I must confess, I have avoided the Sacramento Auto Shows choosing San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those venues are not only larger they offer a much larger representation of the auto industry.
The Sacramento show held at the massive Cal Expo . This venue doesn’t have to flash of the larger shows. Staging for the manufacturers was minimal , clearly this isn’t Detroit, New York or Los Angeles. It was designed for the Average Joe. What Sacramento does better than San Francisco and Los Angeles is in the ride and drive department. While those are held in indoor venues larger than Sacramento, they can’t match the sheer land size of Cal Expo. Visitors can drive longer and get a better feel of the vehicle. The Chrysler drive experience which included assorted manufactured bumps and a hill section.
Presentation, (Standouts and Missing in Action)
The largest wall display was Nissan however the placement of info center toward the rear was a major error. As was the omission of a ride and drive for their heavily advertised and shopped Altima Sedan . The all new Sentra was locked. hmm. Ford went all out for its Sexy Fusion (perhaps too much) , with the top level Titanium model lit on a turntable. Unlike Nissan and many manufacturers, Ford Product specialist were there in mass, ready to answer every question about the every vehicle on the floor From its new C-mac hybrid to its Raptor Ford was ,there. Like Nissan, Hyundai has a large area, if you had a question about one of the models…go fish.
With four dealers in the Sacramento area Mercedes Benz was mission in action as was BMW and most other Luxury Manufacturers. Sacramento’s Niello Auto Group (Audi, Acura, BMW) presented an Audi, a couple of Jaguar’s, a Maserati’s and a couple of other cars, ho hum.
It Factor (where the crowds were?)
Despite the presence of many new models including a bright blue Impreza WRX, the only model getting attention was the Subaru BRZ. There was a lot of interest in Nissan Altima, Fiat 500, Toyota”s Prius and Camry. The new Accord, and the Dodge Dart. The surprise of the show was the interest in the older Hyundai and Kia’s There was a great deal interest in the five year old Hyundai Genesis R Spec and a lot activity around two year old Kia Optima Sedan. Where there wasn’t a lot of traffic was at Cadillac. perhaps the new ATS looked too much like the CTS or it perhaps it was the bland surroundings.
Outside, Ford,Cadillac,Chrysler,Honda, General Motors and Toyota, offered Test Drives. (The Ride and Drive Experience) Ford had a separate track for its new C-Max Hybrid. The crowds where at Toyota and Chrysler. Especially Chrysler where attendees had a rare opportunity to test drive the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger and the Chrysler 300. The wait was well over an hour for those three vehicles.
Big men need rides too
6.8 6.4 7.0
This year there were a quite a few of surprises and a major disappointments
A few years ago, I almost lost consciousness in the Ford Fiesta. I forgot to adjust the seat back before getting in. Once the door closed I couldn’t reach the door adjustment. The quick thinking sales staff at Future Ford saved me from an embarrassing news story. Needless to say, I have avoided Subcompact and smaller cars.
A group of men dared me to try the Fiat 500 a car a couple of feet shorter than the Fiesta and surprise, I fit. Its not a car I would choose for a national road trip but I had more leg room than the Toyota Corolla. The other car was the urban sized Chevy Spark, there was more leg room in the Spark than in the subcompact Chevy Sonic. The new Ford C-max hybrid didn’t seem as roomy as the Prius.
The Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent, swallowed us whole as did the Hyundai Elantra Coupe. Wider consoles is not big or tall man friendly. If your a tall man you might find the driving position uncomfortable as your right legs rests against the console. If your a big and tall man a extra wide console could mean a tight fit.
Recommendation: sit in the car for a min 20 minutes with your foot on the gas pedal
This year there were four new mid-size models. The mid size is the most competitive segment in the industry The New Chevy Malibu seemed roomier and seem to have more headroom than before. The Honda Accord was easy to enter and after a few seat adjustments seem to be one of the more comfortable cars. The most comfortable of the new for 2013 cars was the Nissan Altima . The biggest disappointing was the 2013 Ford Fusion. This was the car I most wanted to see, as Ford ,Kia and Hyundai has brought sexy to the family segment. Like the 2012 Fusion, getting this big body in the 2013 required a few twists, once in the 2012 was a pleasant place to be. Unfortunately this isn’t true with the 2013 , the console seems wider and I suspected the right leg would tire of the console. My seven foot friend drives a 2011 Fusion Hybrid.
Recommendations for the tall driver or big and tall driver
BMW( Mini Cooper)
Chrysler( Dodge, Fiat, and Ram)
Mercedes Benz (Smart Car)
Volkswagen( Audi, and Porsche)
The Parent Company is in Bold Print.
If you like cars or if your planing on buying a car. The Auto show is a perfect place to sit and try the car or truck on for size. No attack salesmen, no pressure. So if there is an auto show coming to your town go….. The 2013 Sacramento International Auto Show was a pleasant surprise. The Cal Expo locations is an excellent venue for the auto show and I look forward to next year and next year I will arrive early to drive on of those Hemi’s from Chrysler.