The 2012 Washington Auto Show is window shopping for cars on steroids. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has 700 new cars on two floors with one featuring American models and the other foreign cars.

The LexisLF Hybrid. (Mike Tucker Jr. /FTWP)

And if that’s not enough, you can actually take a whip for a spin around the Convention Center.

This year’s show is a more interactive experience. You can get familiar with a lot of the technologies that set each vehicle apart in the wildly creative and competitive car market. Technology like “My Ford Touch,” Dodge’s “UConnect,” Mazda’s “SkyActiv.”

The Ford simulator at the 2012 Washington Auto Show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. (Mike Tucker Jr. /FTWP)

Honda’s Ecco Assist Challenge – A game that puts you on an urban street and works with your acceleration and breaking challenging you to drive fuel efficiently.

Paint Your Volkswagen – This was cool. You grab a paint sprayer, aim it at the screen to pick a Volkswagen model, then chose a color and get to painting.

The FiatRide race course at the 2012 Washington Auto Show. (Mike Tucker Jr. /FTWP)

Ford’s Global Experience Simulator – Which puts you in a Ford on a race course under various road conditions around the world.


Where you find the foreign cars, you will find “Playland” hosted by PBS.  This area has space for kids to color at little picnic tables, meet the likes of Clifford the Big Red Dog, dance to music and play with Xbox Kinect games on a large projector wall. For kids a little more into cars, there is a miniature speedway for remote control cars to battle.


There are concession stands and of course at the highway robbery prices. Hamburgers are $9 and combos go for $13, to shed headlights on the costs. There is also a Rita’s Italian Ice stand by the kid’s area sure to have your child whining for a frozen treat.

The show runs from Friday, January 27 – Sunday, February 5. It will cost you $12. For kids 6 to 12 years old, it is $5. Kids 5 and under are free. Each day it features different activities: The “Traditional Chinese Lion and Dragon Dancers,” intrigued me, so check the Web site

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