January 18, 2005

L.A. Auto Show (Continued)

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in Cars, the Greater L.A. Auto Show is an annual must attend event.

More then 20 new cars were debuted at this years show. The cars that most interested me included the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Charger, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Hummer H2.

I would sure like a Hummer H2. I know it’s not a real H1 but it works for me with one exception. I want a diesel engine and that is currently not offered in the H2. Hummer showed a smaller vehicle the H3.

Our observations was the only interesting Chevrolet vehicles were the SSR pickup and the Corvette, although I am still trying to get used to the deletion of the pop up head lights but I am working to get used to it. The Chevrolet HHR seems like a knock off of the PT Cruiser. The Impala (who is going to pay $30 plus for a supercharged V6 when for a few more dollars you could have a Pontiac GTO), Monte Carlo, and Cobalt are just boring. Chevrolet trucks are finally loosing the plastic cladding they have been famous for. That cladding does not last very long here in the desert before the UV/heat wastes it. I sat in a Cadillac Escalade which is way nicer then a Sub. On the other hand the Cadillac XLR is not cool, stick with the Corvette (they share the same platform). Other then the Escalade the Cadillac look does not work for me.

Ford introduced the new Mustang convertible at the show. I really like Mustangs and have owned four of them over time so I am biased. I like the retro-1969 look of the new car. Ford also had a Harley Davidson themed F250 super duty pickup on display that looked awesome. A Ford GT was on display as well. The Ford Five Hundred was on display, looks like the next police car platform to me. I really like the new F150 pickup. Lincoln introduced the Zephyr which did not interest me. We also looked at the new Jags and the Land Rover (too square).

Audi deputed the A3 and the A4 at the show. We really liked both the A6 and the A8 and would like to own either vehicle. The A8 W12 is just the ultimate. I had not previously looked at Audi’s but was really impressed. The TT is less interesting to me but others find it very appealing. I also looked at the VW Phaeton.

Honda introduced the Ridgeline pickup at the L.A. Auto Show. The truck like most Honda’s, Kia’s, Acura’s VW’s for the most part do not impress me much. We also looked at the Nissan Maxima, Altima, Titan Pickup, and the Z (set in the Z and the Maxima). The look of the Pathfinder is a little dated. I like the Titan, I wish all the badgeing was smaller.

The BMW M3 competition version was deputed at the show. The M6 returned to North America this year. The M6 is the performance version 6 series. Technology resides throughout BMW vehicles including the iDrive computer system, integration with the iPod, and the Dynamic Stability Control system. The Rain sensing wind shield washers and the voice activation system are also very cool.

I am not really interested in Mercedes Benz’s either, but after reviewing the pamphlet1 handed out at the show I changed my mind. Like BMW, and Lexus the Mercedes Benz has incorporated a tremendous amount of technology into the vehicles they produce. Lexus showed the GS which will be introduced in March.

The Porsche display at the L.A. auto show is always extensive. Porsche had past and current cars on display. Porsche introduced the new Boxster.

Saturn showed the Sky Roadster, but I did not look at it to closely before moving on. A Pontiac GTO with a 6 liter 400 HP aluminum power plant is just awesome. Pontiac also introduced a new small SUV called the Torrent. If your in this market you must also look at the Rav4 from Toyota or the Ford Hybrid Focus.

After a 30 year absence Dodge debuted the Dodge Charger with a 340 HP Hemi V8. It is a four door and looks like a scaled up Neon. One cool thing about the Charger was it has standard stability control included as a standard option. I hope to see a NASCAR skinned Charger soon. I like the Dodge Magnum SRT8 station wagon with a 425 HP power plant. Dodge says the Magnum has a quarter mile time in the 13 second range. Dodge also introduced the SRT10 Viper Coupe with a 10 cylinder 8.3 Liter 500 HP and 525 Ft LB or torque with a six speed manual transmission. Dodge says the Viper SRT10 is a completely new car, yet is shares the same front fascia, hood, doors, and vendors with the previous model Viper. The Chrysler 300 does not do it for me, it seems like they are trying to build a cheap Bentley look alike. The best thing Chrysler has is the Grand Caravan mini-van and they added compartments under the seats which the seats fold into.


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