Auto Show Thoughts

Winter weather is socking us in pretty good here. Think I’ll write a short description of what it’s like to drive around in subzero weather, 30 mile an hour winds and heavy snow: IT SUCKS. But we do it anyways.

I drove from my condo to Ferndale to pick my dad up for the Auto Show (NAIAS) today. Normally about a 25 minute drive, it took almost 70 minutes.

Then, we drove downtown to Cobo Hall. A drive which should take all of 20 minutes down Woodward. Instead, that took 60 minutes. Cold enough that the snow that melts on your windshield freezes to your wiperblades, causing smears to run across the windshield and turn driving into a blurry acid trip.

The Auto Show itself was very weird. We’re in some kind of general automobile suckiness right now. The whole country is crapping on the auto industry, and even the people who work, live and bleed the auto industry are having a hard time being up on it. Bad weather didn’t use to stop people from attending the auto show… but this year, it did. I’ve NEVER parked that quickly for an auto show, or seen the Cobo basement parking echo like that. Inside the show, it looked kind of normal.. except for the density. Usually, there’s so many people, cars, trucks, hotrods, and such packed in that you feel like a well oiled sardine trying to find it’s place in the can. Instead, it was easy to walk around. I was able to sit and experience more vehicles this year than ever before.

Sadly, I wasn’t there looking at vehicles to dream about. Mostly thinking about what cheap ass car I can afford when the lease is up on my Mazda… maybe a Mazda 3 2010 (except the new model looks like a stunned whale), a Honda Fit (biggest little car I’ve ever seen..)… Yeah, I’d rather have the 450 HP Dodge Challenger I sat in (which feels kind of like hiding in a cave…) but there’s no way I can afford that.

Nicest Car I sat in: Pontiac G8 GT. WAY cool car.

Smallest Car I say in: Pontiac Solitice GXP. Nice looking car. However, it’s way too small. I mean, I’m kinda fat, but it’s not my bulk that made the car small. I think the average height to be comfortable in this would be about 5′ 2″ or thereabouts… unless you like driving with your knees smacking you in the nose.

Most Overpriced: Dodge Journey R/T. $35k? For that? Are you KIDDING me? It was like being entombed in hard plastic. No frickin way. That thing was $15k over priced at minimum. The vehicle was bad enough to make me wonder if Chrysler has any chance at all..Even more than the Mini’s are over priced. $34k for a Mini Clubman S? At least it looks good, has soft, pleasing surfaces inside…

Most realistic next car for me: Honda Fit or Mazda 3. I don’t WANT a foreign car, but I don’t expect to be able to afford anything over 20k… and nothing by the domestic car companies looks possible. Looked as a Pontiac g3 and Chevy Aveo… and they’re horrid inside. They’re roomy, but it felt like Fisher Price designed the interior. Ford didn’t have the Fiesta on display (which might have otherwise made this list)…  Chrysler doesn’t have anything at all. Maybe a Pontiac Vibe, but that’s just a Toyota Matrix in makeup. I do like the VW Rabbit and GTI, but my Dad states that all VW cars are a pain in the ass to work on, so I’ll take that advice.

Electric Cars: GEM cars would be neat… They’re street legal on any road in the US with 35mph or less. My drive to work and home fits that description, so… yeah, that would be very cool. But I’m not spending 10k on a golf cart. Maybe 3k. Big price gap there… Volt looks decent, but worth 40k? No way. Same with Honda Insight and Toyota Pruis. I’m sure they’re nice, but they’re over priced. What’s the purpose of a GMC Sierra pickup with a 6.0L V8 with Hybird tech? It gets 21/22 MPG and costs an extra $15k over the non-hybrid pickup. Even if I owned the truck for 15 years, you still wouldn’t pay off the difference there… and the ripple in terms of environmentalism would only be detectable by a high power electron microscope.

The Car I REALLY want: Pontiac G8. Nice, big, car. Beeee-yoo-te-full. Comfortable. Purty. Oh yeah, man. I thought my answer here would be the Challenger, but… it didn’t fit me.

(Wait… Aren’t you a truck guy, Mike? Well… Yeah, but I don’t think a truck or SUV is advisable for a single guy anymore… Think I’m growing up? Oh wait… no… I ogled the Camaro… and the model showing it off)

Saddest Car Company: tie BYD, Brilliance, Chrysler, Nissan. The Chinese cars looked about 30 years behind everything else in the show. The GEM cars looked more advanced… and those are just glorified golf carts. Chrysler is in shambles… they have nothing left. The Ram, Jeep Wrangler and Challenger… and then… nothing. The Caliber is horrifying. The Avenger looks like a reanimated dead hooker. The Journey is a collapsed lung… encased in hard plastic. It felt like the whole section was a pity trip. Sad Sad… Oh, I included Nissan here because they were too cheap to show their asses up. I wanted to see the GT-R in person. Bastards…

Best Car Companies: Domestic: Ford and GEM. Yeah, no one knows what GEM is (electric cars/glorified golf carts). Ford has the strongest lineup. The new Taurus is the first non-snooze inducing Taurus ever. I might be interested. The new Fusion looks snappier than the old one. The Fiesta should be cool. The Focus is, unfortunately, a cure for insomnia, but the F150 is one sweet pickup. Edge is a great CUV. I think Ford has the best lineup current. Foreign? VW or Mazda. VW’s car lineup is pretty decent. I LOVE the GTI, but it’s not realistic to me. Too expensive for too small of a package. The Tiguan is a great looking SUV. Love the CC. Mazda is solid all the way across. The RX-8 is awesome looking (but it’s an ass dragger… your butt sits maybe 3/4″ off the ground at 90MPH…) I drove a Mazda 5 as a rental. Nice little family hauler. The new Mazda 6 is really REALLY nice. If it were cheaper, it’d be on my list. I wouldn’t drive it with a 4 cylinder… only the 270 hp v6 interests me there.

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