Chicago Auto Show

So I’m interested in getting a new car. I’ve never purchased a new car before (always had one that’s been in the family), so this is all a huge new world to me. The Chicago Auto Show is something that Liz has always liked to do (she’s a fan of cars), and so it seemed like a perfect event for us to attend together.

A week or so before now, we were at a Borders and I got a copy of the latest Comsumer Reports for Cars (per Liz’s suggestion). While I haven’t had a ton of time to look through things, I was able to sneak some peeks regarding a few cars that I might be interested in.

For me – I’m interested in the Toyota Prius (a hybrid), and the Volkswagen Jetta.

I’ve been to McCormick before for large events like this (for my old job), but it’s been a while. On walking in, I had forgotten just how massive this place is. The video doesn’t do it justice.

Concept car (Toyota).

Uh. I don’t really know all that much about cars, so don’t expect any pithy commentary here beyond the make and the model. Which I might get wrong.

Interestingly enough, I saw a ton of game areas, ranging from driving style arcade games to actual playstation/xbox setups. I wonder if this is to draw people in, or if it’s to entertain bored kids while their parents peruse.

Toyota gets some good points for entertaining and promoting their brand, at the same time. Other places had gimmicky setups (star in your own Toyota commercial!) that were pretty poor, in my estimation. A lot of places tried to get people to “interact” with their brand, but few of them seemed all that compelling or interesting.

In addition to looking around, I also took some notes for work (we’re looking to land some business with the auto industry). Luckily for you, I took out most of the boring work-related shots I took.

Toyota Yaris.

Toyota Prius. The interior was nice. I found myself saying that of almost every car I sat in. It’s “nice.”

I discovered that I was really interested in the car’s interior. While I looked for a specific body type (smaller, not as long), I found myself becoming really picky once I sat inside each vehicle. The dash, the windshield – the interior space is what seemed to have the most impact on me.

Toyota Prius (Touring). Not sure what the difference is between this one and the prior. Both were pretty nice, and priced well (they’re hybrids).

According to Consumer Reports, these cars are the bomb. Based on their rating system? The Toyota Prius gets their highest marks in all categories (electrical, customer satisfaction, depreciation, etc). On paper, it looks stunning.

Sadly, when I got in… I didn’t have this overwhelming “wow I want this car” feeling. It was… nice.

Honda Fit. I think this was one of Liz’s favorites, and was the car she was most interested in seeing.

Honda Civic. I liked this one a little above average. Although I thinkth is more of a racecar than I’m after.

Nissan Versa. This one bumped the Honda Fit as Liz’s favorite.

Concept car (Nissan, I think).

Jeep area. What was neat about this was that they had a pretty huge area, complete with a course where people could ride in the vehicles and go over a multitude of terrain types.

I would classify this as a successful event, as it drew a ton of people. There was a sizeable line when we walked by, with a ton of folks waiting for a chance to go on a “ride.”

Another large area, designed more as a “test course.” Note the woman whose job it is is to skate on the ice, demonstrating that there is, indeed, a sheet of thick ice on the ground.

Hyundai Accent.

Around now I’m starting to wind down a bit. I recall nothing about this vehicle.

Hyundai Tiburon. Liz told me this was one of her favorite cars, but that it’s a pret
ty terrible car to own. She loves it, but it’s a bad car.

Scion xD.

Okay. Hello.

I’ve always seem Mini Coopers around town, and always thought they looked pretty slick. Justin has always talked about them with admiration, and Liz has talked at length about them.

But it wasn’t until I got IN one that I realized why so many people dig this vehicle. The interior is really great – a mixture of old and new, which I liked.


Sitting inside, the interior really made me want one of these cars. The speedometer is a little over the top, but we ended up seeing a few other models where the components were a little more integrated into the dash. Still though… this thing is slick.

See how happy I look?

Early on the evening, I found myself drawn mostly to the interiors. I kept wanting to say “UI,” if you can believe that.

Out of all the other cars we’d seen tonight, the Mini Cooper had the most presence, the most style.

Sadly, it’s not that great of a car according to Consumer Reports. It’s ok, and maybe around average. It rates really high on customer satisfaction and depreciation (very few people are selling their Mini Coopers), but it flags some problem areas under electrical and body.

More research. But man, this looks like a fun, fun car to drive.

Volkswagen Bug.

Looking around the VW section, the Jetta wasn’t as spiffy as I had imagined. I think a big part of it might have had to do with the fact that we had wandered over here after looking at the Mini Coopers. Everything else just seemed a little duller by comparison.

No official decisions yet. But it sure was fun to browse around. Time to do some research, I think.

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