By on February 27, 2013

Our man Derek Kreindler lives in Canada. That means his life is enriched by things we Americans can only imagine, such as Tim Hortons and the phrase “Bob’s your uncle.” Also, politeness.

In years past, the differences have been huge. Canada used to get Lada, for example. And they got a rebadged, upmarket Honda Civic sold first as the Acura EL, and then as the Acura CSX. They got the Dodge Intrepid as a Chrysler and a compact Nissan SUV called the X-Trail. And while Canada was getting all the cool stuff, what could we Americans hold over their heads? Mitsubishi, which didn’t come to Canada until 2003. So, really, it’s hard to tell who fared better.

To see if Canada still has anything to brag about, I spent four minutes looking at cars on Yahoo Canada. I now consider myself an expert on Canadian automobiles, and would be happy to answer any fuel economy questions using kilometers per liter. More importantly, I found seven automotive differences between the US and Canada, three of which are merely different names. Undoubtedly, Derek knows of at least one more, which he will e-mail me about as he politely sips a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons.

BMW 320i

Yes, we Americans will be getting the 320i someday soon, for reasons beyond the comprehension of BMW customers, BMW dealers, and probably BMW North America. But Canada always had a base-level 3 Series – even after the famed 318ti said goodbye to our great land. Canada got an E46 320i which made 170 horsepower, then an E90 323i, which boasted all of 201 horses. The new 320i has the same 180 horses as the American version, which gives dealers a way to advertise low lease rates online.

Chevrolet Orlando

The Chevrolet Orlando’s existence in Canada is especially annoying because they named it after an American city and deliberately didn’t sell it here, likely just to taunt us.

Fortunately, we’re not missing much. The Orlando is one of those car/van/crossover things that GM probably thought would appeal to all but actually alienates everyone equally. Van buyers don’t want it because it’s too much like an SUV; SUV buyers don’t like its van stying, and car buyers think it’s too much like both a van and an SUV.

That means it will probably go the way of the Ford Flex: annually increasing ugliness and incentive spending until they throw 400 horsepower at it just to please journalists.

Chevrolet Trax

In America, Chevrolet doesn’t have a compact SUV. Of course, this isn’t strictly true. Chevrolet does sell a nine-year-old Saturn Vue called the Captiva Sport, but it’s only available to fleet buyers. Interestingly, no one has complained about not being able to buy one like they have with the Caprice. That could be because there are about 900 Captiva Sports in CarMax’s inventory, each in white with a tan interior that has inexplicable burn marks in the upholstery.

Anyway, back to Canada. In Canada, Chevrolet does have a small SUV. It is, for some reason, called the Trax, and it makes 138 horsepower. It’s based on the Buick Encore; both are based on a European-market Opel called the Mokka. Yes, Mokka.

There are no plans to bring the Trax to America, which is nice for CarMax, because the last thing they need is competition for those Captiva Sports.

Ford Expedition Max

As you know, Chevrolet has two full-size SUVs: the Tahoe and the Suburban. But, surprise! That’s really just one SUV stretched to become two SUVs. It’s great marketing, really.

Ford has done the same thing, except far more subtly, which is always a wonderful strategy when your goal is maximizing sales. There’s an Expedition and a longer Expedition, called the EL. Hands up if you’re stunned to discover the Expedition still exists as a new car.

Anyway, in Canada, Acura already sold a car called the EL (the upscale Civic clone discussed above), so Ford had to think of something else. Clearly, the eventual name – Expedition Max – was the result of some long nights in Dearborn. At least it wasn’t Mokka.

Mercedes B-Class

To the detriment of Mercedes fans in the US, but probably to the greater detriment of Mercedes fans in Canada, our neighbors to the north get the B-Class. The decision to sell the B-Class in Canada came as part of a global Mercedes program to see if there was any market that actually liked the B-Class. Alas, Canada, like Europe, also didn’t like the B-Class – but at least they didn’t have to suffer through the two-door version. The B-Class is rumored to be headed stateside next, where it will complete its world tour of rejection.

Mitsubishi RVR

You know it as the Outlander Sport. Canadians know it as the RVR. Owners know it as “the only new car I could get approved for.”

Yes, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport – perhaps the swan song of the once-great “Diamond Star Motors” factory in Illinois – is sold in Canada as the RVR. Interestingly, “Outlander Sport” and “RVR” are just two of its names. The rest of the world knows this thing as the ASX, which Mitsubishi says stands for “Active Sports Crossover.” Apparently, the X is silent.

Volkswagen Golf Wagon

The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is sold in Canada as the Volkswagen Golf wagon. After a careful analysis that employed Google Images and lasted at least eleven seconds, I can confirm these are the exact same vehicle, except with different names. Interestingly, there’s a method to Volkswagen’s madness on this one issue, and this issue alone.

You see, Canadians are like Europeans in a lot of ways. Universal healthcare, for one. Gun control, for another. And that weird measuring system that uses numbers like 0, 10, 100 and 1000 instead of sensible integers like 12 and 5,280. But also, Canadians like hatchbacks.

