Monday, January 30, 2012

My 2012 Houston Auto Show Experience

John Marine | 1/30/2012 11:26:00 PM | | | | |
(UPDATED: February 12, 2012)

My 2012 Houston Auto Show experience will be expressed in this massive blog post. This year's show marks the tenth or eleventh time I've been to the Houston Auto Show. There's a lot of reading here as I share a lot of my 2012 experience here. A vast array of vehicles and manufacturers shown up on the showroom floor at Reliant Center. To keep this simple, I will break up the 2012 experience into a few parts.

Hello to all of my Houston/Galveston area readers and visitors! To see my other Houston Auto Show posts, please click on the following link to see my latest posts under the "Houston Auto Show" category. And one last time...

2012 Houston Auto Show John Blog Space
Welcome to John's Blog Space and my 2012 Houston Auto Show experience blog post!


FEB 12 2012 - added note (read below)

NOTE: Because of repeated spam comments posted to this blog post, comments have been disabled. Any would-be spam comments that still somehow make it to this post will be shot down immediately. I apologize for the inconvenience.

--- Houston Auto Show at a Glance ---

(NOTE: The first three sentences were provided from a Wikipedia entry)

The 2012 Houston Auto Show marks the 29th Annual edition of this show. The very first Houston Auto Show was held in 1984 at the Astrohall, but has been held at Reliant Center since 2002. Wikipedia says that the Houston Auto Show attracts over 450K visitors each year. Houston is not any kind of glamourous city. Likewise, the Houston Auto Show is not much glamourous auto show. It may not be the New York International Auto Show, the Los Angeles International Auto Show, the Chicago Auto Show, the North American International Auto Show, or even the Dallas Auto Show (as far as Texas is concerned); but the Houston Auto Show is our link to the automobile world. This year's show brought about a great variety of automobiles and automobile makers. Everything from FIAT to Ferrari was featured this year with a multitude of sections and exhibits.

In addition to being a great auto show, it is also a marketplace for smaller businesses as well as a chance for people to actually conduct car shopping. This is where you can learn more about automobiles and even get something arranged so you can shop for cars. For most visitors, though, it is a chance to get up close and personal with many of the world's automobiles featured on the floor. Many of the cars can have doors opened, hoods/bonnets opened, trunks/boots opened, and things like that. Some machines are completely closed off from the public, leaving one to just look from afar and take pictures. Everything from low-priced economy cars, to six-figure supercars, to priceless concepts, and even some race cars all occupy the same show floor at Reliant Center. Exhibitions are held outside in the parking lot of Reliant Center for more ways to enjoy the Houston Auto Show experience.

The 2012 Houston Auto Show has left me with a number of experiences that I'd like to share. While this may be a seriously long blog post featuring many experiences with cars, it is a comprehensive post regarding what all I experienced and thought about the year's Houston Auto Show.

Learn more about the Houston Auto Show by visiting You may also visit the Houston Auto Show's Facebook Fan Page and Follow the Houston Auto Show on Twitter.

--- About This Series ---

What you are reading is Part 1- a look at my 2012 Houston Auto Show experience. It combines some of the many cars I saw at this year's Houston Auto Show and even includes some random nonsense.

Part 2 is a special regarding who were some of the best-dressed ladies on the floor at the 2012 Houston Auto Show. It is my chance to highlight some of the nicest-dressed from the show floor. It is also my gift to my fashion-loving types. Of course, I try to protect privacy because I do this for fun. It may be possible that I may or may not do a post this year talking about the models and hostesses that walked the show floor. Be sure to keep tuned to John's Blog Space to see if I do indeed make a post on these ladies.

I broke this up into a few different fields. Here is the order of my travels around the Reliant Center show floor. Use this makeshift Table of Contents to find whatever section you are most interested in reading about. Just do a Search/Find in my blog to specifically access a certain part of my post that interests you most (unless you want to read this entire post):

• Ford and Lincoln
• Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lotus
• Aftermarket (I did NOT go to the DUB show area)
• Classic Cars, Mazda
• Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, SRT
• Toyota, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick
• Hyundai, Honda, Volkswagen
• Scion, Mini, Nissan, Kia, Infiniti, Subaru
• Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar, BMW
• Lexus, Acura, Volvo

This blog post will be broken up with a Jump Break so that you will be able to enjoy the first half of this blog post if you are reading the main page of this blog. I, of course, want you to read the full post. If you don't mind doing a lot of reading online, and if you love cars; this one will not be any waste of your time.


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Want to see some pictures I've taken from the Houston Auto Show? Check out my 2012 Houston Auto Show album on Facebook! Friend me on Facebook (spammers and suspicious people WILL be blocked) if you want to comment on my images.

Now on to my massive blog post.

--- Houston Auto Show 2012: Experiences ---

Allow me to set up the experience. Remember- there is a LOT of reading, so if you want to skip ahead to a certain manufacturer, feel free to do a Search/Find function in this post!


