Outsider's Perspective: 2016 New York Auto Show

It has been a while hasn’t it? Well, best not to waste any time then!

Speaking of wasting time, the brand which was known in life as Scion decided to bow out with a final go at their traditional Release Series. The tC Release Series 10.0, incidentally the number where software developers begin to think that tacking the version number at the end of the program may be getting a bit old. It’s actually very similar to its old 1.0 counterpart. It will be rarer than that one with only 1,200 of them leaving the production line to be snapped by collectors who will never see a return of their investment.
Speaking of ways of losing money, Mitsubishi has decided that their flagship vehicle is the Mirage now, which is just as well considering almost everything else is whithering in the vine. To that end they’re bringing the sedan version of the Mirage, the G4, to the US market. Now, those have been around for quite a while around here and I can assure you all that the trunk does absolutely nothing to improve the car.
On the other hand Mitsubishi is also bringing along the Outlander PHEV around. It only reminds me that is isn’t the Hydrogen one. But if you want a Hybrid SUV at a (hopefully) lower-than-average price it may be worth taking a look at. You know, while waiting for Mitsu to come up with a New Galant or something to compete with the Tacoma, Frontier and Colorado in the US.
Moving on to a company that is actually constantly developing their products, Acura brought their newest MDX to the show, and with it a complete rebuttal to me and my article implying that the beak would become a feature in many future Hondas. Exactly 10 model-years after the MDX giveth us the beak, the 2017 MDX taketh it away. And a good thing it is too, the front looks clean and even the bug-eye LED lights seem to fit a lot better without the power prow in front. Okay, some may argue that the Acura Badge is about five sizes too big for the grille but considering what we are coming from that is a very easily forgiven offense.
Which is something that can’t be said of VW’s Dieselghazi, especially now that it seems that the supposed fix isn’t making an appearance. VW of course would rather you forget all about that and focus on things like this: The Golf Alltrack. Well, being how it looks sufficiently similar in name and concept to the old Corolla All-Trac it is very relevant to my interests. It’s a wagon. It’s AWD. You can have it with a Manual! You can have it with a Diese…no hang on… Well, even if it all of that is incredibly enticing, we still have the little problem of VW’s questionable reliability reputation on the continent.
A car I would really buy, questionable reliability be damned, is the new Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth. Just look at it. It’s a Miata, but better. With that sports exhaust and that turbocharged 1.4-liter engine sending power through a limited slip differential to the rear wheels, it should be amazing fun whether you want to go blasting through a mountain road or just cruising alongside the coast with Un homme et une femme in the stereo and your very own significant other of the time in the passenger seat.
“They did an X4? Fuck it, we can’t let them have that incredibly large market to themselves.”
The Toyota Prius, Now actually capable of running in EV mode for more than a yard.
The Mercedes-AMG E43 is actually interesting because it’s actually all the AMG-ness you can ever possibly need in your midsize 4-door sedan. It’s also probably the only time where having an Alphanumeric that isn’t related in even the tiniest way to the engine size is a good thing. I’m guessing a lot of people in Bavaria would be rather upset if Mercedes would go ahead and release the Mercedes-AMG E30.
Toyota 86…is now actually called the Toyota 86. It also gets a small facelift and a five-horsepower bump so that followers of the great gearhead depreciation paradox can have one more thing to complain about.
On the subject of facelifts. Godzilla has had another lift done. 20 extra horses and a retuned suspension to maximize comfort while keeping it squarely among the royalty in car handling. There’s also more luxury in the form of a revised infotainment system and seats that are both lighter and more comfortable. By constantly evolving the GT-R Nissan has managed to bestow it with eternal youth of a sort. Oh sure, in time a complete revision will be necessary to keep the GT-R nameplate at the forefront of sports cars, but right now at nine years from its launch it’s still one of the best cars on the market.
There were two cars that caught my attention most of all from the show, and they’re both so good that I can’t decide between them. This is especially tricky when we remember that they are based on the same car. One, the 124 Abarth, I already mentioned. The other one is this; the Mazda MX-5 RF. Ever since the MX-5 was released people have been clamoring for a hardtop version. Those people, presumably, forget that there’s such a thing as the 86 nowadays. But I digress, last generation we sort of had our wish with the retractable hardtop version. This generation Mazda decided to take it one step further by offering a Targa version of the same concept. The roof mechanism even works in a similar way to the current Porsche 911 Targa’s. The Abarth may have the turbo power, seductive proportions and a fabulous engine note, but this one has the weather protection, the bragging rights and the rear buttresses. I really can’t decide between them. What about you? MiaTarga or Fiata?

