Friday, April 10, 2015

Everything That You'd Ever Want to Know About the 2015 New York International Auto Show



Alexander Carabitses




In 2007, I went to the New York International Auto Show for the very first time; since then, I've gone every year and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  By the ugly, I mean 2008 (which really wasn't all that bad), 2009, and 2010.  Here's the thing, back in those days, I was a sheltered kid that had no idea that there was a recession going on, or that there was an auto industry in turmoil.  Now as I look back on it,  its clear that it was better off, or these shows would have been major letdowns for me.

For me, the New York Auto Show is like a second Christmas.  As a New Englander, it is the closest of all the global auto shows, and is also the second to last major auto show in the auto show season (followed by one of the Chinese auto shows).  It has and always will hold a special place in my heart.  2015 was no different, as my excitement for this show had built up since last month.  Now that its over, I can say that I am not disappointed one bit.  Here is a review of everything that I saw in New York, and be forewarned that this will be my longest post to date, but its mostly because of the pictures that I added.  Enjoy!

Pre Show:
Before the Auto Show began, I went to Katz's Delicatessen for the first time, and my first reaction was "Why the hell did I wait so long to try this place out?"  Corn-beef sandwiches stuffed with loads of meat, creamy potato salad, crispy latkes, and tasty pickles made up my lunch.  While I was there, I sat next to the table, where Harry Met Sally was filmed.  Anyone who's seen that movie knows exactly what scene I'm talking about, and there was a sign right above the table for all of you disbelievers.


Just so everyone knows, Katz's DID NOT pay me to mention them in this blog.  Now, lets get on with the show.

Acura:  Acura debuted some kind of ILX race car at the show, but I was more anxious to see the new NSX.  Boy was I disappointed.  I guess seeing it in concept form twice before just ruined the production car for me.  If I had only seen it once before, it wouldn't have bothered me, but I was totally unexcited after I saw this car.  And is it just me, or do the taillights look kind of similar to those of the current Civic Coupe?  At any rate, this should be a blast to drive, or at least it better be, seeing as how we've been waiting for this car to arrive for about ten years now.





Alfa Romeo:  No new debuts, but the 4c Spider looks great.  So did the classic Alfa models, as well as the show girls.









Aston Martin:  There are two sides to Aston Martin.  There's the wild side that creates sweet, sexy vehicles like the Vulcan Concept.  There is also the dull and boring side that makes everything else that they actually sell.  Its a damn shame, and I will more than likely have more on Aston Martin in a future post.




Audi:  Lets just get this out of the way: the interior of the new Audi Q7 is very nice, with attention to detail clearly evident.  The exterior design sucks though, as its too edgy for a German car.  On the other hand, the new TT looks fresh, while the interior design is very clean.
BMW:  Hats off to BMW for having the least talked about debut of the New York Auto Show, with the hardly tweaked Alpina B6 Bi-turbo.  Thats right folks, its the U.S. debut of a refreshed car that debuted globally, one year ago, as a brand new model!  I did sit inside the refreshed 6-series and wasn't all that impressed, as there's hardly anything new about it.  To compensate for their lack of debuts, BMW brought out some race cars to celebrate their 40th anniversary in the U.S. market.  40 years, and not much of a party, what a shame!












Buick:  Buick debuted the Enclave Tuscan Edition that features some bronze trim, but I was obviously more concerned about the Cascada and the Avenir.  Now, the Cascada is very nice,  but it is a risky move for Buick to sell this model in North America, as lower price convertibles aren't selling as well as they used to.  I wish them luck.  The Avenir Concept, is a car that Buick has to build.  It looks even better in person, and by the way, if you don't like the back end of the car, you'll change your mind after you see it in person, as well.  Pictures will never do this car justice, as it is just a superbly designed vehicle.  I will say that the car does look a bit shorter in person than I thought it would, but that doesn't matter because I'm sure its roomy on the inside.
*Please excuse my finger getting in the way of my picture of the Cascada.













Cadillac:  While the Buick Avenir is still a concept that still hasn't been approved for production, its platform mate, the Cadillac CT6 is a production car.  The CT6 is Cadillac's first large rear-wheel drive sedan in years, and now its been built to take on the world's best large German car.  While Cadillac says that this isn't their true S-Class Rival, it is size wise, and most people will pin those vehicles against each other so Cadillac's PR minions are just waisting their breath, even if there is a larger model coming that is the true flagship of the range.  Still this car looks great and is an engineering masterpiece, with aluminum used throughout, and a honeycomb design in the platform being used to cut down on weight to the the point that this car is lighter than the smaller Cadillac CTS.  Man, what a car!  Also, I sat in the ATS V and the CTS V and was impressed with those cars as well.




















