Cruisin’ around the Montreal Auto Show

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In a city known for its long commutes, endless construction and psychotic drivers, you’d think the last thing we needed on our streets is more vehicle traffic. But apparently not, as the 2017 Montreal Auto Show proved when it took over the Palais des congrès de Montréal January 20-29.

The annual show featured 30 manufacturers and 600 cars priced from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the show, 44 cars were on display – some were concept cars, there to gauge public reaction, while others will be available in showrooms this coming year.

The venue, although large, can be fully explored in the span of an afternoon. The show took up three floors, with the middle one being the most exotic, featuring brand names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Rolls Royce.

Premium cars were sealed off from the public by velvet ropes. And while I’m more of a Point-A-to-Point-B person (so shortcuts usually get me going more than nice cars), the experience of being in a room filled with five or six cars collectively costing millions of dollars delighted the kid in me.

But those who couldn’t afford to even think about buying a Lambo were in luck as Virtual Reality vendors were out in force. My personal highlight was seeing the $211,425 price tag for a Ferrari that, moments later, I wrecked on a racetrack in an immersive VR experience.

And while it’s fun to look at $100,000 cars, the more practical options were on the lower floors. Ford, Jeep, Toyota, Honda, Dodge and Subaru led the way for trucks, SUVs and other off-road options. The bottom floor was for people who wanted a more hands-on experience. Spectators could look, touch and check under the hood.


While there were plenty of salespeople, cars are rarely sold at these events. “People usually take the info they’ve received at the show and then go and do a transaction at the dealer,” said Isabelle Fafard, media relations for the Auto Show.

In 2016, the show attracted nearly 200,000 visitors. This year’s turnout was similar in size. As I walked around, I realized the crowd was diverse in age. The youngest car enthusiast I saw was only a few months old, there with his parents to get information on mini-vans and covet sports cars.


A father and daughter were looking for the young lady’s first new car. “Safety” was the dad’s biggest concern. I even met a blind man who confessed, “I just love to hear the rev of an engine.”

As I neared the end of the circuit, a horde of kids ran through the Jeep show area like a hurricane, climbing through the cabs, jumping on the hoods and screaming, “Let’s get this one! … No, this one!”

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