As the first Auto Show in Toronto in this new decade, the Canadian International Auto Show was able to present some of the biggest reveals for Canada and new technologies that suited their theme perfectly. This year, CIAS was based around the theme, Transformative Times. In 2020, this theme could not make much more sense in this new era of electrification, autonomous vehicles and are a more diverse culture within the automotive industry. The morning of press day had started with a great presentation from the Canadian International Auto Show’s first female president and the first female president of the Toronto Area Dealers Association, Susan Gubasta. Susan spoke of her 23 years in the industry as well as the future ahead that we could see right there from the show floor in Toronto. This year, without a doubt, was one of the best Canadian International Auto Shows to date with such a variety of past, present and future.
One of the most anticipated Canadian reveals at CIAS this year was the Bugatti La Voiture Noire. This beautiful masterpiece was brought to the show by Grand Touring Automobiles and is a mock-up of the real $16 million vehicle that Bugatti will be producing one vehicle for a very special buyer. This makes La Voiture Noire one of the most exclusive new vehicles to grace the auto show floor in Toronto as well as the most expensive new vehicle. This stunning supercar is said to produce 1500hp from a W16 engine and is finished in black carbon fibre. Grand Touring Automobiles also showed off other new releases, including the Aston Martin DBX. This new Aston Martin crossover is a first from the company and the first time this vehicle had made its debut in Canada. The vehicle stays true to Aston Martin’s flowing lines and looks quite sharp, much better in person than pictures. Rolls Royce also had shown off their SUV, the Cullinan and Bentley had shown a new derivative of the Continental GTC. Auto Exotica also hosted a large number of supercars in the North Building. We had the opportunity to see anything from an original Lamborghini Tractor, to a Lancia Stratos, Pininfarina Batista or a classic Shelby GT350R as well.
Moving to a more affordable and mainstream luxury, Cadillac, GMC, Genesis and a few other automakers showcased their new vehicles. Cadillac used Toronto for the global auto show reveal of the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade. This SUV was truly stunning and features a large, monolithic front end that looks classy, elegant, yet still even sporty. This new Escalade also joined the reveals of the 2021 Yukon Denali/AT4 at GMC and the 2021 Tahoe/Suburban at Chevrolet. All of these new full-size SUVs look stunning and offer very different personalities and looks, despite sharing the same running gear and platforms. The revised powertrains also include an efficient inline-6 Duramax Diesel. Another more affordable luxury automaker, Genesis, revealed their new GV80 SUV which is stunning and a huge step for the brand. When Genesis was released, it was still quite evident that their vehicles were produced by Hyundai. The new models now, the GV80, G90 and the upcoming new G80, all feature unique looks with high-end materials, amazing fit and finish and competitive powertrains with efficiency, power and refinement. The GV80 will be a great contender in the luxury 3-row marketplace against the Japanese, Germans, XT6 and the Aviator, albeit at a price with more value.
CIAS 2020 also hosted a few Canadian reveals of performance vehicles, including the highly anticipated 2020 Corvette C8 and C8 Spider. While the mid-engined Corvette had been revealed 6 months prior south of the border, the new Corvette we have all been waiting for finally made its Canadian reveal. This stunning vehicle has gotten even more capable of handling and performance yet, maintained a very affordable price point. Another performance reveal was the redesigned 2021 Jaguar F-Type, now updated and styled to fit in more smoothly with the Jaguar sedan and crossover lineup. The new-look appears somewhat sinister, yet classy and luxurious. Porsche also showed off its carbon fibre 935 concept, a stunning masterpiece that has retro cues from the Slantnose Porsche days.
CIAS also hosted even more new Canadian reveals such as the new 2021 Pacifica, the 2021 Gladiator Mojave, Versa, redesigned Atlas and much more. Announcements and reveals of future alternative fuel vehicles were most predominant as vehicles transform into the next generation of electrification and autonomy. After opening remarks with Toyota and their hybrid LeMans car, Hyundai was the first reveal to have a glimpse into their alternative fuel future. Hyundai brought the 45 concept as well as the Vision T. The 45 concept was also revealed in Montreal after last year in Europe, but this model looks back at the Pony and the 45th anniversary of the design for the first Hyundai in Canada. The Vision T concept also glimpses into Hyundai’s future design direction as well as electrification and autonomy. Ford also exhibited their new Mustang Mach E crossover, a vehicle that has gained such negative connotations due to the name. The Mach E is quite a nice electric crossover that can be potentially quick as well.
Lastly, once you were finished looking at all of the beautiful new vehicles at the show, Level 800 featured some great classic vehicle exhibits to take you back in time. Cobble Beach Concours had their classics room features a beautiful 1930s Bugatti, a one-off coachbuilt Mercedes 540K and a Delahaye amongst other stunning vehicles. Oblivion 80s and 90s Car Show also featured an amazing selection of cars to bring you right back. The Oblivion room features a stunning Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Subaru Brat and many more amongst retro and classic arcade games that you could play. That wraps up another year at the CIAS in Toronto, marking my 30th year there since 1991. Vehicles and the show have changed dramatically since then and will continue to do so. The future is exciting and expects even bigger reveals throughout the year and next year with new safety, autonomy and powertrains.
Written by David Murphy