Sunday, March 22, 2009

Columbus Auto Show '09

As Audrea and I strolled around the Columbus Convention Center we did make a point to pick out some highlights but, once again, the future looks stale for American cars and trucks (emphasis on "truck"). In the past I tended to get smitten with one car or another while walking around auto shows, but this time my mind went to a different place. I was looking at cars that I could actually, possibly, afford. That added a different spin then I'd had in the past. While buying a new car isn't something I'll be doing anytime in the next decade or so, it was still fun to think that I could drive something off that I really liked.

This added dimension really added an interesting twist. I was way more critical of what I was looking at and gravitating more towards the less over the top models. Let's get to my highlights:

1. Scion tC: I'll put it up there. I'm impressed with this car. It's a few years into its production lifespan and while not much has changed over the past few years, it looks great. 5 speed manual, 4 cylinder, 2.4. I'd be a tight fit for me at my size, but I like it.

2. Dodge Challenger: I was impressed. I'd seen lots of pictures. A couple old timers at work get all gaga-goo-goo over this car and have calendars featuring it at there desks. I was pessimistic because of the Charger production model released a few years ago looked like a damn Neon. The Challenger looked great and you can get a striped down model for about $20k. Which means no muscle on a muscle car. The Hemi loaded one runs up closer to 27k. Too much for my blood but, heck man, still 5-10k less then then all the bloated mini-vans and 20k less then a soul crushing truck.

That's all I got. Honda and Nissan, overall, had the best vehicles. They look great, good gas mileage, powerful, affordable (16k-25k).

Audrea's Highlight:

1. Ford Flex: I agree with her on this one. Ford is making some pretty good cars right now with the Fusion and, yes, the new Focus. The Flex did steal the show though. It is very unique looking. Very long, like an old station wagon. It seats 40 people.

Audrea's Low-light:

The new Camaro: It stunk up the place. Audrea has a hankering for muscle cars and a pretty good knowledge of them to back up her opinion. She was excited to see the new one in person, big let down. To quote her exactly, "It was awful". She agreed on the semi-awesomeness of the Challenger.

In conclusion: Too many trucks. Too many mini-vans on the American side and perhaps too many cross-overs (jellybeans) on the import side. I'm about as far away from someone who cares about the environment impact of vehicles so I'm not getting down on larger cars for that reason, they just look and feel out of place and ridiculous. Toyota is guilty of show casing too many trucks (and no FJ?!). Ford still... STILL has their Escape and Explorer out there but I know they've got to. With intermittent shutdowns of their truck and SUV production lines they need some poor soul to buy them.

Last thought on the show:
It was pretty neat to think that a bunch of people there probably worked on the cars. I could tell that a few of the guys actually did work on them by the way they were talking about them. A couple times I witnessed them putting their son in a car (Honda, made up the road in Marysville) and taking a ton of pictures. Proud. Of his son and the beautiful car he helped create. Maybe this is only something that gets to me.

Either way, pretty neat.

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