I went to the South Florida International Auto Show at the end of October. I just never thought of posting it here, but here is a full, rather thorough writeup of the show.
I'll go in the order they were set up at the show and the order that I looked at them:
FORD MOTOR COMPANY
FLM was right in front as you walk in the door, just like last year. :happy feet:
Fiesta - didn't see a Fiesta there, which kinda surprises me, looking back at it.
Focus - there was a Focus there?
Fusion - I think there was a Sport model there, but I don't rememeber - I wasn't looking at the Fusion anyway...
Taurus - this was my first seat time in the new Taurus. I'd seen them at the dealer, but never sat in one. I was impressed by the interior, front and back. I didn't have a problem with room in the back, although I suppose it's not as roomy as the 2008-2009 Taurus. The dash was nice, and all the controls seemed ok, although the center console did seem a bit higher than I'm used to because of it's design. As I said in the other thread, I didn't see the problem with the center console that another members have had and needed to fix with duct tape. Oh, and it's nice to see a car I designed in 2007 on the road now:
I didn't look at any crossovers - Escape, Edge I've seen, Flex I see every day.
Raptor - they had an orange one there, which looked awesome.
Super Duty - they also had a 2011 Super Duty on the floor, but it was locked. It was only an XLT I believe, so it didn't look like much. I didn't mind the front end, but SHEESH, can the blue oval get any bigger - I thought the 9" badges were big, this thing dwarfed those - it was HUUUUGE! It wasn't even funny how big the thing was.
They had a Transit Connect on the floor, but I didn't look at it - there was a lot of people looking at it when I glanced over, though.
To be honest, the only vehicle I looked at was the MKT, so here goes:
MKT - I love this vehicle! I know you didn't seem to like it as much, saintlaz, but I did. I still think pictures don't do it justice. I'll keep my comments to the interior as we all pretty much know what the exterior is like. As with the Taurus, this was my first time actually sitting in and feeling the inside of the vehicle. I liked the interior design and how everything was set up. Material quality seemed top notch, at least in the important areas - to be honest, I didn't look "down below" to see what the material quality was like. The gauges looked cool, although you couldn't turn them on. I could not figure out how to open the top parts of the center arm rest/console - I'm referring to the split parts, which I assume open. I was able to open the main compartment but not those. I liked the pass through to put items in behind the lower area of the center stack, much like Volvos, but not as exaggerated. The controls on the dash did seem a tad small, especially for the width of the center console, but that's something that can be lived with. I absolutely LOVED the giant Edge/MKX-like Vista Roof, MUCH nicer than the Flex's Vista roof (don't get me wrong, I love that one too, but I think the driver would get more enjoyment out of the MKT's). The 2nd row was pretty similar to the Flex's. Unfortunately this model did not have the center rear flow through console, which I was looking forward to seeing. The one area that's lacking on the MKT, although expected, is the 3rd row. Because of the MKT's more rakish design, 3rd row headroom, and therefore comfort, suffers tremendously. Whereas in the Flex, I have plenty, or at least adequate/enough with some to spare headroom, with the MKT, my head was touching the roof, to the point where I even had to duck down a bit to just sit there. As I said, that was expected, though. I didn't even think to look at the cargo area behind the 3rd row. And there was no powerfold 3rd row model on display.
Call me a horrible auto/Ford fan, but I didn't look at any Mercuries - perhaps I should've to make it appear that people were looking at them...
SRX - As with a few other vehicles, this was the first time I'd sat in one, despite having seen it around town/at the dealer. Overall, material quality and quality in general seemed really good. Rear seat space seemed fine. One BIG complaint I have involves the passenger floor/foot well. It had some sort of 3 level contraption/setup that didn't make any sense at all. The only parts that made sense were the far outside, highest part which was like that (I assume) because of the wheel well, and the middle part, as it was a little lower than the outside part at what would be a "regular" level. What made absolutely no sense, however, was the third, lowest inner part that was a good half an inch lower than the center part. This setup left your right foot at least an inch (probably more) or so higher than your left foot when you're sitting normally in the chair, which needless to say was very uncomfortable. Something like that may not matter on the driver's side, but it's horrible on the passenger side. Other than that I've got no complaints outside of personal taste issues.
Converj - Cadillac had the Converj concept there. All it looked like to me was just another Cadillac, which I suppose can be a good or bad thing. There wasn't really anything special about it, except the powertrain that's supposedly underneath that body. I guess I'm just beginning to dislike the Cadillac styling already. Don't get me wrong - they look nice, it's just they all look the same.
