The Most Popular Vehicles From The 2018 New York Auto Show

The New York Auto show was very exciting this year as there were new products being offered from many manufacturers. Some of the things that caught my eye was what Volkswagen was bringing back to market and I must say that I liked it. It is also good to see that Lincoln has decided to get serious about what they will be offering as Ford’s luxury line. With that said, I will share with you what I feel are the most exciting cars from this years show. 

There were plenty of bold new concepts, as well as, redesigns of top-selling cars and SUVs.  The popular vehicles like the Toyota RAV 4, Nissan Altima, and Acura RDX received  major redesigns debuting on the world stage.

Cadillac’s XT4 luxury compact SUV made a grand entrance as it was unveiled for the global market. There were also other popular models that got slight upgrades but they still offered a significant statement  for the automotive market. Kia updated the Optima midsized sedan as well as announcing that advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking will come as standard equipment.

Besides seeing all the styling and amenity offerings you could not help but notice that automakers are continuing to pursue broader trends in the industry such as electrification, automation, and more flexible ownership options (probably due to the fact that vehicles like these continue to become more expensive).  Jaguar made its debut with the all-electric I-Pace SUV which was created to compete with the Tesla Model X. Audi also debuted the new A6 which offers near-autonomous driving capabilities and lastly, the Lexus UX made an appearance for the first time in North America. The thing here is that the UX will be available by subscription which is the new trend in leasing. Subscriptions can offer maintenance and insurance as well as a hassle-free approach to swapping out your current car for a different one.

Each and every one of these vehicles are significant because they give a glimpse as to the new designs and technology coming to your dealer in the upcoming years.

Starting of this list is the 2019 Toyota RAV4. This small and sporty SUV has been around for sometime and Toyota has decided to improve it’s market share with this new model that has a completely redesigned interior and exterior. 

RAV 1

2019 Toyota RAV4

Rav interSome other highlights of this RAV4 include:

  • Regular and hybrid models continue
  • More power and better fuel economy
  • More advanced safety features included on all models
  • Apple CarPlay which is a car radio that acts as a controller for an iPhone.
  • Enhanced off-road capability – finally! 
  • Gas model available late 2018. Hybrid model in Winter 2019

Next is the 2019 Nissan Altima which is Nissan’s entry in the extremely competitive midsized sedan class. 

Nissan 1

2019 Nissan Altima

Nissan 2The Altima is Nissan’s entry in the extremely competitive midsized sedan class. This car hasn’t been fully redesigned since 2012 and the recent redesigns to the Accord from Honda as well as the Camry from Toyota put pressure on Nissan to respond.  Some of the highlights on this vehicle are as follows: 

  • Complete exterior and interior design
  • Available all wheel drive
  • Semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist system that manages acceleration, steering and braking
  • Exclusive variable compression engine technology
  • Improved standard infotainment system   
  • The 2019 Altima will be available in the Fall of 2018

Next is a mid sized truck concept from a manufacturer that has not offered a small truck in the USA since 1984. It is none other than the rugged Volkswagen Tanoak Pickup Truck Concept.

v1

Volkswagen Tanoak Pickup Truck Concept

v2

v3Some of the Tanoak’s highlights are:

  • It is the first pickup truck from VW in the United State in more than 34 years
  • Crew cab and short bed offerings
  • Spun off from the 2018 Atlas mid-sized SUV

Since trucks that aren’t built in the U.S. face high tariffs some automakers with popular pickups in foreign markets have started building them in the United States and that is why every time a foreign automaker brings a truck into America, it’s big news. The Tanoak would be made in America at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant.

Hatchback cars are becoming more popular as people seek the practicality of the SUV body style in a smaller size car. The old Corolla hatchback dated back to the days of the Scion offerings from Toyota but now there is an all-new model. 

t1

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

t2The points of interest on this Corolla are as follows:

  • Completely new exterior and interior
  • Dropped the iM branding and simply called a Corolla Hatchback
  • Standard 8-inch touch screen
  • Available with Apple CarPlay
  • More standard advanced safety features (are you noticing a trend here?)
  • Available the Summer of 2018

The Corolla hatchback will be available in both sporty SE and XSE trims which is Toyota’s efforts to capture the interest of enthusiastic drivers. It also comes standard with a sport-tuned suspension and a six-speed manual transmission with downshift rev-matching for smooth gear changes. 

