Day Two began with the World Car Awards. Backed by a surprisingly loud, club-ish soundtrack and some odd song choices (maybe intended to help attendees wake up after a very long Day One?), the Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle got the World Green Car Award, the Audi R8 Coupe took the World Performance Car Award, and the BMW 7 Series won the World Luxury Car Award. Mazda managed to take two trophies, as 2016 World Car Design of the Year and World Car of the Year, with its MX-5 Miata, and having driven the car ourselves, we heartily applaud the WCA jurors’ decision.
Next we headed to the basement, where Nissan launched the new Titan Crew Cab half-ton pickup. The new truck is over a foot shorter than the Titan XD and will use a new 390-hp 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission. The Endurance powertrain will also be offered for the XD, the 2016 version of which should arrive in dealer showrooms at the end of next month, starting at just over $35k. A V6 option as well as Single and King Cab versions of the Crew Cab half-ton will be announced later in the model year.
Mitsubishi took a dramatic approach to its press conference, using actors to portray a college professor and a couple, all shopping the debuting 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The geeky professor’s pre-dealership-visit research turned him into a salesperson as he enthusiastically answered the couple’s questions about the PHEV’s powertrain, which features a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack as well as a 2.0-liter gas engine and an electric motor mounted on each axle that collaborate to deliver power to all four wheels through a Lancer Evolution—based Super All-Wheel Control System. Also on hand was the new 2017 Mirage G4 sedan. The sedan shares the hatchback Mirage’s general style, but offers a new face, with a much larger grille and more aggressive-looking bracketed foglights. Offering high efficiency and low CO2 emissions, the Mirage G4 will also offer support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at a very low price point.
Volvo got another chance to show off its sleek super-sedan, the S90, yesterday, and like all times before, we’re smitten. Like the XC90, the S90’s headlights are graced with Volvo’s “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlight design, but unlike that hulking SUV, the S90 is all about quiet elegance. Of course, if this car only had a long wheelbase and an understated, but luxurious, interior to offer, it wouldn’t be a true Volvo. Luckily, the S90 upholds the Swedish manufacturer’s devotion to safety; the Volvo S90 comes standard with semi-autonomous driving technology and large-animal detection… just in case you’re greeted around a bend by a moose or two in the road.
Masahiro Moro, president and CEO of Mazda North America, was still beaming as he began Mazda’s press conference by noting that “Building cars that stand out from the pack is in [Mazda’s] DNA.” He then introduced the new MX-5 Miata RF, which sports a retractable targa hardtop that looks absolutely fantastic, open or closed, and a retractable rear window. The North American RF will use Mazda’s 2.0-liter SkyActiv engine, and we can’t wait to drive it. Moro, who credits his youthful looks despite 30 years with Mazda to the fact that he drives fun cars for a living, also introduced the 2016 CX-9, which gets a new turbocharged 2.5-liter SkyActiv engine with 20% better mileage than the old engine.
Honda’s center display prominently featured a Hatchback concept of its already legendary Civic. The hatchback Civic has traditionally been forbidden fruit on U.S. soil, but Honda is excited about the possibility of bringing it back stateside, along with an Si and Type R Civic in the future. In terms of exciting Hondas already committed to a United States showing, we were interested to learn about Honda’s entry into Red Bull Global Rallycross. This Civic, of course, isn’t really a Civic (it features all-wheel drive and roughly 600 horsepower), but regardless, we’re looking forward to its racing debut in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 21st and 22nd.
Tesla has dominated electric vehicle news ever since its Model S started showing off insane and ludicrous speed, but Chevy is prepared to offer a more reasonable and economical all-electric car, and it’s going to beat Tesla to it. Designed to compete with Tesla’s upcoming Model 3, the Bolt will offer a 200-mile range and start at $37,500 — it could drop to less than $30,000 once you factor in state rebates and the U.S. government’s $7,500 tax credit on electric vehicles. Building a competitive car is difficult enough, but getting that car to market before the competition can be paramount to a model’s success, and according to one Chevrolet representative, that’s exactly what the Bolt will do.
What’s your favorite car from the 2016 New York International Auto Show?
– Matt Smith and Steve Halloran