A Local Auto Show, Lite Version
Crazy things happen with venues in small cities. Case in point: Due to a scheduling conflict with a bowling tournament (of all things) planned for one of the show's main venue halls on its normal February date, the 2018 Syracuse Auto Expo was moved completely out of 2018 and all the way up to the fall of 2017.
The result is what you might call the Syracuse Auto Show Lite, as there were noticeably fewer cars on the show floors. Conspicuously absent were the Porsche 911, anything from Infiniti, Fiat's 124 and even a real 500. Even Audi brought only a skeleton contingent. There were only two motorcycles on display, the truck floor was less densely populated than usual, and very little was on display in the aftermarket and pleasure craft room. Its almost as if it caught the usual participants by surprise.
Still, there was plenty to keep auto enthusiasts and perspective car buyers busy for an afternoon. Here are the cars that, for one reason or another, stood out:
2017 Acura NSX
Surrounded by black velvet rope was the show's biggest star, an all-black Acura NSX. It immediately drew the attention of anyone entering the luxury car section. The $175,200 price tag also drew a lot of attention. And comments.
2018 Lexus LC500
Less than thirty feet away from the NSX, in the midst of a sea of white and gray Lexuses, the orange (don't call it brown) LC 500 was primed to be an eye-catcher. Not that it wouldn't have been, anyway. Even with the corporate pinched-in nose, this is one gorgeous Lexus.
2018 Kia Stinger
The only car other than the NSX at the show behind a velvet rope, and this one only partially, was Kia's Stinger. Tucked way in the back of the main floor, it shows how far - from a design perspective, at least - Kia is growing up.
2018 Honda Accord
It's a little strange, really, seeing a car for the first time that you know you will see very, very often. The display calls this latest iteration of its family sedan the "Most Impressive Honda ever." The NSX downstairs might have something to say about that, although this is a welcome update.
2018 Nissan Sentra NISMO
Last year, Nissan finally introduced a Sentra worthy of some excitement since the departure of the SE-R in 2012. The NISMO version is essentially an SR Turbo with $3300 worth of extras, the most important being the availability of a slick-shifting six speed manual (the SR Turbo for 2018 is only available with a continuously-variable transmission - in the US, anyway). The red swooshes that detail the exterior take away some stealth. The micro-suede and leather steering wheel is a nice touch.
Prototype Ford Mustang Convertible
Not sure what is so "prototype" about this convertible Mustang, but it's a good looking example.
2018 Toyota C-HR
Toyota let its freak flag fly with the the C-HR, giving it a spot-lighted plinth rather than sticking it in a corner, and even gave it a little spokes-model treatment. This is one bizarre vehicle. If Toyota is in a competition to out-ugly the Nissan Juke, the C-HR is a serious contender.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
"$72,000? For a Dodge? It's not even a Viper!"
True, but it is already becoming a legend in some circles. At least for some, that is worth the price of admission. That and the 707-hp. supercharged 6.2L Hemi SRT V8 Engine.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
Mazda's Miata puts on a hard shell top with a targa look. And you know what? It kinda works.
Although a February date for the Syracuse Auto Expo was used to kick off the spring selling season, organizers may keep the new November schedule, depending on how successful the new date was in 2017. For now, it's wait and see.