Did you know that Cadillac moved their headquarters from Detroit to New York City in order to stake out their own upscale identity and to separate themselves from other GM brands? The main objective here is for the King of Cars to recapture it’s long lost crown by beating BMW and Mercedes at their own game. Unfortunately, people aren’t buying Cadillacs at the same rate they’re buying it’s European competitors but that may change as this crossover makes a huge statement in a small and luxurious space. 

Caddie 1

2019 Cadillac XT4

Caddie 2Now, I will admit that the photograph of this interior may not be how the interior will look but I was not able to locate actual photographs of the inside of this crossover. Some of the items that make this Cadillac special are:

  • This is an entirely new vehicle as it is Cadillac’s first luxury compact crossover 
  • New 2.0 liter turbo-four offering cylinder deactivation as well as 237 horsepower and an estimated 30 mpg on the highway.  Not to shabby! 
  • Luxury as well as Sport Trims
  • New infotainment system with a rotary controller
  • Starting price of $35,790 which includes destination (US only)
  • Available in the Fall of 2018 

The one big focus missing from Cadillac’s strategy is safety as Cadillac still makes you pay extra for many advanced safety features that come as standard equipment in less expensive cars such as the Toyota Corolla.  

SUVs and trucks continue to become very popular choices for most buyers and because of that, automakers are reaching deep into their existing product portfolios to find new variations that will appeal to all types of customers. VW showcased two variations of their Atlas 3-row SUV and you already saw the pickup truck version and here is the 2-row version. 

VW SUV1

Volkswagen’s Cross Sport 2-Row Midsize SUV Concept

VW SUV 2Some of the highlights of this sporty SUV are shared with the pickup truck version but here are two that are specific to this vehicle:

  • Sporty 2-Row version of the existing 3-Row Atlas SUV
  • Production to begin in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the early part of 2019

This concept has a 355 horsepower V6/electric motor with plug-in charging. VW also discussed a potential mild-hybrid version with the same powertrain that will produce 310 horsepower. No one knows exactly what powertrains will be included in the actual production models as that has not yet been announced.

Jaguar’s Tesla fighter initially debuted at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show but it also received many accolades at the North American debut in New York. The I-Pace will compete with the Tesla Model X as one of the only all-electric luxury SUVs on the market.

Jag 1

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

 

Jag 2The highlights of this all electric luxury SUV include:

  • Jaguar’s all-electric Tesla fighter
  • First luxury vehicle in Google’s self-driving Waymo inventory
  • 240 mile driving range
  • 0 to 60 MPH time of 4.5 seconds
  • $69,500 starting price 
  • Projected availability in the latter part of 2018 

While the Tesla has more impressive specs some of which include that it can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.9 seconds (Jaguar’s 0 to 60 MPH is 4.5 seconds) and a higher driving range of 295 miles (Jaguar’s range is 240 miles), the starting price for the I-Pace is $69,500 and you will have to spend around $135,000 to maximize the performance and battery capacity of the Model X from Tesla.

Kia has experienced difficulty in convincing people to purchase its $50,000 luxury sedan which means that Kia must work very hard to convince people that the K900 is worth the cost. The 2019 Kia K900 luxury model may just be the car to help them hit their sales goals. 

Kia K9001

2019 Kia K900

K900 2The highlights of the K900 are as follows:

  • The K900 receives a complete redesign
  • More available luxury features
  • New 365 horse-powered V-6 twin turbo engine
  • Improved responsive handling characteristics
  • US availability in late 2018

In order to make this car more desirable it has been given a potent motor and sportier suspension tuning. The K900 shares a new 365-horsepower 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 with a few other upscale Kia/Hyundai/Genesis products such as the Genesis G80 Sport and the Kia Stinger GT. An available adaptive suspension system adjusts suspension firmness to provide a better mix of ride comfort and cornering performance. 

The light refresh that the 2019 Kia Optima received would not normally be significant but the expansion of standard advanced safety equipment is a clear effort to catch up with Toyota and Honda whom lead the pack when it comes to standard safety items.

Optima 1

2019 Kia Optima

Optima 2This car now offers more standard advanced safety features than prior models and every 2019 Optima now includes automatic braking, lane keep assist, and driver attention monitoring. The vehicle’s UVO infotainment system also receives a tiered approach to the features, as the options increase as you ascend the trim ladder. Will this version of the Optima be the one to catch up with Toyota and Honda? Only time will tell. 

