Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the Houston Auto Show. This year’s show is the largest and most interactive in its 30 year history! The show at Reliant Center runs from 1/23-1/27, occupies 700,000 square feet and features 500 vehicles from 35 manufacturers. Several vehicles are making their Texas debut including the BMW Z4 sDrive35is and 328i Sports Wagon (F31), 2014 GMC Sierra, Ford Fusion Energi, 2013 Lincoln MKZ, the Toyota RAV4 and the Toyota SEMA Avalon Hybrid.
There are also 60 models to choose from at the show’s Texas sized, indoor and outdoor “Ride & Drives” which allow you to climb behind the wheel of this year’s hottest models and go for a spin. If you’re interested in participating, you’ll need to have your driver’s license on hand, be at least 21 years of age, and you will be asked to take a breathalyzer.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Corvette’s new 2014 Stingray won’t be making an appearance in Houston. On the upside is that the Corvette ZR1 (starting at $112,600), rumored to be GM’s fastest product with a LS9 638 hp supercharged V8, IS in the house. The ZR1 posted an impressive test track top speed of 205 mph. Judging from the lines waiting to get in today as the show opened, the Stingray’s absence won’t deter most gear heads from checking out the latest models.
It was love at first sight for me with the Ford F-150 Raptor. I don’t know if it was the unique exterior design with the brick wall grille, the heated AND cooled seats (perfect for TX weather) or the MyFordTouch® system, that caused my eyes to glaze over, but I’d definitely like to continue our relationship.
Of course, I’ve come to the realization with two children we are limited to a SUV or minivan for a family vehicle. My husband can have a truck or a car, but we need a vehicle that can seat more than four, and hold all the gear that goes with the passengers for a road trip. So my friend, another Mom, and I had a blast daydreaming and sitting in some of the smaller cars like the Fiat 500 Cabrio and the Mini Cooper S, while also scoping out the minivans. The Mini we sat in, was SA-WEET, and it even had a cooler where you can keep a few cold drinks! I also really liked that the controls are inspired by airplane controls – cool, right?!
Thank goodness they’re starting to make minivans more appealing! The convenience factors like sliding doors, extra storage (Nissan Quest has room for a double stroller in a hidden compartment), media consoles, have put them on my radar. Although, my first preference is a SUV. I love my Tahoe, but not the mpg, and I was surprised to see the Chevy Traverse gets better mpg AND has more space! We may need to rent one and see if it can hold all of our luggage and gear.
Fans of the Camp Jeep will want to check out my 3 minute clip from the live demonstration below.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the white Lotus Evora, owned by professional race car driver, Italian Sebastiano Armando Trentini. The car’s steering wheel alone costs $10,000. At Tuesday night’s preview gala, I had the chance to get close and personal with the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish, Aston Martin Vantage, and the Evora. Here are a few thoughts about my experience:
(1) how does James Bond fit in these sleek cars
(2) will I ever get the chance to drive one of those babies…and
(3) I hope I wasn’t drooling on the leather interior.
These super sweet high end sports cars are in the show’s high-end luxury vehicle boutique. This is the second year vehicles from Lotus, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Porsche are on display. While none of those vehicles are in my price range (um, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish starts at a jaw dropping $279,000), a girl can
dream drool, right?
*TIPS FOR WHAT DAYS TO ATTEND*
On Saturday, from 3-4 PM, Indy Car Series driver, Graham Rahal, will be making an appearance and signing autographs. Rahal is an IZOD IndyCar Series driver and the son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal.
Country music fans may want to attend Sunday, when country singer Tracy Byrd will be signing autographs at the “Dealer Services International” exhibitor space between 1-3 p.m.
NOTE: Tickets are $10 for adults (kids 12 and under are FREE) and they only accept cash!
I attended Press events for the Houston Auto Show in order to facilitate this article. No compensation was received and all opinions are mine.