Automakers take a hands-on approach at Cleveland Auto Show

Woodward Spine © 2012

The 2012 auto show season rolled on last weekend, as automakers sent their fleets of vehicles into northeast Ohio for the Cleveland Auto Show.

The show, which bills itself as one of the biggest and longest-running in the nation, is held at the International Exposition Center. It continues through this weekend.

Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.50 for seniors and preteens. Children six and under get in free. Parking is free.

This year’s show opened up to a renewed sense of optimism, with car sales trending upward and increased levels of attendance at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“It may be a sign of an economic recovery, or it may just be pent up demand, but the American consumer is renewing its love affair with the automobile,” said Louis A. Vitantonio, Jr., president of the Greater Cleveland Auto Show (GCADA).

Woodward Spine © 2012

For those in the market for a vehicle, the Cleveland Auto Show offers tremendous opportunities to get up close and personal experiences with some of the cars.

There are more than seven interactive Ride-N-Drive events offering attendees access to more than 11 major brands at this year’s show, including Buick, Chevy, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru and Toyota. The Ride-N-Drives give attendees the chance to test some of their favorite cars out on the open roads around the I-X Center.

In addition, Jeep has brought back its popular indoor ride attraction, Camp Jeep. The course, hosted by Jeep drivers, allows show attendees to experience the trail-rated capabilities of Jeep vehicles.

The course includes a number of obstacles, highlighting many of the vehicles well-known, rugged capabilities. The Jeep drivers also instruct riders on how to negotiate off-road challenges such as steep grades, rocky trails and log crossings.

Woodward Spine © 2012

“Interactive Ride-N-Drives offer show attendees the opportunity to actually get behind the wheel and experience the vehicle on the road,” said Brian O’Donnell, president of the Valley Automotive Group and chairman of the 2012 Cleveland Auto Show. “There is simply no better way to see if a car suits your needs than actually taking it out on the road.”

With over one million square feet of space, the I-X Center is one of the largest convention and exhibition centers in the country. The sheer size of the facility provides ample space to host multiple outdoor Ride-N-Drives.

Many of the brands offering Ride-N-Drives are bringing multiple vehicles to the event. Here is a list of Ride-N-Drive events, broken down by make, model and available times:

General Motors“Experience the Ride,” March 2-4, 11 a.m. through 5 p.m.

Chevrolet: Camaro, Cruze, Malbu, Equinox, Traverse, Silverado, Volt and Sonic.

Buick: Regal, LaCrosse, Enclave and Verano.

GMC: Terrain, Acadia and Sierra.

X

Chrysler, March 2-4, 11 a.m. through 6 p.m.

Chrysler: 200, 300, Town & Country.

Dodge: will have its Challenger, Charger, Durango, Journey and Ram 1500.

Jeep: Compass, Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Fiat: 500.

X

Kia, March 2-4, 11 a.m. through 6:30 p.m.

Optima SX, Optima Hybrid, Soul and the Rio.

X

Hyundai, March 2-4, noon through 6 p.m.

Sonata, Elantra, Tucson, Veloster and Genesis.

X

Subaru, March 2-4 11 a.m. through 7:30 p.m.

Outback, Forester, Impreza four-door and Impreza.

X

Toyota, March 2-4, 11 a.m. through 7 p.m.

Camry, Camry Hybrid, Prius, Prius v, RAV4 and Tundra.

X

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