2013 New York Auto Show Winners and Losers

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

The New York International Auto Show proved to be one of the busiest of the auto-show season. Its two preview days were overflowing with new and redesigned cars that had Cars.com editors Mike Hanley, Joe Wiesenfelder, Joe Bruzek and Aaron Bragman scrambling through the Javits Center. With tired feet, we offer the hits and misses of the show.

Check out the Luxury Cars Winners and Losers here.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

Mike Hanley: Loser
The new slimmer front grille is a small change that achieves dramatic results, making an already sinister sports car even more so. I know the new taillights have a retro influence, but I'm not a fan and prefer the ones on the current car. What's more, it doesn't look like Chevrolet has done anything to address the Camaro's weight problem or ridiculously bad visibility.

Aaron Bragman: Loser
I'm not a fan of this update. The Camaro has now looked as it does for seven years — since the concept debuted in 2006 — and the first refresh we get is this? The interior is still uncomfortable, poorly laid out and made from awful-quality plastics, and not even the arrival of a track monster, the Z/28, can distract from that. With a new Ford Mustang coming next year and a new Dodge Challenger coming in two, you'd have thought Chevy would have gone farther.

Joe Bruzek: Loser
The new Z/28 is a spectacle of high-performance dedication. Unfortunately, it took removing air conditioning, sound insulation and all speakers except one to save 300 pounds, which is still roughly 270 pounds heavier than a Mustang GT. I don't think we'll see a lighter-weight Camaro across all models until a platform change happens. I do like the new retro taillights, however, and was never fond of the previous chrome-trimmed quad taillights.

Joe Wiesenfelder: Loser
I think I can second, third and fourth many of the sentiments above. I haven't been a fan of this Camaro, and, as predicted, its weight problem can't be fixed until it's re-engineered. The interior also needed an ergonomics overhaul. Oddly enough, I like the nose and taillight changes. That isn't enough.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible 2014-Chevrolet-CorvetteConv_sm

MH: Winner
The Corvette Stingray convertible has the same sharply creased lines, gaping grille and stylized taillights of the coupe, but the transformation does away with the coupe's dramatically updated roofline in favor of a familiar-looking soft-top. I wish the soft-top's shape were a little more daring, but no one will care when the top's down, which will probably be most of the time with this car.

AB: Winner
Shut up about the square taillights already, they totally fit with the car's image and work with the overall look. Pretty much the only way to improve upon the Stingray coupe was to chop the top off, and here it is. Everything that's a plus for the coupe applies to the convertible: great interior, amazing technology, gorgeous body and now wind-in-the-hair fun too.

JB: Winner
Despite losing its roof, the Stingray convertible looks more complete with the top down now that the black roof, which looks out of place on anything but dark-colored cars, is gone. Sitting inside with the top down is as natural as any dedicated convertible designed just to be a convertible, which is a feat considering the drop-top has a coupe variant.

JW: Winner
Definitely the better-looking body style with the top down. (If it was ever on display with the top raised, I didn't see it.) I'm more pleased by the interior quality, which seems much better than what I saw in the coupe — even under the harsh auto-show lights, unshadowed by a roof. Anyone notice the stick? Sure, it's expected, but I'd expect it in many, many performance and sports cars, and sometimes it just isn't there.

2014 Dodge Durango Durangowl

MH: Winner
The Durango's exterior updates are much more subtle in person; The full-width taillights are the only thing that really stand out. A large dashboard touch-screen and new controls improve an already good interior. New just a few years ago, the Durango wasn't especially in need of a refresh, which makes all the changes for 2014 a pleasant surprise.

AB: Winner
The Durango is perhaps the best SUV that nobody's buying, and the new one is just that much better. Like Jeep's approach to the new Grand Cherokee, Dodge fixed the elements that needed fixing and left the rest of it alone. Even better fuel economy than before, a top-notch multimedia system, more than adequate power, butch looks and real seven-passenger room for mid-$30,000s? Why aren't you buying these, America?

