On the weekend before thanksgiving Sam and I went to Costco to pick out a wine to bring to our friends’ house on Thanksgiving. Sam decided to get an extra bottle of Moscato to drink with our dinner of crab legs and lobster bisque. We like the wine and ended up finishing the bottle while watching Awakenings. That was all that was available on Hulu and Sam had never seen it before… don’t judge!
On Thanksgiving day we headed to the auto show. I’d been to the Columbus Auto Show in 2004 and the LA Auto Show in 2008. I think I went to the auto show shortly after moving to Los Angeles as well, but I don’t remember when. This show was probably the best. Not necessarily because the cars were any better but because I went with Sam, who was looking at new cars to replace her lease-ending Accord. We stopped at the Lexus area pretty early on.
The BMW booth was nearby and featured two concept cars that are being used for the upcoming Mission Impossible #46,000 film; apparently they’re electric powered.
The new M3 looks not that different from the old, but I really liked the matte teal color.
Later, at the Toyota booth we hoped to see the new “little prius” that looks really cool in the tv spots. In the tv spots it is a gray version of this:
I’ll post the commercial below and you can skip ahead to 36 and 45 seconds in to see the “c” car:
At the Toyota booth we thought we’d find the final production model. When we looked for it we were presented with this (excuse my language, but I believe it’s necessary to emphasize the mammoth wave of disappointment we felt) boring piece of shit:
I’m sorry, kicking a Yaris in a few spots and dropping in a battery is not what I consider a “cool” looking car. Why bother making a cool concept and then using the Yaris…why not just offer a hybrid Yaris? We actually couldn’t believe this was the same model from the commercials (I didn’t remember it was called the “C” at the time) and so we climbed up the stairs to a sort of “bridge” area that Toyota had thinking it might be hidden up there. There was nothing substantial (no cars) up there, but I did take a shot of the hall. You can only see a small section of the hall due to the hanging banners and floor to ceiling booths.
The only thing notable at the GM area was this hot wheels looking Camaro:
I had hoped that the LA Auto Show would feature the unveiling of the US version of the FT-86 Toyota production model. Unfortunately all they had was the Scion concept, which has been up on the web for a while now.
The car looks nice and is competing in a small market consisting of really only the Hyundai Genesis coupe and nothing else. I may save up and get a second generation one in a few years if the interior is as nice as the exterior. Unfortunately, over the long weekend some official photos and specs leaked out for the Japanese version of this car – the real deal Toyota GT86; and the interior is as plain looking as the spy shots seen last month. The exterior is better than anything else in it’s price range though:
but I couldn’t look at this interior every day and be satisfied. It looks like a 1998 Mazda Miata:
Boooooooring! I was hoping they’d stick closer to the awesome concept interior:
They didn’t even keep the flat bottom steering wheel… how hard would that have been? Oh well… moving on we found the Jaguar CX-16 concept that actually looks really nice:
It looks pretty close to being production ready, hopefully not much changes.
We also saw a new electric Audi convertible called (this is a dumb reference to a movie already a year old) the “e-tron” that probably won’t ever see the light of day on a real road:
Below is a Cadillac concept based on the old 1967 El Dorado. Weird color choice, but I like it. My pictures here don’t show the VERY pointy back end – a clear homage to the 1967 car.
Back end of 1967 (a beautiful car if you ask me):
back end of concept:
Sam’s favorite car of the show was the Volvo “You” concept car. To me it looks like a melted 5 series (which isn’t necessarily an insult) on the outside, but the inside is what was so great.
Later, in the skinny hall for luxury/super cars we came across the Doking.
Sam said it reminded her of some cute anime character’s car. There were two people sitting in the car, which made us think that we’d get to sit in it as there was apparently a line (see the right of the photo above), but it turned out the characters in the car were hired models.
Elsewhere in the supercar hall was my favorite, the Aston Martins. Apparently the AM crew is so snooty they figured nobody needed to show up on Thanksgiving or even turn on their displays.
