April 4, 2002 - My most exciting moment at this year's car show wasn't even a car, but the sight of a Ford salesman running around the truck hall on a Segway scooter. It looked like so much fun, I offered to let him hold my digital camcorder in exchange for a test drive. But he refused. If someone rents these things when they come out later this year, they're going to make a fortune!
The epicenter of this year's excitement was the Toyota exhibit, which highlighted their new Matrix (not great looking, but kind of fun). The area was sort of a drive-in theater with a huge video monitor playing several fun 10-minute commercials like a Star Trek spoof starring Leonard Nimoy. Though Nissan's cars were nicer, their exhibit was pretty dull in comparison.
Perhaps by osmosis there was a lot of excitement next door at Cadillac. They are so intent on creating a new, younger image with their new, facetted cars that they didn't even show their senior mainstays the Seville, Deville and Eldorado. Hmmm.
My favorite new (affordable) car was the 2003 Mazda 6 mid-size series. I also love the new Mini Cooper S, which took a gamble on a small main floor exhibit next to Porsche, and the new Honda Civic hatchback with its dash-mounted gearshift lever. But the Honda area itself was pretty boring, and they had one of the most bizarre concept vehicles that looked like a pregnant space ship.
The most amazing non-affordable concept was the new Ford GT40, which almost surely will have to be built. The restyled Dodge Viper looked boring by comparison. As a matter of fact, the whole Dodge/Chrysler exhibit area was pretty dead despite several nice cars and interesting concepts.
Visit the official car show website, AutoShowNY.com