2011 New York Auto Show: The Good, The Bad, The WTF

The time has finally come, the New York Auto Show came and went. The last major U.S. auto show of the season. If you ask many in the industry, you might hear a collective sigh of relief. Last week was a flurry of press conferences and vehicle reveals.

As you might expect, some were great, but there were definitely some winners and losers. Of course, we must mention the WTF section as well. So without further delay, let’s jump into it.

Some are calling the Scion FR-S Concept the absolute winner of the 2011 New York Auto Show. Frankly, I’m mixed. On one hand, this has to be the most aggressive sheet metal, concept or real, to come out of Toyota Corp in a while. This thing goes way beyond the LFA. Another win is when the CEO of a company uses the word friggin in his press conference. It was hilarious when the CEO was discussing the long standing history of Toyota’s sports cars. Somehow a flat-four boxer was mentioned. Huh, that’s part of Toyota? On the other hand, this thing is still a concept. Another concept. I’m so sick of concepts. Let’s see the real deal already.

Chrysler unveiled not one, but three new 300 models. The Executive Series is stunning, with leather everywhere and terrific fit and finish, it’s gorgeous. The S series is full of boom. Literally, it has Beats by Dre. Of course the main show was the new 2012 300 SRT8. With the same powertrain as the new SRT8s, this car is not all show. It definitely will have the go. With a more understated look than the new Charger SRT8, this will defintely be a car to have your shopping list. Oh, and now it’ll be able to handle. The new 300 SRT8 features the same adaptive suspension as the new Charger SRT8.

For 2012 the Jaguar XF model range gets a facelift. With a clear resemblance to the new XJ, this is one hot cat. Gone are the bug-eye headlights, replaced with sleeker units featuring LED daytime running lights (as is the trend these days). Pictures can’t truly describe how gorgeous this feline is.

Volkswagen has the new Golf R on display in a gorgeous shade of blue. I joked with VW PR rep Corey Proffitt that I might just steal it off the show floor. Luckily I decided to use my better judgement and left the car in New York upon my departure. Now that’s a hot hatch.

I’ve got to admit, the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle isn’t ugly. I dig the new roofline and rear end. I kind of wish they took it even further, but that’s ok. Coming with a multitude of engine options, there is sure to be a bug that pleases everyone. Sadly, the vase is no longer standard, or even an option. Sorry kids, no more flower power here. The interior is a huge step forward as Volkswagen digs into the corporate parts bin.

You know, regardless of how I feel about the Lexus LF-Gh Hybrid Concept I give Lexus credit. This concept is edgy (for Lexus that is) and has some kind of aggression to it. I feel that is something the brand is clearly lacking aside from the LFA. Sadly I’m confident in saying that by the time we see the next-gen GS, quite a bit of this aggression will be lost. It’s too bad really.

I’m actually still gathering my thoughts on the new 2013 Malibu. The car is clearly an evolution of its former self. I like some aspects of it but something is holding me back. I’m for sure over the fake wood that both the LTZ and Eco trim models “featured.” The interior design is nice and the rear of the LTZ is great. But the Eco (i.e. non-LTZ models) had a somewhat boring rear end with the taillights lacking LEDs. These two cars were hand built and far from production models, so judging fit-and-finish was not even a possibility. I’ll reserve judgement till a later date.

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reactions to the re-freshed 2013 Taurus, particularly for the SHO model. With that new big gaping mesh grille and flashier wheels, this car is no sleeper. It definitely has a lot more reason to get noticed. Is that what SHO owners want? I always thought current gen SHO owners wanted V-8 power with V-6 efficiency and to have the ability to fly under the radar. Regardless, I wouldn’t say it’s ugly, then again I didn’t have a problem with the current generation. MyFord Touch will be standard equipment in the 2013 Taurus SHO, so if you don’t like that, better buy a 2012 model.

2012 Subaru Impreza

Now for some losers. The new 2012 Subaru Impreza will kick this section off. Unfortunately it seems to have gone to bland school. Subaru has never been a mainstream brand, nor did it seem to have the want to be one. That is until now. The new Legacy kicked off this mainstream mania and the new 2012 Impreza is taking it to new heights. Sure an estimated 36 mpg rating and all-wheel drive is cool. But the styling is boring. We’ll have to see how Subaru fans react to this new compact. I’m interested to see what the upcoming WRX and STI versions will look like.

Smart didn’t really have anything new to show off at the show. So it decided to cover a Smart fortwo in tiny mirrors or something like that. All I could think about when looking a this car was, “Like a rhine stone cowboy……”

Now for your WTF: You know, MINI advertised that KISS would be at their presser. When someone tells you they will have KISS at their presser you’d think that at least one or two songs would be played. Nope, instead it was a five minute presser where KISS pranced on stage and announced a joint fundraiser with MINI. That’s it. End of the presser folks. I was highly disappointed. I’m not a KISS fan but c’mon. I knew MINI had no product announcement as did most of the other journalists. Had it not been for KISS most probably would have skipped this presser. MINI knew it, I knew it, most of the others knew it.

After four long days I left New York exhausted and hungry. My e-mail inbox seemed to be over flowing and I was ready for more than three hours of sleep in my own bed. Most of all, I just wanted a Monster Lo-Carb.

The show was good. It was interesting to see not only the push for efficiency, but the push for more power with greater efficiency.

Here’s to another great auto show season with some truly spectacular new metal. Of course there was some not so spectacular metal, but hey, who’s counting.

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One Response to “2011 New York Auto Show: The Good, The Bad, The WTF”

  1. Great summery I pretty much agree with it all!
    I just hope that Toyota/Scion does the right thing and keeps the FR-S as aggressive as the concept. I really like it and can’t wait to get my hands on one!

    04/26/2011 at 4:14 pm Reply

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