Car Shows

5 Best/Worst of the 2019 NYIAS

We’ve safely exited NYC in a 2019 Ford Raptor, but we hope you’ve had a chance to check out this year’s NYIAS on your own. If not, don’t miss our coverage from the Day 1 and Day 2 debuts. There’s plenty to see, but we always like to call out some of our favorites and our disappointments. Here’s our 5 Best and 5 Worst from the 2019 NYIAS.

Five Worst

1. Fauxaust Tips

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This lineup of very expensive Audi sedans is faking something. Can you spot it? The prevalence of this trend is the worst thing we experienced at the show. Audi has been leading the way into a world with faux exhaust tips. Yes, look closely and you’ll see that each of these cars have stylized rear trim that feature imitation exhaust tips. It isn’t just Audi, either, go look at the back of a new Corolla! Are automakers subconsciously trying to prepare us for the absence of internal combustion? Whatever the reason, it needs to end.

2. Cadillac CT5 rear pillar

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Sometimes, engineers and designers don’t agree. There’s always some element of style lost between concept and production. Rarely do they ever fight, however. But boy did Cadillac have an internal battle about 75% of the way through the all-new CT5. The designers clearly wanted a rear quarter window. The engineers did not. Somehow, the designers got the trim guys on their side, but the engineers had the last laugh. While this does look seriously odd, it’s less egregious than faking exhaust tips, which is why it’s only at the #2 spot.

3. Hand-built Acura TLX

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Do you know what sets this particular Acura TLX “PMC Edition” apart from all the others? It was hand-assembled by the workers in the Performance Manufacturing Center that normally build the vaunted NSX. Why? Probably because nobody is buying the NSX and Acura needs to keep these folks on the payroll. So this TLX comes in a special red. They’re also making an MDX. No, the Performance Manufacturing Center doesn’t add any performance, it just adds the paint and some unique number plaques. So if you want something not built by robots that comes in vibrant red, buy an Acura.

4. 991 + 992?

Porsche’s big news at the show was the world debut of the 991 Speedster. The Speedster was originally designed for the US market and this marks the first iteration that has been developed by the GT division. This was big enough news for Porsche aficionado Jerry Seinfeld to make an appearance. But we found it odd that Porsche parked their much newer, stake-the-future-on-it 992 911 so close. The optics seem poor. This is, after all, the 991’s replacement. It’ll probably get a Speedster model too, eventually. But my that time some 911s will feature a hybrid system. Electric motors…in a Porsche 911…what’s the deal with that?

5. 2020 Toyota Highlander design

Toyota seems to have tried to gracefully scale up the RAV4’s front end styling for the face of the all-new Highlander. They also tried to infuse some excitement with a new style line across it’s flanks. And yet they seem to have completely forgotten to restyle the rear end. We’ll withhold final judgement until we see it out on the streets, but general consensus is that the Highlander’s new design falls on the Worst side of things.

Five Best

5. Cadillac Blackwing (CT6 V)

We love a good V8. And so does Cadillac, who went and developed an all-new twin-turbocharged 4.2L V8. It’s hand-assembled by an employee and wears a badge with their name on it. Cadillac has also given it a killer name; Blackwing. This Blackwing V8 makes a mean 550hp and 627lb-ft torque. What’s not to love? Well, for now it’s only available in the already-sold-out CT6 V. So there’s that. But with all the R&D that went into Blackwing, expect to see it elsewhere soon. And that means it makes our Best list.

4. Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography

Last year, the NYIAS was the home of the V8 SUV; Urus, F-Pace SVR, and Levante Trofeo. This year, Range Rover joins the fight. For one year, and one year only, you can option Range Rover’s svelte Velar with a supercharged 5.0L V8. Pair 550hp with a more aggressive design and an active exhaust, you have a recipe for a stunner. Skip the matte paint and you’ll draw a crowd at every gas station. We love it.

3. Nissan GT-R Nismo Display

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We love the Nissan GT-R Nismo. Nissan has finally brought this generation GT-R to a visual level that it hadn’t yet achieved. The world needs more fender vents. But that alone wouldn’t be enough to take our #3 spot. With the GTR came a carefully arranged display of Nissan GT-R heritage. There’s a clear lineage of performance that Nissan can point to with the GT-R. It’s both humbling and eye opening to see, especially with the rest of Nissan’s models searching for purpose. This poignant display of heritage places on our NYIAS podium.

2. Subaru’s Park

You know who loves nature? People who buy Subarus. So Subaru cares about nature, too. They’ve had a longstanding partnership with the National Parks Foundation, providing nearly $20 million in support since 2013. To celebrate this achievement, they designed their display booth to emulate a national park. They even had folks dressed as park rangers. And while it did have a slight Jurassic Park vibe, the T-Rex was swapped out for the all-new Outback. The effort and level of execution is enough to give it our #2 spot.

1. Color!

Cars have always been a way to express yourself. But as cars become more autonomous, they’ve lost their individuality. Its rare to come across a car that has a personality these days, which is why a splash of color is so important! Buck the gray-scale trend and buy a colorful car! We always appreciate when manufacturers take a risk and show a car in a polarizing color. Why not a yellow Lexus or an orange Kia? There was even an electric green Audi! Long live colorful, vibrant cars!

-Christopher Little

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