JB: Winner
The subtle exterior changes add nice flair to the already attractive Durango, especially the rear taillights that look stunning when illuminated. Plus Dodge adds its proven 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen multimedia system, which is one of the best in the business and a notable knock against the Durango when it didn't have it.

JW: Winner
As I expressed in the Up Close, how many SUVs are this recognizable from behind, day or night, from a half-mile away? How many of those actually look good, too? Good exterior, good interior, big touch-screen and a rotary knob gear selector rather than the Grand Cherokee's springy T-handle. Nothing seems to have been done in this update that didn't need doing.

2014 Honda Odyssey Odysseywl

MH: Loser
Just when you think cars have all the features you could possibly need, Honda comes out with a built-in vacuum cleaner for its Odyssey minivan, which makes all the sense in the world for this family-focused vehicle. What doesn't make sense is that it's exclusively offered on the Touring Elite model, a luxury minivan that costs nearly $45,000. Why not offer it on the lower-level EX trim?

AB: Winner
Of course it's about the HondaVac system. Honda has come up with the first actual innovation in the minivan world since Chrysler's Stow 'n Go seating, and even if it is a little gimmicky, it's a real-world useful bit of kit that owners all over will actually employ. Pro tip: Parents, buy yourself a Flowbee and the lil' snowflakes can give each other haircuts on the way to school! Such a time-saver!

JB: Loser
I applaud Honda's innovation and real-world functionality of the HondaVac. It's not a wimpy vacuum by any means. It is very lazy, however. A $30 garage vacuum will do the same thing, and when on the road a $1 car-wash vacuum cleans up impromptu hissy-fit messes.

JW: Winner
Automotive gold, that vacuum system is. Stow 'n Go is a great comparison, because I believe its role in keeping Chrysler and Dodge alive in the minivan segment can't be overstated. Have you sat in those seats? They're terrible, but the way they fold into the floor is so slick that they've charmed many a buyer — who might not ultimately fold them often enough to justify the discomfort. The Odyssey vacuum would likewise lure buyers even if it didn't work well, but it seems to.

2014 Jeep Cherokee 2014 Jeep Cherokee

MH: Winner
It's all in the name. Jeep would have saved itself a lot of unnecessary comparisons with the previous-generation Cherokee SUV if it had come up with a different name for this all-new crossover. Whether you love or hate the design — and after seeing it in person, I kind of love it — the Cherokee demands your attention. There's a lot of substance here, too, with a high-quality interior and a roomy backseat. Priced right, it should be a hit.

AB: Loser
It's the two faces that disturb me. There's the squinty-eyed predatory face up top descending upon the screaming, droopy-eyed face below it. See it? Admittedly, I first saw this trucklet at a preview in December, and it had chrome reflectors for those middle lights that threw everything off — it actually does look better with them blacked out and blended into the lower bumper. I understand Jeep needs to get more aerodynamic for fuel-economy gains, but this just loses too many of the traditional Jeep styling cues in the process. Cherokee isn't the only name I keep hearing in relation to this new truck — the other one is Pontiac Aztek.

JB: Winner
Love it. The Cherokee is freshly designed and functional, and it's significantly more attractive in person. There's dedication in the available trim levels to satisfy road goers with the Limited as well as off-road fiends. Trailhawk off-road models look especially mean, and with matte highlights, I see the Warthog multipurpose vehicle from the Halo video-game series.

JW: Winner
JB sees the what from the what? I've respected the styling since a sneak preview a few months ago, and I like it more now. Honestly, the small backseat and cargo area are major problems, but the front seats, interior quality, features and capability are all upsides. If Jeep dumps the Compass and Patriot, builds something larger and stops calling the Cherokee midsize, there will be fewer objective aspects to complain about.

2014 Kia Soul 2014 Kia Soul

MH: Loser
The Soul gets some significant platform updates for 2014, but you wouldn't really know it from looking at it. When cars are defined by their designs, like they are with the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, evolving the concept is a big challenge and it's no less of one here.

