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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 Sun, Oct 5, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

The Bumblebee Camaro from TRANSFORMERS was on display at the OC Auto Show

LIFE SEEMS BETTER AT THE OC AUTO SHOW By BT Justice The 2009 Orange County Auto Show is an entertaining and informative way to spend a few hours. It is the first major show of the season. While not as high profile as the Los Angeles or Detroit shows, it is a great opportunity to see a variety of models from a long list of carmakers. Having so many cars in one place, along with representatives who are enthusiastic about describing the vehicles, is perfect for the auto enthusiast and potential car buyer. My favorite part of the auto show was Toyota's off road Ride and Drive. It was a whole lot of fun and a good opportunity to compare the off road prowess of several Toyota 4x4s. The Ride and Drive was just outside of the convention center. It's a reasonably long track, filled with a pseudo rock bed, dirt hills, a tippy bridge, and other typical off road challenges. I very much like the strangely rugged and retro, but also toy-like looks of the FJ Cruiser, and have been looking forward to test driving one. The interior is somewhat spartan, but that is just fine and to be expected. The FJ Cruiser's off road capabilities are impressive. The short wheel base, limited slip differential, and optional A-TRAC system make it a great off road vehicle. It can also tow about 5,000 lbs. While obviously a great weekend vehicle with capabilities beyond what is needed for a daily driver, it is more than competent and comfortable as such. I also enjoyed testing the Toyota Sequoia. The Sequoia is very large, powerful, has great towing capacity, and is extremely comfortable. A wonderful vehicle for a big family, ready for fun filled adventures. The FJ and Sequoia, while both SUVs, are certainly for different market segments. But the comparison was revealing. It showed just how good an off road vehicle the FJ is. While the Sequoia is competent off road, the wheels tended to spin a bit at times while hill climbing. The long wheelbase and heavy weight make it clear the Sequoia would be fine in the snow and for moderate off road driving. But what it really shows is just how good the FJ is off road. Another highlight of the OC show were the 2009 Dodge Challengers. I guess I'm getting old as I seem to be attracted to the retro styling of the FJ, and the Challenger as well. I could describe the Challenger in detail, but suffice it to say both the styling and performance are amazing. The auto press describes it as a head turner and I could not agree more. As the theme of the 2009 OC Autoshow was green cars, I would be remiss to only cover the FJ, Sequoia and Challenger. The show features numerous, wonderful green vehicles. One of my favorites was the Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle. I've always considered it a great alternative to gas powered and even diesel or hybrid. I very much hope it becomes more popular. There are a variety of other green options on display, such as the Civic Hybrid, Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, and others. Take some time to look at these, and give this sector seriously consideration, if you are in the market for going green. Subaru is one of my perennial favorites. Subaru was years ahead in the crossover market. The Outback and Forester are still two of the best crossovers, combining reasonably good MPG and comfort, while, like all other Subies, having full-time "symmetrical" AWD; a feature which provides true SUV grit and superior handling for those snow crusted climbs up to the mountains. I also enjoyed viewing the Tribeca and a few Impreza models. One slight disappointment was Subaru's failure to showcase an Outback Sport, which is essentially an Impreza with a more rugged package. Considering how rare they are, and how well liked, it should have been there. Another disappointment was the failure to have accessories such as roof racks and associated parts on display. Subaru prides itself on "love" and the outdoors. Many of the models exhibited roof racks with skiis, snowboards, kayaks, etc. This certainly supports Subaru's image, so why not actually feature these accessories in a stand alone display? I might very well have purchased a ski rack for the crossbars on my OBS. All-in-all, the 2009 OC Auto Show was entertaining, informative, and a great way to spend a few hours in The OC. THE SHOW IN REVIEW More than 500 new cars, trucks, sport/utility vehicles and crossovers were packed in the Anaheim Convention Center, Thursday, October 2nd through Sunday, October 5th for the OC Auto Show. From hot concept cars and ultra high-end exotics to a live Sugar Ray concert, the 2009 OC Auto Show offers a little of everything. As the Southland's first show of season, attendees were invited to check out all the latest vehicles in a non-selling environment, sit behind the wheels, inspect engines, learn about new fuel-saving automotive technologies and even take a spin in select models from Chrysler, Hyundai and Toyota. The OC Auto Show also featured a bikini contest, Hawaiian Tropic® model search, and even Laker Girls.

