2007 Auto Preview: Don't let show's delay keep you out of the showroom

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Don't let the delay of this year's Pittsburgh International Auto Show, site of a caved-in piece of second floor, fool you.

There are plenty of auto shows under way all over this region -- at your local dealer.

They have plenty of models hot enough to warm up a cold winter's day -- and you won't have to fight for a seat in your favorite model or listen to tired, whiney kids tired of car shopping either.

And if you're wondering if there's anything new to look at since our last buyers guide in October, let me assure you that you'll be more than pleased with what you will find. There's plenty of new iron out there that wasn't even ready for introduction in the fall, just waiting for you to take a look-see on the dealership floor.

Dan Marsula
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New models include the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia, Chrysler Sebring Convertible, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Versa four-door sedan, Volvo S80, Kia Rondo, Hyundai Elantra, Mini Cooper Sidewalk special edition convertible, BMW Three Series coupe and convertible, Nissan Altima Coupe, Jeep Patriot, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. And that's just a partial list.

Many of these new products are in the crossover or small SUV markets, two of the hotttest, most competitive segments in the industry. And of course, since many of them either have standard all wheel drive or offer as an option, these are arriving just in time for the tough winter weather we are enduring both here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

For those of you who don't know, crossovers are vehicles that have all the best attributes of minivans, SUVs and passenger cars. Buyers find that they ride better than SUVs, get better fuel economy, and quite frankly look a lot more attractive than generally boxy SUVs do.

But as we all know, spring is just around the corner, and that means warmer weather. For those of us who love cars, that means two things: convertibles and sports coupes. If you look at the list of new models I just gave you, you'll see that several -- the Chrysler Sebring Convertible, Nissan Altima Coupe, for instance -- are right up your alley if you're looking for a fun drive for spring.

So don't let the "no auto show" blues get you down -- just click on the headlines in our buyers' guide below and then head out to the showrooms.

Acura
MDX a top-of-the-line SUV

Audi
Q7 crossover as different as they come

BMW
3 Series coupe, convertible can't be beat

Buick
Celebrating 100 years

Cadillac
Caddy Revolution No. 2

Chevrolet
Silverado lives up to the hype

DaimlerChrysler
Sebring convertible could carve out a new audience

Dodge
Nitro a personality all its own

Ford
New crossover gives carmaker an Edge

GMC
Acadia nice but not different enough for crossover field

Honda
Si sedan turns up the heat

Hyundai
New Elantra is no Plain Jane

Infiniti
Infiniti goes intense

Jaguar
Maintaining its fast, sexy ways

Jeep
Compass points the way

Kia
Rondo adds new, stylish face to lineup

Land Rover
LR2 brings instant charisma

Lexus
Changes without compromises

Lincoln/Mercury
New crossover aimed at the luxury car set

Mazda
The zoom gets a burst of Speed

Mercedes
CL-Class continues tradition of beauty, performance

Mini Cooper
All-new Mini still distinctive

Mitsubishi
Outlander a badly needed hit

Nissan
Altima Coupe comes as a surprise

Pontiac
G5 marks re-entry to performance division

Porsche
Staying ahead of the pack

SAAB
9-7X may be collectors' favorite

Saturn
New models keep coming with Outlook

Subaru
High-performance gets a boost

Suzuki
High gas prices, higher sales

Toyota
FJ Cruiser a daring new design

Volkswagen
Eos has a style all its own

Volvo
S80 shows new approach to styling





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