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2014 Arizona International Auto Show

Going to the Arizona International Auto Show with my friends has become an annual tradition. This show travels to over a dozen major US cities and always comes to Phoenix for Thanksgiving weekend.

Last year we did something a little bit different. Instead of walking the floor and looking at all of the new models, we stayed outside and went on a bunch of test drives instead. That was so much fun that we did the same thing again!

This year, I drove 7 different vehicles in one day. I tried to pick some cars that were different from my usual go-fast machines. Here are my impressions of the cars I drove this year:

2014 Kia Sorento SUV

I drove the Optima Limited with the 2.0 Turbo last year and was thoroughly impressed with it. Rather than take it for a lap of Phoenix three years in a row, I picked something completely different: a V6 crossover SUV. One thing I really liked was the panoramic glass roof. It had excellent visibility, especially for the rear passengers.

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2005 Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept Car

Back in 2005, the Ford Motor Company wanted to do something special to celebrate their 100th anniversary. What they did was come out with a special, limited-production car called the Ford GT. This mid-engined supercar was inspired by Ford’s famous GT40 racing cars from the 1960s.

The Ford GT has a supercharged V8 engine that makes a whopping 550 horsepower! Aside from a roll cage, this thing is basically a street-legal racing car. Like all good things, the Ford GT was only around for a limited time. After two years and 4,000 vehicles, Ford ended production of their high performance supercar.

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2013 Arizona International Auto Show – A Second Opinion

If you haven’t read Trevor‘s piece on the 2013 Arizona International Auto Show, I would suggest you go ahead and read it first because it very accurately describes the experience  of being at the show and driving the cars, but I figure I might as well chime in and give my take on the test drives as well.

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Report: 2013 Arizona International Auto Show

For me, Thanksgiving is about more than just turkey: it’s also about cars. Every year the Arizona International Auto Show comes to town on Thanksgiving weekend. This show features the newest vehicles from dozens of manufacturers. You can sit in them, play with the knobs, and there are no sales people anywhere. My favorite part is going on test drives!

Last year, I drove four different turbocharged cars as well as a Chevrolet Volt and a Camaro SS convertible. This year, I broke my old record and went on seven test drives in one day! The cars I drove are as follows:

  • 2013 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
  • 2013 Lincoln MK-S
  • 2013 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited
  • 2013 Subaru Legacy CVT
  • 2013 Dodge Challenger V6
  • 2013 Dodge Charger Super Bee
  • 2013 Hyundai Equus Signature

I’d like to take a moment to talk about each one, but first I want to go over some thoughts from the Auto Show itself. Attendance seemed down this year, it didn’t seem to be as busy as last year.

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2003 Chevrolet SS Concept Car

Have you ever heard the expression “Everything old is new again?” This is especially true in the auto industry, where the current trend is to make new cars that look like old cars. This trend has brought about a wave of retro-styled muscle cars including the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger. But where did it all begin?

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2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Supercar

The world of supercars is dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren, and so many others – but these are not the only players in the game. You might be surprised to learn that Chrysler also tested the waters of the supercar market not long ago.

In 2004, Chrysler unveiled the ME Four-Twelve supercar, which was not a concept car but a prototype of a car that was slated to be put into production. The car debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, and I caught up with it at the Arizona International Auto Show that same year. Continue reading

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Roadster Concept Car

One of the most famous vehicles in muscle car history is the Shelby Cobra of the 1960s. The car was designed to do two things: go fast and win races. Shelby achieved this result by wedging a big engine into a small, light car body. The car did very well in competitions, but lackluster sales in the US led Shelby to end production in 1967.

Ford provided engines for the original Shelby Cobras, and in 2004 the company wanted to show off a concept vehicle that reflected upon the motorsports heritage of the Shelby Cobra. Continue reading