AB: Winner
I've always liked the Soul, even with its former Playskool-grade interior, I've found it to be comfortable, funky and unique, and the new one looks like even more fun. However, I'm worried that Kia is trying to make themselves a Juke or even a Mini competitor here. This new model has a lot of luxury content that's just going to add weight and cost. No Soul should cost anywhere near $30,000.

JB: Winner
The Soul's proportions and function have always been a winning combination. Its interior has not with mostly cheap materials that don't look or feel of much quality. That's changed for 2014, and it's a noticeable improvement with more soft-touch materials and black-gloss finish trim pieces.

JW: Winner
The exterior changes take away from the Soul, making it less distinctive in front and more distinctive (in a negative way) in back, but this is one of those cases where I prefer to let individuals make their own aesthetic judgments. At least it's different. The interior is much improved. There are lots of advanced features along with the quality gains. If the ride and handling improve, as they have in other recently redone Kia vehicles, this will be a winner many times over.

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage Miragewinnersandlosers

MH: Winner
Perhaps reading about the Mirage's puny specs, like its 74-horsepower three-cylinder engine, created unnaturally low expectations for Mitsubishi's new subcompact hatchback, but I walked away impressed with its roomy and relatively comfortable cabin. When you take into account its expected thriftiness at the gas station, the Mirage might surprise people.

AB: Winner
It wins simply because it makes the Smart ForTwo completely irrelevant. The Mirage's three-cylinder engine has 4 hp more than the Smart's three-cylinder; it handily trounces the ForTwo's fuel economy (by a lot) and features room for two extra people and their stuff. Is this going to save Mitsubishi in the U.S. market? Not a chance. Scrapping all of its U.S.-made midsize cars and SUVs in favor of expensive, imported-from-Japan compacts and minicars is no recipe for success, but it might delay Mitsubishi's demise a while.

JB: Winner
It pains me to call a dinky car with 74 hp a winner, but its fuel economy of 40 mpg city/highway combined and potentially low price could be a winner for value shoppers looking for a high-mileage small car. Tiny cars like the Chevrolet Spark and Smart ForTwo can't match the Mirage's mileage claim.

JW: Loser
Aaron is still new to the team, so he hasn't learned that the ForTwo has been dead to us for years. The legit competitors are the Spark and Scion iQ. The Spark was surprisingly impressive even after I drove it. The iQ? Only until I drove it. A 74-hp three-banger and continuously variable automatic transmission are a recipe for disaster. This thing looks so old inside that I'm surprised Coda hasn't electrified it.

2014 Scion tC 2014 Scion tC

MH: Loser
The updated tC coupe incorporates some design cues from the brand's FR-S sports car, especially up front, but the look doesn't go all that well with the rest of the design. Not helping matters is an interior that's heavy on cheap-looking — and feeling — materials. You can do better, Scion; I know you can.

AB: Loser
Snore. Same old car but now with a Toyota Avalon front end, dull gray interior and LED "Altezza-style" taillights that went out of style five years ago. In a world where you can get a 201-hp Veloster Turbo or Honda Civic Si coupe for just a couple grand more, where's the appeal of the boring tC?

JB: Loser
Despite interior updates, the Scion tC still isn't on the same level as the Hyundai Veloster or Honda Civic. Its inspiration from the awesome FR-S should have been left where it belongs -- on the rear-wheel-drive sports car, though you can't blame Scion for wanting to see some of that car's success on the less interesting tC.

JW: Loser
Tale of two compacts: Honda and Scion came out with new generations; the Civic remained good but took a few steps backward. One model year later, Honda fixed it. The tC took more steps backward in 2011 and Scion still hasn't fixed it. I'd respect them more if they reverted to the gen-one tC.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid XvWL

MH: Loser
I like the XV Crosstrek and think the gas-only version should do well for Subaru, but the hybrid's estimated gas mileage — only 3 mpg better in combined city/highway driving — is a problem in an era when hybrids must produce big fuel-economy gains to warrant their extra cost. Pricing hasn't been released yet, but the upcharge will have to be pretty small for the hybrid version to be worth it for most buyers.

