The big auto shows are interesting for many reasons, but what stands out the most is the contrast between present and future automobiles. Be it concept or actual production cars, these machines represent how we think the future will appear once we get there. And of course, these cars do end up shaping the future in some way. So what were the standouts this year?
Before we get started, I’d like to warn anyone looking for high quality pictures to turn away; this was the last day of the show, which took place on a Sunday. Naturally it was the perfect place for the entire island of Manhattan to find respite from the unseasonably cold April. So these pictures were taken as soon as I could get a clear shot with no humans blocking my path.
Speaking of the future, here is what you’ll be seeing in every movie and television show that takes place in New York. The Nissan NV200. Taxi for the 21st century? Or hideous Predator look-alike?
Next up: the Hyundai Veloster Ragtop Concept. I think the brain trust in South Korea might be forgetting the fact that simply renting a bicycle would completely negate this vehicle altogether. I see their creation and cringe at the thought of driving one on the highway, as the wind noise would likely be unbearable. Still, you have to give them credit for thinking outside the box…or car.
On to a more intriguing concept: The Genesis. Not only is this a radical departure from the current iteration of this model, it also looks like something a villain in Judge Dredd would drive. I’m also dubbing the current design fad the LGE, or Large Grill Era. What constitutes the LGE? Well, a large, central grill for one, and thinner headlamps above them.
Before we look at more LGV’s (Large Grill Vehicles), it is time to gaze upon the glorious pin-striped Prius. It really is disconcerting how often the Yankees come up in casual conversation around these neck of the woods, but this is New York, after all.
Well look what we got here, ladies and gentlemen! A bona fide Toyota LGV! It’s the new 2014 Highlander. Updated for the times and given a very Tundra-esque look.
My god, could we finally see a Corolla that impresses the optic nerve? If the Furia concept is any indication, then that answer is yes.
And here we have the 2014 Kia Forte. Another LGV to be sure, but it was the rear end that caught my eye. Where have I seen it before?
There we go. Given Peter Schreyer’s influence on the Kia brand these days, I’m a bit disappointed in such a derivative design.
The Transit Connect. In 2014, will Ford have re-entered the mini-van market with this LGV? Does this count as a competitor to the likes of the Sienna or Caravan? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that the color somehow works on it.
I know this picture displays the same vehicle as before, but the different blues were quite striking.
Speaking of blue, here’s a 2014 Fiesta smacking you in the face with its grill. Later this year, the baby Fusion will arrive, and the blue oval will add one more LGV to its lineup.
Do pickups count as LGV’s? I think not; they’ve had the look for a while, and their design almost dictates a large front opening. Anyway, here’s the Ford Atlas concept, which will lead to the looks of the 2015 F-150. This truck looks like it could roam Europa without looking out of place there.
Lincoln has been down and out for a while now, but with the attractive MKZ and this Audi-esque MKC concept, the hard times look to be over. Does it qualify as a LGV? I’m not so sure.
Don’t let the people in this picture fool you: the Chevy SS had the very few gawkers around it. I can’t blame them either since this looks like a vehicle already on sale in North America. My hunch is that few citizens realize this sedan is quite the beast under the hood.
Does the new Corvette look like a sports car from an alternate Earth where inter-dimensional beings arrived on our planet and simply took over automotive design? It’s attractive, but something seems off about it.
It’s interesting how non-luxury sedans like the Fusion and Sonata are moving away from the three box design while Cadillac adheres to its “Art and Science” theme, which sticks with the familiar layout that automakers seem to be leaving behind. The new CTS has headlamps that run parallel to the hood, which is prevalent in other makes, but not to this extent.
Is this going to be the most significant LGV to come out of the Chrysler brand? The revived Cherokee nameplate, if popular, should allay concerns of the American brand being tarnished by its new Italian overlords.
Here’s the most surprising LGV of the show. If this design makes it to production, it won’t be so bad having one of these several inches from my rear bumper on the interstate, which seems to be a daily occurrence nowadays.