I arrived at the Houston Auto Show with my family some time around 5:30 PM. It was a beautifully clear Saturday evening with high temperatures around 62°F. The show would last until about 9:30 PM. Whatever I wanted to check out would have to be done in about three hours. So with this, I had to make my work mostly diligent and efficient.

Before even laying eyes on any car inside Reliant Center, the first thing I took a picture of was a Ferrari transporter truck. I quickly took a picture of that transporter, thinking that something VERY cool was probably going to be inside the Reliant Center from Ferrari. I would try to find out what could be from Ferrari from the show. I would quickly try to snap a picture of the Ferrari transporter before eventually heading into Reliant Center.

Finally stepping inside Reliant Center, I knew I was ready for a Saturday evening unlike any other. I felt like I had to work quickly since the show would shut down heading into 9:30 PM. In past Houston Auto Shows, I would spend a good deal of time looking at cars and stepping inside of them. I would even interact with the crowd on the floor as well as various representatives of each manufacturer and each section. This is the reason why I love the Houston Auto Show for reasons other than cars. While I label myself a "Public Figure" on my Facebook fan page, this is the only real occasion where I actually feel like a public figure. All I can do really is promote myself casually and occasionally mention "John's Blog Space."

There was a point where I didn't think I'd make it out to the Houston Auto Show on Saturday night. However, I was there. I had my Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 charged up and ready for action. I had ported over previous pictures and videos stored on my 2GB SD card so make room for more space on my SD card. I was ready to go.

And so it begins...

Chapter 1: Ford and Lincoln.

The usual starting point for me is Ford, since it's directly in front of me from the entrance I came into Reliant Center at.

• Ford
As usual, the starting point was around the Ford section. I first observed the same pool table shaped like a Ford Mustang. The first actual car on the show floor I noted were Mustangs. Not just any Mustangs, though- modern Boss 302 Mustangs. One was in orange while another was in a nice sky blue color. The very nice current Taurus was met up with the 2013 Taurus. The 2013 Taurus boasted a more aggressive-looking, yet still stylish front end. I saw the Flex there as well. My brother's favorite was in the Ford section- the Transit Connect. I then saw the newer Ford Fusion... or should I call it the Jaguar Fusion or the Aston Martin Fusion. The front grill looks mostly like an Aston Martin grill affixed to a Ford Fusion.

I would return much later in my experience to take a few pictures of the radical Ford Raptor SVT and a few more Ford trucks.

• Lincoln
It used to be that you'd feel older than you are if you drive a Lincoln. Well, the sharper-styled Lincolns of late were pleasing to the eyes. It began with the Lincoln MKX followed by seeing the lovely Navigator.

Chapter 2: Rolls-Royce Through Lotus.

My excitement was about to peak as I seen some of the cars in this section.

• Rolls-Royce and Maserati
I first laid eyes on a white Rolls-Royce that looked very beautiful. That was followed up by a black Rolls-Royce I saw later. Sharing the same area was Bentley, and they came in force with a Continental GT convertible and the Bentley Mulsanne. The Mulsanne could have been styled much better up front. Big reason why was the headlight arrangement.

• Maserati
To be honest, I'm not really into Maserati. They are still a classic marque in automobiles and in racing. I felt like a giddy schoolgirl when I saw the Maserati MC12 raced by Risi Competizione in 2005. The MC12 fell into a lot of controversy in the American Le Mans Series. It could race in the series, but not for any points towards a championship. Still, there was nothing like seeing this beautiful beast in the flesh. I never really liked the Quattroporte, but it was in the Maserati area. What I DO love from Maserati was the GranTurismo, and there were two of them. One was a hot momma called the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale. The other one was a GranTurismo convertible.

• Ferrari
Ferrari at the Houston Auto Show can be fairly rare at times. This may be the best Ferrari showing in my 10+ appearances at the Houston Auto Show. Part of that was in seeing the Ferrari F430 GT2 campaigned by Houston-based Risi Competizione. Some of the road-going Ferraris were present at the show as well. For one, the Ferrari FF was there. The FF is Ferrari's practical 4WD machine; but man- it's (and defend it all you want- I don't care) it's ugly. The 458 Italia was also present among the cars in the Ferrari section. Now on to road-going Ferraris I REALLY like... starting with the California. The Ferrari California is a lovely machine to me with a lovelier engine roar. Also showing up was the VERY hot Ferrari 599 GTO. That engine sounds outstanding! Good as that is, something even more outstanding caught my eye at the Ferrari section- a recent Ferrari Formula 1 race car! It was the closest I have EVER gotten towards an actual Formula 1 race car in my life. I knew I was going to be popular among Facebook friends to snap pictures of an F1 car. I was extremely jacked to be right in front of an F1 car.

