My wife and I braved the unseasonably cold weather and downtown Saint Patrick's Day crowds to attend the Columbus International Auto Show Friday evening. By going Friday, we took advantage of our senior status for a 50% discount on the cost of admission. Add in parking and the total cost of attending the show was $20. A relative bargain compared to the $42 it cost us to attend the Summit Racing show in February. Even without the discount, the International show turns out to be less expensive. Are you listening Summit Racing?
Walking into the show, the exhibits for Ford and Hyundai blanket each side of the entrance.
We made a right turn and started in the Ford area. Mixed in with all the 2017 models were next year's Mustang GT 5.0 convertible and F150 pickup. Both models are receiving a significant refresh for 2018. Unfortunately, show goers were prevented from getting a closer look at the interiors of each vehicle.
Despite retaining the 3.6L six cylinder from previous years, the 2018 GMC Acadia loses a passenger seat and some inches in length and width. My wife and I spent several minutes with the GMC rep discussing our concerns about the smaller SUV. The wife proclaimed she would drive the wheels off our 2014 Acadia before succumbing to the smaller model. Let's hope GMC listens to our concerns.
The two models that stood out to me in the Cadillac exhibit were the ATS-V and the CTS-V. For those of you who may not know, the CTS-V is the Cadillac version of my 2017 Camaro ZL1 with two more doors, 10 fewer horses, and a $25,000 higher base price. Who else but Cadillac would produce a family luxury sedan with a top speed of 200 mph.
The Chevrolet exhibit was a bit of a let down. The only cars on display out of their performance division were a Camaro LT, a Camaro SS convertible, 50th edition, and a Corvette Grand Sport. Absent was the new Camaro ZL1 or ZL1 1LE and Corvette Z06. There were several models of the Cruze Hatchback, and of course, numerous SUV and truck models.
One thing that struck me about the show was a decided absence of high-end European performance cars. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, and Volvo had small displays, while BMW, McClaren and Ferrari were all but absent. The Midwestern Auto Group (MAG) managed to bring a few exotics. These included a white Lamborghini Hurican, Lotus Evora, Jaguar F-Type, and red Bently Continental GT.
On the other side of the spectrum were the Japanese manufacturers. Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota all had large displays. Performance offerings included several new Acura NSXs and Nissan GTRs. Toyota even went as far as to bring a replica of their Camry NASCAR entry.
Fiat Chrysler by far and away had the largest exhibit. Their Ram Truck Experience took up one complete side of the exhibit hall.
Here's a short clip of the Ram Driving Experience:
Unlike Ford and Chevy, Fiat Chrysler did have their "top dog" performance car, a black Challenger Hellcat, on display. I asked the young lady working the booth where the Challenger Demon was? She politely informed me I would have to go to next month's New York Auto Show to see one. Bummer!
My wife was fascinated with the Fiat 124 Spider Roadster which is a joint venture between Fiat and Mazda (notice the similarity to the Miata).
Besides trucks and performance cars, Fiat Chrysler also had a good display of Jeeps, SUVs and mini-vans.
- Please don't be offended by the absence of any photos of Hyundai, Kia, or Mitsubishi vehicles. They all had an exhibit at the show but none had any cars that got me excited enough to photograph.
- I was surprised with the lack of fuel efficient vehicles. There were a few hybrids floating around but I only saw one pure electric car. With gas prices as low as they have been recently, I suspect the public interest in fuel efficient cars has waned a bit.
- While late model vehicles filled the main exhibit area, the concourse outside the exhibit hall was full of classic cars. A mutual friend had his 1931 Pierce Arrow on Display, and Dan "Boots" Longenette, host of the radio show Auto Smarts, was there with his 1957 Chevy. I'll leave you with a some photos from outside the show. Enjoy!