Market Overview

2012 Detroit Auto Show Recap and Highlights: A Personal Perspective

Unfortunately, due to time constraints and prior obligations, I was unable to attend the 2012 Detroit Auto Show during press week, so I went with the general public last Saturday.

Apart from being incredibly crowded (and having some people cut in line while I was waiting to cushion myself in a svelte Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8), there is nothing like seeing 40,000 some-odd square feet of shiny new cars, razor sharp concepts, and knowledgeable (for the most part) models and representatives.

This year, there were five notable cars worth seeing and sitting in. Most might disagree with these options, and I am not necessarily speaking to company successes, but nonetheless were impressive, handsome, and somewhat guilty pleasures.

Honda (NYSE: HMC) provided the opportunity to sit in the escape-pod getaway CR-Z, a classy little two seat hybrid with a fascinating dashboard filled with buttons to customize the driving experience. Granted this car is a CR-X reincarnate with a private institution education, trust fund, and Ph.D. with Honors from an Ivy League school. My first encounter to scratch and sniff was pleasing, as this car is highly obtainable, providing you only like sharing your driving experience with one person. The base model comes with everything one needs and then some, the EX model adds some extras that put you in Acura territory with amenities, in case the base model doesn't provide enough. My 1998 Honda CR-V is surely blown out of the water in this department. Pricing starts at $19,995 for the base and $21, 510 for the EX.

Next on the list was the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, specifically the 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel with a proposed 31 city/43 highway mpg, depending on driver habits. One of the only cars in the class with this type of engine mated to a 6-speed manual, this is a niche car that appeals to a mature palette. The interior is filled with clean lines and is simple, reminiscent of my 1994 Mercedes E420 interior that was luxurious, but with no frills (or even cupholders), hence the attraction. Not to mention the largest backseat available in this class (am I getting older?) and a very attractive starting price (for the diesel) at $25.995. The floor model was an SEL Diesel complete with sunroof and navigation, nice things to have but not exactly necessary.

Another car available and not-too-popular on dealership lots was the new 2012 Buick Regal (NYSE: GM) Premium and GS models, also complete with 6-speed manuals, flashy contemporary interiors, and beautiful 19- or 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. These two models come with a 2.0L Ecotec 220 hp or 2.0L Ecotec high-output 270 hp engines are standard, respectively.

Apart from luxury brands like the Acura RL and Cadillac CTS-V, these aforementioned cars were the most notable this year. Ford (NYSE: F) had a massive exhibit which has been covered previously on Benzinga, despite its markedly anti-Ford demeanor.

Posted-In: 2012 Detroit Auto Show Buick Jeep VolkswagenAnalyst Color News Topics Events Analyst Ratings General

 

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