The Many Improvements to Cars in 2012
At the Auto Show
New and Improved - 2012 Cars
Last month (January, 2012), I went to the Portland International Auto Show. I have gone to this show every year since 2005, but I must say that I am most impressed with the vehicles that I saw at this show.
First, many of the cars I saw had new features, such as rear view backup cameras and blind spot monitors. Now, these have been around a few years, but mostly on SUV's and high profile vehicles, where a child could easily not be seen behind the vehicle. But now, these can be found on cars as well. Part of this may be due to the fact that, in recent years, the belt lines of cars (Where the window meets the bottom half of the door) have been rising with a further rise toward the back, and the trunks have been made so that it is often impossible to see the end of the trunk from the driver's seat when backing up.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly to me, is the availability of features on more cars, especially subcompacts. Many of the newer subcompacts, like the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta, have traction control and vehicle stability control as standard features, and offer things like a moon roof as options. And many of these subcompacts have been redesigned for roomier interiors and easier entry and egress.
I was especially impressed with the Toyota Prius C, which will actually come out in spring of 2012. This will be the smallest Prius, but I was impressed with how easy it was to get in and out of the driver's seat, and how comfortable I was inside. Also, this car, too, has some nice features available, including a moon roof.
Third, gas mileage has improved in many models. The Ford Focus and Subaru Impreza are but two examples.
Of course, driving impressions are one of the most, if not the most, important item in judging a car. I did have the opportunity to test drive a Subaru Impreza and a Toyota Camry Hybrid.
I was impressed with both cars. The Impreza handled better than mine, though mine still handles well at 7 years of age. It had a smooth ride and good instrumentation, and everything else about it was great.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid had a rear view backup camera, which takes getting used to, but I can see where it can be a great safety feature. The Camry, despite being a hybrid car, had plenty of get up and go and also drove well. Both cars had a moon roof and built in GPS navigation, which is also appearing in more cars now.
As for styling, I think that I see an improvement, with less hard edges than I saw a few years ago. Of course, this is subjective on my part, but I think that, from 2006 to 2009, a lot of cars just had poor styling in their newer models, the 2008-2010 Ford Focus being the exception, in my opinion.
But again, I was impressed with the 2012 cars I saw at the show, and I think car makers are starting to really listen to their customers now.