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By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott, video by Nadin Abbott

December 27, 2012 (San Diego)-- The New Car Dealers Association of San Diego brings once again the San Diego International Auto Show, among the largest in the nation and the second largest in Southern California, to the San Diego Convention Center now Thursday through Sunday. The show this year features some old stand bys such as the Jeep Experience, where you can ride in one of several Jeeps to highlight the abilities of these vehicles. This year I rode a Trail Hawk Special Edition and the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Limited, which is a four door model. 

View a video of the ride here:

If you are looking for an off-road ride capable of going just about anywhere, the Jeep might be what you are looking for. If you wish to see what they are capable of, the Jeep Experience track is definitely worth your time, since it will showcase  what the vehicles can do. 

Jeeps are not the only off-road capable vehicles on display. Mercedez Benz had the G Wagon at the show, which is their answer to Jeep.  Realize that Mercedes had only a static display, but the G Wagon is used in Europe in the same capacity. This year Land Rover also brought its wares for the first time. These are known around the world as very capable off road vehicles. 

So what about trucks? In the back country of the East County working trucks that can also go off road are very important. Ford came with its usual offerings, the F- Series. Toyota brought the 4 Runner, Sequoia FJ Cruiser, and Tacoma. These are all “unibody construction, and can hitch a horse trailer. The six cylinder engine is capable of towing up to 65,000 pounds.” This is according to Saul Ibarrra, product specialist. 

Toyota trucks are also used by the San Diego lifeguards, and one of them is there on static display. The San Diego City Lifeguards unit will help to highlight the abilities of these hardy trucks. 

According to Bob Stahl of Bob Stahl Chevrolet, there is still quite an emphasis in developing the new electric vehicle technology and the Spark is the new car of the show as far as Chevy is concerned. 

We asked about more capable back country vehicles; the ASuburban and Tahoe are four wheel drive and capable of some towing, while the Traverse and the Equinox come in all wheel drive trims, and are cross overs. 

We tried to concentrate on trucks this year. According to Alem at the GM booth “GMC trucks  come in one thousand and one variations.” They can also tow upwards of 2300 pounds, and come with active fuel management.” This means they can drop from eight cylinders to four cylinders at highway speeds, saving upwards of 30% in fuel. 

This is a new kind technology that will allow you have the power when you need it, but will allow the truck to go further on one tank of gas. 

At the Infinity booth, we were told that most of the line comes in an all wheel drive trim, if you need it. This allows the vehicle to keep a better grip of the road and to work better in snowy conditions. In the back country this will come in handy during the winter months. 

What about Volkswagen? Two of its vehicles, the Touareg and the Tiguan, come in a “full motion trim” which essentially is all wheel drive. The Golf also comes in this trim, which will let you mostly go on snowy roads in a safer manner. 

Finally, a new release at the show is the four door FIAT, the 500 L, as well as the 500 E, an electric Fiat. 


The show runs at the Convention Center with the following hours: 

Thursday: 10:00 AM- 9:00 PM

Friday Dec 28: 10:00 AM- 9:00 PM

Saturday Dec 29: 10:00 AM- 9:00 PM

Sunday Dec 30:   !0;00 AM - 7:00 PM



Adults (13+) $12.00

Military (With ID) $9.00

Seniors (62+)   $9.00

Children (7-12) $8.00

Children (1-6) Free

Family Day (Sunday January 30) Children 12 and under free with paid adult

E-tickets available at

You can also reach the show by taking the Trolley from many East County communities.