2007 Pittsburgh International Auto Show

Last night I went to the Pittsburgh International Auto Show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. I’ve been to the Washington Auto Show before so that was my main point of comparison. I was a little disappointed that more manufacturers’ sponsored vehicles weren’t there. For example, the year I went to the Washington Auto Show, Subaru has one of its actual rally cars on display.

All car manufacturers are prejudiced against tall people. There seems to be no correlation between the size of the vehicle and the amount of room inside. For example, the driver’s seat in the Mini Cooper was surprisingly nice, but the back seat in an H2 was tight.

The best thing I found at the auto show was that an auxiliary audio input is becoming standard equipment on a lot of cars. This seemingly trivial feature makes life a lot easier since, e.g., my cell phone, iPod, and laptop all have audio out.

I found a serious lack of availability in manual transmissions. Is America really so lazy that they’re willing to spend $100,000 on a sports car with an automatic? It’s just depressing.

I was also disturbed by the abundance of electronic door latches. Am I really supposed to drive around in a vehicle that locks me out if the battery dies? There was a corvette with this feature! I can at least understand the argument in mini-vans where the doors themselves may also be motorized to aid in accessibility (little kids and the elderly).

Not that I’m stuck on door latches, but most of them were pieces of crap. I’ll be very surprised if any of them last more than 10 years.

Finally, open the hood on just about any new vehicle and you’re greeted by a big piece of plastic. WHY? Does it help keep some mystical crud off the engine? People who open hoods want to see an engine!

Other observations are that many companies seemed unwilling to put in the effort to power the electronics in their vehicles while they were sitting on display. I.e., the batteries were disconnected. Clearly the vehicles with electronic door latches needed to be powered, but it wasn’t much fun to sit in the other cars when nothing works. Some manufacturers had little power supplies / battery chargers connected up.

I was impressed with the Toyota Tundra. The interior seems to be well thought-out and it was pretty spacious for my tall self.

Conclusion: not exciting at all.


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