• Porsche and Lamborghini
Behind me was the Porsche and Lamborghini section. A sky blue Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 was behind me as I was trying to snap the Ferrari F430 GT2. I came around the Lamborghini Aventador in all of its lustful appeal. That car is absolutely beautiful. It is a mean and rugged Italian beast with Reventon DNA, but this car is just lovely to me. While I never really liked the Gallardo, I saw a Gallardo spyder in a nice blue color.

• Aston Martin and Lotus
Up next was the Aston Martin and Lotus section. Aston Martin's usual suspects were there- a few DB9s as well as the lovely four-door Aston Martin Rapide. This section would have been even more cool if the One-77 was in the house. Lotus mostly had the Evora models featured. It was great to see this British beauty in the flesh again.

• Mercedes-Benz
Even though the program guide I had said Saleen, Mercedes-Benz was featured in that section. Nothing too special to chat about from Mercedes-Benz. Sad thing is that I failed to properly name any of the specific Mercedes-Benz models as I was putting my pictures on Facebook.

Chapter 3: Aftermarket and Others.

There was the DUB Show Live section at the Houston Auto Show, but I did not go inside that area, so nothing to report there.

The aftermarket area showcases some of the finest custom automobiles. The one thing that interests me the most is in seeing the handicapped-access vehicles. Very great to see how vehicles are customized to meet the needs of handicapped or disabled folk. I'm always fascinated to see this section. I hope I never get into any situation which would render me towards using a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

The coolest vehicle I saw in this area was anything but handicapped access- a HUGE red Freightliner truck was there. I took a picture up front, but I would later take a picture from the rear. That Freightliner was MASSIVE! Only other cool car I saw was a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix drag racing car. It looked like a Pro Stock machine.

Chapter 4: Classic Cars and Mazda.

"Why would John discuss classic cars, then put Mazda in the same chapter?" Hey! I have to divide up my stuff some kind of way!

• Classic Cars
"Feeling like a kid again" is a great way to describe seeing the old-style cars. Of course, all of the cars in this section were around in my time. As much as modern cars can be stylish, sometimes, you're like "man... f*** these modern cars! Give me some old cars!" There were plenty of cars featured in the classic cars area. All of which were before my time. I LOVED seeing a white 1960 Chevrolet Corvette as well as a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang. A very hot 1967 Corvette also shown up in the classic car area. It was a beautiful Corvette. I also saw a lovely 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria in coral and white.

• Mazda
Time to go from old school cool to new school hip. Mazda believes in zoom-zoom. They don't build what they don't think is worth driving. The first two Mazdas I laid eyes on were the CX-7 and the CX-9. Both of them are very sporty and stylish crossover SUVs. I've always loved these two machines. The Mazdaspeed 3 was in the house at Mazda as well with its gaping wide smile. While the MX-5/Miata has a cute smiling face up front, I was starting to see the MX-5 as being cute. This car has ALWAYS gotten such a bad rap from some people for its cutesy looks. Still, name me any affordable sports cars within the price range of the MX-5. It's a RWD roadster for Christ's sake!

The one sad thing about this was that I didn't get to see the beautiful lady whom I call the world's most beautiful pin-up girl: Heidi Van Horne. Would have made the classic cars experience better. Oh, well... have to move on.

Chapter 5: Chrysler Through Jeep.

This block features Chrysler products.

• Chrysler
Time to give some love to the Chrysler boys and girls. My journey began with Chrysler and the Sebring-replacing 200. It took me a little bit to connect with the newer design of Chrysler. I was so used to the design of cars like the previous model 300 as well as the Sebring. However, these newer Chryslers are beautiful with a great deal of character.

• Dodge
The Dodge area featured a good deal of cars and trucks.
One of the hostesses at Dodge featured the Dodge Dart on a turntable. It was a very nicely-designed car, but many Dodge purists hated to see the Dart namesake revived for a peppy front-wheel drive compact as opposed to a modern interpretation of the classic Dodge Dart.

I didn't spend too much time at FIAT. Don't hate FIAT; just didn't spend too much time. I snapped a picture of the FIAT 500 Abarth. Don't get your hopes up if you're an old-schooler, though... the newer Abarth is NOT the 1966 FIAT Abarth that had rear-wheel drive with a huge engine mounted in the rear. I just wonder how much longer FIAT will last since I've heard of how poor sales have been for FIAT here in the States. Haven't heard of any reliability issues of recent FIAT models either. Then too, some people think FIAT stands for "Fix it Again, Tony."

I noted quite a few SRT Dodges. Oh, wait... SRT has recently become it's own brand. So there were a good number of SRT machines featured. The ones that really caught my eye were the SRT8 300 and the Charger SRT models. These were sweet to see.

Finally, I noted the hot RAM trucks. I've never hated the RAM trucks even while RAM trucks were still under the Dodge name. Today's RAM trucks remain every bit as imposing as when the lovely style of the 2003-type Dodge Ram was unveiled.