I can remember when owning a Subaru meant that you were getting a vehicle that would turn to rust very quickly as well as being very expensive to repair but those days are over for this manufacturer. With that said, the long awaited upgrade for the Subaru Forester is finally here.

Subaru 1

2019 Subaru Forester

Subaru int 2The Compact SUV market is one of the most popular segments right now because people seek a spaciousness, easy-to-park vehicle with reasonable fuel economy and the 2019 Subaru Forester will not disappoint. Some of this SUV’s highlights are as follows:

  • Long awaited complete redesigned model
  • Subaru’s Eye-Sight suite of advanced safety features are now standard equipment
  • Optional Driver-Focus camera can tell when you are tired as well as remembering your seat settings. 
  • Finally, a more powerful base engine!  It is about time. 
  • The 2019 Forester will be available in the latter part of 2018

While Toyota also debuted their redesigned RAV4 compact SUV at this show, the rest of the class had been fully redesigned in the past couple of years and that is why Subaru had to step up to the plate on this vehicle in order to play ball in a highly competitive market.  

I own two types of vehicles and one of them will always be a Ford Pickup Truck while the other one will be an American Muscle Car or a Porsche. So, with that said, if I could only own one vehicle it would probably be a crossover as they come very close to offering “truck like” abilities combined with the trill of a sporty car. The 2019 Acura RDX offers their concept in order meet the needs of crossover buyers. 

RDX 1

2019 Acura RDX

RDX 2If that interior does not capture your attention then you better have someone check your pulse. Now, here are some of the highlights of the new RDX:

  • Acura’s RDX luxury crossover is brand spanking new
  • Dropped the V6 and replaced it with a 4 cylinder turbo – not sure about that decission
  • Superb handling all wheel drive has been upgraded and reinstalled 
  • Very nice infotainment system
  • The RDX will arrive at your local dealer during the middle of 2018

Some of the changes include a switch from the V6 to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine which drops the horsepower down from 279 to 272. It is true that everyone seeks the best mileage possible but I also think that a turbo 4 banger could be tweaked to break the 300 horsepower range or at least to get better than 280. There has also been a new ten-speed automatic transmission installed in order to help fuel economy.  Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive system makes a reappearance after a generation’s absence. It uses torque vectoring at each individual wheel to help pull the RDX around corners with more confidence and that is a very nice option to have on any vehicle.

Creating a new luxury line of vehicles offers many challenges and the biggest one is getting the public to spend big dollars for a new brand. Until now, Hyundai’s Genesis brand only had two models which is the G80 and the G90. Well, all of that is going to change in the upcoming years. Genesis will be introducing new models including two crossover SUVs and a sports car. With all that said, the Genesis G70 enters the stage as an entry-level luxury car to capture the attention of young luxury buyers.

Genesis 1

2019 Genesis G70

Genesis 2The G70 offers standard equipment such as pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and driver attention monitoring. Some of the other highlights of the G70 include:

  • Completely new model from the Genesis brand line
  • 2 engine options: base engine 252 horse-powered 4 cylinder turbo engine or the optional 365 horse-powered V6 with twin turbos
  • Created as a sport sedan offering Brembo brakes, limited-slip differential as well as an optional 6-speed manual transmission
  • You will not have to wait long for this car as it will be available in the Summer of 2018

Now here is what matters the most as only the four-cylinder engine model comes  standard with rear-wheel drive. That same model will be available with an optional six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic with serve in all other configurations and all-wheel drive will be an option as it does not come as standard equipment. 

It is very difficult for a Ford fanatic to say this but I have said many times that Lincoln needs to get serious about their luxury vehicles or get out of the game. Well, I think that someone from Ford must have heard me because the 2019 Lincoln Aviator captured my attention and I am sure that it will capture yours as well.

Lincoln 1

2019 Lincoln Aviator

lincoln 2Sport Utility Vehicles have been selling like hot cakes and it appears that this trend will continue for some time to come. The Lincoln brand has been lagging in the luxury line of competition and they know it but this SUV may be the start of a new trend for Lincoln. Here are some of the highlights of the brand new Lincoln Aviator:

  • The Aviator name is resurrected as a three-row luxury mid-sized crossover  
  • A plug-in hybrid powertrain with a twin-turbo engine will be available
  • Real wheel drive is part of the standard equipment
  • You can actually use your smartphone as a key – now that is a cool option
  • 30-way adjustable front seats – maybe a bit of overkill on that option
  • A suspension system that actually scans the road in order to properly adjust the ride
  • The Aviator will be available sometime in 2019 but an exact date has not been released

Lincoln will continue to expand their SUV lineup and they will also begin electrifying their fleet starting with this vehicle. It will also be available with a plug-in hybrid power-train consisting of electric motors and a twin-turbocharged engine. While the Ford’s current 3-row midsize SUV platform is a uni-bodied front-wheel drive setup (a derivative of the Land Rover System) the Aviator will sit on a rear-wheel drive platform which will provide a silky smooth ride. I am excited to see where Lincoln winds up and I am pleased to see that they are bringing the best that they have to offer for the Lincoln brand of vehicles to come. 

