Washington, DC Autoshow Retrospective

Today marks the closing of the annual Washington, DC auto show. While not as prestigious as the Los Angeles or Detroit auto shows (automakers are reluctant to ship their concept cars around the country), the DC show does give local residents like myself the opportunity to check out the latest and greatest from automobile manufacturers. Below are some random observations arranged by automaker.

Ford, a decade later, has finally come up with a worthy successor to the original Taurus. Two successors, actually. The Ford Fusion and the Ford Five Hundred are both good looking cars with tasteful interiors and seemingly solid construction (the Fusion is based on the Mazda6). The Five Hundred is definitely the larger of the two, but I don’t think it quite reaches Crown Vic bulkiness. One drawback to the Fusion is that neither it nor its Mercury sibling come with a nav system. Only the high end Lincoln Zephyr does, which is a mistake given who Ford wants these cars to compete with.

The new Honda Civic has one of the strangest dashboards I’ve ever seen. The exterior is new as well, but I suspect people will warm up to that a bit faster. What happened to the hood you say? It’s inside the car. Seriously, the dash is like 4 feet deep.

Chrysler needs to build its Dodge Challenger concept car — there’s no way around it. If anyone at Chrysler has testosterone, they will be pushing this car. Bring back the muscle car, folks. (and the Dodge Charger looks awesome in metallic black)

The Acura RL is drool-worthy.

Buick might have figured it out. Both the LaCrosse and Lucerne were not the dopey, old man vehicles you’d expect from the label. Both cars looked good, and the Lucerne had the 2nd most comfortable driver’s seat in the show. GM must have finally realized that it’s ancient plan for keeping drivers in GM cars for life, as they progress from Pontiac to Chevy to Oldsmobile (RIP) to Buick to Cadillac, expired at least 25 years ago. Now, I’m still not sure who exactly Buick is trying to appeal to with these cars (other than Tiger Woods), but I was mildly impressed with them. This is not your father’s Buick, to coin a phrase (sort of).

If the Buick Lucerne had the 2nd most comfortable seats, the winner for most comfortable seats goes to the Lexus LS 430 (which is being replaced in 2007 with the LS 460). You get what you pay for at $56,000! The award for most adjustable seats goes to the BMW 760 Li.

And finally, I learned that Spongebob Squarepants is a car guy. He was there along with the Cat in the Hat and a polar bear I caught on film bumping-and-grinding with a Cadillac STS. Classic!

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