Although we share most models with the U.S., Canada is a unique market, with tastes a little different from our American cousins. So occasionally, we get a car that’s strictly ours. Check out these ten that were sold in Canada, but not in the U.S.
smart fortwo Diesel
From 2006 to 2010, Canadians could buy the CSX, an entry-level Acura that was basically a gussied-up Civic. It was built here as well, in Honda’s plant in Alliston, Ontario. It was actually the second Canada-only Acura, following the Civic-based and Ontario-built Acura EL that debuted in 1997.
The Korean automaker bypassed Uncle Sam entirely when it first came to our continent in 1984 with the Pony. It made 70 horsepower, had a manual choke, and quickly rotted to nothing in our climate, but was priced so low that it topped the Canadian sales charts. Hyundai added the Stellar here a year later, but America didn’t join the party until 1986, when the Excel launched in both countries.
In 2004, GM imported a trio of Korean-built models through its ownership of Daewoo, and then shared them with its partner Suzuki: the subcompact Chevrolet Aveo/Suzuki Swift+; compact Chevrolet Optra/Suzuki Forenza; and midsize Chevrolet Epica/Suzuki Verona. The U.S. got the Aveo but not the Swift+, the Forenza but not the Optra, and the Verona but not the Epica. The only one missing in Canada was the Suzuki Forenza.
Americans got the Rondo when it initially came out for 2007, but it’s a country that generally doesn’t care for hatch doors unless they’re attached to SUVs the size of Texas. Rondo sales were so slow that it was discontinued south of the border in 2011. But it kept going here, and debuted an all-new version for 2014 that gave nary a glance southward.
If the Rondo couldn’t score a home run with Americans, it was likely the all-new 2012 Orlando wouldn’t do much better, and Chevrolet didn’t bother trying. Unfortunately, it didn’t really set Canada on fire either. The little seven-seater was based on the Cruze platform but built in Korea. It proved less than the sum of its parts and wasn’t renewed for 2015.
Canada’s auto preferences have always been a little more European than those of Americans, and so when Mercedes-Benz brought its compact B-Class hatchback over for 2006, it only came here. The gasoline model is still only sold in Canada, but in an odd twist, an electric version is now available only for Americans.
Canada was also the launching pad for smart when it arrived on our shores for 2005. It was diesel-only, and that propulsion never made it south of the border. We lost our exclusivity in 2008, when the diesel was swapped out for a gasoline engine and Penske began distributing it in the United States. Mercedes-Benz took over its sales there in 2011.
While it only stuck around for two years, the Japanese-built X-Trail bypassed the United States and came to Canada for 2005. It was replaced by the Rogue. Earlier this year, Nissan unveiled a pup-centric Rogue concept called the X-Trail 4Dog at the New York Auto Show.
Complete with its own Canada-specific racing series, the Micra is sold in a lot of countries, but the United States is not one of them. When it debuted here for 2015, Nissan happily advertised the bare-bones base model as the least-expensive car in Canada.
There are rumblings that Lada may return to Canada, but in the meantime, we remember the Niva. The Russian automaker arrived here with a car called the Signet in 1979, but the four-wheel Niva looked like a winner for Canadian winters when it came in a little while later. Lada departed in 1998, leaving us with fond memories and more than a few Nivas, usually squirreled away by collectors with at least two or three extras to cannibalize for parts.