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2012 Kia Lease Rates – January 2012

Okay, I will say it…”Kia has officially entered the leasing world.” I’ve been keeping an eye on Kia leases over the last six months or so and it seems like Kia is legitimately trying to make their leases affordable enough to compete with the best brands. Hyundai was doing it for the better part of last year with the Sonata, but Kia seems to be pushing the Optima into our world more consistently now. Sure, the Optima EX Turbo lease is still not as good as the Sonata SE Turbo, but it’s getting pretty darn close.

I am a bit weary of the “high” MFs though. There is cash to offset it so it makes the lease reasonable. Hyundai is doing the same thing. What worries me is what happens AFTER the cash is pulled away. Will they lower the MF enough to keep the lease around the same ballpark? One has to wonder.


Here is a sample calculation based on TrueCar’s Southern California sale price and do not include local taxes. Please note that your dealer calculations may vary due to local fees/taxes.

2012 Kia Optima EX Turbo
MSRP – $25,850
Sale Price – $22,955 ($1000 lease cash applied)
Monthly – $285+ tax
RWG Rating – 90.1

Support my site by getting your “no obligation” quotes from:
Edmunds.com
CarsDirect.com


2012 Kia Optima EX Turbo
36 Month – Residual 56% of MSRP – .00133 Base Rate

2012 Kia Optima SX
36 Month – Residual 53% of MSRP – .00090 Base Rate

2012 Kia Optima EX
39 Month – Residual 55% of MSRP – .00095 Base Rate

2012 Kia Sorento EX AWD
36 Month – Residual 52% of MSRP – .00166 Base Rate

2012 Kia Sportage EX AWD
36 Month – Residual 54% of MSRP – .00205 Base Rate

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Monthly Round-Up: Thanksgiving 2011 Edition

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I wanted to extend a BIG “THANK YOU” for your continued support. It hasn’t been the smoothest of years, but I am very thankful to have a good community I can talk cars with. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and cherish your time with your family. As a last minute reminder, shop early and make sure to give yourself plenty of time before your existing lease expires. Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

This month’s participants include: Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Kia, Nissan, Acura, Hyundai, Infiniti, Honda, Lexus, Volvo, Audi and BMW.

For Dealer Quotes, go to: TrueCar.com. or Yahoo Autos
To check your credit, go to CreditReport.com.

Ground Rules

  • Participating vehicles will be based on the lease rates gathered on this website during the corresponding month.
  • 36-month/15k lease terms will used for all calculations unless a better term is available.
  • A $1500 drive-off fee is assumed for all cars. Since fees and taxes vary from region to region, your drive-off may vary.
  • Sale Price estimates will be based on Truecar.com sales data in the Southern California region, so your numbers may vary.
  • All estimates assume you qualify for the base rate. A minimum Credit Score of 700 may be required to secure Top Tier credit in most cases.
  • Sales taxes are not included since different states handle taxes differently.
  • The rating system used is based on RIDE with G’s Lease Calculator. Only cars with a 90 rating or higher will be included on this list.

SEDAN

2012 INFINITI G37 SEDAN JOURNEY (109.5) *$1000 loyalty and $1000 holiday cash
36 Month – Residual 58% of MSRP – .00074 Base Rate

2012 INFINITI G25 SEDAN X AWD (105.6) *$500 dealer cash
36 Month – Residual 59% of MSRP – .00061 Base Rate

2012 NISSAN SENTRA 2.0SR CVT (105.0)
36 Month – Residual 61% of MSRP – .00082 Base Rate

2012 NISSAN ALTIMA SEDAN S CVT (103.1)
36 Month – Residual 55% of MSRP – .00021 Base Rate

2012 HONDA ACCORD SEDAN EX-L V6 (101.3) *$500 dealer cash
36 Month – Residual 54% of MSRP – .00050 Base Rate

2011 BMW 328i Sedan (99.6) *$1000 loyalty cash
36 Month – Residual 60% of MSRP – .00180 Base Rate

2012 ACURA TL BASE (99.5) *$1250 dealer cash
36 Month – Residual 58% of MSRP – .00114 Base Rate

2012 HONDA CIVIC SEDAN EX AT (99.5)
36 Month – Residual 61% of MSRP – .00098 Base Rate

2012 Mercedes C300 4matic Sport 4dr Sedan (97.4) $2000 loyalty cash
36 Month – Residual 60% of MSRP – .00142 Base Rate

2012 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T SE (96.7) *$500 loyalty cash
36-month | 15k miles | residual 62% | .00142 base money factor

