Nerd’s Eye View: LA Auto Show 2014: Part 1 – Street Cars and Show Stuffings


The beer was in the beachy palm tree area of Cali. These little granola, yogurt, and fruit things were next to the rock climbing Joshua Tree area. In the background, you can see the rear hatch opened on a Kia filled with rock climbing equipment. There was a couple doing exhibition climbing up a rope that was set up. So yeah, Kia has a vehicle for you that will hold all your rock climbing and other various outdoorsy equipment.
Of course, there is skiing around Tahoe, Mammoth and Big Bear. Kia has vehicles for you with AWD to get you through the snow and carry your gear. If you can’t make it to the mountains, you can use the SkyTechSport Ski Simulator.
The simulator uses real ski bindings and boots. Your position on the simulator is tracked by optical sensors; I believe those red lights are part of the optical system. Motors control the motion of the skis across the platform. The simulator can also be used for snowboarding.
I’ve snowboarded before but I’ve never been skiing. I was coerced into trying this simulator out and it was a ton of fun. It was also a pretty freaking good workout. To move side-to-side, you lean the boots and transfer your weight as you would in real life. Also, the skis can move forwards and backwards relative to each other as they would in real life while turning. It’s really amazing and quite fascinating how well the system works with the motors providing what feels to be the correct feedback; to turn faster and harder, you lean and dig your weight onto that outer boot/ski like I imagine you would in real life. As I’ve only snowboarded in real life, it’s like applying more weight and lean to whichever edge of the board you’re on. To turn faster, you have to get more aggressive. My legs were probably only around 30 degrees from vertical in my run. If you check out the SkyTechSport website there’s a picture of a guy with his legs around 70 degrees from vertical. At first, it almost feels like you’ll fall over like when you’re going slowly like in real life. But as with real life, when you pick up the speed, you can get very aggressive with the forces you put in and it’ll hold. In many ways, it’s like riding a motorcycle or bicycle. A lot of strength and weight transfer is required to really whip from side-to-side just like muscling a sport bike side-to-side in quick transitions. Also like motorsports, you must focus and look ahead, picking out your line through the slalom course. In the picture, you can see how I’m looking ahead through the corners of the slalom just like driving a car on a track. Anyway, the motor controls system for the simulator is very impressive. This ski simulator concept for the booth was done by ElleAEvents, so if you need a planner for any sort of event in the LA area, hit them up!
If you’d prefer to hit up Napa, Kia has fancy cars to shuttle you into wine country in style. After skiing, I figured I deserved some wine.
Lastly, I checked out the new 2015 Mustang as three of my buddies and I did a bit of street racing. I had a poor start and fell to the back and then was caught up in a first corner tangle between VK-san and Chris. This allowed Joe to jump out into the lead. I was able to clear the mashup into a distant second place. Joe had a solid lead until he was caught in traffic allowing me to catch up and sneak by for the win with just a couple corners to go before the finish. Impressions? The Mustang pushed a bit at the limit but was very quick in transitions. I’ll give a more thorough review once I get to drive a real one.

So there you have some of the standard cars and show activities during Media Days at the LA Auto Show. In Part 2, we’ll check out some of the race cars on display along with some engine tech.

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