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Auto Show:  2012 New York Auto Show

2012 New York Auto Show: What It Means to You

author photo by Colin Ryan April 2012
  • Wide selection of new models
  • Diesel makes inroads
  • Crossovers still incredibly popular

Just like the hosting city, there's a no-nonsense air to the New York Auto Show. While other shows feature fancy concepts, putting cars on a metaphorical (and sometimes literal) pedestal, the New York show is a virtual shop window.

This is where buyers can see what they're getting - where car companies bring the real stuff. The timing has been fortuitous on this occasion, because the 2013 model year sees plenty of all-new machines, new generations of well-known names and mid-cycle revamps, and most of them are on display at the 2012 New York Auto Show before they hit the streets later in the year.

For example, the 2013 Nissan Altima midsize sedan is an entirely new model and looks like it could give the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry some tough competition.

At the other end of the scale - sublime or ridiculous, depending on your point of view - is a brand-new Viper. With a muscle-bound 640 horsepower from a V10 engine, the 2013 SRT Viper (there's no more Dodge badging for this car; it's meant to be a halo model for the Chrysler Group's other high-performance SRT efforts) is gloriously inappropriate for the 21st century and all the better for it.

Look, too, at all the sport utility vehicles and crossovers that came to the show. The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Hyundai Santa Fe (now with seating for seven) are all new or made-over models.

Another interesting trend from this year's New York show is that German companies are getting a little braver with their diesel offerings. Porsche brought the Cayenne Diesel, and Mercedes-Benz displayed its re-styled GLK with Bluetec. In the World Car of the Year awards, given out during the show's second press day, the Mercedes-Benz S250 CDI BlueEfficiency (a long-winded way of saying "diesel S-Class"), took the green car honors, beating the Ford Focus Electric. The diesel door is cracking open, so perhaps the next generation of Mazda6 midsize sedan could offer an alternative to gasoline, especially if the closely related Takeri concept is anything to go by.

Yes, there have been some concepts at the Big Apple, and cool ones at that. The Mazda Takeri with a 2.2-liter clean diesel engine being one of them. It was joined by others that have been seen at previous shows, like the Land Rover DC100 Defender, Acura NSX (swoon) and the VW E-Bugster electric convertible.

Electricity is responsible for a DeLorean coming back from the past, while Infiniti's LE Concept also comes with batteries included. Several so-called concepts are nevertheless pretty much production cars: the Acura RLX and Honda Crosstour, as a couple examples.

There's been real buzz about the 2012 New York Auto Show, with more than 20 launches, many of them sensible and no-nonsense, like the 2013 Lexus ES and 2013 Subaru Legacy. Even car-hire companies have something to smile about: the next-gen 2014 Chevrolet Impala looks like it will be a fine choice to drive away from an airport parking lot.

What it means to you: When the time comes to change your car, the 2012 New York Auto Show has a ton of good options.

Check out more news from the New York Auto Show.

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2012 New York Auto Show: What It Means to You - Autotrader