In addition to the well-established national and international auto shows, auto manufacturers often invite the media to smaller, regional gatherings to introduce vehicles. In early April, I joined more than 40 other journalists and photographers at a General Motors’ media launch and two-day getaway at The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, California.
The Pontiac G8, Pontiac Vibe and Buick Lucerne, each in several options, were presented in two sessions each attended by about two dozen journalists.
We each test drove the various vehicles on a hilly winding 170-mile road trip trek from Santa Monica to Ojai — on some of the most famous mountain roads in Southern California.
The Vibe is one of the most unheralded small SUVs available. Spacious and featuring innovative exterior and interior design, the Vibe is ideal for a small businessperson with cargo-space needs or an economically minded family with SUV needs.
The Buick Lucerne is an industry standard, but it’s also been redesigned and offers good comfort and a smooth drive. The entry-level luxury market is a competitive car segment, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new Lucerne fits into the marketplace.
The Pontiac G8 is Pontiac’s new showcase. It’s the brand’s first full-size sedan since the Bonneville and the first rear-wheel Pontiac since 1986. It’s being touted as the most powerful (361 horsepower) car available in the United States for less than $30,000.