• Jeep (visited later)
I didn't really pay attention to Jeep until I was done with the rest of the show. When I did eventually make it to the Jeep section, I took a number of pictures of recent Jeep models. I felt very much like I had to take a picture of the Jeep Patriot. On its own stage was the lovely new Grand Cherokee. The stage was also shared by a beautiful model lady whom I usually see talk about Jeep models at the show. I got to meet her and show some respect to the well-dressed lady, immaculate in her brown dress and some hot-looking brown wedge sandals. Another hostess at the Jeep section was mostly decked out in caramel brown- caramel brown jacket, white top, and caramel brown boots tucked into caramel brown jeans. I complimented the woman's outfit and told her that I follow fashion. When she asked if I'm a fashionsta, I jokingly responded... "do I look like a fashionista?" A guy in a dark gray Starter jacket, some jeans, and some no-name brand sneakers doesn't really qualify as a fashionista.

That concludes my tour of duty among the Chrysler group.

You are halfway through my Experience post of the 2012 Houston Auto Show! This Jump Break is provided to improve the performance of this blog post. You may continue on if you are reading the full post. If not, click on "Read More" to continue reading if you love this post.

Once again... if you'd like to see my Photo Album of the 2012 Houston Auto Show, visit my 2012 Houston Auto Show album on Facebook!

Chapter 6: Toyota Through GMC.

One Japanese manufacturer followed by a trip through General Motors occupy this chapter of my experience.

• Toyota
Toyota was up next in my fantastic voyage around Reliant Center. The first machine I laid eyes on was a bluish silver 4Runner. I like its aggressive and clean appearance. I saw a white Toyota Tundra all chromed out and looking sweet. Later on, I would encounter a Toyota Rav4 in a red color. While I didn't really care about the FJ Cruiser, I sort of didn't want to take a picture but did anyways. I was trying to really take a quick picture of how the Toyota ladies dressed. Speaking of ladies... I chatted with the Toyota hostesses. I joked around about how I picked Toyota's ladies as the most beautiful hostesses at the 2011 Houston Auto Show. Their ruffled dresses along with tall boots from last year's show made them stand out beautifully among many of the show's other hostesses and models. I probably gave a huge giveaway when I asked who I picked as the loveliest models at last year's show... standing in the Toyota section! Afterwards, it was time for me to shut up and move on. :)

Two of Toyota's top-of-the-line SUVs would come into view later in my Toyota tour. It began with the Toyota Sequoia, which starts at just over $40K US Dollars. $68K US Dollars gets you Toyota's premier SUV for decades- the Land Cruiser. I do feel an air of importance being around the Land Cruiser. If I ever reach some sort of executive status and have a family of my own, I wouldn't mind a Land Cruiser to show my status and to comfortably go around Houston in.

The attention at Toyota went from trucks to cars as I saw a couple of Prii (plural of Prius), including one on a turntable. I saw a more aggressive Yaris on the floor as well. It didn't look as cute (and handsome) as the current model. Still, this newer Yaris hit puberty and looks mean without overdoing it. The Camry was in full effect as a regular model, as a Pace Car for the 2012 Daytona 500, and as the Camry S on a turntable.

• Chevrolet
It was now time to visit GM. I began by seeing three versions of the Chevrolet Sonic. The Sonic is the Aveo's replacement. Key for Chevrolet was in having a solid American-made compact to take on other compacts both domestic and foreign. At first, I thought the Sonic looked a bit like a Mitsubishi up front. Thing is, it ain't no Mitsubishi (I know, don't use double negatives). A later Sonic I saw was the Sonic RS on a turntable. I was told the Sonic RS had things like a peppy turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Meaning this is a man of a compact. The Chevrolet Cruze is nothing new to Europe. To us in the United States, it's fairly new. Here is a very nice car replacing the Cobalt (I think it's a Cobalt replacement). On a turntable was the 2013 Malibu. The Malibu looked a bit more aggressive than the beautiful current Malibu. FUN FACT- my very first "Car Style" blog post was on the Chevrolet Malibu. I saw the Chevrolet Volt in red and in silver. It was here where a beautiful lady noted me snapping pictures. This lady, who admittedly noted as not being photogenic, was a very pretty young lady who was also friendly. She was dressed nicely too- a classy (but not edgy) leather jacket, dark gray blouse, slate gray pants, and some nice boots or shoes. I later saw the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 in a nice sunset orange color. It's one of the meanest Corvettes today. I felt pretty sad not to get pictures of the Camaro in my run.

The experience went from cars to trucks as I saw a handful of Silverado and Colorado models. I even noted a very nice Texas Edition Silverado all chromed out. Before I left for Cadillac, I saw the lovely Chevy Traverse and snapped a picture.

I later returned to the Chevy section and saw the same pretty lady from earlier. I noted that I was a blogger and a YouTube video maker. So I introduced "John's Blog Space" to her. And since she was so kind, I added my special signature. After all, cool people have special signatures and signs.

