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2011 Orange County Auto Show

I know this post is a bit late since the LA Auto Show is in town and in full swing. I still think it’s a good idea to get some pictures and info out there so you can take a look at what’s new this coming year. The OC Auto Show isn’t exactly the best show in SoCal, but it’s good enough to get a feed for what’s currently out there. Most people hold out for the LA Show because it’s a much more “comprehensive” show than the one in OC. This show seemed more like a giant dealership more than anything. To avoid being repetitive (since I will be posting the LA Auto Show pictures right after this), I will just post the more “unique” photos from this show.

Acura

TL – Small revamp in styling, improved, but not quite the “prom queen”.
TSX – Limited Edition is mostly cosmetic changes. A sedan with sport aspirations.

Audi

A7 – Great looking sedan. Top notch interior quality and very unique design. Not sure of I like this one more of the CLS. I really dig what Audi has done with the Nav by integrating Google’s Navigation system. If you have ever used Google Nav on Android phones, you will know what I mean. If you haven’t, then you are really missing out.

Chevrolet/Cadillac/Buick

Cruze – If you haven’t seen the interior of the Cruze, you’ll be surprised. This car was at the show last year too, but I can’t get over how well Chevy has done with this car’s interior. If you have ever rented any Chevy, you’ll notice how terrible GM has been when it comes to interior quality.

Corvette – This is one way to get people to buy American…

CTS-V Coupe – My favorite American car. Just love the way the seats just hold you and never lets you go.

Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep

Charger SRT8 – The interior quality has really stepped up significantly. I’m still not crazy about the lines on the doors, but the front and back just looks mean! If I had to pick though, I would probably go with the 300. Less racer boy, more rap mogul.

300 SRT8 – Beats by Dr Dre is truly a sick audio system. It boosts my street cred just sitting in the back seat.

Grand Cherokee – Best looking 5-passenger SUV in my opinion. Quality is still suspect (my friend got one and it has been in the shop twice in less than a year), but it’s not surprising since it’s a first year model.

Hyundai

Veloster – Better looking in person…barely. From what I hear, it also looks much sportier than it drives. I would consider one, but only with a Turbo. The interior is nicely laid out, with good ergonamics. It is also feature loaded which makes it that much more attractive. Clearly targeting the 18-24 year-old crowd.

Toyota

Camry – I am NOT a huge Toyota fan right now. Their cares are uninspiring and feel like appliances more than anything else. The incoming Camry is slightly less hideous than the outgoing model, but I still don’t see how they will outsell the Sonata.

Volkswagen

Beetle – Redesign and less girly. Still not as iconic as the original.

GLI – It’s here and the lease rates on this puppy are decent (not great though). Interior quality is still “bleh”, but the red-stitching helps.

Tiguan – It got a nose job to fall in line with the rest of it’s siblings.

Jetta Star Wars Edition – From a performance perspective, this feels like this….If it were a GLI, it would be more like THIS!

Lexus

GS350 – I’ve seen enough of the LF-A to last me a while, so only new thing to report here is the newly redesigned GS350. I barely notice the difference except for a more “linear” design and the Audi-wannabe LEDs.

Honda

CR-V – If only they would actually sell this concept and give us an optional beefier engine (turbo4 or small displacement 6) then the 2012 would be forgiven. I guess that’s asking for too much innovation.

Nissan

Leaf – If you were wondering how the Leaf looks like inside, here are the pics. If you were wondering how the interior materials feel; it’s all hard plastic.

MINI

JCW Cooper Coupe – One thing is for sure, MINI knows how to milk the living crap out of the MINI brand. I am waiting for the MINI Van (pun intended) to show up any minute now.

Land Rover

Evoque – It looks great for a compact crossover. Not sure how comfortable rear passengers will be with such a low roofline, but it really makes owning a crossover cool. I’m not sold on the 2-door model though. The whole point of getting a crossover is to have more practicality, otherwise, I’d get a coupe.

Volvo

S60 – This is the first time I’ve been so pumped about a Volvo as a lease. I’m not all that crazy about the schnoz of this sedan, but the rest of the car looks great. It is also a very good lease for those of you who are willing to give Volvo a try. I haven’t always been open to driving a Volvo (my sister has a few of them and they haven’t exactly been reliable), but as a lease, if the car looks good and the numbers look good, any manufacturer is worth a try.

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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!

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2009 OC Auto Show

I was on hand at the OC Auto Show this weekend browsing through the latest and greatest from a handful of manufacturers. It was somewhat disappointing to see that some big name brands didn’t show up, but then again I can’t really blame them. Come November, the Los Angeles Auto Show should be in town, so there isn’t much of a spending that kind of money to promote your vehicles twice in the same market. Nevertheless, the OC Auto Show was solid because it was not too crowded and I got to hope into practically every single car. Hopefully, you took advantage of the free ticket I posted on the previous OC Auto Show post. I ended up realizing that the ticket was only FREE for Thursday and Friday. For Saturday and Sunday, it gives you a 50% discount for up to 4 tickets; still a pretty good deal.

