2016 DFW Auto Show: It’s bigger than what?

This event is bigger than Texas

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Fiat's brilliant version of the Mazda Miata (photo by Sean Martin)

DALLAS, March 19, 2016 – Do auto shows serve a purpose in this day of the Internet? We certainly think they are more important than ever. There is something about actually sitting in a vehicle, running one’s hands over the dash and gazing at it from every angle to help decide whether it’s even worth taking for a test drive.

Serving the fourth largest metro area in the United States, this is a large and important market. In its 34 years, this auto show has seen ups and downs with the auto market but appears to be bigger and stronger than Texas.  If you have motor oil flowing through your veins, are looking for a new vehicle or just want to be seen, this is the place to be this weekend.

The all new Volvo S90 sedan (photo by Sean Martin)
The all new Volvo S90 sedan (photo by Sean Martin)

Just about every major manufacturer was represented this year, sans BMW, a strange omission which has been present in previous years. Ferrari and Lamborghini were not present, but there was no shortage of automobiles to make one dream of mortgaging the house to be able to get his hands on. Aston Martin, Pagani, Bentley, Rolls Royce, McLaren and Maserati were all present. There was even an extremely rare vehicle, the Rezvani Beast X, making its U.S. debut. This $325,000 vehicle will have only five examples in the world and is surely sold out, so put away those checkbooks.

One of only 5 Rezvani Beast X models to be produced at $325,000 each (photo by Sean Martin)
One of only five Rezvani Beast X models to be produced at $325,000 each (photo by Sean Martin)

Despite being a major market, Dallas does not get very many concept debuts at the auto show. Texas is truck country, as any Californian would be shocked to see on the first drive here. New trucks are typically shown at another big Dallas event, the Texas State Fair. The last couple of years have also found the New York Auto Show moving right near the same time as the Dallas show, possibly gobbling up some of the vehicles available. Do Texans feel left out? Not really, because there were many vehicles that were announced as recently as last month and a plethora of 2017 models not available just yet.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (photo by Sean Martin)
2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (photo by Sean Martin)

There are plenty of 2016 models to slide into, like the revised 2016 Chevrolet Silverado, the new Nissan Titan XD, new Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado Duramax, Lexus RX and Volvo XC90 on the more utilitarian side. Cars that caught our attention include the favorite Chevrolet SS, sixth-generation Camaro coupe and convertible, Corvette, Audi TT, Cadillac ATS-V and Ford Mustang.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor (photo by Sean Martin)
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor (photo by Sean Martin)

Some of the many 2017 models found were the Ford F-150 Raptor, Honda Ridgeline, GMC Acadia and Lincoln Continental, to name a few. Jaguar allowed customers to sit in the new F-Pace, its gorgeous entry into the luxury Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV). This is a long overdue vehicle and will hopefully bring Jaguar the sales its Indian owners have been craving since they bought the company. Sporty offerings such as the Ford Fusion Sport, all new Audi R8, Ford Focus RS, sultry Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and Fiat 124 Spider are sure to get the attention of enthusiasts.

On the luxury end, Lincoln’s best hope to help restore its image is the new Continental, which looks very sharp in person. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to help a company in an increasingly crossover-centric market. Other luxury finds include the 2016 Audi A4 and Q7, Cadillac XT5 and fun all-wheel drive hatch Infiniti QX30. The stand-out was the new Volvo S90, with its modern interior and tablet-sized touch screen. Volvo is really becoming competitive between that and the new XC90. The family types might be interested in the sharp-looking Chrysler Pacific minivan or Mazda CX-9.

Can the new Continental give Lincoln its groove back? (photo by Sean Martin)
Can the new Continental give Lincoln its groove back? (photo by Sean Martin)
The $85K 2016 AMG GLE63 (photo by Sean Martin)
The $85K 2016 AMG GLE63 (photo by Sean Martin)

While environmentally friendly vehicles may not be on the forefront here in oil country, there were some electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to be found. The Nissan Leaf, and 2016 Chevrolet Volt made the show. The Chevrolet Volt definitely has an upgrade on the interior and space, but we would not call it roomy. The manual seats in them continue to baffle as well.  The Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid also attracted attention.

The new Mclaren variant, the 570S (photo by Sean Martin)
The new Mclaren variant, the 570S (photo by Sean Martin)

Speaking of family, do not be afraid to bring the kids.  Besides, they need to test out the back seat in your future vehicle, right? It is never too early to get them interested in driving either. If they do get bored, there is always the “Kids’ Zone” with an inflatable dual slide, a Monster Truck Bounce House and even a Grand Prix for those five years and older. The Easter Bunny will even make an appearance on Saturday.

Before you go, do not forget to try out the “Ride & Drive” opportunities. RAM trucks are available to drive inside on the show floor, in a closed off area. There is even an obstacle course set up to show off the truck’s abilities. Toyota, Chrysler, Dodge, Acura Mazda, Ford, Kia and more also have ride & drives set up outside the convention center.

The 2016 Chevrolet SS stole our hearts and now has more aggressive looks (photo by Sean Martin)
2016 Chevrolet SS stole our hearts and now has more aggressive looks (photo by Sean Martin)
The all new 2016 Toyota Tacoma (photo by Sean Martin)
The all new 2016 Toyota Tacoma (photo by Sean Martin)

The auto show definitely is a worthwhile visit and the best place to be this weekend. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and seniors 65 plus, and free for kids 5 and under. Parking can be reserved in advance as well. The show is open from 10 a.m .to 10 p.m. today through Sunday. For more information, head to http://www.DFWAutoShow.com

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Sean has a degree in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Texas A&M Sports Car Club. He lives in Dallas, where he is married, has a 5 year old daughter, a turtle, and a large mutt. He has been in love with cars since late elementary school, having devoured car magazines since he was 12. He has owned a variety of cars from American, German, and Japanese. Sean has a preference for manual transmissions, but appreciates a good automatic in city traffic. He got his start in journalism, working as Editor-In-Chief at a video game and PC hardware website. In his spare time, which is rare with a 5 year old, Sean enjoys autocrossing with various local car clubs, and playing video games.