Much of the buzz of the show in New York dealt with the strong March industry sales numbers. Everyone seemed to be cautiously optimistic, and maybe that's why there was so much energy floating around the halls of the Javitz Convention Center during the media preview.
For us, the only real news was the introduction of the 2013 Ram 1500, which was quite impressive, but a few other interesting attractions caught our eye. If you're interested in all the car news, our friends at KickingTires.com have recaps from and of the New York auto show.
Where else would you introduce a flying car than at the only auto show in the country where most of the city dwellers deal with awful traffic? What could be better than overcoming the force of gravity to soar above the congested masses? This certainly isn't the first attempt at a flying car — in fact, this is the second-generation Transition — but this model from Terrafugia always drew a crowd around its booth, especially when they showed how the wings collapse and extend. This street-legal airplane still has several testing phases to complete before any sales can be made. Some are reporting the vehicle could cost around $280,000.
2013 Ram 1500
Considering that Chrysler showed off the SRT Viper on one day and then a significantly remodified and reinvigorated Ram 1500 the next, I think it's safe to say Chrysler was pretty happy with its part in the New York auto show. Ram Truck chief Fred Diaz gave a presentation that was filled with drama and special effects, as well a good future-tech story. I'm pretty sure local Ram dealers were half-expecting Sam Elliot to come out from behind the screen with a 2013 short-bed RamBox SLT crew cab. For the most part, the big improvements are under the skin, so most of the attention centered on the interior upgrades. We spent most of our time at a cutaway of the new Ram to see all the important parts.
New Chevy Face
You may remember the new face of GMC was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show with the appearance of the 2013 GMC Acadia. The New York auto show brought us the 2013 Chevy Traverse, and the new face it is sporting (and possibly the interior) could hint at the next-generation full-size pickup trucks. Still no word about the 2014 GMT platforms, but we'd expect to start hearing about some kind of concept truck for the Detroit Auto Show or possibly at SEMA.
Porsche is certainly not a pickup truck maker, but some say the Cayenne handles like one, and its curb weight is quite similar to a half-ton. In fact, at over 5,000 pounds, the Cayenne weighs more than some full-size regular pickups. In New York, Porsche introduced its new 3.0-liter direct-injection V-6 turbo-diesel that is expected to get 20/28 mpg city/highway. That would give the SUV more than 700 miles of range, but those numbers don't seem impressive. The new Cayenne does have a smart eight-speed transmission and uses AdBlue (stored in a warmed tank where the spare tire would be) for selective catalytic reduction. The turbo-diesel is a $7,000 premium over the 3.6-liter V-6 gas model. If diesels are going to get more popular in this country, it won't be because of an option like this.
Honda recently announced it will equip all its cars with backup cameras to keep drivers as fully aware as possible with what's going on around them. Apparently, that already was a high priority for the larger, more truck-like vehicles in Honda's fleet, as all of its "truck" models — the Ridgeline, CR-V, Odyssey and Pilot — did offer the backup camera option on all of it's models; however, for 2013 it will be a standard feature. Good to see trucks can provide some good safety leadership for the car side of the business.
We usually don't spend much time at the Smart car stand, but this caught our eye. No question this is a drop tailgate on the microcar, but it looks like it could be a good idea for an interested pickup truck maker. When you consider that the RamBox storage system was born from the simple question about why don't use all the wasted space in the bed wall, why doesn't someone come up with a smarter (and lighter) tailgate that will hold some of our tools and gear as well? Leave it to the little guys to come up with the next big idea.
On the subject of tailgates — especially when you consider there seems to be a race to produce the most outlandish premium-level option package — we saw this setup on the Bentley EXP concept vehicle. Originally shown at last month at the Geneva International Motor Show, this sliding, movable tailgate holds and cradles all sorts of delicate silverware and various upper-crust picnic accessories. Maybe this is a little far fetched, even for Bentley, but we like the idea of taking what is typically wasted space and trying to be creative with storage.