Another year of the New York Auto Show is officially in the books. Last Wednesday, East Coast Editor Kamil Kaluski and I spent the day walking the floor and taking in the sights of cars aplenty. Occupying nearly every square inch of New York City’s Javits Center.
Though it wasn’t a year of huge reveals, it was still eye-opening and amusing as always to take in the sights, lay eyes on the fresh sheetmetal, and take in the unveilings. Two years ago, at my first press day, the big news was Jeep unleashing the Trackhawk. This year it was extremely obvious that the focus had shifted primarily to electric offerings.
Excitement was aplenty, but I’ll let the pictures do the talking. What follows is a photo tour of our day at the 2019 NYIAS.
Jeep or Jimny?
One of the first things we stumbled upon was the happiest-looking vehicle at the show: the Suzuki Jimny. With dimensions no larger than a top-level side-by-side, the tiny Suzuki was almost hilariously small and reminiscent of the soft-roaders of the 1990s. Unlike those Geos and Samurais, it looks to have actual build quality and genuine engineering behind it. And a painted frame, which left us perplexed. This is an awesome little truck, and it must be said again (beating the deadest of horses): it’s a damn shame it’s not sold here.
As a life-long Jeep fan, I have my reservations about the JT Gladiator. Good news though, it looks much more proportional in person than online. In Rubicon guise it’s a properly good looking truck. Beefy and meaty and chunky in a way only a Wrangler-based pickup could be.
It even looks good from the back. Unfortunately the top only slides back and doesn’t come all the way back for a fully-open configuration, but beggars can’t be choosers and at least we have a Jeep pickup on sale.
Lower-tier Gladiator models aren’t quite as attractive though. The proportions are still a little funky with the painted flares, painted roof, side steps (vs the Rubicon’s rock rails) and street-oriented tires.
A couple years later and the JL Rubicon is still on full display. It’s aging remarkably well, a timeless design that took the JK and made it better in every way. I’m not sure about this interior though… it looks like it would get dirty rather quickly when off-roading.
A Z celebration
Near the Jeep booth was Nissan’s Z-car corral. This is a large display that pays homage to the model’s 50th anniversary. Drool was aplenty here.
Not so much though, with the actual current 370Z. The car is an aging, albeit attractive machine, but this doesn’t help it much. And a graphics package, while of a neat design, doesn’t help a 10+ year old model in the way it needs it.
I’ll just let the pictures of the Z-cars do the talking here.
Needs more UTVs…
This was the only SxS present, and it was a good one to be there too. Honda’s new Talon seems to have all the gear required to take on the side-by-side big guns, and hopefully stick it to Polaris and Can-Am in the process. Hoon-In-Chief Jeff Glucker just got done driving one and came back loving it, but then again his experience with these machines isn’t super extensive.
Mine is, so hopefully I’ll get my hands on a Talon soon and see how it fares on our beat-the-shit-out-of-you Northeast trails.
The Heritage Land Cruiser
It’s weird how special editions work. The 50th Anniversary 370Z is a letdown. But this Heritage Edition Land Cruiser works incredibly well. The bronze wheels, black accents, and trimmed down package versus the normal LC’s body moldings makes for a beautifully attractive master-of-wheeling SUV.
The paint on the Heritage Edition LC is gorgeous as well. I tried to capture the sparkle and fleck in it but mostly failed. Above is my best attempt. Catch it the right way and it stops you in your tracks.
And here we have East Coast Editor Kamil Kaluski demonstrating to the friendly Toyota booth worker just how poorly the roof basket was– or wasn’t– mounted to the Land Cruiser’s roof. They fixed this by the time we circled back later on.
Toyota might have had the big booth front-and-center but when you walk downstairs into “Truck Hall,” Jeep had a serious presence with the Gladiator. We kept circling back even unintentionally, which worked against us since the JT trucks had about 50% of the corridor’s attention. This despite there only being three of them in the whole building. This one, kitted out with Mopar upgrades, looked mega badass. Still very, very long, but a small lift and bigger tires do the length wonders. That breakover angle could still pose a problem though.
