Search

The Review Garage

Rating the best and worst in cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, tools and accessories.

Category

Autobytel.com

2018 Chicago Auto Show

by Jason Fogelson

I went to the 2018 Chicago Auto Show last week as a guest of Nissan, and I covered the event for Autobytel.com. Here’s a link to my article for them, which was entitled “Must See Vehicles from the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.”

I love going to the Chicago Auto Show. Of the major US new car shows, it is always the most relaxed and easy to navigate. The event happens at McCormick Place, a massive convention center, and the lucky journalists stay in one of the high-rise hotels that are connected to the building — which means that the weather is not a factor during the day. And that was a good thing this year, as the weather was cold, snow fell constantly and there was no reason for man nor beast to be outside.

The trip in was a pleasure, as Nissan invited Detroit-area-based journalists to travel to Chicago with them via Amtrak. Getting to my closest train station in Dearborn was a bit of a struggle, as the big snow storm extended across the Midwest and dropped several inches of the white stuff on the roads during the night before my departure. I had planned to take a Lyft or Uber for the 10-mile trip to the station, but when I was ready to leave, there were no willing drivers available. I had to wake my wife, who donned her winter coat over her pajamas without complaint and drove me through the snow-covered streets. The train trip to Chicago took about four hours, most of which I spent chatting with other journalists. Nissan shuttled us to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, where warm rooms awaited.

On the first night, I attended Nissan’s welcome party in an adjacent hotel ballroom, and then took an Uber to the Lexus party in an event space on the other side of downtown. Lexus had a 10th Anniversary F-Sport RC-F on display, along with a West Coast Customs replica of the Black Panther’s LC. An Uber back to the hotel afterwards, and on to bed.

In the morning, I attended the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast, with a keynote address from Subaru of America’s CEO, Thomas Doll. Then, it was off to the show, running from press conference to press conference. At the end of the day, my dogs were barking, but I still found the energy to jump on a shuttle to Geno’s East for the annual Mazda Pizza Party. I’m not really a deep dish guy, but it was a very nice meal and a good time hanging out with Mazda PR folk and auto journalists. I had a ticket for a music event, Sweet Home Chicago, but chose instead to return to the hotel for some rest.

The next day, more press conferences, more snow, lots of writing. I made a quick swing through the show floor to take some photos (I’m sharing some here for your viewing), and prepared for my flight home. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans, as I got notices from Delta Airlines that my plane was delayed from a 4:45 pm departure to 9:00 pm. I decided to punt, and bought a ticket on the 5:40 pm Amtrak from Union Station back to Dearborn, because I was pretty sure I’d make it home — and it would be better than sleeping at O’Hare airport. I finally pulled in to Dearborn station at 1:00 am, and made it home by 2:00 am in an Uber.

All-in-all, an excellent trip, made a little bit frustrating by the weather. It could have been worse — I could still be sleeping at O’Hare.

Photos (c) Jason Fogelson.

 

Advertisements

Automobility LA and the Los Angeles Auto Show

by Jason Fogelson

Last week, I attended the press days for the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Actually, there was a change this year. The traditional press days have been subsumed by a new event, an industry trade show called “Automobility LA.” This new event combined the expected press conferences and new model reveals with the previously separate Connected Car Expo that had preceded the auto show. Instead of two days of back-to-back events, I was now faced with four days of reveals interspersed with keynote addresses, panel discussions and presentations from technology companies in addition to the automotive OEMs. Many of the auto companies chose to move their reveals off-site, competing for attention by diverting journalists away from the main venue at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It turned the whole week into a bigger slog than usual, compounded by the rampant exchange of germs that left me and a number of my colleagues sick as dogs with the LA Auto Show Grippe.

I did manage to get some work done during the week, though. I was part of Autobytel’s team, helping to produce this Must See Vehicles at the LA Auto Show, and I put together this list of Must See Crossovers and SUVs at the LA Auto Show.

