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The 2016 New York International Auto Show is now in full swing, with the press days wrapped up and the doors thrown open to the buying public.

The Big Apple’s motor show isn’t the biggest around, but it can always be relied on for a handful of important premieres – and this year’s event is no exception.

This week we’ve seen the new targa-styled Mazda MX-5 ‘Retractable Fastback’, the impressive Toyota Prius Prime that won’t be gracing our shores, and the all-new Subaru Impreza, among many others.

Which offerings impressed and upset the CarAdvice crew most? Catch our thoughts on the hits and misses of the 2016 New York motor show below.


Alborz Fallah, in New York

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Best Production Car: Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet

There’s nothing like a V8 convertible. And, while this may be no Mustang, it ticks so many boxes for me that I can’t help but to love it.

It’s a shame it doesn’t have the old 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, but, in the name of progress, I can still love it.

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Best Concept: Genesis New York concept

It’s not easy launching a luxury brand, and certainly the likes of Infiniti have shown just how difficult it can be. But Hyundai’s Genesis is giving it a go, and this concept that previews the G70 is absolutely stunning. Particularly the interior.

If they can make even 75 per cent of it happen, it may just work. Eventually.

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Biggest Miss: Toyota Prius Prime

For me the biggest miss of the show is also one of the biggest hits, the Toyota Prius Prime.

The most interesting car Toyota currently makes, and apparently we don’t want it. And that’s a huge miss for australia.


Matt Campbell, in New York

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Best Production Car: Hyundai Ioniq (x3!)

Good on Hyundai for hitting up the New York show with not one, not two, but three new models in the form of the Ioniq range. Sure we’d seen bits before, but with a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full EV model available, this is a show of strength from the Korean brand, a bit of a “hey Toyota, you’re losing at your own game with the Prius”.

The good news is that, unlike Toyota Australia, Hyundai Australia has the foresight to give customers the choice of the plug-in or the regular hybrid. We just hope they get the pricing right, because a $60K plug-in small car from Korea probably won’t do the brand any favours.

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Best Concept: None.

There were only a couple – the Lincoln Navigator was just a bit too try-hard for my liking, and the Genesis had some interesting elements to it (the screen inside and the gills on the front fenders), but also some questionable ones (the weird window-line hump and big plasticky section on the bonnet).

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Biggest Miss: 2017 Nissan GT-R

Really, Nissan? Really? After nearly a decade of the R35 being updated incrementally, the biggest facelift in this generation model’s history sees the halo Nissan model add just 15kW, get a couple of sharper lines and go for a more luxury vibe inside.

Question: who the hell buys a GT-R if they want a luxury car? And with the Honda NSX just around the corner with a drivetrain that is very much part of this decade – not the noughties – it seems like Nissan has lost the plot with its flagship go-fast coupe.


Mike Costello, in New York

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Best Production Car: Mazda MX-5 RF

I’m telling you, in the metal, the new hardtop Mazda MX-5 derivative looks brilliant.

That unusual roof system — it comprises four parts, most notably a raising rear section that remains otherwise fixed in place, targa-style, with the rest of the roof down — gives the car its own unique lines. Its broad flanks and flying buttresses are the bee’s knees.

Downside? This circa $38K kinda-coupe isn’t in Australia until early 2017. Oh, and we don’t know the weight penalty. Or how the new suspension tune performs. Or the headroom for tall folk. Mazda are such teases.

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Best Concept: Lincoln Navigator

Bear with me. At first I hated this bling-laden monstrosity. But then, isn’t the whole point of American luxury the celebration of excess?

Nothing is more salubrious in this regard than this oversized, gull-winged, petrol-gulping land yacht, which follows in the wheeltracks of the new (and reborn) Lincoln Continental. Hey, at least Ford’s luxury brand is being bold in the appropriate way, now.

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Biggest Miss: Australia eschews Toyota Prius Prime

So, the “most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history” premieres in the Big Apple, bringing a Tesla-style tablet screen and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to the party, and Toyota Australia reckons it isn’t worth bothering with?

