By on August 16, 2016

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon

The Canadian new vehicle market is not merely a mini-representation of the U.S. auto industry. Full-size pickup trucks own a significantly larger percentage of the Canadian market, for example, and Canadians are nearly three times more likely to buy a Toyota Corolla than a Toyota Camry.

The Canadian market can, however, be a useful test bed.

Some new vehicle pass the test, such as the BMW X1 which enjoyed 16 fruitful months in Canada before grabbing a slice of the American pie. Others, such as the Chevrolet Orlando, wilt under the pressure of the Ontario-built Dodge Grand Caravan, endure a brief four-year run, and never even get a chance to make it in America.

Other cars aren’t prone on a test bed, they’re simply the response of different automakers to different markets. We already looked at seven U.S.-market vehicles which don’t make their way through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. These are the eight current vehicles which are marketed in Canada, not the United States. (We’ve already examined the seven cars Americans can buy that Canadians can’t.)

2016 Kia Rondo

KIA RONDO
Kia sold the previous-generation Rondo in the United States. 73,100 Rondos ended up in American driveways between 2006 and 2011. But following the Rondo’s 28,645-sales peak in 2008, sales plunged by half in recession-plagued 2009.

When Kia Canada introduced a new Rondo — sales of which are consistently falling — for the 2014 model year, Kia USA didn’t join in. It’s a much-improved vehicle, but Canadian sales today are down 76 percent compared with 2008.

2013 Mazda5

MAZDA5
Although Canadian sales of the Mazda5 in 2016 are half as strong as they were a year ago, and though sales of the Mazda5 in 2015 were down 79 percent compared with 2008, Mazda Canada will continue to market the Mazda5 in 2017.

We discussed the Mazda5’s U.S. demise two years ago.

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

MERCEDES-BENZ B-CLASS
Check that: the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is sold in the United States, but only as a niche market EV. In Canada, where Mercedes-Benz has sold the B-Class since 2005, the second-generation B-Class is marketed as B250 and B250 4Matic with the CLA250’s 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

7 percent of the non-van Benzes sold in Canada are B250s.

MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS WAGON
Mercedes-Benz Canada announced the C-Class Wagon’s upcoming Canadian immigration last January.

The C-Class, last sold in the U.S. in wagon form in 2005, returns to Canada two generations later as the C300d 4Matic. D is for diesel.

2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

MITSUBISHI LANCER SPORTBACK
Forgot all about it? Canadians have, as well. The Lancer Sportback had a limited U.S. run alongside the current Lancer, but the 2014 model year was its last.

North of the border, the Lancer Sportback continues through 2017. Some people might notice. Most will not.2015 Nissan Micra

NISSAN MICRA
With an advertised base price below $10,000 (sans air conditioning and power equipment), the Nissan Micra is a Canadian success that sent the Versa sedan packing.

Nearly 26,000 Micras have been sold in the 28 months since its April 2014 launch. In 2015, the Nissan Micra was Canada’s 16th-best-selling car.

2016 Toyota Venza

TOYOTA VENZA
Asked in May what the future held for the Toyota Venza, Toyota Canada’s spokesperson wouldn’t go into detail, suffice to say that, “Venza continues to be produced for Canadians.” TTAC delved into the Venza’s U.S. cancellation in April 2015, citing the car’s awkward positioning in Toyota’s lineup for its demise.

In Canada, the Venza has always told a different story. In fact, though sales now are down by half compared with 2011, the Venza was strong enough to outsell the Toyota Camry in 2010 and 2011.

2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan

TOYOTA YARIS SEDAN*
As we discussed in the U.S. edition of this very article, the very same car is sold north and south of the border. But for a few more weeks, it falls under different banners.

The Toyota Yaris Sedan is a Scion iA — soon to be Toyota Yaris iA — in the United States. In both cases, it’s really just a Mazda 2, which isn’t sold in either country.

