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10/05/2005-10/09/2005 CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Oct 5, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photographs copyright LA CAR

THE BIG ONE IN THE OC IS THIS THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM? By Reed Berry, Alex Goines, Roy Nakano & Zoran Segina The 2006 California International Auto Show continues to be the right car show in the right place and at the right time. The Anaheim Convention Center is centrally located in The OC - home to numerous automotive headquarters and design centers.  Orange County, California is also the center for much of the Southland's car culture. With the backing of big guns such as the Los Angeles Times and Motor Trend, show-goers are insured of a top-rate event. And as the first car show of the automotive calendar year, the timing (one would think) couldn't be better. This year's show, however, may be remembered more for what wasn't there. The Anaheim show is traditionally the venue for Motor Trend's announcement of its SUV of the Year. That didn't happen. Also absent was the annual international design contest - another traditional venue of the show. All-in-all, there was a bit less hoopla than we expected. One can't help wondering if the announcement of the Los Angeles Auto Show's move to the Fall season has anything to do with this. This didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the show-goers, however. There's just no stopping Southern California car and truck lovers. Attendance was as high as ever.  Chalk up this year's show as a success. Next year, Los Angeles has its first November-December show. We'll just have to wait-and-see what happens to the 2007 Anaheim show. - Roy Nakano

Volvo's new C70 VOLVO C70 Take back everything you've ever said about the Volvos of the past: Boxy, unattractive, unexciting - and take a look at a Volvo that will make friends quickly. Making its North American debut at the California International Auto Show is the all-new Volvo C70.  Are you a convertible person or do you prefer a coupe? Well, I like both and the C70 offers the best of both worlds. At the push of a button, a stylish coupe becomes a sporty convertible thanks to a three-piece retractable hardtop that folds quickly and smoothly into the trunk. On hand to unveil the C70 is Anne Belec, President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. Chatting with Anne following the unveiling, I have learned that Volvo is quite optimistic of the C70's success - particularly here in the United States. They expect to sell about 16,000 units each year worldwide, but sales in the U.S. is expected to account for approximately 50 percent of the global volume. Not bad for a company that sold only twenty-six cars during their first year in the U.S. With a base MSRP of just under $40,000, the C70 seems like a pretty fair automotive value. In addition to great styling, you should be able to feel the power of a turbocharged 218-horsepower T5 engine. And, of course, Volvo is known for safety and comfort. The front seats are ergonomically shaped and the two rear seats have angled backrests. Side impact and rollover protection is provided by an inflatable curtain with extra stiff construction that offers effective head protection even with the windows open. - Reed Berry

Dodge Nitro and Calibre introduced to the press

Nitro up close

Calibre aft A DODGE IN YOUR GARAGE The soon-to-be in production Dodge Nitro was introduced at the Anaheim show. It looks like the lovechild of a Jeep Liberty and a Honda Element. It surprisingly comes out looking better than both of the parents. Kudos to Dodge for going forward and producing it for the 2007 line. Also introduced was the replacement for the Dodge Neon: The all new Dodge Calibre. Other than the slight Aztec hint, I have no real complaints. The Aztec-like rear overhang does emphasize the fact that it's a hatchback, which is either a positive or a negative - depending on your point of view. The new Dodge Megacab, on the other hand, strikes me as a vaste waste of metal for a truck. The reclining rear seats appear to offer as much, if not more, room than the front seats. Unfortunately, to keep this vehicle from being overly long, Dodge decided to cut into the bed space. If hauling people over cargo is your main priority, it seems a larger SUV offers about the same overall space, only with the luxury of being able to safely lock your possessions in the back. Alas, the Megacab may be more of an emotional decision than a practical one. - Alex Goines

Chrysler's Airflite concept car

Suzuki's snowboarding concept variant, the Blizzard

Ford's new Explorer

And the SportTrac Adrenaline concept vehicle

Saleen builds them

Saleen's new convertible Mustang

Honda's new Si

Saturn's new Sky

Pontiac's new Solstice

GMC's new Yukon GMC YUKON AND YUKON DENALI Not that long ago, big was good, and bigger was even better. Suburban vs. Excursion, mano a mano. In that era, GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali would have been welcome with open arms. They are full -ize SUV, appealing to the eye, and (as for Denali) loaded with every conceivable luxury.  GM chose the Anaheim show to reveal the latest versions of the Yukon and Yukon Denali. The new front angular fascia with the split grille invokes a family relationship with the expensive Escalade. The new eighteen and twenty-inch wheels (optional on Denali) give this sport-utility vehicle a broad stance. Chrome covered handles feel hefty and solid, and the rear power lift gate makes chores easier.  The new interiors are luxurious: Heated leather seats in the first two rows, wood trim on the center console. Personally, I found radio buttons too small. If the plastic cover on the dashboard on the pre-production model survives, it'll make the interior far more appealing that the unassuming GM interior of the outgoing model. The third row seat is power fold and tumble, providing an easy, immediate release of the seat to create an access to the third row seats or cargo area. Tri-zone climate control is standard and automatic in the top of the line Denali. An available remote start can heat or cool the inside of this GMC vehicle even before entering it. Now that's progress; so is 380 horsepower and 415 pound feet of torque. By including Habitat for Humanity and the Operation Home Delivery in the presentation in front of the Anaheim Convention Center where the Habitat's volunteers would build elements of the dwelling to be shipped to Louisiana GM exhibited sensitivity to the victims of Katrina. Bringing a load of lumber wood in tow was an ingenious way to introduce the new Yukon to its core supporters - albeit the more luxury demanding segment. If the basic GMC is for the construction guys, the new Yukon and Yukon Denali clearly target the developer.  The word segment was used a lot by John Larsen, GM General Manager. Yukon and Yukon Denali may have the lowest fuel consumption in the full-size SUV segment (which sold close to eight hundred thousand units last year), but the inevitable question is whether the segment is on its way out. The sales of full size SUVs are lower in dozens of percentage points, the gas is hovering around $3.00 per gallon, and yet the only power plants available in the Yukons drink gasoline (E85 vehicles will be available, however). Diesel is not provided as an option, and the hybrid will not appear in these models until 2009.  Yukon and Yukon Denali may be the prettiest of the large four wheeled creatures, but the times are calling for small and nimble specimens. During the presentation, I kept on drawing a parallel with that time long, long ago when the Earth was populated by large and powerful creatures, until a catastrophic event ultimately wiped them out, leaving room for more adaptable species to thrive.  In October 2001, less that two years after the introduction of the V10 Ford Excursion, who could have foreseen that the price of gasoline in the United States will approach three dollars per gallon? And to think that gasoline comes from oil which in turn comes from decomposed dinosaurs. - Zoran Segina

Chevy's new Tahoe

Lincoln's new Zephyr

Jaguar's new XK

Lambos

The road leads to the California International Auto Show

© All photographs copyright LA CAR For more information on the California International Auto Show, go to the CIAS home page.

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