From Horseless Carriages to Driverless Cars: Excitement at the Washington Auto Show

Washington Auto Show
Historic car for a historic show: a 1915 Model T led the way to the 2016 Washington Auto Show.

A Peek into the Future Shows Where Cars Will Be Taking Us.

Car shows take a tremendous amount of coordination, from bringing in the hundreds of shiny new vehicles to welcoming the thousands of starry eyed media and consumers. But the 2016 Washington Auto Show is one for the record books; the blizzard Jonas shut down the whole event before it even had a chance to open.

After Washington, DC dug out from its historic snow storm, (22-35 inches) the auto show opened a truncated run, on display through January 31. And even with the record-breaking accumulation, the show gathered a dazzling array of cars.

Need a big car? You can go green

 Washington Auto Show

Winner of the luxury green car of the year at the Washington Auto Show, the Volvo XC90 T8. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

One argument against a plug-in hybrid is fitting in all the kids and gear, or band equipment, that you might need to cram into your car. Maybe you have 3 big dogs, or you like to go skiing, snowboarding and ski biking, all on the same trip. And cut down on your fossil fuel reliance. Now you can with the XC90 T8 from Volvo, the luxury green car of the year. The seven passenger sport utility vehicle can even go 17 miles on pure emission free electric driving.

Washington Auto Show

Luxury green car finalist Mercedes-Benz C350e. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

A finalist in the luxury green car of the year, the Mercedes-Benz C350e is another plug-in hybrid that should attract well heeled environmentalists. The gorgeous car is loaded with advanced safety features like an Attention Assist, which warns you when you are not paying attention to the road. And it can go up to 20 miles on electric driving.

Connected Car winner

Washington Auto Show

The new Chevrolet Malibu, connected green car of the year. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The car show’s media day kicked off with a connect car convoy; then the new Chevy Malibu won the Connected Green Car of the year. This hybrid sedan gets 47 mpg and it has a suite of safety features that make the car a great choice for a teen or young driver.

A nod to the past

As the 1915 Model T showed, the auto show isn’t just about all new. There is a display of historic vehicles and even more intriguing, cars that were retrofitted to use solar power. Imagine: a vintage BMW that uses no gas.

Washington Auto Show

Note: I was a guest of the Washington Auto Show, which paid my travel expenses. Opinions expressed are my own.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell