It’s not easy to check out all 400+ cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans at the Charlotte International Auto Show each year. I focus my review on the most exciting, brand new models as well as the most anticipated redesigned models. The underlying theme of the show this year is the proliferation of safety technology, like lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and automatic braking. This techology hit the market several years ago, but it can now be found in nearly every make and model, even at the most economical price points. The 2017 and 2018 model years have also brought a new class of vehicle, the “micro SUV”, which gives drivers the feel and fuel efficiency of a small sedan but with a slightly higher ride height.
The most exciting new vehicles at the show this year were:
2017 Toyota CH-R Toyota’s funky addition to the micro SUV market offers all of Toyota’s safety technology for under $25,000. Just don’t expect the smartphone integration of Apply Carplay and Android Auto. For some reason, Toyota hasn’t gotten on the bandwagon yet.
2017 Alpha Romeo Giulia sedan – a luxury sedan from the newest Italian auto maker to return to the US market. This sleak, truly Italian car competes with the 3-series BMW, C-class Mercedes and Audi A4. The Guilia also comes in a high-performance model, the Quadrifoglio, which puts out 505hp from a Ferrari-inspired V6 twin-turbo engine.
2018 Alpha Romeo Stelvio – the first SUV from Alpha hits the market to compete with the Porsche Macan and the Jaguar F-Pace.
2018 Kia Stinger – Kia’s first RWD performance sedan will hit dealer lots this coming January. This 376 hp twin-turbo sport sedan shares the underpinnings of it’s cousin, the Genesis G80 and rivals the BMW 440i Grand Coupe and Audi S5 Sportback in performance, technology and style. All this from the folks who brought us the dancing hamsters.
The top redesigns for 2018 also hail from Asia with the new Honda Accord and Toyota Camry vying for the spotlight. They Hundai Sonata sedan and Elantra GT hatchback also get refreshed, and Honda knocks it out of the park with the seriously cool Odyssey minivan. Yes, you heard that right – a seriously cool minivan.
For more valuable information and snarky commentary on these and other vehicles, check out the video review above. You won’t want to miss my “Pick of the Show” and the infamous “WTF Award”!
If you are planning to buy a new car before the end of the year and would like to avoid the hassle and craziness of the holiday season, give me a call. My end-of-year schedule fills up fast, and I only accept new clients until the middle of December.