By Chris Miller
This huge car show was held recently in Toronto. It is one of the largest of its kind in North America. The event is great for “window” shopping or tire kicking as every make and model that is available in Canada is on display. It does not mater if you are looking for a small, economical car or brute truck or anything in between; it’s all there. Even if you are shopping for an exotic car there are lots to choose from. There is always a display of classic cars as well. I have been visiting this show for probably 20 years however as a car enthusiast it is always interesting to see new trends and technical advances creeping in to cars. The last seven years have brought us amazing connectivity and the next seven will bring us to a new era in automotive driving, or not! Cars are becoming safer, more reliable, more cost effective, more for your money, and of course better looking. Just think back to the ‘80s and ‘90s to square boxes and the attempt at streamlining and then look at today’s beauties.
Within seven years or probably by 2020 you will not have to drive a car anymore as it will drive itself. Audi had an autonomous car on display. One could argue the good and the bad. Do you want to sit back and work on your laptop or read the paper/tablet? If in heavy traffic, maybe, but if you are driving along an open road, winding through beautiful countryside or zipping along the 401, what happened to the fun of driving? You may still want to do your own thing, after all, who wants to let that Mustang GT do its own thing? However the future urban landscape will be very different with autonomous vehicles ruling the road, accident-free. No more silly fender benders on the QEW at rush hour causing a 10-km backup!
Yes, the technology is developing in leaps and bounds. Almost every manufacturer at this vast show had either EV (electric vehicle) models or hybrids. Now that’s sensible and about looking after the environment. With rebates and buying far less fuel, when in electric mode these vehicles become very cost effective. Look at the Toyota Prius range, Ford has quite a few models including SUVs, Chevrolet has the Volt and now the new Bolt EV. Even high-end cars are going the EV/Hybrid way. The Tesla models are the ultimate in EV.
However, two manufacturers have introduced diesel models, Mercedes and Jaguar. Diesel is a sensible alternative to hybrid. If you have driven in Europe you will know what I mean. The Mercedes model is a diesel-only station wagon and the new Jaguar XE model is available with diesel or gas for the same price! And yes, the diesel of today is cleaner burning. I know at the moment diesel has a bad rap but that was one particular manufacturer. Diesels are commonplace all over the world except North America.