• Cadillac
Honestly, I've never cared for Cadillac. I have also never cared for the Escalade. So I still took a picture regardless. One Caddy I did have interest in was the all-new ATS. The ATS is to be Cadillac's new entry-level car. I'm hearing it has three different engine options giving horsepower numbers between 200 and 275. It also has rear-wheel drive along with an all-wheel drive option. Also on the floor were various CTS model Cadillacs including the CTS-V.

Buick was up next with some beautiful cars. It used to be that you would be laughed at if you drive a Buick. Not so much these days. Buicks were boringly-designed cars in the past. Today, however, Buick makes some absolutely gorgeous machines. I first laid eyes on the angelic Lacrosse followed by a seeing a Buick Verano on a turntable. Not to be outdone, I laid eyes on the nice-looking Enclave. The real stunners for me were both Regals- a regular Regal followed by a Regal GS on a turntable. My goodness- BEAUTIFUL cars!

• GMC (visited later)
The reason why I didn't mention GMC previously is because I didn't really pick up on any GMC models. I was able to snap a picture of the beautiful new Sierra models. I didn't really go through the GMC area much. I didn't really take note until after I was done visiting every other section.

I now was out to visit three different automakers from three different countries.

Chapter 7: Hyundai Through Volkswagen.

Three nationalities of car are represented in this chapter, and it began with Korea's Hyundai brand.

• Hyundai
My three picks for most gorgeous Korean cars ever made are all from Hyundai. One of those gorgeous Hyundais, however, wasn't at the 2012 Houston Auto Show- the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. One of the other three was definitely in the house- the 2011 Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra was in red along with a blue Elantra Touring model. While the 2013 Genesis Coupe didn't show up, the current Genesis Coupe was there along with the Genesis Sedan. I saw the new Veloster both on a turntable and among the regular cars. I personally think the Veloster could have been styled more like the Elantra or Sonata. Still, it's not bad. A new experience came to me- I got to see the Hyundai Equus. The Equus is to be Hyundai's executive-level answer to offerings from the likes of BMW and Audi and other high-end luxury cars. I sometimes tend to confuse the Equus with the Genesis Sedan. I still do, in fact! I made sure to also snap a few pictures of a charity-driven Santa Fe as well as the lovely Hyundai Tuscon.

• Honda
It was on to Honda after playing around with the lovely Korean offerings from Hyundai. I was going from a Korean make to a Japanese make. The Honda CR-V of old was truly ugly to me. The newer CR-V model looks much better to my eyes than the previous model ever did. Not gorgeous, but a step in the right direction. The Odyssey looked very sharp with a bold grill and sharp headlights. I later saw a very plain-looking Civic that I snapped anyways. That was followed up by seeing Honda's Ridgeline pickup truck. Love it or loathe it, the Ridgeline is still going strong, thank you very much. About this time ten years ago, the Civic was hailed as a peppy tuner car that could take on some of the better offerings from other car companies. With tuner culture almost or near dead these days, I was somewhat reminded of the Civic's underdog status when I saw the i-Vtec Civic Si on a stand. The CR-Z came to my attention later in my Honda journey. I couldn't get a real good picture of it since it was in black. What is called the City and the Jazz in other countries is what we call the Fit. I saw this lovely compact on the show floor among the other Honda models. I think the Accord Crosstour is a rather ugly machine. I still took pictures of it, though. I left the Honda section after taking a picture of the latest Honda Pilot. The newer Pilot looks very nice. All I can do now is just move on.

• Volkswagen
This chapter concludes with a trip to the Volkswagen section. I started off seeing the lovely Touareg. To its right was the Tiguan. The Tiguan is the lower-level offering of the Touareg. In case you didn't know, Tiguan is a combination of "tiger" and "iguana." The Volkswagen Passat CC was the first car I laid eyes on at the VW section, and it was the usual gorgeous machine that it is. The Eos is a VW I rarely see. On the show floor, I saw the Eos Lux among the crowd of VW models. The latest Passat was also featured with its immensely appealing looks. Golf fans had to be pleased to see the über cool Volkswagen Golf GTI. I saw one in a slate gray color with the red outlining around the grill. In black, I saw the new New Beetle. The previous New Beetle got a bad rap for looking so girly and cute. This one is surely manly with its elongated wheelbase and tougher appearance. It is almost like a modern interpretation of the classic Beetle- even more so with this one compared to the previous New Beetle. I saw the newer Jetta as well, sort of thinking about the VW Jetta TDI Cup all the while. I didn't leave the VW area until I saw the lovely Routan van.

Another big block of cars awaits. Thanks for reading this chapter!

Chapter 8: Scion Through Subaru.

Six car companies of varying nationalities are included in this chapter. Feel the diversity... starting with Scion!

