Highlights from the show; pictures from the show floor
1 April 2010

As somewhere to visit New York beats Detroit by an immeasurable distance. Yet in recent years the Big Apple’s motor show has been the poor relation of Motown’s despite the organisers’ efforts to spice up the annual event on Eleventh Avenue in Manhatten.

This year’s event did, at least, have an international flavour. Merc was out in force early on showing us the remarkable looking SLS GT3 race car that anyone will be able to buy off the shelf by the end of the year to start campaigning in various events in 2011. More significantly insiders were whispering that the GT3’s lighter and slightly altered body will form the basis of a hardcore SLS Black for the road.

See the live New York motor show pictures

More relevant to most of us was the launch of the restyled R-class. Yes it looks a bit less clunky than the under-selling old one but it’s still not going to set the world alight I’d say - even if Merc sales boss Joachim Schmidt described it as the ‘world’s sportiest and most versatile crossover’.

Ford boss Alan Mulally kicked off the show with a breakfast keynote speech and his body language, patter and the expert way he fielded questions confirmed him once again as the motor industry’s smoothest CEO. There’s a lot of substance to the bloke though and he talked expertly about the electrification of the car. There’s an electric Focus arriving next year, plus Ford will also be launching two new hybrids and a plug-in hybrid in the next couple of years. Later on he also launched another interesting tie up with Microsoft to help us manage electricity and optimise when and where to charge EVs.

The other domestic car makers had little to show, though that said the Chevy Cruze Eco was interesting. Pick of the offerings or me was the Cadillac CTS-V estate, with enough firepower to give the hot Audi and Merc wagons something of a fright. This car has been on the cards for a while, we hear, but delayed because of GM's financial troubles.

In the metal it's a handsome effort and, like the CTS saloon, it appears far more desirable and better constructed than previous Caddies. The problem is that this version was originally conceived for European tastes as Americans just don't buy station wagons. But European buyers are voting with their feet against any new Caddy. Even GM insiders aren't sure what the future holds for Cadillac in Europe. My guess is that it may end up being a Russia only brand in the end, so GM better hope that China finally starts 'getting' estates or else it may have extremely limited appeal.

Then again Toyota’s youth-oriented offshoot Scion can virtually count itself as a domestic player. It launched two new cars here. The iQ, virtually identical to the one we know and billed as a ‘Premium Micro sub-compact’. That’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s a terrific little thing and you can see the young trendies in New York or LA taking to it just as they have done with the Mini.

Scion’s other launch was the all-new TC coupe. In an overblown launch you thought they were reinventing the wheel with it. In reality it’s an undistinguished looking small coupe that you wouldn’t look at twice in the UK.

The new Volvo S60 got its US debut, just days after the announcement that Chinese company Geely will be owning it soon. Who knows what will happen to Volvo and whether it will flourish away from Ford. But the S60 itself looks terrific, as will, no doubt, the forthcoming estate version. It’s got a lot of appeal so I hope that the drive can live up to the looks in a way that Volvo’s haven’t recently.

Hyundai is showing a lot of confidence in the US, as well it might as the new Sonata is proving to be a good seller. It added to the range today with a new 2.0-litre turbo version, which with 274hp does away with the need to have a V6. Of more interest though was the hybrid version which, with the latest lithium polymer battery tech and a six-speed conventional auto, rather than a CVT, and 39mpg (in American money) should give Toyota and Ford’s hybrid saloons some stiff competition.

It was left to Kia though to leave the best to last, though. The Korean company unveiled the new Optima, which will replace the unremarkable Magentis towards the end of the year and is hands down the star of the show.

It's a huge step forward for the company too, which is making huge strides forward in its styling under ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

You could almost see the Optima wearing an Audi badge. Its sharp and elegant styling won quite a few favourable comments when the rug was whipped off at the press conference. It's similarly elegant inside too and the quality of materials seems to be a massive leap forward over the Magentis. When it does go on sale in the UK it's up against the Passat, Mondeo and Insignia which is a tough ask for any car, especially when the Kia brand still unconvincing to company car drivers. Still this seems exactly the sort of product that will help the company gain even bigger footholds in Europe.

Schreyer told us that he'd like to do an estate and coupe version too. Which is designer speak for, 'Well I've designed then I just have to let the marketing guys decide if we can sell them.' They'd be mad not to do both of these extra variants because they're bound to look impressive if the saloon is anything to go on.

