And we’re back. The pandemic is in our rear view mirrors (for now) and the traveling circus known as the automotive press assembled in New York’s newly remodeled Javitz Center to celebrate the industry that feeds us, both literally and spiritually for the 122nd New York International Auto Show. The show was about half it’s normal size and several brands were conspicuous by their absence including Acura, BMW, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Cadillac. Those who were there made some noise with new products, new technology and new marketing programs to entice buyers as the chip shortages begin to ease and production volumes to ramp back up.
The show kicked off with the World Car of the Year awards, one of the biggest and most important competitions in the industry. The big winner was Hyundai who’s Ioniq 5 EV crossover took home electric vehicle of the year, design of the year, and the overall title of World Car. Other winners included the Audi e-tron GT as World Performance Car, Mercedes-Benz EQS as World Luxury Car, and Toyota Yaris Cross (not available in the U.S.) as World Urban Car.
For those who come to the New York Auto they will find there are many opportunities to the vehicles as well as look. The two EV indoor test tracks featured opportunities to experience the Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Volvo C40 Recharge, Vinfast, Mustang Mach-E, among others. Jeep was back with their outdoor torture tests, and Ford also had tracks for Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, and Bronco.
There were also several press conferences by industry and government leaders on the current and future state of EV infrastructure. The conversation ranged from new charging technologies to the rapid deployment of new charging stations, grid upgrades necessary, and home charging options for the growing fleet of EVs that are coming onto the market.
So let’s take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights of the auto show and what you can expect to see if you make it to New York before it ends on April 24.
Along with millions of our friends, we at Rides & Drives got our first look at the all-new Tonale and it did not disappoint. The SUV’s design can only be described as elegant, fitting in nicely with the rest of the Alfa family. Interior was comfortable and luxurious, though the back seats may be a little cramped on longer drives. The Tonale marks Alfa’s first venture into electrification, offering a plug-in hybrid model with up to 30 miles of range. We’ll be able give a firmer opinion once we get behind the wheel, but it’s safe to say the first impression left us with very high hopes.
Electrification was the word of the day at the New York Auto Show. Chevrolet dedicated a significant portion of their booth space to their growing line of EVs including the Silverado EV. Based on GM’s Ultium platform, the Silverado plans to take F-150 Lightning on head on, offering up to 664 horsepower and more than 780 lb.-ft. of torque with a max towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. With a design reminiscent of the Avalanche, the crew cab only Silverado EV straddles the worlds of both work and suburban utility.
On the other side of their stand is the new Corvette C8 Z06, an all-American supercar that may be the swan song for the naturally-aspirated V8 engine. Putting 670 horsepower to the street at an ear-splitting 8,400 RPM via massive 345/25ZR21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP tires, Z06 has wider fenders to accomodate the steamroller like rubber. Corvette Z06 proves the dawn of the electric era is coming at the peak of the internal combustion years.
Airflow is a legendary name in the Chrysler pantheon. Making its debut in 1934, the revolutionary design was one of the first cars ever to be created with the aid of a wind tunnel. It’s aerodynamic design proved too futuristic, however, and after three short years in the market, Chrysler returned to more traditional designs in order to resurrect sales. Now Chrysler has applied the Airflow badge to a showcase for the company’s electrified future. Originally unveiled at CES in January, Chrysler added a black exterior with copper interior and exterior accents in the version that graced the floor of the New York Auto Show. Produced with recyclable and renewable materials, this all-electric crossover offers a glimpse into the future of Chrysler design, which will launch its first BEV in 2025 and promises that all their vehicles will be electric by 2028.
Bronco stormed back into the national consciousness last year with a reinterpretation of the classic original design for our modern era. In a world where too much is never enough, it’s no surprise the Bronco is now available in a Raptor model that’s ready to storm the desert landscapes. Featuring a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V6, the four-door SUV offers a wider stance and more ground clearance along with a HOSS 4.0 race-ready suspension system, and 37-inch tires.