CTS Sportwagon - I did not look at one, all it's just a CTS with a wagon rear, but it was there. No CTS coupe concept though.
LaCrosse - literally the ONLY vehicle people were looking at in the Buick display....they had 2 Lucernes there for whatever reason - nobody was looking at them - I really don't know why they were there. Anyway, I actually like the exterior design quite a bit for the most part - there are a few areas I'd probably change, but overall, great job GM! I'm not a big fan of the interior, though. It has the same ugly shape as the Camaro. The only other thing I remember is the awkward door pulls and angled switches that Brady AKA DC_Car_Examiner mentioned.
Terrain - like the LaCrosse, this was the only vehicle I (and the others around me) were looking at in the GMC display. I've already discussed in several places my absolute disgust for the Terrain's exterior, so I won't discuss that here. Moving to the interior. Although the dash looked ok I guess, I didn't like some elements, such as the strangely (IMO) angled crease on the passenger (and driver, but less noticable because of the steering wheel) dash. That and the fact that I didn't like the random red stithing used throughout the cabin are the biggest complaints I can think of now, but see the Equinox part for a glaringly related complaint. There was plenty of rear space that I can remember.
First off, Chevy was tucked in a corner for whatever reason.
I didn't look at much of anything Chevy except:
Traverse - the outside looks decent, except the rear, which I hate. The interior......WOW, although I've sat in one before, I was astonished at how cheap it felt inside. The dash was unimpressive and boring (varying tones of battleship gray didn't help), I don't really remember the material quality. The second row felt too low to the ground - not as bad as the GMT900 3rd rows, but it was still uncomfortable. The 2nd row center console was awkwardly shaped, with cupholders basically on the floor, a bin on the top under the lid, and a second storage drawer beneath the upper bin. The rear door panels had cupholders built into the door arm rest, and it looked barely big enough to fit a water bottle in, so I don't know how useful that'd be. The 2nd row seat to 3rd row access feature was absolutely HORRIBLE - I couldn't figure it out at first, so initially just climbed over the seat to sit in the 3rd row (which wasn't very impressive, but I suppose not horrible, either). When I got back out, I looked at the 2nd row again and finally figured out how to work it, but it took 3 tries to get it to fully work. It looks like GM took inspiration from the Transformers movies when designing that mechanism - the seat doesn't fold and flip forward like Ford's do, you pull some grab handle thing on the side of the seat, then the seat cushion kinda tilts forward on an angle, and the seatback also tilts forward, then this whole contraption slides forward on a set of tracks. It looked absolutely ridiculous (and I actually left it half open so people would see how ridiculous it was :shades: :snicker: ). There could've been a million parts in there ready to break. To make a long story short (I guess it's already been long....), even though I don't believe this was the top-of-the-line LTZ model, it was still priced around $40K, but was not worth that, IMO. Flex bests it by a long shot. The only "advantage" to having a Traverse would be the more upright/high up stance.
Camaro - as with Traverse, the exterior looks ok, but the interior is horrid. Material quality was ok, but the design was horrendous. I hate that goofy dash shape, the lower gauges, the off-center steering wheel hub, and the ugly radio setup, which is pretty much the whole dash. I never did sit in the rear seat, but there didn't appear to be much room back there. I didn't like how low the interior door handle was, either.
Equinox - I feel like a broken record here, but again the exterior looks ok, but the interior isn't very good, although I feel this was a better (more appropriate?) attempt than the previously discussed vehicles. Material quality was decent, and design was ok, but not my favorite. I didn't really like the strangely recessed air vent slats. That's the only major complaint I can think of at this moment, except for this next point. Ok, after looking at the Terrain before this and then getting into the Equinox, I was like finally(!) GM has figured out how to differentiate their interiors (as the Equinox and Terrain are platform-mates). The dashes look completely different and stuff. Then I started looking around lower, and finally sat in the back of the Equinox..........then it hit me like a brick wall. EVERYTHING in the Equinox and Terrain from the front climate controls down is EXACTLY the same - same door panels, same ugly, random red stitching, same lower part of the front center stack, same cupholders, same center console, same gear shifter......it was ridiculous. I guess they got the whole interior differentiation thing half right...
