2007 Orange County Auto Show – Media Day (Part 2 of 3)

By Joel Arellano | October 16, 2006
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You know you’re a burgeoning car enthusiast when you spend Friday nightattending the same auto show you just coveredas a member of the media. Fortunately, I had several free tickets.
After a quick dinner of an over-priced tuna wrap, I checked out the new 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. Exterior is a definite improvement over the more oddly curvy prior generation, giving Hyundai’s SUV flagship a decidingly Infiniti FX-lite appearance. Interior was comfortable for my six-foot tall frame and the side-bolsters wide (i.e., great for cruising but not for hitting curvy roads at high speeds.) I drifted from display to display, hitting all the brands. Even though I was not on the clock, my mind considered what shots readers would be interested in first, then my own favorites (e.g., Mazda, Lincoln.) Crossovers, or CUVs, are the “It” vehicle and virtually every manufacturer had one on display:
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The new Honda CR-V. While I like the exterior styling, I don't like how the CUV grew in size.
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The new Jeep Compass. An interesting evolution of the Jeep brand. Personally, I like it.
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I'm probably one of the few people who liked the old "beak nosed" Outlander. However, I can see why this version will be popular. Personally, I think it looks bland and bloated. I can't wait to checkout the interior at the next show.
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I did a double-take when I saw the Acura MDX. That grill is quite different, quite interesting, which says a lot about Honda's direction for its lux line. I still find the exterior sheetmetal too-old school (i.e., boxy) against its competitors.
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One of my colleagues had the Dodge Nitro for the day so I had a chance to check out the interior. High in plastic like most Dodge vehicles, but I feel the Nitro's a definite "put on shopping list" if looking for something practical and different.
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Stunning. I love Mazdas and love the CX-7. Only change I'd make would narrow the side bolster on the driver's side.
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Acura RDX. Nice, both inside and out. Much better than the X3 whom the marque is in competition.
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Suzuki Swift. Cute if I were back in collage.
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You’d think that, after working a few shows as both media and a consumer, that nothing could surprise me. Well, I was shocked—no, awed—by Subaru. On a lark, I entered the Subaru Legacy sports wagon and was amazed at the high quality of the interior material. Expensive-looking soft plastics were everywhere and the fit and finish nearly matched several of the Mercedes-Benz I had seen early in the show. The Subaru staff was amused as I gushed my shock to them. I stayed until the show closed at 10 PM.
 
2 comments
jarellano
jarellano

"It felt like yet another "good enough" effort from Detroit." Actually, not just Detroit but Germany since Chrysler's owned by DaimlerChrysler.

jarellano
jarellano

"Gotta disagree with you on a few of these. The Compass, while not hideously grotesque, is a snoozer, inside & out, aside from the iPod hookup. Quite underpowered, even with the manual transmission. Needs the 300-horse motor from the Caliber SRT. And while I generally like the new CR-V, I gotta wonder what they were thinking when they were designing the grille on that think. One word: bizarre." Snoozer? While it's not as "in your face" as most Jeeps, I think that's a good thing. Not all of us want to show up at the latest nightclub in a military vehicle (unless it's a HUMMER.) You pegged the CR-V, though. Front fascia looks like someone punched Michael Jackson in the nose.

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