Ford is paying tribute to another icon in New York, the 1966 Holman Moody GT40 that finished 3rd at Le Mans. One of three cars that swept the podium, denying Enzo Ferrari the prize he desired most. The Ford GT Holman Moody Heritage Edition is painted in gold with red accents to honor the original. This is the 9th limited edition Heritage model to hit the streets.
Hyundai took a big swing with their press conference introducing the refreshed 2023 Palisade, and while we don’t say it was a total miss, it may have been something like a pop fly. Now to be clear, we’re not talking about the SUV here; the design updates to the 3 row behemoth are subtle but nice, and the car comes equipped with all of the tech and driving assistance necessary to make long family trips more enjoyable. No, our problem was the cringeworthy presentation. They hired an L.A.-based influencer and her family to demonstrate how Palisade fits into their “real life.” Unfortunately, there was nothing real about it. Between the posed photos and the children delivering obviously scripted lines (“Oh wow, Mom, I can even charge my phone!”) the whole intro felt inauthentic. A vehicle this good deserves better.
Infiniti highlighted the QX60, which remains an excellent offering in the crowded crossover category. The styling doesn’t stray from Infinity’s standard language. Thanks to its powerful V6 engine and all new 9-speed automatic transmission, it’s as fun to drive as such a utilitarian car should be. For a crossover, the interior feels roomy, even in the back seat (although that’s coming from our 5’5” news editor).
In addition to the cars, Infiniti sought to impress the journalists with our truest nectar – whiskey. A tasting of three Japanese whiskeys included Mars Whiskey Iwai, Nikka’s Coffey Malt, and Suntory Toki. The Toki was nice and smooth, bold enough for a whisky drinker, but something our friends with gentler palettes could stomach. The other two offerings were far too sweet for our hardened tastes, but hey, we’ll never turn down the opportunity to sample whiskey at 11:30 in the morning.
Kia kicked things off with a first look at the updated hybrid and all-electric versions of the Niro. The Niro EV was a favorite of ours since we tested it a few years ago and we’re excited to get behind the wheel of this updated edition later this year. But as an aside: What’s with the face? Not just Kia, but manufacturers across the board seem to be having a little trouble translating their design language without the need for a front grille, and the electric Niro is no exception.
Kia also went the classic press conference route in introducing their refresh of the Telluride. The 3-row SUV is similar to the Hyundai Palisade in functionality, but they have differentiated the two with design, packaging and especially marketing. Telluride is positioned as a vehicle for family adventure, highlighting its popularity among buyers under 30. Thankfully Kia kept their sales pitch to facts and photos, sparing us the opportunity to be “influenced”.
The newly updated Navigator took center stage on the Lincoln stand with their top of the line Black Label Central Park Edition. Elegantly coated in a deep Manhattan Green metallic paint, Lincoln’s leviathan offers more comfort and style inside. The rich open pore walnut is laser etched with the park’s paths and the supple leather seats are perforated in the pattern of the New York skyline.
2022 is the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln brand and to honor that history, Lincoln brought a legend to the stand, the 1956 Continental Mark II that belonged to Elvis Presley. This particular car was Elvis’s second. The first was ruined by fans who had written over the entire exterior in lipstick. The Mark II was developed by William Clay Ford, who produced it as a tribute to his father, Edsel, the man responsible for the purchase of Lincoln and the driving force behind the brand for 20 years.
Nissan appears to be in the midst of a bit of a renaissance. The 4th generation Rogue is much improved and now a worthy competitor to RAV4 and CR-V. Pathfinder and Frontier are both capable contenders. The new Z appears to be poised to add some sizzle back into the lineup. The all-new Ariya is on the way, adding a more premium option to Nissan’s electric fleet. But they haven’t ignored the long-running Leaf. Nissan is updating one of the industry’s first modern battery-electric vehicles for 2023, and you can see it in person on the show floor. Available in two grades, S and SV Plus, Leaf is a value play in the segment, and will be offered at a similar starting price to the 2022 model’s $27,400 even though it will have several significant upgrades. These include updated exterior styling, new 5-spoke 17-inch wheels, and improved aerodynamics.
