With hundreds of vehicles on display last weekend at the Buffalo Convention Center, there was certainly incentive for WNYers to battle freezing conditions in order to make it to the 2016 Buffalo Auto Show.
Buffalo’s Auto Show is a yearly event that is different from many other auto shows around the country in that it provides an environment catered to people who are looking to ‘shop around’ and become familiar with their next vehicle.
Many people in attendance however, do not fall into the category of a future buyer.
“I’m just here to check out the cars and see what’s new,” said Andrew Trask, 25, of Derby. Trask has been coming to the show for the last ten years and said that the Audi’s caught his attention at this years show, especially the redesigned for 2016 A4.
The Buffalo Auto Show had a lot to offer attendees this year ranging from affordable compacts to six-figure supercars. A majority of the vehicles present at this years show are vehicles that people can and will actually own, with a few specialty cars that may otherwise only ever be seen by WNYers in pictures on the internet.
Since they were only winners sitting still, in the upcoming weeks with support from local dealerships, I will be out testing these vehicles to see how they are where it really matters: On real roads, in the great city of Buffalo.
Porsche brought their $180,000 track weapon, the 911 GT3 RS in a stunning Lava Orange, easily the most beautiful vehicle at the show in my opinion. The GT3 RS boasts mind-blowing figures including a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds, and looked faster than any other vehicle present while standing completely still.
So the Porsche’s price tag may be unrealistic for most people, but this years show had much more to offer those looking for a vehicle that doesn’t cost as much as a house.
In order to best display what this years Auto Show had to offer, I have compiled six categories of vehicles, and have picked a winner for each. For any future buyers looking to fill a spot in the driveway be sure to take a second look at my 2016 Buffalo Auto Show ‘winners’.
1.) Top SUV
With Buffalo’s unforgiving weather, many car buyers in this area have turned to SUV’s because of their available four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive options to tackle the slick, snowy months. My winning SUV from the Buffalo Auto Show was unquestionably the Volvo XC90 T6. The example that Volvo brought to the show was dressed in ‘Bursting Blue Metallic’, and as the color’s name suggests, it stood out perfectly.
Not only is the XC90 T6 a visually appealing vehicle, it is also provides tremendous safety, comfort, and space for larger passengers. The driver’s seat is next to perfect, and its seating position inspires confidence and control of the large 7-passenger SUV. The XC90 T6 was the Car and Driver SUV of the year, and receives my vote as well, the only downside being its price tag. The example at this years show was heavily optioned and ran up the sticker price to a hefty $60,265.
2.) Top Luxury Sedan
Unlike the Volvo, my top luxury sedan came as a surprise to me. The 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD blew me away at the show. An easy pick in the luxury sedan category could have been the always popular BMW 3-series, but the TLX blows the 3-series out of the water. The TLX on display at the Buffalo Convention Center was stunning in Crystal Black, and showed a sticker price of $42,495.
The 3.5 liter V-6 engine in the TLX puts power to all four wheels with Acura’s all-wheel-drive system, an excellent choice for a buyer in this area looking for a sophisticated, stylish, and fun to drive vehicle that could withstand a Buffalo winter. A similarly priced BMW 3-series would fall behind the Acura with only 180 horsepower coming from a four cylinder engine compared to the Acura’s 290hp V-6. The Acura TLX SH-AWD is certainly a bargain in this category, and a vehicle to reconsider when shopping for a four door luxury sedan.
3.) Top Compact
The North American Car of the Year was an easy winner for this group. Yes, I am referring to the 2016 Honda Civic. Honda has consistently produced stellar vehicles, and the Civic has dominated the compact class over the years. Honda calls their top trim level Civic the Touring, and comes packed with features such as LED headlights, front and rear heated seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a 450-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers, including a subwoofer.
The Civic easily runs up the bill as a compact with these options raising the base price of $18,640 to a costly $27,335. The Honda reputation for reliability and overall quality will help when justifying this price to your friends, oh and it looks very nice, too.
4.) Top Affordable Sports Car
Back and better than ever, Mazda’s new fourth generation Miata turned heads at this years show. The completely redesigned MX-5 Miata looks fantastic with an entirely new front facia and an aggressive stance that shows off its perfect proportions. Yes, ‘affordable’ is a subjective term when car buying, but at a starting price of just $24,915, the brand new Miata seems to check all of the necessary boxes for someone looking for a fun, rear-wheel-drive, two-seater to enjoy in the beautiful Buffalo summers.
With the top down, of course. The MX-5’s primary flaw is also its greatest attribute. Its size. It is not the easiest vehicle to enter and exit, and my lanky legs are very, very close to the steering wheel. I am 6’ 3”, and for me personally, I would not be happiest of folks living with the Miata. For those interested buyers who are a bit shorter in stature, there is no better pick than the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata.
5.) Top in Technology
My winner for this group would also be the winner if I made a category for the ‘Top Car to be Driven in’ or the ‘Top Car to buy because you just won the lottery’. The 2016 BMW 7series sets an extremely high standard for both luxury, and technology. And lets just say, its not cheap. Starting price hits hard at $81,300 and the beauty on display at the Buffalo Auto Show was priced out at just under $100,000. Packaged within this near six-figure priced vehicle are the best car seats (I have ever sat in), heated everything, and an amazing 360-degree camera view of the car coupled with its outstanding safety system.
Everything that one might touch while aboard this vehicle is heated. From the seats to the steering wheel, and even the arm rests. So when Buffalo hits with another few weeks of bone chilling temperatures, this is the vehicle that will keep you warm. Oh, and the seats will even give you a massage on the way home from that stressful day at the office. There are beautiful LCD screens everywhere you look, even on the key fob, which shows information such as fuel status, estimated range, and even your service requirements. After only spending a few minutes in the BMW 7series I quickly began to realize how nice of a place it would be to spend some time. Just as Ferris Bueller said, “if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
6.) Top ECO Vehicle
Even though Toyota placed the all new Prius at the center of their display at this years show, it is the 2016 RAV-4 Hybrid that should receive all the attention. The RAV-4 Hybrid is a great option for WNYers looking to enter into the ECO market. The hybrid model takes the same philosophy as the Prius and applies it to a user-friendly, easy to drive, crossover. All of the traits that owners love about the Toyota RAV-4 are now applied to a more eco-friendly set of wheels.
Tackling the Buffalo winter in this four-wheel-drive crossover couldn’t be easier, and while accomplishing a more than respectable 34mpg in the city. Starting price for the RAV-4 Hybrid hits at $28,370 which amazingly is only $700 more expensive than the identical spec XLE RAV-4 non-hybrid. Entering the ECO market has never been easier, and with Toyota’s strong reputation, there will be no anxiety related to picking up their new hybrid.
Those are my winners from the 2016 Buffalo Auto Show. Since they were only winners sitting still, in the upcoming weeks with support from local dealerships, I will be out testing these vehicles to see how they are where it really matters: On real roads, in the great city of Buffalo. Stay tuned for more.
Lead Image: Buffalo Auto Show