Car dreamers roll up for the Auto Expo in Sandy over long January weekendFeb 07, 2022 02:33PM ● By Heather Lawrence
The Ford Lightning was a big draw at the Auto Expo in Sandy, and this shiny red model got attention from truck lovers and electric vehicle shoppers. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
The Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy was packed with cars and car lovers (masked, of course) for the Auto Expo in January. The show filled the concourse space and all five halls to safely accommodate people over the four-day event. Hundreds of new cars were on display with some available to test drive.
“We are car enthusiasts, and we’re a Nissan family,” said Karlie Stoker of Saratoga Springs. Stoker’s group included her husband, two young sons and grandpa. They came on Jan. 17 when kids got in free.
Stoker works in the auto industry, but isn’t looking to buy a car soon. She comes because she loves to dream about what her next new car might be.
“I love to see all the new features like the big touch screens they’re putting in cars now. The technology is really interesting to me, and it’s nice to come here where people know a lot about the cars, but there’s no pressure on you to buy anything.
“Plus, we can let the kids’ imaginations run wild!” Stoker said as her nine-year-old son jumped into the driver’s seat of a new Nissan Titan pickup truck and pushed every button he could find.
Outside in the parking lot, Dodge and Ford had test drive stations set up for attendees 18 and older to take some of the newest models for a spin.
“I came to the expo in 2019, and it was so fun. I would have come last year, but it was canceled because of Covid. So this year I told my friends and roommates they had to come with me,” said a BYU student from Provo.
He brought a group of six friends, several of whom were interested in electric vehicles. But they also wanted to drive some good old-fashioned muscle cars. Fortunately for them, Ford has both those angles covered with their all-electric Mustang Mach-E, which they all test drove.
The Mach-E advertises a 314-mile range and goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The students were interested in electric cars, hoping maybe one day they could buy one. At the Dodge tent they drove a Challenger and a Charger.
The students weren’t the only ones interested in electric vehicles. At the Nissan area, product specialist Kelly McComb who travels with the Auto Show said they’ve seen a lot of interest in their two electric models: the Leaf and the new Ariya.
“The Leaf has been out for over a decade, and it’s offered at a very affordable price in the low $20,000 range.
“The Ariya is new and we have begun to take reservations for the 2023 model, which will come out this fall,” McComb said.
McComb said the Ariya is a step up from the Leaf comfort-wise and has a higher starting price of around $46,000. Though they’re still working out the kinks in the technology, Nissan promotes the Ariya as having a “fully autonomous” driving mode option, which can park the car, center you in your lane, and bring you to a complete stop among other things.
Some of the biggest buzz at the show was generated by the Ford Lightning, a fully-electric pickup truck. A shiny red model was displayed on a stage while product specialists with microphones touted its many features and took questions from the crowd.
Though many of the vehicles at the show were open for people to climb in and check out, the Lightning and a few other specialty vehicles remained off limits, except with the help of one of the specialists.
Doug, a truck owner from Saratoga Springs, watched the presentation on the Lightning. Then he stuck around to ask the presenter some questions.
“I’d really like to get one of these. This is our first time coming to the Auto Expo, and seeing this truck was one of the reasons I wanted to come—to see it in person and check the price,” Doug said.
The feature that Doug likes the most is a promising one: not just charging the truck at home in your garage, but being able to reverse the charging unit so the vehicle can generate power for your home in case of a power outage.
“In case of a snowstorm or something else where your power goes out, they say you can use the truck to keep power on in your house for up to three days. There are a lot of vehicles here that you don’t see in your local dealerships,” Doug said.