2014 New York Auto Show Hits and Misses

NEW YORK -- One of the least car-friendly cities in the nation nevertheless hosts an important international auto show. While Ford attempted to direct attention to the Mustang it built atop the Empire State Building, we spent two days perusing the many new production and concept cars on display at the Javits Convention Center. Here are our favorites, as well as some duds.

HIT – 2015 Dodge Challenger
Call me puerile, but a Challenger in sublime green with that Shaker hood scoop and those black leather bucket seats still stimulates my glands. – Kacher

MISS – 2015 Nissan Murano
The wild excesses and tortured styling of Nissan’s Sports Sedan Concept come to the Murano, bringing enough creases and curves for three SUVs. At least the interior looks nice. - Lorio

HIT – 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
The Alfa stand was busy all day, both days, and for good reason. The new 4C stops people in their tracks. Fiat Group supremo Sergio Marchionne needs to follow it up with credible offerings, but the 4C is a great opening statement for Alfa. - Lorio

HIT – 2015 Kia Sedona
Damn, that thing’s good looking—that’s what I kept thinking as I paced the Kia stand. It’s boxy without being boring. The new Sedona is like a sexy Honda Odyssey. I can’t believe I just typed that. - Migliore

MISS – Land Rover Discovery Concept
The new Disco is over-styled and under-credible. It’s another Range Rover, not a Land Rover. The white LR4 with the black wheels on the show stand looked so much badder, purer, and truer to the brand. - Kacher

MISS – 2015 Subaru Outback
I never tire of saying, “Gee, they sure make Subarus big and ugly nowadays,” and the new Outback means I won’t have to stop saying it for a while longer. Still, they’ll probably sell like hotcakes—check that, like mung beans to midwives at the lesbian bazaar. - Kitman

HIT – 2015 Subaru Outback
I’ve never thought of myself as a lesbian midwife, but the new Outback looked good to me—blandly handsome, perhaps, but avoiding the overwrought design flourishes seen so much elsewhere. Also, it’s not any larger on the outside, though it is roomier inside. Kitman and I do agree on one thing: it will be another big seller for Subaru. – Lorio

HIT – 2015 Jeep Renegade
It seems tall and big for a mini-ute and I don’t love the way it looks, but I’ll take it. If people insist on driving high and mighty, at least something smaller cuts the environmental impact for the rest of us. Which is good, because the segment—the B-ute, if you will—is growing. - Kitman

MISS – 2015 BMW X4
I can barely keep track of the difference between the 4-series Gran Coupe and the X4 crossover coupe. How can customers? – DeMatio

HIT – 2015 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary
With only 1964 examples to be sold, it’s a sure-fire collector car. Too bad Ford hid it in a corner of the stand. – DeMatio

MISS – 2015 Chevrolet Trax
Looking at the Trax, which was situated center stage at the General Motors exhibit, an industry analyst I was with asked, “Why are they featuring this car here when it’s so ugly?” The answer: because as a new compact crossover entry, it’s an important car for Chevy, and it’s really hard to make a good-looking compact crossover. - Lorio

HIT – Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Concept
If VW can figure out a way to bring this to market with 4Motion all-wheel drive, it’s a winner. – DeMatio

HIT – 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG coupe
It looks so strong and powerful I couldn’t help but stare at it. At least I was watching the car—everyone else was gawking at Jon Hamm. Mercedes’ press conference seamlessly integrated the Mad Men star into the reveal of the car without making it feel forced or trite. Usually, celebrities seem out of place at auto shows, but Hamm appeared totally at home introducing the 577-hp AMG coupe. - Migliore

HIT – 2015 Toyota Camry
I was surprised by how much better looking Toyota made the Camry in its mid-cycle refresh, particularly the big changes to the front-end styling. – DeMatio

MISS – 2015 Toyota Camry
Props to Toyota for doing a mid-cycle update that is really more than just window dressing, but the Camry still comes off as kind of bland. Still, buyers won’t care and Toyota will sell tons of them. - Migliore

MISS – 2015 Nissan Versa sedan
Face-lift or not, the Versa is still an also-ran to the new Honda Fit. – DeMatio

HIT – Mazda MX-5 Miata chassis What a huge tease. Mazda shows off the new chassis of our favorite small roadster, and then proceeded to say almost nothing about the upcoming car. But, it was enough to whet our appetite. More, please. – Migliore

HIT – 1996 Mazda M Coupe
Why didn’t Mazda ever build this car? Don’t build it, and they won’t come. – Kitman

HIT – e-Carriage
Here in New York City, there is a vocal lobby against the city’s venerable horse-drawn carriages, largely animal rights activists who have the new mayor’s ear. This has spurred talk of banning the horse carriages and replacing them with electric vehicles styled as ersatz “antiques.” This one, Creative Workshop’s e-Carriage, is the first we’d seen, and looked surprisingly well made and authentic, a pleasant change from most replica antique cars, which often look absurdly fake. - Kitman

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