Because Canadians like hatchbacks, it makes sense to call this car a “Golf” wagon instead of a “Jetta” wagon because the Golf name carries more weight in Canada. In the States, “Jetta” wagon makes more sense, because we’re familiar with the Jetta, since at least nine different girls at our high school had one.

Doug DeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, roadtripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute laptime on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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140 Comments on “Canadian Cars Americans Don’t Get...”


  • avatar

    Doug, I have to chime in here with a couple observations

    1) The 320i is actually a nice drive, despite being a bit underpowered. On the used market, it’s a good way to get a manual BMW with a real naturally aspirated I6 for not much money.

    2) The Orlando is basically redundant, since a Caravan Canada Value Package with the Pentastar is $19,995 and can hold your kids, their friends and their enormous hockey bags

    3)How could you forget the Kia Rondo? Do any of you readers want a review of the new Rondo or the Trax for that matter?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I’d bite on the Rondo. IIRC the Trax is just a grille swap on the Buick whatever version.

    • 0 avatar

      Jeez. Do you still get the Rondo?

      Are you at Tim Hortons this very moment?

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > 1) The 320i is actually a nice drive, despite being a bit underpowered.
      > On the used market, it’s a good way to get a manual BMW with a real naturally aspirated I6 for not much money.

      Apparently, Canadian E90 320i suffers from a weird problem where RPMs fall to idle too fast. This makes it challenging to shift smoothly. 328i does not have this issue.

      According to my friend who owns one, the 6-speed gearing is all wrong, too. Canadian 320i is priced the same as 328i in the US, while the 328i is about $8k more expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Engine speed falls to idle too fast? How is that a problem? That’s what the gas pedal is for. Most cars with electronic throttles that have a problem in this area have the opposite issue. RPMs fall too slowly because rapidly closing the throttle creates a momentary rich condition that causes a spike in emissions. One can drive around it by lifting off the throttle before pushing in the clutch, but it has to be learned. RPMs that fall fast are probably only a problem because people have subconsciously programmed themselves to compensate for this behavior in every other car they drive. Perhaps because there is no US 320i, there is no US EPA throttle tuning. There is no way the RPMs drop before you take your foot off the gas, so it really can’t fall too fast for someone used to cable operated throttles and light flywheels.

      • 0 avatar
        chrishs2000

        “Apparently, Canadian E90 320i suffers from a weird problem where RPMs fall to idle too fast. This makes it challenging to shift smoothly.”

        My AP1 Honda S2000 also has this. The root cause is an 11lb flywheel and a drive-by-honest-to-God-physical-throttle-cable system. The remedy is learning how to drive a stickshift.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Take it from one longtime BMW owner, believe me, very few 3 Series owners are questioning why the new 320i is coming to the States. It’s coming because we will not trade down to a 1 Series, M or otherwise. Our only other avenue is going for a CPO 3 Series, and BMWUSA is learning that. Call us rigid, like Porsche buyers who rejected 944′s and 928′s because they weren’t, well, 911′s. Some of us are beginning to be priced out of the 3 Series club, and if BMW can meet us half way, we’re certainly going to check out their latest offering. There really is something to the the Car&Driver 10 best list where the 3 Series has been on consistantly for 20 plus years.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The 320i is here, or at least it is on BMWs US website.

        I fail to understand the wailing and teeth knashing about it, seems usefully cheaper. They have limited the interior colors to two, which is sort of annoying, but it is still plenty fast.

        We also have Tim Hortons in the States, at least here in Maine.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Rondo, Rondo, panels filled with Bondo.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Yup, saw a Kia Sorento with totally rusted out tailgate both sides of the rear license plate light assembly in Dartmouth NS, yesterday. About 8 by 10 inches times two, and quite symmetrical.

        So I googled, and hey, there’s a brisk trade in tailgates for the 2003 to 2009 models out there. Makes the Mazda3 look like a champ in the anti-corrosion stakes.

  • avatar
    graham

    Finally, a TTAC article with references to Canada that didn’t immediately put me to sleep. Well done!

  • avatar
    zeg

    We have quite a few Tim Horton’s in the Detroit area. Great coffee.

    • 0 avatar
      rpm1200

      We have them in Western NY as well. The Canadian invasion is underway.

      • 0 avatar
        oldfatandrich

        Too late to secure the borders. We shall be reduced to guerilla warfare. In the meantime, why is everybody so sweaty about a 3 series with an “affordable ?!?!” sticker ? Somewhat decontented and not stinking fast, but still a 3 series—sounds like it should garner some conquest sales for BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredotto

      By a geographical fluke, Detroit is north of Canada. The existence of Tim Hortons in the D is mandated by international treaty rules. Or something.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The USA did get the 1st gen Prius. I should know. I have two at my lot right now.

    • 0 avatar

      Presumably – and hopefully – never as a police car.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Good point. These were run as test vehicles for various state governments when they were first released (Arizona had the most expansive test of hybrids at that time, which lasted several years) but none in the USA were ever used as police cruisers.

