2012 New York Auto Show
The New York Auto Show is a treat to attend, right in the heart of Manhattan with the hustle and buzz that only this city can provide. The theme at the entire major auto shows this year is that style and sexy is back. No longer can a car maker put out a well made, safe, fuel efficient and reliable car, they now have to do it with fantastic styling both inside and out. The crop of new cars coming to market is fighting in a very competitive market. Here are the highlights of this years show.
2013 SRT Viper
SRT is now a brand inside the Chrysler Group and the flagship model is back, capturing the most fanfare of the entire show. Drop dead sexy and powerful looking; this latest Viper is built off a heavily modified version of the last Viper. The 8.4L V10 engine produces 640hp and with an eye to weight savings (100 lbs.) this new Viper competes with very expensive Italian exotics. Power is nothing without control so the SRT Viper is shod with the widest Pirelli tires they have ever produced and a four-stage stability control has now been added. Other advancements include an adjustable suspension and launch control. Inside the Viper has gone upscale with the seats supplied by the same company that fits inside Ferrari cars, plus a large instrument cluster and the highest quality materials.
2013 Lexus ES
Lexus continues their revolution with a new exterior design language that is migrating from model to model. This sharp looking ES is only slightly longer than the outgoing model but the wheel base has been stretched to provide more interior space than a Mercedes E-Class. The interior is a showcase of what Lexus is doing right with only the finest materials and a back seat that could be used for limo service. The current 3.5L V6 has been retained but with weight saving of 35 kg, the new SE is promising additional fuel savings. With an emphasis on a more spirited driving experience, this latest ES, which is running on an all-new platform, should retain the traditional ride that buyers are looking for but also appeal to a younger buyer. There is also a hybrid model called the ES300h but this one will have a 2.5L 4-cylinder at the heart of the system, a departure from the V6 hybrid of the past. Prices have not been announced, that will come at the lunch later this spring but expect it to be equal or less expensive than the current car.
2013 Lexus RX F-Sport
Not just a sportier model in name, this new RX F-Sport actually has teaks that will improve performance and handling. Fitted with a new 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, this updated model will be faster 0-100km/h but also more efficient. 19-inch wheels along with a lower and stiffer suspension and adaptive AWD system should prove to make this a more agile crossover. Exterior updates include F-Sport badges but the interior gets aluminum pedals and unique leather coverings on the seats and other surfaces.
2013 Toyota Avalon
Built off the same platform as the new Lexus ES, the Avalon benefits from a longer wheelbase and slightly longer dimensions. Designed, engineered and built in the United States, this new Avalon has a bold design that showcases the direction Toyota will be heading in the future. The interior is larger and covered with high-grade materials plus a host of electronic goodies. Toyota claims that the stiffer body will be quitter on the inside and provide a much better driving experience compared to the older and rather soft sedan. Pricing has not been announced but the trend has been to keep prices the same or even drop when a new model is introduced.
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been a huge hit in Canada, constantly a top three selling crossover. Hyundai has taken the opportunity to blend two products into one with the elimination of the Veracruz and the introduction of a long wheelbase Santa Fe for more room and a third row of seats. The long wheelbase model has roughly 4-inches of additional room between the wheels but the cargo area and the width is greater, making the three row unit look much bigger than the regular 5-seater. Not as much of the flowing design seen in other Hyundai products is evident in the new model, in fact the Santa Fe has an almost Ford look to it; it is a handsome unit from all angles. The interior is an evolution of the existing model with a nice combination of materials and colours and as always a good use of high-grade materials. The 5-seat Santa Fe is lighter by 266 lbs. and comes with either a2.4L direct injection 4-cylinder with 190hp or a turbo 2.0L unit with 264hp and both are fitted to a 6-speed automatic. The long wheelbase motor is a direct injection 3.3L V6 with 290hp. Look for the short wheelbase model this fall, with the longer model to arrive in early 2013.
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