Christian Vanklingeren sat in the driver's seat of a black 2011 Fiat 500 Thursday afternoon during the Greater Toledo Auto Show.
The Temperance resident was one of several people taking a sneak peek at the sporty minicar, scheduled to go on sale this spring. Mr. Vanklingeren, originally from Holland, said he's happy to see that Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC are bringing the Italian car brand to the U.S. market.
"I always liked the way they drive," said Mr. Vanklingeren, a retired Teledyne Technologies Inc. worker. "They're fun."
The Fiat 500 and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, newcomers to this year's auto show, were two of the star attractions at the downtown SeaGate Convention Centre. Dozens of people attended the show's opening to view more than 200 cars, trucks, and motorcycles on display.
The show, which runs through Sunday, is open noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults; children under age 12 are admitted free.
Sue and Douglas Gillespie of Toledo were part of the crowd. The couple, who focused on cars and midsized trucks made by the Detroit Three automakers, said they were disappointed that the 2011 Chrysler 300 wasn't on display. However, Mrs. Gillespie had a glowing opinion of the newly redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which she called "awesome."
Paul and Dolores Neslanik of Fremont checked out the Volt, named North American Car of the Year this month during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The $40,000 electric car, which went on sale in select markets last month, was roped off from visitors who hoped for an up-close look.
The Neslaniks own a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid and wanted to see how the Volt compared in terms of ecofriendliness. Both liked the car's styling, though Mr. Neslanik said he was concerned about the Volt's four-hour charge time and whether enough charging stations will be available nationwide for Volt drivers who want to take longer trips.
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Still, he hopes the Volt will become a success story.
"I think it's beautiful," Mr. Neslanik said.
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