AB: Loser
For Subie's first hybrid, this thing is lame. The whole point of a hybrid is better fuel economy, and the XV Crosstrek Hybrid just isn't enough of a hybrid to actually deliver. It's rated at 28/34 mpg city/highway, whereas the conventional version gets 25/33 mpg. It'll probably sell like crazy to loyal Subaru owners despite the extra cost and awful Linda Blair Upchuck Green paint, but as hybrids go, this is weaksauce.

JB: Loser
Like Mike and Aaron mention, the mileage improvement is weak for a hybrid. Maybe an off-road-oriented XV Crosstrek model with a lifted suspension wasn't the best way to introduce a hybrid.

JW: Loser
Everything that's wrong with the hybrid movement is summed up here: not enough efficiency gained. Aaron's right that Subaru junkies will probably buy it, though if it doesn't drive as well as or better than the average hybrid, it could be dead in the water. Aaron's also wrong: Its character Regan MacNeil who puked green in Technicolor. Poor Linda Blair. She never recovered from that role.

Subaru WRX Concept Subaru WRX Concept

MH: Winner
The next version of the WRX likely won't be this aggressive-looking — the WRX STI, perhaps — but even if some of the bolder cues like the huge fender flares and massive rear diffuser are toned down the car's great stance and proportions should remain.

AB: Winner
Subaru almost always does gorgeous concept cars, and the WRX Concept is no exception. The problem is when Subie goes to turn the concept car into reality, and designers lose out to more conservative executives (see the Advanced Tourer Wagon concept from 2011 for confirmation). If the actual next-generation WRX looks as good as this low, wide sedan concept does, I will be stunned.

JB: Winner
Almost as an apology for the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, Subaru redeemed itself with the hot WRX Concept. The best way to view the WRX Concept is from the rear three-quarter view where the bulging rear fenders and sleek profile impress. Hopefully some of the design makes it to production because Subaru's track record isn't that great for translating a concept car into a production model.

JW: Winner
Great to stare at from many angles, especially when far-out concepts are in short supply, as they have been for a few years. JB's right about the rear three-quarter view. That's some jet-fighter stuff going on there. I hope they use a glowing badge in the grille of a real car someday.

2014 Toyota Highlander 2014 Toyota Highlander

MH: Winner
The new Highlander's big-mouth grille is more than a little off-putting in photos, but in-person the crossover wears it well and it's not nearly as overpowering. Add up all of the other significant exterior changes with the all-new interior and there's a lot that's new on the 2014 Highlander. It all works quite well.

AB: Winner
Some of the styling may be derivative, such as the profile that looks like Volkswagen's 2013 CrossBlue concept and the rear end that looks like a new Nissan Pathfinder, but I applaud Toyota for using some more aggressive styling cues for the front end. It's actually distinctive — and when is the last time you heard that about a Toyota? The interior is a massive step up from the current Highlander, and from many recent Toyotas in general. Good to see content being put back in after years of cheapening out.

JB: Winner
Toyota took a chance with the 2014 Highlander's aggressive, unique exterior styling. And they nailed it. Previously a drab SUV that was practical but not particularly interesting is now even more attractive and higher quality while also improving usability. The interior of the upscale Limited trim level on display is almost as classy as the 2013 Toyota Avalon, and there's considerably more usability from the rear seating and cargo area.

JW: Winner
In our comparison test of large crossovers with three rows of seats, what held the 2011 Highlander back was its interior quality and its snug third row. Toyota addressed both. Definitely a winner.

2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI 2015 Volkswagen Golf and GTI

MH: Winner
Some might complain that all the Golfs and GTIs of recent memory look the same — they do to a certain degree — but as hatchbacks go, the design is athletic, so why toss it out? I'll take the Golf's and GTI's classic lines over a busily styled hatchback any day.

AB: Winner
The Golf formula is pretty unique in the U.S. market: a relatively inexpensive hatchback with European handling, luxury-car interior quality and decent resale value. But the GTI is truly a benchmark, and this new one looks even better. Golfs never change too much between one generation and the next; but when you're this good, you never really have to.

