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Highs, Lows, Faves of the 2015 New York Auto Show

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/2/2015 Motor Trend Editors

From Honda's surprise to Lincoln and Cadillac's big statements, there was plenty to take in at the New York International Auto Show. We asked our on-site team to tell us their best in show, biggest disappointments, and favorite features.

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BEST OF THE SHOW

Honda Civic Concept

Highs, Lows, Faves of the 2015 New York Auto Show

Honda Civic Concept Front Three Quarter© Provided by MotorTrend Honda Civic Concept Front Three Quarter The antifreeze green Honda Civic Concept made the biggest buzz at New York for me. An all-new platform for the Civic is very big news, as a host of other vehicles from CUVs to Acura products will utilize chassis and powertrain components. And what we know about future Honda powertrains — and models — is compelling. In addition to a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated VTEC inline-four, Honda teased with a shot of a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, with what looked to be a front-mount intercooler. They also dropped news that Civic will come to the U.S. as a sedan, coupe, and five-door hatchback. But the news that will tickle the "Fast and Furious" generation is the Civic Type R is finally coming to the U.S., likely in time for "Fast 9." Edward Loh

I've often thought of the New York auto show as the show that features cars that regular people actually buy, and one of the cars that Americans buy by the dozen is the Honda Civic. The Civic hasn't really been worth buying in years, but this new Honda Civic Concept certainly turns things around. For the first time since the original "Fast and Furious" movies, this Civic is actually desirable. It looks wonderful, it comes in more than one body style, and most importantly, with new turbocharged engines joining the lineup, it's actually interesting from an engineering standpoint. Hats off to you, Honda. Christian Seabaugh

Lincoln Continental

A Lincoln? I'm a big believer in show cars. They help to define a given auto show. Just think back to this past January's Detroit show. Or should I say the Ford GT show? See what I did there? Anyhow, yeah, the best car at the 2015 New York International Auto Show is the Lincoln Continental Concept. A gorgeous car, and one that goes a long way to proving my theory that modern cars don't photograph well. Why not? I think it's because all of modern curves and creases just get lost and flattened in two-dimensions. Like all of you, I first saw the Conti-Con in pictures and wasn't very impressed. I thought it looked like a Bentley Flying Spur. But in person? The sucker pops. Talk about easy on the eyes. While it may not win the award for most original design, the devil is hiding in the details. Fabulous stuff, those details. The front's great -- it's long, low, and sleek, and the back end with the light-up chrome is a showstopper. As for looking like the Bentley, there are similarities, certainly. However, the Flying Spur's not a particularly sexy beast whereas the Lincoln sure is. I haven't even mentioned the Continental's interior, which is outrageously well-done. Magnificent. Appealing. Timeless. Think Don Draper's living room on wheels. Zou bisou bisou indeed. Now the bad news. I can't imagine the actual production car will in any way resemble the grandeur of this concept. I'm thinking the MKS replacement will be, well, an MKS. Typically when you have a hot car such as this, a PR man or woman will grab you, pull you aside, and whisper little off-the-record details in your ear about the upcoming production car. Even the notoriously tight-lipped flacks at Ford have been known to tell secrets to us hack types. Ain't no one saying boo about the production car. That's a bad sign. Too bad. If there ever has been a trigger-pulling moment, this is it. Jonny Lieberman

Cadillac CT6

© Provided by MotorTrend It's a real car, confidently and competently executed. The design nicely evolves Cadillac language into a mature and sophisticated format. It won't look out of its depth parked next to a 7 Series or S-Class. Angus MacKenzie

I love the Cadillac CT6 and the McLaren 570S for numerous reasons, but the car that made me say "Wow" was the Continental Concept. The car has more presence and gravitas than anything currently in the Lincoln lineup. It's the right size and shape to honestly carry the Continental name, and a Lincoln I'd want to be seen getting out of at a posh event.

I also appreciate Lincoln's decision not to chase the leading luxury brands around the racetrack and focus instead on what they're calling "Quiet Luxury." I'd call it "Subtle Luxury" myself, as the idea is to eliminate all the little minor inconveniences in a car and make the owner feel like every last possible issue has been taken care of. They're things that'll soon be taken for granted in a Lincoln, but make people wonder why other brands haven't thought of them. I love sporty cars, but I appreciate that many luxury customers don't and would prefer a pure luxury car, not a luxury sports sedan. If Lincoln can out- Lexus Lexus, it should.I just hope the production car doesn't disappoint. Scott Evans

Lexus RX

2016 Lexus RX 450h© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Lexus RX 450h When the best-selling luxury crossover in the U.S. gets redesigned, wetake notice. And we would have even if Lexus had understandably softenedthe NX's edge on the RX's larger scale, but the automaker didn't.Instead, the 2016 Lexus RX is bold, if a little busy at certain angles.Still, kudos to Lexus for not playing it safe. Zach Gale


