2010 Toronto International Auto Show Highlights
In 1769, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot invented the first-ever self-propelled vehicle. It ran on steam, and it topped out at two miles per hour. Even back then, engineers like Cugnot faced the same problem we have today: How do we create an environmentally friendly car without sacrificing speed and power?
While efforts are being made to answer that billion-dollar question, environmentally conscious cars, along with carefree speedsters (and everything in between) were on display at the 2010 Toronto International Auto Show. With over 1,000 cars to choose from, we selected four – three Japanese models looking for attention, and one class-leader looking for redemption.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2010 Lexus IS C250 and 350 convertibles. The C badge means drivers will enjoy a sportier drive and more features than the Lexus IS sedan. The hard-top retractable roof is the world’s fastest folding hard-top. It takes only 20 seconds for it to go up and reveal the flashy two-tone leather seats. The interior and exterior is well-designed, and the word “sexy” has been thrown around when describing the IS C’s style. It is currently outselling the competition, which includes the BMW coupe, the Volvo C70 convertible, and the Infiniti G. Two engine options are available for the IS C. There is a 204-horsepower, six-cylinder V-6 in the 250 or, for more power, opt for the 350 model, which produces 308-hp. The six-speed automatic option with paddle shifters offers a more dynamic ride and is available in both the 250 and 350 models. For a head-turning, smooth and refined ride, the IS C is worth hopping into.
The buzzworthy hybrid for 2010 is the Lexus HS250h. The Prius in Lexus’ clothing is a very intelligent hybrid that does not sacrifice on style. For instance, the lane assist feature detects cars in front of and behind you, ramps, walls and moose (depending where you live), and it keeps you from drifting into other lanes. While similar systems vibrate the wheel or produce a sharp beeping noise to warn you to do something, Lexus does the work for you. The pop-up navigation in the centre console is a nice touch, but Lexus goes the extra mile and introduces a navigational information transparent screen that appears on the windshield of your HS, just like an F-16 fighter jet. It’s a must-see feature that builds on a reputation of cutting-edge technology for which Lexus is known.
The 2010 Toyota Prius is the first step forward in a long journey towards redemption for the Japanese automaker. The centre console received a much-needed facelift. Subtle changes make it much easier to get accustomed to. In the past, hybrid trade-offs forced drivers and their passengers to make uncomfortable sacrifices. The 2010 model is more spacious than ever. Now, the only sacrifice is power. With a class-leading 50 miles per gallon of gasoline, it was, and continues to be, the king of hybrids.
Acura joins the BMW X6 in the Sports Utility Coupe (SUC) group. The radical design is sharp and somehow curvy; the lines are so fluid. It starts with a front grille that resembles a shield with the Acura insignia lodged in the centre. Long front doors lead to hidden back door handles. It has a very sleek and sexy coupe-like style. These lines wrap themselves around the hips of the vehicle (think raised Porsche 911 rear). All this is beautifully finished by a unique dual-exhaust/brake-light configuration. The engine output is a 300-hp noise that won’t wake the neighbours, but it might get the girl next door excited. The 0 to 100 kilometre mark is achieved in 6.5 seconds. The all-wheel drive system comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. The ZDX produces speed and an incredibly comfortable drive (similar to the MDX). While the BMW X6 might be more agile through the pylons, it does not offer the luxurious drive experienced in the all-new Acura. This SUC’s interior is less spacious than its Bavarian brethren, but it boasts better fuel economy, leaving more money in your wallet. The bottom line is that the ZDX has raised the bar and lowered the price. Look to see many of these great models in the next upcoming months.
Lexus IS C, 4-passenger convertible
Drivetrain: 204/306-hp – 2.5/3.5-L, V-6, 6-speed manual
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Starting Price: $52,100
Lexus HS250h, 5-passenger sedan
Drivetrain: 187-hp – 2.4-L, I4, hybrid synergy drive, CVT
Layout: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Starting Price: $39,900
Toyota Prius, 5-passenger hatchback
Drivetrain: 134-hp – 1.8-L, I4, hybrid synergy drive, CVT
Layout: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Starting Price: $27,800
Acura ZDX, 5-passenger CUV
Drivetrain: 300-hp – 3.7-L, V-6, 6-speed auto
Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Starting Price: $55,990