ocnblu

Baltimore Auto Show

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Yesterday I put the Sierra on Rt 95 S and headed to the Baltimore Convention Center to check out the Motor Trend-sponsored Auto Show. The show opened at 10, I got there around 11:30, so the crowd was still fairly thin. First display I came upon was Chevrolet, with the glorious Vettes out front, at the entry point. Off to the side was the 2009 Aveo5 LT in silver, which, I have to say looked better than all the photos suggest. Without seeing it side by side with the current car, the new front does not look too big as I'd feared, that and the touched-up tail do a good job of modernizing the little guy. The sunroof, alloys and two-tone leatherette interior add to the appeal, and the new mileage estimates put it on par with the Honda Fit. A better effort than I first believed.

Even though it was early in the day, the crowd around the silver Camaro Concept was thick with wide-eyed admirers, me included. "Wow" is the word that comes to mind, it is simply THE essence of Chevrolet up there on the show stand. In the background behind the stage, video screens touted Chevy's new "green" message. I said to one of the Chevy reps "How are we supposed to pay any attention to the hybrid message with the awesome Camaro sitting there?" He let out a hardy laugh. Oh, and the spokesmodel for the Camaro is a hottie.

I noticed ppl were interested in the HHR SS as well, and they had a nice looking tan LS Panel with the accessory 17" rims and a "Super Chevrolet Service" graphic on the side. People were pouring over the new Malibus as well, I heard a lot of positive comments.

The Saturn display was very low-key. A tan 3-door Asstra was up on the turntable, and they had a 5-door and another 3-door down on the floor for ppl to sit in. There wasn't a big crowd at the Saturn display while I was there. I do like the Asstra 3-door, though.

I happened to be standing by when a lady went nutty from the driver's seat of an H2, yanking on the steering wheel and shouting "Killing the environment minute by minute!" and then she jumped out. I leaned in and said "You should see the Toyota Sequoia, it gets bad gas mileage too" She came out of her stupor and said "Ohhh, no, that's horrible!"

The new Vibe drew a reasonable crowd, they had a Steel Blue AWD with chrome wheels. I chatted with the spokesmodel for a few minutes between spiels, along with a nice black lesbian couple who have a current-gen Vibe.

This was my first time seeing the G8. They had a Stealth Blue GT up on the turntable. The color looks identical (without seeing it side by side) to Blue Flash, that new blue with purple pearl we've seen on the Cobalts/G5, HHR, and Vue. The car has a nice stance. I like the rims and the interior. The front end rocks as well. I sincerely hope this car does well in the market, for Pontiac's sake. I overheard one lady say to her husband as she cast a disdainful glance around the Pontiac display "after they quit making my Bonneville, I don't like them anymore!" All in all, though, the crowd was a bit smaller than the group at the Camaro, but there were some enthusiastic stares, and questions about the car for the spokesmodel chick.

Good sign: some teenage boys were eyeing the G5, even taking cell phone pictures of a red one with the 18" accessory rims and the ridiculous high wing. And some more young people were checking out the G6 coupe, with and without the Bugs Bunny package. One older guy commented that a silver GXP sedan with Street Pak was "too wild looking".

Over at Buick, a gaggle of 50-something guys were gaga over the LaCrosse Super, resplendent in all-brown. I said to the rep "What can Brown do for you?" He rolled his eyes at me and said "Go reeeally fast!" I felt like a total nerd for that brief second.

A teenage kid jumped behind the wheel of the Super to dream, he knew what he was looking at. As soon as he saw me looking, he hopped out and gave an embarrassed grin... like I thought he was too young to be liking any Buick. Hey, it's all good.

I love GM as everyone knows, but I also have an affinity for affordable European iron, so I left the GM area of the floor.

There was an extremely cool, brown Mini Clubman on display, with brown leather seats with tan piping. The crowd at the Mini area was thick, and enthusiastic, except for one lady who commented with a flourish of her hand toward the ornately decorated dash of the Cooper, "I just don't like all that junk" to the rest of her group, some of which I believe were Mini owners. She prolly drives a '98 Corolla or something, the ol' sourpuss.

The Jetta Sportwagen seems so brilliant to me now, with their new TDI engine (predicted by VW to attain 50+ mpg on the highway... why on earth buy a complicated hybrid?). As per Jetta history, the load area of the Sportwagen looks huge. The 3-door Rabbit looks like Bargain of the Century compared to the Astra 3-door, still priced $2k lower than the Astra when equipped with alloys to even up the two cars' equipment lists.

The Tiguan "Micro SUV" knocked my socks off as well. It's so tiny, but it looks aggressive, especially with the available 19" rims. Too bad the AWD versions are all Tiptronic automatics, but a 6-speed manual is available with the FWD version, along with the standard 2.0L Turbo 4 out of the GTI, a strong powertrain that promises to continue VW's rep for being fun to drive. I understand we will get a TDI Tiguan as well, hmmm...

