Trip Report: Chicago Auto Show

Went to the Chicago Auto Show last night. Four guys went with me in my car. They fit in my back seat, it was tight shoulder to shoulder, but they had foot room & haed room. Many of you
know my stance on a rear seat having to have room.
I told these guys when we get to the GD show your going to sit in the back seat of 4 GM vehicles and we'll compare it to what you rode 27 miles in to get here.
The cars chosen were the 2004 Bonneville GXP, Grand Prix GTP, Impala SS, and the Park Avenue. I moved the front seats back all the way in the 4 test vehicles, my front seats were all the way back too .
The Park Avenue ( w/ moonroof ) : Lot of leg room, comfortable seat, could of used a bit more headroom, but was livable for 6 footers. The three guys could not fit in the back due to the center of the seat projecting outward and being hard surfaced. The car has a trunk pass through armrest as well. So the Park Avenue is essential a 4 passenger ( adults ) car marketed as a 6 passenger vehicle.
Bonneville GXP ( SSEi replacement ) w/ a moonroof. Two guys got in, one guy slid over to the center and said " Wait a minute, let ME OUT OF HERE " The console is 5 inches from the rear seat cushion. The 6 foot + guy got in but had to lean over in the seat, the back window was touching his head. You have to twist your feet sideways then tuck them under the front seat to get in the vehicle. Twist feet sideways to exit the vehicle. Conclusion - GXP is a four passenger car.
Grand Prix GTP - No moonroof, The 6 foot + guy didn't even attempt to get in the backseat after seeing the foot struggle the others had to get in. The roof / & back glass was touching their heads and mine. Vibe front & back was comfortable. Chrome trim rings on the gauge cluster were a nice bonus.
I only looked at 1 Chevy -- Impala SS - We all got seperated and didn't test this vehicle. I know they all would of fit though as the the Impala has a flat bench seat and no roof rake down over the back. I thought it was a pretty nice car, and no plastic intake!!
It just needs some more distinction to seperate it from other Impala's.
GTOooooooooh ! !! No Moonroof. Big crowds around the three GTO's on the floor. I opened the passenger door on one folded the seat backrest forward but could not get in the back seat, I had to power forward the seat all the way forward to get in the backseat. Once I got in the back seat it hugged you like some lush in a Texas Roadhouse. Some girl wanted to get in the front seat, but I told her You can't run the seat back with me sitting back here. My knees were into the backrest of the front seat and my head was touching the back glass. looking up, the back gleass comes 6 inches or more past your face.
I got out and got in the driver seat. The contoured buckets were firm & supportive. The two tone leather looked nice. Again the front seats hugged you like that lush I mentioned before. Head room in front was good, Leg room was excellent, run the seat all the way back and I couldn't even reach the pedals, but could hold the steering wheel. With the front seat run half way or all the way back there should be enough room for your Yorkshire Terrior, but be sure & lay a towel over the leather seat . This is a 2 passenger car in my opinion.
Good overall view out the front & rear window, Dash looked ok. No Cup holders in the car, but there may have been one, something that drops in the storage bin was missing from the right hand side of the console. UH OH ! Was that A PLASTIC INTAKE MANIFOLD on the engine !??
Too many appleheads milling about to get a good look at it, plus the other guys wanted to move on.
Two of the guys with us have Chryslers, a 2000 PT Cruiser & a 1999 300M. So we have to go look at the new RWD, HEMI 300C. I know nothing about Chrysler Products. We sat in the regular 300 and the HEMI 300C. Both offered plenty of room front & back. Good head room from a flat roofline. Seat comfort was excellent, big trunk capacity. The 300 has some styling ques from the 1955 300. We really liked the cars big stance, squared off verticle side vindows, low profile side windows. You can actually put your elbow on the window sill and your palm on the window frame. Like your holding the roof up from falling down.
If you saw the 1977 movie " The Car " it reminds you of that car.
Chrysler Crossfire 2 seater. Very Cramped car. If you smash it up. the fire department will more than likely be cutting you out of this vehicle. Nobody around it that got in it liked it. Like being in a casket. Good car for Little girls.
Next we came to the RWD HEMI Dodge Magnum, I guess its a wagon? We liked this big car feel. 5 passenger capacity, no third seat. Rear door windows go ALL THE WAY down in the rear doors. The 300 windows might also go all the way down, not sure. Is anyone from GM listening here?
Big crowds around the lone 2005 Mustang GT on the turntable. Great looking car, overheard lot of great comments about the car.
Back over at the Buick display, well it was not good. The 3 models were giving their presentations on the LaCrosse, Raineer and Rendousvous all at once, trouble was nobody was there to listen, people were just walking by. I hoped in and out of both Parks Avenues, base & Ultra. The Ultra had the woodgrain center console.
LeSabre I bypassed, I fit ok in the Regal GS, but space is lacking in the rear seat.
