Chicago Auto Show 2014: My Impressions
I considered skipping the auto show this year for a few reasons, but I decided it was a good excuse to hang out with my former coworker, Howard. Howard is an amiable fellow who loves racing and likes cars, but really doesn't know much about them. His car ownership history is truly dreadful, as evidence I cite the fact that his favorite former vehicle was a Cavalier wagon (wagon, yay, but c'mon, Cavalier and favorite should not go together). The weather was getting nasty outside, so we skipped some displays in the interest of not getting stuck on the highway for eternity. As such, I do not have a comprehensive review of the show for you, but the following are the things that left an impression on me.
White: Lots and lots of white
VW has been doing the white display thing for quite a while now. They do it well, but I feel like I've been looking at the same white cars on the same white floor for years now. The white Lexus display really nailed it. Gleaming white cars, with excellent lighting, and the floor had these kind of iridescent red inlay panels. I'm not really interested in Lexus, but the display was so well done, it drew me in like a tractor beam. Infinity's entire display was all white cars as well, but it was just a bunch of ugly (IMO) white cars parked on dark carpeting. I passed them by without visiting. Audi also had a grouping of white cars in an even less interesting display, but their cars are pretty, so I did stop there.
I must confess to being a GM guy, so this is where I spent more time than anywhere else. Nine of the ten vehicles I've owned were GM products, including at least one of each of the core GM brands (Chevy, Oldsmobile, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, and Cadillac).
I've heard it argued that the Verano is so good, and the Regal is so close in size to it, that there really is no reason for the Regal to exist. The best argument that this may indeed be true, is the fact that I can't recall if I saw a Regal there or not.
I was excited to see the Colorado/Canyon, and while they remain on my list of potential replacements for my '06 Sierra someday, I have some reservations. They did a good job butching up the look of the trucks for the American market (I think the global version looks like a big turd), but I'm just not feeling the swoopy/curvy shape of the cab. I also HATE the shifter with a fiery passion. I hope there's a column shifter option when it comes out to market, because I am not buying a truck with a freaking boat throttle for a shifter.
I like the new Mustang, and would consider buying one. I was disappointed in the new F-150, as to me it looks like a different grill/headlight assembly on the same truck. I felt the same way about the new Silverado/Sierra last year. Good thing I like my truck, because nothing out there makes me want to spend the money to upgrade.
I was assigned by my wife to take pictures of the WRX, as she is considering making one a replacement for her Mazda3 one of these days (I'd better teach her to drive stick before that time comes!). I liked it, and I fit in it, which is good, because I really don't fit in the 3. I was also able to squeeze myself into a BRZ. The entry and exit was difficult, but once in, I was fairly comfortable.
The one notable thing I can say is they at least brought a regular Mini that people could sit in this year. This is only notable, because last year they didn't. That's right, last year Mini Cooper did not think to bring …. a Mini Cooper.
I think the picture says all there needs to be said about the state of Mitsubishi of America. Look closely and you'll see that they were buried in the corner behind a couple RV's and a bunch of conversion vans. It looked like they were trying to do the white car thing too, but I didn't bother walking over there to see.
What can I say about Lincoln that hasn't been said around were 1000 times? As we walked past their display (certainly not THROUGH it), I pointed to an MKS and asked Howard what he thought of them. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Kind of crappy, but its a shame that the wind tunnel dictates that shape." I told him that's BS, and I proved it by showing him the Cadillacs.
I was pleased to see that even though they are out of production, the previous generation CTS-V wagon and coupe were both
proudly on display. This gives me hope for the future. The new CTS is fantastic. I really dig the ATS coupe. There was a lot to love at Cadillac. Howard was impressed, and agreed that Lincoln was a pathetic shell of its former self (Howard is exactly twice my age, so he remembers Lincoln at their best).
That's right, I gave the Elmiraj its own heading, its just that good. Some people may call this burying the lead, I call it saving the best for last. Photographs do not do this car justice (particularly my crappy photos). This car is simply stunning. The silhouette is beautiful (pillarless coupe!!!). It's full of elegant and subtle details, my favorite being the exhaust cutouts in the bumper. Oh, and that boat tail! If you pull up in this car, you're the biggest swinging dick around. That's the kind of statement this car makes. I'm really really really looking forward to a production flagship Cadillac, and it makes no difference that I won't be able to afford it.