2012 Volvo S60 T-5 (96.3) *$1000 loyalty cash
36-month | 15k miles | residual 59% | .00122 base money factor

2012 NISSAN MAXIMA S (94.5)
36 Month – Residual 59% of MSRP – .00128 Base Rate

2012 VOLKSWAGEN CC SPORT AT (94.1) *$1250 lease cash
36 Month – Residual 51% of MSRP – .00028 Base Rate

2012 Mercedes C250 Sport 4dr Sedan (93.7) *$2000 loyalty cash
36 Month – Residual 61% of MSRP – .00154 Base Rate

2012 INFINITI M37 SEDAN X AWD (93.6) $1000 loyalty cash
36 Month – Residual 52% of MSRP – .00029 Base Rate

2012 Kia Optima EX (91.2) *$1000 customer cash
36-month | 15k miles | residual 57% | .00130 base money factor

2012 LEXUS IS250 AT SDN (91.1)
36 Month – Residual 60% of MSRP – .00150 Base Rate

CONVERTIBLE

2012 INFINITI G37 CONVERTIBLE SPORT 6MT (90.5)
36 Month – Residual 59% of MSRP – .00153 Base Rate

COUPE

2012 INFINITI G37 COUPE JOURNEY (102.1) *$1000 loyalty cash
36 Month – Residual 59% of MSRP – .00100 Base Rate

2012 HONDA ACCORD COUPE EX-L V6 (95.8) *$500 dealer cash
36 Month – Residual 52% of MSRP – .00050 Base Rate

2012 HONDA CIVIC COUPE EX AT (95.2)
36 Month – Residual 59% of MSRP – .00098 Base Rate

2012 Mercedes C250 2dr Coupe (94.6) *$2000 loyalty cash
36 Month – Residual 66% of MSRP – .00225 Base Rate

2012 BMW 328xi Coupe (90.2) *$1000 loyalty cash ($1000 lease/apr cash available)
36 Month – Residual 62% of MSRP – .00185 Base Rate

2012 NISSAN ALTIMA COUPE S CVT (93.8)
36 Month – Residual 55% of MSRP – .00090 Base Rate

HATCHBACK/WAGON/SUV/CROSSOVER/VANS

2011 HONDA CR-V 4WD EX AT (106.3) *$500 dealer cash
36 Month – Residual 59% of MSRP – .00077 Base Rate

2012 ACURA ZDX BASE (106.2) *$2000 dealer cash
36 Month – Residual 55% of MSRP – .00054 Base Rate

2012 HONDA PILOT 4WD EX-L (93.1)
36 Month – Residual 55% of MSRP – .00056 Base Rate

2012 HONDA ODYSSEY EX AT (91.3)
36 Month – Residual 61% of MSRP – .00155 Base Rate

2011 NISSAN ROGUE AWD S (92.8)
36 Month – Residual 57% of MSRP – .00123 Base Rate

ALTERNATIVE FUEL/HYBRID

2012 NISSAN LEAF 5DR HATCHBACK SV (92.4) *$7500 lease incentive
36 Month – Residual 44% of MSRP – .00174 Base Rate

2011 HONDA CR-Z EX NAV AT (91.1)
36 Month – Residual 62% of MSRP – .00185 Base Rate

Bright Spots

VW. The only model to make it into the lease was the CC Sport, thanks in part to the generous $1250 lease cash that’s available. The rest of the models make better purchases than leases due to special financing. Eos also gets the $1000 lease cash, but the lease is only so-so, rated at 85.5 on my calculator.

Mercedes-Benz. Being an existing MB customer is really paying off this Holiday season. The $2000 loyalty cash is huge! Another model to keep your eyes on is the GLK350 4matic. The RWG is not high (87.5), but this SUV has never leased in with a RWG higher than 90 to begin with, so 87.5 is not too shabby. Remember that MBs payments are usually a bit more budget friendly on the 48-month terms. However, wear-n-tear issues should be considering before going that route.

