The Motor Show in Panama City is the automotive event of the year. The show was from the 19th to the 28th of October and showcased different car brands being sold in Panama. The exhibition space was in total 34,445 m2 which, of course, isn’t a very big show. Therefore, don’t expect big booths, new introduced models or luxury brands like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. Most big brands were represented at the fair though. The event mainly aims at selling cars and is organized by the Panamanian Association of Automobile Dealers (ADAP). Discounts range from $2,000 to $7,000 dollars (depending on the sticker price) and all banks in Panama are present to immediately give you financing quotes on potential purchases.
The main purpose of our visit was checking out cars being sold at the event. We especially looked at the Toyota Landcruiser V8, Lexus LX 570, Toyota Prado, Volkswagen Amarok, Nissan Patrol, BMW X5 and the Honda Ridgeline (some of these cars aren’t available in the US).
The first thing we noticed when entering the exhibition were all the beautiful female hostesses. Nice! But our main aim was of course to see cars. The first brand we checked out was Land Rover. There was a black Discovery, two white Evoques and a white Range Rover Sport V8 diesel with beautiful matte black details. We are fans of the Range Rover, but if you compare the price (in Panama) with the price of an X5, Q7, etc., it’s pretty obvious that there is no way you could justify the purchase of a Range Rover Sport, other than just being a big fan of the car (which we would understand).
Jaguar’s booth didnt look very appealing. They only showed a Jaguar XK 5.0 V8 and XF. At Cadillac, there was an Escalade and a CTS-V Coupe which was a big hit with the Dutch editor of AutoComparison. This car costs about $65,000 dollars in Panama (and the U.S.). In the Netherlands, the car would be around $ 200,000 dollars. Therefore, the CTS-V is a sports car with an extremely good value for money.
Over to Lexus and Toyota, where we looked at the Lexus LX 570 which is nearly identical to the Landcruiser V8. Unfortunately, the V8 was not shown so that a more detailed comparison wasn’t possible. The only thing we can say about the Lexus is: what a beast of a car! But, it costs a whopping $150,000 dollars. Because of the price and the fact that the car has body roll issues, we crossed it off our list.
The Ford booth was packed with people. Judging by the huge line in front of the “car for sale” sign, Ford is doing very well in Panama. After taking a couple of pictures, we got a bit claustrophobic and wandered over to Porsche. The booth area was invitation only, but after charming the hostess, we were allowed to enter the booth. A gray 991 Carrera with beautiful white leather interior was waiting for us. After some research, we’ve found that the sound of the car has improved a lot in comparison to the new 911. The steering is very precise and the pdk automatic gearbox is superb. The car also became lighter and more economical despite being longer. With regard to appearance, it looks almost exactly the same as the previous version, but well, we kind of expected that anyway. So, do we have any complaints about this car? Yes, we do… the rear seats are uncomfortable and options at Porsche are extremely expensive. They also had the new Porsche Boxster, a Panamera hybrid and the Cayenne GTS.
Hyundai is the best-selling brand in Panama and it showed. Hyundai attracted an even greater crowd than Ford and there were bank employees fighting over commissions. We’ll shortly present a range of new Hyundai comparisons on AutoComparison! So stay tuned for that!
BMW and Audi both showed some mid-size and mini-size SUVs. It was good to see that the green trend is also spreading to Panama in form of hybrid engines in the Q7 and X5 and small petrol engines in their hip Mini SUVs. Comparing the interiors of German, Japanese and American SUVs once more confirms higher quality of materials and design of German brands.
The next booths are Nissan and Infiniti. Nothing surprising here, but we wanted to see the Patrol and the QX56. From the outside, the Infiniti QX56 isn’t the most beautiful car, just very big, but once inside the car, we felt completely different. The interior offers plenty of options. It has cameras at the front, rear and sides. With this car you would be perfectly able to drive whilst keeping your eyes on the screens… NOT. All very nice, but we wonder if these extras are any useful. The Patrol barely seems to fit on our roads, but the more we see from these Japanese mega SUVs, the more we like them. The pricing for Panama is, in our opinion, somewhat strange. In the States, a QX56 costs about the same as a BMW X5 ($ 65,000). In Panama, the QX56 is $ 35,000 more expensive ($ 100,000).
Finally we visit the Honda booth to look at the Honda Ridgeline. Along the way we stop at Mini to investigate whether the 6’4’’-tall owner of AutoComparison fits into a Countryman. The legroom is not great, but we are impressed with how much space the car offers on the inside.
Back to the Ridgeline! A completely different car in terms of price and power class. It is a cool car but the quality is quite disappointing. Crooked seams on the dashboard are things that really irritate us together with all the plastic. Yet, if ou can overlook these details, this car seems like it is the complete package, with a base price of $ 29,350 dollars.
Initially we wanted to use this event to provide objective opinions about new models. But unfortunately new models were scarce and the fair was intended to sell cars, so we got more sucked into a “buyer party”. AutoComparison revolves around comparing specifications, features, etc. but above all the feeling you get from certain cars.