Raineir ( sp ? ) was nice upfront, getting in the back seat was ok, but getting out was very dangerous. Narrow door openings and a soft seat spell trouble. When I exited the right passenger door, you can't swing both legs or feet out, they wedge agains't the door opening & door panel. When you do lower your right leg out as you slide out there is no seat support and its like you spill out of the vehicle. The quarter panel / door jam is to far behind the seat backrest and you literally fall out of the vehicle.
Rear seat DVD screen blocks driver view out the rearview mirror and back window.
I think it was the Rendesvous without the On Star mirror I was able to poition the mirror so high it would hit the headline at the very top edge of the glass....... I like that I can get the mirror up high like that so I can se under it. I don' twant the mirror in my face or my eyeline.
2004 CADILLAC SRX ( ? )The one that looks like a wagon.
The sliding glass roof is awesome. It slides back beyond the rear seat. The opening is the full width of the roof and opend about 36 + inches maybe. About a $2500 option. The power folding rearseat is BS. You got to stand at the back end holding the power button to fold the seat down. Probably some safety feature so you don't get crushed. Third seat is for the Yorkshire Terrier.
Big on comfort & headroom. AWD optional. A 6' 4" tall guy got in the back with me and he said it had plenty of headoom for him. I told him to forget sitting in the GXP or GTP . LOL.
Over at the Escalade's I didn't know what to think, we got the hell out of there. The Bruthha's were there in full force cracnking the stereo's up and were dressed in their ratty looking blue jeans and they were wearing short legnth black fur coats, and their ladies had on full legnth fur coats. LOOK AT US !
Lincoln Towncar was nice. Especaily the Cartier L which is stretch about 14 inches in the back.
Concept - 2 seater Lincoln Mark X ( ten ) was nice. Retractable 2 piece glass top was and engineering marvel to watch. The back window section slides up forward over the main part of the roof, the trunk opens up, then the two roof sections slide back into the trunk, the trunklid does a flip over to cover the extra opening space then the lid lowers.
We missed all the foreign car's except Volvo, no time for truck & SUV inspections amd I missed the Mercury Marauder this time.
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE, 3800 V6 _~_~_~_~276,660 miles_~_~_ ~_~_
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| Went to the Chicago Auto Show last night. | Four guys went with me in my car. They fit in my back seat, it was tight | shoulder to shoulder, but they had foot room & haed room. Many of you | know my stance on a rear seat having to have room. | | I told these guys when we get to the GD show your going to sit in the | back seat of 4 GM vehicles and we'll compare it to what you rode 27 | miles in to get here. | | The cars chosen were the 2004 Bonneville GXP, Grand Prix GTP, Impala SS, | and the Park Avenue. I moved the front seats back all the way in the 4 | test vehicles, my front seats were all the way back too . | | The Park Avenue ( w/ moonroof ) : Lot of leg room, comfortable seat, | could of used a bit more headroom, but was livable for 6 footers. The | three guys could not fit in the back due to the center of the seat | projecting outward and being hard surfaced. The car has a trunk pass | through armrest as well. So the Park Avenue is essential a 4 passenger ( | adults ) car marketed as a 6 passenger vehicle. | | Bonneville GXP ( SSEi replacement ) w/ a moonroof. Two guys got in, one | guy slid over to the center and said " Wait a minute, let ME OUT OF HERE | " The console is 5 inches from the rear seat cushion. The 6 foot + guy | got in but had to lean over in the seat, the back window was touching | his head. You have to twist your feet sideways then tuck them under the | front seat to get in the vehicle. Twist feet sideways to exit the | vehicle. | Conclusion - GXP is a four passenger car. | | Grand Prix GTP - No moonroof, The 6 foot + guy didn't even attempt to | get in the backseat after seeing the foot struggle the others had to get | in. The roof / & back glass was touching their heads and mine. | Vibe front & back was comfortable. Chrome trim rings on the gauge | cluster were a nice bonus. | | I only looked at 1 Chevy -- Impala SS - We all got seperated and didn't | test this vehicle. I know they all would of fit though as the the Impala | has a flat bench seat and no roof rake down over the back. I thought it | was a pretty nice car, and no plastic intake!! | | It just needs some more distinction to seperate it from other Impala's. | | GTOooooooooh ! !! No Moonroof. Big crowds around the three GTO's on the | floor. I opened the passenger door on one folded the seat backrest | forward but could not get in the back seat, I had to power forward the | seat all the way forward to get in the backseat. Once I got in the back | seat it hugged you like some lush in a Texas Roadhouse. Some girl wanted | to get in the front seat, but I told her You can't run the seat back | with me sitting back here. My knees were into the backrest of the front | seat and my head was touching the back glass. looking up, the back | gleass comes 6 inches or more past your face. | | I got out and got in the driver seat. The contoured buckets were firm & | supportive. The two tone leather looked nice. Again the front seats | hugged you