Chas Hallett

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New York motor show 2010

BMW Alpina B7 Allrad revealed, Cadillac's 556bhp estate, Chevrolet Cruze Evo and Rs models, Ford and Microsoft team up, New york show: Hyundai Equus, Hyundai Sonata hybrid details, New York motor show: Infiniti QX56, Kia Magentis to get new name, New York motor show: Lincoln MKZ hybrid, New Mercedes R-class revealed, Mercedes SLS GT3 - pictures and details, Subaru Impreza WRX STI saloon, Wide-bodied Impreza revealed, Scion iQ launched in US, Suzuki Kizashi Sport uinveiled.

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Comments
15

31 March 2010

I would love to be in New York to experience this but I would have been very annoyed at travelling all the way over to see the Infiniti dogs dinner unveiled.

Who exactly from Autocar is over reporting back for us?

31 March 2010

Chas Hallett is there

Jim Holder

Editorial Director, Autocar

31 March 2010

[quote Jon Hardcastle]I would love to be in New York to experience this but I would have been very annoyed at travelling all the way over to see the Infiniti dogs dinner unveiled. [/quote]

Infiniti's motto: To ugliness and beyond!

31 March 2010

[quote nicksheele]

[quote Jon Hardcastle]I would love to be in New York to experience this but I would have been very annoyed at travelling all the way over to see the Infiniti dogs dinner unveiled. [/quote]

Infiniti's motto: To ugliness and beyond!

[/quote]Why copy Ssangyongs motto, can't they come up with something unique?

Well done Chas, keep the reports coming.

31 March 2010

Just in reference to the last pic- im guessing the

"Chevrolet Cruze Eco will average 48mph on the motorway" means 48mpg

1 April 2010

Autocars pictures look a bit blurry......

The Scion IQ?! Isn't this "de-valuing" the Aston Martin Cygnet!? I can see the logic in Aston producing a car the size of the Cygnet and I'll give the project the benefit of the doubt but to rebrand the IQ for a third time to what I understand is a cheaper, youth brand, can the IQ really successfully straddle all markets? There'll be a Chevrolet version soon in the USA I bet....

1 April 2010

You know, I love the look of Infiniti's saloons now, they've got that slinky curvaceousness that marks them out as the Japanese Jaguar to Lexus' Mercedes, but the SUVs and, especially, this tarted-up Patrol, are a mistake. Kudos to Peter Schreyer as well, that Kia looks great (if anonymous). If it's RWD and based on the Genesis platform, I wish them well with it. However, looking at the side profile, noting especially how far back the front axle is and how long the front overhang is (and how short the distance between the wheel and the A-pillar is), I suspect it's probably FWD, in which case, I say please go away and die quietly, or come back after a total reinvention. Also, I wish they'd just bite the bullet and market the Equus. Frankly, Hyundai needs a third brand, like Infiniti/Lexus: Hyundai, even if they made all the small cars Kias, would never have the prestige necessary. Unlike Skoda, they have no glorious past to build on (the original 1920s Superb really was a fantastic car for its time).

I wish Lincoln would sack their stylist, too - evidently they think that, with Pontiac gone, they need to do the buck-toothed bit. Also, killing the LS and replacing it with a tarted-up Volvo S80 isn't going to work: it seems ludicrous that America's second prestige brand has no RWD competitor (and specifically no 7-series rival, a la Caddy STS).

1 April 2010

[quote Rover P6 3500S]udos to Peter Schreyer as well, that Kia looks great (if anonymous). If it's RWD and based on the Genesis platform, I wish them well with it. However, looking at the side profile, noting especially how far back the front axle is and how long the front overhang is (and how short the distance between the wheel and the A-pillar is), I suspect it's probably FWD, in which case, I say please go away and die quietly, or come back after a total reinvention[/quote] I've already responded to this on the thread about the Magentis. Head there and you'll find the answer ye seek. Unless you're looking for the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow.

1 April 2010

[quote theonlydt]Unless you're looking for the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow.[/quote]

Hahahaha!!!

1 April 2010

[quote Rover P6 3500S]Hahahaha!!![/quote] Your answer is incorrect I'm afraid. I suggest you spend the next 3 years immersing yourself in classic British comedy, especially films from 1975 filmed on a shoestring that can be quoted ad verbatim by any self-respecting British male.

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