There is one car that really stood out at the New York Auto Show and it combined styling cues from a Shelby Daytona and the Corvette as well as showing some Ferrari cues all wrapped into one nice looking sports car. Who made such a car you ask? It was Genesis and they made a big statement in order to establish an identity for itself and this concept was a great way to do it.

Genesis Essentia Concept 1

Genesis Essentia Concept

Genesis Essentia Concept 2This concept car embodies all of the latest automotive trends, including vehicle-to-vehicle communications, smart home integration, and predictive navigation based on machine learning. Most of these technologies won’t be available for some time but the day is coming when they will be a reality. Some of the highlights of this vehicle also include:  

  • Totally electric high performance sports car
  • The first electric vehicle from Genesis
  • Lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and body
  • See through transparent hood an bubble roof
  • Laser headlights
  • Fingerprint and facial recognition opens the doors
  • 0 to 60 in 3 seconds – That is FAST as it takes me longer than that to find a radio station that I want to listen to. 

Unfortunately, the Essentia will not be produced but look for Genesis to produce battery-electric vehicles in the future. They will also be introducing some of the high-tech features previewed on this sports car in other models. 

As a motor head I need to realize that electric vehicles are the future and it is also very clear to me that automakers are eager to claim a spot in the EV hierarchy. That is probably why small SUVs are the one of the hottest segments in the industry and that is why Hyundai created the 2019 Kona EV.

2019 Hyundai Kona EV 1

2019 Hyundai Kona EV

2019 Hyundai Kona EV 2Some of the highlights of this Hyundai include:

  • The Kona EV is the electric version of Hyundai’s new SUV
  • 250 mile range
  • The same cargo space availability as the gas powered version of this SUV
  • California will be the first state in the US to see this vehicle in the 4th quarter of 2018
  • Only available in front wheel drive

Some other things to take note of are that the Kona EV is powered by an electric motor that makes 201 horsepower with 291 pound-feet of torque (the torque is an added benefit of the electric motor) which is better than some gas powered cars.  The standard touch screen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A full suite of advanced safety features are also standard, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and driver attention monitoring. 

I remember when I pulled up next to one of the first Honda Insights at a traffic light. I was driving my 1969 Camaro with a 302 DZ racing block in it and a nice sounding camshaft. So, as I sat there next to the guy in his little three door hatch back electric Honda I just smiled and revved the engine a couple of times. Needless to say, the look I got was not a nice one but I just smiled when the light turned green and I just left him sitting there. Well, the times are changing and that ugly little Insight has grown up quite a bit.

Honda 1 good

2019 Honda Insight

Honda int 2 goodYes, it is true that Honda has been struggling for years with this dedicated hybrid model and they have come up short in the sales race, especially against Toyota’s Prius. But I will give credit where it is due because Honda’s Insight was the first hybrid passenger car to be sold in the U.S. So, I guess that guy at the traffic light was a trend setter and he probably did not even know it even though I still prefer a fast gasoline powered car.

I am also thinking that Honda’s subdued approach to the hybrid market will put them back in the eyes of the environmentally conscious car buyer. I say this because the Honda just looks good and over time this design will look better than the sharp angles of the Prius. Hey Toyota, it is an electric car not a jet fighter for crying out loud. The highlights of the 2019 Insight are as follows:

  • The Insight is a dedicated hybrid and it is Honda’s answer to the Toyota Prius while offering a design that will have a broader appeal 
  • According to Honda, the Insight has an estimated city range of 55 miles to the gallon
  • This car is affordably priced between the Civic and the Accord
  • This car is based upon the Civic and it is the unofficial replacement for the Civic Hybrid which has not been offered for a few years.
  • This car will be available in the U.S in the early Summer of 2018

The Insight makes 151 horsepower (I could not find a torque rating) and it will come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features. These features include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. The Insight will be available in three trims which are: LX, EX, and Touring. Lastly, the new Insight’s trunk is almost 50 percent larger than the Civic Hybrid’s, plus the Insight has an improved infotainment system on upper trims and more horsepower than previous models. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe is another vehicle that I was not particularly fond of when it first came to the U.S. but, like most auto manufactures, Hyundai seems to have their act together now. 