        Anyone here recall when a small town in the midwest started to use Saturns instead of Crown Vics?

        I would love to find a ram bar for a 1st gen Prius. That, and the lights on top, would make the lime green Prii at the lot pure eye candy.

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          Police fleets try different types of cars, usually depends on the needs of department. Sometimes, car makers will loan cars to police depts. for durability tests and the like. Like Steve mentioned above, the Arizona DPS is desirable because of the extreme heat in Arizona is a good test of a vehicle. Ford loaned some 90′s Thunderbird SC’s to the AZ. DPS to see how the drivetrain would hold up under extreme duress. I’m not sure how that experiment turned out, to be honest.

          Also, sometimes a Crown Vic isn’t terribly
          practical to a dept. or duty, or the new Caprice is too expense or is overkill. Or if current offerings aren’t up to snuff (as was the case in the late 70′s and early 80′s) sometimes simply depts try something else. The NYPD actually tried using Omni’s (or Horizons, don’t remember specifically) for patrol duties. They flopped and were withdrawn after 3 months.

          Probably the most famous example of this is the CHP. During the 70′s, the Chippies had 440 equipped Dodges and they were happy with them. They had the power and durability desirable to a police fleet. Even the most smog strangled Magnum 440 could hit 129 MPH at the least. The CHP knew though that the 440 wasn’t going to survive CAFE, same thing with the then current ’77 Monaco and it’s wheelbase. After the 440 was gone, Dodge offered the ‘R’ body St. Regis with the 360 V8. Those were good enough, but even so the CHP started testing different kinds of cars they thought would survive into 1985. They tested the 302 Fairmount, 318 Aspen wagon, 305 Malibu and factory standard Z28 Camaros.

          The Fairmount actually did well (though it the most hated police package car offered) the CHP liked the braking performance and handling and the size/volume was deemed ‘acceptable’, though they did cite a lack of performance- 129 hp will do that. The Aspen was hated by patrol officers- the “last guy out” was stuck with it, there was competition for the last remaining 440 Dodges and 360 St. Regis, nobody wanted to get stuck with the Aspen as it could catch nothing. The Malibus were OK, nothing really of note. The Camaros though…

          These were ’79 Z28′s with the LM1 350, automatic and California emission package. The officers did like the performance and “image” the cars provided, but the fleet mechanics HATED the car. These were chronic engine blowers, GM eventually had to drop in 4 bolt main 350′s to help alleviate the problem, they also had excessive down time and were more expensive to fix. Also there were rumors that the cars were sabotaged at the Van Nuys plant where they were built. Legend has it that plant employee’s saw these ‘Bears’ coming down the line and messed with the cars to “strike back at the man”. It might have backfired though, Ford learned from the Z28 and eventually countered with the ’82 SSP Mustang, and that was a home run. It was needed though, as the Chippies were at the time reduced to impotent ’81 St. Regis with a pathetic 318 and roughly 98 MPH top speeds.

          • 0 avatar
            bill mcgee

            Here in Houston for a while the local cops tried using Gremlins , mostly for light duty parking meter / traffic control work . After maybe a year they decided they weren’t up to even light duty work and went back to Fords .

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Not every parking meter emptier needs to tool round in a Crown Vic.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There was a 1st generation Prius before the one we received as a 1st generation Prius. It was called the NHW10 and had less powerful engines and motors than the later export NHW11. The dimensions were different too. It was produced for 3 years before the upgraded car that we call a 1st generation Prius was built for export. That being said, I didn’t find any evidence that Canada received the real 1998-2000 model 1st generation Prius either.

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    I rode in a Mercedes B-Class taxi in Berlin. Seemed pretty nice and very practical.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Calling the VW wagon a Golf makes more sense because it has more in common with the Golf than it does with the US Jetta. It is ironic that it is called a Jetta in the US in order to circumvent our downmarket view of hatchbacks while being a hatchback.

    • 0 avatar
      heoliverjr

      It was a Jetta Wagon in Canada too until the MK6 Golf was released in 2010 that is when they started calling it a Golf Wagon instead of having to cars called Jetta that don’t like alike like the US does.

  • avatar

    Tim Hortons here in Canada are again running there Promotion featuring the Woodstock, Ontario built Toyota RAV4 as there top prize, the contest is called “Roll Up the Rim” Good luck to all, I much prefer my own Coffee!

  • avatar
    jco

    um, an American Ford dealer will very happily sell you an Expedition EL. they’ll wonder how they were lucky enough to sell ONE.

    in fact i’m suprised they’re still selling the expedition, but there you go.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I would assume because its the last true SUV Ford sells, and with the demise of Panther, Ford-minded fleets are probably buying it.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        28-cars is right. Ford, and Ford/Lincoln dealers still make money on the Expedition and Navigator. Development costs were basically nothing because of the F-series. It remains one of the most profitable vehicles Ford produces.

