Highlights from the 2023 Orange County Auto Show
Well, the Orange County Auto Show returned for 2023, and I had a chance to attend upon invitation from Chevy. Held at the Anaheim Convention Center in proximity to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” the Orange County Auto Show was a showcase of the most popular models for the upcoming year, as well as some hits from the current model year.
2023 Orange County Auto Show
From high-end sportscars to compact cars, from compact trucks to full-size SUVs, the Orange Country Auto Show showcased a bit of everything, but the real stars of the event were the hybrid and electric cars. As gas prices reach ever higher and higher, it was clear as day to see an increased interest in what the electric market has to offer consumers. And in fact, they even had a little test drive area where guests could try them out.
Notably missing from the Auto Show were popular makes like Subaru, Volvo and Porsche. Tesla was also not there but rarely do they showcase at these kinds of events anyway. With that said, let’s take a look at the best (and worst) of the Orange County Auto Show!
What would any auto show be without some dream cars thrown into the mix? While the main show as all about the models most of us plebians can afford, front and center, before you even walk through the doors to the convention itself, McLaren Automotive, Lamborghini and Aston Martin had a few models on display.
At the right of the exotic car display sat the Aston Martin DB12. The 2024 model of this vehicle starts at $248,086, which is about half of the cost of a house in the state of California. It is said to boast a 671-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. This is the car only James Bond would drive.
To the left of it, there was the 2024 Aston Martin DBX707. With the suggested retail of $242K miles, this is another car that likely isn’t in your budget. But if it were, you’d be behind the wheel of a 697-horsepower beast of a crossover. The bold storm purple exterior would surely make a scene in most places, but if you are driving a car like this, subtlety is not your jam.
Next, there was the Lamborghini Urus, a popular model among certain celebrities with a taste for the extra. An SUV like this starts at around $230K, similar to the previously mentioned Aston Martin models. The luxury SUV gets 657 horsepower while delivering 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Not practical, to be sure, but definitely fun.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would easily be this Lamborghini Technica, which is essentially everything you’d expect a dream car to be. It’s a 640-horsepower supercar that can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds. The fuel economy leaves much to be desired, but that’s not the point of a car like this. And realistically speaking, most people couldn’t afford the insurance on a car like this. But in a magical world where we are all billionaires, surely we’d all have one in our garage.
Lastly, there were the McLaren models, essentially built for track performance. At over $330K, the blue McLaren 765LT was the most expensive car on display at this event. The McLaren GT, on the other hand, only retails for around $200K – only for a supercar, that is. Now, let’s step out of dreamland and get real. While the cars mentioned above may be works of art, they aren’t what this auto show was really about.
To the left of the main entrance stood Chevrolet’s display. They showcased many of their most popular models from every class, including the Equinox, the Silverado, the Malibu, and the Corvette. Chevy didn’t go heavy into the electric and hybrid categories, but they did showcase a few.
Both the Malibu and the Bolt are two of Chevy’s top-selling cars on the market. The Malibu represents, of course, their gasoline-only market, while the Bolt represents the EV market. While the 2024 Chevrolet Malibu will be about $5K less than the Bolt, you can be sure that, depending on how much driving you’ll do, you end up saving that extra five grand, and more, in a few years time. However, fuel economy for the Malibu does impress, getting 38 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. All in all, when it comes to choosing gas or electric, it will depend on the accessibility of charging stations in your area and just how much driving you have to do, as EVs like the Bolt have a range of just 250 miles.
Car enthusiasts also had a chance to say goodbye to the Chevrolet Camaro, which is in its final model year. Like the Charger and the Challenger, it has been discontinued, no doubt due to the increasing popularity of SUVs, trucks, and EVs. Of course, attending the auto show was just proof of that, as the Camaro sat lonely here with no one dying to enter it. The time of the muscle cars has come to an end, and this is innovation’s next casualty.
On the other hand, the Chevrolet Corvette will remain on the market for the foreseeable future. Here, Chevrolet showcased its 655 horsepower hybrid Corvette with a 6.2-liter V8 engine. The all-new 2024 Chevrolet E-Ray 3LZ Coupe can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. Chevrolet touts it as the first-ever electric all-wheel drive Corvette, and it certainly turned some heads at this event. They didn’t list pricing for the model but says it will drop in late 2023.