On the other end of the supercar hall we came across a Nintendo booth promoting the new Mario Kart release on the Nintendo DS. I had erroneously assumed I could actually sit in the life-size working Karts on display. When we went to the booth we were informed that we could not sit in them. The booth had many stations where attendees could play a 4 person pick-up game of Kart on a DS. We played two or three matches and then Sam got tired of it. I guess she didn’t spend her entire college career playing Mario Kart 64 like I did (and many many years playing Super Mario Kart before that). I couldn’t decide if I liked the 3D on or off (there is a toggle switch on the new DS).
An aftermarket parts manufacturer had a booth along the wall connecting two of the halls and they covered it with succulents.
Next we came to the second large hall of the convention center. The first booth we visited was Lincoln.
Some of the new lincolns feature the “mylincoln touch” system. This system is unassuming when you see it, but when you touch it you’ll be impressed. It’s basically flat surfaces that react to your touch (with lights). The technical term is capacitive touch sensing. It’s a simple solution that has been in place (like the power button on my 2007 30″ dell computer monitor) for a long time, but never attempted in an automobile. It has a very classy feel. This combined with the cool dual-sided LCD driver’s information display in the new MKS was, in my opinion, the best actual production car interior (under $100,000). I was very surprised to find this in a lincoln. The touch display is available on two or three cars now, but the new LCD driver info display won’t be on one until about May of next year when the 2013 MKS hits dealers. I looked the car up online later and found it to have a surprising amount of cool tech gadgets and so on for what is essentially, let’s face it, an “old people” brand.
Mytouch center console (he’s not actually touching it, so it isn’t lighting up):
driver info area:
This video shows you what happens much better than the photos above show:
Kia had a cool sports car concept:
We liked the interior which was very similar to the Volvo concept but with lots of leather:
When we came to the Fiat area Sam (the fashion designer) was immediately drawn to the Gucci Edition Fiat 500.
This was unexpected as she hates the mini cooper, which looks virtually the same to me. It was explained to me that the Gucci looks much “cuter” (which I read as “feminine”). However, by the next day Sam’s affection for the little car had waned so much that we didn’t even include in our list of cars for her to test drive.
Porsche had rented out their own small hall (or large room) at the convention center. The exteriors are very pretty, but the interiors (like most of the luxury cars we saw hovering around six figure price tags) are pretty basic and the center console always looks like it’s ripped from a 2001 Chevy Malibu.
Remove the navigation screen and do you really see a $90,000 difference between the center stacks?
Even the great Porsche still uses black plastic buttons all in a row… boring boring boring.
But the outside….
Kentia Hall (downstairs) was filled with aftermarket products. Surprisingly this was the only place in the show were you could actually find a Lamborghini, Ferrari or Bugatti. I remember those brands being on the main floor in 2008 and I wonder why Lambo chose not to show off an Aventador in Los Angeles.
Dub had a bunch of stuff. It all looked dumb. Maybe they just forgot the “m” from the name and it’s supposed to be dumb?…
There was a cool rat-fink roadster:
We had ended up parking near the valet entrance and on our way out the first car in valet was this spotless old Lotus Esprit.
After leaving the show we went straight to Arcadia to join the Thanksgiving meal of a friend’s parents.
The next day Sam agreed to help me clean out my closet. The stack below is what came OUT. I didn’t realize it but I still had some of my “fat pants” from Columbus. I hope I never fit snugly in a 36 waist ever again.
And below is what stayed after Sam color-coordinated everything:
And if you’re curious… Sam ended up test driving a Lexus hybrid and a Hyundai Sonata and chose the Sonata. I’m insanely jealous of her back-up camera, keyless entry, rear-view mirror garage gate switches, etc. I think I can hold out a few more years before my next car though. Although… there is THIS problem from this morning:
100,000 miles on my Mazda. Yikes. The only really scary thing about that is realizing that means it’s been THAT LONG since I graduated from college (the first time) and came to California!