Mazda design questions
After endlessly staring at the new Mazda3 c-pillar in pictures, I was supremely curious to see it in person. To decide for myself if the design language works. The front is an easy call to make; yes. It works.
Grilles might be getting bigger and bigger, but the Mazda3 executes this better than most. The front is stunning. Sure, the color helps too.
And here’s the c-pillar in question. It’s… a lot. I’m still not sold on it. It works well in person, nowhere near as bulbous as it does in photos, but it creates a large blind spot. At least it’s a curved piece of panel and not a flat plane of nothing.
Part of me even wishes there was a tiny window there to break it up, but that wouldn’t work with the window of the 2nd row and its doors. Hopefully Mazda incorporated some kind of crash structure into the c-pillar, otherwise it’s just wasted space. How do you feel about it? Clearly I’m undecided.
It was interesting to see Ford’s huge push to get the Ranger out there this year. I’ve seen a few on the street and they look so-so, but beefed up like seen here the design comes into its own. The interior is underwhelming as it was last year though, so no change there. As for a witty comment regarding the picture above (and ignoring the bear that makes no sense in or out of context): “Hey, Ford! Do more! Bring us the Ranger Raptor already!”
This wheel design on the Ram 1500 was vaguely reminiscent of those on the Viper-powered Ram SRT-10. And there’s rumors of them stuffing the Hellcat motor into the Ram sometime in the coming future, so maybe the starts are starting to align…
Neither trickery in booth lighting nor my attempt at photo editing can do the refreshed Camaro’s front end any favors. It’s terrible.
I spent a few minutes staring at the C7. Not all of it, just the front. This is likely the last time a front-engined Corvette will be the car they’re touting most proudly as the halo car of the brand. Next year I very well might be looking at a ‘Vette with the engine behind the seats. Weird that the time has almost come.
This is the front end of the VW Arteon. Yes, the grille takes up nearly the entire front end of the car.
Jury is out on the Arteon design as a whole. The front end is very blocky, but the rest is very rounded and smooth…in my extremely unprofessional opinion, it’s not sure if it wants its aggression to come from it being sharp and styled or swoopy and sleek. I’m not loving it.
This is the VW Tarok, a small(ish) pickup that may come to the ‘States. They’re claiming it has big innovative tech, like a divider between the bed and cab that can fold to accommodate longer items. Guess they never heard of the Chevy Avalanche.
And here’s the new GLI, in a color that looks great on the Audi RS3. The GLI itself looks…alright? The wheels are very Type-R, and the interior is nice enough, but is it the whole package? I’m not sold.
In case anybody forgot, Dodge wanted to remind people that they sell incredibly fast and loud muscle cars. So they did the logical thing and brought a Hellcat painted the loudest color at the show, nuclear-waste-see-it-from-space eye-searing green-yellow.
Nissan brought a special GT-R, and a new R35 GT-R painted a nostalgic color.
And they brought a few more special GT-Rs as well. The new cars pale in comparison to the presence the old ones have. Safer, faster, and more advanced in every way: yes. As special? No. Hell no.
When you’re not using it or need to get it out of the way, the Hyundai Palisade’s cargo cover stows in a little compartment beneath the trunk tray. This is extremely clever and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it.
Button overload in the Hyundai Nexo. This was the new king of number of buttons until we got to the Porsche booth. How you’re supposed to be able to operate this many things to touch while at speed is beyond me. But then again, the Nexo is a city-focused car. Regardless; time to clean it up.
Jumping with both feet into the small cute-ute market, Hyundai debuted its new Venue crossover. With Mini Clubman-like paint and Jeep Renegade-like size and proportions, this takes aim at an extremely hot market segment and puts the mainstays in its crosshairs. I’m very curious to see how it fares once it his dealers.
As you would expect form Subaru, they turned their booth into a full-fledged “recreation” of a National Park. It was extremely well done and did a great service to show off their new Outback, which on the outside looks almost exactly like the old Outback but brings a huge screen and a full revision to the interior.