Of course, Chevrolet also showed off their trucks: nearly all their Silverado models, including the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 shown above. When properly equipped, the Silverado 1500 ZR2 can tow up to 9,000 pounds. As you get up into the heavy-duty models, the towing numbers get bigger. For instance, the 2500HD can tow up to 16,000 pounds.
Designed for work, the Silverado 5000HD can tow between 21,500 to 23,500 pounds. However, most drivers will be choosing between the 1500, 2500 or 3500. Here, you’ll find a comparison between the three.
Those were just some of the highlights from Chevrolet. On top of the many trucks featured at the Orange County Auto Show, Chevy displayed many of their SUVs, including the Blazer, Trailblazer, Trax, and Equinox – just to name a few. Many of these models are now available at dealerships across the country, but their presence at this event undoubtedly piqued some interest.
Ford made their truck presence known with a variety of Ford F-150 truck models, as well as their heavy-duty options. The F-150 currently remains the top-selling automobile on the market, year after year.
The 2024 Ford F-150 Lighting in red featured above was one of the many Lightning models showcased. As the name suggests, the Lightning is an electric truck that gets the equivalent of 73 mpg in the city and 60 mpg on the highway. But since it runs on electric power, you won’t be wasting away at the pump.
But fear not, Ford hasn’t given up on their gas-powered trucks. Notably, the 2024 Ford F-250 Lariat TREMOR boasts a 6.7-liter Powerstroke V8 engine. It comes with a slew of features as well, including retractable side steps for getting in with ease.
The main event for Ford was the F-150 Raptor, which features a fresh new look this year and a 3.0-liter V6 Ecoboost engine that manages to generate a whopping 405 horsepower! While it can only tow around 7,000 pounds, this model is built more for off-road capability than it is for towing purposes. Those who love camping, jet skiing, boating, and other activities of the sort will definitely appreciate the Raptor and its off-road capabilities.
The 2024 Mustang made its appearance at the Orange County Auto Show as the last of three muscle cars on display (the others being the Camaro and the Corvette). Specs for this vehicle were not displayed. However, you can find more information about the latest Mustang in our trim comparison guide.
Additionally, the new Mustang Mach-E was on display, and guests could even take a look inside. At around a $58,000 starting price, it won’t be in everyone’s budget, but the 5-seater electric crossover offers some impressive range, allowing you to travel up to 312 miles before you need to recharge. On top of that, it’s sleek, sporty, and spacious, giving you the best of everything.
Two versions of the 2024 Ford Bronco were on display, but the soft-top version was my personal favorite. After all, if you are going to get an off-road vehicle to enjoy the outdoors, why not let as much of the outdoors in as possible? As Ford’s answer to the Wrangler, this vehicle definitely slaps. The hardtop was also nice, but it looks like any other compact SUV.
Kia showcased a mix of both 2024 and 2023 car models. However, it is worth noting that, for the most part, they are indiscernible to begin with. While the 2024 models might make a few alterations from the previous year, the basic features and engine options end up being the same.
For its 2024 compact SUV lineup, Kia showed off the compact Sportage X-Pro Prestige as well as the subcompact Kia Seltos SX Turbo. Both models are equipped with all-wheel drive and get around 26 mpg combined. If you are looking for an affordable SUV for 2024, these powerful little SUVs will fit the bill nicely.
There aren’t many minivans on the market, but the 2024 Kia Carnival definitely stands out as one of the best. Not much changed for 2024, but not much was broken about the 2023 model to make it obsolete at this point. The spacious Carnival comes packed with features and powerful performance that make it a must for larger families in need of an affordable minivan.
Volkswagen had a number of cars out and a booth where they were handing out free coloring books, which, of course, I had to get up one for my son. As a Volkswagen driver myself, I was excited to see what they had to offer this year.
Most notably, Volkswagen introduced the 2024 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 40th Anniversary Edition. The vehicle will feature a 2.0-liter TSI four-cylinder turbocharged engine that generates 228 horsepower while getting 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. It’s the sportiest and sleekest Jetta to date, but its sporty design also comes at a price, as it’s nearly $30K at the base price.
The 2024 Volkswagen ID.4, which starts at around $41,000, will offer an improved driving range compared to past models. Thanks to a 77.0-kWh battery pack, the 282-horsepower (rear-wheel drive) electric powertrain can take you up to 275 miles per charge, which is impressive for a compact crossover. The spacious interior comes with an array of features that make the ID.4 seem like a more expensive vehicle than it is.
These were just some of the cars shown at the 2023 Orange County Auto Show in Anaheim. For part two of our review, see here.