2014 McLaren 650S
2014 McLaren 650S
2014 McLaren 650S. Click image to enlarge

Article and photos by Greg Wilson

Running now through Sunday at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Vancouver International Auto Show is a once-a-year opportunity for B.C. residents to see all the new vehicles in one place at one time.  Over four hundred shiny new vehicles are on display on the lower floor of the convention centre, including a few Canadian debuts and one North American debut.  As well, show-goers can take advantage of the popular ‘Green Ride and Drive’ program with a variety of new hybrid and electric cars available for test drives.  And new for 2014, the auto show’s first collector car auction on Saturday will feature a restored 1966 Mustang Coupe auctioned at no reserve with proceeds going to the New Car Dealers Foundation charity.

Show times are:
12:00 PM – 10:00 PM (March 25–28)
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (March 29)
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (March 30)

General admission is $15, with discount rates for students, seniors, and children.

There’s plenty to see at the show, but here are six vehicles we think you shouldn’t miss:

2014 McLaren 650S Coupe and Spider

Shown for the first time in North America, the sleek McLaren 650S supercar features a turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 that makes 641 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.0 seconds, and has a top speed of 333 km/h.  Its dynamic chassis adjusts to Normal or Track mode yet the ride is reputedly quite comfortable.  Scissors-style doors, racing seats, hand stitched Alacantra interior trim, and standard satellite navigation and radio add to the unique appeal of this outrageous supercar.  Pricing hasn’t been announced but it’s likely to be in excess of $250,000.

2015 BMW i32015 BMW i8Kia Soul EV
2015 BMW i3, 2015 BMW i8, Kia Soul EV. Click image to enlarge

2015 BMW i8

This advanced performance plug-in hybrid can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 228-hp 1.5-litre 3-cylinder engine and a 129-hp hybrid synchronous electric motor.  Yet in everyday commuting, it can achieve fuel efficiency of less than 5 L/100 km, according to BMW.  Depending on the type of charger used, the i8 can be recharged in just two to three hours.  Along with the smaller i3 that is available with electric only or extended range electric operation, BMW is creating its own brand of electric vehicles that combine pollution-free motoring with great ride and handling.

2015 Ford F-150
2015 Nissan Micra
2015 Volkswagen Golf
2015 Ford F-150, 2015 Nissan Micra, 2015 Volkswagen Golf. Click image to enlarge

Kia Soul EV

Debuting in Canada for the first time, the front-wheel-drive Soul EV features a 360-volt lithium-ion polymer battery and an 81-kW electric motor and has a range of 160 kilometres.   With a household 120-volt outlet it takes 24 hours to charge from zero charge, but only five hours using a 240-volt charger.  The battery is positioned below the floor and reduces rear legroom a bit, but the boxy Soul is still a roomy hatchback, offering practicality along with gasoline-free motoring.  No word on the price yet.

2015 Ford F-150

For the first time, the redesigned F-150 has a body made of lightweight, high-strength, dent-resistant aluminum and weighs up to 300 kg (700 lb) less than its predecessor.  This not only improves fuel economy, but acceleration, braking, towing and hauling capacity as well.  To further improve fuel economy, a new turbocharged 2.7L V6 will be available, an engine that’s more powerful than the current 3.7L V6.  And for those who need more power, the current Ecoboost V6 and V8 engines will still be available.  Ford filed over 100 patents creating the new F-150 and it’s likely to be a game-changer in the full-size pickup truck class.

2015 Volkswagen Golf

Coming this spring, the redesigned VW Golf hatchback is lighter, safer and roomier than the current model and will have a base price of $18,995, $1,000 less than the current Golf.  It will feature a next generation infotainment system with a faster processor, a variable height cargo floor, available bi-xenon headlights that swivel as the car turns, high-beams that automatically dim as other cars approach, a bigger panoramic sliding glass sunroof, and heated power mirrors.  Also new this spring will be the 2015 GTI, reduced in price to $27,995.  Its new turbocharged 2.0L engine will pump out 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, 20% more torque than the current GTI.

Related Articles:
Top Picks: 2014 Toronto Auto Show (CIAS) Highlights

Show Website:
Vancouver International Auto Show

Photo Gallery:
2014 VIAS Highlights

2015 Nissan Micra

Starting at $9,998, the new Nissan Micra is now the least expensive car available in Canada, replacing the now-discontinued $11,898 Nissan Versa Sedan.  Not sold in the U.S., the 2015 Micra has been tweaked for Canadian weather conditions with features like heated outside mirrors, rear heater ducts, and 15- and 16-inch tire sizes that are widely available as snow tires.  Available in S, SV and SR trims, the four-door Micra hatchback comes with a standard 109-horsepower 1.6L four-cylinder engine and a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.   Canadians love a good value and they love hatchbacks.  Looks like a winner to us!

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