        Both Ford and Lincoln dealerships are hoping they get an updated Expedition/Navigator with the launch the next F-series. Lincoln dealers would rather have a new Navigator than MKC, new MKZ, or whatever RWD Mustang variant enthusiasts want for Lincoln.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree that’s one model Lincoln dealers could really still move provided updates, but I think Ford is in a pickle with regard to the standalone Lincoln dealers. Mercury gave them the chance to sell some volume Fords alongside Lincolns (without directly competing with Ford dealers) to contribute to the bottom line of both sides. But without cheaper volume models, I don’t see how Lincoln dealers can really survive. What Ford seems to be doing in diluting whatever equity Lincoln did have and offering upscale Fords as Lincolns, but this I think may backfire.

          I hate to say it, but the most logical thing in my mind is to emulate Chrysler by combining the brands in umbrella dealerships and shutting down the nonperforming Lincoln dealers. This especially makes sense if Lincoln is effectively the “better” Ford and will offer no unique models.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I agree that the stand alone model for Lincoln dealers is not working. Whenever I go into a Lincoln dealer I am either a) the only non-employee there, or b) the only person there that doesn’t recieve Social Security benefits.

            I fit into the demographic that Lincoln is trying to capture, but I own two highly optioned Ford’s instead. When we have another kid, I’ll probably buy a Transit Connect Wagon instead of a MKX or MKT.

          • 0 avatar
            MadHungarian

            That being the exact opposite of what Ford used to do in Canada, which was to CREATE EXTRA BRANDS to give broader product lines to non-paired dealerships. It’s amazing that Ford’s effort to add one brand in the US in the 50′s (Edsel) melted down, while at the same time north of the border, they were happily selling the Ford, the Meteor (an upgraded Ford), the Mercury, and the Monarch (a decontented Mercury) all at the same time. Which means that in 1958-59, Ford had SIX brands in Canada (Ford, Meteor, Monarch, Mercury, Edsel and Lincoln).

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    Canada also received the Toyota Echo hatchback. There are still plenty of them running around.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Canada also got the Pontiac Tempest. Because Canada needed a rebadged Corsica or something. Also, the Pontiac Parisienne. A friend’s dad owned a maroon Tempest with a maroon and gray interior and the 2.8 V6. What a POS that was! My friend now exclusively buys Toyotas…

      Also, I’m pretty sure that Canada got the B6 Passat in 2011, while B6 Passat sales ended in the U.S. in 2010 and the U.S. market had to wait until the NMS/B7 Passat to go on sale.

      Also, the City Golf and City Jetta, Canada only.

      • 0 avatar
        bill mcgee

        In the U.S. we also received the Parisienne a time or two . The old man had one but I’m vague on the year . As I recall it was a total last minute decision to import the car from Canada , IIRC to fill a perceived gap between the Bonneville and the 6000 (? LeMans (?) , not sure . As I recall it was the old Bonneville or maybe the old Caprice for the Canadian market . The Bonneville meanwhile had been moved to FWD and pushed a bit upscale . As I recall it wasn’t a bad car with a cushy Navy blue interior but I seldom drove it and I don’t think Daddy kept it more than a couple of years . Of course we also got the Tempest which Daddy and the relatives had many of , I believe Canada at the time used Chevrolet bodies for its Pontiacs.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The Parisienne sedan was gone by ’86, so a full year before the FWD Bonneville came out.

          The story I’ve always heard is that the Parisienne was brought in to be something bigger than the G-body Bonneville.

          Of course, the big Safari wagon lived until ’89, but how many of those were sold?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            They were some of the “Pontiacs” we saw here in Australia in the 1960′s. I guess because they were made in RHD.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    > I now consider myself an expert on Canadian automobiles, and would be happy to answer any fuel economy questions using kilometers per liter.

    Make that “litres per 100km”.

    • 0 avatar
      zeus01

      Actually, since the Pierre Trudeau communist er, liberal government of the 1970s couldn’t resist the urge to imitate the USSR and ram the metric system down our throats it would probably have been better to go with kms per liter rather than liters per 100 kms. At least then it would be easier to convert to miles per gallon, a term that even 35 years after the switch we Canucks can still relate to and, for the most part, prefer.

      But I guess the feds and car manufacturers figured that a liters per 100 kms format would make it easier to bamboozle the peasants into thinking their guzzlers weren’t really that hard on fuel. At least that may have been the plan.

      • 0 avatar
        CanuckGreg

        You’ll find no bigger Trudeau-hater than me, but metricifying (metricating? metricalizationing?) Canada was a good call.

        The only thing possibly worse than Canada governed by Pierre Trudeau will be Canada governed by Justin Trudeau. God help us all.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        L/100 km is the worldwide standard for fuel consumption. It has the advantage that the number is proportional to the cost of driving the vehicle a given distance, which for most people is a much more relevant number than how far it will go on a given amount.

        L/100 km drives home the point that once the consumption gets down to the 5 – 6 L/100 km range, there’s really not a lot of difference in annual fuel usage between them any more. Miles per gallon doesn’t give that as directly. “Oh, my 60 mpg Prius is SOOOO much more economical than your 50 mpg TDI” … Well, not really.