MOST DISAPPOINTING

Scion iA

2016 Scion Ia Front Three Quarter 04© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion Ia Front Three Quarter 04 The Scion iA is pretty horrendous as entirely new vehicle entries go; it completely chucks the "youthful, fresh, unexpected" playbook Scion has spent years developing, but it just barely gets a pass because we have yet to see the whole story, including a big factor: price. So, I choose the GMC Terrain as my biggest disappointment. Even as mild refreshes go, this one barely registers. I walked into the special preview event GMC had set up and couldn't figure out what was new about the vehicle. For all intents and purposes it looked like GMC had spent more on the buffet (hamburger/fried chicken sliders and a make-your-own-Caesar-salad bar) than on any meaningful updates to the Terrain. Edward Loh

The brand that was launched as the hip, cool alternative to the automotive establishment delivers another car that's just as dull and boring as any other small Toyota. Angus MacKenzie

Cadillac CT6

© Provided by MotorTrend The Cadillac CT6 certainly isn't the worst car at the New York show, and I'm sure it'll drive great, but to me it's easily the most disappointing car here. After years of Cadillac showing us what the future of Cadillac and the American luxury sedan could be with the Ciel and Elmiraj concepts, the finished product is -- dare I say -- European. The CT6 is no more distinctive than a 7 Series or A8. It fits in with the crowd rather than standing out. A Cadillac sedan should be big, luxurious, and flashy. It needs to be distinctive -- that's what has made the Escalade such a hit for Cadillac, and I fear the CT6 just isn't enough to be the turnaround Cadillac needs. Christian Seabaugh

Scion iM

2016 Scion Im Front Three Quarter 03© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion Im Front Three Quarter 03 I wrote a column when the Scion iM Concept premiered excoriating it for being a lazy, cynical product that doesn't fit the Scion brand, and my opinion hasn't changed with the production car. Scion supposedly stands for being quirky, cool, different, hip, weird, and so on, and this car isn't any of those things. It's a plain old hatchback with a Scion badge and marketing that strains credulity. It looks like a DustBuster on wheels and it's about as interesting. The message seems pretty clear: Hey kids, Scion doesn't care about you anymore. Scott Evans

Name of the Volkswagen Beetle Pink Color Edition concept

Beetle Pink Color Edition Rear Three Quarter© Provided by MotorTrend Beetle Pink Color Edition Rear Three Quarter Like the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Wave concept that also debuted inNew York, the Pink Color Edition concept is an enticing blend of exteriorand interior updates that could, in production-spec form, attract heright type of buyers who might go for such a low-volume special edition.But VW couldn't think of a better name than Pink Color Edition? Zach Gale


The New York International Auto Show Itself

2016 Jaguar XF-S© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Jaguar XF-S A cop-out? Oh, absolutely. Which the exception of the Lexus RX's face (what are they smoking!?!), nothing struck me as particularly bad here in New York. Save for the show itself. Why? We saw almost every damn car before the show started. Carmakers, stop doing this! Jaguar XF? Saw it Tuesday. McLaren 570S? Saw it Monday. Lincoln Continental? Saw it Sunday. What's the point of the damn show? Aside from too much late-night fraternizing and the new Honda Civic, not much. Oh, I guess that Scion is pretty much terrible. Jonny Lieberman


FAVORITE TECH OR FEATURE

Lincoln Continental's door handles

Lincoln Continental Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Lincoln Continental Concept Aside from the fact that this feature will never see production, I thought the Continental's door handles were pretty neat. The handles were hidden up in chrome trim surrounding the windows, which cleaned up the lines on the Lincoln's doors and helped give the Continental a luxurious touch. Christian Seabaugh

Lincoln's Backlit Chrome

Lincoln Continental Concept live reveal© Provided by MotorTrend Lincoln Continental Concept live reveal So much chrome could only work on an American car, and Lincoln has figured out a neat trick to put a new spin on it by making it functional. The nose badge and taillights look like dark chrome, but turn on the car and the badge is bright white and the taillights are deep red. It's a great party trick, and a great way to update both chrome and the LED lighting everyone else is doing. Scott Evans

Chevy Malibu's "Teen Driver" Feature

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Teen Driver© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Teen Driver The Malibu has a "Teen Driver" safety feature that will save lives, yet is incredibly devious. Little Billy wants to take the family Malibu out for a spin? Give him the specially coded "snitch" key and rest assured. Upon entering the vehicle, he won't be able to play the radio or any music on his smartphone unless he buckles his seatbelt first (for the passenger seat too, if occupied). When Billy comes back, you can run through the highs and lows of his trip: distance driven, as well as all of the instances of wide-open throttle, full ABS brake engagement, and any other handling peculiarities. Teen Driver comes standard on most trim levels of the new Chevy Malibu. Edward Loh

Mercedes-AMG Twin-Turbo V-12

The twin-turbo V-12 under the G65 AMG's hood. No, I'm not kidding. More vehicles like this, please. Jonny Lieberman

Audi's Disappearing Screens

Audi Q7© Provided by MotorTrend Audi Q7 Though Audi's disappearing-into-the-dash central infotainment screensaren't new, on vehicles as different as the A3 hatchback to the new Q7three-row crossover, the disappearing functionality of the Audi screensis great for when you simply want to drive and not be distracted byaudio, map data, climate info, or any other details. Just hit a button tohave it slide out of sight and you're good to go. Zach GaleAudi Q7© Provided by MotorTrend Audi Q7

2015 New York Hits and Misses© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 New York Hits and Misses
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