In a city where most residents give up cars or have gone their entire lives without a driver’s license, holding a major auto show in New York seems counterintuitive. But New York car culture, a tamer, less materialist display than Los Angeles, is part of the city fabric, especially in Manhattan.
Taxi cabs here are so plentiful, quick and cheap compared to other major U.S. cities, and the island’s grid layout makes driving an ordinarily simple task after you’ve visited Boston’s downtown. Traffic is terrible sometimes, but never as terrible as six or seven lanes traveling 10 mph in LA. New Yorkers, for all their ruthless tolls, incomprehensible parking signs and potholed roads, actually have a great space to show off the latest rides.
I say this as a visiting journalist and not as a New Yorker who would actually attempt to park on the street every day or pay $500 or more per month for a space. That wouldn’t be fun. But for a day or two, a nice car in Manhattan just feels right. You get out, hit a nice restaurant and run up and down the avenues for more fun. You swallow the expenses and enjoy it.
That’s how I play in the city each April during the New York International Auto Show. It’s both work and pleasure, the latter of which there is no shortage in Manhattan. You can do the same thing before the show ends Sunday at the Jacob Javits Center, so in case you’ve missed our daily coverage, have a quick look at these three must-see models.
Pearl white, chrome and cashmere are all you need to know about this luxury Mustang. It’s a nod to the original Mustang that rolled off the line in 1964 and debuted at the World’s Fair in nearby Flushing Meadows. Even if you don’t fall over backwards for Mustangs — and I don’t, not at all — this car is a looker and one hell of a showpiece. OK, I might fall over backwards for this one. MORE>>
Jeep has done “soft” 4x4s before with mediocre results. With the Patriot and Compass ushered away for retirement, the Renegade takes over with design and detail in every crevice of this sub-$20,000 compact SUV. During the Renegade’s debut, Jeep had one of its drivers stop the car on a 30-something degree incline while its CEO talked about its off-road credentials. At least the brakes worked. The looks, feel and engines seem spot on, too. MORE>>
When you sit in this car, be careful to lift your ankle above the carbon fiber side piece jutting out past the door sill. Do not be concerned that you cannot lower the heavily-bolstered bucket seat below the windshield frame. And don’t look behind at the carbon fiber spoiler that’s tacked on like a Matchbox racer. This car is childish, pure entertainment in the looniest form. It’s the best example of what General Motors can do when it works for the customer and isn’t trying to cut corners and risk lives over a lousy 57 cents. You may kill yourself with its 625 horsepower and estimated 200-mph top speed, but that’ll be your fault. MORE>>