      • 0 avatar
        kanu

        If you live in the Euro-land of $10/gallon gas, you want to solve this problem: “I need to go from point A to point B. How much fuel will that require?” To solve that problem, you need to know liters per 100 kilometers.

        If you live in the US where gas is cheap (even at $4/gallon), you want to solve a different problem: “I just filled up. How far can I go before I need to fill up again?” For that, you need to know miles per gallon.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          In Dngland it is Miles per gallon. Bigger sized gallon than you get in the US. Even the Canadian gallon is different. When in Canada when they “fill it up” it is liters per 100k’s

      • 0 avatar
        nrcote

        zeus01
        > At least then it would be easier to convert to miles per gallon, a term that even 35 years after the switch
        > we Canucks can still relate to and, for the most part, prefer.

        Hahaha! Maybe in that special place, i.e. Weird Rose country, but nowhere else.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    1) Tim Hortons is absolutely terrible. I feel embarrassed that it’s associated with my country.

    2) I think the B class is actually a great little car. It offers a ton if interior room, has a ton of cargo space if you fold down the back seats, and has a small footprint on the outside, which makes it a great city car. Yeah, it’s not as luxurious as other Mercedes products, but it felt well built and solid. We were pretty close to buying one for my wife, but chose the V50 instead.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      >1) Tim Hortons is absolutely terrible.
      >2) I think the B class is actually a great little car.

      I think your judgement is broken on 2 counts.

      • 0 avatar
        CrapBox

        Tim Hortens is to coffee what Players is to cigarettes.

        They’re both thick, poisonous tar with a taste that can be appreciated only by those who’ve been checked into the boards once too often.

        I love ‘em.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Timmy’s coffee is dreadful, but it is ubiquitous here in the Big Land and has therefore become the de facto standard. Which goes to show that in the world of coffee as in so many other areas of human endeavour, marketers should never overestimate the innate ability of customers to discover the truth.

        Works for poiticians as well.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Next thing you’re gonna tell me is Labatts Blue is some kinda piss water, eh?

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Yup.

            15 years ago, we invited the brewmaster from the local Labatts brewery to a meeting of our home brewers club to explain himself. He was not successful in persuading anybody.

            Meanwhile, the head of our club has become an internationally known judge at beer and wine contests, spending a lot of time in Europe. By invitation.

            I imagine the Labatts brewnaster is still “brewing” Blue, which isn’t a bad fizzy thirst quencher on a hot summer’s day. It’s as good a beer as Timmy’s is to real coffee.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            To be fair to Labatts, this same criticism applies to pretty much every high volume, internationally marketed brand. Is it really worse than Fosters? Heineken? Budweiser? Becks? Corona? Pilsner Urquell? They’re all really best suited for drinking when you’re spending the day in the hot sun.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Hey Gord, the snobbery’s strong with this one eh.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Agreed about Tim Whoretons. The donuts are filthy and it’s rare that there are more than six available at any one time.
        They’ve been in Columbus Ohio since the late 90s. I’m not quite sure how they’ve remained as everything they serve is awful. The coffee is beyond putrid.

        It’s Buckeye Donuts or nothing!

      • 0 avatar

        The last-gen B-Class was available with a nice little 2.0 litre turbo making 200HP and a 6-speed manual. It was fast, comfortable, and hugely useful.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          The new B250 only has 1 powertrain – 2-litre turbo (208 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque), mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual (paddle) shift option.

          It is an all-new architecture, but your “fast, comfortable and hugely useful” description applies.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, quite sad that the manual has disappeared.

            My mother was *very* tempted by a 2007 Turbo 6-speed but was afraid of the (surprising) rust issues and cost of repair and parts (coming from an Acura). Sort of wish she’d actually gotten it.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I think the comment about poor sales of the B Class in Canada is premature, if Montreal is any indicator. I’ve noticed a fair amount of B’s around the shopping district of Centre Ville (downtown)(where I spend much of my time when I’m in the city), at least as many as other models of MB’s. And, as others have written, they’re a nice and distinctive-looking car.

  • avatar
    Rev Doctor

    Just ordered a B 250 for my wife. Great package combining efficiency, reasonable performance, incredible comfort (I’m 198cms/6.6″)and the fwd works well for us in our clime. Check out reviews in UK, Canada and Australia and you will hear nothing but positives.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I always thought “Cars Australia gets that North America doesn’t” would be a great article, if a little more demanding. The similarities are there, westernised first world economy, massive land mass to navigate and similarish cultures.

    How does a country of some 22 million people offer so many more marques than those in North America. Alfa, Renault, Peugot etc all have a place there not to mention the many models sold by other marques not available in North America. It’s plain weird.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Doug could do a small series based on each region?

      • 0 avatar

        I was considering tackling Mexico next, but it’s harder than you think. Virtually all Canada/USA cars are identical; Australia has literally hundreds of different ones. Perhaps the way to do it would be by brand, by region (i.e. “Australian GM Cars Americans Don’t Get”). It’s certainly an interesting topic.

