City Slicker – New York International Auto Show Recap, Part 1 – What’s New

Nothing says driving quite like New York City. The jams, the honking, the stop and go traffic all add up to one wild experience. Maybe more like a torture test, but you might not have fun doing it. Maybe I was a little off about NYC driving, but the Big Apple is an ideal meeting spot for OEM’s and enthusiasts alike to rendezvous and get an up-close look at the fresh new designs manufacturers have to offer. Since the Mishimoto R&D facility is only an hour train ride away, we took advantage of this opportunity to join the hundreds of other journalists descending on the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan.

So, What’s New?

To be honest, not too much in the realm of the enthusiast. 2019 is a bit of an “in-between” year when it comes to new releases in New York. There have been some highly anticipated launches this year, but Detroit had the pleasure of debuting those. This show tends to lean more toward the addition of special editions and anticipated trims. There was barely even a whisper about the mid-engined Corvette.

Since we have already seen plenty of the releases for this year, New York is the time for honoring some of those releases with World Car awards. Jaguar swept the World Car, World Car Design, and World Green Car of the Year with the sleek (and almost hot-hatch-esque) I-Pace.

Toyota kicked off the day with their North American Vice President and General Manager, Jack Hollis, taking the stage to give us a look at both sides of the practicality spectrum with the 2020 Yaris hatchback and Highlander.

Jack Hollis reviews the new features on the 2020 Toyota Highlander. This new generation sits an all-new frame along with an option for an AWD Hybrid combo, not to mention a new interior and exterior color. Like many other companies and executives this year, Hollis used part of his presentation to reinforce the concept that these vehicles are assembled in the US and honored three workers from Toyota’s Indiana plant.

Members of the media swarm to get more insight on the Yaris hatch and new Highlander from Jack Hollis after Toyota’s presentation. What seems like the release of two pedestrian vehicles actually turns into a huge splash given the popularity of mid-SUVs, especially the Highlander, which gets more of the spotlight.

Where some manufacturers are limiting, or just downright ditching cars all together (I’m looking at you Ford), others are getting a bit crafty. We did still see some new faces on familiar names. Hyundai took a page from BMW and Audi’s book with the “4-door coupe” styling on the 2020 Sonata. That’s not the only thing they were inspired by though. This new Sonata features a smartphone-based digital key with a credit-card-shaped backup.

The 2020 Sonata will be powered by two options of in-line 4’s. A N/A 2.5L producing 191 hp, or the 180 hp 1.6T with the potential for some more grunt. Hyundai even teased at the possibility of an N-trimmed variant.

Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, released the latest trim level to their hard-hitting Stinger lineup this year. Nesting itself between the GT and GT1 packages, the GTS trim offers Stinger owners a slew of cosmetic upgrades, including sprinklings of carbon fiber, and even some suede throughout the interior. The spotlight on the GTS edition is the drift mode. This allows the driver to opt between a 60%, 80%, or full fishtailing 100% of the Stinger’s 365 hp sent to the rear wheels.

It even comes in our favorite color!

Mazda brought interesting news to their NYIAS unveiling. I know I wasn’t the only one hoping for a resurrection of the Mazdaspeed 3. The newest 3 hatchback now donning the ‘AWD’ emblem joined the CX-5 on stage as President of Mazda North America, Jeff Guyton, announced the arrival of SkyActivD.

This might seem like a step backward in the terms of automotive technology compounded with the scandals revolving around diesels in Europe, however, Guyton is confident that the small diesel market is expanding here in the States. The 2.2L sequential twin-turbo under the hood of the CX-5 delivers 168 hp with a whopping 290 ft/lb of torque.

Speaking of torque, Ford celebrated National Mustang day by improving the performance of their only vehicle left in the car segment. Not to upstage the latest Shelby Cobra, but Ford developed more-or-less a parts bin EcoBoost Mustang known as the High Performance 2.3L. The term parts bin might have a bit of a negative connotation, but it was a similar recipe for BMW’s brilliant 1M, so why couldn’t it work for Ford?

The Focus might be gone, but the heart of the RS lives on. Using this variant of the 2.3L EcoBoost, Ford Performance Engineers incorporated a new turbo, which brings the power to 330 and torque to 350 ft/lbs. This combo allows for 90% of the peak torque to be available from 2500-5300 RPM through a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.

Ford had the track, but more specifically autocross in mind with the High Performance 2.3L. The sharp handling of the S550 combined with lightness of the screaming flat torque curve in the RS EcoBoost should make for one exhilarating combination. Let’s just hope they have their head gaskets sorted this time around.

The uprated power isn’t the only perk to this pack. Handling was a main objective in this package, and Ford spared no expense. The 2.3L High Performance Pack incorporates the brakes and aero from the GT as well as equipping MagneRide for a dynamic ride. Coupled with the Torsen limited-slip differential, and Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires, you would be able to keep up with the V8s. Especially after a few Mishimoto bolt-ons.

With electric vehicles growing in popularity, it’s not much of a surprise that we see manufacturers taking advantage of the ridiculous amount of torque to produce lightning-powered sports cars. One of the newest players in the game is the Mullen Qiantu K50 from China. The sleek shell contains twin liquid-cooled electric motors, which provide the driver with 430 hp and 560 ft/lbs of torque.

While we did spend a good portion of the day bouncing around as many of the unveilings as possible, any auto show wouldn’t be complete without aimlessly wandering through the manufacturers’ displays just to get a look at the “old news” and throwbacks. Stay tuned for an up-close at the earlier 2019 releases.

Gee, I wonder what that could be…

Thanks for Reading!

-Nick

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