Studs & Duds, New York: New Cars and Concepts Invade the Big Apple

By Author: Harvey Briggs, Date: Apr 18, 2019
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The 2019 New York International Auto Show opens on Friday, April 19 and the floor is filled vehicles some new, and some not so. The day started with the World Car Awards ceremony, which provided some much needed good news for Jaguar. The iPace electric SUV walked away with three awards: World Green Car, Design of the Year, and the overall World Car of the Year title. Other winners included the Suzuki Jimny for World Urban Car, Audi A7 for World Luxury Car, and McLaren 720S for World Performance Car. All deserving of their honors.

Outside of the World Car Awards, every auto maker is trying to make news with new products, updates to existing products, special editions, marketing partnerships, and concept vehicles that may or may not become reality someday. I spent the day walking the show floor talking cars with other journalists, automotive experts, and various other industry insiders to separate the wheat from the chaff on the various stands. The result is a new feature we’re calling “Studs and Duds”

Lincoln Corsair – Stud

Yes, it’s another CUV, but it’s an important one for Lincoln and they got it right. A nicely balanced combination of luxury, style, performance and comfort that should be on the list of anyone looking at an NX, Q3, X3, and GLA.

Acura TLX PMC Edition – Dud

2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition

Produced in the Performance Manufacturing Center where the NSX is hand assembled, the TLX PMC looks great with its Valencia Red Pearl paint using something Acura calls nano pigment technology. But not adding actual performance features to the car is kind of a whiff. Call us when the Type S PMC version is available.

Cadillac CT5 – Stud

The XT4 and XT6 were a bit underwhelming. Not the CT5. Sharp exterior styling shows a future for the brand and the interior is finally on par with its German competitors. Two volume knobs for the updated CUE system proves they were listening.

Mazda CX-5 Signature Diesel – Dud

This was in the pipeline long before the diesel scandal rocked VW and Audi. Mazda worked closely with the EPA and CARB to ensure their 2.2-liter diesel engine meets all the requirements. It offers improved towing, better mileage, more power. Unfortunately it’s a diesel and Americans hate diesels.

Porsche 911 Speedster – Stud

It’s a 911. It’s a Speedster. It has a manual transmission. What’s not to love? Having Jerry Seinfeld on hand to help introduce it was just an added bonus.

Genesis Mint Concept – Dud

The Genesis Mint concept is interesting. It’s unique. It’s imaginative. It’s also irrelevant and a waste of energy. Genesis doesn’t need an all-electric luxury city car that may or may not come to fruition in our lifetime. They need an SUV like the GV80 they showed two years ago to put a volume leader in their showrooms alongside their well-received, but slow-selling G70, G80, and G90 sedans.

Hyundai Venue – Stud

No, it’s not a car to make your heart go boom, but the Venue is small and smart, with enough style to deliver big wins in a very tough category. The fact that it’ll probably start at under $20,000 only adds to its appeal.

Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Special Edition – Dud

50 years of Z cars is an achievement. It would have been nice, however, to celebrate that achievement by actually improving the 370Z, a car that hasn’t had a significant update since its introduction in 2009. Honor the past by creating a better future, not just putting stripes on the side of an old car.

Kia HabaNiro Concept – Stud

As automakers go, there are few with a more interesting lineup than Kia. The Niro, however, has always felt a little staid. That will change in another year if the production version of the HabaNiro all-electric concept is anything close to what we saw on Tuesday. No, we don’t expect butterfly doors and level 5 autonomy, but 300 miles of range and clean, sharp design should make the next generation Niro hotter than ever.

Subaru – Stud

Not just for the new Outback, which is everything an Outback should be, but for creating a booth that transports you a thousand miles from the city the minute you pass under its wooden entryway. To highlight their partnership with the national parks, Subaru used sustainable and reusable materials to create a park in the middle of the Javits Center, complete with a pine scent that made me feel like I was in Yosemite Basin staring up at Half Dome. Well done.

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Harvey Briggs

Harvey Briggs is the Founder, Editor, and Publisher of Rides & Drives. He has also written for Car and Driver, Winding Road, and the luxury lifestyle blog, Pursuitist.com. His passions run from fast cars, small planes, boats and motorcycles to music, travel, and sports. When he's not on the road testing the latest cars, he been known to turn up on stage playing rock and blues guitar at clubs around his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. Follow Harvey's adventures on Instagram and Twitter @harvey_drives and find him on Facebook. Though keeping up could be a problem. As Harvey says, "If I don't slow down, time can't catch me."

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