Volvo. The C30 and C70 cut it pretty darn close (both hitting a RWG of 89). This is made possible by a generous $1000 loyalty cash that’s available to existing Volvo customers. Overall, I’m very satisfied with Volvo’s leases on their cars. Their SUVs, on the other hand, need a little work.

BMW. BMWFS seems to be throwing a lot of loyalty cash at their customers. On select 1-series models for example, they also have this $500 lease/apr bonus cash which I think could be applied to lower the MF plus $1000 in loyalty cash.

Weak Spots

Audi. They have not offer any worthwhile leases lately. No shock there, it’s been a while since Audi made it into the Round-Up.

In Summary

It’s Loyalty month here in the auto leasing world. Many manufacturers are rewarding loyal customers with loads of cash. Folks looking to get into something under $400 should consider the Sonata, Optima, Maxima or any non-luxury car. Honda almost seems to be giving away their cars right now so it isn’t hard to find a good deal there.

The Leaf is also great if you don’t ever want to visit a gas station again.

In the end, if I had to put my money where my mouth is, I would be rolling in a loaded 2012 Infiniti G37 sedan. Hands down, the best lease I’ve seen all month long.

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2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

Last year, the Lotus Esprit blew me away. This year, my vote for “Car of the Show” at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show has to be the Jaguar XC16. I’ve examined the car from all angles and I cannot find one in which this car looks awkward. If I could mix and match cars, I would take the GT-R in XC16 clothing. That would be my ideal dream car.

Moving on…This year’s Auto Show did not have as many concepts as last year. It felt a little bit more “toned down”, possibly due to the economy. Despite this, it wasn’t a bad show. I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to, but that was fine because much of what was at the LA show was also at the OC show. There were just a little more “high end” cars, but that’s about it.

Here is a quick run down of what was at the show and a few highlights

Acura – Nothing new. Their lineup was quite stale at the OC Show and it remained that way two months later at the LA Show.

Audi – A6/S6 and the A7/S7 were the new rides this year.

Audi S7 Audi S6

BMW – They showed off the iSeries which you probably have seen in most enthusiast websites/magazines. I also took some pictures of the concept a few years back. From what I understand, the i8 is supposed to make it to production with few changes (I am certain the glass doors are gone).

BMW i8 BMW i3

Buick – The Verano is ugly. Enuff said.

Buick Verano Buick Verano

Cadillac – Showed up the Ciel, which was featured at Pebble Beach and the Converj, which was at a previous auto show some years back. I believe the Converj will be either an electric or hybrid car and will have performance that matches it’s aggressive looks. Possible the next CTS-V? Perhaps.

Cadillac Converj Cadillac Converj Cadillac Converj Cadillac Ciel Cadillac Ciel

Chevrolet – I think you’ve seen enough Cruzes, Camaros, Coverttes and Volts to last you a while. NEXT!

Chrysler – As I was saying on the OC Show post. The 300 is one American sedan I would consider driving. Beats speaker system is truly insane for one that comes factory installed. I felt so gansta sitting in the backseat as the speakers were blaring Dr Dre tunes.

Chrysler 300 Chrysler 300

Dodge – Super Bee Charger in the House! The car looks mean! The HEMI looks meaner. Overall, I’m very happy to see Chrysler cars improving in such as short time. Now, I would like to see Chrysler pull a Volvo and start introducing some sweet leases for us.

Dodge Charger Super Bee Dodge Charger Super Bee Dodge Charger Super Bee

Ford – The Escape was really the only “new” car to be introduced. It didn’t exactly wow me, but I can see it stealing some of the CR-Vs dominance (you will see what I mean when you see pics of the production-ready CR-V).

Ford Escape Ford Escape

Honda – What a let down! The production-ready CR-V looks gutless! And if it drives anything like the old model, it’s performance will be gutless too! Check out the interior! Can we say weak sauce? Can’t wait to see what Consumer Reports does to the CR-V on their next review.

