2013 Canadian International Auto Show highlights according to Squrrell.

Reflections of a Squrrell

Well, it’s over. The Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. It’s my one chance a year to “browse” cars of every make and model. It’s my Mecca, my Shangri-La, a giant, two-building shrine to my passion — cars.

Did you get to see the show this year? I hope so! If you did, I’d love to hear what caught your eye. If not, below are my favourites. Be warned, though, for the most part I have very down-to-earth taste. So it’s not all exotics and concepts.

Urban Crossovers

Urban crossovers are a new category which seems to be taking off. Crossovers are the new hatchback, boasting practicality and manoeuvrability but giving drivers the high seating position that has made minivans and SUVs so popular.

This category, which was the “laughably small crossover” of only a few years ago (the Nissan Juke comes to mind, in particular), has begun to resonate with city dwellers. The focus on capability, convenience, and fuel efficiency in a compact package is understandably a winning combination, especially when you have to park in a cramped condo parking garage.

Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru may very well have started the trend with its little all wheel drive vehicles like the Impreza Outback.

Buick Encore

Buick Encore

Tiny luxury.

Chevrolet Trax

Chevrolet Trax

Tiny luxury, hold the luxury.

Mercedes B-Series

Mercedes B-Series

Not quite a cross-over, the B-Series does deliver the same utility in a beautiful, European package.

Honda Urban SUV Concept

Honda Urban SUV Concept

Honda would undoubtably do well with a sub-CR-V crossover, especially if it looks this good.

VW Cross Coupe

VW Cross Coupe

Sure. The Tiguan is cute. But the Cross Coupe is cool. Build it, VW.

Regular Crossovers

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler is Jeep’s anchor, and it doesn’t look much different than it ever did, but it has gone quite a bit more up scale than past models. Then again, the only direction the older model could have gone was up scale. Technically this may still be an SUV, but I’m throwing it into the mix anyway.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

Put your bum in a Santa Fe and tell me it doesn’t impress the pants off you. When I arrived at the Hyundai booth, a correspondent from Naked News was sitting in the very Santa Fe pictured… Maybe there’s something to pants-off business?

Nissan Resonance Concept

Nissan Resonance Concept

Is this a preview of the styling of the next Murano?

Minivans

Ford Transit Connect Wagon

Ford Transit Connect Wagon

The head of Ford’s commercial vehicles division told me he doesn’t see this as a minivan, but rather a wagon. I know minivan has become a bit of a dirty word, but come on! Seriously? This is a minivan if ever I’ve seen one. It offers something a little different than the bloated motherships currently on the market, and I like that.

Cars under $30,000

Honda Accord Sport

Honda Accord Sport

There’s no reason to be surprised that the new Accord took home this year’s AJAC Car of the Year award. Great looks, good value, and apparently the first Honda in years that drives like the Honda’s of the past which built their reputation as an enthusiast brand. Game on, Honda. Bring the noise.

Mazda Mazda6

Mazda Mazda6

Earning praise for delivering on the fun to drive front, the Mazda6 expands the latest crop of Mazda offerings with Skyactive technology, like the CX-5, for great fuel economy without a high-cost hybrid powertrain.

Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST

Ford Focus STFord Fiesta ST

Finally, Ford is bringing the good stuff from Europe to our shores. The ST models bring us a taste of the sporty variants Ford has been making its name with in places where the Mustang and F-150 aren’t broadly sold.

VW Beetle Fender Edition

VW Beetle Fender Edition

Okay, this one is just for the guitarist in me, love the vintage feel of the exterior and the guitar themed dash treatment. Fender also provides the premium audio system for the car.

Cars over $30,000

Cadillac ATS

Cadillac ATS

Pictures don’t do it justice, the ATS looks great in person. The ATS’ beauty is far more than skin deep, though. The way it drives apparently sets it apart from a very competitive crowd. As the AJAC Award suggests, this is the sports sedan to own for 2013.

Jaguar F-type

Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar has some serious design mojo going these days. The new F-type is probably my biggest surprise from the show, it absolutely blew me away in person. Based on the videos making the rounds on the internets it sounds even better than it looks.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

European sports cars, Chevy just put you on notice.

SRT Viper

SRT Viper

If you ignore your notice from Chevy, this is the car that’s going to take you out back and break your knee caps.

Overall Impressions

The market it is so competitive that almost every manufacturer has something great to see and consider if you’re in the market, it was very hard to pick out what truly struck me as interesting or important.

Have something in mind that you didn’t see on my list? Drop me a comment, and let’s chat.

Conidering a car purchase in the near future? Look for me on Twitter, I’m always excited to hear about a new car purchase and, if you want, I’ll happily give you my thoughts, advice, and recommendations.

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