Tomorrow is your last chance to head out to BC Place Stadium to catch the Vancouver International Auto Show, so if you want to catch a glimpse of a few vehicles that you probably won’t be seeing any time soon (if at all), and/or sit and play with the innards of cars without having to deal with heavy pressure from sales staff, you better get your ass in gear… so to speak (and pardon my French).
In this installment of my series, I’ll give a brief runover of a few drop-top roadsters that caught my eye at the show, without delving into too much detail as to bore you half to death.
I didn’t see the Honda S2000 at the show, and understandably so, I suppose, because that car has been on the market for more than half a decade already. The automotive industry is fully expecting a redesign of Honda’s track whore some time soon, but no new pictures have been leaked, nor have any details concerning power/suspension upgrades arisen. Don’t get pulled into the recent April Fool’s gag that had the “new” S2000 sporting a V6 and AWD.
The Pontiac Solstice has been a moderate success, with very round lines and a bulgy nose. I find it much more appealing than the Chrysler Crossfire (for whatever reason), and it should compete quite nicely in the moderately-priced (read mid-30k range) roadster market. However, the Solstice’s sister vehicle, the Saturn Sky, has a more aggressive look and I love it. The Solstice seems so much more understated and subdued, whereas the Saturn screams, “Hey look, I’m a hot looking race car for the streets.” I’m not a fan of where they placed the “Sky” badge on the rear bumper, but any body shop can make quick work of that and shave the sucker right off.
The Miata has been a mainstay in the cheaper end of convertibles for quite some time now, but has always had a “girl’s car” image about it. This is despite a near 50/50 weight distribution, and plenty of potential to plant loads of power on the ground. Mazda made a few subtle changes to the newest generation that set it apart from its predecessors, but not so much so that it’s a completely different vehicle altogether. Officially, they’ve gone with MX-5 name worldwide for this car, but in my eyes, it will also be a Miata. You will be happy to hear that there are 170 horses under the hood now, and with the lightweight construction of Mazda rear-wheel-drive roadster, you can be sure that you’d be in for a pretty peppy ride.
New to Canada is Lotus. They finally got this “cheap” exotic past the people in Ottawa, bringing it up to snuff with all of our stringest safety and emissions regulations. They managed to keep the weight down on the Elise, with
comes in at under 2000 pounds. There is nearly 200hp to be enjoyed in this car that you’d probably be best advised to not use as your daily driver. The roof, unlike other convertibles, is a rollaway that locks and rolls out horizontally, rather than from front to back. The price tag is the 60K-range.