Our home show has wrapped for another year. There was plenty of action on Day 1 and Day 2, but we always come back with a little extra commentary. After some debate, we’ve finalized our 5 Best and 5 Worst from the 2018 NYIAS. Check out the lists below and go see the show for yourself!
1. Ford Ranger Repairs
Ford constructed a “city of tomorrow” for the NYIAS. The theme included break dancers and hula-hoop performances, something that apparently happens in the “city of tomorrow” with alarming regularity. They also brought a new Ford Ranger, a mid-size pickup that won’t be available at your local dealer until next year. It appeared, however, that the future Ranger in the “city of tomorrow” wasn’t quite ready for today. While other journalists were distracted by performance art, we noticed a repair team in action. We’re confident the Ranger will hold itself together by the time it is production-ready, but that might be a bit too far in Ford’s future for such an early debut. It makes the top spot on our Worst list.
2. Ford Expedition XLT Infotainment
The new Ford Expedition is a behemoth with style, class, and sophistication; chock full of state-of-the-art technology, right? Well, the Platinum is. We found an Expedition XLT in the basement of the Javits Center and boy were we in for a shock. Climb inside this brand new, $52,000 vehicle and the dashboard is home to the saddest little center screen you’ll find on any brand-new 2018 model. It’s actually embarrassing how big the 6 buttons surrounding the screen are. If it wasn’t for the rapid re-assembly of the Ranger, this would have made the Worst top spot.
3. 50 Shades of Grey
First it was white. Then it was matte. Now, automakers are showcasing models in flat grey. This is apparently a new and subtle trend. It might look cool on a Dodge Challenger or Porsche Boxster, but is it still cool if Kia does it? We’d love to leave 50 shades of flat grey where they belong, and not on the showroom floor. Bring back colorful cars!
4. Playing it Safe
New debuts are prime opportunities for automakers to shake up their design philosophies and unveil fresh, new directions. No matter how feature-packed or technology-laden a new car is, if it doesn’t feel new and exciting it probably isn’t going to make headlines. So it’s disappointing to see some automakers play it safe. The new Subaru Forester is a prime example. Sitting among the previous iterations, it was hard to distinguish the all-new model from the current generation. Hitting “enlarge” on the photocopier is a great way to retain brand identify and hit your numbers, but it feels like they left a lot on the table.
5. Feeding Frenzy
What journalists apparently spend on shoes, they aren’t willing to spend on food. As the economy grows and automotive sales continue to see record trends, some of the luster has returned to the show floor. But while chachkies and “booth babes” are passé and out-of-touch, there’s one thing that still fuels journalists: free food. What better way to ensure your announcement finds its way to a large captive audience than to offer a free meal? Don’t let the neat and orderly line fool you. This group of journalists will consume an entire table of free food in less time than it takes the host to announce their new trim level.
5. Lincoln Aviator
Who wouldn’t want a mini-Navigator? Lincoln hopes consumers will flock to their new mid-size SUV. With an all-new rear-drive platform and a hybrid drivetrain, the new Aviator packs a whole lot of good news into a single debut. Only four short years ago, we referred to their designs as capsized ships, but now Lincoln is flying. It’s good enough for a spot on our 5 Best list.
4. Cole Haan
With a packed press conference schedule, the NYIAS is hard on your feet. And while automotive executives wear formal business attire, most journalists attempt something approaching business casual. PR agencies, depending on how hip and trendy they’re trying to make a brand look, fall on the spectrum in-between. That means a wide range of footwear treads the show floor. Increasingly, Cole Haan seems to be the brand to satisfy every need. While there are many different tire manufacturers to choose from, if you want to fit in at the auto show you’d better be shod in something from the Cole Haan 2018 product catalog. We certainly were.
3. VW Atlas Variants
Atlas all the things! VW hopes the crossover craze lasts long enough to create an entire product line of Atlas SUVs. Think of it, a sporty, swoopy Atlas, a rugged pick-up Atlas, and the regular ol’ Atlas. What’s next, maybe a two-door Atlas or a convertible Atlas? Stranger things have happened. According to Greek myth, Atlas was the Titan that bore the sky aloft. At the rate consumers are abandoning sedans for crossovers, the Atlas might just keep VW’s sky from falling.
2. V8 SUVs
Gas is cheap. And you know what cheap gas means; V8 SUVs. This year alone, we get the Jaguar F-Pace SVR’s supercharged V8, the Lamborghini Urus’ twin-turbo V8, and the Maserati Levante Trofeo’s twin-turbo V8 built by Ferrari. Cheap gas might not last, but these high-output engines will be burning as much as you can throw at them. Think of how fast you can get the kids to soccer practice!
1. Cones of Shame
Chevrolet certainly doesn’t play it safe when it comes to sports cars. The Camaro ZL1 1LE is no exception. This alphabet soup of performance enhancing packages apparently plays it unsafe. Humorously, the ZL1 1LE is banned in Europe because regulators are concerned over the risk of injury in the event of a pedestrian collision. That’s a very nice way to say that the front splitter and dive planes will cut your feet off. Here in the US, its street legal…but that didn’t stop journalists from injuring themselves. By the second day, the Camaro sported its own cones of shame. Unlike Europe, we don’t blame the car. The fact that Chevy built something so dangerous and that the people who should know about it clearly weren’t aware means that it gets our #1 spot as the best thing at the 2018 NYIAS.