So what observations should we take away from the 2013 Auto Show? The most apparent is that we have pretty much gone away from the large headlamp, grill-less design pioneered by the original Taurus back in 1986. Also, the 2015 Marty Mcfly traveled to in Back to the Future II may not actually be coming to fruition either. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if we come full circle to the Taurus design in 2040.
And what kind of excursion to the Big Apple would be complete without seeing a CC?
Nice! I’m intrigued by the pic of the NV200- is it really that narrow? Also, I thought one of the main complaints about it was the lack of disabled accessibility – so I’m interested to hear if the decal on the hood was just for show, or if the display dealt with that debacle.
The NV200 is already sold in Europe and it is narrow and looks ankward. It’s actually built in Barcelona (my guess, with some other locations as well).
It’s hideous… Seriously. The Ford Transit Connect looks much better proportioned, although the best one in this sector is the Peugeot Berligo
There was always a wheel chair accessible version of the NV 200 planned as it was a requirement of the NYC taxi bid. Unfortunately putting the ramp in the back makes it into a vehicle that can only carry that wheel chair in the back and that wheel chair better not have the high head rests seen on some and the occupant better be capable of ducking their head or they will bump it on the rear opening and headliner. At least with the wheel chair version minivans had some head room and could carry more than just a wheel chair.
I think once the NV hits the streets en mass there will be a lot of people wishing the Panthers, Escapes, Seinnas and Camrys hadn’t gone away I’m certain the operators will feel that way.
I see it panning out differently, with:
–A court decision stating that TLC has no authority to award a “contract” in which third-party cab companies spend their money, or a reversal by the next mayor once Bloomberg term-limits out,
–Followed by Nissan attempting to salvage expenses by selling the NV200 as a retail vehicle where it develops a loyal following among people who buy one new car every 20-30 years, cannibalizes sales from the already also-ran Quest and leads to Nissan’s withdrawal from the minivan segment at the end of the design cycle,
–Followed by a “what might have been”-tinged CC in 2035 when Paul finds one in Eugene, the only place where NV200s would still be found (the ones sold here in Vermont having rusted away).
I agree that a possible court case is likely. Certainly setting standards for the condition and maybe even age of livery vehicles is reasonable. However I don’t see how they construe that to the point where they were able to mandate a single vehicle for privately owned companies to use. Of course if they do overturn it I can see a counter suit from Nissan who based certifying the NV200 for sale in US on winning that contract.
They are already pushing the NV200 for retail sale though only the cargo version so far. However considering they have started offering a passenger version of the NV I doubt a retail passenger NV200 is too far behind.
Or Nissan can build a uh, normal looking van. The 99-03 Quest was a pretty nice package overall….
Went to this show. It as a great show, but my God, was it packed! Could barely see half the cars because of the crowds. Anyway, there were some great cars at the show. I loved how GM had its own section away from everyone else, to me it felt a little like the good ol days (or how I imagine them – I’m only 18). I also saw a genuine CC driving the streets- a 70s Alfa spider!
There werealso some CCs in the basement – a small room had a few cars that had become the canvas for artists. It included an early 80s caddy CDV, a mid 50s cadillac SDV, a old beetle, and others.
Also, does riding in a Crown Vic count as taking a ride in a CC?
Well now the CTS has a more impressive grille than the XTS. How embarrassing…
I’m still peeved that the “SS” isn’t the Impala. No reason for a “stretched epsilon”, the SS should have been available with V6 and V8 options (instead of just the V8) and badged Impala with the current Malibu below it. The SS platform could have also been the basis for a true Cadillac flagship instead of the XTS we have now. (Rant over.)
More an “everyman goes to the auto show” feature than an assessment of what’s a future classic. Perhaps that’s partly because there doesn’t seem to be anything truly groundbreaking (or just plain beautiful).
I wish automakers would outgrow the Tonka toy look for trucks and SUVs. It’s neither attractive nor aerodynamic.
I also wish GM would get its design mojo back. Fifty years from now no one will point to the 2013 Corvette as in the same league as the 1963 Stingray.
What’s with all the LGVs? The theme works for some vehicles…not for all.
