Saturday, March 5, 2011

Auto Show Musings

I went to the KC Auto Show yesterday. Here are some random thoughts & musings:

Chrysler, Ford and GM have come a long way in a short time. The quality of the look and feel of their new cars is amazing. Chrysler's new interiors are stunning as are Ford's. GM is finally building cars I'm interested in, including the new Chevrolet Cruze and Buick Regal.

When it comes to imports, Hyundai and Kia are lapping the field on Toyota and Honda. The Korean automakers have always provide a good value at a low price. Now they're turning out stunning designs and workmanship. The new Kia Optima looks better than a Jaguar XF--and I never thought I'd say that. And the Hyundai Elantra looks like it came from the future. I sat in a Mercedes C300 and then the Elantra. Both cars are about the same size, and line up nicely on paper, but you can buy two loaded Elantras for the price of one C300. What's more, the Elantra actually had a nicer interior with its mix of materials, design and colors. Even if they were the same price, I'd still pick the Elantra.

My latest obsession is a Mini Countryman. It's the first Mini you can get four normal sized people in without a shoehorn and some butter. At $27-30K, I thought it was price, but it's everything I want in a car. Unique styling, room for four, all wheel drive, good gas mileage, and loads of fun. I'm sure this obsession will pass eventually--people who genuinely obsess about cars are like serial monogamists or high functioning addicts. And if they have means, they will collect cars like Charlie Sheen collects women and grams of coke. But for those of us with limited means, who have to make due with one car in the garage, the Countryman would be hard to beat.

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