San Diego Auto Show 2013

Words by Matt Willis

If you’ve followed the site for a while (or if you just know us, rather…), then you know we make a point to visit the San Diego Auto Show each year. Partially because it’s in our own backyard; but mainly because it’s a show we’ve been going to for many years – even prior to the timscribbles establishment.

Over the years, the show has changed quite a bit. I think the most prevalent change is the fact that the show floor has become significantly smaller, with manufacturers only bringing out a select “handful” of cars rather than an actual fleet or extra specialties. Not to say the overall attendance has changed with it – many San Diegans made it out to the show this year and hopefully had an enjoyable experience.

While there was nothing too extravagant, there were some noteworthy subjects at this year’s event…


We stopped at Chevrolet’s booth first, and we were greeted by the new SS Sedan. Priced at over $40,000 MSRP – the appeal really isn’t there on such a drab and “basic” looking car. However, equipped with a 6.2-liter V8, it is no question an excellent ‘sleeper’.


Also at Chevrolet was the new Colorado pickup, slated for the 2015 model year. I have to say, I always think about how many small Ford Rangers and Toyota Tacomas were sold in the late 90s/early 00s, and how popular they were among people who just needed a four cylinder with a truck bed. Now there is this redirected focus on trucks that are getting bulkier every year, that have a much higher price tag. I think a majority of people who want trucks aren’t looking for the extra power; they aren’t looking to tow 10,000 lbs while traversing a loose gravel incline – nor do they want the less-than-desirable gas mileage that comes with it. Until recently, Toyota was the last breed to have a small pickup on the market – even though the Tacoma isn’t really considered small anymore. So the Colorado, I suppose, would be the second alternative. Likely to be cheaper and a little bit better equipped, Chevrolet looks to take advantage of the market gap that Ford left behind – and it’s probably a wise decision.


This is a Z71 model, which is well-equipped from the factory floor. Love some of the features, though, like the steps built into the bumper…


The front sort of has an awkward facade; but I think it works. The nose just looks a little wider than it should for the truck’s overall size.


A striking contrast, the 2014-15 Silverado LTZ has to be one of the most hideous looking pickups to date. And I say that realizing that most pickups are inherently ugly and overly-masculine to begin with. But this…this looks like Chevrolet somehow merged the front end of a Freightliner onto a pickup truck, and then finished it all in obnoxious chrome. Maybe for the next model design will have the grill extending up and over the hood line. Oh, and not to mention the LTZ price tag of nearly $50,000. The new GMC Sierra, which shares the same body, looks much more acceptable and has much better features at a lower trim level…almost a no-brainer.


Enough on the trucks. We move over to Acura, which was pretty lack-luster as usual. A fleet of semi-luxurious sedans and SUVs equipped with V6s. The ever-so-boring formula is killing the brand, in my opinion. And what frustrates me is that it’s the only reason Acura sales are on the decline. I don’t get why they don’t realize it. Acuras are built with quality, well-designed, reliable, and cheaper to maintain than most of their comparables. They just need to step out of that box a little and make the brand a bit exciting, like it once was with the NSX and Integra…

Anyway, they had the RLX – the successor to the RL – on display. Again, not a bad looking car overall. Obviously it’s equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 and a bunch of tech inside, but that’s really about it. And I couldn’t imagine putting $48,000 on the table for a fancy V6 Accord…




The LED headlights are a unique and identifying touch for the RLX.


Meanwhile, Tim and I checked out (and fell somewhat in love with) the new Civic Si models. Honda found their way with this one – carrying the “Type R” look that we U.S. consumers never had. Props to Honda on a much more desirable Civic this year…


The new Toyota Corolla. I don’t have much to say I guess, but it won’t be long before we start seeing these around everywhere…



The Ford Fiesta ST. For the price and the little amount of space, I would probably look at the Focus ST or the Mazdaspeed 3 for a better value in a comparable car.


Here’s Cadillac’s response to the electric market – the ELR. It is a plug-in hybrid that shares the same platform and technology as the Chevrolet Volt.




Tim and I both laughed when we walked past this. I can’t believe it, but this is still Kia’s answer for the minivan in the year 2014. It looks like a Ford Windstar from the turn of the century.


Kia’s flagship display wasn’t much better. This is their full-size, V8-equipped sedan – the K900. At most, you can shrug your shoulders and say “it’s got a V8…”


The Nismo Juke on display at the Nissan booth, along with the GTR behind it…


The 2014 Subaru Impreza WRX…


…and behold, the 2015. For the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around the design. It looks like something else – definitely not an Impreza. But I can’t quite put my finger on it.


The BMW M5. Not spectacular by any means…


The spotlight of disappointment as of recent has, without question, been shining on Lexus. On the show floor, I even heard people making comments on how tacky and awful the new Lexus design standard is. And they’re butchering every single vehicle in their fleet with it…



This is unnerving to even look at for more than a few seconds. It is the front of the new IS model, in case you were trying to figure it out…


In fact, the only Lexus that looks half-way decent anymore is the LF-A, which was a pleasant relief to find a the end of their booth.



The Jaguar F-Type is a good looking car overall and has gotten a fair amount of praise…


Several Jeeps and vehicles from the Jurassic Park franchise were on display…


Here’s the new Volkswagen GTI. The shape isn’t bad; there’s just some things I don’t like about it – like how the accent stripe goes through the headlight housing, or how there are valances leading to a fog light…


Here’s the back…some lines have been sharpened as such…


Mustang a la “Bullitt”…



I loved this Porsche 911…particularly the body kit and the way it changes the car…





Race-ready Datsun 510 that has been run at the local Coronado Speed Festival…



Towards the end of the hall, there was tribute area for the late Paul Walker…




Jon P.’s beautiful Aston Martin V12 Vantage was on display at the show as well…




Buick GNX…such a neat car in my book…


Few classic-era Mustangs…


This Boss 302 was just a beauty…


We’ll wrap up our coverage there. We hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

One response to “San Diego Auto Show 2013”

  1. Awesome pictures and great post! I like the Acura RLX LED headlights and agree with what you said the BMW is nothing spectacular, I was a huge fan of the previous generation M5 with that amazing V10! Check my post Kyle on Cars from another petrol head.

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