Newyork International Auto Show
NEW YORK—It seems like barely any time has passed since our last major auto show, but the world’s auto makers are back in Manhattan this week for the 2017 New York International Auto Show. You’ll be able to read (and watch) our take on many of the new vehicles on display in the coming days, but what follows are our picks for the best new models you’ll be able to see at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, starting today when the auto show opens to the public.
Outstanding in the Automotive Technology field: Cadillac Supercruise
Since this is a technology site, we’ll kick things off with the best new automotive technology of this year’s NYIAS. That honor belongs to Cadillac, which is joining the semi-autonomous driving fray with its new “level 2” system, called Supercruise. We have driven some pretty good semi-autonomous systems recently: Audi, Volvo, and Tesla all spring immediately to mind. These use a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assists to keep your car on track on the highway, backing up the human driver to counteract fatigue and provide a little digital helping hand on long drives. Supercruise combines those two driver assists with a few extra neat features that mark the next step on the road to fully self-driving vehicles.
Porsche and Microsoft team up for Forza content, competitions
Porsche fans who can’t afford to put one in their garage don’t have to totally miss out on the experience. They’ll have more opportunities to get behind the virtual wheel going forward. Earlier this week, we reported that Porsche cars (and not just RUF models) will feature in the Gran Turismo series for the first time. Now, at the New York Auto Show, Porsche and Microsoft have sealed up a six-year partnership focusing on racing games and eSports competitions.
To start, Forza Horizon 3 now offers a download of an exclusive Porsche package containing seven current and historical cars. They include the 550A Spyder, 718 RS 60 Spyder, 911 Carrera RS 2.7(seen above), 993 911 GT2, Cayman GT4, 911 GT3 RS, and Panamera Turbo. Also, the partnership will focus on the Forza Racing Championship (ForzaRC) series based on Forza Motorsport 6. Registration for the 2017 ForzaRC season is now open, and qualifying begins on May 1.
The Honda Clarity EV doesn’t make any sense
At this year’s New York Auto Show, Honda launched the Clarity Fuel Cell’s counterparts, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. It makes sense that Honda would expand its alternative-fuel model to encompass electricity, since hydrogen isn’t a sure thing. What doesn’t make sense is why Honda would enter the EV game with such an uncompetitive vehicle.
When compared with current electric cars in the marketplace, the Clarity Electric comes up short in both range and price. The Honda will go only 80 miles on a charge, and the company will charge you a price in the mid-$30,000s for the privilege. Both the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV outperform the Clarity Electric with ranges of 107 and 93 miles respectively, and price tags in the low-$30,000 realm. But the bigger issue is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which offers a whopping 238 miles for just over $37,000. The Clarity is a pitiful value proposition from a range standpoint.
Koenigsegg Agera RS1 offers 1,360 hp, does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds
Koenigsegg revealed the Agera RS in Geneva back in 2015, and swiftly sold all 25 examples that would be built. Now, at the New York Auto Show, the Swedish super car manufacturer has unveiled the special Agera RS1, named such by its owner, who, with his son, had a hand in customizing its build.
The Agera RS1 weighs just 3,075 pounds, and its twin-turbo, 5.0-liter V8 makes a ridiculous 1,360 horsepower and 1,011 pound-feet of torque. That means it’ll sprint from a stop to 60 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, and to 186 mph in 12.3 seconds. It’s not just fast in a straight line, though. Thanks to an elongated front and rear double wishbone suspension, active damping, and downforce from its dramatic aerodynamic bits, it can pull up to 1.8 lateral Gs screaming through a corner.
Hyundai adds tech to Blue Link, offers it free for 3 years
Hyundai has not only thrown more technology at its 2018 lineup, the tech will be less expensive. At the New York Auto Show, the South Korean automaker announced that Blue Link remote services will be free for three years on the 2017 Ioniq and on all 2018 models, starting with the Sonata, Elantra GT, and Santa Fe Sport.
The remote services include all three packages currently offered as options with a Blue Link subscription: Connected Care, Remote, and Guidance. Among the included features are automatic collision notification, a monthly vehicle health report, remote lock and unlock, stolen vehicle recovery assistance, and remote start with climate control. That last function gets an update for 2018 that allows control of the rear defroster and heated side mirrors on the coming Sonata and Elantra GT. The whole shebang tallies 10 features in the Connected Care Package, 12 features in the Remote Package, and 3 features in the Guidance Package.
Audi Sport launches limited edition R8 but doesn’t add any more performance
Audi recently announced that its Quattro division had changed its name to Audi Sport, and that it had a number of new models on the way. One of those models to fall under its umbrella of responsibility is the Audi R8. Today, at the New York Auto Show, the performance arm is showing the limited Audi Sport Edition of the Audi R8.
