Given my tremendous enthusiasm for just about anything automotive related, it’s needless to say that attending the New England International Auto Show is an annual tradition I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve gone just about every year since 1997 and let me tell you, this year was one of the best.
As I went around and checked out the wide assortment of new models, from the affordable compacts to the luxury SUVs, I noticed a lot of trends, but there was one in particular which stood out. It’s amazing in the last few years just how far cars have come, both in levels of technology and overall refinement. These feelings were especially true when it came to the interiors.
Even a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a decent amount of cheap, hard plastics in many interiors, depending on make and model. But the overwhelming majority of 2015’s mainstream cars proudly present interiors that are of higher quality than many luxury cars from 2008.
I made sure to take plenty of pictures this year – they may come in handy when writing CCs on some of these cars twenty years from now. My collection of auto show photos from the late-Nineties already have. But without further adieu, let’s get to some of my favorite future Curbside Classics from this year’s show.
Upon arriving, I immediately headed over to Acura to check out the new TLX. I’ll be honest when I say that I was most excited about finally seeing this car up-close in person. I’ve been very happy with my 2010 TSX these past two and a half years, and consider the TLX a very appropriate replacement for it in a few years.
Since the TLX came out last summer, I have read a ton of reviews, mostly positive, but naturally some found faults. I’ll just say that upon seeing it up close and sitting in it, I was very impressed. The exterior looks far more substantial in person. Likewise, these soft yet supportive Espresso leather seats strike an appealing tone that stands out from the typical beige and black. The interior laid out very nicely, with an attractive design and premium materials. Unpretentious luxury.
It may be hard to tell from this picture, but the Acura MDX offers this gray-greenish Eucalyptus leather. Nothing too bold, but again, it’s nice to see that automakers are beginning to offer some more interesting interior color schemes.
The Kia exhibit was full of its most attractive lineup ever, one that included several all-new vehicles such as this redesigned Sorento CUV. Looking more premium and aggressive than ever, it’s astonishing to think of how far the Sorento has come from the puny SU-wannabe a decade ago.
Unsurprisingly, I gravitated towards the also totally-new Sedona, which I found even more so improved. In fact, I even chose to test-drive it at Kia’s ride and drive. To be honest, I couldn’t believe I was driving a minivan. Composed ride, great acceleration, and very car-like handling.
The interior, with its conventional sedan-like center console looks like it could have come out of a luxury car. High-quality materials, Nappa leather thrones, and an abundance of technology such as cooled seats, surround view monitor, and cross-traffic alert really solidified my opinion that Kia is fully changed brand.
Another car I wouldn’t have believed a decade ago was this Hyundai Genesis. While the first generation Genesis was a luxurious effort from Hyundai, its design never really wowed me. That’s changed for this second generation Genesis, whose imposing long hood and grille help make it one of the most elegant-looking cars of the show. I only wish I could say the same for its interior, whose design and switchgear I found a bit too Sonata-like.
I next took a brief trip over to Infiniti, which I was surprised to find virtually empty of show goers, despite the crowds. This macho QX80 appeals to my aggressive nature. No one would dare cut me off if I were driving this.
Moving on to Lincoln, I sat in this equally tough and heavily refreshed 2015 Navigator. Despite being an updated version of the generation that first appeared in 2007, the Navigator is still an incredibly posh and technologically up-to-date vehicle. The overall look is more upscale, without trying as hard, and I was more impressed with it inside and out than the all-new Cadillac Escalade. On an important comfort note, the door sills are low enough to comfortably rest my elbow while driving.
The new Escalade, while more chiseled than its predecessor just doesn’t do it for me. Especially in black ESV form, the Escalade frankly looks like a hearse.
This new ATS coupe is more my style. While not as menacing as the CTS coupe, its airier greenhouse and more formal roofline nod to Cadillac coupes of the past, something I like.
I had to swing by Dodge to check out the facelifted Charger. Looking smoother and more sinister than ever, it wouldn’t be a car I’d ever consider owning, but I’d sure like to drive one.
