Here is what shopping for a vehicle online won’t tell you: how easy or hard it is to open the door and climb inside. What it seems like to sit there. How the upholstery feels. Where the blind spots are. Where you can put your purse, laptop, tools, luggage, children, dog. Whether the vehicle fits you and your family.
For all this, there is a superior method of selecting your next car, truck, crossover, sport-utility vehicle, minivan or hybrid: Do it the old-fashioned way – in person, at the 2017 Dayton Auto Show. It will never get easier.
“Researching online is a wonderful start,” said Ami DeAngelo, Dayton Auto Show director of events, “But … buying a car is a very personal choice, and you need to get in it, you need to see it and you need to feel it and know what it is all about. The 2017 Dayton Auto Show offers that over multiple brands and multiple vehicles.”
More than 200 vehicles, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, are on display in the comfortable, warm, dry venue. Show-goers are welcome to open doors and slip behind the wheel of almost everything on the floor.
It’s a low-key environment, too. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles does not permit direct selling at the show, but it’s a great way to pick up a brochure, talk to others and speak with a product advisor.
While the increasing use of sophisticated technology will be apparent in the vehicles, DeAngelo touts the most relatable technology of all: people.
“The dealers and the product specialists representing their products on this floor are completely knowledgeable about everything they’re selling,” she said. “Anything you want to know, you can find out right from them. They are truly the best resource to go to whenever you are buying a vehicle.”
The annual automotive showcase features makes and models from 24 manufacturers, and ride and drive experiences from two manufacturers – a first for the Dayton Auto Show. The Toyota Drive Center offers eligible drivers the chance to test-drive four different models for test-driving around downtown Dayton. Drivers are accompanied by a professional product expert who will demonstrate key vehicle and brand features to participants. Every Toyota drive participant will receive a free Toyota-branded multi-port car charger. Fiat/Chrysler is offering its first-time ride and drive experience in Dayton in which every one of its brands is represented.
“It’s an exceptional thing we can offer our guests, that we have two manufacturers participating,” she said. “I think you can drive eight to 10 cars while you’re here.”
A show highlight is the chance, made possible by the Miami Valley Chevrolet Dealers, to win a two-year lease on a 2017 Chevy Cruze LS sedan. Show-goers may enter until 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26. A final drawing will take place at 3 p.m. that day, and you must be present to win.
While winning the lease certainly will improve your personal bottom line, a simulator in the Toyota area, courtesy of Dayton Area Toyota Dealers, may keep you or your teenager safer.
Through the use of Oculus Rift virtual reality technology, the dangers of distracted driving are brought to life for teens and their parents at the TeenDrive365 distracted driving simulator. Inside an actual Corolla, participants are immersed in a driving experience, complete with the three-dimensional sights and sounds of a busy city street.
During the simulation, participants are challenged to drive safely using the car’s steering wheel and pedals, while navigating a series of common distractions, including traffic noises, the radio, text messages and virtual friends who occupy the passenger and back seats. A loss of focus, however, and the consequences of distracted driving are fully experienced within the virtual setting. The purpose is for participants to come away a little wiser about what it takes to be safe behind the wheel.
“Distracted, impaired driving – whether you’re in Dayton or Toledo or California – is happening all over the country and it’s something we need to bring awareness to,” DeAngelo said.
As in previous years, the Dayton Auto Show will host an array of special events throughout the show, including:
- Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleaders April and Ashlee Feb. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Acura display
- Matt the Balloon Guy and Face Doodles by Jen face painting, Feb. 25 and 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Animals from Wild Heart Mobile Teaching Zoo Feb. 25 and 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.
- Appearance by Heater and Gem from the Dayton Dragons Feb. 26
- “Picture This” photo scavenger hunt around the show floor, with a chance to win a 55-inch Samsung LED Smart 4k Ultra HD TV
- Dayton Dragon prize packs awarded to winners of the “Are you here yet?” social media contest. Attendees can “check in” at the show on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and post a show photo with the hashtag #DaytonAutoShow to enter.
“This is a wonderful place for the family to come out and enjoy the day,” DeAngelo finished.
The 2017 Dayton Auto Show is presented and produced by the Dayton Area Auto Dealers Association. Media sponsorship is by the Dayton Daily News of Cox Media Group Ohio.
HOW TO GO TO THE 2017 DAYTON AUTO SHOW
- WHEN: Feb. 23-26
- WHERE: Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. Fifth St., Dayton
- SHOW TIMES: Feb. 24, noon-9 p.m.
- Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- ADMISSION: $8 for adults at the door, $6 online at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/1.15/b9b3a0/#/select. Children age 9 and younger are free when accompanied by a paying adult. Kids will receive a small free toy.
- DISCOUNTS: Feb. 24 - Senior Day, age 55-plus, $6 at door. Student discount with student ID, $6 at door
- INFORMATION: DaytonDailyNews/autoshow; DaytonAutoShow.com; Facebook.com/DaytonAutoShow; Twitter: @DaytonAutoShow; Instagram: @DaytonAutoShow