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Surprise unveilings aplenty at Montreal auto show

Published January 17, 2013

The Montreal International Auto Show, which opens Friday, is the first of the major auto shows in Canada this year and runs concurrently with the Detroit auto show, which also opens to the public this weekend. All of the major unveilings took place at Detroit earlier this week during the press preview, covered extensively by Wheels staff, but the Montreal show has a couple of surprises nonetheless.

The press got a preview prior to the Montreal show, and it opened with the unveiling of the Honda GEAR concept car. Aimed at Generation-Y youth, the wedge-shaped subcompact’s designers got inspiration from “fixies” or fixed-gear bicycles. Now the staple of messengers throughout North American cities, these single-speed bikes are “easy to manoeuvre, affordable and customizable,” according to Dave Marek, design director at Honda R&D Americas. The three-door hatchback features a “design it yourself” interior that allows personalization, and it is said to combine utilitarian practicality with entertaining driving dynamics and the latest in electronic connectivity in an affordable package — should it ever reach production, which, we were told, it would not.

Mitsubishi revealed a new five-door hatchback that will be coming to Canada next fall. This small car won’t be so small, as it is claimed to be wider than a Chevy Spark, taller than a Hyundai Accent and longer than a Scion IQ.

A 74 hp, 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine will propel the as-of-yet unnamed 2014 model-year subcompact, known in other markets as the Mirage. Transmission choices will be either a five-speed manual or CVT and fuel economy is expected to be “among the best for gas-powered cars in Canada.” Pricing is expected to be in the low teens.

A few rare exotics were revealed, including the Aston Martin’s 2013 DB9 and 2014 Vanquish, as well as a pair of McLaren MP4-12C supercars.

Electric cars are also under the spotlight at the Montreal show, with models on display from Chevy, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Smart and Toyota. EV road tests will be offered to visitors throughout the week.

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