Well, another year and another Edmonton Motorshow has passed us by, leaving a small hole in this author’s heart. For car-lovers, the excitement of actually seeing and touching the latest automotive machinery just can’t be replicated by the manufacturer’s “Build & Price” pages or endlessly trolling Kijiji for vehicles you in all likelihood will never own.
This year’s motor show was again a fantastic smorgasbord of economical hatchbacks, looming heavy-duty pickups, and ratified high-performance metal. Picking just five vehicles to represent the very best of the motor show was no easy feat, especially with the car enthusiast inside of me demanding I pick only the most powerful and most expensive machinery available.
Nevertheless, I’ve managed to shorten the list to just five vehicles that stood out from the rest for all the right reasons. So enough babble, let’s get down to business.
Best: 2018 Kia Stinger
The hype surrounding this midsize sports sedan was clearly evident by the crowd of admirers–this despite the Stinger being shoved unceremoniously into a corner. Long, low, and luxurious, this sedan represents a high point in Kia’s design, especially in the vibrant “California Red” colour like in the motor show example.
The interior was a far cry from the dreary plastic-riddled Kias of yore, exhibiting a thoroughly modern design and materials that were pleasant to the touch. The back seats offered plenty of legroom; and while headroom was at a slight premium for anyone over 6 feet, the raking roofline and wonderful liftback design are (in my opinion) a worthy compromise.
And while the price is a little un-Kia-ish at $44,195 base, the all-wheel drive, 365-horsepower engine, and overall sense of quality exuded from this car should be enough to make potential Audi and BMW customers think twice.
Best: 2018 Hyundai KONA
Another surprise from the motor show was the new Hyundai KONA. There’s a lot on offer here for its diminutive $21,000 asking price – from standard features like a 7-inch touchscreen and heated front seats, to the attractive styling inside and out. Where this Hyundai really sets itself apart is the way it feels better resolved than the competition like the Toyota C-HR or Nissan Kicks.
The whole point of these subcompact SUVs is to be practical yet funky, fuel-efficient yet sporty, and the KONA simply blends these divergent themes together better than the competition. You don’t pay a price for fashion like in the C-HR with its ridiculous rear windows, and it feels more special than the Kicks with its plain-Jane interior.
The result is a wonderful little SUV that’s worth every penny of its asking price, and then some. If I had to make a (somewhat) educated guess, I predict that Hyundai dealers are going to have a hard time keeping the KONA stocked.
Best: 2018 Mercedes-AMG E 43 4MATIC
Yes, the $80,000 asking price is enough to make your heart skip a beat, but the Mercedes-AMG E 43 4MATIC is as luxurious as its name is complicated. More special than the lesser E 400 but not as ludicrous as the E 63, the E 43 represents a sweet spot in the E-Class lineup.
The exterior is perhaps the best-looking E-Class to date, with the AMG touches add just enough aggression to let passersby know this is something special (as if the base car wasn’t special enough). The real highlight is the interior, with its sweeping design and list of features longer than the car itself.
Of course, the fact that it can jaunt to 100km/h in less than five seconds thanks to almost 400 horsepower is just the icing on the cake. Few people will be able to own this incredible automobile, but to those who do, just know that I am supremely jealous.
Best: 2019 RAM 1500
As a man who’s not particularly interested in pickup trucks (heresy, I know), the 2019 RAM 1500 was a real surprise. While the exterior is as butch and macho as ever, its payload and towing ratings even more prodigious, and the engine burly and powerful, the interior is where the real story lies.
The inside of the latest RAM is as luxurious as anything this side of a Mercedes, as it should be with pricing exceeding $70,000 for top-tier models. Real wood and supple leather are found everywhere in the cabin, along with impressive additions like a massive 12-inch touchscreen and colossal sunroof that extends all the way to the rear seats.
For the first time I can remember, sitting in this pickup felt less like being in a piece of farm equipment and more of what it really is: a luxury vehicle. And with most pickups never seeing a muddy work site or towing massive loads, I figure that RAM has hit the nail on the head with the latest 1500.
Best: 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Okay, I couldn’t stop myself from putting at least one high-performance car on the list, and being a diehard aficionado of sport sedans, I knew the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio simply had to have the green light. The looks alone are enough to qualify it for a top five place, but there’s so much more to the Giulia than that.
A Ferrari-derived 2.9L twin-turbo V6 pumping out a whopping 505 horsepower along with carbon-ceramic brakes; a quick-shifting automatic transmission; a torque-vectoring rear end; and a host of other performance goodies make this one of the most serious sedans on the market. There’s little I wouldn’t give for the chance to get behind the wheel of this Alfa on an empty back road.
As for the interior, it simply exudes style with a swooping dashboard and integrated touchscreen, comfortable yet extremely supportive seats, and a wealth of other luxury fittings. To be honest though, this one’s all about the heart-stopping performance, and I’m perfectly okay with that.
So those were my picks for the best of the 2018 Edmonton Motorshow. I’m sure there were those you agreed with and those you didn’t. Let us know in the comments down below which were your favourites from this year’s motor show!