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Canadian International AutoShow Revisited: 2014 Edition

James Hinchcliffe with Honda Fit
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Theme of the Show: Beyond Expectations

For an event that featured the Canadian debut and/or exhibition of several high-performance vehicles, the opening ceremonies were a particularly high-octane affair. The late Sergio Marchionne, than-CEO of Fiat Group and later Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), took to the stage for the company’s press conference followed by a Q&A in an act that could be viewed as brave or foolish. Just ahead of the auto show, his automaker had been reportedly asking for $700 million in government assistance to upgrade their Canadian manufacturing short of five years after the company accepted nearly $3 billion in loans from the Ontario provincial and Canadian federal governments in order to restructure Chrysler Group. Despite the allegations there was some serious hardball being played by the auto company, Marchionne’s speech and tone attempted to divert any hostilities drawing heavily on his personal Canadian connections. Marchionne would take a defensive posture under questioning from members of the media. 

After the conclusion of what was a tense exchange between Sergio Marchionne and the media (by the way, FCA would ultimately withdraw their request for government funds on that occasion), there was a great deal of personality in the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow. Exciting new cars, engaging new concepts designs and tons of performance machines. Canadian content for the year’s show was rich too thanks to a display honouring road racer Ron Fellows as well as a surprise appearance of IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe. 


Notable Vehicles:

2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200 Blue
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Two years after the Dodge Dart arrived, the newly-assembled Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would add another sedan to the North American lineup based on the Fiat Group-derived compact car platform. The new generation 2015 Chrysler 200 was launched with the intent to battle in the very competitive mid-sized family sedan market in North America. Sporting a new design language for the Chrysler brand and boasting higher class material use, the 200 sedan touches included a rotary e-shift dial for the nine-speed automatic transmission instead of a shift lever. Propelled by a 2.4-liter MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine with standard ESS (Engine Stop-Start) technology or a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 powerplant that generates 295 horsepower, all-wheel drive, Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen and Adaptive Cruise Control Plus were standout available features on the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan. In a similar outcome to the Dodge Dart, the Chrysler 200 was promoted by the automaker out of the gate but was dropped quickly and silently. 2017 was the final production year for the 200 sedan.



2015 Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Entering the golden anniversary of the great pony car, Ford Motor Company’s celebration included the introduction of a radically all-new Mustang. The 2015 Ford Mustang adopted a more modern thinking exterior than the heavily retro-inspired shape of the 2005 Mustang redesign. Still distinctly Ford, the new Mustang front end drew deeply from the Evos concept of 2011. The side of the 2015 Ford Mustang adopted a smoother profile losing the mock side vents ahead of the rear wheels that was present in some manner on the three previous generations of the pony car. In addition to a potent 3.7-liter V-6 engine as well as the Canadian-made 5.0-liter V-8 Coyote engine found in the GT model, a four-cylinder EcoBoost powerplant joined the performance lineup for the new Mustang. This latest Ford Mustang also touted a growing list of available high-tech equipment including Blind Spot Information System, adaptive cruise control, Intelligent Access with push-button start and the latest SYNC connected vehicle technology.    



Jaguar C-X17

Jaguar C-X17
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Some observers believed the reason why Jaguar held off producing a premium crossover vehicle was in treading into the territory belonging to their corporate sibling Land Rover/Range Rover. By 2014, Jaguar couldn’t afford to be left out of a market segment where premium brand competition has introduced one or more products. First shown in Frankfurt in 2013, the C-X17 concept vehicle showed to the world what badge with the mighty cat could create for the luxury compact crossover marketplace. Constructed on a modular platform incorporating the extensive use of aluminum, the four-passenger Jaguar C-X17's crossover shape featured the luxury car maker’s familiar prowling appearance. Other traits employed on the C-X17 included 23-inch alloy wheels, Interactive Surface Console with Wi-Fi access and a V-6 engine paired with a high-tech all-wheel drive system. Classified as a concept, there was little hiding the fact this crossover design would become a production reality. 



BMW Active Tourer Outdoor

BMW Active Tourer Outdoor
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


An attractive, compact spectacle in a Gold Race Orange paint colour, the BMW Active Tourer Outdoor utilized the underpinnings of the 2 Series for a highly versatile adventure vehicle. First shown to the world in the summer of 2013, the BMW Active Tourer Outdoor’s design demonstrated itself as a sturdy companion for recreational activities with a durable interior and an integrated bicycle carrier. The concept car was propelled by a BMW eDrive plug-in hybrid system consisting of an electric motor and a 1.5-liter gasoline engine. Despite showing the Active Tourer Outdoor concept at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow, BMW would have no intention to sell its production variant in North America.  