        By the way, Alfisti – the reason the States doesn’t get a lot of the brands Australia has is, plain and simple, regulation. Liability being what it is, it’s very hard for a lot of companies to compete here. Another big one is dealer networks, which is why FIAT and Alfa couldn’t come back without Chrysler’s help.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          TTACers seem to love their series, might be a nice hook for you. I’m sure whatever you come up with will be interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          heoliverjr

          Mexico would take a lot of pictures, it could be a whole series in itself. Mexico get makes the U.S. doesn’t have. A lot makes that are shared have different models available. They get the Ranger still (with a crew cab even) as a 2012 and get the new global Ranger as a 2013 and they already have the new Colorado as well.

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          I’d say do it. I’ve seen a nuclear lime green Mexican plated Focus RS, a ‘Renault’ Sandero, which really is the much loved Dacia Sandero, the Nissan ‘Platina’, X-Trail and countless Tsuru’s as well. Seen the last gen. Ford Ranger as a crew cab as well, all seen a stones throw away from where I live.

          Plus according to the internets, you can get the Toyota Hilux alongside the Tacoma, you can still get the Jetta from 2 generations ago that all the girls fawned over in high school as a new car in Mexico as the ‘Classico’, also Honda offers the latest gen. Honda City down Mexico way.

          Going back to Canada, I hate you. You guys up there can legally import Nissan Skylines without legal reprocussions whatsoever. I so hate you very much….

          • 0 avatar
            heoliverjr

            Hilux and Tacoma are actually different trucks now search for Toyota IMV and you’ll find out all about the platform for the current Hilux and some other Toyota vehicles not sold in the U.S..

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          True. At least Mexico-wise, the Hilux is exclusively 4 cylinder powered, it’s the same 2.7 that the Tacoma gets Stateside, also it tends to be more basic/work truck like. It’s the same world spec Hilux that you see everywhere but the US.

          The Tacoma down there is pretty much the same as what we’re familiar with in America, but to distance it from the Hilux, it’s exclusively 6 cylinder; the same 1GRFE 4.0L DOHC V6, but unlike the Hilux, they only come with higher trims like the TRD Sport/Off Road packages and the most fully loaded SR5 trim Toyota has. Also if I recall, it only comes with the crew cab, I THINK.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “I was considering tackling Mexico next, but it’s harder than you think. Virtually all Canada/USA cars are identical”.

          Not all, I think you should do an article solely on the second generation Ramcharger based on the 90′s Big Rig Ram. I think those were Mexico only.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a real pity the Holden Commodore is disappearing. I’m really hoping I can rent one when I go there next year.

    • 0 avatar
      pg123456789

      True … we should have Alfa (coming soon hopefully), Renault and Peugeot back in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      I would suspect that Australia probably doesn’t have so many government requirements to meet before a car is put on sale there. That is the main reason we don’t have more makes, models, series, or transmission and engine choices in the US – too much government.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        No we have as many as in the US, but differing requirements.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Do you have 100,000 mile no-maintenance emissions requirements? I suspect they’re a big part of why we see so few drive train options.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Yes. 5yr 100,000km warranties not miles. Emissions also covered.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            It isn’t the warranty cost. It is that every drive train configuration has to be connected to an EPA approved test dyno for 100,000 miles and emissions can’t exceed parameters for that duration without maintaining the engine. The cost of certification is thus very high. 62,000 miles is also very different from 100,000 miles when you’re talking about performance of emissions controls in engines that don’t even get the benefits of maintenance.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            They can take you off the road if the car exceeds the emissions regulations. All drive trains have to meet those emissions requirements, not just one.
            The 3-5yr warranty also covers emission compliance, not just the distance covered.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            There is a difference between being able to maintain a car and fix any issues to keep it serviceable over the warranty period and being required to prove that each configuration can stay in spec for 100,000 miles of continuous operation without any attention.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            ” configuration can stay in spec for 100,000 miles of continuous operation without any attention.”

            You got it. The latter is part of the Warranty. except in this case 100,000K or 3/5 yrs which come first.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            A warranty is completely different. A warranty can require maintenance. Want the warranty to apply to your car? Then you need to pay for air filters, fuel filters, oil changes, perhaps even a set of spark plugs. Want to get an EPA certification? You need to prove your car will remain in spec in the hands of an uncaring owner. Then you’ve got the fact that the US requirement is 60% longer than the much easier to accommodate warranty requirement, and the task becomes so expensive that manufacturers limit engine choices in cars that sell in far greater numbers than the best-sellers in Australia.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “Then you’ve got the fact that the US requirement is 60% longer than the much easier to accommodate warranty requirement, and the task becomes so expensive that manufacturers limit engine choices in cars that sell in far greater numbers than the best-sellers in Australia.
            Actually it is not 60% longer. 100,000 miles would be covered by a car being driven hard in the three to five year period. That car or vehicle should be able to meet pollution reqirements
            Model restriction? To reduce overall costs of the vehicle. That is why you get some awfully basic vehicles being sold as “roadworthy” in the US. The “emission no maintenace” covers 100,000 k’s if you do not use it much 3 to 5yrs depending on the manufacturer.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        The difference is that Australian technical regulations are more or less the same as UN-ECE (which is used by most of the world outside of North America) whereas US standards are specific to that market and not necessarily compatible with UN-ECE standards. A vehicle that received type approval to UN-ECE should require little or no additional compliance work to be sold in Australia, but the US standards are a whole different ball game, any UN-ECE type approval for the vehicle is meaningless to NHTSA and EPA and the vehicle has to be completely re-certified (and with many modifications).

