Boston Auto Show Review
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Thread: Boston Auto Show Review

  1. #1
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    Boston Auto Show Review

    In the Lincoln section, I recently posted what I thought of the rest of the non-Lincoln Boston Auto show. Despite being a fairly low level auto show (it gets few of the dramatic debuts of the recent NAIAS), I always find it interesting to check out the newer models and more interesting to see what show goers mob and what they ignore. So what are the state of things in 2013? Here was my humble opinion:

    Acura:
    - Forget the polite reviews, I think the ILX is embarrassing... I see "Civic" all over its exterior form and interior layout. If any other automaker were to do something this baldly cynical (a Sentra based Infiniti, for example) the media would crush them. Why the pass here?
    - I think Acuras have the nastiest interiors in the luxury car segment. Cheap plastics everywhere with gaudy fonts and exaggerated forms abound. These interiors remind me of Aiwa boom boxes from the late 80's... Tacky, tacky...
    - The new RDX cures insomnia!!

    Audi:

    - Frighteningly competent, consistent, and appealing despite low risk design. Also, when you option them competitively, they're frighteningly expensive...
    - The A7 is the car that should have been the Saab 9-5... Still mourning Saab...
    - While, again, being nothing exciting, Audi interiors are genuinely attractive and use great materials... They're not The Standard for nothing...
    - How many variants and sub-variants of everything can Audi (and BMW and MB) do? The sheer depth of their product range is really terrifying... How can they make money on all of these? How can anyone else hope to compete?

    BMW:
    - The 6 series GC sedan is absolutely the best looking BMW in my lifetime and stunning in matte paint...
    - The 3 series interior is still terribly dull, but it now nearly matches the Audi A4 for material quality. The 3's biggest liability has now been addressed. Too bad the new version now feels so big...
    - Also, the 328 wagon is again, as its always been, the best looking 3 model...
    - The X1's interior is dreadfully cheap but they'll still sell like hotcakes given the fawning attention they were receiving by show-goers of all ages at the BMW stand...

    Buick:
    - I went mostly to look at the Verano. I like its crip exterior quite a bit, not so much the monochromatic grey interior...
    - I used to like the Enclave, but the refresh was not an improvement inside or out...
    - The Encore pretty much looks like a Verano cooked like a kernel of popcorn. Short and tall. But it is a lot of style and value for the money. It will be interesting to see how well it sells, as well as the X1, Q3, MKC, and everything else about to ambush this class in the next few years...

    Cadillac:
    - This was my first time sitting in the ATS. It looks, feels, and probably is much smaller than I imagined. It's sized more like the 1999-2008 E46 BMW 3 series than the current iteration. It has absolutely great seats and a perfect driving position along with low sightlines. The dash actually feels even more futuristic than the Lincoln MKZ's due to the wider application of the haptic feedback to the steering wheel. But...
    - Like the E46 interior, despite really good materials and design, the whole thing somehow feels less luxurious than it should, less appealing than the sum of its parts... I'm not sure why yet... But...
    - the CUE interface is problematic. It's better designed than Ford's frustrating MyTouch system, but it's much, much slower to respond to input. There's a palpable and maddening pause after you do anything at all... Like MyTouch, Caddy can't fix this fast enough...
    - The ATS too feels a tad overpriced as well. It's certainly no value compared to its competition...
    - The XTS interior, however, is absolutely gorgeous and its designers need to sprinkle some of its warmth onto the ATS...
    - The CTS-V is still outrageously appealing inside and out, but is now definitely feeling its age compared to the other metal around it at the show. It's also now lacking some major luxury features considered mainstream in 2013... Unfortunately, however, used CTS-V's hold their value extremely well, so there are no depreciation bargains out there as the new CTS approaches next year

    Chevy:
    - From a distance, the new Impala has a oddly compelling appeal despite having no singular standout design element, as if it exudes pheromones...
    - No new Corvette at this show...
    - Was the 2014 Silverado there? Was it so dull and invisible that I missed it?
    - The new Chevy Spark is even cuter than the Mini. Seriously, children were flocking around it as if it were dispensing ice cream. If I were in the market for a city car, this would be totally what I'd buy...