Crazy. This is what the regular Prius should be. Guess the Hyundai Ioniq will have the cheap PHEV hatchback market to itself.


 

Derek Fung, in New York

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Best Production Car: Mazda MX-5 RF

Being an owner of a previous generation MX-5 with a manually removable hardtop, I’m a fan of anything that helps to expand the pool of potential MX-5 sales – the Fiat 124 Spider, last generation’s PHRT, and unlikely coupe variants are all good news.

The RF looks great in its fully enclosed form and banished the weird top-up look of the old PHRT. That said, I’m sure that the fake rear quarter window will look more obviously fake in lighter body colours.

Also worthy of a mention is the Toyota Prius Prime. It’s better looking and more advanced than the regular Prius. Is this part of Toyota’s cunning plan to conquering the PHEV market by convincing Prius loyalists into this more aesthetically pleasing plug-in hybrid? Shame it’s not for Oz.

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Best concept car: Lincoln Navigator

If Ford really wants to turn Lincoln into a self-funding luxury brand, it has to improve its Navigator. Right now it’s just too similar to the related Ford Expedition, and both drastically underperform against the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade.

Hopefully, the Navigator concept is a sign that big dollops of differentiation are on the cards. If Lincoln can keep elements like its floating shell seats and the unique interior design theme, it might have a chance of closing the gap. Last year the company sold just 11,964 Navigators against 35,921 Escalades.

The exterior, though, looks what I’d imagine the next Expedition to look like, minus, of course, the meta Lincoln-in-Lincoln grille.

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Biggest Miss: That new Acura nose

Maybe it’ll look better on vehicles that have been designed around it, but it looks atrocious on the facelifted MDX. Indeed, it looks even more hideous than the early versions of the brand’s infamous shield grille.

And let’s not forgot this oddity brought to the show by Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey. It’s the mid-engine ETV or Extra Terrestrial Vehicle made by The Car Factory based in Florida. Apparently it’ll set you back around US$90k fully built up or $US70k in kit form, and can be based on the Chevy Aveo.

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James Ward

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Best Production Car: Mazda MX-5 RF

To get this kind of mechanical ballet on a $30k weekend fun-runner, is fantastic.

The buttressed rear looks great and, in my opinion, the targa is the greatest of all roof options, so I applaud Mazda for doing something different and undeniably cool.

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Best Concept: Genesis New York Concept

That grille, those tail lamps… please make a real car like this.

How far the Koreans have come to not only produce good, honest cars but stunning pieces of rolling art to boot.

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Biggest Miss: Lincoln Navigator

I want to say Impreza, but based on Subaru’s previous form of missing the step from ‘cool concept car’ to ‘cool actual car’, I wasn’t expecting much from the look of the new one. I will instead suggest the gullwing ‘AutoSalon’ Lincoln Navigator missed its mark by about 30 years.

This would have been a great partner to Matt Trakker’s flying Camaro in the MASK cartoon!


Anthony Crawford

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Best Production Car: Mazda MX-5 RF

Normally, I’m not a fan of hardtop roof systems – believing roadsters should be equipped with soft tops only – it’s the lightweight approach for me or nothing. But not when it comes to the new Mazda MX-5 – this hardtop looks even better, with a ‘Speedster’ look that will sell like hotcakes.

I don’t believe the weight penalty will affect sales one bit. Also a fan of the R8 Spyder and the first ever C63 Cabriolet – both will be a blast.

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Best Concept: Genesis New York Concept

I’m going with this sport sedan concept from Hyundai – as not only does point towards the future styling direction for Hyundai/Genesis as a whole, but it also paves the way for the Korean brand to take on the Germans in the volume-selling compact premium segment that includes the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Jaguar’s XE is in the mix too. Hyundai has nine new models and up-dates scheduled for release in 2017.

