Our Picks For The Best Of The 2012 New York Auto Show
Mars And Venus Pick The Best Of Show
Car shopping website TrueCar last year conducted a study of gender differences when it comes to buying cars. It showed what you might expect: women are more cost conscious and men are after more horsepower.
But as we surveyed the offerings at the 2012 New York Auto Show, which is open to the public through this weekend, our Mars and Venus editors--Editor-in-Chief David Kiley and columnist Lauren (The Car Coach) Fix--pretty much shattered the stereotypes.
Fix comes from a racing family and so was totally enamored with the Shelby 1000, a beast of a street racer that you need to work out for a few months in order to drive. Fix loves Shelby cars so much that she even named her daughter, Shelby, after the car and its creator.
Kiley, on the other hand, is more impressed with today's cars that get ever better fuel economy. He likes the Chevy Volt, while Fix doesn't. Says Kiley: "I'm just not that interested in super cars and street racers, though, in this case, I did choose one such car for my top five, because it is, indeed, a very special car." Adds Kiley, "I am more impressed with a car that costs less than $25,000 and over-delivers for the consumer than I am in a car that costs over a hundred grand."
So check out the gallery of the top four vehicles selected respectively by our Mars and Venus team. Some of the selections will surprise you. And the last car to check out is the one set of wheels that David and Lauren actually agreed on as maybe the best single model that debuts at the show this week.
Lauren's #5 Pick: Terrafugia Transition
I can't tell you how many times I've rushed my kids to school in crazy traffic, arrived late and then had a mess of confusion and lateness on my hands the rest of the day. To be able to have a flying car at my disposal, I will gladly take the 20-hour sport flying class to get my license to drive this baby.
I used to joke with my kids that I needed a helicopter to get around. This is close. I just need a landing strip at every mall, grocery store and school parking lot. Actually, you have to fly air-field to air-field then you can drive it home on the road. But don't think you can suddenly Chitty Chitty Bang Bang your way over a traffic jam from the road. The police will pull you over unless you can out-fly them.
Terrafugia Transition Photos
Terrafugia Transition Info
Lauren's #4 Pick: Shelby 1000
Okay, 1000 horsepower is way too much horsepower for 99% of drivers who don't know how to handle all this excitement and will kill themselves on the road trying to find that out.
This is a track worthy car for a very experienced driver...like me. But if you like exclusivity, and want to take the time to learn how to drive this machine properly, then you should know it comes with a yummy David Yurman watch to complete the fashion statement if you plunk down the Benjamins to buy it. I hope that means ladies' watches too. I'm in, and can make a spot in my garage.
I'll even teach David how to drive it properly.
Shelby 1000 Photos
Shelby 1000 Info
Lauren's #3 Pick: Fisker Atlantic
This notion from start-up automaker Fisker has the exclusivity, polish and head turning aesthetics one wants in a premium or luxury car, but with the green spin of being an extended rage electric vehicle.
I'm not the biggest fan of the plug-in tech, but if i were taking the plunge, this would be my exception.
Lauren's #2 Pick: 2013 BMW X1
Who wouldn't love this cute crossover. It's fast, comfortable with the usual excellent BMW interior and will handle like a sports car.
This 240-horsepower turbo-charged four-cylinder engine with rear-wheel drive CUV that also kicks into all-wheel-drive when you need it just may be my dream-come-true car for my days in western New York State when my sports cars are under covers in the garage.
I'm waiting for BMW to do the M version, and then we will really be in business.
David's #5 Pick: 2013 Ram 1500
The Ram is already the best looking pickup on the market. This new Ram 1500 making its debut in New York, of all places, is the first pickup to be fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission, not to mention other enhancements like a start/stop system, to help with fuel economy.
We think of Texas as the proving ground for pickups. But the truth is that the New York Tri-State area is a huge pickup market owing to its large population. So, the Big Apple turns out to be a fine place for an excellent truck to take its bow after all.
David's #4 Pick: 2013 Lincoln MKZ
The new MKZ wears a more aerodynamic and distinctive shape than the old model, which, let's face it, was too darn close to being a Ford Fusion on which it is based.
The new grille design is meant to invoke the image of an eagle descending on its prey, though we see more of a splattered butterfly in the fascia.
Inside, the 2013 MKZ has attractive materials that befit a brand trying to reclaim its place in the premium/luxury category. The MKZ is still based on the Ford Fusion, but with a distinctive design inside and out.
The sedan will debut with a total of three driveline options, including a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, which will be good for 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque as the base engine. A 3.7-liter V6 is also available with 300 horsepower, while fuel-economy minded buyers can turn toward the MKZ Hybrid with its 188 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor.
Seriously, did I like it better than Porsches or Mercedes Benzes at the show? Here is the thing. I expect Porsche's and Benzes to be great. This is a big over achievement for Lincoln. And I confess to rooting for a comeback for the sixteenth President.
David's #3 Pick: 2013 Nissan Altima
Count me among the impressed. I have never been a huge fan of the Nissan Altina, which edged out Honda Accord last year for number-two seller in the U.S.
But this new 2013 version is rated an estimated 38 miles per gallon, while boasting the best four-cylinder fuel economy of any midsize sedan. And Nissan is accomplishing this without the use of any electric motors, turbochargers or even direct injection. Again, I am impressed.
Considering that the sleek new Altima starts at a cool $21,500 (not including $760 for destination), it should prove to be a worthy opponent for rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, not to mention the all-new designed Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu, and the formidable Hyundai Sonata and VW Passat.
David's #2 Pick: SRT Viper
The SRT Viper is the sports car that most interested me at the auto show. It represents the kind of emotional, raw driving experience that is unique to Detroit where it is built.
The 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, the slippery exterior design and Ferrari seats all make me want to play around on a race track for an afternoon. And being a boy racer is not usually my thing. This car brings it out, though.
Like the Chrysler Group ad slogan says these days, "Imported From Detroit." And so it is.
Lauren and David's #1 Pick: 2014 Jaguar F-Type
We saved the Jag for last because it's the only car that Lauren and David agreed upon for their respective top-five picks.
Lauren: It's not just the looks, its the sound. Finally Jaguar takes a piece of its past and produces a hot looking car that others will lust after. We have a V6 here with 375 hp that should be enough to make someone who's always wanted a Jag to pull the trigger and sign on the dotted line.
David: Jaguar is on a growth binge since being acquired by Indian automaker Tata. And this juicy looking convertible F-Type, which will be priced below the brand's stood XK coupe and convertible, will hit showrooms in mid 2013.
I can't wait to test this car out. The XK, while lovely, especially with the top down, is well North of what many of us non 99-percenters can spend on a set of wheels. The F-Type will use a new power-train, possibly previewed by the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and electric motor combination found under the hood of the C-X16 concept on which the new F-Type is based.
Look for pricing to be slightly above its natural competitors: Porsche Boxster/Cayman, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK.
The Germans certainly have worthy rivals to this as-yet undriven car, but there is something about the mystique of a Jag, and the fact that Tata is out to prove that it can succeed with Jaguar against doubting Thomases, that makes this a much anticipated ride.
To see a full gallery of photos of the F-Type, click into Autoblog.