The 2009 Auto Show, overall, was worse than the 2008 show. That says a lot because the 2008 show wasn’t all that good either. However, considering the state of the industry in these economic times, one has to be surprised to even see an auto show these days. Before I get started with my list of highlights from the show, I’d like to point out that many manufacturers skipped out on this years show. Notable absentees include: Nissan/Infiniti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Saturn (obvious reasons) and Pontiac (even more obvious). The most surprising participant was Saab. Considering what’s going on with Saab right now, I wasn’t expecting them to be there at all. For all we know, their future may not extend past this holiday season. That would explain why the didn’t show their concept cars this year.
Now lets move on to my First Annual RwG Auto Show Awards! Remember these are personal opinions, which are open to debate. Chime in if you disagree!
Star(s) of the Show: I would have to give the Audi R8 Roadster and the Lexus LF-A the nod on this year’s show. Last year, the one that impressed me most was the Buick Riviera. This year, I didn’t even recall seeing it. Nevertheless, these two super cars are sexy and I wouldn’t mind having either one parked in my garage at some point in my life.
Runner-up: Fisker Karma/Sunset.
Concept of the Show: I would have to give this award to the Honda P-Nut. Probably the strangest yet unique vehicle on the show (The BMW Vision came a close 2nd). It’s got the “cute” factor as well, so it doesn’t hurt. It sits three, in a “McLaren F1” formation, featuring the driver middle, allowing passengers to have a lot of leg room. Clever. Ladies, be sure to wear pants when driving this thing because oncoming traffic and pedestrians can see EVERYTHING through the windshield. 😉
Runner-Up: Volvo S60.
Hybrid of the Show: Fisker Karma/Sunset and the Chevy Volt get the award for this category. The Karma/Sunset is cheaper than it looks; It has the looks of an exotic, but it comes in at under $100k. It also comes in two trims, Sedan and Coupe. Gotta Love It. The other winner, the Chevy Volt, should be selling for around $40k. It is a bit more expensive than the Prius, Insight, Civic and Fusion, but the fact that you can run it purely off the electric motor can potentially save you a load of money on gas over time (if you commute is less than 40 miles round trip). For me, I practically don’t have to pay for gas since my commute is 10 miles round trip. Added bonus? It doesn’t look like a pod (think Prius/Insight).
Runner-up: Ford Fusion.
Surprise of the Show: Buick LaCrosse/Hyundai Genesis. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, GM and Hyundai…And yes, I remember what I’ve said about Hyundais and GMs. But these two sedans look and feel better than I ever expected. The Buick was elegant and fairly well built. Materials where plush and the didn’t carry the typical cheapness found in earlier GMs. The same can be said about the Genesis sedan. I sat in the backseat and was VERY impressed with the quality of materials. The leather was soft and cushy, plus there was a TON of legroom. The only question I have now is, “how do they handle on the road?”.
Runner-Up: Hyundai Sonata.
WTF of the Show: Every show has a “WTF” car that just looks weird or makes you wonder what the designer was drinking/smoking when designing the car. This year’s award goes to the Porsche Panamera. I know there are a lot of concept cars that give off the “WTF” aura as well, but the thing about the Panamera that beats them all is that this vehicle is production-ready. Seriously? A 4-door Porsche hatchback?? Its like a flattened, stretched and lowered Cayenne or something. Really bizarre. What’s really funny is that there were these folks commenting about how “gorgeous” this car was and what not (dude peeking into the cockpit in the 2nd pic; the one with the flannel shirt. You know, your “typical” Porsche buyer. LOL.), so I guess they didn’t mess up that bad. But then again, there were some people out there that really loved their Pontiac Azteks too.
Runner Up: Jeep Lower Forty. Mini Concept.
Here is the full gallery of pics I took at the show. The goods, the bads and the uglies.