I also did a few executive interviews for Forbes.com: Reid Bigland of Maserati; and Don Swearingen of Mitsubishi.

Also coming soon: a review of the 2017 Lamborghini Huracån RWD, and an interview with some of the Lambo execs.

So, despite the Grippe, it was a pretty good LA Auto Show.

2016 Miami International Auto Show

by Jason Fogelson

Earlier this month, I traveled to Miami to attend the latest edition of the Miami International Auto Show. The show ran from September 10 – 18 at the Miami Convention Center. As Gloria Estefan and Buster Poindexter used to say, “Hot, Hot, Hot!

Not only was it hot and humid in Miami in September (surprise, surprise), there were plenty of journalists on hand for the manufacturer’s reveals and events. The star of the show was Nissan with two reveals: The 2017 Rogue and the 2017 Sentra SR Turbo.

You can read all about it in my article for Autobytel.

Photos (c) Jason Fogelson.

2017 Ford Super Duty Pickups

by Jason Fogelson

There are a few vehicles that dominate their class. The Ford Super Duty Pickup Trucks crush the competition, and the 2017 Ford Super Duty will maintain that dominance.

One of the most interesting statistics that I heard from Ford during a recent launch event in Denver, Colorado was that 90 percent of Super Duty owners use their trucks for towing. At first, I balked at this figure. How could that be true? But then I considered the truck’s capability, and realized that it made sense. If you’re not going to be towing, or if you only tow a light load, an F-150 or competitive light duty truck is robust enough, and you’ll get a better ride on a day-to-day basis when you’re not towing.

The gap has narrowed between F-150 and Super Duty (F-250, F-350 and F-450), however. The new Super Duty now has the same cab as the F-150, and a much better suspension system than before. The ride is better, and the available creature comforts are very similar.  Super Duty doesn’t punish you with a pogo stick ride when unladen, and new steering enhancements have improved low-speed handling significantly.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Super Duty trucks on the road as daily drivers and lifestyle vehicles in the future.

Read Jason’s 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4×4 Crew Cab King Ranch Test Drive and Review at Autobytel.com.

Read Jason’s 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty: First Drive Review at Autotrader.com.

Photos (c) Jason Fogelson

2017 Volvo V90 Road Test and Review

by Jason Fogelson

Plenty of vehicles get labeled “iconic,” but few really deserve the term. The Volvo wagon lives up to “icon” status, and now there’s a new generation of the flagship on its way. When it arrives on US shores later this year, the 2017 Volvo V90 wagon will take its place on showroom floors next to the fantastic new S90 sedan.

Extending the roofline and adding a tailgate transforms the sedan into a very different vehicle. Curvier and more streamlined than the boxy Volvo wagons of old, the new V90 is gorgeous and elegant. The interior is a model of Scandinavian design, with natural materials and a minimum of fuss.

As soon as I drove the V90 during a launch event in Malaga, Spain, I told my friend Russell Datz, Volvo USA’s Media Relations Manager, that I’ve found the car that I’m going to buy next — in 2024, when I can afford a used 2017 V90.

You can read my full 2017 Volvo V90 Test Drive and Review at Autobytel.com.

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

2016 Infiniti QX80 Test Drive and Review

by Jason Fogelson

I like big SUVs, and I love luxury. So the 2016 Infiniti QX80 has always been on my radar, and I got a chance to test drive it for Autobytel a few weeks ago.

Body-on-frame SUVs have been disappearing over the past decade or so, replaced in the marketplace by unibody crossover vehicles. It makes sense — crossovers are generally lighter and more fuel-efficient than body-on-frame models, and CAFE standards get tougher every year. But there are still buyers who need and want full-size SUVs, and many of those buyers demand a luxury vehicle.

Infiniti’s take on the big SUV differs from the competition. Swoopy design, high tech features and four-wheel independent suspension make QX80 unique, and I like it.

You can read my 2016 Infiniti QX80 Test Drive and Review at Autobytel.com.

Photo (c) Infiniti

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