Another Minneapolis Auto Show is in the books. After being invited by McLaren to view the new 570 at the New York Auto Show last year, I think I was a bit spoiled. However, as my friend Randy Stern says, “it may be a 3rd tier Auto Show, but it's all ours.”
I tend to agree. Even though there were some big no shows (hello, new Porsche 911?) there was plenty to see. The classic cars upstairs were very cool, having a 918 Spyder in the building was a huge win, and the expanded Luxury Lane was a nice touch. We had a few other thoughts about other cars at the show. Please read on for our first ever Auto Vault Show Awards.
Most underwhelming vehicle
I'm not sure how much money is exchanged to make a vehicle “the car of the show?” but I think it must have been a hefty bill. The all new Chrysler Pacifica was a huge disappointment. I don’t think we were the only people that felt that way either. Every time I ventured out into the show there was no one even looking at the car. Chrysler has done a ton of marketing trying to create a new segment for the Pacifica, but at the end of the day it still looks like a minivan. Chrysler even goes as far as to call it an “extension of the family home.” All in all, it's like looking at a piece of Melba toast. It will however, be the first plug-in minivan in the marketplace.
Best Mid-Size Sedan
In our opinion the Mazda 6 hits on all cylinders. Of course we believe that a car should be fun to drive, and that is probably one of the main reasons we feel the Mazda sits a step above its competitors. It's one of the lowest price cars in its segment, has a nice edgy look, and is also filled with awesome technology. The 6 also manages a 7.3 second 0-60 sprint and .87g on the skidpad. We feel that even though the Camry outsells it 7 to 1, all those consumers are just flat out wrong.
Best Performance Car at a Reasonable Price
The Subaru WRX is an absolute bargain if you are looking for a car that will not only give you some great performance numbers but also put a grin on your face. So far Subaru has (for the most part) avoiding following the crowd and turning it into a buttoned up-polished sedan. It has an edge, is a bit brash and uncomfortable and is filled with a frustrating mid 90’s navigation system.
Of course, if you're looking for a comfortable, middle-of-the-road daily driver with an easy nav system, you should probably buy a Camry instead.
Worst new SUV
The Jaguar F-Pace is an embarrassment. Not only does it look like a minivan, but it fails to push the envelope in almost any category. Trust us, there are far better places to spend your hard earned 60-70k.
The new Volvo XC 90 is the complete package. It seats 7 comfortably, has a gorgeous interior, enough power to move its fairly substantial weight, and looks classy. Where the new Audi Q7 took a step back style-wise, Volvo took a huge leap forward. Besides, we would buy the car for the Thor headlights alone.
Most Improved Sedan
The Chevrolet Malibu is pretty awesome. We have never been huge Chevy fans (trucks notwithstanding) but the Malibu does a good job of checking all the boxes. It finally has a nice look, the interior is vastly improved and it is the first sedan to offer 4G LTE. This alone is a life-saver on a family road trip. Throw in plenty of space, power, and an upcoming Hybrid that gets almost 40 mpg, and it's hard to beat.
Car We Are Most Excited About
ALFA ROMERO GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO—We love the look of this new sedan and can't wait to drive one. In fact, we are so enamored with its possibilities that we plan on buying one for our AV fleet. Where else can you find an “affordable” sedan that boasts over 500 hp, offers a true manual, rear-wheel drive, and a sub 4 second 0-60 time. Welcome back, Alfa Romero.
Best Car at the Show
Porsche 918 Spyder - We would love to put our own Lamborghini Huracan or McLaren 650S in this spot, but let's face it, the Porsche blows them both away. Not just from a performance perspective, but also from a more magical place. I was fortunate enough to be able to drive the 918 on the streets and also the track in Alabama last year. All I can say is that if I could own just one car in the world, this would be it!
We know that there will be lots of you that don’t agree with us, but that's the beauty of this industry. So many choices and not nearly enough time. Got an argument with one of our choices? Let's hear why.