    Dodge:
    - The Charger and Challenger, like always, were mobbed by show goers...
    - The SRT Charger (and SRT 300C) is genuinely appealing, a true velvet fist...
    - Nothing else at the Dodge stand was really appealing at all...
    - This was my first time sitting in the Dodge Dart, which I've liked in photos, but which in person has a terrible dash filled with organic shaped plastic reminiscent of a late 90's Pontiac Grand Am... They need some more "Wop" input there (check Google News, folks, before you flame me)...

    Ford:
    - The most compelling car of the show was by far and away the Focus ST. Men of all ages just stood there slack-jawed. The Recaros in that ST look like possibly the best OEM car seats ever developed. A co-worker of mine just purchased an ST and all he does is smile dumbly when you ask him about that car. I can't wait to drive this...
    - The Flex I think is one of the more unique and attractive designs on the road. I bet this will become a cult car after it's gone...

    GMC:
    - The "trust us, it's new" 2014 Sierra did not have a single soul looking at it during the entire time I was at the GMC stand. Just a plasticy looking brand representative looking lonely on the turntable. Now, I know this is Boston, Mass and not Butte, Montana, but still... I would have expected ONE person there. Not good for GM's new trucks...

    Honda:
    - The new Accord may be conservative and a fairly blatant dead-ringer for the Hyundai Genesis, but it's a pretty nicely put together Hyundai Genesis. In fact, well optioned, I have no idea why anyone would buy anything on the Acura stand over this given the new Accord looks classier, is cheaper, and feels far fresher. Again, why Acura?

    Hyundai:
    - Somehow, I don't remember this display very well...
    - I still can't get excited about the new Azera, but it'll give the improved Toyota Avalon a serious opponent...
    - The new Santa Fe is actually fairly sharp looking...

    Kia:
    - They were emphasizing their racing program (huh?) and had big "Made in the USA" stickers on the windows of their cars... WTF?

    Infiniti:
    - Buh bye current gen Infiniti G, which at this point has all the charm and class of a Nissan Sentra... I can't wait to see its replacement, even though in photos it looks like a smooshed down J..
    - The M, on the other hand, is aging well and it, like the large Infiniti SUV's, has what I believe are the most sumptuous interiors at the show. If you want to feel unabashedly pampered, any non-G Infiniti interior will deliver the goods. And the M has one of the best views from the drivers seat, with sultry front wheel arches dominating the view. Raarrwww....

    Lexus:
    - Say what you will about the "spindle" (re:predator) grille, but you won't mistake it for anything else on the road. It *is* distinctive, if garish... For that reason, it'll sell well here in the US. Does China like garish?
    - I really, REALLY dislike Lexus' new dash motif, which seems to have been inspired by the last generation BMW 5. It's VERY horizontal, curving away from the driver as it melts into the passenger door. It's anti-driver oriented. What this does is emphasize large, long swaths of plastic. Very good plastic, but plastic nevertheless. What isn't horizontal (like the vents) has a post-industrial, "constructed" feel to it, like it's made from pieces of a Connect Four board. In the ES, this somehow feels particularly cheap. While in other models material quality can be markedly better, especially in the GS and LS, it never feels particularly warm or "luxurious" to me... I never thought I'd say it, but I miss the boring old Lexus interiors that looked like melted chocolate, butter, and cream...
    - BTW, in the battle of overkill information systems, Lexus' was easily the most annoying of the show. Basically, it's a mouse built into the armrest, and a cheap Logitech feeling mouse at that. It blazes through a blizzard of onscreen options that have probably caused 3 car accidents alone just as you've been reading this...

    Mazda:
    - You heard it from me first - The new Mazda 6 is the best looking car on the road, period. I mean, the front clip of this sedan is pure automotive sex. Tragically, though, this stunner has the dash of a 2000-era Isuzu Rodeo... Flat, blocky, "insert stereo here" dash design. If this car had the Accord's or Optima's interior, it would be unstoppable. As it is now, it's as if Christina Hendricks had breast reduction surgery. She'd still be gorgeous, but the whole package would be missing that special something, no? Still, the 6 is totally worthwhile to look at for its US diesel option if no other reason.

