Montreal Auto Show is a great mid-winter pick-me-up

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20140118_190505Auto shows are a very convenient way to shop for a car, and the 46th edition of The Montreal Auto Show at the Palais des Congrès January 17-26 was no exception.

If you are looking for a family car, Kia Soul was named the best in this category for 2014 by the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC). Its new GDI direct injection system provides for better fuel economy. The 2014 Soul has a new engine this year. It is a 2.0 L that delivers up to 164 horsepower and is available with both manual and automatic transmission. Its new media entertainment system, which offers compatibility with iPhone and iPad, is remarkable for a car of that price range.

The North American manufacturer Chevrolet introduced its first diesel car intended for the general public, the Cruze. Its 2.0 L turbo diesel engine is aimed at the increasing number of diesel enthusiasts in North America. The Cruze has been Chevrolet’s bestseller internationally and they are hoping to gain more market share with this new engine offering.

Among the pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado drew my attention. The Silverado’s main advantage is that, due to the new differential ratio, it will pull the same haul charge, while consuming two to three litres less per 100 kilometres. Also, the finishing and the details are quite impressive with added comfort, leather interior, faux-wood and the possibility of having a full back door with the 6.6 ft. box.

An exclusivity of the Montreal auto show was the appearance of the Felino: a performance car, built in Quebec and sold disassembled. The owner is to assemble it alone in as little as 250 hours, which is much less than the majority of kit cars on the market. The inside finishing will let to be desired, but you could have a performance car for as little as $30,000.

20140118_203225This year I also had the chance to test-drive an electric car. I drove the Mitubishi i-MiEV and the experience was better than I had expected. The acceleration was surprisingly decent, so I did some additional research and discovered that Mitsubishi claims that the electric version of the i-MiEV accelerates faster than its gasoline brother. It can go as fast as 132 km/h and delivers around 130-140 km on a full charge, according to CAA Quebec testers. I was also curious about their performance in Canadian winters and was told that it might lose about 10 km on a full charge at -25⁰C.

This year’s auto show was, in my opinion, generally more entertaining than the previous year. Almost every exhibitor had contests, where, in exchange for your basic information, you get a chance to win prizes, even as big as an automobile, in the case of Audi and Nissan. Also, Volkswagen’s Performance Zone was back, after being replaced by the vintage car exhibition last year. It exhibited over 40 modified vehicles in a very entertaining environment, including music, light effects and models who were happy to pose for anyone pointing a camera at them.

Desjardins Insurance was promoting their Ajusto program, by offering a video simulation of safe driving habits, which allows for up to 25% in insurance savings. The Ajusto device is installed in the vehicle and monitors acceleration and breaking habits, as well as the time of the day you are driving for the purpose of providing more savings on your insurance bill. The children could be entertained at the KIA Kids Zone, where they had activities such as face painting, colouring and games.

I spent almost an entire day at the auto show and the experience was very enjoyable. I recommend it to anyone, because no matter how knowledgeable or interested you are in cars, you could simply enjoy the shiny cars and enjoy the numerous other activities.

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