Montreal Auto Show Preview


It’s the kickoff to the Auto Show season, with the first show, the Montreal Auto Show taking centre stage.  For the 2019 model year, we sat in more than 75 cars, spending anywhere from 20-90 minutes to evaluate each one. Stops included Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Toronto, Albany and Barrie.  Let’s get things started for this calendar year by previewing some significant vehicles that we’ll be looking at in Montreal as new model debuts or recently added to a dealer’s showroom floor.

2020 Buick Encore GX
The new not-too-small Encore GX is slightly bigger than its baby brother, the Encore, but not as large as the Buick Envision.  The GX is following a growing trend of each manufacturer having SUVs in just about every size.  Note the Honda Passport, slotting in between the CR-V and Pilot.  Mazda is also on board with the new CX-30, slightly smaller than a CX-5 but larger than a CX-3.  The Buick GX will be available in two flavours, the GX and the GX Sport Touring.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
Similar in size to the Encore GX, the new Trailblazer slots between the Trax and Equinox.  This will give Chevrolet seven SUVs from Trax to Suburban.  Building on the bold look of the Blazer, the Trailblazer looks more squat and sporty than most SUVs.  Of note on the Trailblazer is the use of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Few manufacturers have rolled out wireless connectivity for these standards, so it looks like wide-spread adoption is likely on the way.  Two-tone exteriors are making a comeback (Nissan Kicks) and the Activ and RS versions of the Trailblazer will have contrasting roof colours.

2020 Hyundai Venue
Carrying on the two-tone theme, the Venue is another small SUV, filling a gap below the Kona. Available in front-wheel drive only, the Venue promises to be very thrifty on fuel as its in-line four cylinder engine only generates 121 horsepower.  Hyundai is positioning Venue as an ‘urban SUV’ where its small size but large cargo capacity and slightly higher driving position will be an advantage in city driving.

2021 Kia Seltos
Yet another SUV offering from Kia.  Another available two-tone exterior.  Another sporty look.  Seltos slots in just below Sportage in the lineup.  All-wheel drive will be available and luxury features such as a premium Bose audio system will make Seltos the choice for people that want to get away from the ‘two-box’ look of many SUVs.  The tapered rear tail lights and crisp hood shape make Seltos a very appealing package.

2020 Mazda CX-30
As mentioned earlier, the CX-30 is the big brother to the CX-3.  It will be the ‘just right’ size for people that find the CX-3 too small and the CX-5 too big.  Available all-wheel drive will give the driver confidence on slippery surfaces. Mazda places a great deal of emphasis on design, so the driver should find all controls easy to reach.  Apple CarPlay and an available Bose audio system keep the passengers entertained.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SUV coupe
Well, that’s a mouthful! The Atlas Cross Sport is described as a 5-seat version of the Atlas SUV.  For someone that wants a slightly smaller Atlas, with a sportier look, the Cross Sport might be perfect.  It will be equipped with either 2.0L four cylinder or 2.6 litre six cylinder engines. In Canada, 4Motion All-wheel Drive will be standard.  With the rear seats up, it’ll hold 1,141L of cargo, which is about double the size of a full-size sedan’s trunk capacity. A suite of safety features such as Blind spot warning, Adaptive cruise control, Automatic emergency braking and a 360 degree camera system will help keep everyone secure.

2020 Volkswagen Passat
Finally, a sedan.  But this is indicative of where the market is going.  Volkswagen predicts that every second vehicle they sell by 2025 will be an SUV.  Passat has been refreshed for 2020, bringing all the things that a mid-size sedan buyer is looking for: comfortable front seats, a spacious rear seat, a cavernous trunk, and a host of standard safety features.

A survey of these new models is indicative of the industry trends. Only one new volume sedan, and the Passat is really a mid-cycle refresh.  All new SUVs make up the rest of the debuts.  The market is clearly moving up in size, adding safety features at lower trim levels and improving connectivity for phones and other devices.  Automobl is here to help you make sense of all these new vehicles.  Look for the Automobl Value analysis on all of these vehicles in the coming months.

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