Best green vehicles at 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show

2015 Vancouver International Auto Show
Visitors to the 2015 Vancouver Auto Show are treated to a wide assortment vehicles, including many green models. Photos by Benjamin Yong.

The 95th Vancouver International Auto Show (VIAS) is happening right now at the Vancouver Convention Centre, and is quite literally bigger, and better, than ever before. Exhibition space has grown by one-quarter this year, to 290,000 square feet, and for the first time the displays spill over to the upstairs ballroom. Fittingly, since it takes place in B.C., VIAS features a heavy focus on alternative-energy automobiles fuelled by diesel, electricity and even hydrogen. These are the green vehicles you’ll want to see.

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept

You may have heard about Toyota’s production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle already on sale in Japan and about to hit the roads in the United States later this year. While no Canadian expansion plans have been announced yet, Toyota debuted the Fuel Cell Concept (FCV) that provided the inspiration for the Mirai for the first time in Canada.

The Mirai was actually tested in Yellowknife in -30 C weather to evaluate cold-weather effectiveness. The space-age looking sedan creates electricity by utilizing a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen, refuels in about the same time as a conventional gasoline-powered car and can drive up to 500 kilometres on a single tank.

Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron

The A3 Sportback e-Tron, Audi’s first plug-in hybrid, made its first regional appearance at VIAS.  Besides a few badges and some minor exterior tweaks to the grille and rear bumper, this hybrid looks remarkably similar to the standard version. Power is provided via a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine combined with a 75-kilowatt electric motor making 204 net horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI Clean Diesel

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI Clean Diesel

VW is in Vancouver to prove that even with the crossover SUV craze taking place across North America, wagon’s haven’t quite called it quits. It’s been a good year for the Golf, reaping several industry awards, and the Sportwagon should continue that trend. The diesel powertrain provides plenty of torque and achieves great fuel economy rated at 7.5 L/100 km in city driving at 5.6 L/100 km on the highway.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Although Hyundai also has a plug-in version coming, it is the standard Sonata Hybrid making the trip to Vancouver. As part of the redesign, the engine is a smaller and more efficient 2.0 litre vs. the outgoing 2.4. The battery pack has a 13 per cent bigger capacity, and now fits under the trunk floor so the rear seats can fold 60/40.

Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

In addition to the Hybrid, the majority of the public had their first chance to get an up-close look at the 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, the first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle available to Canadians. Available to limited consumers through a lease program, the first lucky owners are a local couple living in Surrey.

Porsche 918 Spyder at 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show

Porsche 918 Spyder

Some visitors to Porsche Centre Langley have already experienced the spectacle that is the $1.3-million Porsche 918 Spyder in person. The hybrid supercar, one of three sold in B.C., uses two electric motors and a 4.6-litre V8 engine to achieve a top speed of 340 km/h.   

The 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show runs until March 29. More pictures below:

2015 Vancouver International Auto Show entrance

Stephen Beatty vice president, Corporate Toyota Canada

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept rear

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept side

Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron rear

Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron interior

BMW i3 and i8 at 2015 Vancouver International Auto Show

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid rear

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid cutaway

Hyundai Blue Drive

Hyundai, Porsche double category winners of AJAC Car of Year Canada awards

2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan
The Hyundai Genesis sedan was one of the AJAC Canadian Car of the Year category winners announced yesterday. Photos by Benjamin Yong.

Hyundai and Porsche were among the brands that came up big yesterday, with double wins each, when the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced their “Best New” category winners for the 2015 Canadian Car of the Year (CCOTY) awards.

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata took best family car over $30,000 and the Genesis sedan the best luxury car over $50,000, and on the Porsche side the 911 Turbo S won the prestige/performance over $75,000 category with the Macan S receiving the nod for the SUV/CUV over $60,000.

“The Sonata is one smooth sedan, doing all the things it needs to do right. Good power, even from the base 2.4 litre, smooth transmission, quiet and comfortable with plenty of space inside and the trunk. The new interior looks sharp, stereo and controls are easy to use and the seats are comfortable. Much wow for such an unassuming everyday segment,” said one of the journalists that evaluated the car at TestFest. This year, 49 new vehicle models were tested across 15 categories.