        Canadian standards are a mish-mash. They’re mostly based on US standards, but there are certain cases where specific aspects of UN-ECE standards are accepted (headlights, for one) and there are a few Canadian-specific requirements (daytime running lights, for one). A US vehicle has a warning lamp that has the English word “BRAKE” to indicate parking brake on or a failure of the braking system. A Canadian vehicle has the corresponding ISO symbol instead (same as UN-ECE), because as with the rest of the world, we have more than one official language to address. It’s a minor point, but it means a different part number for the instrument cluster, and generally that’s not a cheap piece …

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Australian divisions of auto-makers get to pick and choose among models built for Asia, NA and Europe (as well as the domestically built models) – so they usually get a combination of stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      @Alfisti

      The simple answer is that Australia, like much of the civilized world, is a participant in the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. That means that other than the RHD issue (which, at any rate, is shared by other large markets as well) the additional cost of certifying a car for sale in Australia is negligible to non-existent, provided it meets the Forum’s standards. That allows basically any company to immediately enter the market, and allows them to be reasonably profitable even on tiny sales figures.

      The United States chooses to set it’s own regulations via the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which means automakers that want to sell here have to build two very different versions of their product – one for the US and one for the rest of the world. That dramatically raises the costs associated with entering into the market, and many automakers just don’t bother.

      • 0 avatar
        mypoint02

        Thanks for the info. I’ve always said that if the US really wanted to address our demand for oil they would streamline the process for approval of models that are available elsewhere throughout the world. It would certainly make it more likely that we’d see more diesel variants like they have in Europe. Though the Feds would never admit it, I’ve always thought that FMVSS is more about protecting the big three than it is about safety and emissions standards.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          These restrictions are not Europe specific, but you get other restrictions in play elsewhere. It would be best to get a Universal Global Standard making it an easier and cheaper playing field for the manufacturers.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @rainwhenparked

        “The United States chooses to set it’s own regulations via the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which means automakers that want to sell here have to build two very different versions of their product”

        It bites both ways. US Automakers cannot sell a Corvette, Viper, Chargers, F150 etc straight from the factory to overseas markets. Taking into consideration preparation for export.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “It bites both ways. US Automakers cannot sell a Corvette, Viper, Chargers, F150 etc straight from the factory to overseas markets. Taking into consideration preparation for export.”

          This is true, but US gas V8s are not welcome despite very clean emissions and very good mpg for what they are.

          gas2.org/2010/04/06/turbo-diesel-mustang-for-europe-maybe-some-day/

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      The best thing to say about Automobile markets around the World , is virtually everyone is unique. Which is fascinating but frustrating if you are a major global player.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    In MN, we get a fair amount of drivers coming down from Manitoba.

    Did Chevrolet sell a Captiva in Canada? Seems to me like I’ve seen a few with Canadian plates (before I’d heard of the Captiva Sport fleet-only model in the U.S.). Not finding it on the few Canadian car sites I’ve checked. Maybe I’m thinking of a different model, but it was a small crossover.

    The other one I’ve noticed is the Chevrolet Optra, in sedan and 5-door form. And the occasional Pontiac Wave.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      “Did Chevrolet sell a Captiva in Canada? Seems to me like I’ve seen a few with Canadian plates (before I’d heard of the Captiva Sport fleet-only model in the U.S.).”

      Yes, they are sold in the U.S. as a fleet only model. I think it may have formerly been a Saturn Vue. I rented one back in September and it was the worst experience with a “new” car that I have ever had. It did nothing well, drove like a pig with a steering wheel attached to its head and sucked gasoline like it was going out of style; a complete zero.

    • 0 avatar
      heoliverjr

      There might be some of those fleet only Captiva Sports making there way up north. Although they call them Captiva Sport it only badged Captiva. I don’t think the Captiva was sold directly in Canada.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    An interesting post. One item to add: I’m fairly sure that when the Subaru factory in Indiana stopped making Legacy wagons for the U.S. market after the 2007 model year, it continued making them for Canada until the new design arrived a few years later.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Lack of Tim Hortons ONLY applies to those Yanks NOT near the border…In Buffalo Metro we have at least 60 Hortys for our 1 million population…That population swells to 1.2 million each weekend when the Canadians come down to spend their Loonies and Toonies…

    Good article…I’m used to all these cars as we have a cottage in Central Ontario and many long time Canadian friends that drive these vehicles. Plus they populate the roads of Western NY as well. The 320i is a lease deal special and other than maybe the Orlando, we Americans aren’t missing much…

  • avatar
    pg123456789

    Is the Buick Encore a fancy Chevrolet Trax?

