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I was at the show today and thought I would share a few thoughts.


THE GOOD
I loved the Cobalt in person. The interior looked great, the stance is great, and I would consider owning a Supercharged SS even though I am not really a small car guy. I asked if they had any pics of the Supercharged SS and they said no (maybe it will be at New York??) Anyway, the coupe was great and I liked the sedan better in person than in pictures. I think this car will be a winner.

The Corvette looked great as well and was flocked to by people of all ages, as was the SSR that was able to be sat in.

The Lacrosse looked way better in person that in pictures as well. It does not look like a warmed over Taurus in person. It looks like the sophisticated older brother of the Grand Prix with the family resemblance most noticeable in the roofline and rear fenders. I think it is a good car for Buick. One that that worries me somewhat is that the car at the show had 18" wheels and no such wheels are planned for production. I hope the 16s and 17s look as good on the car. Buick is bringing back more chrome and I think that is a good thing.


G6 was ok but the most interesting thing was the info next to the car. It said it would be available with a 6 speed manual transmission. I was pleasantly surprised to see this, but not sure if I should believe it. Can anyone confirm or deny this????

The Nomad concept is very cool and would make a great production car... better than what I have seen of the HHR.

Coolest display was definitely GM powertrains Dyno booth. They had a real dyno with a real Gen IV 5.3 with DOD running on it. They did explanations of GMs powertrain testing and had a great explanation of how DOD works. Each session was ended with a wide open throttle run to 6000 RPM. You could watch HP and Torque numbers as it went along. You could hear the sweet sounding small block from a long ways away each time it was run up. Great idea and it drew crowds of people every time.
Of non-gm new stuff, I liked the Dodge Magnum wagon and the Ford GT the best.

The Bad

Dumbest idea: The doors on Fords new F150 regular cab are extra short to allow for tiny rear hinged doors. The problem with this is that, if the seat is back at all the "rear doors" block your exit of the truck. Plus I don't think the rear doors provide much, if any extra utility in accessing the area behind the seats.

Worst interior: Porsche Cayenne wins this award for me. I was trying to see what the media sees in some of the upper class interiors (being that GM gets continually bashed on this). The Cayennes interior looked like it should be in a Kia.... bad color (orange like a basketball), cheap looking design, and not a particualrly comfortable seat. The woman sitting in it with me said, "the Trailblazer is better than this", and then got out. I couldn't agree more, especially when the VW Toureg seemed to be pretty nice.

Worst paint: The Mazda concept (can't remember the name) had a matte finish blue. There were several cars at SEMA painted this way as well, and I hope it does not catch on.

Worst product placement: The first cars I(and just about everybody else) when I got off the escalator were the three Oldsmobiles... all the same color sitting on a huge area. It was a sad sight to start off the show with.

THE UGLY:

ALL of the new CSVs seem to have missed the mark. Looking around at minivans, it seems these new vans do not fully compete. The hoods are long and square. There is no fold away third seat, and the power is only marginal....
The new Nissan is uglier, but I am worried about how these vans will do in the market.

I was not a big fan of the Solstice, even though my wife liked it alot. I thought it looked, for lack of a better term, stubby. I liked the concept last year a lot better. The doors looked small and the car looked thicker (taller?) than a Miata. While I am on the Kappas, my sister in law took one look at the Saturn Curve and said, "that's horrendus!"

I basically agree with 69novas take on the GTO so I will not rehash it here.

Ugliest Car: this is a tought one to win, but it goes to the Kia Amanti.... I don't know what 4 or 5 cars they were trying to copy, but it didn't work.

Other ramblings.
In my quest for the perfect interior, I basically decided that in dashboards and door panels, chrome surrounds, brushed aluminum, or body color accents make it more attractive and just plastic is less attractive. Most current GM interiors have little else but plastic... but all of the new stuff has one or more of the elements that make it look better. Many dashboards had a square theme to them, which I don't like... curves and accents... I hope that's what Lutz is thinking.

Most manufacturers use cheap feeling leather...
 

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The G6 GTP (the one with the 3.9) is going to receive the 6 speed manual
 

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Regarding displays, I thought GM had the best layouts. The chassis and motor of the new vette really struck me- that is one stiff chassis. That car must not flex one iota.
This is also one year when the US mfrs really looked as good as or better than the foreign competition although Honda really showed how strong their marketing is. Their lineup from the Civic to the trucks was pretty solid. I truly liked their idea of sticking the hybrid power concept into the Civic. Rather than the Insight or Prius whose body styles have no appeal, they drop a high mileage power plant into their best (?) selling small car.
 
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