One always gets an “Oh, cool” attitude when visiting the Montreal International Auto Show. Of course the “Oh, cool” attitude wasn’t the same as last year’s when the Olympic Stadium’s roof fell in, totaling some cars. This year the 2000 show was different, but it still contained the excitement of past years.
The show started off differently, with a display of 200 motorcycles greeting us as soon as we walked in. Seeing the Harleys prominently displayed at the front prompted Neil to say, “Someday, someday, I’ll own a Harley.” A passerby agreed with him, saying the one he was trying out suited him to a tee.
In my heart of hearts I think Neil’s read too many Hunter S. Thompson novels and wants the ultimate experience. With so many models to chose from I was a little less picky, running from cycle to cycle saying, “I want, I want.” Guess motorcycles still appeal to the boys stuck inside of men ever since that Easyrider movie. Overall, I was as always impressed with the Ninja’s. Great take-off speed, but in the end I think my budget could afford perhaps a Kawasaki.
Next on the route in the Place Bonaventure Convention Centre was the new Porsche Spexter. Very stylish with a little retro look, masked by a futuristic minimalist interior. If the jet commercials weren’t enough there was the Gillette Mach 3 car. This is a bat-winged-door car that was designed in Quebec by Paul Deutschman. His creations also include Bombardier’s NEV electric vehicle, Traxter ATV as well as the aforementioned Spexter. Included in the show was one of his earlier creations, a made-in-Quebec three-wheeled, two-passenger T-Rex which we wrote about last year.
Then there was a scene to be remembered. It was the first time I had ever seen Neil with longing and lust in his eyes. As he climbed into the car to sit behind the wheel, he didn’t even seem.to notice the cute blond beside him. We were on the main floor and had come across the newest Outback. Subaru billed this as the world’s first sport-utility Sedan. They say it brings together the “rough-and-ready” usefulness of a sport-utility, with the “comfort and convenience of an elegant” Sedan. The clearance was impressive, but what was even more impressive was the feet that this was the only vehicle Neil wanted a second look at before we left. I would have to say the Outback Sedan is the Photographer’s Choice for this year. Cost for the Outback Sedan is a mere $35,000 equipped with everything you’d want.
If you have more money, the Carrera Porsche was a low $105,000. A must for any up-and-coming young Cree with money to burn. It’s the type of car you’d expect James Bond to be driving.
The Grand Am by Pontiac shows some new lines in its styling. Looks really nice but may be a little low in the front clearance for dirt roads with the spoiler. Not the type of car I would like to drive to Winneway in, but an excellent choice for highway driving. Pontiac’s new baby, the Aztec, didn’t impress me. It looked a little boxy and the only nice thing I could say about the front end is it looks like it might be something that could run you over but that’s about the only way you might get excited about it.
The Lincoln Navigator is just the thing to impress all the homies back on the Rez. It comes with the most powerful engine of its class and the headlights will automatically turn themselves on when it gets dark. The driver and seven passengers have individual climate controls for the maximum in comfort. It seems a little sturdier than what you would expect with an ability to go 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers for all of you using that new-fangled system). The Navigator will set you back $69,000 fully-loaded.
The Think by Ford was the first of the electric cars we noticed at the show. It is being sold in Europe at the moment and will reach the North American market sometime in 2001, according to the manufacturers. This car can go up to 90 km/hr, but you’ll need to recharge before the hour is up because it can only go 85 km before needing a four-to-six-hour battery recharge. They’re planning to sell these cars as city-only, where you don’t go much over 40 kilometres in a day anyhow. Let’s pray the Think never catches on or Great Whale Projects may be just around the corner.
The Bombardier NV (Neighbourhood Vehicle) is another plug-into-the-wallsocket electric car. It has a top speed of 25 mph and can only go 30 miles without a recharge. To tell the truth it looks more suited to the golf course than the roads of Canada. The NV starts at $6,199 and it takes about eight hours to charge up the batteries.
The Honda Insight 2000 was a hybrid gas/electric car that supposedly gets 70 miles to the gallon. This new car costs under $20,000. What is truly great about this car is you don’t have to recharge the batteries with a wallsocket. When you brake it recharges the battery. Don’t ask me how, but this puts a new spin on calling this type of vehicle a “green energy” car. No worries about any potential huge dam projects with this baby and it’ll travel 600 to 700 miles on a single tank of gas. New that’s my kind of car.
Jeep, as always, came through with some nice vehicles. The Grand Cherokee Chief Laredo looked as hot as ever. Feels good was the comment on this baby.
Next up was last year’s bad boy of the show, what some crude barbarians would call a babe magnet – the Prowler. In the past the Prowler was only available in purple but this year they had a black model. Cost to the consumer: $65,000 fully-loaded. Base price $61,000.
Chrysler’s PT 2000 Cruiser is the new cheap car starting with a base price of $16,000. It has an interesting look and normally I’d advise you to check out Chrysler’s web page but they have the most annoying site I’ve ever had the displeasure to visit. The car itself is a little longer than an Austin Mini with a slimmer nose. Kind of a neat retro deco type of styling that’s enjoyable to see.
Caravan Sports were going at $35,615 fully-packed. Liked the new roof bike racks and the doors on either side for the passengers.
The Dodge Ram 1500 V-8 Magnum was looking good. A touch over $40 grand will get you 21 miles per gallon. The bed will carry a 4-wheeler quite nicely.
Mazda’s 4×4 has the double doors but a small bed for carrying everything you need. Prices start at around $25,000 so you could use the $15,000 you save by not buying the Dodge for a U-haul wagon.
Neon has a new design and the price is under 20,000 Canadian Pesos. 46 m/gal.
For all the Hummer fans out there the price has jumped to $142,000 so start saving up now. Base price for the Hummer is $111,000. Good luck either way.