The Outback’s wheels caught me off guard. Painted some kind of car body paint rather than a normal wheel coating, they were actually semi-reflective and downright odd looking in the moment. Really cool detail where I really didn’t expect it.
The star of the 2019 NYIAS: the Porsche 911 Speedster.
More Speedster. It’s an eye-grabber.
Porsche 911 Speedster Heritage Design Package: an extremely long name for what is effectively a Speedster with a styling package and watch. Yes, you buy the $275k car and you get a watch with it. A wildly nice watch, but a wildly nice car too. They’ll sell every single one.
For all the hate it’s gotten, the 992 911 actually looks quite great in person. The back end was what I had most of my concerns about, but I really like it. It’s a big car but it feels like the right size, given the 718’s existence.
The front of the 992 isn’t great but it’s certainly good. Those huge openings will take some getting used to.
The new Evoque. To the untrained eye it’s almost indistinguishable from the old Evoque. Which isn’t a bad thing, because it’s a good design that has aged well. I think the windows are shrinking though, so don’t expect an improvement in visibility. Otherwise, a good looking and truly capable little trucklet.
But not as good looking as this, the Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. Incredibly long name, incredibly drop-dead gorgeous styling. A supercharged 5.0L V8 helps the case. Ultimate want for a daily driver.
This is the 30th Anniversary Edition Miata, which isn’t as long of an anniversary as what Nissan is celebrating but in my eyes is the car to buy. The orange is spectacular and the new wheels and matching orange piping on the interior work perfectly with the RF.
Here it (finally) is, the diesel CX-5 we were promised years ago. You can’t tell but under the hood is the long-awaited Skyactiv-D engine that will, in my expectation at least, be one of the last hurrahs for a diesel motor in a passenger car before it’s phased out entirely. I feel like Mazda was too far along with the development process to abandon ship on this, but hopefully it works out. If the power and economy is anywhere near as good as they claim, it has a chance to be a huge success. Look for this motor in the Mazda6 sometime in the next few years.
Buick’s new GS is a very attractive car, and I say that without the normal followup of “…for a Buick.”
But it’s not as attractive as the Genesis G70. A year later after seeing it in person for the first time and the “new” hasn’t worn off. I gotta give it to them, the G70 is hot. This color helps, too. Kudos to Genesis.
An “SUV Coupe” and its more usable counterpart. Mercedes is doing truly attractive designs these days, though much more-so in the forms that err on the side of functionality…like the GLC in the background, not so much like the “coupe” in the foreground.
Benz’s baby bruiser. Fast SUVs and crossovers get a lot of shit these days, but I’m all for ’em. Go places quickly and in comfort? Yes, please. Not everybody needs full-on involvement all the time, but rather wants something spacious and good for awful roads while still being able to haul ass. The GLC63 promises to deliver on that. I’m a fan.
What I’m not a huge fan of though is this big blank “vent” in the GLS. Maybe because it was a preproduction model it didn’t have every little thing worked out, or maybe it’s intentional?
Here’s one of Rivian’s engineers standing on the seat/door that allows access to the full width cargo compartment between the R1T’s bed and cab. After he gave us a walkthrough of the truck’s features and a full description of its tech and powertain, I’m sold. This thing will be amazing should it come to market in a form resembling even 75% of what it is today. Electric roll-up bed cover? Air suspension, and the ability to send 0-100% power to any of the wheels at any time? Clever roof and bed racks? I’m impressed. And it sounds like Ford is too. This company deserves its success.
And on the complete opposite is this, the Karlmann King. It’s a $2.2-million monstrosity built on the bones of an F-550 Super Duty. It looks more like something out of a Fast and the Furious sequel than real life. It’s…not good.
This Ram has a massive hood scoop. Looks like it would accommodate a Hellcat motor rather well, wouldn’t it?
With the ability to swing one barn door open, both open, or drop down like a traditional tailgate, Ram’s new Multifunction Tailgate is the kind of innovation that will be huge for those who are transitioning from buying cars to buying trucks. The new trick frame and latches make access to the bed very easy, though I do wish you could swing the whole thing to the side like the Honda Ridgeline.