Are we going to have busybodies complain about AIR SHORTAGES, and how those pickup trucks are HOGGING ALL THE AIR with their HUGE GRILLES?
Or if they bring back the short lived “Premair” catalytic radiator then they will be cleaning the air. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/aug/27/news/hw-16843
Blame governmental pedestrian front-impact regulations. They’ve been in effect in Europe for a while now, and American manufacturers know it’s just a matter of time before the NHTSA adopts them as well.
The new Cherokee looks like a real Jeep pulling 40Gs in a rocket sled, like Col. Stapp did.
Huge grilles may be a compensation for the fact that the actual grille openings are shrinking, thanks to efficient engines and electrics.
Where can I get one of those Statue of Liberty hood ornaments?
Ugh. I get less interested in new cars every year. Almost all of these are absolutely hideous.
RE: Kia. For all the hype about Schreyer and flashy styling, every Kia save the Soul is a pastiche of ques lifted from other cars. Those taillights look like direct replacements for the Focus’, while the Forte’s headlights are a blatant ripoff of the new 3-Series’ stupid design (Seriously, look at picture of the Forte, block the middle of the grille with your finger and it’s a 3-Series). The old car kinda looked like a Civic, though, so at least they’re moving upmarket.
Also, “Too Many People.” Awesome. Ram plays like a sequel to Abbey Road. Typical McCartney schmaltz/silliness, but easily one of the best solo records from a Beatle.
exactly what I was thinking. I’d LIKE to like any of these cars, but they all somehow combine looking overstyled while still looking awful and not stylish at all. Tiny cars of the past sometimes looked clean and simple and not half bad…it’s like all cars now are designed by 11 year old Transformers fans. Luckily I live where there is no rust so I should be able to keep driving my older cars indefinitely. 🙂
Good read on “Ram”. By far one of the best post-Beatle albums and it sounds like he had a blast making it.
I think the front end of the new CTS is very interesting and will look great in person.
The big gaping maws on most of these vehicles look silly. Of all these, I think the Highlander wears its large grille the best. At least the grille on the Lincoln MKC looks smaller than the “baleen whale mouth” front end of the MKX. Thank goodness.
The new CTS looks like a step backwards towards mediocrity to me. They’ve rounded all the edges, so it’s starting to look like a Lexus, and they’ve gotten rid of the neat visual effect where it looks like the grille extends down behind the bumper (cover).
Not sure i like the restyle of the ChevySS but if you tick the right boxes they do come in rocketship grade
Hideous. Insectoid. Those hockey stick-like front LED lamps are officially out of control.
It appears that men like Gordon Buehrig, Edsel Ford, Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell, Larry Shinoda, Peter Brock, Pininfarina, Jack Telnack, Chuck Jordan and Richard Teague were replaced by guys who grew up watching Alien and Predator movies. And my, how it shows in their “work”.
Welcome to the genesis of Automotive Styling-The Dark Ages….
Geez the only cars I find appealing in here are both GMs, God help us!
Well, yet another model year that’ll justify my continued dabbling in old junk I guess 🙂
I wonder how much of the current look we can blame on 3d modeling software. Pointless concave/convex shifts and irritatingly fussy headlights might look better on a screen than they do in the metal.
Or, the fact that packaging and pedestrian safety concerns make every car the same shape leads to overcompensation in the detailing.
Bingo! on your last sentence, 73. The science fiction novels of the time have now come to fruition and government has a heavy hand in everything. Including how ridiculous automotive design has become.
It’s funny how I never realized running down pedestrians was so epidemic in the Western World, but here it is. Starting in Socialist Europe, the pedestrian-friendly front ends have found a friend in the current administration in Washington. i mean really, the human body is going to have devastating injuries suffered regardless if they are run down by a Fox Body Mustang GT, 96 Chevy Impala SS or one of these newer automotive designs.
It makes me appreciate all the more the efforts by Dodge with the Challenger, Ford with the Mustang and Chevy with the Corvette and Camaro and VW with the Beetle in keeping the spirit alive of these retro icons while dealing with a political hack-suit in Washington looking over his/her shoulder on the drafting table…