JB: Loser
Seeing as I had to look for the "All-New Golf" license plates on the show floor to distinguish them from the old car, the Golf is easily forgettable under the auto-show lights. It is an impressive car, however, with a high-quality interior just as the Golf and GTI have been in previous generations.

JW: Loser
I'm on Team Bruzek for this one. They might even look more boring than the outgoing generation. From the rear three-quarter and profile views, the blue Golf looked slab-sided, though the red GTI came across better. Yes, it's nice inside, roomy and likely a great-driving car, but for a redesign, I want more of a redesign, even if it appeals less to me, personally, than to others (see Soul, above).

Editor's note: This post was updated on April 5 to reflect a change to the Corvette Stingray's transmission.

Comments 

sheth

PS; Joe Bruzek says that a 3800lb Z28 is still 270lbs more than a Mustang GT. That is not true at all (does anyone fact check before posting?) since a Mustang GT is over 3600lbs. Also claiming the camaro has looked the same for 7 years is a bit of stretch when the car came out in 2009. We get it- you all dont like the camaro. POint taken, but don't twist the facts just to beat a dead horse.

bfw

Sheth defending GM once again. Come on! Open your eyes and see that GM does't make great products. Never have and never will.

J

The Camaro concept came out in 2006 which looks just like the production model.
Anything else?

http://www.cars.com/ford/mustang/2013/specifications/?acode=USC30FOC051C0

Mustang: 3483 lbs.
Since Ford does not put it on their website, I had to quote cars.com's spec.

Now go away...

Al. G

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee in my opinion looks worse in person. I hate that front end.

Ivan

Shame about that WRX. Couldn't Subaru keep it as is, just this once, for us young guys that like agressive and good looking cars? But I suppose I will look at the equally or moreso handsome S3 sedan once the boring impreza looking WRX actually comes out. When will they realize that they could have a market beyond practical, whole foods shopping families?

Ivan

The camaro only looks better because they changed something finally, but in a year I will realize that the retro look just got worse.

The Stingray convertable is great, and a welcome improvement over the previous generation, but the design overall has cooled down for me, especially with the 5 year old ferrari headlights and the lazily opened mouth grille.

The Durango is good, but people aren't buying more of them because they don't trust Chrystler, and every other automaker has stepped up their game as well.

The Oddysey is probably still the best minivan, even the styling, so I don't know if they needed a vacuum to improve it, but any innovation is welcome.

I don't know what the Jeep Cherokee offers, but the design is just as hideous as it was when the spy images came out. This should join the Juke in no time.

The Soul is great in its improvement, and hopefully in its value, but it is not for me.

The Mirage is a strange car with old styling inside and out, relatively good mpg, but a higher price than the (probably) larger versa sedan. Is it the features? Definitely not the quality, nor the power, nor the style...

My friend was really hopeful for the crosstrek hybrid, and I would hate to break the news for him. Subaru should have called up toyota for their prius drivetrain and aerodynamics engineers.

I'm just going to try to forget about this wrx concept, because this is the last time we'll see it in this pretty form.

I'm also not sure what you see in the highlander, because the front looks like the bad subaru tribeca, and the rear is just bland. I hope that improved interior makes up for it.

And finally the golf. Lighter, audi like styling, better interior, more power, more efficiency, same great package and value. What's not to like. Find me a better hatchback and then you can call it a loser. And no, the focus ST with its muddled center console does not work.

Awesome show, overall, but I'm still waiting for a few cars.

WTF

J,

Do better research before trying to stick it to someone. The Mustang GT curb weight is 3618 lbs.

Ken L.

Well, depending of source, J and Sheth are both correct.

3618 lbs - http://media.ford.com/images/10031/2013_MustangGT_Specs.pdf

3483 lbs- http://autos.yahoo.com/ford/mustang/2013/gt-coupe/specifications.html

Maybe one weighed the vehicle with a full tank and the other weighed it on empty? But even still, 16 gallons of gas weighs only about 97 lbs. Somebody's scale is obliviously off.

sheth

"Mustang: 3483 lbs.
Since Ford does not put it on their website, I had to quote cars.com's spec."

