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Toronto International Auto Show 2011

The CIAS (Canadian International Auto Show) is back, bigger and better than ever. This year, unlike years past, the auto show will be brimming with new technology in the form of Hybrids, full electric and “green deisel” vehicles from virtually every manufacturer. With the cost of gasoline approaching the highs of a couple of summers ago, even the high end luxury market is jumping on the less is more bandwagon. The technology underlying alternative energy vehicles has certainly advanced since last year’s show. Being incorporated into cars as divergent as the Ford focus and 360 HP Infinti M Hybrid. For those who are eco conscious or just looking to shave a few hundred or even thousand dollars off the annual gasoline costs of running a vehicle, the choices available this year come closer than ever to realizing those ambitions.

You can easily spend a full 8 hour day at the show and still not see everything. Some exhibitors, like Ford Motor Company, have taken a decidedly technical approach to the show with extensive displays using engine cutaways, interactive demos and detailed displays of their latest technology in an effort to inform and attract the attention of the consumer. Others, like GM have relied more on traditional exhibits with spokes-models delivering a highly polished, almost TV commercial like sales pitch. While yet others like Fiat, come at you with an in your face pitch extolling the fun, young, vibrant and exciting new to North America Fiat 500 or “Cinquecento” as it is known in Europe and elsewhere. The display is meant to impart a sense of European chicque from an expresso bar like display with attractive “young” models accentuating the experience.

The show features classics from a bygone era, to the muscle cars of the not too distant past to current technology and beyond into the future with some interesting concept cars such as the Subaru Hybrid Tourer with it’s striking gullwing doors.

Luxury cars from Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, GM, Ford and others are all there to be viewed, admired and even experinced as with Mercedes test drives. Exotic cars such as the Lamborghini Gaillardo, Aston Martin DBS, Audi RS8, Ferrari F430 Scuderia and others will be on display for the dreamers among us.

Along with parts, accessories and automotive related services and products, this years show is certain to have something of interest for all who attend. The show runs February 18 to the 27th at the Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Just be warned, plan for a long day and wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You will be exhausted by the time it is over.

© RIF | Mike Vanic