For those who have never been to the OC Auto Show, this is a much smaller venue compared to the LA Auto Show. The most notable absentee was Mercedes Benz. I found that to be somewhat strange considering BMW, Audi, Infiniti and Lexus put up some seriously strong showings there. Now the highlight of the show was probably Saturday’s Hawaiian Tropic Bikini contest. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the crowd had gotten pretty big and it was hard to see much of anything. I also happened to be with my wife, which pretty much explains why I didn’t get to see anything as well. Nevertheless, I did bump into some rather attractive booth girls and there were a few bikini models did roam around the show taking pictures with attendees.

Now lets go back to the cars shall we! 🙂

Acura: The fellows from Japan had the usual lineup, TSX, TL, RL, RDX and the MDX. They also brought in the production ready model of the ZDX, which looks looks like an oversizedd futuristic sports car with 4 doors and a big trunk. My biggest complaint? The color. Why on earth would you debut a production ready vehicle in a crappy brown color?! Great car, crap color.

Audi: Audi brought in all of their cars in glossy white and left the LED lights on to add to the COOL factor. Too bad they put the price tag on these cars too. Talk about sticker shock! One of the most surprising things about the A5 is the trunk space, its freaking HUGE for a coupe.

BMW: The BMW section was a bit bland. I didn’t spend much time there, but I did get the wife into a M3 and she loved the supple leather seats. Her direct words “wow, the leather feels nice”.

Buick: Buick showed off the new Lacrosse and that’s about it. It looks very Lexus-like. Why not just buy a Lexus?

Cadillac: They showed up the CTS trims and their new concept coupe, the Converj. They had this lady presenting the vehicle and talking about design philosophy, etc…then she asks “Do you have any questions? Like when its coming out or how much it will cost? Well it’s not coming out, so there’s no price for it”.

Chevy: Chevy brought out the big guns by displaying a full-sized version of Bumblebee of the Transformers. They even brought in an Autobot-branded Camaro to post next to it. Then my wife and I stood next to them and posted with them. LOL. It was quite entertaining. GM also brought out some of their high-end Corvettes and Camaros and displayed the Stingray Concept; VERY awesome looking as you can see.

Chrysler: Yawn…

Dodge: Double Yawn…

Ford: Probably the biggest disappointment for me was 2010 the Ford Taurus. That center console is freaking MASSIVE! I felt claustrophobic in there and that’s a pretty big car. Not only that, the plastic interior panels reminded me of BouncewithB’s company car, the Dodge Nitro. I could literally PUSH some panels in exposing huge gaps between them. You won’t see that in an Audi A6.  I spent about 5 minutes sitting next to this British guy inside the Taurus and all we did was whine about how Ford has disappointed us yet again.

GMC: Nothing too exciting, just the usual suspects.

Honda: The only  “exciting thing” was their hydrogen powered car that I’ve seen three times already.

Hyundai: Wife really liked the Genesis Coupe and proceeded to diss my G37 as having a “BIG BUTT” compared to the Genesis. How RUDE!

Infiniti: Wife, again tried to make me feel good by telling me the Moonlight White on the EX35 is much better looking than the Ivory Pearl on my G37. Gotta love her. 🙂

Lexus: New HS looks like a bigger more expensive high-tech Prius. Sat in the IS-F and I have to say that that car feels way too cheap inside for a Lexus.

Mazda: I noticed all 2010 model have the massive fish-lip that the 2009-2010 Mazda3 and Mazda6  came out with; yup, that includes the RX8.

Mercedes Benz: A no-show. Lame.

MINI: Sat inside the Clubman with the wife at the wheel. She proceeded to feel claustrophobic (like I was in the Taurus) and jumped out. Looks like we’re not getting a MINI after the TSX.

Nissan: I don’t think I made it there.

Subaru: Took a few pics of the STi. Good looking hatchback if I do say so myself.

VW: The new Golf / GTI are out and they look much better in my opinion. I would probably consider a 4-door GTI as my weekend car since its compact yet has more cargo room than my G37.  I spent some time looking at the Tiguan as well. My folks recently picked one up so I wanted to see what it was like. Its not the most luxurious car out there, but its well-built and has a nice interior.

Volvo: The new S60 and the C30 looked better in person. Their new crossover SUV XC60 looks wicked with dark tinted glass. I still wouldn’t lease one yet since I still remember my sister’s horror stories about her S70 back in the day.

Anyway, I would go on and on about the show, but I’m sure you guys want to see the pictures, so here you go!

Orange County Auto Show – October 15-18, 2009

I received a free online ticket to the OC Auto Show, happening next week in Orange County (CA), from my dealer over at Cerritos Infiniti last week. When I went to print the ticket, I realized I could give out free tickets to “Friends” too, using a promotional code. For those who live in Southern California or plan to be in the area that weekend (Oct 15-18), here’s a link to get some free tickets to the show:

OC Auto Show Tickets

Be sure to un-check the Free 12-month Motor Trend subscription if you don’t want the magazine.

The bikini models and cars usually makes a good combination, so be sure to check their website for more information on the shows and events happening at the show.

Anaheim Convention Center
800 W Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92802

SHOW SCHEDULE

Thursday, October 15 4 pm – 10 pm
Friday, October 16 12 noon – 10 pm
Saturday, October 17 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday, October 18 9 am – 7 pm