CLEVELAND, Ohio - The I-X Center took on that distinctive new-car-show smell today in the last few hours before opening of the Cleveland Auto Show at 5 p.m.
There was the seductive aroma of fresh rubber, rich leather and four-wheeled salesmanship drifting in the air during a media preview of the event that runs through March 5.
Workers feather-dusted and hand-buffed gleaming models, as vehicles were put through their paces on sometimes bumpy and soaring test tracks, and manufacturer representatives praised their lines.Cleveland Auto Show opens today at I-X Center
In touting the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, Katie Amann said that it "has really sleek lines. This actually spent 400 hours in our wind tunnel to make sure it was aerodynamically optimized" for improved fuel economy.
She also noted that it came with heated front and back seats, and a heated steering wheel.
Mindful of the record 70-degree temperatures outside the I-X Center, she noted, So you may not need that today in Cleveland, but I'm sure a couple of weeks ago that would have been a really nice feature to have."
Over at the Toyota exhibit, product specialist Kelly Paredes singled out the 2018 Camry for its completely new redesign, with "very aggressive, very sporty" styling, and "lots of fun tech inside."
She said events such as the Cleveland Auto Show represent a "really wonderful opportunity for consumers come and do all their cross- shopping.
"It's just a wonderful, relaxed environment to see everything that they're interested in," she added.
To find out, here's your road map to the Cleveland Auto Show:
* Hours: Today 5-10 p.m.; Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
* Cost: Regular adult tickets are $13; seniors (62 plus) and preteens (7-12), $11; children 6 and under free. Parking is free. Tickets are available at the box office or online at secure.interactiveticketing.com/1.15/98bbe4/#/select.
* Ride 'n' Drives: Indoors, Camp Jeep features professional 4x4 drivers chauffeuring participants in Jeep products around a course that includes a hill climb up the 18-foot high, 35-degree Jeep Mountain. Also inside, the Ram Key track has a hill climb up the 13-foot high, 30-yard long, 30-degree Ram Mountain.
Outdoor test drives are being offered by Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Mazda, Subaru, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram.
* Millionaire's Row: For those with a champagne budget, this exhibit presented by Bernie Moreno Companies may feature a Porsche Macan GTS, Aston Vulcan, Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge, McLaren 570s and Aston Martin DB11.
* Competitions: Featured are the 18th annual Classic Car Competition, held in the Classic Concourse on the lower level, and 25th annual Automotive Technology Competition (on Feb. 26) with student teams vying from the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Lorain County JVS, Polaris Career Center, Portage Lakes Career Center and Valley Forge High School.
- Grab the wheel of a real Challenger at the Dodge display for a simulated hot lap as you shift through gears and race for the fastest time.
- Take a realistic virtual reality test drive in a 2017 Honda Civic Si. Drivers will be able to experience how the car feels, accelerates and stops on a stretch of highway in Monument Valley, Arizona.
- A LEGO Batmobile will be featured at the Chevrolet display. The creation is 17 feet long, almost seven feet high and over nine feet wide. It took 222 hours to design, and 1,833 hours to build, using 344,187 LEGO bricks of 17 different colors.
- Hero's Day is today, 5-10 p.m., when active and veteran military personnel, plus police, fire, and other safety and security personnel, will be admitted free with a valid ID.
- Family Day, presented by Medical Mutual, is on Feb. 27, when everyone age 15 and under gets in free.
- Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will sign autographs in the GMC display on Feb. 26 from 5-6:30 p.m.
- Indians baseball legend Kenny Lofton will be in the Buick display on Feb. 28 from 6-8 p.m. Autographs will be limited to the official signing cards available on site.
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