like that lush I mentioned before. Head room in front was | good, Leg room was excellent, run the seat all the way back and I | couldn't even reach the pedals, but could hold the steering wheel. With | the front seat run half way or all the way back there should be enough | room for your Yorkshire Terrior, but be sure & lay a towel over the | leather seat . This is a 2 passenger car in my opinion. | | Good overall view out the front & rear window, Dash looked ok. No Cup | holders in the car, but there may have been one, something that drops in | the storage bin was missing from the right hand side of the console. UH | OH ! Was that A PLASTIC INTAKE MANIFOLD on the engine !?? | | Too many appleheads milling about to get a good look at it, plus the | other guys wanted to move on. | | Two of the guys with us have Chryslers, a 2000 PT Cruiser & a 1999 300M. | So we have to go look at the new RWD, HEMI 300C. I know nothing about | Chrysler Products. We sat in the regular 300 and the HEMI 300C. Both | offered plenty of room front & back. Good head room from a flat | roofline. Seat comfort was excellent, big trunk capacity. The 300 has | some styling ques from the 1955 300. We really liked the cars big | stance, squared off verticle side vindows, low profile side windows. You | can actually put your elbow on the window sill and your palm on the | window frame. Like your holding the roof up from falling down. | | If you saw the 1977 movie " The Car " it reminds you of that car. | | Chrysler Crossfire 2 seater. Very Cramped car. If you smash it up. the | fire department will more than likely be cutting you out of this | vehicle. Nobody around it that got in it liked it. Like being in a | casket. Good car for Little girls. | | Next we came to the RWD HEMI Dodge Magnum, I guess its a wagon? We liked | this big car feel. 5 passenger capacity, no third seat. Rear door | windows go ALL THE WAY down in the rear doors. The 300 windows might | also go all the way down, not sure. Is anyone from GM listening here? | | Big crowds around the lone 2005 Mustang GT on the turntable. Great | looking car, overheard lot of great comments about the car. | | Back over at the Buick display, well it was not good. The 3 models were | giving their presentations on the LaCrosse, Raineer and Rendousvous all | at once, trouble was nobody was there to listen, people were just | walking by. I hoped in and out of both Parks Avenues, base & Ultra. The | Ultra had the woodgrain center console. | | LeSabre I bypassed, I fit ok in the Regal GS, but space is lacking in | the rear seat. | | Raineir ( sp ? ) was nice upfront, getting in the back seat was ok, but | getting out was very dangerous. Narrow door openings and a soft seat | spell trouble. When I exited the right passenger door, you can't swing | both legs or feet out, they wedge agains't the door opening & door | panel. When you do lower your right leg out as you slide out there is no | seat support and its like you spill out of the vehicle. The quarter | panel / door jam is to far behind the seat backrest and you literally | fall out of the vehicle. | | Rear seat DVD screen blocks driver view out the rearview mirror and back | window. | | I think it was the Rendesvous without the On Star mirror I was able to | poition the mirror so high it would hit the headline at the very top | edge of the glass....... I like that I can get the mirror up high like | that so I can se under it. I don' twant the mirror in my face or my | eyeline. | | 2004 CADILLAC SRX ( ? )The one that looks like a wagon. | | The sliding glass roof is awesome. It slides back beyond the rear seat. | The opening is the full width of the roof and opend about 36 + inches | maybe. About a $2500 option. The power folding rearseat is BS. You got | to stand at the back end holding the power button to fold the seat down. | Probably some safety feature so you don't get crushed. Third seat is for | the Yorkshire Terrier. | | Big on comfort & headroom. AWD optional. A 6' 4" tall guy got in the | back with me and he said it had plenty of headoom for him. I told him to | forget sitting in the GXP or GTP . LOL. | | Over at the Escalade's I didn't know what to think, we got the hell out | of there. The Bruthha's were there in full force cracnking the stereo's | up and were dressed in their ratty looking blue jeans and they were | wearing short legnth black fur coats, and their ladies had on full | legnth fur coats. LOOK AT US ! | | Lincoln Towncar was nice. Especaily the Cartier L which is stretch about | 14 inches in the back. | | Concept - 2 seater Lincoln Mark X ( ten ) was nice. Retractable 2 piece | glass top was and engineering marvel to watch. The back window section | slides up forward over the main part of the roof, the trunk opens up, | then the two roof sections slide back into the trunk, the trunklid does | a flip over to cover the extra opening space then the lid lowers. | | We missed all the foreign car's except Volvo, no time for truck & SUV | inspections amd I missed the Mercury Marauder this time. | | ========| Harryface | ========| | 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE, 3800 V6 | _~_~_~_~276,660 miles_~_~_ ~_~_ | | |
Thanks Harry for the thoughts and insight. I think you sold me on the Chrysler 300C (with the 345HP Hemi V8, of course!)
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Then that was a Series III. They use aluminum now thankfully.

