Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2013, 10:18 pm

Auto show gives would-be buyers a chance to kick the tires

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By Kevin Smith, ksmith@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Susan VanHootegem traveled from Kewanee to sit in the driver's seat of a new Mazda convertible during the Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show at the RiverCenter in Davenport on Friday, February 8, 2013. Trucks, sport cars, family SUVs and luxury sedans are among the vehicles on display at the show that continues Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Steve Sayre of Andover and Mike Minnaert of Geneseo inspect the paint on the hood of a new Chevy Camaro at the RiverCenter during the Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show in Davenport on Friday, February 8, 2013. Dozens of car models from luxury and economy car makers are on display at the show that runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Serious car buyers weighed their options on a wide variety of new vehicles Friday without being pressured to lock in their purchase during the opening night of this year's Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show.

Dealerships from both sides of the Mississippi River flooded the RiverCenter in Davenport with new vehicles to give buyers and window-shoppers a chance to compare the new models. The show continues through Sunday.

Scott Ryder and Cris Loiz, both of Davenport, were impressed with the "low-pressure" atmosphere and the chance to look at cars from multiple dealerships.

"We're both thinking about getting a new car," Ms. Loiz said.While Mr. Ryder was considering a Chevy Silverado, Ms. Loiz surprised herself by being interested in a Mazda.

"We would not have gone to a Mazda dealership," Ms. Loiz said.

The two said they were impressed with the functionality of the new built-in gadgets and enjoyed just looking at the cars.

"It was a good show," Ms. Loiz said. "We'd definitely come back."

Jack and Rita Stone, of Prophetstown, had their sights set on the 2013 Subaru Impreza. The two are big into traveling and were impressed by the car's fuel economy, Mrs. Stone said. She added the Subaru would be able to haul canoes and kayaks for camping trips.

The couple said they attend the auto show every year with an interest in finding their next purchase. They also plan to attend another auto show in Chicago the near future.

Kim Haskins, of East Moline, browsed the luxury cars Friday night. In her fifth year visiting the show, Ms. Haskins -- who plans to buy a new vehicle in the near future -- said she was taking both fuel economy and interior comfort into account.

Jerry Meier, of DeWitt, said he was just looking, but added he was open to finding a something to replace his Chevy Malibu bought last fall. In his first trip to the auto show, Mr. Meier said the "sporty" Chevy Camaro most appealed to him.

Most people at the show were thinking about buying a new car, said Mike Duffy, event manager for Motor Trend Auto Shows, who has helped organize the local event for the past two years.

"They're kicking tires; they're slamming doors," he said."People can sit in the car without the pressure of making a purchase. It's just a nice calm environment."



If you go:

The Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show continues today, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the RiverCenter at 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport.

Admission is $7 for people over 12, $6 for those 62 and older, $3 for children 7-12 and free for younger children. On Sunday, children 12 and younger get in free.