For 2023, Toronto will once again play host to concept reveals, an EV test track, a life-size LEGO Lamborghini, and more

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  • The 2023 Canadian International Auto Show runs from February 17 to 26 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • Hyundai’s RN22e concept makes its auto-show debut on media day, February 16
  • Other attractions include the Canadian-made Project Arrow; a never-before-seen LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37; and an indoor EV test track

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Yes, the Toronto auto show is happening once again. No, it’s not as big as it once was. But let’s face it, no auto show is—unless you count CESSure, Ford won’t be there, and neither will Volkswagen, or Honda, or BMW, or Volvo, or around 90 per cent of the world’s automakers. But since when do we decide whether or not to go to a social event based on Mercedes-Benz’ attendance? Even if no automakers showed up this year, there’d still be plenty to do at the nation’s biggest consumer auto show. I mean it. 

The Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), as it’s officially branded, has been held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre every year since 1974, with a short hiatus in 2021 and 2022 for a certain still-lingering contagious disease. This year, the show returns sans masks (well, your choice anyway) to Front Street in downtown Toronto, with a number of Canadian debuts, including the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association’s (APMA) Project Arrow; favourites like the Cobble Beach Classics (this year presenting “75 Years of Porsche”); and Auto Exotica; and even a global auto-show concept reveal from Hyundai. 

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Don’t expect to be buried in headlines about many other surprise announcements, however—that will not happen—but do prepare yourself to have fun, learn about some interesting new products, and geek out over cool vehicles if you go.  

Tickets are $23.40 per adult (still 10 per cent off until February 16) and available in advance online only. In other words, don’t show up the day-of with cash in hand and expect to walk in. Hit the link here and buy them before you go. Discounts are available for kids aged seven to 12 (under six get in free), seniors, families, GO transit users, and anyone who attends on Tuesday, when adults get in for $15, plus the $2 service fee that applies to all tickets. 

Now that you’ve got the details, here are some of the things you might consider checking out while you’re at The Big Car Show. 

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Hyundai Concept Reveal

Hyundai RN22e and N Vision 74
Hyundai RN22e and N Vision 74 Photo by Hyundai

Hyundai has brought in a pair of concepts for the event, including one that’s never been shown in Canada, the N Vision 74; and one that’s never been shown anywhere, the RN22e. Both concepts were revealed online last summer, and neither of the “rolling labs” is likely to enter production, so this might be your best chance to see them. 

The RN22e is based on the new Ioniq 6, with lightweight printed parts, twin-clutch torque vectoring, and dual electric motors making 577 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque off a 77.4-kWh battery. Visually it pays homage to the Pony Coupe concept of 1974, based on Giorgetto Giugiaro’s design. The N Vision 74, meanwhile, has a unique combo of a plug-in battery and a hydrogen fuel cell powering twin electric motors feeding 670 horsepower and 664 lb-ft to the rear axle. 

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Oblivion ’80s and ’90s Car and Culture Show

Oblivion exhibit at the Canadian International Auto Show
Oblivion exhibit at the Canadian International Auto Show Photo by Supplied by Oblivion Car & Culture Show

One of Canada’s most up-and-coming-est car shows will have its own section in the centre’s South Building. Oblivion celebrates a time that’s forgotten by a lot of today’s clubs and gatherings, with rare and classic ’80s and ’90s rides like the 1993 GMC Typhoon; 1987 BMW M3; 1999 Plymouth Prowler (and trailer); Jurassic Park Jeep YJ; and the DeLorean time machine. Five bucks also gets you all-you-can-play access to the Oblivion Arcade stocked with vintage arcade- and console-style games. 

APMA’s Project Arrow

The all-electric Project Arrow four-seat SUV moments after the sheet was pulled of it at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
The all-electric Project Arrow four-seat SUV moments after the sheet was pulled of it at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. Photo by Andrew McCredie

The APMA built the electric concept vehicle, Project Arrow, pretty much as a flex. The group just wanted to prove it could. And it did, debuting the EV to much hype at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. Now it’s brought the concept home, displaying it at the show front and centre at the opening events on February 16, and then at the EV Test Drive Track. 

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Life-size LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37

A look at the iconic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 series wrought in LEGO, on display at Lamborghini’s museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, until October 6.
A look at the iconic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 series wrought in LEGO, on display at Lamborghini’s museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, until October 6. Photo by Lamborghini

Over 400,000 LEGO Technic pieces come together to form this life-size Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 that will make its North American debut at the show. It was created by a team of 15 who spent over 8,600 hours to develop and build it—and will be displayed on the 700 level of the South Building, near Grand Touring Automobiles’ collection of actual Lamborghinis. 

Hot Wheels Exhibit

The Darth Vader car is based on a C5 Corvette chassis
The Darth Vader car is based on a C5 Corvette chassis

Hot Wheels will also be in attendance to offer the younger and more immature attendees (*vigorously waves hand*) some entertainment. There’s a play area for kids, a retail space for adults (or kids with credit cards), and a display of collectible toy cars, plus five life-sized Hot Wheels vehicles from the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends, including the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, the 1966 Pontiac GTO, and the 2014 Star Wars Darth Vader Car.

EV Test Track

An electric vehicle charging station at the Volkswagen display at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto
An electric vehicle charging station at the Volkswagen display at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto Photo by Chris Helgren /Reuters

One consistently popular element at consumer car shows around the world today is the EV test track, which is coming to the CIAS for the first time this year. It gives anyone with a butt to sit on the chance to ride in a rolling, operating electric vehicle — all indoors, because there aren’t any emissions. This opportunity to get up close and inside EVs is something that’s sorely needed in a country bent on going electric in a hurry. 

The CIAS website promises a roster of electric vehicles “available from manufacturers in Canada.” 

Coleman Molnar picture

Coleman Molnar

Coleman Molnar learned to drive in his family’s rusty farm pickup as a teenager and continues the forearm-strengthening tradition today from behind the wheel of his 1983 Volkswagen Westfalia. Spot him in the slow lane, or on Instagram @Lietco

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