A rundown of the show, what was good and what wasn't.
November 24, 2013
By: Nick Saporito
After spending most of the week in Los Angeles with my bros Alex (Bigals87z28) and Austin (ausrutherford) and two days at the big show, I've compiled a list of my take on the non-GM content of the show. Please enjoy.
Jaguar F-Type Coupe - There really isn't much to say about this car. It is sexy as all hell in person and if I was infinitely wealthy, I would probably buy one just to have in the garage to look at.
Mazda3 - I'm going to go ahead and call this car the best mainstream vehicle on the North American market. The exterior design is very complex in person and keeps your eyes entertained as you follow each crease and line in the sheet metal. The higher end cars look expensive, and virtually have no bad angle. Inside is a similar story with the BMW-esqe design theme and high quality materials. There are a few cheap bits and pieces, but overall this interior shames everything else in the segment. And then I looked at the window sticker to find that the car had features like adaptive cruise for $32,000...yeah, if you want a compact car...you better be buying this.
New MINI - Like most of my colleagues, I'm not impressed. It looks like a big frog with a smile on its face. As Alex said, "There's something off with the headlamps."
Toyota Corolla - Why are people still buying this...thing? I got inside it and spent a fair amount of time in it. The material quality is dreadful to the point it takes away from what is a relatively attractive design. The "insert here" switchgear and 1980's calculator display that is a clock are hilarious. If this interior was in a GM product, GM would be raped by the media and consumers alike.
Audi S3 - Love the exterior design of this car - a lot. In fact, I give it the nod in terms of exterior design over my own ATS. Inside is a different story, where the design feels a little cheap (materials are good, though) and Audi's sea-of-black color strategy looks drab. Had this car been available when I ordered my ATS...I can't promise it wouldn't be in the driveway - assuming it drives as good as it looks.
Mercedes S63 AMG - Alex and I ended up taking a small nap in the back of this car, right on the show floor. For 20 mins we sat there just taking in the shear attention to detail this car as in the interior. We decided GM should have meetings in this car so that the level of which flagship Cadillac's need executed is engrained in their minds. Alex also almost ejected an attractive woman from the front passenger's seat.
Infiniti Q50 Hybrid - Looks good from the outside, albeit a bit bland. Inside the material quality is so-so and the infotainment system is downright bizarre. It has two touchscreen displays on the stack, which looks ugly and the interface reminds me of a Palm OS device from the early 2000's.
Lincoln MKC - It looks really good in person, and the interior has the level of craftsmanship it needs to be taken seriously. This thing will do very well pending decent marketing support.
Infotainment (observation) - I didn't fully grasp just how far ahead the Detroit OEMs are in terms of infotainment. All of the imports infotainment interfaces look so juvenile and antiquated next to the likes of Cadillac CUE, Chrysler UConnect and MyFord Touch. This isn't terribly surprising to me - American's love to multitask more than any other Nation, so it only seems right that our OEMs are ahead in multitasking. A shining example of what I'm talking about can be found in comparing driver information centers. Detroit is churning out full-color, hi-res displays in the clusters that can tell you everything but your blood type; the imports in many cases still have calculator displays in the gauges.
Interiors (observation) - I fully understand why most of the mainstream media has stopped bitching about GM interiors; the best interiors are now coming out of Detroit. Seriously, GM in particular has an amazing lead in this area right now. They went from the worst interiors to the best.