Subaru took the show as an opportunity to go back to basics, unveiling the refresh of their iconic Outback. The design features a more prominent grille, redesigned lights, and a new front bumper cover. The front is a bolder version of what we know and love, but we’re not wild about the expanded wheel arch, which feels a little disjoined on such a low car.
What Subaru really brought, though, was the branding. Their elaborate stand is themed around National Parks, offering a glimpse of what the Wilderness Editions look like in, well, the wilderness. The greenery, the lights, and the prop boulders made the whole stand a real spectacle. But it’s not the only spectacle they made; in the middle of their stand was an enclosure holding Bali and Andre, the two cutest puppies they could have found. The pit mixes were brought by Second Chance Animal Shelter as part of the Subaru Loves Pets program, and they were ready to give an energy boost to the tired journalists at the show. Expect more info and photos about the program soon, but for now we’ll say that Subaru knows their customer very well, and we appreciate that.
The New York show was also our first introduction to the Gazoo Racing Corolla, and it sure doesn’t look like the Corolla we know. It won’t drive like one either. It’s tiny but mighty 1.3L turbocharged, direct/port injected three-cylinder engine puts out 273 lb.-ft. of torque, with 300 max horsepower coming at 6500 rpm. We’re looking forward to testing this GTI fighter on a track in the near future.
On the other side of their exhibit, Toyota showed us their more playful side. It was impossible to avoid or ignore the ’70s inspired customized camper lovingly named Tacozilla, and we really didn’t want to. Based on a Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport pickup, Tacozilla has a reinforced frame, aluminum body, and inside a bath and kitchen so it’s ready for an extended wilderness trip. Though they do expect you to provide the tacos.
It’s not often we get to witness the birth of a whole new car company, but that’s the case here. VinFast is the product of VinGroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate that has real estate holdings, offers educational services, data science, technology, artificial intelligence. In 2017, the company broke ground for its automotive production complex in Hai Phong and began selling cars in Vietnam in 2019. This week in New York they showed off three all-electric SUVs they plan to sell in the United States, the VF 7, VF 8, and VF 9. VinFast took the unusual step of hiring the legendary design house Pininfarina to work with the company on their vehicle styling and it shows. The VF 8 and VF 9 will be available later this year with the VF 7 coming online later in 2023.
Volkswagen brought the long awaited, highly anticipated ID Buzz. The modernized version of their iconic mini bus is almost ready for production, with brand reps anticipating media access within a year and an on sale date sometime in late 2023. Last time we had eyes on the ID Buzz it was much closer to concept than reality, and it was nice to see a more completed version. The modern age version features lots of nods and winks to the old hippie bus, but there’s still some funk missing. Maybe the funk is something we bring to the bus. We’ll certainly do our best once we get our hands on the wheel.
If there’s one thing America likes, it’s more. Nobody is committed to giving Americans more than Stellantis. Case in point the 2023 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer L. These long-wheelbase models extend what was already one of the largest SUVs on the road to even greater proportions. There are an additional 7 inches between the axles and the overall length has grown by a full foot. The extra room goes behind the second row, improving cargo space by over 15 cubic feet behind the third row for a total of 44.2 cubic feet of luggage and gear space. In addition, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer L are the first vehicles to be powered by the company’s 3.0L turbocharged V6 “Hurricane” engine. It base trim it develops 420 horsepower. The high output version in the Grand Wagoneer L makes 510 horsepower, 500 lb.-ft. of torque, giving the behemoth a class-leading 10,000 pound towing capacity. If more is what you want, you won’t have to look much further than the Wagoneer L.