Challenger - I did sit in the Challenger, although I don't know why because it's just Chryco parts bin stuff. I was unimpressed, and as with the Camaro, the interior door handle seemed rather low on the door, at least for my liking.
Other than that I didn't look at any Chryco products. Let's be honest - there isn't/wasn't much else to look at anyway. Their entire display except for the Challenger was completely empty. (see the layout at the top so you can see their display size compared to the others).
Genesis (sedan) - I like the exterior of the Genesis. Before continuing, I want to say I do credit Hyundai for their first attempt at a luxury vehicle, I think they did a good job, but it's not there yet. Although I believe I've sat in it before, this was the first time I'd actually sat in the Genesis and really looked around. Honestly, I wasn't all that impressed. Was it a nice car? Absolutely - it had nice quality materials all around that I noticed and was comfortable, and a decent looking design (except that steering wheel, yuck). Was it nice enough to sway a luxury car buyer based on that particular
interior? IMO, no, it wasn't. I can't remember what options it had on it, or what else would be available on it, but it really didn't seem THAT nice, or at least as nice as I've been led to believe in the past. Maybe a better optioned (if there is one) model would've looked better?
Genesis Coupe - Besides the few exterior goofups (IMO) like the double side crease and ugly reverse window kink, I like the exterior. The interior was actually really nice. I liked it. Color me impressed there.
Equus - they did have an Equus up on the display turntable. I liked the exterior except for some "trying too hard" elements, such as the hood ornament and a few other things that I can't remember right now. The interior actually looked really nice. My dad even went as far to comment "that Hyundai over there looked nicer inside than this Jaguar [XJ] does" when we were looking at the new XJ (see below). Although I still thing the Hyundai badge/nameplate is/will be the biggest detriment to that vehicle (and the Genesis sedan), I again give Hyundai credit where it's due. They're really stepping up their game.
For what it's worth, LR had it's new/updated models there. They were nice, and typical LRs. None of them seemed spectacularly different from their predecessors.
Jag had the new XJ there. The one they had on display was actually one of 50 $105,000 "Nieman Marcus" editions that was in a special "Midnight black" paint with some special ivory leather and "zebrano" wood trim (looked like it had zebra stipes) which I thought looked cheap. It was hard to tell how it looked because of the dark paint, but I don't think I'm gonna like the blacked-out C-pillars. Having the chrome strip running between the blacked out C-pillar and the windows kills the effect of the blacked-out C-pillar, IMO. Overall, I liked it, especially the rear, which featured a design that's almost an exact knock-off of one of my designs (done 3 years ago, 7/11/06 to be exact):
Went to the Acura display to laugh at everything there. Coincidentally (or perhaps not? I'm hoping so), their display was largely empty, except a few (including myself) looking at the ugly ZDX concept (this was not the prodution vehicle, although the production one looks exactly the same, but with real head- and taillights).
ZDX - absolutely horrible....I've got no idea what these people were thinking. This has to be one of the worst interpretations of the beak yet. I'm telling you, this thing is borderline Aztec material...
760i - I sat in the rear of the 760. Impressive, I liked it, and I really like the new 7's looks. The main gripe I have with the interior is the strange grab handle position on the doors. It's hard to explain - they tried to (and succeeded in) blend it into the door panel, but it's way too high to be in a normal/comfortable spot. Other than that, I loved the interior.
550i GT - This was an interesting vehicle....think of a (new) 5-series mixed with an X6 and you'll get the general shape. The trunk/liftgate combo thing was interesting, but I'm not entirely sure how useful it'd be. Interestingly enough, despte being labeled the 550i GT, it shares it's dash and most of the interior with the 7-series, so I question why they don't just call it the 7--i GT, I guess because that's a way to keep the price down?
I forgot to look at the new Z4, which I do like.
RX - I took a peek at the new RX. The exterior is borderline bad/ok, but there's enough bad to lean it that direction, IMO. I prefer the last generation to this generation - the new one looks way overbloated. Moving to the interior. I absolutely hate that swoopy line thing on the dash, and while it wasn't working, the mouse thing to control the nav system seemed stupid and overly complicated and there just so Lexus could have some sort of special system like BMW (iDrive), Mercedes (COMAND), and Audi (MMI).
HS - I wanted to take a look at the HS to see what all the hubub was about. The exterior has been discussed before - I think the rear looks like a Subaru, and the rest looks generic Toyota/Lexus. The interior was nice, but nothing special. I hated the shelf thing where the navigation control would go - this one didn't have it, and all it was was a shelf thing that sat there in the middle of nowhere. To make it worse, there were controls on the console way down below that that were semi-difficult to reach because of the shelf.