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Biggest Miss: Toyota Prius Prime

Seems crazy for Toyota Australia not to be bringing the most advanced Prius yet down under, or is it the fact that they haven’t finished milking the Aussie market with the current range of Prius vehicles.

Seems a shame, but at least Hyundai will present us with their Ioniq plug-in electric hybrid.


Curt Dupriez

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Best Production Car: Mercedes-AMG GLC43

I’m a big fan of Benz’s middleweight ‘43’ performance approach, and 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 power motivating this handsome-if-restrained makeover of the mid-sized SUV really pushes my buttons.

A real sweet spot between the humdrum and the heavy-hitting and pricey ‘proper’ AMG gear.

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Best Concept: Hmm… slim-pickings.

Let’s see: Lincoln Navigator, Genesis New York… Actually, the Hyundai luxury brand’s march towards premium German territory will be interesting, and I hope the New York concept has some rubs-off on the Korean’s forthcoming C-Class/3 Series challenger.

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Biggest Miss: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Yes, it has bludgeoning stats and (probably) real-world performance to match, but the Camaro ZL1 is just worst kind of unbridled excess.

From its Michael Bay Transformers styling to it Corvette-pinched supercharged 6.2-litre V8, this double-choc-dipped, deep-fried serving of Americana barely sidesteps being completely formulaic, mostly thanks to a ten-speed automatic slushbox, which appears to have little point beyond winning some numbers game.


Mike Stevens

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Best Production Car: Mazda MX-5 RF

The response to this little targa-topped beauty has really taken me by surprise, in that it’s unexpectedly mixed. I’m utterly taken by the RF, but as the comments in our article show, the design has its share of detractors.

Well, look: you’re all wrong. An MX-5 coupe is never going to happen, but this thing brings us mighty close to the look. And you get a targa top in the process! Who doesn’t love a targa? I love a targa. It’ll be a bit slower, sure, but we all know the people buying it aren’t focused on that. Me either, funnily enough.

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Best Concept: Genesis G70, I mean New York Concept

Wow. Sure, it’s a concept, and sure it’s likely to change dramatically before it gets to production, but boy did Hyundai Genesis nail this.

Muscly proportions, an aggressive look at both ends, and overall a really neat evolution of the styling that Genesis is slowly but surely laying out to represent the brand.

As a more affordable alternative to the C-Class and 3 Series, the final production version of this could prove mighty tempting.

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Biggest Miss: Subaru Impreza

want Subaru to win. This is my underdog brand. It’s not an underdog in the wider market sense – Subaru was the ninth best-selling brand in Australia for February, so things could be worse. But, I’m one of those fourth-generation Liberty owners that is reminded daily of how close Subaru came to boasting one of the finest, classiest looks in the game. Even today, my little black Liberty wagon looks top of its game.

The Levorg looks good, and the new Liberty is an improvement over its predecessor. The BRZ,  although something of an anomaly in the family, is likewise an attractive thing. But the praise ends there for me. After the last Impreza couldn’t even trouble a hair on my head, I wanted this new one to blow me right over.

I think it’ll do well in the market, but as a styling exercise, it lost me. An unfortunate no-surprise-there moment, from a brand now well known for powerfully imposing concepts transforming into a comparatively lacklustre end result.


Paul Maric

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Best Production Car:  Audi R8 V10 Spyder

It’s a practical, non-rip off version of the Lamborghini Huracan.

It’s the type of understated supercar that looks incredible and if it sounds anything like the previous one, it will sound incredible as it blasts past with the roof down.

Really looking forward to having a drive of this.

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Best Concept: Lincoln Navigator

It’s a rarity, but I actually agree with Mike Costello.

Perhaps it’s my inner gangsta, or my need to drive big and over the top things. I love everything about the concept and with a bit of luck, it should carry similar lines to production — here’s hoping.

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Biggest Miss: Mazda MX-5 RF

An underpowered sports car with a heavy roof operating mechanism that will likely increase the centre of gravity and add even more body roll.

No extra power and it’s likely to be more expensive. Yeah, no thanks.

 




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