Not to worry, its a dry plenum. They have been using plastic intakes on those since the LS1 came out. They do have aftermarket aluminum replacements for making increased hp. The back seat of the gto sounds no diff than the f-bodies and who would expect it to be. Its targeted to guys in their late 20's early 30's who have kids. Its still priced itself out of their range though.

Looks like a casket too. Another great design by Daimler bean counters...

The SRX is nice all around I think. Nicely sized for an suv.
You got me itching to poke around new cars now Harry.
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I finally saw a GTO at a local dealership. I stopped to check out the rear seat (my son is quickly closing in on 6 feet!) and was a bit diaspointed at what it looked like. I didn't climb in. I don't expect to EXER be riding there! Later I happened to see a late model Taurus and looked there. The back seat actually looked smaller than the GTO's. And BTW, MUCH larger than the firebirds... I agree, the interior seats look great - but again I didn't sit there myself.
To those who said it will get lost among the other cars in the parking lot - this car looks much better in person than it does in pix. It is muscular in a BMW M series sort of way. I am definately buying one next year, unless something is really wrong with the car. I plan on testing the one coming to my local dealer (got the invoice yesterday, so it should be here in the next few weeks!)

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Bon-ne-ville,
What I should of posted was the Impala SS doesn't have the plastic intake due to the presence of the supercharger. My error.
Has GM come out with a new alluminum intake for the 3800 ? I haven't a clue.
Parking was $14 for the underground garage at Mc Cormick Place.
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE, 3800 V6 _~_~_~_~276,660 miles_~_~_ ~_~_
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"Harry Face" wrote

The engines that I've seen (3800 gen III) still have the plastic upper intake manifold. The "new" engine doesn't really look any different then the older ones. Most of the changes are "under" the skin, or in the fuel and computer management systems.
Ian
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

Are you sure? Strange, read the doc file on the 3800's on this page
http://media.gm.com/division/powertrain/products/engine/carengines/04 _car_engine_specs.html#l26
Heres a quote for the 04 3800
ALL-ALUMINUM INTAKE MANIFOLD The 3800 Series III features an intake manifold constructed entirely of aluminum, with the Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) system purge valve fitted directly on the manifold. Previous 3800s were equipped with an aluminum lower manifold and an upper manifold manufactured from composite plastic. The all-aluminum manifold is stiffer. Moreover, aluminum more effectively damps the sucking sound of air rushing though the manifold, and the new design contributes to an overall reduction in noise, vibration and harshness in the Series III.
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"Bonneville" wrote
Are you sure? Strange, read the doc file on the 3800's on this page

I'll take another look, we had a 2004 Grand Prix in the shop last week and I was sure that it had an intake manifold that was plastic. The manual seems to indicate that the upper plenum is still plastic, but the manuals are notorious for being wrong. It would be a great advance if they have done away with the plastic intake on these engines. To me, the plastic intakes have always been trouble if you insist on running either hot coolant, or hot exhaust gases thru them.
Ian
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

I'm not sure what the heck is going on in their heads if they kept a plastic plenum on the Series III. If they are using aluminum that will sure make it a damn near bullet proof engine. The plenum might be powder coated so that could make it look like plastic.
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Thanks for the Trip Report Harry. I took a close look at the '04 Mercury Marauder while at the Hartford, CT Auto Show back in November, it is a solid full sized car, very nicely built. The GTO was mobbed with people around it, couldn't get a close up look. I like the Park Aves, but can't swing the bucks yet for one of those baby's. The Chrysler 300 series, I don't know much about, but they look impressive. -- markwb 2001 Bonneville SLE

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Mark, I didn't pick up any literature on the 300 but the base offers two different V6's one has 250 hp and the other is only like 190 hp. The base model was only around $22,000
The 300C with the hemi was 345 hp & 390 TQ, starting around $31,000 or so.
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE, 3800 V6 _~_~_~_~276,660 miles_~_~_ ~_~_
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