Visited the Auto Show today and I just wanted to share some of my impressions.
This is the first time I've seen a number of new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in person. The Ford exhibit is certainly the best of the show, lots to see and do. They had two EcoSports on the floor and I was generally impressed by how roomy and comfortable they are and most of the touch points are nicely padded. I sat in both the front and back and although my head hit the ceiling I had more legroom than I typically have in small cars. It's still much smaller than any other vehicle in the segment, it's extremely short with no cargo space. The reactions were interesting, many people thought it was the new Escape and thought it was way too small. The swing-gate is enormous relative to the length of the car. Visibility out of the front is pretty awful, the windshield is too far forward and there are enormous A-Pillars always in your line of site.
Very few cared about the new Edge, but I really liked it. I really don't like the bland old-lady Nautilus styling so I could imagine getting a White Edge ST in its place if the ride is tolerable. Explorer is surprisingly cramped up front, the footwell is way too small with no dead pedal, definitely wouldn't buy one but it's nice to look at. Expedition Platinum is a beautiful vehicle, not a fan of the dash but everything surrounding it is top-notch.
Ranger looks much smaller to me than I was expecting, it's certainly smaller than the Tacoma. Visually it's about as bland as the Chevy, looks nothing like the other Ford Trucks.
I was shocked by the revised Lincoln exhibit. It was a fraction of the size, terrible lighting, no more black label lounges, no 2nd level, no center stage, no music, the Lincoln VIP lounge was a joke, cramped floor space that basically felt like you were just walking down a hallway exhibit instead of the intimate setting we had before. I don't know what happened but they must have been hit by budget cuts, it was embarrassing. They actually have no space for a turntable even if they wanted to have a concept for the center stage. The Navigator looks good though, definitely the nicest interior I've sat in and it was certainly very busy. They had an Nautilus and MKC on the floor, but locked. Lincoln is really turning into a 1 or 2 car brand, everything else is forgettable.
The new RAM looks pretty good, Silverado is over-styled and people don't seem to be thrilled by the funky front end.
Mercedes has taken over Audi as my favorite luxury brand, their interiors are WAY ahead of Audi or BMW, but their SUVs need to be updated.
Really impressed by the roominess and quality of the GMC Terrain interior, Chevy Traverse can't compete with the Explorer on style inside or out.
Jeep Compass interior is pretty bad, hardest seats I've ever sat in, but compared to the EcoSport is a limousine.
Wrangler is endlessly fascinating, lots of details to admire about the design and engineering.
The new VW Jetta is SHARP, hard to believe it competes with a Focus. Some really impressive tech on the inside with large LCD screens filling the dashboard.
Kia and Hyundai are starting to look more and more upscale for a mainstream automaker.
Toyota Avalon looks quite impressive in person, nice lighting effects, looks more Lexus than Toyota.
Lexus had the nicest concept (among very few), I spent allot of time taking photos of it. They certainly have much more fun with styling than most.
Infiniti remains the best looking of the Japanese luxury brands.
Acura RDX Prototype looks great, Acura certainly has a winner for sure.
Generally speaking the show shrank quite a bit again this year, fewer exhibitors and things have been more consolidated. There are a huge number of manufacturers no longer represented at the show so there is far less to see. I've been going for 30 years straight and this was defiantly the briefest time I've spent at an Autoshow. It's still fairly busy but obviously attendance is shrinking.
Here is a pretty sloppy unedited photo gallery if you want to see some candid photos of everything at the show (photos are still uploading to it).