their media day, the crossover vehicle's announcement came with an extra dose of news important to Canadians. With a total $560 million investment, General Motors locked-in their commitment to the Ingersoll, Ontario plant as one of the production homes for the 2016 Equinox crossover vehicle. Known as CAMI Assembly, the news was a massive relief to those unsure about General Motors' intentions of building cars in Canada.

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