• Scion
What the hell happened to Scion (pardon my language)? Scion sucked HARD this year. They are usually the must-visit section at the Houston Auto Show with great music playing and lots of cool stuff to pick up. Hate to say it, but the usually hard Scion went soft this year. There were NO CDs to pick up. Instead, you can download songs from their 40-CD lineup from the Scion website. The Scion hosts were the most uniquely dressed last year, wearing military-inspired garb including dog tags. This time, it was mostly a lady in a nice dress and some furry boots. I saw the xD and snapped a picture of it. I was finally saw the Scion iQ. And man- that car is TINY! Good luck trying to fit inside this car if you're big and/or tall. Shorter people should have no problem with this car. The real saving grace for the Scion lot was in seeing the FR-S concept car. It was great seeing the concept up close and in person.

• Mini
Despite the disappointing Scion section, I had to move on. So I moved on to Mini. Ever since the revival of Mini, I've always loved their products. Two notable Minis I laid eyes on were both of the John Cooper Works variety. The first was a white J.C.W. Mini Cooper convertible with US Olympics livery on it. I later saw the very nice J.C.W. Mini Cooper coupe. I could actually see the Mini coupe do quite well in sales. Both are very cool machines, as one would expect.

• Nissan
Let's go to Nissan! The first car I laid eyes on was the amazingly affordable Nissan Versa. I then saw a car you don't hear mentioned much but still goes strong- the Nissan Sentra. I saw a cooler-looking Versa, but I then saw the Nissan Titan in its glory. The next car I noted is a machine that looks terrible to me- the Nissan Juke. Nissan probably even got bored and came up with the Juke R (which looks semi-decent but still ugly). The Juke R, though, was not at the show. I needed something more pleasing to my eyes to save me from the Juke. The answer was the 370Z. So I go from a horrid-looking SUV to a sweet sports car. The ever-fascinating Nissan Leaf was also available for viewing. I always wonder if the Leaf could inspire more vehicles of its kind to be out on the road. Did you know that there is even a Leaf race car? Some series in Europe (or just the United Kingdom) features a Leaf race car. It almost looks like a remote control car and sounds very quiet. Seeing the Armada and Murano completed my Nissan tour.

• Kia
Kia Motors has come a long way. While Blake Griffin wasn't at the Houston Auto Show to dunk a basketball while jumping over a Kia, I did see some of Kia's latest offerings. I first saw the Kia Rondo in my visit to the Kia section. On a turntable was the cleanly-styled Kia Sorento. LMFAO wasn't playing their "Party Rock Anthem," but I did see the Kia Soul as well.

My attention turned to joking around with the hostesses when I visited the Kia stand. Both were beautiful. One of them was in a black bolero with a nice white shirt, black pants, a lovely pair of slingback closed-toe pumps. The other was a lovely older woman in a dark gray dress with a chic pair of peep-toe ankle boots. I was thinking the one in the gray dress was from England or someplace as I noted a British accent in her speaking. Of course, I'm always cool with meeting people from around the world.

It was then back to cars. I saw the sporty Kia Forte Koup in a very nice blue color. That was followed up by seeing the Kia Optima. Kia makes some very nice automobiles. I hope Kia can keep pace and even challenge Hyundai as far as Korean cars sold in the USA is concerned.

• Infiniti
Nissan's luxury arm is Infiniti. I have never really liked (but don't hate) Infiniti to be honest. The first Infiniti I snapped a picture of is the QX56. My mother loves the QX56, but not the latest one. I snapped one anyways. :) I saw a JX-series Infiniti model on a turntable in the Infiniti area and thought it was pretty nice looking. Recently, I've loved the G37. I saw one and quickly snapped a few pictures. There wasn't much for me afterwards, so I moved on to the next section...

• Subaru
...which was Subaru. I saw the newer Impreza and Legacy models. The new Subaru Impreza looks more like the Legacy. Perhaps not going to sit well with those who prefer the fire-breathing Impreza on the rally scene, but modest can still look very charming. The newer Impreza doesn't look that bad to me. Only thing that would have been cool if the Subaru BRZ (the Subaru version of the Scion FR-S) was on the show floor. I actually kind of like the Subaru BRZ's looks a little more than I do the Toyota GT86 or Scion FR-S.

The hostesses walking the area were rocking sort of a motorcycle girl look- leather moto jackets, a top underneath, and dark blue jeans tucked into riding boots. I guess their look was more like rally girls.

I left this section, but not without taking a quick picture of another Infiniti.

Chapter 9: Audi Through BMW.

My next chapter features loads of luxury charm. Are you ready to enjoy some luxury?