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  1. dukeisduke Avatar

    The flat black on the Fiata is stupid, since they didn’t continue it from the trunklid to the top (I think that part is technically called the “tulip panel”). It looks like someone just bolted on a flat black trunklid, which they did.
    Mitsubishi should just wise up and leave the US market, since their products are crap, and their thing now is lots of cash on the hood, and 0/0/0 financing. Just stick to the Fuso trucks.
    The MX-5 RF? The whole point of MX-5 is that it’s a roadster. What’s the point of this thing?
    As for Acura, they’re flailing around, trying to find an identity, jumping from one losing ad campaign to the next.
    Sorry if I’m starting to sound like Peter M. De Lorenzo – I’ll sign off now.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      I agree with everything you said except the RF. MX5 is already a roadster. Adding another flavor can’t cost that much extra to develop or build, and might allow more motorsports classifications to compete in, for potentially twice as many wins. The roadster will still be there if you want one, but for whoever doesn’t want it, this is another way to get their money.

      1. Ross Ballot Avatar
        Ross Ballot

        If I were a potential shopper, it would be a tough call between the convertible and the targa.
        Wonder what the take-rate was on the 911 Targa vs the Cabrio…

  2. ptschett Avatar

    My blood boils a little longer every instance I see a 4-door or 5-door called a “coupe”, particularly if it’s a hatchback. Do words even mean anything anymore?

      1. Citric Avatar

        Urban hunting? Like in the JCVD vehicle Hard Target?

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      It is not anything new, eg the 1958 Rover P5 coupe (which had a lowered roofline and more sharply angled C-pillar)

  3. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    When I wrote my NYIAS bit I was undecided on the FR, but I think I’m coming around to it. The weight gain is less than ideal (especially with it being up top), but it would be great to have most of the benefits of convertible without the actual convertible top. I’ve always like the idea of the targa, esp. in the 911 and Corvette, so the RF seems pretty cool to me.
    What did you think about the new grille/mouth on the 86?

    1. Windbüchse Avatar

      86 – needs more lipstick…

    2. karonetwentyc Avatar

      Quick rundown of one man’s opinion of some of the above:
      The Toyobaru Two-Seater has never really done anything for me. This iteration is more of the same in that regard, though I find the looks even less appealing. I’m all for cars of this sort, but just can’t get excited over this one.
      The ND Miata Targa: frankly, I’d rather have a convertible with a removable hardtop for the days when you want to keep the interior temperature under control and exterior elements even more away from the interior. Yep, that means finding somewhere to store that hardtop when it’s not in use, but ultimately the only car I’ve ever really liked them on was the Subaru Brat.
      Fiat 124 Elaborazione Abarth: passable. I prefer the looks of the 124 to the ND Miata, a car which I like. Compared to the regular 124 Spider, I’m neutral – it’s neither better nor worse. Still need to get some stick time in one to see how it compares to the Mazda.
      Acura MDX: not in the market for something of this sort, but if I were the overstyled nose would not be garnering any points in its favour with me.
      The rest of them: anywhere from ‘meh’ to ‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA*gasp*HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA’ in the case of Mercedes’ GLC Coupé. Full credit to Munich for getting Stuttgart to swallow that one hook, line, and sinker. Sadly, they’ll probably end up selling rather a lot of them, much as BMW has.

    3. Gerardo Solis Avatar
      Gerardo Solis

      Really, I don’t mind it all that much. As far as facelifts go, this one seems like something that they did just to distinguish the 205HP version from the 200HP one.

  4. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    The TC was my second choice in a new car a couple of years ago. With it’s departure I kind of wish I got it.