Honda CR-V Honda CR-V Honda CR-V

Hyundai – The Azera really wow’ed me. After talking to the product adviser and sitting in the car for a good 5-10 minutes, I came away impressed. The leather is soft and supple. The interior is well put together. The center stack follows the same overall layout found in most new Hyundais, but has a noticeably more “upscale” feel. The estimated MSRP is going to be in the low $30,000s, with most experts estimating it to be around $32,000. Everything, including Nav, comes standard. The only possible option (from what I am hearing) is the panoramic moonroof and maybe the window shaders, although those could be standard too. If you thought the Buick LaCrosse was the Lexus ES killer, think again.

Hyundai Azera Hyundai Azera Hyundai Azera Hyundai Azera

Infiniti – The JX35 was introduced as a 7-passenger SUV. Not impressed. It looks like a weak attempt at cloning the Toyota Highlander which can be had for thousands less (if you don’t care about having quality interior materials). I’d be surprised if they sell more JX’s than EX’s. I would have liked to see a concept version of the new G-Coupe based off the Essence. That would have been fun to see.

Infiniti JX35 Infiniti JX35 Infiniti JX35

Jaguar – XC16 all the way. This car is a beaut! If they would have given it a better sounding name instead of the typical “Letters + Numbers”, I’d name my kid after it. “Come here XC16!” just doesn’t have nice ring to it.

Jaguar XC16 Jaguar XC16 Jaguar XC16 Jaguar XC16 Jaguar XC16

Jeep – New Compass and Patriot look like baby GCs, except the proportions are all wrong. I know Jeeps are meant to be rugged, but they could have done a little more to the interior. In contrast, you can see the GC looks nice inside and out. Even the storage area looks high end with fancy chrome touches.

Jeep Compass Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep Patriot

Kia – GT concept looks cool, but not as sexy as the XC16. It does show a lot of promise and possibly a glimpse of things to come. Michelle Wie gets a custom Kia Soul! I highly doubt she would be caught dead in one. Them Rappin’/Dancin’ Hamsters, on the other hand, are a hoot. They give the Soul some street cred. Definitely cooler than rolling in a cardboard box, toaster or dryer.

Michelle Wie Kia Soul Kia GT Kia GT Kia GT Kia GT Kia GT

Land Rover – Not much to say here. Doubt any of these rides will ever make it into production, but they are fun to look at.  They almost feel like they will transform into a robot at any moment.

Land Rover Concept Land Rover Concept

Lexus – More LF-A. *Yawn*

Lincoln – *Crickets*

Mazda – The CX5 actually look pretty good. You can totally see the styling cues of the Shinari concept on the front fascia. I really hope this crossover does well and gives the CR-V and Escape a run for their money.

Mazda CX5 Mazda CX5 Mazda CX5 Mazda CX5

Mercedes-Benz – I’ve pretty much seen all of the “new” models on the street or in previous Auto Shows with the exception of the C63 Black Edition. This thing rocks. It’s like Europe’s answer to the mean-looking American car!

Mercedez-Benz C63 Black Edition Mercedez-Benz C63 Black Edition Mercedez-Benz C63 Black Edition

MINI – See OC Auto Show…

Mitsubishi – I didn’t bother stopping by…actually, I don’t recall seeing them at the show. Maybe I stopped caring…

Nissan – Last year they had the Ellure. This year they had…NOTHING!

Porsche – Showed off their Panamera Hybrid and the usual 911s, Cayennes, Boxters and Caymans.

Porsche Panamera Porsche Panamera Hybrid

Scion – FR-S was in the house this year and it looks great! For those that have not been following the FR-S, expect about 200hp and a $24k price tag once it’s released. I don’t expect the production model to look too different unless Toyota decides to cheapen the experience some more. If the price is reasonable, this could very well be sitting in my driveway on day.

Scion FR-S Scion FR-S Scion FR-S

Subaru – Just like the FR-S, the BRZ should be priced and spec’ed at around the same range. There is talk of a STi trim, but I haven’t seen any details on that just yet. Originally, I thought the BRZ was the clear winner in the “looks” department, but after seeing them both in person, I have to go with the Scion.

Subaru BRZ Subaru BRZ Subaru BRZ

Volvo – Same cars as last year. Same cars as this year’s OC show. Nothing new to report.

