This year’s New York International Auto Show was quiet, a confab for a shrinking industry. Sales have been tanking steadily for nearly every manufacturer. The corners of the showroom floor occupied by potentially doomed brands, like Hummer, felt a little like mausoleums. Still, plenty of automakers fought through the pain and unveiled interesting cars, which you can check out here.
Crossover SUVs have been getting more car-like by the year—think of the Infiniti EX-35, the BMW X6, and the Toyota Venza. But with the Acura ZDX concept car, which the company claims is the first in an “entirely new class of automobile,” the crossover SUV completes its evolution back into car-dom. We’re told that this concept car is very close to production.
If the Chevy Volt is designed to reinvent GM in the long term, the Cruze is designed to reinvent the company’s balance sheets in the near term. This compact sedan should get around 40 mph a new 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and compete with the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic. It’s set to arrive in the U.S. in 2011.
Honda Dog-Friendly Element
If your dog rules your life, this car may be for you. Actually, it’s a set of options rather than an entirely new Element. Purchase the Dog-Friendly package when you buy an Element—pricing hasn’t been set—and you’ll get rubber floor mats, a cushioned dog bed in the cargo area, doggie seat belts, a fan in the back to keep your canine cool, a U-Haul style load-in ramp so your dog can walk to his cargo-area lair, and so on. Honda is calling this one a concept, but a spokesperson admitted that it’s all but set to go on sale this year.
Hyundai had Daniel Radcliffe on hand, in the nude, to introduce this big sedan. Not really. That was the easy joke circulating in the press room. But about the car: This is Hyundai’s attempt to penetrate the high-luxury market, to compete with the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7 series. It’s only on sale right now in Korea, and it’s unclear whether it’s coming to the US. Like the Hyundai Genesis, it’s rear-wheel drive and more than sufficiently powerful: it runs on 4.6-liter V8 and contains the standard array of tricked-out luxury features, including a 17-speaker audio system.
A “vision for the future” from Hyundai, complete with the standard concept-car fare—gullwing doors, recycled interior materials, and so on.
The new Mazda CX9 crossover made its world debut at the New York show, its front end showing off the Nagare design language—the warped, flowing lines first seen in radical concept cars like the Mazda Furai—that has steadily spread throughout the Mazda product line.
Mercedes E63 AMG
The fully sexified Mercedes E63 AMG runs on a 6.3-liter V8 that makes 518 hp and pushes the car to 186 mph. The AMG Speedshift 7-speed automatic transmission also comes with a “Controlled Efficiency” mode for when your conscience starts getting to you.
Mercedes ML450 hybrid
The new ML450 uses a two-mode hybrid configuration, like the Chevy Tahoe and the Cadillac Escalade hybrids. Mercedes says that with a well-charged battery, the ML450 hybrid can travel to 34 mph on electric drive. In a quick spin around the city, we got it to a still-respectable 20 mph or so before the gas engine kicked in. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
We¹ve seen the Cube before, but it always draws us back in with the bizarre design details. In this case, the way the backglass wraps around the right side of the car, but not the left.
Nissan Z Roadster
If the weather at the New York hadn¹t been so unseasonably cold, the new 370Z Roadster might have been the perfect car for the moment. Nicely styled, with bigger, more muscular haunches than its hardtop sibling, the Z Roadster runs on a 332 hp, 3.7-liter V6‹a big engine for such a little car.
On the Javits Center show floor, General Motors and Segway were giving rides in their joint creation, the Project P.U.M.A., which stands for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility. We reported on the P.U.M.A. last week.
Scion iQ Concept
The iQ concept — which Scion classifies as a “micro-subcompact” — is meant to be a city car for the young and the hip. Unfortunately, this tiny clown-faced car probably won’t look quite like this if it comes to our shores; the car you see here is a European production iQ, heavily tricked-out by the California design firm Five Axis.
Subaru unveiled, on the second day of the auto show, the fourth generation of its unassuming cult favorite: the Outback. The 2010 model has new styling, new transmissions (both a 6-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission [CVT]), and a 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine. As a journalist friend told me, “For those of us on their fourth Outback, this is very exciting.”
2010 Chevy Camaro
The new Camaro has been around for a while, but it’s worth pointing out that if provoked, this car can turn into…