long history of differing car tastes show Canada is not just another
state. Automakers from the U.S. and around the world sell versions of
their cars in Canada that you can't buy in (and they go to great lengths
in the U.S, where they make 240 hp and score a decent 34 mpg on the EPA
highway test. In Canada, however, you can get a milder version that
makes just 181 hp and returns nearly 40 mpg on the highway, in the 320i.
The 320i (a designation that harkens back to the original progenitor of
the fabled 2002) would cost about $33,800 if sold in the U.S., $600
cheaper than the least-expensive five-seat 3-series in the U.S.—the
328i, which gives you nearly 50 hp more than the 320i. But with gas that
costs about $5 (U.S.) per gallon, Canadians seem to be more willing to a
pay a premium for mpg over horsepower.
China this car is called the Buick Excelle. In Korea it's the Daewoo
Lacetti. And in Australia it's the Holden Viva. GM sold it in Canada
from 2002 to 2008 but never in the U.S. Afterward it was replaced by the
The Optra was available as a wagon and a hatchback in addition to a
four-door sedan and used a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 119 hp. The
similarly sized Chevrolet Cobalt, which was sold at the same time in the
U.S., used a 2.2-liter four-cylinder that produced 145 hp, though the
Optra was cheaper.
Chevrolet was selling the compact Optra in Canada, it also introduced a
version of the Suzuki Verona sedan named the Chevrolet Epica in 2004.
It came with a 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder engine, mounted
transversely, driving the front wheels. Slow sales against more powerful
and less expensive four-cylinder sedans led to GM discontinuing this
car in 2006.
can get South Korean–built versions of this seven-seat, tall wagon
built on the Cruze platform. GM also builds this car in Vietnam and in
Russia's Kaliningrad port city and sells those Orlandos to the rest of
the world—except the U.S. The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder.
Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, it starts at just under
Volkswagen Golf Wagon
Volkswagen's sixth-generation German-built Golf debuted in 2008; the newest generation of the Mexico-built Jetta
followed in 2010. Before this newest version, VW had sold a wagon
version called Jetta in both the U.S. and Canada. But in 2010 it changed
the name of the car to the Golf Wagon for Canada only. One of the
reasons was to differentiate it from the older Jetta wagon, which did
not have the sought-after TDI diesel engine in Canada until the
new-generation wagon arrived.
This front-drive, Ford Focus–size
compact hatchback came to Canada in 2005 and was sold through 2011,
when a new generation was announced at the Frankfurt auto show. There
was no 2012 model of the B200, but we expect the 2013 to arrive in
Canada. It's also expected to be launched in the U.S. by 2014, though
the powertrains are not yet known. In Europe the B-series comes with a
wide range of gasoline and diesel four-cylinders, although Canada cars
had a pair of 2.0-liters making 136 hp and 193 hp with turbocharging.
Nissan X-Trail is a compact crossover SUV that Nissan has built since
2001 but never sold in the U.S. Canada, however, got the X-Trail from
2004 to 2006. It was replaced in 2007 by the current Rogue, which then
also became available in the U.S. The second-generation X-Trail/Rogue
is sold in Europe with a 2.2-liter diesel engine and is called the
X-Trail or Renault Koleos. A Japanese market GT version uses a 280-hp
gas engine, while the Australian version gets a 177-hp model, similar in
output to the 170-hp U.S. Rogue.
the Cold War still in full bloom in the U.S., Russian automaker AvtoVAZ
began selling its Fiat sedan knockoffs in Canada under the name Lada
from 1979 until 1998, well after the Soviet Union had crumbled. Two
Ladas, the 2006 sedan and the Niva compact SUV, were popular in rallying
and had a reputation for being overbuilt.
Asüna Sunrunner, Optima
Asüna the Canadian word for Geo, a sub-brand General Motors set up to
sell import cars in North America. Geo was created in 1989; Asüna began
in 1991 and sold an Optima sedan (based on an Isuzu-built Opel) that
later became the Pontiac LeMans. The Asüna Sunrunner was a rebadged Geo
Tracker/Suzuki Sidekick that lasted in Canada until 1995.
car-enthusiast John Wadman fell in love in the 1970s with unique
English fiberglass-bodied roadsters created by Trevor Wilkinson in 1954.
The quick, handmade sports cars used V-6 and V-8 engines from the 1960s
through the 1990s, and Wadman became the sole Canadian distributor.
Modern models of TVRs were never certified for U.S. sales, and Wadman
strongly discouraged potential U.S. customers from trying to import them
south of the Canadian border. In 2004 production was halted in England
and the company sold, and buyer Nikolay Smolensky was quoted in AutoCar
magazine this summer saying that he would not resume production despite
talks of Corvette-engined future models.