[Images: Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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70 Comments on “8 Cars Canadians Can Buy That Americans Can’t...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    2009 Rondo was 6″ taller than current. No duh its sales dropped off.

    It’s being slowly sedanned. Where’s the outrage?!

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Add to the list any desirable (or undesirable for that matter) car not originally sold in the West from 1992 to 2001.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The Venza’s demise was caused by Toyota.

    -Looks awkward and derp.
    -Kind of expensive.
    -Interior has appalling quality and alignment for the price.
    -Should have been called the Camry Crosstrek or something. Heck, make it nicer and call it the Avalon SUV.

    I’d like to say I hate the CrossTour and it’s ZDX* sister because they’re more hideous generally. But they were better cars overall, so I can’t.

    *I feel the ZDX will be a rare and valued thing later on, similar to the VehiCROSS.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I claim no ESP but whenever I see a Venza in a parking lot I know, *know*, that any rogue shopping cart is heading for its ample flanks first.

      It just looks so puffy and dentable all over.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You do realize that the CrossTour and ZDX are not really bosom buddies, right? Kind of like the Nissan Rouge and the Infiniti EX35.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Meh the Venza was a two row Camry wagon and people voted with their dollars. They either wanted the real thing (Lexus RX) or they wanted three rows in their Camry wagon (Toyota Highlander.)

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I didn’t realize that, no. You’re saying the ZDX is RWD based?

        • 0 avatar

          I think the ZDX is pilot odyssey MDX related not accord.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It feels like people want to believe the ZDX is on some magical platform with the Ridgeline and Pilot and MDX, and it’s not similar to the CrossTour.

            It’s all Accord platform underneath.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “It’s all Accord platform underneath.”

            Yes and no. They’re based on the Accord, but the Pilot, MDX & ZDX have additional frame rail strengthening (which is why the ZDX’s instep is stupid). The Ridgeline goes one further and adds a BoF-like subframe atop this.

            The Crosstour doesn’t have any of this, which is why it’s much lighter than the ZDX, doesn’t drive like a truck and doesn’t require you to have a 34″ inseam to step in to it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I’d like to say I hate the CrossTour and it’s ZDX* sister because they’re more hideous generally. But they were better cars overall, so I can’t.”

      The ZDX isn’t the Crosstour’s sister, it’s it’s grossly deformed cousin:
      * the Crosstour is a lifted, top-trim Accord hatchback; basically it’s a good car that would have been better had it not been given a lift kit as it has all of the contemporary Accord’s virtues and a few of it’s own (like AWD, easier entry and more cargo space). It’s only sin is being kind of awkward-looking.
      * the ZDX is an MDX with less room and spectacularly bad ingress/egress. It’s a much heavier platform with serious compromises. The ZDX is an MDX, with all of the MDX’s virtues stripped away, all of it’s vices in place, and a huge dollop of it’s own problems to boot.

      I’ve driven one. It’s quite literally the worst car designed in the last 30 years.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      Yesterday I saw a Venza in the work parking lot. There was a TRD badge attached in a place just above the bumper and below the headlight.

      Supercharger? Some offroad parts? Or someone who slapped a TRD sticker in a weird spot?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Hey, the Venza is still available in the US. Some poor Toyota dealership in Fairfield, CA, has three, count ’em, 3 new Venzas on his lot today!

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      OKAY, I’m going to be the odd ball again and defend the Venza, well sort of. It was one of the few SUV type vehicles I looked at. The other was the Cherokee. I like the looks. The interior is old looking and all the hard plastics in the back were surely going to be a rattle trap down the road. It had a lot of space. It rode a bit stiff without being sporty. Lastly it was too expensive. I’m really surprised the Venza outsells the Camry in Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Corey, I still secretly lust after the Isuzu VehiCROSS. They are, of course, a rare sight these days.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The C-Class wagon makes me ache. GLC comes close enough though and probably costs less…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I had a GLC once, had a 5 speed and a manual sunroof! Okay, it wasn’t a Benz, it was a Mazda hatchback. You guys know I’m too poor fo dat. I bought it at an abandoned vehicle auction for $50.

