Press access to the 2015 New York International Auto Show has finally been closed. Tonight, local dealer associations descend on the Javits Center to eat free food and gander at the new sheet metal they’ll be selling later this year. We’ve already escaped back to Limited Slip HQ, but that doesn’t mean our job is done. Before the show opens to the pubic, here’s a summary of our favorite action from Day 2.
Honda Civic Concept
Honda dropped a neon green Civic Concept on us to late Wednesday. Most Honda concepts are basically production ready, and this one is no different. The 10th generation Civic sedan will be in dealerships this fall, followed by coupe and hatchback variants. Yes, that’s right. The US is getting the Honda Civic hatchback previously limited to Europe. Honda will use a new 1.5L turbocharged engine to power most Civics. A new CVT is also offered alongside the 6-speed automatic and manuals transmissions. More good news? Expect a sporty Si variant and hardcore Type-R to be offered in the US as well. We’re already green with Civic envy.
Kia’s sedans have recently taken big steps forward in design. The X900 and Cadenza demonstrate that, but the Optima doesn’t really follow suit. The exterior has been revised slightly, removing a bit of aggression. Why? We’re not so sure. The biggest changes for 2016 come to the Kia’s interior, improving over the past generation. Quilted seats and upgraded materials bring the Optima up to par with the best in the super-competitive midsize sedan segment. Kia has also gone the “minimalist” design route, keeping the interior clear of clutter and tiered dashboard designs. Expect the refreshed Optima to hit dealers sooner rather than later.
Hyundai’s smallest SUV got a big makeover in New York this year. Updated exterior styling and an inch longer wheelbase allow for a better packaging option. An available panoramic moonroof and new instrument panel along with new softer touch materials, the Tuscon gets a more up market feel on the inside. On the outside, LED accents in the headlights, taillights, and door handles give the Tuscon a luxury feel. The new engine option, a 1.6L turbo 4 cylinder is mated to a dual clutch transmission and is good for 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Expect to see the new Tuscon in dealers this summer.
If you walked up on the rear 3/4 of this new Lexus, you might mistake it for the new Nissan Murano. With such visually similar d-pillars, what was originally thought to be a unique design concept may become a new industry standard. Lexus defined a whole new category of car when the RX first debuted. They look to maintain their leadership position in the luxury crossover market with the 2016 RX. The RX’s new face brings it in line with its little brother, the NX. V6-powered RX350 and hybrid RX450h have both gotten a power bump, up to 300hp. Inside, the Lexus offers more room and the newest technology in a gorgeous layout. The upgrades should keep the RX atop the Lexus sales pyramid.
Featuring over 100 engineering and design improvements, the new Mitsubishi Outlander has a refined appearance with much more to offer. This new Outlander defines Mitsubishi’s new design language. Changes have been made to chassis, including increased body and suspension structural rigidity, redesigned the suspension and steering, and adding many sound dampening improvements. Interior and exterior changes also abound in the new Outlander-too many to list them all here. But some of the noteworthy additions include: redesigned front fascia, front fenders, halogen headlights, LED position lights, rear fascia and LED taillights, redesigned steering wheel, seating surfaces, accent trim, rear folding seat, headliner, and display audio system.
Mazda Miata Club
We drove the previous-gen Miata Club, and it was excellent. The Club Edition of the 2016 MX-5 Miata promises to set the bar even higher. A limited-slip rear differential, stiffer Bilstein shocks, and a front strut tower brace ensure that driving remains the sole purpose of this Miata. Optional lightweight BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, and subtle aero kit are all aesthetically pleasing…and functional! The Club Edition will be available later this year starting at $28,665 for the power-retractable-hardtop model.
Everyone knows the Maxima was getting a bit long in the tooth. Not to worry though, Nissan has listened and today they revealed their completely redesigned 2016 Maxima. The company has always coined the Maxima its “4DSC”, or “four-door-sportscar”. It’s well on its way 60% of the parts in its 3.5-liter V6 being new or redesigned. With an increase to 300 hp, Nissan has also managed to increase highway fuel economy to an estimated 30 mpg. The Maxima is still a FWD platform, however, so “sports-car” may be a bit of a stretch. Debuted in the “With Dad” Superbowl spot, the Maxima has incorporated their signature boomerang lights and V-motion front end that made their debut on the Murano.
-Danielle Assenheimer, Christopher Little, Scott Villeneuve