Big trucks, small SUVs and fast cars are the hottest commodities at this year’s show.
With advanced technology making even mainstream models safer and more entertaining, here’s what to look for while kicking the tires at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center February 13-15.
1.Trucks are Big
Pickup truck sales are booming, with well-equipped four-door “crew cab” models becoming especially popular with a unique combination of work-rugged capabilities and passenger-pampering interiors. Top models rival luxury cars inside, with sticker prices breaking the $50,000 barrier.
New models for 2015 include the midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups, which return to the U.S. after a prolonged absence, and the dramatically redesigned full-size Ford-F150 that makes extensive use of durable aluminum.
2.Small Crossover SUVs are Hot
Car dealers are selling small crossover SUVs like crazy, and it’s easy to see why: They offer added utility and interior/cargo room over comparably sized cars, with optional all-wheel-drive for improved traction over wet or snowy roads; most can be fitted with ample amenities for those looking to downsize their rides but not their expectations. New models for 2015 include the subcompact Chevrolet Trax, the compact Jeep Renegade, the Lexus NX and the super-sporty Porsche Macan.
As always, “speed sells,” and auto engineers are pushing the limits of technology with increasingly smaller, efficient and powerful engines. While one expects a car like the redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang GT to deliver the goods in this regard with a 435-horsepower V8, even “family cars” are packing heat these days.
Take, for example, the supercharged and turbocharged 302-horsepower four-cylinder Volvo S60 midsize sedan, the aforementioned Porsche Macan crossover with up to 400 horses and the new supercharged V8 “Hellcat” versions of the big Dodge Challenger coupe and Charger sedan that each pack a 707-horsepower punch.
4.Connecting with Connectivity
Automakers are reaching out to younger, tech-savvy motorists by integrating smartphone functionality into their cars. Most offer a simple Bluetooth interface that enables hands-free calling and digital song downloading, with the latest systems further delivering in-car access to Internet radio, web-based dining and travel services and other information. Some can read aloud text messages and allow drivers to respond on a hands-free basis. Some cars, most notably from Fiat/Chrysler and General Motors brands, can be fitted with a built-in Internet connection that turns them into rolling Wi-Fi hotspots for mobile devices.
The latest breakthroughs in auto safety – now being offered on many mainstream cars and crossovers – are systems designed to help prevent motorists from getting into collisions altogether. “Blind spot warning” systems detect the presence of other vehicles in adjacent lanes the driver may not otherwise see in the side mirrors, while “lane departure warning” systems sound an alert if the vehicle is inadvertently crossing highway lane markings.
Going a step further are “forward collision” systems that will not only warn a driver if the car is closing in too quickly on another vehicle or other obstruction, but will automatically apply the brakes at full force if the driver isn’t reacting quickly enough. Some anti-collision systems also work in reverse gear; a few can apply the brakes to prevent running into pedestrians or bicyclists or rear-ending other cars in urban traffic.
The 2015 Spokane International Auto Show is the largest gathering of new cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs in the Inland Northwest! 27 auto manufacturers will be exhibiting the latest in automotive technology at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. Sponsored by the Spokane New Car Dealers Association, this show offers everyone a chance to shop and compare. See what’s new for 2015 and beyond. It’s a unique opportunity to do all of your comparative shopping under one roof! To learn more about the Auto Show, visit www.spokaneautoshow.com
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