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Auto show gains Northwest debuts

by: COURTESY OF JOHN VINCENT - Smaller trucks are getting hard to find, but Chevy thinks theres a market for the redesigned 2014 Colorado, shown here at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. The region’s biggest consumer show of the year, the 2014 Portland International Auto Show, arrives at the Oregon Convention Center a bit later than usual this year. Instead of late January, The show runs from Feb. 6 to 9, with a charity preview party on the evening of the 5.

Why the change? A big reason is that the Super Bowl falls on the show’s traditional weekend this year, and that’s a tough show to compete with.

The extra week also means that a number of just-introduced models will have time to make it from the stage at the massive North American International Auto Show in Detroit for their Northwest debuts in Portland. The leadership of the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, producers of the show, have done an excellent job over the last few years of making sure Portland is on every manufacturer’s must-attend list.

Scheduled to headline the show is the super-sleek 2015 Ford Mustang. Its silhouette is unmistakably Mustang, but with a sophisticated new front end design. It’s also the first Mustang ever to be offered with one of Ford’s efficient EcoBoost turbocharged engines.

Ford’s set to make an even bigger splash with the arrival of the 2015 F-150 pickup. Based off of last year’s Atlas concept, the best-selling vehicle in America looks to stretch its lead with segment-first aluminum body construction and an economical 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 joining the engine family.

Also expected is Chrysler’s new 200 Sedan. With a refined, modern look and an amazing number of features available, the new 200 is set to disrupt the midsize market. Available in two models, the 200 looks to be a technological powerhouse for the brand.

Fresh from its Detroit debut, the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is set for display in Portland. With the broad stance and aggressive appearance expected of the brand’s hottest model, the STI should set new performance benchmarks.

The raspy exhaust note will let everyone know you’ve arrived when you pull up in the new Maserati Ghibli sedan. But no one needs to know that you don’t have to be part of the 1 percent to own this Maserati. With a base price of just more than $65,000, it’s by far the least costly way to buy a Ferrari-powered luxury tourer. At the Portland Auto Show, not only will you be able to see the new Ghibli, they might even let you touch it.

Cadillac’s bringing sexy to the green car market with the new ELR extended range electric coupe. Under the its sharply lines lies an electric motor, advanced battery pack and a small gasoline-powered range extender. The ELR can operate on electricity alone for about 35 miles, before employing the gasoline powerplant that will provide the energy to propel the ELR to its maximum range of about 300 miles.

Oregon’s always been a good market for small pickups, but the segment has been neglected as of late. Sure there are a couple of models there, but they’re pretty long in the tooth. GM aims to rejuvenate the segment with the 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. The Colorado is expected to make its Northwest debut in Portland.

And Land Rover is coming back to the show with two new vehicles. One is the Land Rover Range Rover Long-Wheelbase Autobiography, which is almost as long as its name. There’s 7.3 inches added to the frame in front of the rear wheels, and all of the extra space goes to rear seat legroom. The other is the 2014 LR4, which receives a facelift and a new powerplant under the hood. The 5.0-liter V-8 is gone, replaced with a supercharged V-6 and an 8-speed automatic transmission. It retains impressive off-road credentials, although the necessary 2-speed transfer case is now an option.

Of course, due to unforeseen events, some of the scheduled vehicles might not make it. What’s great about Portland’s show, though, is that there are always a few surprises that show up at the last minute.




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