Fear not, U.S. neighbours - move up here to Canada, and discover a world of quirky and awesome motoring.
No matter what happens today during the American presidential elections between Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, a good portion of our southerly neighbours will be very unhappy come tomorrow. For those packing up and heading for salvation north of the border, here are five cars to watch for in Canada that aren’t available in the United States.
Yes there is a Nissan that's smaller and cheaper than the Versa. With prices starting from $9,998 (about $7,500 USD), the Micra is one sweet ride. It’s even got it’s own spec racing series, the Nissan Micra Cup. Your all-in cost of entry for that series? About $33,000 (less than $25,000 USD). It’s also a hatchback, because in Canada, you need a place to put your sled dog, and sedans just don’t cut it.
If you’re yelling "mush" to more than one dog, you’ll need something bigger than a Micra. What you need is the Kia Rondo. With seating for up to seven, this smaller-than-a-minivan, van-like thing is perfect for hauling dogs or people. Starting at $21,695 (about $16,300 USD) the Rondo comes in many flavours and tops out at $32,795 ($24,600 USD). Optioned up, you’ve got everything from 18-inch alloys, leather seating, to heated and cooled seats, navigation and parking sensors. You’ll wonder why anyone ever paid $50k+ for three-row crossovers.
Oh, you won’t drive a Kia? That’s fine. Mazda builds basically the same thing, but they call it the Mazda5. It is a bit smaller overall, seating only six, and has less overall cargo volume. The Mazda makes up for it all in driving characteristics. True to the brand’s "zoom-zoom" DNA, the multi-activity vehicle (Mazda’s name for this, not ours), is as much fun as you could expect a shrunken minivan to be. Priced from $21,995 to $26,795 (about $16,500 to $20,100 USD).
If you want a more premium brand to work with, Mercedes-Benz also builds a vehicle similar in size to the Rondo and Mazda5. Say hello to the B-Class. You get fewer seats here - five - and even lesser storage the the previous two. But Mercedes makes up for this with a more premium fit and finish, a lot more power, and available 4Matic all-wheel drive. Perfect for when the sled dogs lay down on the job. The three pointed star on the hood means a higher price as well, with the standard B250 starting at $31,850 (about $23,900 USD) and the B250 4Matic going for $34,150 ($25,600 USD).
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
I hear ya, you want something a bit cooler. How about this: a Lancer, in arguably the best body style, a hatchback. Or as Mitsubishi calls it: the Lancer Sportback. Two litres of naturally aspirated, driving heaven. Yes, you can even have it in a good old fashioned 5-speed. And yes, it does have a 710-watt sound system on the $24,698 (about $18,550 USD) GT trim. If you want to save a few quid, it starts at $21,198 ($15,950 USD). But no matter the trim, Mitsubishi doesn't offer its legendary AWD system for the Sportback. But that's what we have sled dogs for up here in the Great White North.
Photos: Nissan Canada, Kia Canada, Mazda Canada, Mercedes-Benz Canada, Mitsubishi Canada