• Audi
Audi makes some beautiful automobiles. Their vehicles are classy with a great deal of charm and style. I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed coming to the Audi section. The first Audi I laid eyes on was an Audi A5 Cabriolet. As lovely as the Audi A5 was, a lovelier Audi was in my eyesight- the Audi A4. The latest A4 just has the right amount of style and charm to make it stand out. It is a beautifully-designed car. I came across one of the Audi ladies working the floor as I was about to see the Audi Q7. I chatted with her a bit and even talking about the Q7 and the Q5. I even talked about the Q3 that the United States will get later this year or next year. No doubt the most alluring goddess in the Audi area (except the pretty Audi lady I chatted with previously) was the Audi R8 Spyder. It was the same red Audi R8 I saw last year, but this one had the Audi Sportscar Experience decals on the sides. I later saw the TT Coupe and took a beauty shot of its headlights with the LED daytime running lights on. Another gorgeous Audi had its LED daytime running lights on as well- the Audi A6. I wrapped up my Audi tour by looking at the S4, the mean A7, and the top-level Audi A8.

• Land Rover and Range Rover
Land/Range Rover was next on the grocery list. The first Land Rover I came across was the Range Rover HSE Sport. This is my most-used machine in "Test Drive Unlimited 2." It is a total beast of an SUV. The real show-stopper for me was to see the Range Rover Evoque again. I saw the beautiful machine in white last year. This year, there was a dark blue one in a 2-door layout on its own stand and a pale green one in a 4-door layout. I noted the difference between the two Evoque models when I was talking to the guy at the Land Rover stand. The last one I took a picture of was the Land Rover LR4. I honestly wouldn't see myself owning or shopping for a Land Rover or a Range Rover. However, I probably wouldn't be disappointed with the Evoque.

• Jaguar
In the past, it used to be that Jaguars would find themselves at the body shops quite often. The classy automobiles from Jaguar exude both class and charm. Today's lineup is no different. I first saw the latest Jaguar XKR in white. I don't really like the latest XKR looks-wise (I prefer the XK's of the late 1990s and early 2000s in looks), but she's a beauty. So is the XJ, which I saw in its glorious beauty. It was the Jaguar XKR-S that really caught my eye. Painted in a rich sky blue color, this car does not disappoint at making you want it.

The final manufacturer in this chapter is BMW. I started off by seeing the BMW 328i convertible. It came in a very nice navy blue color. The picture I took had the headlights blazing in a silvery blue color. I then turned my attention to another blue BMW- a BMW X5 M. I have always seen the X5 as a handsome SUV, and I'd pick this over the smaller X3 or the X1. The M5 luxury sedan was also at the show in another lovely blue color. The 135i was featured at the Houston Auto Show as well with its deep red color. What followed were about four different varieties of the 3 Series. I had to take a picture of one of them, just to showcase the new headlight style for future BMWs. I don't like them too much. Not to be outdone in my BMW tour, I saw the Z4 roadster in white. I later came across a nice-looking X3 in a cherry red color. The gracious 640i came into view for me as well with a nice white color. Finally, I saw a 7-Series BMW to complete my BMW tour.

After some luxury from these makes, it was time to wrap up my tour with one last block of car companies.

Chapter 10: Lexus Through Volvo.

The final remaining sections I didn't visit up to this point will be discussed.

• Lexus
LFA. No three letters could entice me to visit the Lexus section like LFA. The Lexus LFA was at the Houston Auto Show in a bright red color. I've seen the LFA at the Houston Auto Show before, but that one was a concept. This year brought the real LFA to the showroom floor. And my goodness- I was stunned seeing this supercar in person! After being stunned seeing the LFA, I had to see some... I don't know, much more affordable Lexus models? So I did just that. Not too many of them were of any real consideration for this post. One of the lovely ones was the Lexus IS-C, the convertible version of the mean IS-F. I came face-to-face with the CT 200h as well. The GX-series SUV I saw in the Lexus section was one of the first Lexus SUVs I like besides the RX series.

• Acura
While the NSX concept was not at the show, Acura's many classy automobiles were on the show floor. Acura doesn't really interest me to be honest. I am just not really into Acura, but I don't hate Acura. The two Acura models I took pictures of were the TL and the handsome TSX. The guy at the Acura stand asked if I've seen the Acura NSX concept video before. I told him that I saw a Gran Turismo 5 video featuring the concept. After a few seconds, I noticed it was EXACTLY the Gran Turismo 5 video I saw of the NSX concept. There was not really much more for me to see at Acura, so I moved on.

• Volvo
Safe is sexy. Usually known for their boxy vehicles, the Swedish make has designed some beautiful cars. One of those beautiful cars is the compact Volvo C30 that I remember from last year's show. The S60R is one of the hottest recent cars from Volvo. What a lovely machine! Also lovely was the Volvo XC60 I saw. That one was a front-wheel drive model. I had snapped pictures of some other Volvos, but I am not mentioning them because the names of those other Volvos fail my memory.

Everything else after the Volvo stand was simply me trying to visit some of the other stands while I still had time.


To say the least, the 2012 Houston Auto Show featured some of the most amazing and most diverse amount of cars I have ever seen in my more than ten visits to the Houston Auto Show. I've seen everything from peppy compacts to concepts to race cars. That even included a Formula 1 race car for crying out loud! I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the 2012 Houston Auto Show. I don't believe in expectations, but if this year's show was any indication, I can only imagine what 2013's Houston Auto Show will bring! I hope to make it out to next year's show granted I'm alive and well and have the money and stuff to get admitted. What new cars will await at next year's Houston Auto Show? What experiences will await me at the 2013 show? I can only dream...