VW – A Beetle R was on display and it still looks girly. Hood vents and quad-exhaust pipes do tone down the estrogen somewhat though. For the record, I don’t have a problem with the Beetle looking girly. It’s just that VW is trying so hard to market the Beetle as being more “unisex” and I just don’t think its happening. Maybe if they dropped a huge supercharger hood scoop? Nah….

Volkswagen Beetle R Volkswagen Beetle R Volkswagen Beetle R

Others – Here you will find some pics I took of the more “unusual” cars.

XD XD XD Morgan Aero Morgan Aero Morgan Aero Lotus Evora Lotus Evora

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2012 Kia Lease Rates – November 2011

The Optima looks solid this month. Not as good as the Sonata, but still quite decent. There is supposed to be a $1000 incentive for it, but as I looked over Edmunds, I didn’t see any 2012 models listed. I also looked over the 2011 models and found multiple $1000 incentives, but nothing about being able to use it on leases. I would recommend speaking to your dealer about this in order to clarify what incentives apply to the 2012 Optima. You can see a sample calculation below on what the Optima looks like with and without the $1000 incentive.


Here is a sample calculation based on TrueCar’s Southern California sale price and do not include local taxes. Please note that your dealer calculations may vary due to local fees/taxes.

2012 Kia Optima EX
MSRP – $23,950
Sale Price – $22,367
Monthly – $289+ tax
RWG Rating – 84.7

2012 Kia Optima EX
MSRP – $23,950
Sale Price – $21,367 ($1000 incentive applied)
Monthly – $260+ tax
RWG Rating – 91.2

Support my site by getting your “no obligation” quotes from:
TrueCar.com
Yahoo! Autos


2012 Kia Optima LX
36-month | 15k miles | residual 58% | .00127 base money factor

2012 Kia Optima EX
36-month | 15k miles | residual 57% | .00130 base money factor

2012 Kia Optima SX
36-month | 15k miles | residual 54% | .00108 base money factor

2012 Kia Sorento EX V6 AWD
36-month | 15k miles | residual 54% | .00206 base money factor

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2011 Kia Lease Rates – June 2011

As I was saying on the Hyundai page, the Sonata, seems to be the better lease in terms of payments. However, many folks like the styling on the Optima better, plus the added options (panoramic sunroof, cooled seats, etc…) seem to make this lease “worthwhile” to some. However, I can’t really get myself to recommend a $400+ a month lease of a $30k Kia since that’s almost luxury car territory (think G37).

In terms of Buying-To-Lease, I think it’s a pretty good deal if you plan to keep the car long term (and why not? The warranty is 10 yrs!). The interest rate is minuscule (about 0.77%) and a good 53% of the vehicle’s cost is being financed at that rate, which is great. Considering the lowest financing promo rate on the Optima is 1.9% right now, I think leasing for three years then buying off the rest make more financial sense. The only exception would be if you paid cash upfront.


Here is a sample calculation based on TrueCar’s Southern California sale price and do not include local taxes. Please note that your dealer calculations may vary due to local fees/taxes.

2011 Kia Optima SX
MSRP – $31,245 (full-equipped)
Sale Price – $27,833 ($1500 lease cash applied)
Monthly – $379+ tax
RWG Rating – 84.4

For Dealer Quotes, CLICK HERE.

2011 Kia Optima EX ($1,500 cash incentive)
36-month | 15k miles | residual 50% | .00065 base money factor

2011 Kia Optima SX ($1,500 cash incentive)
36-month | 15k miles | residual 47% | .00032 base money factor

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2011 Kia Lease Rates – May 2011

Kia residuals, as expected, aren’t very high. However, cash incentives and reasonable money factors make them a decent lease. I personally prefer the Sonata over the Optima due to its more refined cabin. But the exterior styling of the Optima speaks volumes as to how much Kia has progress in the past few years. The lease cash ends 7/5, so if you are looking for a Kia Optima, now isn’t a bad time to start shopping.


Here is a sample calculation based on TrueCar’s Southern California sale price and do not include local taxes. Please note that your dealer calculations may vary due to local fees/taxes.

2011 Kia Optima EX
MSRP – $23,190
Sale Price – $20,425 ($1500 lease cash applied)
Monthly – $266+ tax
RWG Rating – 87.7

For Dealer Quotes, CLICK HERE.

