What I Learned From the New York Auto Show

Doug DeMuro
by Doug DeMuro
what i learned from the new york auto show

The New York Auto Show is over, signaling the end of yet another highly successful auto show season, unless, of course, you’re Suzuki. For some, there’s still the Shanghai show, where we’ll get to see all the latest midsize luxury sedans with slightly longer wheelbases. I also highly recommend next month’s Africa Auto Show (officially called the “Automotives and Spare Parts Exhibition”) in Nairobi, where Toyota will show off a lightly-used 2001 Land Cruiser.

Of course, some of you may have missed the New York Auto Show because you were focusing on actual news, like the fact that North Korea is aiming weapons at us that may be able to hit the ocean, if there’s a tailwind. Fortunately, I’ve compiled a summary of the most important things I learned from New York.

The new Acura MDX has some sort of V6 and some new features. You don’t care about any of that. What you do care about that Acura says the new MDX’s suspension was tested at the Nurburgring. Truly. This was in the press release. The reasons for this are completely unknown, but now you can show up all those losers who come to the track in a Highlander, which was only tested on Road America.

Apparently following a careful review of the Ford Mustang lineup, Chevrolet decided the Camaro needs more retro-themed special editions. So New York brought us the Camaro Z/28, which Chevy says is “three seconds per lap” faster than the ZL1. Unfortunately, the Chevy press release forgot to mention where this lap occurred, presumably because the measurement was taken two days before the show on I-696 in Southfield. Chevy will reportedly continue the retro-themed special edition trend at next year’s West Virginia Auto Show when it revives the IROC-Z.

The 2014 Dodge Durango is out, boasting a new transmission, a bunch of screens, and those taillights that make it easy to spot cops on the highway.

The latest Honda Odyssey is available with a vacuum cleaner to clean up after messy children. Unfortunately, the vacuum is only offered on the $45,000 Touring Elite mode, meaning less fortunate children will have to continue picking up after themselves.

The debut of the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid taught me something amazing. Last year’s Infiniti JX is the QX60, while the FX is the QX70 even though it’s smaller. And the former QX56 is now the QX80, though it reportedly won’t be adopting an 8-liter engine. This makes about as much sense as creating a two-door, convertible version of your midsize crossover. Really, though: at some point, Nissan and Infiniti are just going to run a full-page ad in the New York Times saying “SURPRISE! Just Kidding!” right?

After years of begging people to buy the XKR-S, Jaguar is adding another performance model to the XK range. This one is called the XKR-S GT and features, among other things, more letters in its name. Limited to 25 units for the US, the XKR-S GT will start at $175,000, virtually assuring its future at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The biggest debut was the coldly-received Jeep Cherokee, which reminds automakers that when consumers say “we don’t want mainstream” they really mean “we only want mainstream.” Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad. But we’ll all be able to judge for ourselves this fall when the airport Enterprise runs out of Escapes.

The new Mitsubishi Mirage reminds us that Mitsubishi does, in fact, still exist, but barely. Reportedly packing a 73-horsepower four-cylinder, the Mirage seems poised to attack the Chevy Spark and Nissan Versa in the in the notoriously profitable “cars that cost eleven grand” segment.

The Range Rover Sport now has three rows of seats, which inspired a collective round of applause from Long Island’s North Shore. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the Range Rover’s fake door-mounted fender vents; instead, Land Rover made the bold decision to include an actual vent on the actual fender.

From the “I can’t believe they still sell this” files, the Scion tC is updated for the 2014 model year with new front and rear fascias and, bizarrely, one less horsepower. These changes will give the tC one more year of strong sales before it’s dramatically outsold by a two-year-old FR-S.

Subaru rolled out a wild WRX Concept, which promises little aside from showing us precisely what the next WRX won’t look like. A long-wheelbase version is probably slated for Shanghai.

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf brought home VW’s fourth World Car of the Year award in five years, not that VW’s counting or plotting world domination or anything. Interestingly, it won the award even though American shoppers have yet to drive the car and reject it in favor of the Jetta.

Volvo is bringing the handsome V60 to the US, finally giving it a contender in the hotly contested Acura TSX Sport Wagon segment. It gets better: there will be a plug-in hybrid, Volvo’s first, which means guilty liberals can finally swap out their 240DL for a new car.

We’ll miss New York. But we’ll always remember this auto show season as the one that gave us some of today’s top cars, and also yet another Acura NSX Concept. Unless, of course, we’re wiped out by the North Koreans.

Doug DeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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4 of 108 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 30, 2013

    If Mitsubishi is able to make cars why GE cannot? At least they could jump into the electric car bandwagon. Wouldn't it be wonderful? They not only pay zero (or rather do not pay) taxes but they will get taxpayer money from Government - net profiting from dumb American taxpayers! What a brilliant idea of giant multinational company which payrolled current administration becoming food stamps recipient from the same administration! I said it first - I want a patent on it. BTW Mitsubishi also makes electric cars and despite of all odds is still alive. Is it a coincidence?

    • AFX AFX on Mar 30, 2013

      "If Mitsubishi is able to make cars why GE cannot ?". If GE built cars and they needed serviced you'd have to wait on hold for half an hour to talk to a customer service rep in India to schedule a service appointment at the dealership.

  • DenverMike DenverMike on Mar 30, 2013

    I love the bright-red tow hooks on the gray Cherokee. They scream "TOW ME FROM HERE!"

    • Mad_science Mad_science on Apr 01, 2013

      There's a youtube video of an XJ recovery gone wrong that suggests it's a good idea.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