Chevrolet:  After taking a look at the impressive new Volt, I checked out that all-new 2016 Spark, which is a nice update to a fun city car that has quite a bit of personality for a small car that isn't a Fiat 500.  The all-new Chevy Malibu and Malibu Hybrid are just as impressive and should make up for the current generation model.  What's interesting is that this car was designed by a 25 year-old who walked into the studio as veteran designers were looking at designs.  This kid sketched something out, and the veteran designers loved it; that something was the car you'll see in the photos below.










Ford: Ford debuted the new Ford Focus RS to the U.S. market, at New York, but once again, the GT was the star of the Ford stand.  Its really ashamed that the car will be so limited, but whats even more disappointing is the potential of a price that could be equivalent to that of the Lamborghini Aventador.  The car itself makes up for this though.  I also sat in the Ford Edge, which is a nice crossover, and I also got a look at the new Mustang Shelby GT350 R, which is pretty badass.























GMC:  GMC debuted a mild facelift to the Terrain and the Terrain Denali, but I did not make a trip to the GMC stand to see them.  From the photos I saw, they looked pretty good though, and they should continue their strong sales momentum as well.  Here's are live photos of them, that I found on Autoblog.com.



                                                 

Honda:  I got a glimpse of a number of new Honda vehicles, the first being the FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept), which was very well done.  I also saw their new Formula 1 car, as they are now McLaren's engine supplier in F1.  While the Formula 1 car looked great, the all-new Honda Pilot was kind of dull, which isn't all that surprising.  Honda's big unveil in NYC was the Civic Coupe Concept, which previews the tenth generation Civic, which goes on sale later this year, believe it or not.  For this generation, we will get all of the variants that we are used to, including the Si, but we will also get the hatchback and the Type R, both of which have been enjoyed by the rest of the world, since their inceptions.  I don't expect the production version of this car to differ from the concept, as Honda's concepts are basically the production car with different wheels and trim; they also lack interiors as well.








Hyundai:  The all-new Tucson had its U.S. debut in New York, and like the Senota, its not as noteworthy in terms of design as the last generation model.  In the mean time, the Santa Cruz Concept was pretty cool, but the question still remains as to whether a market exists for a pickup truck of that size and stature in the U.S. market.





Infiniti:  The Infiniti stand at the New York Auto Show reminded me of the Emperors throne room from Return of the Jedi (minus the purple lighting).  While all of the other luxury brands have bright lighting in their stands, Infiniti is trying to attract buyer to its stand with the QX30 Concept, that doesn't look that good to my eyes, and a facelifted QX50, that benefits from a new grill and a longer wheelbase.  Keep up the "great" work guys!  Anyway, the QX30 is a perfect example of how desperate Japanese manufactures are, to make their cars look good;  lets face it, Lexus and Infiniti are trying a little bit too hard and their design aren't pleasing to everyone.




Jaguar:  How do you top having Daniel Craig drive a new car down fifth avenue?  You launch your next car on an aircraft carrier, but how do you top that?  Well, you have your car drive on a tight rope, which is exactly what Jaguar did with the new XF.  Now it doesn't look all that different, but it doesn't look ugly either.  A lot of the significant changes are under the skin, and I was looking foreword toseeing a cutaway of the car, but it was only present for media days, so so much for that.  I did get a chance to sit in it, and can say that while it is very nice,its not as homey as a BMW, for example.  The same thing can be said for the new XE, which I also sat in at New York.  Also, just so everyone knows, I still love the F-Type Coupe.




