Cars, cars, cars at NE International Auto Show

The winds may chill as you enter the Boston Convention and Expo Center for the New England International Auto Show, but the breeze you feel may be caused by applause for the Subaru BRZ and its Scion FR-S counterpart, or the raucous reception for the uber exotic McLaren 12C or the Fisker Karma just slipping along the seaport’s streets in stealth mode.

The 56th annual show begins Thursday, Jan. 17, and runs through Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Monday, Jan. 21. Underneath the roof of the cavernous convention center, which is as big as six football fields, you’ll find 500 vehicles of all shapes and sizes from 35 automakers.


If you’ve ever wanted to ride in or drive a new model, you’ll get your chance. Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Kia, Scion, and Toyota will be offering rides around the convention center. Admission to the show is required prior to test rides and drives.

The Scion Live Drive will include the Scion FR-S, the tC, and the iQ microcar—the world’s smallest 4-seater—as well as the line’s staples: xB and xD.Test drivers can have a 10 to 15 minute public road test with a Scion product representative. Drivers will also receive a Scion military identification tagstyle USB drive for their participation while supplies last.

If you’ve ever wondered what an adult version of a child’s car would look like, the Chevrolet “Hot Wheels’’ Camaro will be shown in its colorful souped-up splendor. Off-road enthusiasts will get to meet Amy Lerner andTricia Reina, perhaps better known as Team Lerne Reina, who won the Logica Challenge for most eco-friendly driving habits during the race and placed eighth at the Rallye Aicha de Gazells in Morocco.

If you like automotive eye candy, check out radio stationWAAF’s Tricked Out Car Contest and vote on the best car displayed to possibly win a real NASCAR Driving Experience.


If you’d like a new stereo from Krank It Up, guess the correct make, model, and year of the mangled mess at theWJMN Crushed Car display.

Straightening out your garage can be done in the “Ultimate Garage,’’ presented by Boston Garage. A leading makeover firm, Boston Garage will display new lines of flooring and its organizing systems cabinetry. A free system, valued at $1,000, will be awarded to one lucky winner. More information can be found at

Now back to that Fisker. Perhaps the ultimate plug-in hybrid, the Fisker is powered by a 2.0-liter, 260 hp, inline-4 that generates as much torque. Down the line is a 20-kw, lithium-ion battery pack. A pair of AC motors on the rear axles deliver the end product: plentiful, silent power rated at 402 hp for plenty of merging power along I-95 or making short work of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The aluminum body may evoke memories of “Back to the Future’’ and its famous De-Lorean, but the Fisker’s true karma comes with the solar cells set into the roof. This cool technology will not-so-efficiently set you back over $102,000. The car will run for about 50 miles in an eco-friendly, all-electric mode, according to EPA results. Recharge time via 240 volts is six hours and twice that with a conventional 120-volt power source.

Stepping up the super luxury ladder is the McLaren 12C, which is based upon Formula 1 principles of lowweight, high strength, and superior handling. The first production McLaren built since the F1, this twin-seat, mid-engine car is powered by a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo generating about 600 hp in a sleek, slippery aerodynamic carbon-fiber chassis. The power is distributed through a seven-speed SSG transmission, offering Normal, Sport, andTrack modes and paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Reported 0-to-60 mph time is a scant 3.1 seconds, and the car has a reported top speed of 205 mph.


Other exotic cars on display at the auto show are by Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, Lotus, and Rolls-Royce.

General Motors’ latest entry into the crossover market is the 2013 Buick Encore. The new five-passenger people mover is now styled for a younger demographic market and has curb appeal.

Power comes from a 1.4-liter Ecotec, 138 hp, turbocharged, front-drive setup channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission. An optional AWD transfers power front to back without driver intervention. EPA estimates of 25 city/33 highway make this Buick a contender in the crowded crossover market.

Other new models that will draw interest on the exhibit floor will be Subaru’s 2014 Forester and Chevy’s Impala.

The fourth-generation of Subaru’s popular five-passenger crossover has received a total redesign with a restyled exterior and a roomier interior. Standard power comes from a 2.5-liter, 170 hp, boxer engine or a beefier 2.0-liter, 250 hp, turbocharged boxer powerplant. No diesel variant is planned for the US at press time. Of course, the Forester, like all Subarus, has all-wheel-drive all the time.

Subie fans will enjoy enhanced active AWDwith X-Mode and Hill Descent Control on the upline models.

The all-new Impala is Chevy’s 10th generation of its iconic nameplate and earned acclaim in 2011 as America’s best-selling, full-sized sedan, with customers grabbing 171,000 units off dealer floors. You’ll notice an all-new exterior design that’s sleeker and curvier and an all-new dual cockpit interior, which provides a roomier look and feel.

Another reason to attend the auto show? Filling your gas tank for life will be less costly if you’re the winner selected from entrants who fill out an auto show survey. Auto show guests will also receive a one-year subscription to Details magazine as part of their paid admission.

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