Open, shut, in, out, touch, smell, see, hear, move, adjust, twist, turn, study and compare. Given the golden opportunity, nearly all the attendees at this year's Motor Trend International Auto Show took full advantage of the chance to closely examine the 2010 lineup of selected cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as get an exciting first glimpse at select 2011 models.
Motor Trend's annual auto show visit to Las Vegas opened this past Friday and ended Sunday evening at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show featured new 2010 models, more than 20 fuel-efficient (30-plus mpg highway) vehicles, some 2011 preview models, an interactive introduction of the new Ford Fiesta, exotic and luxury cars as well as historic displays of Ford Mustangs and Chevy Corvettes.
And, what may be an after-Thanksgiving family ritual meant there were a lot of kids and adults climbing in and out of vehicles. The cacophony of doors, hoods and trunks opening and closing only added to the welcoming atmosphere.
"This year's attendance certainly exceeded our expectations," said Lauren Holzman, vice president of public relations for Motor Trend Auto Shows. "It was a great show and now it's become a Las Vegas Thanksgiving tradition, so we'll be back Thanksgiving weekend next year."
Among those attending the car show Sunday was Las Vegan Nick Green, who was sitting in the driver's seat of a 2010 Chevy Camaro, studying the instrument cluster. Green, whose daily driver is a 1998 Honda Civic or a motorcycle in the warmer months, said he was intrigued by the Camaro's new look. "I like to see what's out there, make the rounds and see what's new," Green said. "The Camaro looks really good and I've heard it's really fast. I have a friend who loves his."
Even young people, who you know don't even have driving permits yet, were checking out their dream cars, thinking about the "what if's." But, that wasn't on the minds of Stan and Patricia Prisbe, who moved to Las Vegas about five years ago from the Detroit area. The couple was comparing a new genre of vehicle that's technically considered a car, but, depending on the model, either classified as a hatchback or a wagon. In this category, they'd tentatively narrowed their choices to the Scion xB, the Nissan Cube and the Kia Soul.
"We're in a full-size van now and we want to downsize," Stan Prisbe said. "We're comparing function to price, amenities, engine size and performance, and, of course, gas mileage is important." The Prisbes are also avid outdoors people and make frequent trips into the mountains, so sufficient power is crucial.
That's not to say there weren't still larger vehicles to choose from. General Motors Corp., Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Lexus and Acura offer several SUVs and pickup trucks. They may not garner fuel efficient awards, but they clock in a lot more respectable in the gas or diesel consumption numbers than every before.
What's impressive are the technological advances and the many options available to new-car buyers. If you like all the latest gadgets and computer-aided this and that, then the opportunity is there to outfit your vehicle with the latest devices and looks.
Hyundai is certainly poised to capture this market with the Genesis Coupe, a rear-wheel drive screamer that's equipped with either a four-cylinder, 210 horsepower turbo engine or a 306 horsepower V-6 powerplant. Also attracting a lot of attention is Acura's ZDX, the manufacturer's new four-door sports sedan.
The only thing guests couldn't do at the Motor Trend International Auto Show was test drive every vehicle, although that could be arranged at a later date with any of the manufacturer representatives. What you could drive, however, was the yet-to-be-released for U.S. consumption Ford Fiesta. Located outside the main entrance, the "Fiestamovement" display featured a static Fiesta surrounded by four flat-screen monitors that led interested consumers through the car's Web site and three colorful Ford Fiestas ready and waiting for test drives.
Next year's Motor Trend International Car Show will be Nov. 26-28, 2010. For more information, please go to www.AutoShowLV.com.