The rorty, mid-engined sports coupe’s V10 seemingly already has enough power, as this special treatment appears to be mostly cosmetic. It starts with a set of 20-inch, forged aluminum wheels wrapped in 245/30 front and 305/30 rear tires. The brake calipers get a high-gloss red finish, while the V10 Plus version’s brakes have an anthracite finish. The car’s signature sideblades and side mirrors get a contrasting red finish regardless of exterior color. The front spoiler, grille, and diffuser insert are titanium black, and the tailpipe trims are finished in gloss black.
The 2018 Kia Rio makes a quiet debut in New York
While the 2017 New York Auto Show might be dominated by another variant of the Dodge Challenger, the new 2018 Kia Rio sedan proves that the show isn’t all about horsepower and quarter-mile times. We saw the latest iteration of the littlest Kia last fall in Paris, but we all know how much America loves sedans, so the Korean automaker saved the four-door debut for the US.
The Rio gets a ground-up redesign for what will be its fourth generation. The design predictably looks like a shrunken version of the midsize Optima. Its handsome, if not exactly groundbreaking. All Rios ride on 15-inch wheels. Although they provide plenty of sidewall to soften the ride, they look just a little too small for the car. Both the sedan and five-door models are slightly longer than the previous models, meaning there’s a bit of extra leg and trunk space than before. Inside, like the current Optima, expect a stark improvement over the previous generation when it comes to fit, finish, and interior materials. From the A pillar forward, the Rio sedan is essentially the same as the five-door. Notably for the segment, top-trim Rios have a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Why the 2018 Honda Civic Si only makes 205 horsepower
When Honda revealed the output of the 2018 Civic Si sedan and coupe, the world was a bit confused. The car wasn’t any more powerful than the 2015 Civic Si with “just” 205 horsepower. And its torque rating of 192 pound-feet was only somewhat better than that car’s. Just as surprising was the fact that both numbers were well below the 306-horsepower Type R. However, according to Honda representative Davis Adams, there are reasons for Honda taking this path.
For one thing, going with a high-output 1.5-liter engine was a matter of affordability and which team developed the car. While it may have been possible to detune a Type R 2.0-liter engine, the cost would have still been high to use the engine, even in low-output form. Honda wanted to keep the price tag affordable. In addition, the Si, a North American car, was developed by the American Honda team with the standard sedan and coupe, both of which are primarily designed for the US. The Japanese team handled the hatchback and Type R, and decided from the get-go they would focus on the 2.0-liter turbo engine. Adams told us that the team in Ohio working on the sedan and coupe spent most of their time with the 1.5-liter engine, and knew that they could get more out of it.
Honda rounds out Clarity series with Electric, Plug-In Hybrid models
Late last year, Honda released the first in its trio of zero-emissions vehicles with the Clarity Fuel Cell. Today, at the New York Auto Show, the Japanese automaker has introduced its two siblings, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.
The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is the only of the three mid-size sedans to launch nationwide. Its 17-kWh battery pack will provide an expected 42 miles of all-electric driving range, and recharge in about 2.5 hours on 240 volts. Its electric motor provides 181 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. Its 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine generates electricity and provides extra motive power when needed, and allows an extended total driving range expected to exceed 330 miles. The plug-in version offers three driving modes – Normal, Econ, and Sport – plus an HV mode that maintains charge. Expected EPA mile-per-gallon-equivalent rating is a combined 105 MPGe.
Hyundai returns to flashier design with 2018 Sonata
Compared to the stylistic achievement of the 2009 Hyundai Sonata, many observers viewed the redesigned 2015 Sonata as a step backward. To right the ship, Hyundai tasked its North American Design Center with restoring some razzle-dazzle to the brand’s midsize contender for 2018.
The creative team made changes throughout, the biggest development being the “cascading grille” at the front, cribbed from the Elantra. The Sonata Sport 2.0T grille gets a silver mesh treatment and vertical LED DRLs tucked in the triangular bumper vents at the corners. The other models wear chrome bars inside the grille, with vertical and horizontal LED DRLs at the corners. Slimmer headlights stretch around the front edges, with the hood sporting deeper chiseled surfaces to emphasize the injection of style.
