2012 New York Auto Show: Winners and Losers

WLAltima

Many of the press conferences at this year's New York auto show were packed with multiple debuts, as if the automakers knew this was their last opportunity to make a splash before the summer lull between international showcases. The jam-packed schedule brought a number of significant debuts, and Cars.com's editors Mike Hanley, Kelsey Mays, Joe Wiesenfelder and Joe Bruzek trekked the show floor in search of the show's winners and losers.

2013 Nissan Altima

Mike Hanley: Winner
The redesigned Altima's all-new sheet metal keeps the sedan's appearance current in the quickly evolving family-car segment, but its efficient four-cylinder engine — with a projected gas mileage of 38 mpg on the highway — will strongly resonate with buyers focused on gas prices. The competition isn't letting up, but the new Altima looks like it has what it takes to maintain its impressive sales momentum.

Kelsey Mays: Winner
Nissan is the latest to expose the absurdity of automakers building an optimized fuel-economy version that's hard to find on dealer lots but marketed ad nauseam. The Altima should get a game-changing 27/38 mpg city/highway with no optional equipment, leading some other four-cylinder family cars by double-digit percentages. Interesting styling and comfortable seats help its case, too. Cabin materials don't leapfrog the class, but they're competitive with the Camry, Accord and Fusion.

By David Thomas | April 12, 2012 | Comments (6)

2012 Chicago Auto Show: Winners and Losers

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Not many drapes were ripped off all-new cars under bright lights in Chicago over the past few days. The debuts we saw were limited in number, but the size of the show itself is seemingly endless and filled with more commonplace models. At least that's what our feet are saying.

More 2012 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

That doesn't mean we're short on opinions of the few debuts we did see. We've enlisted more editors to make up for the short list of cars. David Thomas, Kelsey Mays, Joe Bruzek, Colin Bird and Mike Hanley grade the debuts. Who doesn't want to hear more opinions from automotive journalists?

2013 Acura ILX

David Thomas: Winner
I was expecting to be impressed with a spacious interior in a compact car, like I was with the new Honda Civic. I wasn't expecting the ILX to be the best-looking Acura sedan at the booth. The brand's design could be better, but if it keeps moving in this direction I see hope.

Kelsey Mays: Loser
Acura (and Buick, for that matter) paid heed to the pitfall potential in the elusive near-luxury segment. Cabin materials feel a lot richer than the Civic's dowdy surfaces, but I disagree with David: The ILX still looks bland, and the odd blank space below the grille recalls Keanu Reeve's Neo having his mouth fused shut in "The Matrix." Gas mileage is well below the Civic, even with the base four-cylinder. For entry-luxury cars to catch on, models like the Buick Verano and ILX can't fall 7 or 8 mpg on the highway below their non-luxury counterparts.

By David Thomas | February 16, 2012 | Comments (43)

2012 Detroit Auto Show Winners and Losers: Concept Cars

WLNSX

The Detroit auto show has traditionally had a strong concept-car presence, and the 2012 edition is no different. More than a few concepts strongly hint at upcoming production models, and Cars.com editors Joe Wiesenfelder, David Thomas, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley trekked the show floor to see them all.

Acura NSX Concept

Mike Hanley: Winner
The original NSX is revered in sports car circles, and the NSX Concept has the swagger to be a worthy successor. It's smaller than you think, and the design reminds me a lot of McLaren's MP4-12C, which is a looker in its own right.

David Thomas: Winner
It reminds me of a lot of other cars, especially the Audi R8. Perhaps Acura will tweak its corporate design some more before the NSX is finally on sale, but the design as-is is still a success. I like all the news about an all-new V-6 engine for the brand and it being built in the U.S. more than the actual concept. Maybe I just want to drive it right now.

By David Thomas | January 18, 2012 | Comments (12)

2011 L.A. Auto Show Winners and Losers: Concept Cars

JaguarCX16Concept
The art of the concept car has been stymied for the past few years with economic turmoil facing the industry. But these future visions on four wheels are back in a big way this auto show season with some stunners making their mark in Los Angeles. Editors Joe Wiesenfelder, David Thomas, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley judge these visions and render swift verdicts of what makes them stand apart or stand out like a sore thumb. Also read our thoughts on the production vehicles that debuted.

Jaguar C-X16 (above)

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner
Two reasons this is a winner: It looks fantastic, as any good sport concept does. Also, it's a hybrid. That alone doesn't make it a winner, but the fact that it comes from a brand that never forgets the driving experience is promising. If hybrid tech is to proliferate, it must become more satisfying to drive.

Mike Hanley: Winner
When your sports car looks better than an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, you know you've done well. The C-X16's proportions are just right, and it's infused with aggressive design cues befitting a cutting-edge coupe. Jaguar makes some great-looking sports cars, and this concept continues that trend.

