Snappy poster for the 2017 show features the Markham, Ontario built Ford GT
With over one million visitors expected to pass through the turnstiles at the Jacob Javits Convention Center by the time it closes on April 23rd, the New York International Auto Show is the best attended new car event in North America.
The first media day was full of new vehicle introductions from major manufacturers, but the second day was unusual, very low key, with no significant product reveals. Media and industry people in attendance seemed to enjoy the day, which was quite well attended and it did allow for a bit of reflection and schmoozing. That said, the show did seem to be in a bit of an eclipse this year.
Except for a super-niche Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Lincoln Navigator, GM, Fiat-Chrysler and Ford were absent from the schedule of unveilings on the media days. That said, some new or updated domestic-brand vehicles, including the facelifted 2018 Mustang and next-generation Buick Enclave, were on their manufacturers' stands for those who knew to look for them. While there was much chatter about electrification and autonomous vehicles, the reality of the show reflected the actual market, which is increasingly buying SUVs.
Jaguar's U.S. distributor (left) and its C.E.O (right) were very happy their F-Pace won the World Car of the Year top honours
World Car of the Year
Previously a modest event at the beginning of the second day of the show, the World Car of the Year ceremony opened the first press day; replacing a keynote speech usually presented by a senior executive from a major automaker. The F-Pace, Jaguar’s first crossover, beat the Audi Q5 and Volkswagen Tiguan for top honours, underlying the dominance of SUVs in the marketplace.
Toyota's Swiss Army Knife versatile FT-4X created a stir in New York
Toyota FT-4X Concept
Officially known as the Future Toyota Four-Wheel Drive Crossover, the FT-4X concept is based on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that underpins the Prius and new CH-R. Compared to the CH-R, the FT-4X is 110 mm (4.3 inches) shorter and quite a bit taller. Toyota contends that the FT-4X is designed to be a super-adaptable, multi-purpose vehicle designed to meet the needs of an elusive market segment comprised of active Generation Y millennials. Honda pursued the same demographic with the Element, but was surprised when their truckette was bought by dog groomers and middle-aged antique furniture enthusiasts instead. No mechanical details were provided, but Toyota’s conventional and hybrid powertrains are likely.
Take an Impreza, add a bit of ride height and slap on some body cladding, and you end up with the new Crosstrek
The Crosstrek migrates to the new platform that underpins its donor vehicle, the Impreza, for its second generation. Essentially an Impreza on stilts with some extra body cladding, Crosstrek styling follows the same formula as its predecessor. The cabin shares the Impreza’s very good space efficiency but is trimmed with more adventurous fabrics and finishes. Jacking up the Impreza allows Subaru to market a second nameplate off Impreza components and charge a large premium for the higher ground clearance version. The redesigned Crosstrek should be on sale by late summer 2017.
While fuel cell, full electric and plug-in hybrids of Honda's Clarity will be offered in the U.S., Canada will only get the plug-in version
Heretofore an ultra-low-volume hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity has morphed into a family of vehicles with the addition of full electric and plug-in hybrid variants. However, the only member of the family that will be offered in Canada is the plug-in hybrid.
Power will stem from a 1.5L Atkinson Cycle engine and a 17 kWh battery pack that generate a combined 181 horsepower. Electric-only range under ideal conditions is stated to be 68 kilometres, with a projected battery recharge time of two and a half hours at 240 volts.
While there is ample space available inside the car, a low-mounted rear seat cushion and no space for feet under the front seats make sitting in back uncomfortable for adults; Honda should reconfigure the rear seating before the vehicle launches. The cabin is very Honda, down to the same infuriating button-free touchscreen as the Civic, but is nicely constructed from attractive components.
Jeep ran the Trackhawk on twin dynamometers to demonstrate its phenomenal performance
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
If nothing succeeds like excess, the new Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is destined for a very promising future. Its 707 horsepower supercharged 6.2L V8 delivers insane levels of performance and a top speed around 290 kilometres per hour. Should availability mirror the Grand Cherokee SRT, buyers could wait up to a year for delivery of their ride after sales begin in late 2017.
The main updates for the 2018 Sonata mid-cycle refresh are up front and in the back
2018 Hyundai Sonata
The current Sonata receives a mid-cycle remake for its fourth year on the market. Freshened front and rear styling and various cabin revisions include updated audio and climate controls as well as Android Auto-Apple CarPlay infotainment connectivity. Both the normally-aspirated 2.4L four and turbocharged 2L four return for 2018, as does the capable hydraulic six-speed automatic transmission. The updated conventional gas and turbo Sonatas go on sale this summer as 2018 models; the current pre-facelift hybrids continue until further notice.
Volvo's second-generation XC60 goes on sale in Canada this fall
2018 Volvo XC60
The new XC60 is the third vehicle in Volvo’s renaissance; it's the first vehicle of the next-generation 60 series, which will expand to include a new sedan and station wagon as well. The styling is fresh, but with more surface detailing than the XC90 and S90 that preceded it.
The cabin is a study in the sumptuous minimalism that Volvo is so adept at, with elegant wood, tasteful bright accents and supple leather. The large format seats are very supportive; while room upfront is good, rear legroom is more adequate than generous. XC60 buyers can now opt for a three-row version. Cargo space is ample.
Volvo’s Drive-E fours, the T5 (2L turbocharged ), T6 (2L turbocharged and supercharged) and, new-for-2018 T8 (plug-in hybrid), will be available.
Oncoming Lane Mitigation, using the steering assist and the blind spot information system, help to reduce the possibility of lane-change-related collisions.
The new XC60 goes on sale in late 2017 with a Canadian MSRP of just under $46,000.
Labelled a Plug-in fuel cell vehicle, this Genesis GV80 luxury concept will likely go on sale with conventional power
Genesis GV80 Concept
Genesis, Hyundai's new luxury division, showed its GV80 SUV equipped with a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Other than the exotic powertrain on the concept car, the GV80 is a broad hint at the mainstream large crossover that Genesis will need in its quiver to compete in the luxury segment.
The next-generation Enclave hid in plain sight on the Buick stand in New York
With no unveilings on the show schedule, General Motors was not an active participant in the New York show's media days, but did hide the second-generation Enclave in full view on the Buick stand.
The Enclave is the last of a trio of vehicles based on the same platform to be updated, following the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. All three models have been launched at different times, with the Enclave scheduled to go one sale by the end of 2017, a full year after the related GMC Acadia arrived at dealers. The Acadia abandoned its previous XXL format in favour of dimensions similar to those of mainstream rivals like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, but the Enclave and Traverse are actually a bit bigger than before.
The new Enclave’s cabin is a strikingly simple design with a serene ambiance. The first and second row seats are sumptuously supportive and occupants have room to stretch out. The third row seat is comfortable enough, with good legroom and cargo space for the class. Only one powertrain, a 302 horsepower 3.6L V6 hooked up to a nine-speed automatic, has been announced.
The Saratoga Auto Museum displayed a number of cars, including this 1957 Lincoln Continental Mark II
The Saratoga Auto Museum had a number of cars on display, including this Lincoln Continental Mark II, one of the most elegant American cars of the 1950s. Starting at around $10,000 when introduced, the Mark II cost as much as a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Lincoln lost money on every one and pulled the plug on the Mark II at the end of the 1957 model year, after 3000 units had been built.