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by David Zatz. Also see:
• Reveals—Giulia, Pacifica, and more
• All auto shows at allpar
82 years after the 1924 Chrysler made its debt at the New York Auto Show, the event is still going strong — now aided by a new subway stop within reasonable walking distance. This year, there were two classic car exhibits in addition to new cars: one from the Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey, featuring two Bel Airs, a Detroit Electric, and a Chrysler 300G, and one of city police cars.
Clearly visible from the entrance and museum display was this massive Alfa Romeo banner.
Ford had their usual spot on the left of the entrance, showing off the GT on a turntable; straight ahead was Nissan, with good strong coffee on media days. Their draw was a new GT-R with 20 more horsepower and other improvements.
Further in on the left, Hyundai showed their mix of the Toyota IQ and Saturn Ion, dubbed IONIQ. (Actually it was a hybrid car, with a nice display bearing labels for the various parts.)
The next area on the left belonged to Dodge; past Nissan, kitty-corner to Dodge, was Chrysler, which showed two 300s (one being the new 2017 S with the appearance package) and a 200. Chevrolet was opposite both Chrysler and Dodge, with a red Camaro clearly visible as far back as Nissan.
The Chrysler area was dominated by the Pacifica — see our “reveals” page for more on that including a movie of us playing with the Stow ’n’ Go setup.
Much of the space was dominated by the minivan-focused PlayZone — I wonder how much that is costing them and whether Javits gave them a break on the space, since it's good for the visitors, too?
Surrounded by Hemi-powered Chargers and Challengers was a matte-white Viper on a turntable. A Dart and Durango were off to the side, in back; I didn’t notice a Caravan or Journey, which might spoil the impression of Dodge power.
If you made it all the way to the back, you could play the Viper driving game, using a real Viper. I forgot to photograph it; here’s the experience from within, when they were using a Challenger instead. It is fun but hard if you’re not a gamer.
Their choice of colors was clearly planned, while some automakers seemed to pick colors at random (Maserati and Mercedes, I’m looking at you). Mazda’s blinding red was a bit too uniform, in comparison.
Porsche cleverly used mostly white cars, with their key intro in orange. I liked their clean-cut, classy-looking, and probably relatively inexpensive display area.
Cadillac was set to impress; underneath their huge circle (resembling at least one dealership building) was a solid white light which helped make the featured SUVs look better. A callout to Cadillac for their rather good, simple food including the best cheesecake I can remember quite a long time, served gracefully and courteously, and with nothing asked in return.
Kia cleverly used a white ceiling for their entire display — something Chrysler actually used to do; it makes the cars look better by reducing the overly high contrast of car shows. It also set off their area from the rest of the show.
Buick was a sea of white, at least for their “sets.”
All that said, Jeep got the jump on everyone by using the outside area of the Javits Center for Camp Jeep, where you can... maybe you should just watch the video:
Bentley and Rolls-Royce, both German at this point, boasted garish styling chosen for its shock value — and who would imitate this look? It makes a statement — “I’m a kid who spent too much on effects for my Chrysler 300.”
Maserati can be forgiven its SUV given this rather ungraceful Bentley.
That said, it does look nice inside. Functional? Can’t tell. Probably, if they stuck to the Touareg controls.
This Buick has many more controls but they sure are packed in. Snazzy styling, though.
All the way in the back, in the North Hall, one could find the Fiats, stuffed between Subaru, Scion, Mini, and Mitsubishi.
Poor Mitsubishi was all the way in back, but had nice press bags and some interesting cars, including the famed Evo. They’re hooking up with FCA more and more lately.
Honda’s slogan is “Your dreams are our dreams.” I find that scary on many levels. I like the green paint, though. Not sure the George Jetson look works, and I wonder how you see behind you?
Toyota launched their new Prius plug-in hybrid, with double the battery distance of the original.
Audi showed off the R8. If you missed the Hemi under Glass, they will sell you a V10 Under Glass; it’s a mid-engined car so the V10 is under the glass hatchback. Maybe it’s best to show you? (The gauge cluster is all electronic, no analog gauges at all.) The one we shot was painted British racing green, which just seems wrong.
Toyota had their huge door thingie again. The oddly named C-HR concept is like a Nissan Rogue with flush headlights.
Finally, we have Volvo with both new cars and the car made famous by The Saint.
The sign near this car (in the museum display) implied that the electric car hit the US in the 1900s after being made in Germany in the 1880s, but many US companies were already selling electrics by then. Maybe they meant Detroit Electric in particular?
Chrysler and Dodge may be in the back on the upper floor, but they’re up front in the lower floor, depending on which door you take. It’s the same placement as last year and there aren’t any real surprises down there, other than seeing the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk up on rocks so you can see the underside more easily.
There was what appeared to be a Plum Crazy Purple Wrangler without any decals, right up front.
In the back is a New York City Police Department display all the way in the back of the lower hall, less extensive than last year but still quite a nice display — showing both the old green and new blue colors.
A nice addition was the TV “Car 54, Where Are You?” Plymouth. Bright red is far from the NYPD dark green; but since the show was in black and white, it looked the same on TV (gray), but could not be confused for a real police car on the street.
The companies had their catchier displays upstairs, despite high truck sales; maybe it’s because truck sales are so loyalty driven? Independent companies brought in van-camper conversions based on the Ram ProMaster, Freightliner Sprinter, and in one case, the Ford Transit; General Motors had a pickup way up on stilts so you could see the underside (with labels to show their advantages); and there were heavily modified cars and trucks from tuners. We expected a huge push from Nissan, but didn’t see much.
Finally, the Clean Air Test Track used only electric and hydrogen cars, with reps driving people as fast as they could down the short, curvy track.
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FCA may be so focused on being One Happy Company that they dropped both the Fiat and Chrysler company names (FCA Italy and FCA US), but they did keep Chrysler and Dodge in one area, Alfa and Maserati in another, and Fiat banished to the North Hall.
Go to -> Reveals: Pacifica, Trailhawk and Summit, Giulia, Levante
The New York Auto Show is at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, which is around six blocks from Penn Station, too far from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, three from the midtown ferry, and one from the M42 bus line, though we don’t recommend that for out-of-towners. If you come in from Port Authority you can now take the 7 line to 34th street, which leaves you off three blocks away. At the outside carts, hot dogs should be $2 and chicken kabobs, $4. Annual public attendance is over one million, and the display area is 950,000 square feet.
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