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Mustang84's Chicago Auto Show Impressions


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I just got back from a long day at the Chicago Auto Show and had a great time! I am exhausted from getting up at 5 AM to pick up others and make the 4 hour drive, so I will add pictures later.

I started the day off with Ford, since it was right by the main door directly across from Toyota. Ford had some of the best displays, with plenty of interactive showcases, engine cutaways, and touch screens. Traffic in the Ford area was really good, with the Mustang, Taurus, Fiesta RS, and SVT Raptor receiving a lot of attention. The new Edge and Focus were very hot vehicles in person. They didn't do proper justice with the Focus though....only the sedan was there, and there was nothing to distinguish it as special besides a rope around it. In general, Ford's display was littered with all sorts of eye-candy and visuals. The subdued blue lighting added some nice atmosphere. The Ford brand's brochure was the best one at the show, IMO. It had some substance to it, with thick glossy paper, nice large images of the vehicles, well organized, brief yet informative descriptions, and great photography and design. I have a feeling Farley had a hand in it.

Afterward, I worked my way over to Lincoln-Mercury, where I stuck up a conversation with a Ford UAW worker while looking at the MKS (there were a lot of Ford UAW workers from Chicago Assembly at the show). I talked about my LS and told him I was anxious for Ford to develop a new midsize RWD Lincoln. Then afterward he offered to take my picture with the MKS. Lincoln had an MKT "starlit night" interactive display that was interesting. Lincoln's whole display was very dark with streaks of light on video displays, playing off the atmosphere of recent commercials. Mercury, as usual, was mostly dead and deserted. They did have reps walking about and a nice little counter area, but there was little else to see.

Then I spent some time wandering around Honda and Toyota. Between the Omaha Auto Show and the Chicago Auto Show, I have had plenty of seat time in Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, Chevys, Hyundais, etc. And with all that seat time, I don't know how people can still justify boasting that Honda and Toyota interiors are benchmarks. I sat in the Civic, Fit, Insight, Accord, and Crosstour; out of all those, the Crosstour was the only vehicle that had decent amounts of nice material. The other four were full of hard plastic, and nearly every Honda door I shut felt tinny and slightly loose (especially the Civic). Toyota wasn't much better, although their doors seemed to be a little more substantial. Toyota plastic scratches the worst of any manufacturer...all their test vehicles with dark plastic had scratches galore.

Toyota is using this new material for the Sienna and Venza dash that has an interesting horizontal grain, but it's still hard and fairly cheap. Hands-down, Ford interiors beat Honda and Toyota in nearly every category. The newer Fords have dashes with rubbery tops, and upper door materials usually have some soft material compared to the cheap, poorly grained stuff on many Toyotas. The Fiesta will stomp the Fit and Yaris in fit & finish. I was a little disappointed with new Mustang's interior; it is better than the 2005-2009, but there are still key areas such as the upper doors that have poorly-grained plastic that is just not very good to the touch.

The Fiat girls were freaking hot. Wow!

Later, I went over to the GM section. The Volt, XTS, and Regal all had lots of attention. The Aveo RS was another hit. Not many people were looking at the Cruze. I don't think GM went far enough with it, especially on exterior styling...it just seemed to blend in. I really liked the Cadillac and Buick displays; they had an air of modern sophistication to them. People were milling around the Camaros and Corvettes as usual. Chevrolet and Cadillac had nice brochures, but I felt like Buick and GMC skimped out (cheap paper that folds out like a mpa and is completely worthless when you are walking around). The Chevy girls had nice outfits with black skirts and tall black boots. Classy yet sexy. Traffic was high in Chevy and Cadillac, and moderate in Buick/GMC.

The Kia display was also pretty cool, as was the big Scion tower of stacked cars. One thing I will say; Toyota marketing can completely miss the mark at times (dumb Sienna skit, dumb "fly Avalon class" singing group) and other times they knock one out of the park, as with Scion. They nailed the target audience for that display. They also had a "Trouble & Bass" music sampler CD that I have yet to play, but it was a good idea for a marketing freebie.

Then I went around looking at exotics and higher-end stuff. The gullwing Mercedes is gorgeous in person. They had Fiskers, Lamborghinis, and a Porsche Panamera to round out the the "out of my price range" offerings.

Twice I heard comments about Kia sucking, and someone called the 2011 Sonata a catfish. I think the Kia comments were harsh; I have given them a hard time in the past, but Kia is definitely coming around. I'm quite amazed at Hyundai and Kia's progress over the last couple years. Their interiors are pretty decent, and they continue to get more original with styling. Every manufacturer should be watching them with caution.

Well, that's the brunt of it. I will upload pictures tomorrow or early next week.

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I will upload pictures tomorrow or early next week.

Cool ... looking forward to seeing your pics of the show. Sounds like you had a good time!

I didn't get a chance to go this year, though I did meet up with Drew while he was in town ... that was cool to see him again.

Cort | 36swm.IL | "Mr Monte Carlo"."Mr Road Trip" | pig valve.pacemaker * my radio show.03/13/10 *

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

"Got a lead foot down on my accelerator" ... Jodee Messina ... 'Bye Bye Bye'

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here are some samples:


Cool pics...thanks for sharing.

Believe I saw the Volt on my Route 66 road trip at the Snow Cap in Seligman AZ, 09/14/09, Monday, ~1:45p:


Also saw this:


Cort | 36swm.IL | "Mr Monte Carlo"."Mr Road Trip" | pig valve.pacemaker * 07/24/2010 = Chitown #3 *

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

"Ain't she a beautiful sight?" ... CW McCall ... 'Convoy'

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