2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck at 2014 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


While Ford Motor Company’s rebooted Mustang could have potentially generated enough debate, the automaker’s 2015 model lineup also featured an all-new F-150 pickup truck that took the top-selling vehicle in a radical new direction. Continuing to proudly project the attitude of a tough half-ton truck, the 2015 F-150 would realize working hard also requires working smart. The 2015 Ford F-150's most publicized feature was the extensive use of military-grade aluminum in combination with the added application of high-strength steel contributing to a weight savings of 700 pounds. Available high-tech equipment for the new pickup truck included LED headlights, 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control as well as trailer hitch assist. A new, smaller 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine was added to the Ford F-150's powerplant lineup for the 2015 model year.  


Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar at 2014 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


An auto company mostly associated with vehicle safety, Swedish’s Volvo has asserted itself as a performance-capable brand through its history. Through the 1990s and 2000s, Volvo sedans (and even the 850 Estate wagon) competed in touring car categories. Starting in 2012, the notion of bringing the sport favour to the street with special high-performance version of the S60 sedan was teased to audiences. Launching the Polestar sub-brand in 2013 with a limited release of 50 vehicles sold in Australia, Volvo introduced its latest lineup to a wider global crowd that included Canada. The Volvo S60 Polestar received a sizable list of special equipment including special 20-inch wheels, Ohlins shocks, front brakes with six-piston Brembo calipers and a unique interior. Paired with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-shifters was the S60 Polestar’s 345-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Selling for $64,895 in Canada, the Volvo S60 Polestar was exceptionally limited. Only 750 total examples of the S60 Polestar and its sister vehicle the V60 Polestar would be sold for the year. Entering 2021, the Polestar name is taking on a modified persona as the Volvo performance line is based around electrification. 

Infiniti Q30 Concept

Models with Infiniti Q30 Concept
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


During the early 2010s, many luxury car companies considered producing a new compact vehicles for the younger automotive consumers. Infiniti’s plans for the entry-level premium car segment was teased with the Q30 Concept. Expressing its design as a fusion of coupe, hatchback and crossover body styles, the Infiniti Q30 Concept featured flowing character lines displaying muscle as well as elegance. The premium compact concept’s interior included real carbon fiber, leather seating with violet stitching and sculpted ceramic details in the front seatbacks. A production version of the Infiniti Q30 Concept and a crossover vehicle called the QX30 would be built on a platform shared with German luxury rival Mercedes-Benz A-Class and GLA-Class. With both vehicles manufactured in the United Kingdom, Infiniti only delivered the QX30 crossover to North America. The plant located in Sunderland stopped producing the Q30 and QX30 after the 2019 model year.


McLaren P1

McLaren P1
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A low-volume, highly expensive niche in the automobile sector, it would seem illogical there is such a large crowd wanting to be seen at the pinnacle of the supercar market. Already having to overcome the mainstay names of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, McLaren took an independent plunge into the premium performance landscape with the MP4-12C (later simplified to the name 12C). At the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the British sports car company introduced a top-tier vehicle for the ultra-elite hypercar customer. Appearing at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow for the first time as part of Auto Exotica, the McLaren P1 demonstrated superior performance and power. The P1 utilized a hybrid powertrain marrying a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 engine with an electric motor generating a collective 903 horsepower. The momentum from the power unit was enough to propel the largely carbon fiber machine from 0 to 300 kilometers per hour in 16.5 seconds. Capable of a top speed of 217 miles per hour (350 kilometers per hour), the McLaren P1 hypercar included a fully array of equipment making it responsive at any speed such as a Drag Reduction System, Brake Steer, RaceActive Chassis Control and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires. Only 375 examples of the McLaren P1 were sold starting a $1,190,000 Canadian.


Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra at 2014 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


For the same price as the spoken-for McLaren P1 in the Auto Exotica display at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow, someone could theoretically buy 119 examples of Nissan’s all-new for Canada Micra subcompact car. At a total length of 3,827 millimeters (150.67 inches), the budget-friendly hatchback launching with the lowest sticker price of $9,998 in Canada (before freight and other applicable costs). For its entry-level price, drivers received a Nissan Micra powered by a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter engine, electric power steering, 60/60 split rear seating and a full assortment of air bags for safety. Doing more than just adapting the European model to Canadian road regulations, Nissan performed a number of refinements to the Micra to make it feel better at home with customers in the country. The suspension and power steering were re-tuned after testing on Montreal roads, larger 15-inch wheels were standard equipment and the rear passenger row received their own heating ducts. Sold in Canada until the 2019 model year, the car was central to the Nissan Micra Cup operating from 2015 to 2020 and was advertised as one of the most affordable touring series in Canadian auto racing.


Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Low Res Shot
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


At the previous year’s auto show in Toronto, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray’s Canadian debut gave audiences the opportunity to see a seventh generation of the long-running sports car boasting the greatest standard horsepower from its new LT1 V-8 engine. For the 2014 edition of the Canadian International AutoShow, it was time for a new Z06 model to dazzle. Based on the American sports car’s seventh generation platform, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 showed itself superior beyond its sixth generation predecessor. The silver example of the new Corvette Z06 contained a supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine that generated a SAE-certified 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with the optional Z07 performance package applying advanced aerodynamic features including a carbon fiber front splitter as well as larger but lighter brake rotors, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 could over-perform the 2013 Corvette ZR1 on the race track. An available factory-installed Performance Data Recorder provided drivers with a unique means to capture their experience behind the flat-bottom steering wheel of the high-powered Corvette. 



Mazda SkyActiv Prototype Sports Car 

Mazda SkyActiv Prototype Race Car
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


The presence of racing machines on the floor space of manufacturers has not been uncommon at the Canadian International AutoShow over the years. Due to their connection as the title sponsor of the Honda Indy Toronto, Honda Canada could be often trusted to give attendees a close-up look at an IndyCar Series show car as part of their showcase. Infiniti’s show display would also incorporate a full-scale representation of Formula 1 car (first from Red Bull Racing and later from the Renault F1 Team) on several occasions. For the 2014 auto show, Mazda showed off their latest challenger for prototype sports car racing in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Based on a Lola B12/80 chassis supplied by Canada’s Multimatic, the Mazda Prototype served as a public test bed for the company’s plans to introduce a diesel engine to North America. The SkyActiv2.2-liter turbocharged diesel used in the race car would closely resemble the powerplant Mazda would offer on the Mazda6 and CX-5. The on-track success of the diesel-powered Mazda Prototype over the course of two seasons proved limited and Mazda would replace the car in favour for one using a turbocharged gasoline engine starting in 2016.   


Special Exhibitions:

Ron Fellows Racing History Display

2001 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R at Ron Fellows Showcase
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A living legend in Canadian motorsports, Ron Fellows’ career as a driver contained a collection of accomplishments and accolades that included wins in some of the most prestigious events. With Corvette Racing where he played an integral role as an early test driver before the team’s limited 1999 American Le Mans Series campaign, Fellows co-drove the race-prepped Corvette C5.R in three GTS class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and took overall victory in the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The modest display honouring the Fellows also included a Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z raced in the 1989 GM/Players Challenge series, a 2010 #88 NASCAR Nationwide Series Chevrolet Impala and a 2007 Ron Fellows Edition Chevrolet Corvette Z06. 

Auto Exotica

Lamborghini Gallardo Bicolore Art Car by LISABEL
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


In addition to the already mentioned McLaren P1 hypercar, Auto Exotica at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow featured a select variety of high-priced vehicles. A Rolls-Royce Wraith, Ferrari F12Berlinetta and a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster alongside a Lamborghini Gallardo featuring the artwork of Lisabel are among the masterpieces included in the level 100 exhibit. 


Cruise Nationals

Steve Hauck's 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Ten vehicles were gathered once again from local cruise nights representing the best antique and custom vehicles owned by residents surrounding Toronto. The 2014 Canadian International AutoShow was the final time that the Cruise Nationals competition would be part of the special exhibitions. The announcement came shortly after the show wrapped crowning Steve and Tim Thurlow’s 1952 Chevrolet pickup truck as the last gold medal recipient.


Muscle Car Alley

Petty 43 1970 Plymouth Superbird
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Joining the Cruise National’s last appearance at the Toronto auto show, organizers sourced a number of exceptional high-performance vehicles constructed between the 1950s and 1970s. One particular highlights of the Muscle Car Alley display was a 1970 Plymouth Superbird stock car belonging and raced by NASCAR legend Richard Petty.


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