Leftlane list_ best and worst of the 2016 new york international auto show

Leftlane List: Best and worst of the 2016 New York International Auto Show

Sit back, breathe deep and relax; auto show season is finally over. Like the winter holidays themselves, the four big American auto shows are anticipated by many, loathed by others, and rarely missed by any in the immediate aftermath.

Now that we’ve had a chance to fully recover from our New York travel, we’re taking a few minutes to compare notes on our favorite and least favorite debuts from New York. What stuck with us? What beat the hype? What let us down? Well, here you go.

Think we got these wrong? Let us know in the comments.

Mercedes-AMG GLC43

Managing Editor Drew Johnson on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43:

Let’s face it, the wagon is pretty much dead in the United States. And if you’re looking for a sporty wagon, good luck. There are even fewer of those.

While the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 admittedly isn’t a one-to-one replacement for a C-Class wagon, it appears to be a worthy substitute on paper. Yes, it’s taller and fatter than a typical wagon, but it still offers the utility of a hatchback and a car-like interior. To sweeten the deal, Mercedes has stuffed its 362 horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 underneath the hood of the GLC43, which is a welcomed upgrade over the GLC’s standard four-cylinder. AMG has also tuned the crossover’s suspension and brakes, so it should corner and stop just as well as it accelerates. We’re not sold on some of the GLC43’s boy racer bits, but the overall package looks like a winner.

Verdict: Hit

Toyota Prius Prime

News Editor Justin King on the Toyota Prius Prime Concept:

The new plug-in Prius seems like a great proposition on paper 120MPGe, 22-mile EV range, modern interior but it doubles down on controversial styling. Existing Prius owners might like the floating roofline and quad-LED headlights, however the Prime could be a tougher sell for newcomers.

Drew adds:

The Prius Prime seems like a missed opportunity for Toyota not only is it just as awkwardly styled as the regular Prius, but it also has an electric range that is less than half that of the Chevrolet Volt. And, like the Volt, the Prius Prime uses a 2+2 seating configuration, meaning any Prius owners looking to make the shift to the plug-in version will have to give up one back seat spot.

Given that the Prius is the gold standard in the world of hybrids, we expected much more from the Prius Prime plug-in.

Verdict: Miss

Nissan GT-R

Weekend Editor Ben Hsu on the 2017 Nissan GT-R:

GT-R. The Nissan booth was the place to be at the NYIAS. Not because of the 2017 GT-R — whose facelift puts the 20 more horses in Godzilla’s belly and a new grille and intakes that are more in line with the previous GT-Rs — but because every generation of GT-R was conveniently on hand for comparison. The display of seven cars, some of which had build numbers of fewer than 200, dated back to the original GT-R that debuted in 1969. None but the newest were sold in the US, making this display quite likely the first time all have been gathered at an international motor show outside of Japan. It was a feast for enthusiasts.

Verdict: Surrounded by hits

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

Justin on the new generation of folding hard-top Miata:

Not content with carrying over the third-generation Miatas power retractable hardtop, Mazda designers created an entirely new retractable fastback for the latest roadster. The new targa top is more stylish than the simple rounded hardtop, matching the fourth-generations aggressive body shape. Well reserve final judgement until Mazda discloses the fastback weight penalty.

Buyer’s Guide Editor Byron Hurd’s take:

Mazda managed to hide the identity of its New York reveal in plain sight, but once the RF made its debut, it held just about everybody’s attention from then on out.

While many of us may have been secretly (OK, maybe not-so-secretly) hoping Mazda was going to show us some more turbocharged additions to its core lineup, the RF suits me just fine. It’s a stylistic leap over the old PRHT, and I hope it paves the way for a true Targa option down the line.

Verdict: Hit

Infiniti QX70 Limited

Byron says:

I’ve loved the QX70 since it was the FX. I don’t really care what Infiniti chooses to call it; all I know is that it has always been comfortable, quick and genuinely engaging to drive considering it’s a CUV based on a midsize sedan.

Fortunately, the design is ageing well too. I say fortunately because it seems like this design has been with us forever, and not in a “timeless” sort of way, but in a “when is that thing going to actually be replaced?” sort of way. Now we’re getting a “Limited” model to keep things fresh? Here’s a little secret, Infiniti: Nothing is more limited than the attention span of luxury buyers. It’s time to stir things up.

Verdict: Miss

Genesis New York Concept

Byron says:

It should come as no surprise that the Genesis New York Concept made our list. The Genesis NYC (Seriously, hats off to whoever added that bit of cleverness) may be a hybrid design study on wheels, but it shares just enough with the production models we’ve seen from Hyundai’s new luxury brand to make me believe that the final product won’t be that much different.

While small sedans and coupes may not bring home the bacon for automakers these days, they’re still important to luxury brand identity, and I’m happy to see Genesis taking them seriously. That we got to see this first will soften the blow of what will surely be a slew of crossover and SUV models to bring added meat (not to mention profitability) to the Genesis lineup.

Verdict: Hit

Alfa Romeo Giulia/Giulia Ti

European Editor Ronan Glon on theAlfa Romeo Giulia and Giulia Ti:

The 503-horsepower Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde sounds like a helluva car, but it can’t single-handedly put Alfa Romeo back on the map in the United States. It’s like if BMW tried to survive here by selling only the M3. After months of silence, Alfa introduced the tamer versions of the Giulia that will attempt to lure buyers away from the 3 Series and the C-Class. On paper, both the Giulia and the Giulia Ti are promising. They show that, in spite of the numerous delays, setbacks, and false starts, Alfa has once again figured out what makes sports sedan buyers tick.

Remember, Alfa was building seriously quick four-doors back when Mercedes-Benz was still churning out the stately Fintail and BMW was trying to convince motorists that the Isetta was a brilliant idea. It’s great to see Alfa back in the game; hopefully we won’t be disappointed once we slip behind the wheel.

Verdict: Hit

Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

Ronan on the Fiat124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth:

The Abarth 124 Spider made its global debut during the Geneva Auto Show with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower. That figure sounded a little on the low side for an Abarth-badged model — after all, the regular 124 Spider has 160 ponies in the United States. I assumed the U. S.-spec Abarth 124 would land with at least 180 horsepower, but I was far off the mark. As it turns out, the model we’re getting on our shores has the exact same engine as the standard 124 Spider.

So what’s Abarth about it? According to Fiat, it has a mechanical limited-slip differential, a firmer suspension, and — stop the presses! — a sport mode. Here’s to hoping this is simply a mid-level model and a true Abarth-tuned model is right around the corner.

It gets better. As it turns out, the 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth was so forgettable that Leftlane forgot to photograph it.

Verdict: Big swing and a miss

Lincoln Navigator Concept

Ben says:

Lincoln appears to be on a roll — downhill. With the Continental concept, Lincoln abandoned any semblance of individuality, promptingBentley’s normally aloof designers to start a Facebook beef, throwing major shade at Lincoln for the blatant biting of their style. Now they debut a Navigator Concept with gullwing doorsand a foldingstaircasethat would have easily been relegated to the “Can you believe this?” gallery at SEMA circa 2001. Either Lincoln has a finger on the pulse of the demographic for large, expensive, and showy SUVs that I’m not privy to (quite likely), or someone needs to check for a gas leak at the design studio (Occam’s razor).It’s the biggest insult to the 99-year-old brand since their suicide-doored 1960s limousines were made uncool byEntourage.

Verdict: Miss