  • avatar
    ect

    “Alas, Canada, like Europe, also didn’t like the B-Class”

    What is your source for this? I certainly see a significant number in Toronto.

    Also, the new B250 has just been released in Canada, to rave reviews. And deservedly so – it’s a great car, roomy inside, well equipped, quick and nimble. The back seat is easier to get in and out of than in many much larger vehicles.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    We’re also missing out on “You hoser, eh!”

    It’s not what you think it means, it’s far worse…

    Hoser: (n) Canadian hockey derogatory term that is similar to the American “idiot” or “loser”. It is derived from the pre-zamboni days, where the LOSING team would have to hose down the ice after the game.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      And you’re missing out on a Two Dollar coin and Two Dollar bill!

      For yucks, when in the US, sometimes we try to pay with $2 Canadian currency, either the coin or the paper version. Oh, the hilarity that ensues when we try to convince a clerk that it’s legitimate currency…

      Americans also missed out on Plodges and Pontrolets, which were nothing more than Plymouths and Chevrolets respectively wearing Dodge and Pontiac clothes.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Well done! Nicely written! Thank you for putting a smile in a face in Vancouver

  • avatar
    xantia10000

    Didn’t Canada get the Hyundai Pony and something called a Pontiac Persuit (maybe a Sunfire sedan)? Seems like there were a handful of rebadged Pontiacs, when the brand, you know, existed.

    • 0 avatar
      heoliverjr

      Pursuit was the name for the Pontiac version of the Cobalt when it was a Canadian exclusive. It was the G5 Pursuit the first year the U.S. got the Pontiac G5(2009?) and just plain G5 for 2010. The G3 (Pontiac’s Aveo) went through the same thing. First it was the Pontiac Wave in Canada,then it became the G3 Wave once the U.S. got the Pontiac G3. I think the G3 Wave year was 2010 it never got to be just a G3 in Canada can’t really remember.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Yup. Canada got the Hyundai Pony and Hyundai Stellar long before the U.S.’s first Hyundai, the Excel.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    What me missed here in Canada were Holden Monaro (aka Pontiac GTO) and Mitsubishi Evo IX due to their front bumpers being not compatible with 8 km/h (5 mph) Canadian impact standard. That standard went away a few years ago, yet we still have cars that are priced up to $15,000 more than same model south of the border.

    Also, Government Motors is denying us Chevrolet SS.

    But we had “stupid car” when it come only with Diesel engine. Its engine was huge, a whopping 600 cc (37 ci) capacity and tire shredding 40 HP!

    And we also initially had E36 ///M3 with 286 HP, instead of 240 HP US version. But we never got a Cabrio version of this car, if I recall correctly. And we had 32 cars of E34 ///M540i built for Canada (read ///M5 with 540i engine). I believe all were only manual.

  • avatar
    heoliverjr

    Mercedes Benz R350 and E300 are other models sold in Canada and not the U.S.. The R Class is gone from the U.S. for 2013 and the E300 is basically a detuned E350 for 2013, it used to have an actual 3.0L engine in previous model years.

  • avatar
    xantia10000

    Note that the Wave/G3 was not the first time Pontiac sold GM’s shittiest product exclusively to poor Canadians. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1986PontiacAcadianScooter.jpg

  • avatar
    bd2

    Canada also got the defunct Acura CSX – but then again, it was basically the JDM version of the Honda Civic and not much diff. from the USDM Civic.

  • avatar
    ect

    According to Mercedes, nearly half of their European sales are accounted for by the A- and B-classes. Daimler’s 2012 Annual Report tells us that the B-class sold 150,000 units in 2012, up 50% from 2011.

    I don’t know how the writer formed his view that “Alas, Canada, like Europe, also didn’t like the B-Class”, or that the B-class is on a “world tour of rejection”, but it doesn’t appear to have been from sales data.

  • avatar
    jco

    so is it a coincidence that jalopnik ran this article (same subject, different cars) today? at least TTAC was first with strong writing as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Pure coincidence. Unless they copied us.

      I would, however, like to point out that Jalopnik also had strong writing. For instance, their story includes the following: “Made in an effort to have Canadian Pontiac-Buick dealers to have a compact model to sell.”

      Tomorrow, they will do an entire story using only the words “to have.”

  • avatar
    Brian P

    There’s another one; the entire Suzuki lineup.

    The auto division of American Suzuki went bankrupt. Suzuki of Canada is carrying on.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    I’d think that a B-Class would make a pretty nice vehicle for Smart ForTwo owners to eventually step up to. It has a small footprint, seems to be quite spacious for its size, etc. It might make sense for Smart dealerships to sell a version of this car, although it’s a bit too bland and serious in its current form.


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