Kia:  I walked over to the Kia stand with great anticipation, because I was looking foreword to seeing the all new 2016 Kia Optima.  On the turn table, I noticed a modded out K900, and I thought "well, they probably just left 1 Optima for public days.  However, the other turn table also had a modded out K900.  The guy at the Kia stand said that the cars had been shipped out to Europe to make their European debut.  Okay, at what auto show?  And why wouldn't Kia make more preproduction Optimas? Also, why would Kia be playing Hip-Hop music, all over their stand, even where their luxury cars were on display?  I left the Kia stand with these three questions in mind.  At any rate, the new Optima did look good in pictures, but I had a bad experience with a Kia Optima back in January, so I'm kind of turned off to the car, as good as it looks.  Evolutionary redesigns look better on Kia's cars, than they do on Hyundai's cars. (Picture, again courtesy of Autoblog.com)


Land Rover:  Land Rover debuted the Mercedes S-Class of SUVs at New York: the Range Rover SVAutobiography.   All you need to know is that its longer and more lavish on the inside.  There was also a Range Rover Sport HST, which hardly got any attention.  Now, I did get a chance to sit in the new Discovery Sport, and overall, I'm appalled by the interior.  Whoever designed the center stack must have been inspired by the 2nd generation Ford Escape.  Its ashamed because this model replaces the LR2, a model that had too long of a lifecycle for a vehicle as bad as it was.


Lexus:  The new Lexus RX was the star debut for Toyota, at this year's show.  While it may look polarizing (lets face it, it is), it looks much better in F-Sport guise.  Plus, it is longer and doesn't look awkward like the NX. By the way, the new GS was pretty good too, although it wasn't as good as the CTS V.  There was an RC race car that debuted in Detroit, on display as well.






Lincoln:  First things first: the new MKX is a nice crossover.  I sat in it while at the show, and I have to say overall, its Lincoln who's doing the luxury crossovers right.  I'm sure that you all want to know about my opinion on the Continental though, so here it goes.  I FRIGGIN LOVE IT!  So what if it looks like a Bentley flying Spur?  The Flying Spur looks like complete shit compared to this.  In many ways Bentley should be kissing Lincoln's ass, because they actually gave Bentley the right to use the Continental name on their cars.  In my mind, I don't think it matters that this car isn't real wheel drive, because if Lincoln can create a car that has Mercedes S-Class amenities at a relatively affordable price, then they'll be following the path carved out by Lexus during their inception.  Plus, Buick will now feel even more compelled to build the Avenir (even if it is also RWD).
















Lyons Motor Car:  This American rival to the Bugatti Veyron didn't even make it to the show.  If it had though, I'd just tell you to go back and reference the title of my post on the Chicago Auto Show; Where did this come from, and why should I care?


So I'm half way through this post and I want to throw out some honorable mentions.  The first goes to Bentley for bitching about the Lincoln Continental, yet not being at the Auto Show.  The second shout out goes to Mini for skipping the show, as their sales continue to plunge.  The last one goes out to all of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. LLC brands (including Alfa Romeo and Maserati) for not debuting any new vehicles in new York.  I know that carscoops published a leaked photo of a refreshed Fiat 500 that they said would debut in New York, but never actually did.  At least Dodge finally allowed people to sit in the Viper, plus they once again had a pretty blond on the turntable. 


Anyway, lets get back to the NYIAS highlights, shall we?

Mazda:  So I saw the new CX-3 and the all-new Miata for the first time.  Both look good, and both should prove to be fun to drive, especially the Miata.  Mazda actually debuted the launch edition version of the Miata, as well as the Club Sport trim.  I just hope they stop touting this car at every auto show they go to, because it is getting kind of annoying.  I also took some pictures of their Tudor United Sports Car Championship car as well, so enjoy!






McLaren: The show star surely was the 570S, although most people forgot about it, due to the big debuts from Lincoln and Cadillac.  Oddly enough, McLaren was actually allowing people onto the stand to check out their cars, but the line was way too long for me to wait.  One of the brand reps did take some pictures of the P1 GTR for me though.  Those two cars were joined by the 675LT, the F1 GTR, and the 650S Spyder.







Mercedes Benz:  Everything on the Mercedes stand was obnoxious.  While the face lifted GLE was OK, the all new GLE Coupe  has a bigger rear end in person.  The G65 AMG is even more obnoxious with the amount of power coming from what is already a gas guzzler and a monster.  As much as I love the new S-Class Maybach, it just screams uber wealthy, right in your face.  However, my favorite car on the stand was the S-Class coupe, which is unfortunately the only car in its class.  Who else is still waiting for a new BMW 8 series?  The only car that broke the obnoxious trend was the new C63 AMG, which looks looks to be the perfect blend of business and sport. 







Mitsubishi:  A new Outlander with 100 new parts and improvements? Holy Shit!  Alright fine.  It looks better than before and should held the brand continue its its impressive sales growth in North America (Autoblog.com and Mitsubishi  deserve credit for this photo, as I didn't go to the Mitsubishi stand).