Santa Fe 1

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Sante Fe 2Hyundai plans to roll out up to eight crossover SUVs by the year 2020 and the main reason for that many SUV options is because the SUV crossover market is where every manufacturer wants to be. The Santa Fe is Hyundai’s best selling SUV so that is why the 2019 model shows a new design direction for their vehicles. It has sculpted lines, high-tech lighting, and a bold front grille which is far better than what I saw in their first generation of this particular model. Some of the highlights of the Santa Fe include:

  • A complete redesign both outside and inside
  • Clean and sharp exterior design
  • More safety features (notice the trend for this show?)
  • Optional diesel engine 
  • The 3-row, 7 passenger Santa Fe will now be referred to as the Santa Fe XL
  • You will be able to get the Santa Fe of your dreams starting this Summer if you live in the U.S.A

Some other points of interest include: The name of the base two-row Santa Fe is no longer “Santa Fe Sport” as it is now simply “Santa Fe.” The redesigned two-row Santa Fe is also available with an optional “occasional use” third row, but only if you opt for the new 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine which makes sense as the torque from the diesel will be needed for the extra weight. The diesel offers 200 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The base 185-horsepower four-cylinder and optional turbocharged four-cylinder gas engines remain. One strike against the redesigned version is that it still has a small cargo area. The old three-row Santa Fe is still out there but now it is the “Santa Fe XL”. This version has not been redesigned and will trudge on until it is replaced by a larger three-row Hyundai SUV currently under development. 

Next is Lexus’ first subcompact SUV and, as I have previously noted on this blog, the crossover SUV and luxury subcompact SUVs are the hot segment right now so Lexus needed to make it’s mark and it looks like they did a good job of it.

2019 Lexus UX 1

2019 Lexus UX

2019 Lexus UX 2The UX will be the first Lexus with a subscription plan which, as previously described, is a new type of “no-hassle” lease that is popular with luxury car makers. Volvo and Cadillac are already offering this option and, just like Lexus, other manufacturers are getting on the band wagon. Here are some other points of interest on the New UX:

  • This is a brand-new model
  • Lexus’ first subcompact SUV 
  • First Lexus available with a subscription leasing plan
  • It will also make a nice present under the tree as it will be available in December of 2018 

The UX will also come standard with Apple CarPlay but the plans for Andriod Auto have not yet been announced. The UX will take the spot just below the NX in their model hierarchy and there will also be two versions available. The UX 200 will come with a brand-new 168-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The hybrid UX 250h produces 176 horsepower as well as better fuel economy. The UX hybrid utilizes a new predictive technology that senses how you’re driving and then adjusts the system to improve fuel economy on the fly (not too shabby).

Well, I have given reviews on 18 out of the 19 vehicles that caught my attention at the 2018 New York Auto Show and the last one on this list is none other than the 2019 Audi A6. 

Audi 1

2019 Audi A6

Audi 2When it comes to owning an Audi, there are certain expectations that all owners of this vehicle demand and that is why the A6 is a popular model for Audi. The latest version brings some of the new technologies that debuted on the flagship A8 and A7 such as the touch-screen controller and 48-volt mild hybrid system. I suppose that technology will also find its way to the rest of Audi’s lineup in the near future. Some of the other highlights on the A6 are as follows:

  • Through redesign for this mid-sized luxury sedan
  • Good by to the old MMI dial and hello to a dual touch-screen control system
  • A new turbocharged V6 motor with hybrid assist technology

This A6 provides more head as well as shoulder room throughout the cabin, it also provides more leg room in the rear passenger area. The item that I appreciated the most is the new touch-screen system which offers two screens. You can easily customize the controls you want by dragging and dropping them. Now, I would not do this when driving but the ability to drag and drop makes the initial set up of this car relatively simple.  

Well, that concludes this blog on what I thought were the most popular vehicles from the 2018 New York Auto Show and I hope that this information will assist you if you find yourself looking for a new car in the near future. Feel free to check back frequently as I will be blogging about more cars and trucks every week. 

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