Connor Goes to a Car Show: An Automotive Odyssey

Connor Struyk ’20

Staff Writer

This is the last issue of the Tripod for the semester, so it’s a tad fitting that we go out with a bang. This past weekend, I managed to score three free tickets to the Connecticut International Auto Show courtesy of Chris Russell at Paragon Group. Arts and Entertainment Editor Hunter Savery ’20, Contributing Writer Cameron Chottiner ’20, and I all drove down to Mohegan Sun on Friday morning to attend. For those of you who don’t know, international auto shows are typically where automakers from around the world bring their newest models to show off to potential customers and journalists.

The Connecticut International Auto Show is relatively small compared to some of the year’s giants like the Geneva, Detroit, and New York auto shows, but is still able to draw cars from most major manufacturers. Acura, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Ford, Chevy, and Fiat Chrysler all brought a significant portion of their current lineups and allowed guests nearly unlimited access. Of the cars shown and in no real particular order, here are some of our favorites:

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade: This one was a real surprise to us, but I guess it really shouldn’t have been. Hyundai has truly come a long way since their introduction to the United States market. Hyundais used to be almost comically bad, but the new Hyundai Palisade and most of its new lineup are genuinely excellent automobiles. Hunter went so far as to say, “the most exciting car was the Hyundai Palisade.” Honestly, I sort of agree with him. Both the Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride (both based on the same platform and developed together) seemed to be excellent large SUVs. For the money, it would be nearly impossible to find a better new car.

The 2020 Hyundai Veloster N: Sticking with Hyundai, we go to one of the cars that I was most excited to see. Velosters have remained pretty underwhelming for a long time, always having the interesting looks to stand out in the hatch-back market, but never the performance to back it up. Finally, the Veloster N delivers. Developed by the same guy who used to run the M performance division of BMW, the Hyundai Veloster N is basically the most fun car you can buy right now for under $30,000. If you don’t believe me, consider that this little hatchback just won Road & Track’s Performance Car of the Year.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator: Jumping slightly up market, we come to the Lincoln Aviator. This thing’s interior was literally astonishing. All of us thought that this SUV was amazing after only having sat in it for less than a minute. The auto show was smart in their setup and placed the Lincoln stand amongst the other exotic cars. It blew them all away. Climbing into the new Range Rover Evoque (which was, apparently, incredibly spec’d out by the way) and after sitting in the new Aviator was comparable to sitting in an econobox. Even the interior of the new 2020 Mercedes G-Wagon felt significant step down. The only car which seemed to come even remotely close to surpassing it was the new Rolls Royce Cullinan and that thing costs over $300,000.

The 2020 Aston Martin Vantage: The Aston Martin was, as expected, beautiful. Cameron’s favorite car of the show, the new Vantage seems to mark a return to form for Aston Martin after the slightly disappointing DB11. Aston Martin’s have always been beautiful, and the DB9 and old Vantage are some of the most beautiful cars produced thus far this century. Their interiors, however, have historically failed to measure up. The new Vantage rectifies this in a big way and easily measures up to other cars at its price point. While other cars may be faster or go around a track better, you would be hard pressed to find a more classically appealing luxury automobile than the new Aston Martin Vantage. Driving around in this car is basically like wearing a Rolex, people will take notice.

I’ll leave the closing of this piece to the venerable Hunter Savery ’20: “I walked away empty handed and broken-hearted, not counting all of the free stuff I took home. Come to think of it, I wasn’t really heart-broken either. Actually, the car show was fine. 5/10.

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