Subaru Ascent three-row SUV set for 2018 launch
Subaru revealed a three-row SUV concept Wednesday at the New York Auto Show in a surprise move that signals its return to the large utility segment in 2018. Called the Ascent concept, the show car had a turbocharged boxer 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and will be revealed in production trim next fall at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Ascent will be built in Lafayette, Ind., and is exclusive to the North American market. It will have room for up to eight passengers, offer all-wheel drive, and will be based on a modified version of Subaru’s latest global platform. A hybrid is possible on those underpinnings, but a Subaru spokesman wouldn’t comment on that prospect. Subaru has not had a three-row ute since the Tribeca was killed off in 2014.
Toyota FT-4X concept is an off-roader for Millennials
The FJ is dead, long live the FT. Toyota’s retro-inspired off-roader may be a few years gone, but the Japanese automaker wants to show that it’s still interested in the segment. At the 2017 New York Auto Show, Toyota unveiled the FT-4X concept, short for “Future Toyota-Four-wheel-drive Crossover.” While vehicles like the 4Runner and Tacoma are aimed at more hardcore off-road enthusiasts, the FT-4X is aimed squarely at city dwellers who want something more capable than a RAV4 or C-HR.
The FT-4X was designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research, in Newport Beach, Calif. It’s the same group that penned the Concept-i that debuted at this year’s CES. The basic framework was a vehicle that could go anywhere at a moment’s notice, as Calty says Millennials love the outdoors but rarely plan ahead. There are a number of design features that make the FT-4X a bit of a Swiss Army knife.
Maserati Ghibli gets blacked-out Nerissimo special edition
Following in the footsteps of the Nissan Midnight package and the Chevrolet Midnight Edition trucks, Maserati is jumping on the bandwagon, and its smallest sedan, the Ghibli, is now available with a limited-edition black trim package called “Nerissimo.” In English, that translates simply to “extremely black.” The package is available on the base Ghibli, Ghibli S, and Ghibli S Q4 models, and only 450 cars will come equipped with it. On the outside, it adds the following black-painted items: 20-inch wheels, door handles, window trim, and grille. Inside, the car gets black leather with red stitching, and a badge indicating that the Ghibli is one of 450.
2018 Buick Enclave: How engineers made it larger, lighter, more sophisticated
Buick used the unveiling of the 2018 Enclave at the New York Auto Show to introduce its new range-topping Avenir sub-brand to the world. With fancier interior finishes and exterior details, it’s Buick’s latest effort to make itself a proper luxury brand (or perhaps re-establish itself as such). However, lost in the Avenir song and dance is the fact that the 2018 Buick Enclave is a (very) long-awaited all-new model regardless of the trim level one selects. Like the Chevrolet Traverse upon which it is based, the new Enclave is bigger than the vehicle it replaces but considerably lighter, by about 400 pounds.
Demon’s NHRA competition ban: Good talking point, bad feature
One of the biggest headlines for the Dodge Challenger Demon is that, in stock form, it’s so fast that the NHRA won’t allow it to compete in the organization’s events. It’s the ultimate humble brag, “I can’t drag race my car because it’s so fast it was banned by the sanctioning body.” Certainly Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA brands in North America, was excited. He told the press that he hugged the guy that brought him the letter banning the Demon from competition. Unfortunately, the reality is that not being NHRA-legal is kind of silly, and frustrating for owners who would want to actually race.
Before we go too much farther, we should explain exactly why the Demon is illegal for NHRA competition. The car is capable of a sub-10-second quarter-mile time both on racing fuel and 91-octane pump gas. Cars that fast are required by the NHRA to have a full, certified roll cage, and the Demon doesn’t. Now there are certainly ways to get around this. The most obvious would be for a Demon owner to have a company install a roll cage. Using less grippy tires than the barely street-legal Nitto cheater slicks would probably help bring that time down, too. There’s also the option of putting the car into Eco mode, and, yes, the Demon has one. In Eco mode, the Demon makes just 500 horsepower, and trips the lights at the quarter-mile in 11.59 seconds, which will avoid the roll-cage requirement.
2018 Jaguar F-Type gets four-cylinder turbo engine option
At the 2017 New York Auto Show, Jaguar has revealed the final piece of the 2018 F-Type puzzle: a four-cylinder entry-level model. It rounds out an expanded lineup of F-Type variants that have all gotten a bit of a facelift and some additional content for 2018, which we told you about back in January. But the little four-cylinder is definitely the biggest surprise.
Underhood is the state-of-the-art 2.0-liter, turbocharged, gasoline-fueled Ingenium engine, which is making its way into several Jaguar-Land Rover products for the first time in the 2018 model year. It has a full suite of contemporary technologies, like a variable-lift electrohydraulic valvetrain that eliminates the need for a traditional throttle, an integrated exhaust manifold, and a dual-scroll turbocharger.