Thank you for reading my blog post!

--- The Ones That [Almost] Got Away! :) ---

But wait... there's more! Here are a few extra random things I want to share as part of my overall experience of HAS 2012.

Promoting my Blog; Chatting With Models.

• I mentioned my blog to a number of different stands. I gave some people the link to John's Blog Space at a few different stands. I usually say "you're not going to remember it" when mentioning my blog and YouTube channel. I was at the Mini section where I shown off the link to "John's Blog Space" on a piece of paper. I need to honestly make like Lil' Jon and step my game up and make some new "business cards" to promote my blog and YouTube channel. The pieces of paper I have show off my Myspace and Facebook pages. Myspace, for all intents and purposes, is dead unless you're talking Myspace Music. I'll need to make some to feature just my blog and my YouTube channel.

• My left arm took two friendly punches at the 2012 Houston Auto Show by two different ladies after complimenting on their looks. The first time was at the Audi area, and the other in the Chevrolet section. The girl at the Chevy stand was cool. She had a sweet voice and was friendly. I unfortunately didn't get to meet anyone who wasn't a host or a model at the show. Here's another sad fact- none of my friends have ever seen me at the Houston Auto Show. Then again, I am careful not to announce where I am at certain times. But back to the models and hostesses... it's always great to have models and representatives as beautiful as the cars they are representing. It pays to be sociable. Being a sweet talker has its advantages. :)


When it comes to females dressing up walking the floor (not models or hostesses), this was the most common look among most of the females at the Houston Auto Show:

• a fashionable top or coat/jacket
• denim jeans tucked into boots

Also, it seems like some of the women who were walking around are dressed in a very appealing way. I guess if you're going to check out some cars, it's best to look hot while doing it! One woman I saw sported a hot pair of white jeans with black platform pumps that had red soles (I doubt they were really Louboutins). One woman I saw was in a little black dress with some indigo high-heel pumps. My best guess is that some ladies are going to head to a party or something, so some ladies dress like hotties to prepare for a great night out.

I'm actually used to this because I once saw some lady at a previous Houston Auto Show wearing some clear high-heel sandals with maribou trim on them. Very exotic dancer like shoes one wore. So I often wonder if some of these ladies are actually dressing hot for the Houston Auto Show when they are really getting ready for a party or something.

A Feast Fit for a Blogger/YouTuber.

I didn't eat anything but breakfast that Saturday, so I needed something filling to prevent myself from continually wondering what to actually eat. I had planned on having me something to eat after I was done with my walking around the show floor. Leave it to the lovely folks in Reliant Center to offer a great product. I ordered a chicken tender basket. Afterwards, I thought about getting a bottle of soda. Since I didn't want to do any more walking (though I wasn't tired), I decided to get a fountain drink instead. I picked up two packs of barbeque sauce as well as a medium Coca-Cola Zero (never had a Coke Zero before). The whole thing (all $13.50 US Dollars) was filling. I had the chicken tender basket and some fries. I didn't eat too many of the fries. All I cared about was the chicken tenders.

Thank you for reading my extras segment! ^_^

I mentioned both cars and my experiences in this blog post. So my next post will involve a look at some of the ladies at the show. I am not sure if I'll be able to do any detailed pictures or not. I tried to do everything secretively. And of course, anyone I do feature in pictures will be blocked out to protect privacy.

(ADDED: January 31, 2012) Actually, I may or may not do one post on the Houston Auto Show's women this year. Stay tuned to John's Blog Space to see if I do indeed make a post regarding the ladies who walked the showroom floor and all.

Anyhow... thank you for reading! Love John's Blog Space? If so (and if you haven't yet subscribed or followed), Subscribe and/or Follow! Become a Fan (or Like) my Facebook Fan Page and subscribe this blog (and my others) via FeedBurner (or any other aggregator in the sidebar)! Visit (or subscribe):
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John B. Marine said...

that is the most detailed post I've ever read on a blog! It would be fun to be there and watch all these ladies and their outfits not to mention the cars!I bet I'd be distracted by the models and fashionistas! were there any concept cars too in this show?

John B. Marine said...

There were a number of concepts. Many of which are in my Facebook photo album. Have a look: My 2012 Houston Auto Show photo album on Facebook

John B. Marine said...

hey lovely blog u have here,cum check out my blog and follow if u like,i will follow back...xoxo

John B. Marine said...

thanks for ur lovely comment,now following you 

John B. Marine said...

Hi John, I don't know why I can not comment directly on your blog, so I had to leave it like this! Thank u million times for all beautiful comments u left me and for following, I follow u back now! And I'm so looking forward to any further visit of yours!!!


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