By Jon Maib
It has been a few years since I've actually been to the Dallas Auto Show. I decided to make a whole day of it with my son as we celebrated our birthdays together, which are a day apart. One of the traditions I started with my children a long time ago was "birthday breakfast". Everyone does dinner, who does birthday breakfast? This cool dad, that's who! My oldest son turned 21 this year. He met me at my house early so we could begin our cool day of trains, planes, and automobiles....

Our first event of the day was to take "Rex", my 1948 Willys CJ2-a, to get "birthday breakfast" and check out some other really nice older cars at a local hangout. My son had not ridden in the Jeep since I put brakes on it, so he was excited. We headed out, parked and got some breakfast. When we came out, we found Rex had a friend:

After breakfast and checking out some cool cars, we took Rex home and headed to the train station to ride the rails to the auto show. The great thing about riding the train to the Dallas Auto Show is it drops you off right under the location, and it's easier than dealing with traffic and parking.

My first impressions of the show were very disappointing. Maybe I've just come to expect more from car makers, but everything seemed very cookie cutter. Style has gone out the window and it seems everyone wants to just be the same. There were a couple cars that caught my attention but nothing that really WOWED me.

The Updated 2016 [ Ford ] Raptor:

I've always been a fan of the Raptor. It has good design and Ford has really worked to make this truck off-road capable - almost the "sports car" of the truck world.
This truck is complete with high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy in both the body and bed. This makes the Raptor light-weight and improves its performance. It also comes standard with Fox Racing Shocks, 17" BFG All Terrain T/A's, which have been specially designed just for the Raptor. Ford also updated the transfer case to give it better power distribution between the front and rear wheels.
It has a high-output 3.5-liter engine and puts out more horsepower and torque than the current Raptor's V8 engine. Ford also put an all-new 10-speed transmission, added LED lighting and even put camera technology in it for improved visibility.

The New 2016 Jeep Renegade:

Now, before you judge me for adding this to my attention list, I do think this looks like a Patriot and a Fiat had a baby together. Also, how dare Jeep use the "Renagade" name for this! With my frustrations aside, they did do a good job of making this a daily driver. The Renegade shares the same platform as the Fiat 500x. It comes with 16 power train options, new gearbox options, with Jeep Active Drive Low crawl ration of 20:1. The cool feature on this vehicle is the Jeep "My Sky" that incorporates a removable sunroof, which hasnt been offered for any other vehicle yet. You can open the sunroof or completely take it off to have sort of the "Wrangler" open top feel. Jeep did include some cool little "Jeep" featurettes as well (see a couple of the pics below for those). As an every-day commuter car, I can see this as a good option. On the plus side, it does come in my color, Omaha Orange. I know Jeep claims it has offroad capabilities, but lets be honest, 37" tires just wont fit, and no REAL Jeep enthusiast would ever purchase one.

The 2015 Toyota 4 Runner:

Ok, yes, its orange again, but I really liked the design on this 4 Runner. Toyota has packed this thing with oversized TRD Bilstein high performance shocks, TRD-tuned springs and aluminum skid plates. The Runner comes with a V6 and can tow up to 4700lbs. Toyota also offers two different 4 wheel drive options; the SR5 4WD utilizes part-time 4WD or Limited 4WD, which is equipped with a full-time 4WD and includes lockers.

The interior is packed as well! The 4 Runner comes complete with GPS, built in Bluetooth, a 15 speaker JBL sound system, third row seating, and a really cool sliding rear cargo deck.

The Toyota 4 Runner has some cool lines that really made it stand out from the other SUV's at the show.

I started this article stating it was a Trains, Plains, and Automobiles. We took the train down to the Auto Show, but where's the plane? oh, dont worry - there WAS a plane there!

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