There were several all-new entries in this country’s most competitive segment, the mid-size sedan category. These “imported from Detroit” Chrysler 200s proved so popular that I couldn’t get a chance to sit in the front seat.
At least from my quick sit in back of a 200C, things were rather splendid with rich feeling leather and at last, a truly premium aura. I’ll give the Chrysler 200 “most improved”.
For other mid-sized entries, conservatism seemed to be the trend. This included the redesigned Hyundai Sonata…
…and the equally conservative Subaru Legacy. At least in the Legacy’s case, the 2015 should appeal to a wider audience than the more quirky styled car it replaces.
More enthusiastic styling could be found in the sculpted lines of this Mazda6. While the exterior is among the most dynamic in its class its interior, while high quality, left something to be desired in terms of design and accent trim.
Although entering its third year in this generation, my favorite mid-sized sedan was the Honda Accord. Its exterior design is hardly polarizing, but has an upscale quality to it that many competitors lack. I also found its interior to be the most comfortable, with the best outward visibility. The Touring model I sat in was just as nice inside as my 5-year old TSX. Luckily Acura too has stepped up its interior game.
Crossovers are still king, and in the hot mid-sized CUV class, several all-new models were also to be found, both from mainstream and luxury brands. This third generation Nissan Murano aims at recapturing some of the allure and high style of the first generation. Its design is rather mesmerizing in person, although it is likely more show than go. The carryover engine is Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5L V6 and its transmission is unsurprisingly CVT.
Over at Lincoln, this fully-redesigned MKX seeks to boost Lincoln sales, flying on the coattails of the successful MKC.
Speaking of the MKC, I settled quite comfortably into its interior. While its narrow front seats may pose a problem to some larger individuals, they coddled my small frame quite nicely. This White Sands and Espresso leather scheme looks great!
New trucks were also on display, like this GMC Canyon. Along with its Chevy Colorado sibling, these are GM’s first mid-size pickup trucks since the first generation Canyon and Colorado were discontinued in 2012. They are also the only American mid-sized pickups sold in the U.S.
Things were pretty packed over at Mercedes, making it hard to get into every car I wanted to. I did wait my turn for a chance to sit in the all new S-Class coupe, whose insides are just as beautiful as its exterior.
The AMG version especially looked menacing and dare I say muscle car-like.
On an unrelated note, the Mercedes exhibit seemed to be the place to pick up a date, as in my short time there, twice I was hit on by rather attractive women, albeit two women who were at least 10-15 years older than I am (not that I minded though). The second even informed me that although she was married, she could sneak away for the day 😉
Anyway, another car I was particularly excited about was the new Lexus RC. Staying very true to the concept vehicle, the RC is shot of adrenalin in Lexus’ lineup, which tends to attract the demographic that would otherwise consider Buick. It’s easily the most sexy Lexus since the original SC.
While all of these cars will one day be considered “curbside classics”, some will reach this point sooner than others. I made a special effort to photograph cars I knew are on their last go round and will likely not be present next year. This included the good but way overpriced Volkswagen Eos…
…the long-running Audi Q7, a vehicle whose design I’ve loved since its introduction a decade a go, and whose successor is unfortunately disappointing…
…the Jeep Compass and Patriot duo, who always seemed to be playing catch-up…
…the first generation Lincoln MKX, which debuted in 2007, and was heavily updated in 2011…
…and the recently renamed Infiniti Q40 (neé G37) that was so good they decided to keep selling it an extra two years. Despite kicking around since 2007, the Q40 remains one of the best, if not the very best 3-Series fighter from Japan in terms of dynamics.
Possibly departing after this year is this Volvo S80 that’s been with us since 2006. No successor has been announced yet, but it’s already very long in the tooth. The interior is still very appealing in its Scandinavian way.
Last, but no least is the Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country duo, who will be replaced by a single all-new minivan wearing only one of these names. The other nameplate will likely live on as a new crossover vehicle.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed my pictures from the 2015 New England International Auto Show. Existing Curbside Classics can only be covered so much before they run out. So long as the world continues producing cars, there will always be fresh blood down the line for future generations. Check back in about fifteen to twenty years for a trip down memory lane!