Saturn's Flextreme "The OC Auto Show kicks off the auto season and we were excited to bring all the new model vehicles, concept cars and exotics to Orange County" said Orange County Auto Show's Co-Director John Sackrison. "This show is also a hub for entertainment and we have several exciting features lined up including a concert with Sugar Ray, a New Music Showcase and appearances from the Laker Girls and more!" On display at the OC Auto Show were several all-new or redesigned 2009-model vehicles including the BMW X6, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Dodge Journey, Hummer H3T, Infiniti FX, Mazda6, Nissan GT-R, Toyota Venza, Volkswagen Tiguan and more, as well as a collection of hybrids including the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Malibu, Lexus LS and Toyota Highlander, among others. The show also offered an up-close look at exotic rides from Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati, as well as a sneak peek at pre-production models yet to hit the dealer showrooms including the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V, 2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck and 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The OC Auto Show also offered a great way to learn about the latest trends in alternative fuel vehicles. Green directional arrows helped attendees find fuel-efficient and alternative fuel models on the show floor, as well as showcase new technology to help save money at the fuel pump and promote a cleaner environment. Several alternative fuel technologies were featured along the Green Trail including gas/electric hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Ford's Explorer America concept A collection of futuristic concept cars were also showcased to provide consumers a glimpse into the inventive future of automotive design. Concept cars that appeared included the Chevrolet Bumblebeeâ„¢ Camaro from the hit movie TRANSFORMERSâ„¢, Saturn Flextreme, and Ford Explorer America. The Toyota Behind the Wheel Adventure hauled its lineup of 4x4 trucks, sport/utility vehicles, logs, sand and hundreds of tons of dirt to the Anaheim Convention Center. Attendees were invited to test drive a collection of new 2009-model Toyota trucks and SUVs on this course that will send drivers maneuvering hill climbs, over wood bridges, around offset beams and across the frame twisters. Auto show attendees also had a chance to take a spin and get a feel for the performance and handling of several models at the Hyundai Ride & Drive. The all-new Genesis sedan, as well as the Veracruz, Sonata, Azera, Santa Fe and Elantra were available to drive on the last two days of the show. The Chrysler Mobile Showcase offered showgoers the chance to hop in and take a drive in the hottest rides from Chrysler's new-model lineup including the all-new Aspen, 300C, Town & Country and Sebring. Auto show attendees were also able to test drive these new models.

Showgoers were in big supply at Al & Ed's Autosound Auto Show Underground, where the latest in car customization, mobile electronics and accessories were featured with customized sport compacts and high-performance rides. Showgoers also experienced the windshield-shaking power of the Al & Ed's Cadillac Escalade ESV equipped with a 15,000-Watt Rockford Fosgate amplifier and eight 15-inch subwoofers that filled the entire tailgate. This was also the spot to check out stunning customized cars, owned by music and sports celebrities in the DUB® Magazine Celebrity Car Showcase. Fans of the hit cartoon Speed Racer were able to see the original Mach 5 at the auto show, courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum. This hand-built, mid-engine interpretation of the Mach 5 was a hit with both parents who grew up with the TV show, and the children who've viewed the recent movie. The Star 98.7 New Music Showcase rocked the OC Auto Show on Friday evening. Local bands took to the stage and entertained crowds with live musical performances in Al & Ed's Autosound Auto Show Underground. Swimsuits and glistening Southern California tans made their return to the OC Auto Show once again. The top two contestants competed in the "Miss Hawaiian Tropic® Orange County Model Search" held at the auto show on Saturday. A panel of judges including radio personality Tom Leykis, were on hand to determine (with the audience's cheers) the winner.

Sugar Ray performed The OC Auto Show transformed into an electrifying concert venue on Saturday evening, when rock band sensation Sugar Ray performed in a live concert from the auto show floor. Lead singer Mark McGrath and his multi-platinum band, Sugar Ray, rocked out to their biggest hits including "Fly" "When It's Over" and more. Admission was included with the purchase of an auto show ticket. Additional features and promotions: · Laker Girls and Joe Grande Autograph Signing - The most popular cheerleaders in the NBA and Radio Personality Joe Grande posed for photos and sign autographs on Saturday. · Telemundo Telenovela Stars Autograph Signing - Stars from popular Telemundo Telenovelas greeted fans and sign autographs on Sunday. · Kids Zone - On Sunday, families and children participated in a Guitar Hero® contest, and then hung with the Radio Disney team in the afternoon.

The OC Auto Show is owned and presented by the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association and the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows, Inc. The auto show was open to the public from Thursday, October 2nd, through Sunday, October 5th, at the Anaheim Convention Center, located at 800 W. Katella Ave. in Anaheim. Attendees received a free one-year subscription to Motor Trend magazine with each online ticket order or box office purchase, courtesy of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association and the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association. For more information, visit the OC show's site at


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