LA Auto Show 2016 Review by Subaru-driving Dad Nickie Quan

The following post is by Nickie Quan –  father of two, car enthusiast, and loyal Subaru owner. He is also owner and master (A.K.A. “Master Quan“) of Tae Ryong Taekwondo School in Brentwood (Los Angeles, California). He attended the LA Auto Show with his wife, baby son, and toddler daughter. Photos taken by him and his lovely wife Aya. Here is his experience:

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It’s been a few years since I had the opportunity to attend this once “tradition” of mine. People say, “having kids will do that.” So, this year when Westside Mommy asked me to to attend and write this post, I thought to myself, “My almost-three-year old daughter can walk now, she might like it, the baby can be in the ergo carrier…why not?”

So, off we go, our family of four “Westsiders” to the LA AUTO SHOW!

You Should Attend The L.A. Auto Show Even If You Aren’t A Car Enthusiast

If you aren’t a car enthusiast you probably don’t get excited for the yearly convention where all the main manufacturers showcase their latest and greatest achievements in transportation.  I’m going to tell you why, as a family man, you should.  Have you ever gone shopping with your family?  Did your anxiety level just elevate?  How about car shopping?  Did you mutter “Oh, hell no.”  That basically sums up my LA Auto show experience!  Wait, didn’t I just say this was a good thing though?

I LOVE cars. My wife LIKES cars. My kids HATE riding in cars.

Let me explain, I LOVE cars. My wife LIKES cars. My kids HATE riding in cars. Up until recently I have done my own research, gone on test drives and purchased cars ALONE..for ME. My wife (Aya) bought her own car with our growing family in mind years ago and I have noticed things about it that just don’t quite fit our needs and lifestyle. So, I have been on the search for something better (in our case bigger…but not too big of course). We talk, text and tag each other in FB posts and share all different car options and possibilities. The resounding answer is most always “meh.” So, today at the Auto Show we are going to see and touch them ALL!

Those fantasy whips and impractical cars will have to wait

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In the past, I would show up and beeline it to the exotics, super cars and custom rides. Car culture is alive and well, but today I have an agenda!  Those fantasy whips will have to wait (but retirement is coming faster and faster – or midlife crisis) and the fam-bam and I stroll past the bling and hit the “normal” brands hall.

Don’t bring a stroller

Oh yea, real quick, speaking of “strolling,” don’t bring a stroller. I mean it wasn’t thaaat bad and there was plenty of aisle space, BUT waiting for elevators so small that only two strollers and one parent can fit in at a time (enjoy giving your partner that look of “meet me upstairs”) and figuring out which level to exit from…utter nonsense! If your kid can fit in an ergo carrier just take shifts. If your kid is like mine and goes back and forth between “carry me/put me down” then do what I did and put her in the bed of a truck while you check them out! She loved it…I swear.

Basically, we pushed an empty stroller most of the time anyway.

After we navigated to the showroom, we immediately saw Hyundai, Honda, and Cadillac – all with great displays, really high end booths and video walls, decor and polished cars galore. I didn’t care about any of those though because as a Westside Dad with a young family, there was only one (maybe two) manufacturers I came to really see, Subaru (and Toyota).

Let’s talk Subaru

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I have personally owned 3 “Subies” and currently drive a Forester. My wife has the Subaru Tribeca, which sadly, they don’t make anymore. My first Subaru was the ever-awesome, never outdone (no matter how hard the Mitsubishi Lancer tried), all-wheel drive (AWD), 4 wheel disc brakes, turbo-charged with obnoxious wing and all, fast and furious out of the box, STI! Alas, kids and dogs made that cherry ride more and more a stress than a relief. Now I’m more practical with more cargo room, interior comforts, AWD capabilities and a look and price tag that doesn’t make me worry when the thing gets dirty or dinged.

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My wife’s TriBeCa looks big, drives small, seats 7 on paper but really it’s more like 4 comfortably. Two car seats and baby “go bags” eat up space more than any camping trip ever could. Our hopes are to find something that fits two car seats and a few full sized passengers yet still able to traverse through West LA traffic, parking lots and rugged enough to protect the precious cargo inside in case of an emergency. Oh yea, minivans need not apply because she put her foot down on that one.

My daughter sees the Subaru area and immediately recognizes one as “daddy’s car.”

We see the full line. The Forester I already drive, the XV Crosstrek I used to drive, and the Outback I believe is destined to be my next Subaru (it just makes sense). There’s nothing different about next years models than current but if you haven’t had a new car in awhile some interesting tech advances every car basically has are: hands free blue tooth tech for cell phones, back up cameras and touch screen radios/navigation and this thing called “EyeSight” that basically prevents you from rear ending people while you drive.

Although the SUV Tribeca is no longer in the lineup, they did have a full sized SUV on display as a concept, the VIZIV. Looks cool, like a bigger TriBeCa which would be rad, but only a concept at this point.

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So, Subaru was a minor let down but probably because they are solid cars, with a golden reputation economically and ecologically. Not much change necessary for them for now. They were parked right next to my other trusted brand, Toyota.

Toyota is the perfect brand to fit my duality-of-man persona.

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Toyota is the perfect brand to fit my duality-of-man persona. The big showcase for them is the large line of hybrid and eco friendly vehicles that make perfect sense for California drivers. However, what caught my eye and got me really pumped up to pretend I was a dinosaur and chase my 2 year old towards were the trucks! What’s better looking, capable and more reliable than a Toyota truck? Nothing.

What’s a family guy going to do with a pickup truck though? Check out the Crew Max Tundra! It’s the biggest, baddest truck you’ll ever need off a construction site and the back seats are just as big as the front! It’s like a freaking Maybach back there! Ok, you think I’m exaggerating. The back seats in this TRUCK recline. After my kid was done climbing around in it, I realized I clearly wasn’t. This is where I took her to the bed of the truck. I pulled on the tailgate to lower it and was surprised that it didn’t just fall. Instead it lowered slowly as if it had hydraulics inside. “Ooh, my wife would like this,” is my internal monologue justifying this purchase.

where in LA would I park this monster?

As my kid romps in the bed of the truck, I go to the side and read the description and specs. Yes, daddy wants, but as my wife walks up to me with stroller and baby attached like a kangaroo, it hits me, where in LA would I park this monster? Reality sets in and until I have a driveway or a full sized parking spot at least, compact SUVs are the only real option.

My wife hops into a few SUVs. Tahoes, Suburbans, Navigator, Lexus, Expedition, Explorer but all of which yielded a harsh reality, “meh.” She of course loved the size and utility of the Suburban but said she felt like she was in a tank, due to the much longer front end. What are we going to do?

I think the answer is clear: Minivan…or daddy’s new Truck 

Los Angeles Auto Show

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website: laautoshow.com

SHOW LOCATION
Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

2016 PUBLIC DAYS: November 18-27, 2016
OPEN THANKSGIVING DAY FROM 9AM-6PM