By David Thomas | November 18, 2011 | Comments (3)

2011 L.A. Auto Show Winners and Losers: Production Cars

CadillacXTS
This year's L.A. Auto Show will make attendees' heads spin in terms of all the new production cars on display. Automakers are rolling out important cars from full-size luxury sedans to the smallest of compact cars. Actually, one company did both. How did the automakers execute these ideas in their final form, which will hit car dealerships within the next year? Cars.com editors Joe Wiesenfelder, David Thomas, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley weigh in. You can also read our thoughts on L.A.'s Concept Cars.

2013 Cadillac XTS (above)

Joe Wiesenfelder: Winner
There's much to like here: lots of space, a high-quality interior and what appears to be a smart new interface — though I insist that physical buttons and knobs needn't be banished for touch-sensitive panels. True, the front-drive platform deviates from Cadillac's rear-wheel-drive push, but frankly, few of the full-size rear-wheel-drive competitors are engaging to drive either.

Mike Hanley: Loser
Despite the XTS' compelling technology, I'm underwhelmed by the design. Cadillac's rear-wheel-drive CTS sedan has great proportions, but the brand's creased styling looks wrong on the XTS, especially around its tall rear end. It makes me wonder what kind of design a rear-wheel-drive platform would have yielded.

By David Thomas | November 18, 2011 | Comments (9)

2011 New York Auto Show Winners and Losers: Production Cars

Imprezawl
The New York International Auto Show was squarely focused on fuel-efficient small cars and rightly so, with gas prices steadily on the rise. Automakers didn't completely forget about horsepower, though, as the show saw a few new high-powered models. Here Cars.com editors Mike Hanley, Kelsey Mays, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder pick their favorites from the show — and the flops.

Also check out our picks for concept cars.

2012 Subaru Impreza
Mike Hanley: Winner
The all-wheel-drive Impreza's significantly improved gas mileage is a compelling storyline — it's now rated at 27/36 mpg city/highway — but I was just as impressed with the completely revised interior, which brings some needed refinement. Subaru's already on a roll in the U.S., and the Impreza looks like another hit.

Kelsey Mays: Winner
The Impreza’s face looks better than the larger Legacy’s overblown one. As Mike alluded, cabin materials are good and this sort of mileage for an all-wheel-drive car is impressive. Although Subaru hasn’t announced pricing yet, the list of standard features is generous given the Impreza’s class.

By David Thomas | April 25, 2011 | Comments (10)

2011 Chicago Auto Show: Winners & Losers

As auto shows in Chicago go, 2011 brought a decent crop of announcements. Fast cars have been a pariah in recent years, so the gearheads in us like that they’re back — especially among mainstream nameplates. Editors Kelsey Mays, Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder weigh in on this week’s Windy City debuts.
 
2012 Acura TL
Kelsey Mays: Winner
The TL’s toned-down grille suits the car better, and I can abide (barely) by the lower-bumper openings, which mirror those on the ZDX crossover-thing. With a rear bumper that doesn’t protrude to quite such a hard point in the middle, the rear is a certain improvement. Last year’s TL “really sagged down” in back, an Acura spokesman said. I agree. Add to that the car’s gas mileage improvements — which are considerable with its base V-6 — and the TL rides high.

Mike Hanley: Winner
Give Acura credit for recognizing a problem with the design of the TL and doing something about it. The sedan's new face has removed the controversial elements of the car but in the process created one without much of a design identity. It's a clean look, but not particularly memorable. Still, I'm betting TL sales will increase.

By David Thomas | February 11, 2011 | Comments (22)

2010 Los Angeles Auto Show: Winners & Losers, Concept Cars

Nissan EllureThis year’s 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show is about real-world production cars. We have extensive posts about the Winners and Losers for cars and SUVs, crossovers and minivans, but our editors also tackled the intriguing concepts under the lights of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

By Colin Bird | November 23, 2010 | Comments (0)

2010 Los Angeles Auto Show: Winners and Losers, SUVs, Crossovers and Minivans

2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Five-Door_HEADERThe 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show had so many new vehicles on display that we had to split our Winners & Losers story into two posts. First, editors David Thomas, Joe Wiesenfelder, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley weighed in on cars and convertibles. In this round, they take on SUVs, crossovers and minivans.

By David Thomas | November 22, 2010 | Comments (5)

2010 Los Angeles Auto Show: Winners and Losers, Cars

2011 Dodge Avenger Automakers are certainly experiencing a rebound these days as sales are climbing. The boost in their coffers has led to an explosion of new models, and the auto-show season is the time to introduce them to the world. This makes our days harder — and the list of winners and losers a lot longer. In alphabetical order, see which debuts dazzled and which fizzled in the eyes of our editors, David Thomas, Joe Wiesenfelder, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley. Next up will be the SUVs, crossovers and minivans.

By David Thomas | November 22, 2010 | Comments (12)

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