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For many individuals, the new year brings on bouts of depression. For me, it’s the opposite, if only because I get excited about two big events at the Walter E. Washington Washington Convention Center. First is the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, which is a carnival of demonstrations and pitches for those of us who are striving to live a cleaner, more fulfilling life every single day.

Then comes the biggie: The Washington Auto Show. Talk about conventioneer heaven. I mean, here, you’re talking about two exhibit floors of automobiles in their shiniest incarnations, demonstrations on technology, chassis that show the innards of a state-of-the-art automobile, celebrities including action figures, Happy Feet penguin, Dora, cheerleaders, and on goes the list.

I went with the family yesterday and emerged pleased that the auto industry is using advances in materials technology and in digital technology to bring ever-more sophisticated yet driver-friendly vehicles into our driveways. As examples, I’d cite the Toyota Yaris, the Volkswagen GTI, and the new line of cars by Hyundai.

But Jeep earned a special place in my heart. The company that makes Jeeps cordoned off a humongous corner of the convention center to set up a driving/obstacle course. They had trained drivers taking people on the course to showcase the features of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. It was all very elaborate and included as-close-as-you-can-get-to-real-life-off-road conditions.

There was a dip in the “road” filled with water, and the Jeep Rubicon handled this “water fording” foray perfectly throughout the day. There was a climbing ramp, which the Rubicon nailed every time. According to a Jeep promo, the climb was of such a grade that most people wouldn’t brave it with rock-climbing equipment.

Then there was a ramp with roller wheels to show off the Rubicon’s excellent “articulation,” which means that when some wheels start spinning, the others help out, big time.

There was also a “ground clearance” obstacle, which consisted of several logs laid out on the road. Amazing how the Rubicon handled these—with aplomb!

Here are some pictures of the Rubicon in action. Just take a look, and you’ll see why people waited for hours for the privilege of being passengers in the Rubicon.

Here, the Rubicon makes an assault on a car show hill.

And here, the Rubicon comes straight at you, fresh off an obstacle that displays its traction and articulation.

We end not with a word from our sponsors, but with a word TO our sponsors: Hey, sponsors, how hard would it be for you guys to, like, rent a few tables and put them out on the floor next to your concessions? I mean, look at these auto show enthusiasts, losing dignity on the carpet of your event!

Man, child, no seat.

It this what it’s come to, Detroit?