Bernie's Top and Bottom Picks from the NAIAS

Jan 14, 2012

NAIAS or the most important auto show- the North American International Auto Show is currently taking place in Detroit, Michigan. Despite Detroit being the home of the "Big Three", almost all automakers use this show to show off what they've been working on in hopes to have the next great automobile.

I wasn't fortunate enough to attend the NAIAS this year (I'm currently back in school), however, in true Bernie fashion, I bring to you my top picks from the North American International Auto Show.

Number 5... The Dodge Dart. This particular car, I'm not looking at it from whether or not I would buy one, but I'm looking at it from Dodge's standpoint. Dodge hasn't had a strong compact car/economy car/clown car/funsize car since the Neon, and that was awhile ago. During that era, Dodge dominated it so maybe the Dart would be a solid move on Dodge's part. Let's be real, if you combine the Avenger and the Caliber together, it still didn't make the noise that the Neon made.

Number 4... The Chevy Tru 140S. This looks better than the Chevy Cruze, but sadly, according to Autoblog, it would perform just like the Cruze. *sad face* That means the Tru 140S will have the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and it'll put out 150 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Which means it'll look better than it performs.

Number 3... Acura NSX. I've never described a vehicle as being sexy and I'm not a fan of vehicles that barely clear the ground, nor have I been a fan of exotic cars. However, if Acura gives the thumbs up and I had the money to purchase this, believe me, I would snatch this up in a heart beat. But if it suffers from the "Chevy Tru" disease (I look fast, but my performance sucks), then I would leave it on the lot.

Apparently because of NAIAS, Acura gave the green light to the NSX which will be produced in 2015. Acura, call me to test drive, I'm available. But if it has less than 300 horsepower, then lose my number.

Number 2... The Bentley Continental GT V8. I Love Bentley. They took their best selling vehicle and figured out how to make it better. They reduced the engine power from the W12 to a V8, lowered the horsepower, thus increasing the MPG. I'm huge on horsepower but Bentley hasn't been stingy with it. Bentley kept the design but made the Continental a stronger vehicle. The difference is- it's roughly $10,000+ less than the W12, you lose about 60 horsepower, but the 0-60 is still the same, plus it gets better gas milage to over 20 mpg. Let me stop, because I'm starting to sound like a car salesman.

Number 1... Of course it's the Ford Shelby 50th Anniversary Edition. But I hear that Carroll Shelby wants to back away from creating the Shelby Mustangs as a whole vehicle, and focus on making the parts to convert a Mustang into a Shelby Mustang. That means he wants to make more money. Either way, I love the car and I'm still working on getting one... or being perfectly content with a Mustang 5.0 GT.

I do have one honorable mention, and it goes to Mercedes Benz. Mercedes Benz has been paying attention to "what's hot in the streets" so to speak and everyone knows that all trends start in the streets. One trend is matte painting a vehicle, and Mercedes picked up on it. Offering high end vehicles in white, flat silver, dark grey, and black and possibly expanding the color palette down the line. It's a great idea, and I commend them being ahead of the curve, but... As a person who has been in the streets (a.k.a. car shows around the country), I've seen many matte vehicles. BMWs have been the most popular, followed by other imports, and I've seen a matte black Lamborghini, plus Jim Jones does have a matte black Audi. I don't think a matte Mercedes Benz will go over well. If they sell more than 9, I will be surprised. I'll give Mercedes an A for effort, but BMW should have came up with that idea since they would have profited more.

Now for my bottom picks...

The Cadillac ATS that everyone was wetting their pants over. Why? It looks just like the Cadillac CTS and usually Cadillac can crank out different designs in their models. I hope Cadillac isn't turning into Nissan. Which brings me to my next bottom pick...

The "Newly Modeled" Nissan Pathfinder. It's newly modeled all right. It looks just like the Murano and Rogue. What's the difference? I won't find out for myself until I can corner Nissan at an auto show in March and April.

Chevy Node 130R. Remember when the present design of the Chevy Camaro was just a concept? Again, that's what this looks like to me, but it probably won't perform like the Camaro.

Lexus LF-LC. That grille... That grille... That grille...

And finally, the Buick Encave. Normally I'm sympathetic towards the Encave because Buick's clientele are folks over 50 and the Encave was the shred of hope for a younger audience. However, the length seems squished and the bumper looks off.

I hope that the vehicles I listed above will strut their stuff at the 2012 New York Auto Show, because I'm going this year...

Photos: AB and NAIAS

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