Other notable mentions include the Honda Fit (small car under $21,000), the Volkswagen Golf (small car over $21,000), the BMW M235i (sports/performance under $50,000) and the Toyota Highlander (SUV/CUV between $35,000 and $60,000).

The overall 2015 AJAC Canadian Car of the Year and Truck of the Year recipients will be announced at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto in February.

More details about some of the winners (as tested):

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Engine: 2.4 L four cylinder
Horsepower: 185
Torque (lb-ft): 178
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption (city/highway L/100 km): 9.8/6.7

2015 Hyundai Genesis

Engine: 3.8 L V6
Horsepower: 311
Torque (lb-ft): 293
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Fuel consumption (city/highway L/100 km): 14.4/9.4

2015 Volkswagen Golf

Engine: 1.8 L four cylinder
Horsepower: 180
Torque (lb-ft): 185
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 9.3/6.5

2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Engine: 3.8 L V6
Horsepower: 560
Torque (lb-ft): 553
Transmission: PDK seven-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 13.7/9.6

2015 Porsche Macan S

Engine: 3.0 L V6
Horsepower: 340
Torque (lb-ft): 339
Transmission: PDK seven-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 13.7/10.3

2015 Honda Fit

2015 Honda Fit

Engine: 1.5 L four cylinder
Horsepower: 130
Torque (lb-ft): 114
Transmission: CVT
Fuel consumption: 7.3/6.1

2015 BMW M235i

Engine: 3.0 L six cylinder turbo
Horsepower: 320
Torque (lb-ft): 332
Transmission: six-speed manual
Fuel consumption: 11.9/8.5

Cars from SEMA part three

SEMA Show 2016 Global MX-5 Cup car
The car to be used in the Mazda 2016 Global MX-5 Cup racing series, above, was revealed at the Las Vegas SEMA Show. Photos by Zak Tang.

To kick off the Las Vegas SEMA Show earlier this month, an automotive trade show that brings together aftermarket parts industry representatives from all over the world, an awards ceremony was held to crown the industry’s hottest vehicles.

Accepting the title of Hottest Sport Compact was the new Honda Fit, the small four-door hatchback recently entering its third generation. The company brought out nine personalized versions of the subcompact — six were built by tuners for the 2015 Fit Performance Project and documented on the social networking website Tumblr.

Sema Show Spoon Sports USA 2015 Honda Fit

Honda performance specialist Spoon Sports USA created the Super Taikyu (Endurance) Fit, unmistakable due to the heavily featured signature blue and yellow paint scheme. Not surprisingly, most of the new parts “fitted” on the car are made by Spoon, including a titanium exhaust, brake rotors, calipers, pads and lines, suspension, aero mirrors and sunroof delete. The body aero, though, is made by Honda, and the wheels are 15×7 CE28 Club Racers by Volk Racing.

SEMA Show Bisimoto 2015 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai collaborated with Bisimoto Engineering for the third consecutive time to build something that not only looks good, but more importantly, goes fast to show at SEMA. This year, it’s a 700-plus horsepower sedan. Using the 2015 Sonata as a canvas, the original 2.4-litre engine has been massaged with forged pistons, a high-revving valve train, high-boost turbocharger and more. The exterior features a custom laminated body wrap, body kit, 18-inch wheels and a Burns stainless steel exhaust system.

SEMA Show Bisimoto 2015 Hyundai Sonata engine

Roadster enthusiasts the world over held their collective breath when the redesigned 2016 Mazda MX-5 was revealed in September. After having the question ‘What will it look like?” answered, the next most popular query was “Where will it race?” At a global announcement during SEMA, Mazda responded with the announcement of a new 2016 Global MX-5 Cup racing series to take place in North America, Europe and Asia.

SEMA Show Mazda 2016 Global MX-5 Cup

Although Mazda provided no information on specs or equipment other than confirming a 2.0 L SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine will be used, they did have a cup car on display. Enjoy the pictures.

SEMA Show Mazda 2016 Global MX-5 Cup

SEMA Show Mazda 2016 Global MX-5 Cup

SEMA Show Mazda 2016 Global MX-5 Cup