    Mercedes Benz:
    - They're like the anti-Lincoln. Where the MKZ needs to sweat the details some more, MB is basically throwing the entire sweat drenched kitchen sink at every aspect of their cars. Every gauge, headlamp cluster, character line, headrest... All of it is just dripping with overthink. It's painful how hard MB is trying to impress you, how hard they're trying to beat you to a pulp with how damn superior they are. Oh, how I long for the days of supremely engineered MB understatement...
    - I still don't understand why people swoon at the sight of MB E-Classes at auto shows.. I... Just... Don't... Understand...

    Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mini:
    - I frankly didn't care enough at this point to visit the first two, and there were so many discarded Mini promo items left everywhere by show goers that I boycotted them in protest...

    Scion:
    - Relevant in my mind only because of the FR-S, which should be sold as a Toyota here in my opinion... It's not my cup of tea... The interior's too kit car, the exterior too fussy, but boy does it look like a ton of fun... In my mind, though, go a bit more mature and buy a Focus ST...

    Subaru:
    - Strangely, the stand was absolutely empty in Subie crazy New England... This may be because they were stuffed in the rear corner of the exhibition hall...
    - I still don't understand why Subaru and Scion haven't taken hell for badge engineering the BRZ and FR-S...
    - I can't believe Subaru is still a relevant automaker given how their interiors feel at least a decade behind everyone else. They are truly the brand for people who hate cars...

    Toyota:
    - The new Avalon actually has some curb appeal. The interior isn't nearly as radical as Toyota is pretending it is, but I'll say this - It's MUCH better than its sibling the Lexus ES, which isn't nearly as warm or cohesive inside. Amazingly, the new Avalon has rendered the stalwart ES obsolete inside and out. The frugal hybrid is the one to buy...

    Volvo:
    - I don't like the vibe at the Volvo stand. I'm having bad Saab fashbacks... A perfectly nice mid-range S60, with good plastics, IKEA-lite interior, and sprinkled with a few options was impressing a guy sitting in the driver's seat. So far so good. The guy gets out and then looks at the sticker... 45K+?!? Ack! Off he went to the Audi stand... Where was that A4 again?
    - Like Saab, Volvo needs to decide who they're competing against. Is it Acura and Buick? Then they need to both up their game and lower their prices... If it's BMW and Audi? Then they need to kick their game up into the stratosphere, do a full-on IKEA interior, and keep their prices where they are. volvo brand manager may be the toughest job in the biz right now in my opinion...

    VW:
    - Their success in this market still shocks me. I guess I understand why stolid fare like the Passat and Jetta sell given how over-the-top and tortured auto design is becoming everywhere else. If you don't want a instrument panel that looks like it's inspired by jellyfish or a Connect Four board, then yeah, VW's for you...
    - Amazingly, the new Beetle's chop top roof DOES make the car more masculine. Who knew?

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    Re: Boston Auto Show Review

    Thanks for a really enjoyable and informative post!

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    Re: Boston Auto Show Review

    Quote Originally Posted by davidlane View Post
    Thanks for a really enjoyable and informative post!
    Ditto!
    &
    our local dealer-run autoshow is this coming weekend...
    maybe I'll have some non-Lincoln stuff to contribute here afterwards
    (we don't have a Lincoln dealer )

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    Re: Boston Auto Show Review

    Quote Originally Posted by 2b2 View Post
    Ditto!
    &
    our local dealer-run autoshow is this coming weekend...
    maybe I'll have some non-Lincoln stuff to contribute here afterwards
    (we don't have a Lincoln dealer )
    Even though I just did Boston, my even more local Providence auto show is coming up this weekend as well and I'll be there too. While it's smaller than Boston, it's not as crazily attended and allows more time to luxuriously analyze the cars.

    Per the floor map, Lincoln will have a booth front and center right next to Ford, Buick, and Caddy. I'm hoping that the large local dealer (Tasca) brings a different MKZ model than was present in Boston (no tan Dune interior please!!) to allow for more fun cross-model comparisons with the MKZ. I'm really looking forward to seeing the MKZ with a darker interior and aluminum trim (as the wood trim doesn't really register). I'm also hoping they have an open Focus ST, which Boston didn't.

    Super oddly, Jaguar wasn't at the Boston show and won't be in Providence. For a car maker that was looking to promote their new AWD systems in the middle of the New England winter, that seems like a big omission.

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