Nissan:  The new Nissan Maxima was teased during the Superbowl, shown in pictures a few day later, and unveiled in New York.  It is very, very impressive inside and out.  Whats puzzling is that this car isn't much longer than the Altima.  In fact, I think its only a 1 inch difference or something like that.  Anyway, I sat in the car and I found it to be better than the Avalon, but I still think the Impala's interior is better than the Maxima's.  The Impala is more about luxury, while the Maxima is all about sportiness. 





Porsche:   The new Boxter Spyder debuted in New York.   While the name is weird, given that the Boxter is already a spyder version of the Cayman, this is the most track focused version of the best German roadster.  The new 911 Turbo was on hand, as well.



Rolls Royce:  I casually walked by the Rolls Royce stand, as the only new car on display was the special edition Wraith called Inspired by Film (i.e. Inspired by the popular launch video for the Wraith two years ago). It was the most stupid debut at the show; moving on (Photo is from freshnessmag.com). 

Scion:  Scion's proposed saviors debuted in New York.  The toyota Auris based Scion iM debuted, along with the Mazda 2 Sedan based Scion iA.  I didn't take a look at them, but they should help this dying brand out, especially the iA, which should be fun to drive, seeing as how its based on a Mazda.  I have written about my opinion on Scion before, and I still stand by the fact that these models, along with another unnamed model, are the last hope for the brand.  I'm not alone in this, and I'm also not alone in thinking that the whole Scion idea is old news and should just go away at this point.  The thing is, Toyota never gives up, so this brand will be around for quite a while (photos are again from Autoblog.com).


Smart:  The all-new ForTwo made its debut in New York.  I was fortunate enough to sit in it, along with... everyone else at the show.  It makes up with its bad looks, with a pretty nice interior, that helps make the car feel bigger.  Out of all of the cars that I sat in, it was still my least favorite, because of how shitty it looks.

Subaru:  Subaru showed off a new Rally car, some old Impreza models, and an STI Performance Concept based off of the BRZ, that there are no plans to make. It's unfortunate, because this is a cool concept, and the standard BRZ is way too underpowered from what I've heard.   You'd think that since Subaru is so loyal to their fan base, they'd have introduced a model that everyone has been clamoring for since Subaru first announced that they were building a sports coupe.








Toyota:  There was a RAV4 hybrid that absolutely no one in the media gave a crap about, along with a face lifted internal combustion RAV4 for 2016, that looks exactly the same as the hybrid.  So I guess this was the exciting news Toyota briefly referenced at Chicago back in February.  This other "thing"was also on the stand, whatever it is. 



Volkswagen:  Volkswagen had the Cross Blue Concept from Detroit at the show, and found the design somewhat nice, but also very uninspiring.  I also saw some of the Beetle concepts that were pretty good (especially the R-Line model), as well as the Golf Alltrack.  In a way, I'm surprised that we are getting this model, because the Passat Alltrack never made it to North America.  Either way this is a nice model, that should be a worthy competitor to the Subaru XV Crosstrek, only with more cargo capacity. 





Volvo:  I took one look at the new XC90, and was blown away by how boring it is.  That S60 Cross Country is pretty weird, and clearly harkens back to the Subaru Outback sedan from years ago.

So, there is everything that debuted at New York, as well as the vehicles that I saw for the first time, in person.  My takeaway from this show is that the American land yacht is back, in a modern and more sophisticated form; American luxury brands are carrying a swagger that we haven't seen them have in a long time.  I also learned that some brands that should die off,  just never do (Scion, Smart, and Mitsubishi).

In my mind, this years show had more substance than Detroit did.  Let's face it, this years Detroit Auto Show was about the Ford GT.  Mainstream car (not pickup truck) debuts were practically non-existant in Detroit, and even some Luxury brands had more significant news in New York, than Detroit.  We'll have to see if this trend continues, but I wouldn't be surprised either way.  Like I said earlier, I've seen this show during the good times, and the bad times; I still say that 2012 was a little bit better than this year, but not by much.  The worst I've seen it, was 2009, and while that year spelled disaster for the industry, 2015 spelled shameless excess.  There's a small part of me already looking foreword to the 2016 New York International Auto Show, but until then, so long to New York for 2015.

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  As an added bonus to this post, I saw some classic cars from the LeMay Museum at the show as well, and have added some pictures below.  Have a great weekend!




















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