GMC’s take on the trick tailgate is clever as well, though executed nowhere near as well. Having a stereo is a cool novelty that will wear off after about 5 uses, and that drop-down will get crushed on a trailer/hitch should one be attached. Use at your own risk. They should have thought this through better, no?
Overlanding is all the rage so Honda brought a CR-V with a tent attached to it. Clever, and a perfect reminder of the Aztek and the GM accessory tent that mounted on the back. History repeats itself.
Another shot of a GT-R on a perch. For good measure. Definitely not because I kept staring at it.
The 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition sure does look…unique. It’s interesting, but I wanted more. Like, a whole new Z-car from Nissan. So much for that.
How to spend a million dollars on a GT-R. I don’t get it. Do you? Does anyone except whoever commissioned it?
Another year down and another year staring at the Kia Stinger. This year they announced the GTS trim which gets Drift Mode. Good things coming from Kia, and the Stinger is absolutely one of them.
Like I said, good things coming from Kia. This is the interior of the new full-size Telluride SUV. Material quality seems strong and the layout is a good combination of old-school chunky and new-school tech-y. Very Mercedes and Audi-like. Kamil and I were impressed.
Unlike the majority of “I’m faster than everyone else around the track” journalists, I’ve always been a big fan of Lexus’ RC F. So it’s not the quickest, best handling, or most responsive car in its class; who cares? It’s got a big-ol naturally aspirated V8 that sounds glorious, has Lexus reliability, and looks great. I welcome the changes they brought for the 2020 refresh, but I don’t quite get the Track Edition. I guess with the other cars out there (M4 Competition Package, mostly) they wanted something sharper to step up the RC F’s game, but I’m thinking this is largely a test-run for some new materials and manufacturing processes they’re using, much like they did with the LFA once upon a time. Anyways, I don’t really get the point of this since it’s still extremely heavy and probably not drastically faster/quicker/better handling, but I like the initiative. And I like the RC F. So I guess I just talked myself into liking the RC F Track Edition. Huh.
Quite a color, eh? The Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series gets this wild paint and a carbon-fiber roof. The interior gets new touches as well, but it was locked so we couldn’t scope them out too much. I think the LC 500 looks good in any color, and mustard yellow (official name for which I have failed to find) is no exception.
Lincoln has been bringing the heat as of late. The Aviator is simply fantastic to look at.
The Aviator looks like an American Range Rover. It’s stunning.
Their new Corsair looks solid as well. It’s not nearly as dramatic as the Aviator, but the styling fits the size well. They’ll sell these in droves.
Genesis brought a shocking concept called the Mint. It looked unlike anything else on display, even with its Tesla/Aston Martin mashup of a front end.
The Mint’s back end. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something this quirky and effortlessly futuristic. Bravo. Now, build it.
Something’s wrong here. And by wrong, I mean “upside down.” Not sure how this slipped through the cracks, but this upside down hatch-close-button on the new Explorer ST was good for a laugh. Almost as good of a laugh as the Explorer ST itself.
At the very end of the day I got to look at the new “Performance Pack” Ecoboost Mustang. It’s a good recipe: Performance Pack parts from the GT Mustang and a motor that borrows more from the Focus RS. What could possibly be bad about this? New the price will probably be scary as I’m expecting these to be closer to $35k if not higher, which puts it deep into V8 Mustang GT territory, but they’ll be a car to watch on the used market. Ecoboost tuning ability, Performance Pack chassis and grip, and Mustang good looks. Maybe not what the “macho man / I like to have the most power on my street” buying demographic wants, but certainly the best balance of power and chassis available in the lineup. This thing will be a track day and commute monster. It very well might be a surprising performance car. I’m intrigued, and it was a cool thing to see to cap off the day.
And that’s a wrap on the 2019 New York International Auto Show. Let the record show that we’re planning to do a video next year…which could go one of two very different ways if we’re left to our own devices without the help of Cap’n Glucker.