I have a bunch of photos, some of which did not turn out well (I think I did not have my camera on the right setting for the lighting in the building), and some more impressions from the show floor, if anyone wants to hear them. Jeez, sorry to ramble on so long here.

Edited by ocnblu
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Mr. Blu as usual a very fine post. I am glad that you liked what was on display and enjoyed the show. Thanks for :pokeowned: the Enviro nut in a nice way.

I have come to agree with you that VW has some good vehicles with some great prices. The Jetta diesel is a no brainer compared to the frumpy Prius and other hybrids.

Good luck with you small car search. Apparently small is good sometimes, just ask BV about it :P.

I thought the post could have been longer without being boring. :thumbsup:

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This is a great overview for someone like me who NEVER misses the autoshow...but did just that this year :AH-HA_wink:

Years ago, I used to go to the Baltimore show with my father (closest, relatively, coming from lower Delaware and he knows the area), and recently have been doing Philly since it's a train ride away.

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I enjoyed reading your views on the Tiguan. I have always been a fan of Vdubyas and a diesel Tiguan is intriguing. I think I'm the only person in this state who loves the Pheaton. If GM did not exist, I would probably have Vdubyas.

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I was there as well yesterday. :)

My ramblings on the GM wing:

- Agree with everything you said about the GM cars.

- Turned my wife on to the Acadia, especially the spec'd out SLT AWD.

- Overheard two older gentlemen marvel at the fact that the LaCrosse Super is FWD but has a V8 engine.

- Three guys in front of me, younger than me, were marveling at the Camaro much like everything else. One of them kept wondering how the production version would look. I wanted to school him, but didn't get the chance... :P

- They even had a Cobalt Sport I liked, except that it was yellow.

- Sat in a Saab 9-5. I don't much care for the interior.

- I don't care what anyone else says, the STS is still a sweet-looking car, especially in V-Series trim. They could do better on the interior.

Elsewhere:

- Loved the Lincoln MKS. The Ford Flex still looks like it's too short.

- My wife enjoyed sitting in the Volvo S40 and Acura TL.

- When did BMW's turn signal lever begin to not hold its place on its own? Seems counterintuitive to me.

- Loved the Jaguar XF concept.

- The Ford F150 Platinum Edition looks much better in person than in pictures.

- I didn't even visit the Toyota section. :lol: My wife wanted to look at the Lexuses though.

I have pics too, but they're on Facebook and MySpace.

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like I thought he was too young to be liking any Buick.

Sometimes I get that feeling too... I take a real ribbing about it sometimes, but it helps that my best friend drives an '96 Oldsmobile 88 LS and he loves it- if there's two people like that in a group, it sure spreads the flaming around :yes:

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I think Pontiac has a lot of potential with the youth.

Most of them, car people or not, know of the almost exaggerated muscle car/Trans Am folklore of the division. In that respect, the division represents a certain freedom to a lot of them (Especially with 'vintage' being the in thing now)

I see more young people in G6's than I see in Cobalts or Auras. (Too soon to judge on the new 'Bu and Asstra)

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I enjoyed reading your views on the Tiguan. I have always been a fan of Vdubyas and a diesel Tiguan is intriguing. I think I'm the only person in this state who loves the Pheaton. If GM did not exist, I would probably have Vdubyas.

No K.C. you are one among two at least I know. I did not like rather disgustingly hated the idea of a Phaeton till I saw this video and then drove one in person.

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Cool...

I though the LaX super was sweet...and there were teens all over it....I was quite surprised...

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No K.C. you are one among two at least I know. I did not like rather disgustingly hated the idea of a Phaeton till I saw this video and then drove one in person.

Nice to see another wierdo like me. :P

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Nice to see another wierdo like me. :P

Except that I do not drive a vette or ordered an Acadia and breeds Newfies. :P

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AWESOME ramble, ocn :).

Cool descriptions ... sounds like it was a good show!

Cort:34swm."Mr Monte Carlo.Mr Road Trip".pig valve&pacemaker

WRMNshowcase.legos.HO.models.MCs.RTs.CHD = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort

"It's not the car I want" ... George Jones ... 'The Corvette Song'

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Jetta TDI wagon, definitely a sleeper. will that be getting DSG?

killing the environment, minute by minute. LOL. i bet that skank beeoch is a polluting hypocrit herself.

astra-not as functional as the rabbit i would bet. i found this notion after sitting in one and realizing how small it is and how bad the rear visibility is.

great post blu. warming up to the g8 now?

Edited by regfootball
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Yeah, the show was worth the trip. Thanks for the comments, guys. Edited by ocnblu
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Ocn, it's probably good that you didn't do both the Baltimore AND Philly shows - most of the cars you described were on display at both shows, and many in the same colors (the G8 was a bright red in Philly though). As I read your "ramble", I recalled many of the same cars I saw at the Philly show. Good writeup!

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