The 2016 New York Auto Show has started, and while it’s not as important as the show in Detroit, nor as West-Coast flashy as the show in LA, a handful of automakers still picked it to reveal their new or updated models, or concepts of upcoming models. We’ve picked the 7 most significant ones and compared notes. Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.
Acura MDX facelift
I’m glad they finally ditched the chrome shield in the grille, but the downside is that the MDX has become even more anonymous than it was before. Acura’s design is apparently going the complete opposite of that of Lexus, who are getting more extreme with every launch. That probably makes the MDX the perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan, so they’ll probably continue to sell a ton of them. They also have a hybrid now, with the same system as the NSX. The MDX surely has a lot of good things going for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be the #2 of its segment. And yes, the Q7 is shockingly awful and Mercedes hasn’t gotten the styling quite right in any of the ML/GLE generations, but I think the X5 beats the MDX in styling, even if for the simple fact that it actually gets noticed.
It’s funny, you say “Miss”, but I read a lot of good things: “ditched the chrome shield grille”, “perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan”, “hybrid with the same system as the NSX”. I had a soft spot for the MDX Mk II, and while the new model is not quite as muscular-looking as that, I think the facelift makes it into a rather handsome car, better-looking than any of the German trio (Q7, X5 and ML). In my mind Acura would do best to emulate the inoffensive Audis of late 1990s/early 2000s, and this fits the bill perfectly.
Genesis New York Concept
The New York Concept (great name, btw) is definitely the best-looking car of the show for me, and unless Genesis goes full-Subaru and turns an amazing concept into an awkward production car then this should make for one hell of a 3-series competitor. Still, why the silly texture on the air extractors behind the front wheels, the weird kick-up around the B-pillar, and above all the color which reminds me a communist Trabant?
I fully agree with you here: the best looking car of the show, and not only because the competition this year is weak. Of course the final version the upcoming 3-series fighter from Hyundai’s new luxury brand will look less extreme than the concept, but Genesis needs to shake things up a bit if they want to get noticed in this competitive segment. Launching a wallflower which does exactly what all the others already do won’t cut it. And while the current Genesis and Equus models compete with the Germans mostly on value, I’m pretty sure that’s not the strategy Hyundai had in mind when they decided to launch Genesis as a stand alone luxury brand.
Lincoln Navigator Concept
As Bush once said: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me… you can’t get fooled again!”. When Lincoln released the Continental Concept I was full of hope, but then the production reality proved that much of that car’s allure came from concept-type detailing, which when adapted for production made the Continental look very average. Same here: I can see why some would like the minimal styling, especially on the sides, but add doorhandles, bigger mirrors, less fancy wheels and bigger shut-lines and it will look just like every other car in its class: giant and ungainly.
You’ll probably hate me for this, but I kind-of like this Continental SUV. These kinds of luxo-boats have always been my secret guilty pleasure, I also love the Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GL and Range Rover, and even the Escalade, until I actually drove one. That will probably be the same for this ‘gator, and there’s a lot to hate about the styling, even if you forget about the silly doors and the steps, but I like how it manages to be less in-your-face as the Escalade but still intimidating enough to scare small children and pets. Well, maybe that’s just a result of its size….
Mazda MX-5 RF
I’m leaning both ways on this one: I like the styling of the retractable hardtop, as the smooth C-pillar gives the MX-5 a more coherent look than the roadster with the soft-top up. It also visually shortens the rear-end and lengthens the nose, which gives it better proportions, closer to those of the BMW Z4. But I’d still go for the soft-top as there’s nothing like the wind in your hair and the complete freedom of being in a completely open car, the way the MX-5 roadster does.
Bart, I fully agree with you, only I believe this makes the car a big “Hit”. What you’re saying is that you’d rather have the soft-top – that’s great, because there already is an MX-5 soft-top. But for all those living in colder climates this is a perfect version of the great-driving car, with looks that beat its soft-top sister in roof-up, if not roof-down mode.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe
There’s seriously not a single unexpected line in this design, nothing we haven’t seen before on either the GLC or the GLE Coupe. It’s the perfect pairing of those two models, and therefore absolutely redundant. Jumping into every possible niche has paid off for Mercedes-Benz (and BMW alike), but the end of the line is near, if not here already.
I hear what you’re saying, but to my eye the GLC Coupe is better-looking than the X4/X6/GLE Coupe bunch, and arguably the most dynamic-looking car in its segment other than the similarly-shaped Porsche Macan. But to your bigger point, if we never complained about manufacturers producing 5-door hatchbacks and 5-door wagons of mainstream cars, why is it that it bothers us so much when they do a similar trick with crossovers? Personally, I think customer choice can only be a good thing.
Subaru Impreza hatchback
I think the new Impreza’s biggest enemy is the great-looking concept that came before it and over-promised for the production car. The new Impreza may not be the best-looking car in its class, and arguably still has too many awkward details scattered around, but in my opinion it’s actually fine. And in a sense it has more continuity with its predecessors than most other cars in its segment, something I actually like – it’s certainly immediately recognizable as an Impreza.
Immediately recognizable as an Impreza used to be a compliment, but not so much anymore. Subaru hasn’t designed an interesting production car since the new millennium and to me the new Impreza hatchback may be a new low for the brand. I guess Subaru saw a vacuum in the market for an anonymous compact car to compete with the Corolla after Honda finally grew some balls and made the Civic look interesting.
Toyota Prius Prime (Plug-in hybrid)
Design-wise the exact opposite of the Impreza. I’m still trying to decide if the plug-in version looks less extreme or more extreme than the regular Prius hybrid. Maybe that’s because all the different shapes and angles mess up my ability to see the actual car. Thankfully Hyundai used the blueprints of the second generation Prius for their new IONIQ, so there’s still a green car that doesn’t look like it melted as a result of the hole in the ozone layer.
I fully agree with you here – the Prius Prime may look a bit less-awful than the non-plug-in version, but it’s still altogether a hideous-looking thing. Worst of all, though, it promises an EV-only range of just 22 miles in a time when most competitors offer 40+ miles. Apparently Prius means “coming before”, but in this case it’s more of a case of “barely keeping up”.
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