      It blew a head gasket, so I stop-leaked it and we took it to “the dome” (what I called “the car killing fields”). I jumped it, rallied it, poured high-octane racing fuel in it, after which it idled at 2800 RPMs. It ended up on its roof, and is probably a Chinese dish rack by now.

      I experienced the PIT maneuver in it, a buddy pitted me with a Nissan Sentra. I just hope I’m never in a situation where that happens for real. There was nothing one could do, you’re out of control when it happens. I’m lucky it didn’t roll.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I 2nd the pain you feel on the C wagon. Pity we can’t special order it.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    Googling parts and how-to videos for my Dodge B250 van based Roadtrek Class B RV is harder now that Mercedes is calling something of theirs a B250.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    The iA is still awkward, but those foglights help fill out that gaping guppy mouth.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I could actually see myself enjoying a manual-trans Micra as a back and forth DD. Looks *kinda* fun.

    And yes, the C-Class wagon also makes me pine a wee bit.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Put me in the C-Class Wagon wanty-want camp. Provided I could get a 6-speed manual with it.

  • avatar

    I kind of like the lancer Sportback but they are hard to find. I have likely only seen half a dozen in real life. A few years ago down at the shore a women pulled one into a parking space next to me with her two kids and gear. Seemed plenty roomy they took alot of stuff out. When I got in my car I noticed hers was a manual transmission and pretty loaded. And it had a sticker to an expensive private beach club on the windshield so kind of not playing into the demographic either, but it made me really want one as a commuter.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Wife works at the local paper and one of the photographers had a Lancer Sportback for hauling his equipment around. He replaced it with a FiST. Apparently he didn’t have as much equipment as he thought he had.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    I’m also on the C-class wagon party. It would be my next car to order if I could. For now, it’s just my cellphone background picture. Don’t want a GLC.

  • avatar
    bortlicenseplate

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news but it looks like the C-class wagon is no longer Canada-bound. I was as excited as anyone when I heard MB announcing the wagon for Canada back in January, but they have since stalled/walked back the “immigration” process. I don’t know the reason – possibly a casualty of post-VW Dieselgate fallout (the wagon was only coming here as a diesel). Others perhaps more plugged-in than me with MB Canada can chime in here.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I would be very happy if the Micra replaced our Versa. But, the VersaF××k is just too popular here in the US of A. :(

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    The Micra is popular enough here that they started a specific open to anyone Nissan Micra Cup racing series.

    Last I checked, we can also get a Honda Accord Touring with a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    ect

    The common denominator here is that all of these vehicles have a liftgate (except the Yaris, which we could all happily forget exists).

    I’ve never understood the American aversion to hatchbacks, but Canadians and Europeans seem to flock to them. For good reason, as far as I can see – I can’t imagine buying a sedan over a hatchback, where the hatchback option exists.

  • avatar
    MartyToo

    Shout out here for the Beaumont. That beautiful Cheviac (copyright Mad magazine) always perplexed me. Was it a Chevy or a Pontiac? In college I asked my friend from Grimsby and not only was he stumped but searched his owner’s manual to no avail.

    It still brings a smile to my somewhat wrinkled face, Dave.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Plus the Pontiac Parisienne which was a Canadian Caprice/Impala. In the mid-80’s we ended up with it here in the states when the Bonneville became a rebadged G-Body LeMans in 1982. Part of reason the brand declined. We know where the LeMans name ended up for its final demise.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was in Montreal last summer and frequently saw ads for the Dodge Journey “The most popular 3-row crossover in Canada” I saw plenty on the road. When FCA decides to phase it out here in the states it might linger on for our friends up north.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    How about a list of cars that Mexicans can buy, but Americans can’t?

  • avatar
    415s30

    That and the word Venza is very close in pronunciation for toilet in Japanese, which is a soft B “benza”.

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