Part one in a series of ongoing articles about the complete automotive indecision of Monsters and Critics' Lifestyle, Smallscreen and Celebrity editor April MacIntyre, who needs to up her current car game.
The new car scent is in full bloom in New York City, as 10 days of the New York International Auto Show (April 6 -15) brings a consumer-oriented smorgasbord of wheels to the masses.
Car lust, brand loyalty, gasoline shellshock, commerce and marketing hype combined under the Javits Convention Center roof as a palpable turning point in modern American car making was fêted in almost every staged section of this venue.
My first peek at this year's girls was with the www.ShopAutoWeek.com crack team, Andy, Sherrice, Hadi, Dutch and other AutoWeek-sters who all assured me I cared more about torque than I was letting on, and did their best to shepherd me through the newly modeled rubber, wood, plastic and steel.
We’re back in black baby, as chastened USA car makers have succumbed to European inspired sex appeal, taking the proverbial stick out of their design asses with lean, mean beautiful rides.
Mazdas and Hondas are looking like Beamers and Mercedes from the back. Porsches and Nissans are blurring body lines; it was design crossover osmosis everywhere I turned.
Roadmaster BMW, which presented to the press on Wednesday, April 4, touted their classic series plus the white hot i8 concept car, all of them American made. It was great to hear this.
There was hardcore car porn too for the gear heads and (men mostly) who collectively got wood at the sound of a perfectly machined V-10 retooled Viper roaring and revving onstage, hyped to the stratosphere by a damned near gloating CEO and president of SRT, Ralph Gilles.
The SRT Viper was tarted up from the 2010 model and given an undulating body line, with hips, eyes and a face. This serpentine sex machine was the main event for press day, and she didn’t disappoint.
The Vipers, Bentleys or Rolls Royces for that matter are made for a niche car market, the well-heeled buyer. That ain’t me baby.
I walked the floor in my sensible shoes searching for an extremely gas efficient affordable sedan or crossover vehicle for a brutal four times monthly commute from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back again. A slave to the 5 freeway, I'm all about getting over 40 MPG for the highway in a vehicle that is NOT a Smart Car.
Initially I was sold on the Ford Focus Hybrid 2013, after my ShopAutoWeek Detroit field trip back in November 2011.
ShopAutoWeek.com's editor Andy Stoy changed that, exposing me to the Fahrvergnügen that is the clean burning, high MPG Jetta TDI diesel, as we got up close and personal with some other sassy headturning options.
The new car purchase for me is now down to the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Volkswagen Jetta Diesel, Ford Escape Hybrid and Subaru CrossTrek.
This isn’t to discount the sheer awesomeness of the 1000 Horsepower new Shelby Mustang, or the sexy new Jaguar in a blazingly beautiful metallic deep Hunter green tinged with teal that worked my nerves in a great way. Color is an important factor, and the peacock bright blue witnessed on the new Toyotas and Fords actually hurt my eyes. Green, in the lower ranges, is a far better look.
But these exotic, testosterone-y and pricey cars are not my reality. Or the rolling Fabergé egg, aka the Phantom Rolls Royce, where President David Archibald graciously sat with me and ShopAutoWeek.com's Sherrice Gilsbach as he answered our questions about a $400,000+ car that costs more than most homes.
But you knew the rich were different, and their polished perks are pretty sobering when you are up close to a dashboard that has over 100 layers of varnish to make plain old wood look like onyx.
Or push a button to have the door open automatically. Even the cup holders in the front seat have a discreet push button too, "for the American market," Mr. Archibald explained.
This kind of handcrafted excellence is a world unto itself, especially when the next car you sit in is the Toyota Sienna Mini Van with a plastic dash so cheap and tactilely vile; you recoil when you touch it.
The decision time is crunching down on me: Will it be a Ford, or the people’s car gussied up with a TDI diesel engine?