ISC - I also took a look at the ISC. From the front, with the exception of the lower bumper/grille, it's generic IS. The rear looks ok, if not a little high. The interior was the same as the IS up front. Rear legroom seemed adequate, but not spacious (as expected). For whatever reason, Lexus used a ridiculously light/almost WHITE(!!) leather on a CONVERTIBLE! I don't know about where you all live, but here that'd be IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean - my mom has a tough enough time keeping her 3's tan interior clean from road/air dirt and stuff, and it's a MUUUCH darker color than this was. Another complaint was the seatbelt setup - the seatbelt is built into the passenger sidewall, rather than the seat like BMWs, so you'd have to remove the seatbelt from the hook on either front seat every time you'd want to get someone in and out of the 2nd row.
I did take a look at the Q5 and Q7, but the only vehicle of interest to you all is the R8 V10. This thing looked great - it takes the stock one and makes it look even better. I'm sure it's plenty fast too. They did want like $175,000 for it, which could get you a GT, though.
9-5 - I actually really liked the new 9-5 in person. I wasn't really sure about it in pictures, but I liked it. I like the distinctive lightbar strip across the back. They had it locked, but the interior looked nice. My biggest complaints with it were the stupid, ugly, look-easy-to-break Saab air vents, and the over-styled door panels - there were too many different shapes and whatnot on them.
I'm almost done, bear with me here....if you don't like reading it, try being the one that's been writing it for at least an hour or two.
NOTE: nobody could sit in any of the next few vehicles.
Panamera - Eh, the front looks good, the interior looks good, it's that back end that I can't stand. First, I hate the hatchback look it has, then you've got the taillights that I don't think work well, along with the double-level nameplate thing going on, that looks horrible IMO. I'm sure it'll sell well, in fact I saw my first one on the way to the show.
California - the front was fine, the side was good, except an odd crease, but the rear they screwed up. I think it's idiotic that they've got the big circle taillight things at the top of the vehicle that only serve as running lights at night - the actual brake, reverse, and turn lights are in separate black triangular housings waay down toward the bottom of the vehicle...it looks horrible. I can't remember if it's the one that has the stacked exhaust or not, but I don't like that either.
Same old same old really....I love the GranTurismo.
As with Maserati, it's the same old-same old - they had a V12 Vantage, a DB9, and a DBS there. Unfortunately, no Rapide was there, but I can assure you it will and does look better than that Panamera.
Evora - Lotus had an Evora there. It looked pretty cool.
----Back to normal vehicles----
Cube - I glanced at it from afar, as I didn't wanna get Cube on my hands - goodness that thing is horrendous, I cannot understand how ANYBODY can stand looking at it, let alone drive it. The waterdrop headliner and carpet dash thing are stupid. UGH!!!
GT-R - I personally like how the GT-R looks, although I know some disagree with me there. Are there some elements about it's design I don't like? Sure, but as a whole I like it.
370Z - I prefer the last generation to this one on the outside - I hate the new head and taillights. On the inside, the new one wins hands-down. Much nicer interior, and the new model fixes that ridiculously high beltline and corresponding claustrophobic feel from the inside.
3 - the only vehicle I glanced at in Mazda was the 3, but I only glanced at it because I can't stand that front grille. I pulled out this chop and laughed:
I didn't look at any Subarus and I regret it now, but oh well.
I looked over at the Volvo display on my way out - I didn't like the new C30 front end, although it looks a tad better in person.
Well, I finally sat in a Smart car. It seemed REAAAALLY cheap, like things were falling apart on it already, and I don't think that's because it was a show car. Can you even move the seats on that thing, because I couldn't figure out how to. Needless to say I was unimpressed.
The following makers were there, but I didn't look at because I either didn't 1) want to or 2) I just accidently skipped them.
Kia (2 - they were in the corner behind Honda)
Mazda (1, except the glance mentioned above)
Subaru (at first 1, but 2)
Notable absentees were Mercedes-Benz (I wanted to look at the new E-class that I really like), and Infiniti (I wanted to peek at the G convertible).
Anyway sorry about the literal book, as I said above, at least you didn't have to think of and type all this, which I might add amounts to 6 1/2 pages worth of typing.