By Derick Deonarain
It’s that time of the year again. The 2014 Toronto Auto Show will roll into town at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend.
After debuts from the Detroit Auto Show and Montreal Auto Show, Toronto automobile enthusiasts will finally get their chance to see all the latest cars and trucks.
The show, which takes place from February 14-23, will utilize the 56,000 square metres that the convention centre has to offer. More than a thousand new vehicles from auto companies across the globe will be present.
“The show is Canada’s first look at vehicles that may be setting trends for the year ahead,” said Mark Pereira, editor of Autoblog Canada.
“The Canadian market is different than other markets like the American ones. It’s a little more practical than flashy,” he added.
The event, which saw more than 300,000 people attend last year, is expected to set new records in 2014 after years of scaling back on size.
“It used to be three halls that featured cars in the Skydome but about five years ago they had to cut back to two halls because everyone scaled back in production,” said Mark Richardson, freelance automotive journalist.
Richardson, a former editor of the Toronto Star’s automotive news section Wheels, has covered these kinds of events for the past 14 years and said the auto show is finally growing again.
Some of the growth that Richardson touched on will be on full display at this years auto show with the new Auto Connect Showcase.
The display will feature technology for cars that can drive themselves, which is also known as autonomous driving.
“A couple of years ago people were talking about electric cars then hybrids,” Richardson said. “The new cars are like night and day from the cars people used to buy. They are far more technologically advanced.”
“Eight years ago Lexus released the LS460 that featured self-parking and it cost $100,000. Today you can get the same thing for $20,000 in the Ford Fiesta,” he added.
While the technology in cars has changed, some of the bigger debuts that auto show attendees are expected to see will be from traditional companies like Nissan and Mercedes Benz.
Nissan will be rolling out their new version of the Micra and Mercedes-Benz with their S-Class.
Both vehicles will include smart technology such as advanced driver assistance and safety technologies that can be seen in the Auto Connect Showcase.
Beyond the new features, the Auto Show will provide show goers with official pricing on cars coming to the Canadian market, as well a preview into the future of the automobile industry.
While the differences between both North American markets may come up at the Toronto Auto Show, the one thing that is certain is that many people are looking forward to the event.
“I expect to see a little bit of everything like always, but many people like myself are looking forward to companies showing off their focus on performance, economy, comfort and the new designs,” said Gordon Pilling, Bridgestone Racing Academy Instructor.