That is not the weight of the V8 powered GT. You can EASILY fine the weight of the GT by looking at one of dozens of tests conducted by various auto websites. Per MT the GT weighs 3620lbs. No V8 powered coupe with rear seats weighs 3400lbs- thats about the curb weight of a ZR1 which is considerably lighter than the Mustang GT.

Your researching skills need work.

sheth

@ken:

We are not both correct. I don't know where Yahoo got that info from, but I suspect that number is for the base V6 car. YOu will not find any actual test with real numbers that backs up that figure for the GT. It's 3600lbs- even the race ready Boss is over 3500lbs.

sheth

http://media.ford.com/images/10031/2013_MustangGT_Specs.pdf

With stick it weighs 3618, with auto 3675lbs. PER FORD. I think we can believe them. ZL1 weighs 4120 which should put the Z28 at 3820- about 200lbs more than Mustang GT.

Infosaur

The surprise of the show for me was the onslaught of Buick updates. Wasn't expecting that and nobody here really mentioned that.

Things I was expecting to see at the show that didn't arrive, Infiniti's G37 coupe replacement (or a concept denoting such) Or the Altima Coupe replacement. For some reason NYC is always a strong show for Nissan. But they didn't bring anything big here this year.

Ken L.

@ the auto show now. Waiting in line for the Jeep off road course. Hope it's worth the hour wait for 8 speed Grand Cherokee.

sheth

@infosaur:

The buick updates were reported weeks before the show and spy shots of the Lacrosse/Regal had been on the internet for a while but for whatever reason this site didn't really cover any of that. I guess they don't talk about vehicles until they are formally introduced. Even after their intros there wasn't much info on the updated Buicks here.

sheth

"Sheth defending GM once again. Come on! Open your eyes and see that GM does't make great products. Never have and never will."

Great point. I see where you're coming from. I'm now going to make pointless anti-Gm comments in every thread related to one of their vehicles!

jyd

From the top:

Camaro - Loser: does this need an explanation?

Vette - Winner - best Vette in years
Durango - Winner: because it's a Jeep
Odyssey - Winner: still the best minivan
Cherokee - Loser: Worst styled vehicle in years
Soul - Winner: next iteration of popular runabout; good option levels
Mirage: Mitsubishi is still in business?
Scion - Loser: This whole line can be jettisoned from Toyota
Subaru XV - Loser: as a hybrid, it's a loser
Subaru WRX - Winner: Best looking Subie in two decades
Highlander - Winner: Wonderful evolution of the species
Golf - Winner: but barely. Continues to improve but needs a major update to styling.

Parrots

There was plenty of coverage for both Buicks. Go back and look at all there posts.

Uncle sam

When J P Morgan sells the remaining GM stock still owned by the Government, I guess we will know exactly how much camaro cost us per pound!

sheth

"There was plenty of coverage for both Buicks. Go back and look at all there posts."

The buicks were actually amongst the first to be unveiled. A photo gallery for the Regal came 3-4 days later. I don't even know if the lacrosse got one. No video for either but there were videos posted quickly for vehicles like the Highlander and Soul.

Joe

Biggest surprise of show: WRX concept that is both agressive and well proportioned. Entirely unexpected. Has Subaru finally banished anyone associated with the Tribeca from its design department?

Biggest disappointment in show: Audi S3 with no manual transmission.

Biggest future disappointment: When Subaru reveals that the 2015 WRX is actually a 2007 Toyota Corolla.

J

WTF,

Sources?
I provided a source.

As your name has suggested, that's only comment I had for you.

Sheth,

What am I supposed to "fine" Ford's Mustang GT weight.
You simply skipped through the 2006 Camaro comment altogether...

WTF

J,

You're kidding right? Ford's own media site.

Now go away.

J

WTF,

Your point was to shove it in my face without any prove.

Who needs to learn now?

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