The Montreal International Auto Show turned the big 4-0 this year and as one of Canada’s largest vehicle shows with almost 300,000 visitors annually, the show pulled out every stop possible to deliver yet another stellar year.

Running January 18-27, Montreal’s auto show has typically been a launch pad and North American unveiling stage for various new car models and concept cars with the 2008 edition.

The MIA changed its format in 2007 to offer a new layout that features two levels for the regular show along with an optional display on the 7th floor that featured a drool-inspiring display of luxury, exotic and vintage automobiles. With companies like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren SLR, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and T-Rex featuring their wares, the “7th Heaven” display was the cherry on the sundae.

Much like every other product sector in Canada, “going green” and talk of making environmentally friendly purchase choices was prevalent, particularly at the Green Zone and the 2008 ecoENERGY award winning vehicles displays.

With growing demand for a more environmentally sound automobile, companies are coming out with hybrid vehicles that could actually replace standard 4×4 vehicles in the north.

Both the GMC Yukon and the Chevy Tahoe have come out with two-mode hybrid technology models for 2008 and though they won’t hit the market until later this year, both vehicles will have the same performance as their gas guzzling relatives but will consume 30 per cent less fuel.

Natural Resources Canada ecoEnergy had their own display that featured the standard fare of two-seater electric vehicles. But for those who need a bit more horsepower, there were also a few large-body vehicles. The Ford Ranger, the Mazda B2300, the Ford Escape Hybrid, the Mazda5 and both the Chevrolet Express Cargo and the GMC Savana Cargo all received Environment Canada’s stamp of approval for 2008 as best buys for fuel economy, making them the best green choices in terms of vehicle purchases for this year. For the full list of these vehicles and more information on how to select an environmentally conscious automobile, go to their website at

When it came to standard trucks, Chevy served up its usual heavy hitters with the Avalanche, Colorado and Silverado. Starting out at $23,000, the Colorado compact truck features a basic 2.9 litre, four-cylinder engine and 185 horsepower, making it a cost-effective buy.

Moving up the line, the recently overhauled Silverado features a basic 4.3 litre engine but this truck offers so many different versions that it could be customized to fit just about anyone’s needs. Starting at $23,000, it makes for a good, mid-sized truck.

The Avalanche, on the other hand, offers all of the comfort of an SUV with pickup capabilities. This 4WD vehicle is naturally pricier than the others but with its 5.3-litre V8 engine, and design for comfort, it is the best of both worlds. For more info go to

For as much as the SUV class has garnered criticism over the last few years, carmakers are still hard at work to make new models both efficient and appealing.

The Korean made KIA Sorento mid-sized SUV comes out on top in 2008 after having gone through a redesign and now features more efficient power trains. Aesthetically, the SUV now features changes to the vehicle’s rear and a two-toned paint job but more importantly the vehicle now features a new 3.3-litre V6 engine. With a sticker price of $32,495, it’s a great bet for the price,

Ford is also synonymous with large-body vehicles that are ideal for driving in Canada’s Great White North and depending on your budget and needs, there are a lot of options for those out shopping for a new vehicle.

Both the Ford Explorer and Explorer Sport Trac feature 4.0-litre V6 210 horsepower engines though the Sport Trac is a cross between an SUV and a pickup truck. Both vehicles are powerful as they are comfortable but the Sport Trac can be ordered with two-wheel drive if so desired. The Explorer retails for about $41,399 and the Sport Trac starts at $32,099.

Of course these suggestions are but a mere tiny taste of the hundreds of vehicles on display at the MIA to see what else they are serving up go to