I was a little bored last weekend, so I figured why not take a trip on down Kansas City Auto show and make up some arbitrary awards for all that is strange, amusing, interesting, and disappointing? Still with me? Then away we go:
The Best Manual Shift Knob Award
Goes to the Ford Focus ST. Manual shift knobs which are stolen or otherwise missing are the norm at many car shows, leaving naught but a shift boot and protruding bolt. Ford deserves some recognition for putting in the extra effort to provide us with a nice duct tape facsimile. I suspect that it’s only a matter of time before it too is stolen.
The Least Deserving of Being Made Inaccessible to Attendees Award
Goes to the Fiat 124 Spider. FCA is cool with leaving their Hellcats out and unlocked, but this little roadster was apparently too much for us to handle. Also pay no attention the Mazda booth a few hundred feet away with both versions of the ND out on the floor.
The Someone Didn’t Get the Memo That the Front Seats Are Supposed to Be the Comfortable Ones Award
Goes to the Chevrolet Bolt EV. I’m not sure how they managed this, but the rear seats were somehow more comfortable than the fronts. Congrats Chevy, you did it.
The This Is Going to Knock Somebody’s Kid Out Before This Event Is Over (Not That I’d Mind Too Much Considering Their Generally Poor Behavior) Award
Goes to the Mini Cooper Clubman S, for fitting some surprisingly beefy struts to its low-effort, side-open rear doors. They swiftly fly open with the touch of an electronic release, so I figured it was only a matter of time before one came into contact with some kid’s face. I unfortunately did not have enough time to stick around and verify my hypothesis.
The Most Disproportionate Leg Room to Head Room Ratio Award
Goes to the Infiniti Q70L’s rear seats. Unless we’re talking about a different kind of head.
The Most Stereotypical Brand Representatives Award
Goes to Lincoln’s two old white men who were talking among themselves more than they were with attendees. Great job on shaking up the brand image, guys. I do have to say, the new Continental is pretty nice though...
The I Didn’t Know They Came in That Color Award
Goes to the VW Golf GTI. ObamaNotBad.jpg
The Worst Infotainment Control Interface Award
Goes to Lexus (multiple models). How the hell do they expect you to navigate that entire screen with a non-self-centering joystick that has a range of motion spanning less than one square inch? I’m no stranger to precise mouse controls for PC gaming, but this is just too much.
The Is This Really the Best Place to Be Informing Me About the State of My SD Card? Award
Again, goes to Lexus.
The Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? Award
Goes to the Toyota Camry “Rowdy Edition”. I tried for as long as I could to hold down my lunch and try to find any redeeming qualities in this special edition car, but came away empty-handed (and nearly empty-stomached). I didn’t realize it was possible to make fake chrome and carbon fiber look so... fake. In the time it took me to snap these two photos and flee, I heard no fewer than five individuals expressing their disgust.
The I Apologize for Subjecting You to That Monstrosity, Please Accept This NSX and i8 to Help Make Up for It Award
I think you can figure this one out.
The You Really Couldn’t Add Any More Leg Room in the Wagon Version? Award
Goes to the VW Golf Alltrack, for having alllllllllll of this cargo space...
... and yet only this much rear leg room.
The Is This How Rich People Go Off-Roading? Award
Goes to the Range Rover Velar. I heard that driving over rocks can get dirt on your car. Gross.
The T H I C C
Award A W A R D
Goes to the Subaru Legacy’s front seats. I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel too skinny for a bucket seat, and yet, here we are. Not even the American sedan offerings felt as wide as these.
The Excuse Me, I Asked for Velvet Ropes, What Is This? Award
Goes to the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet. Likely the most expensive car at the show, and yet here it sits on the floor, cordoned off by plebeian retractable belt posts.
The Most Surprising Rear Passenger Space Award
Goes to the Subaru Impreza (hatchback). Obviously this eats into the cargo space a bit, but I’m 6'2" and these were easily the most spacious rear seats out of all the smaller sub-$30k cars I tried. The WRX’s rear seats felt miserable by comparison.
The But Why Tho Award
Goes to whatever is going on here.
The Most Aggressive Hatchback Roof Slope Award
Goes to the Chevrolet Cruze. I hope the rear passengers enjoy staring at black fabric more than whatever might be outside, because that’s about all they’re going to see.
The I Really Want to Sneak On to This Platform Award
Goes to the Ford Ranger. The Tacoma is just a little too small for me, and I’m not a big fan of Chevy’s interiors, so this might be my only hope in the mid-size truck segment. As expected, I couldn’t squeeze the nearby Ford representative for any new power/economy/tow numbers, but it would have been nice to at least let us see it up close.
The @Brand #Swag 💩Award
Goes to Hyundai and their boisterous hype man, luring in passers-by with promises of gift cards, Bluetooth dongles, and battery packs. I have spent many hours training myself to resist such siren songs and was able to escape with my marketable personal information intact.
The Best Seats Award
Goes to the Volvo V90. They’re as good as the reviews say they are. If you can’t get comfortable in here, then I’m not sure you can get comfortable anywhere.
The Someone Else Please Start This and Get Kicked Out of the Auto Show for Me so I May Listen to the The Song of Its People Award
Goes to the Jaguar F-Type R. I REALLY want to hear one of these in person.
The Most Weapon-Like Door Handle Award
Again, goes to the Jaguar F-Type R. That thing is more pointy than it looks. It also might just be that I’ve been playing too much Planescape: Torment recently and had punch daggers on the mind.
Best Truck Award
No matter what your brand loyalties might be...
... the best truck is the one that can serve up a good Bánh mì.