2011 Kia Optima EX ($1,500 cash incentive)
36-month | 15k miles | residual 50% | .00065 base money factor

2011 Kia Sorento AWD LX I4 ($1,500 cash incentive)
36-month | 15k miles | residual 50% | .00094 base money factor

m37main

2010 OC Auto Show

Sorry for the delay in posting the photos. I’ve been busy this past week with work, nursing a sports related injury and spending time with family over the weekend. Anyway, the OC Auto Show was great and I got to spend a good four hours taking photos and “sampling” the goods. As far as concepts are concern, there weren’t many in this show. Then again, this show is a much small event than the LA, Detroit or NY Auto Show, so most of the cars on display were either models in production or soon to be released. Of all of the major manufacturers, only a few didn’t make the show (Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi); Not a huge loss if you ask me.

Here are some of my initial reactions about each manufacturer that showed up:

Acura – The TL’s “beak” really needs to go. The TSX wagon is hideous. The rest of the line-up gets a thumbs up.

Audi – Nothing new. I am personally targeting the A3 as a my possible “Next Ride”.

BMW – Nothing new. I didn’t spend much time there because it’s not different than last year with the exception of the new IS models.

Buick – The Regal looks nice and it’s cheap. A bit smaller than what I thought it would be, though.

Chevy – The Cruze was actually impressive. I think it should compete well against cars in it’s class.

Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep – JGC was probably the best looking offering they had (No surprise there). It’s a good looking SUV inside and out.

GMC – Probably the only brand that offered a “Concept”, the Granite. Interesting take on box-shaped transportation. Certainly better looking than the Cube or the xB.

Ford – I liked the Edge Sport and the Fusion. Not sore I would get the Fusion personally, but I would consider the Edge…as a matter of fact, I am.

Honda – They really did something funky to the tail lights of the Accord coupe; It flares out to the side. Really weird looking, not a fan of it.

KIA/Hyundai – Love the Sonata and the Optima. The 2.0T and the Hybrid look sharp. I’m highly considering the Sonata as my next car because of it’s combination of features and price.

Saab – Yawn.

Volvo – XC60 is freaking awesome. It’s too expensive, otherwise I would seriously consider getting one even if the quality/durability may be questionable (it is a lease after all).

Subaru – Nothing really new except a really pimped out STi. From a styling perspective, it doesn’t look any different than the one from last year.

Toyota – Cheap plastic all over the freaking place. It’s like Toyota took a page out of GMC and Ford’s “how to build a cheap car” manual. This is like Bizarro World. Seriously.

Supercars – I don’t keep up with the Maseratis, Ferraris and Lambos of the world so I didn’t know what to look for. I do know the Sesto Elemento wasn’t there. Not that ride is impressive.

Jaguar – New XJ looks pimping. It’s elegant and loaded with tech. I like how the dash and console look so clean and elegant.

Volkswagen –  VW is changing the way they package their vehicles, which will be similar to what Honda/Acura does (which shoud simplify the shopping process).  2011 Jetta gets mixed feelings from me due to the simplified,  “downgraded” interior.  My wife wasn’t a big fan of the new exterior either (compared to her Wolfsburg) and I have to agree with her. I think the Jetta lost a lot of it’s “personality” in the redesign. I think of it as a jogger wearing a suit, not exactly the sporty/playful image I’ve come to love about the Jetta.

Mazda – Nothing new on this show, but I do know Mazda has a sweet new concept called the Shinari, which looks insanely good. I’m hoping they bring it in for the LA Auto Show next month. That would be spectacular.

Lexus – The IS gets a “F” option package which mimics the ISF in style but not in performance. It’s like the M package that’s offered on the 3-series.

Cadillac – Caddy has a good number of cars in the show and the best one of them all is the CTS-V coupe. I don’t know what C&D was talking about when they said the interior was “gimmicky”. Whatever, I think its a fabulous car if you have $500-$600 bucks to burn per month (or so).

Without further delay, here are some pictures from the show! Enjoy!

LA Auto Show 2009

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.

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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.

IMG_0432

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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is the full gallery of pics I took at the show. The goods, the bads and the uglies.