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New 2006 models most popular in Quebec

Popularity of small cars makes Quebec, a 'distinct' market in North America

Aug. 22, 2006 -- After an uninterrupted 16-year run in which each year's new vehicles were heavier and more powerful than the year before, automakers are finally turning toward small, fun-to-drive cars for 2006, notes Automobile Protection Association president George Iny.

2006 Toyota YarisQuebec is Canada's small car capital, with more than half the new vehicles on the road falling into the compact or subcompact class, compared to about 35% for the rest of Canada.

The APA is projecting subcompact sales will more than double between 2002 and 2007.

The Toyota Yaris, introduced in 2006, is the most fuel-efficient car on the market with a conventional gas engine, and almost six out of 10 are sold in Quebec. With its roomy and comfortable interior, and perky performance, the Yaris has what most buyers need, in addition to the best reliability and lowest operating costs of any car on the market.

2006 Honda Fit2006 has also seen the introduction of the Honda Fit, which is smaller than the popular Civic, and the Nissan Versa, which is smaller than Nissan's current entry-level car, the Sentra.

One of the most advanced 2006 vehicles sells for the moderate price of $27,000. The redesigned Honda Civic Hybrid sets new standards for economy, safety and refined performance at an attractive price. “This year all Civics come standard with side curtain airbags, which offer much better protection in a side impact than conventional air bags installed in the seatback,” says Iny.

APA calculated an annual fuel savings with the Hybrid of only $300 compared to a regular Civic, which is already very fuel efficient. However, Iny says, the Civic Hybrid can meet the needs of many intermediate car buyers, in which case the fuel savings will be about $600 (compared to the mid-size Honda Accord) with little sacrifice in utility or comfort.

It's noteworthy that the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid has won the World Car of the Year Award for "greenest car." A jury of 46 international automotive journalists, including three from Canada, selected the 2006 Civic Hybrid, which achieves an estimated fuel economy rating of 4.7 L/100km (city) and 4.3 L/100km (highway), as the winner of the 2006 World Green Car.