Main Takeaways from the 2022 New York International Auto Show
After two years of postponements, the New York International Auto Show was held recently at the newly renovated Javits Center in NYC. Some vehicles revealed were the redesigned Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, the Alfa Romeo Tonale, and the Deus Vayanne. But there was so much for enthusiasts, and the car-buying public at large, to appreciate overall. Here are my main takeaways from the media day, including specific vehicles that caught my attention as well as my take on industry trends.
Toyota is Killing It
The GR86, the Supra Convertible prototype (by BMW), the refreshed Sequoia, and even TacoZilla! Having all these fun vehicles in one place was certainly proof that Toyota is on a roll, but the GR Corolla put the manual-AWD-hatch-flavored icing on the cake. The car on display featured the raw carbon fiber roof that looks even cooler in person than in pictures. The interior feels a lot like a four-door 86—a good thing. TRD Pro was proudly displayed as well, with a jacked, baha-running Tundra concept as its centerpiece. If I were giving a best-in-show award (and why not?), Toyota would win it. They were the first manufacturer you saw walking in, and there’s no way you passed their expo space without feeling excited.
So is Ford
Outside of the new Z06, there was no love for Chevy amongst journalists—even for the new Silverado ZR2 and EV trucks on display. Ford, on the other hand, was second only to Toyota for traffic. The new Bronco Raptor looks and feels immense and is likely a blast to drive on- and off-road. The F150 Lightning was available to take people on test rides. It launches so hard and isn’t even being marketed as a super truck. I can’t wait to see what Ford Performance will do with it!
Infinity and Lincoln are Most Definitely Not
In a word, crickets. Honestly, I felt shy to enter their exhibits. Bored reps, while very pleasant and informative, were a little too eager to talk. There just wasn’t a lot of interest in these two luxury brands. Aside from gawking at Elvis’s immaculately preserved Continental, neither manufacturer had interesting offerings for enthusiasts.
Luxury Cars Are Boring
Along those lines, the more aspirational brands like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini, etc. took the opposite approach. They walled off their cars with fake rows of shrubbery, and there were no reps to be found. This aloofness was a turnoff, especially since other manufacturers went out of their way to invite you to experience their new vehicles. Are these brands so great they don’t need to care? Or are economic shifts starting to drive people to more practical alternatives?
Jeep and Ram Will Always be Fun
The new RAM TRX Ignition Edition is so bright and big that it should be renamed the Solar Edition. It’s like standing next to the sun. Sure it’s expensive, but, unlike the VW group’s babies, it will let you rip through any terrain and jump obstacles with ease. If slower speed maneuverability is more your thing, Jeep set up a test course enacting how a Wrangler or Gladiator could conquer a broken rollercoaster. Twisted metal tracks lifted, flexed, and pitched the 4x4s into situations that made me miss my JL. Aside from the Grand Wagoneer L, it was good to be reminded that Stellantis still isn’t taking itself too seriously.
We Will Eventually Electrify All the Things
It’s almost as if two auto shows were running simultaneously—one for ICE vehicles and one for EVs. The latter included a little bit of everything: the aforementioned pickups, the Toyota Rhombus concept, plug-in hybrid versions of SUVs from nearly everyone, and even Nissan’s E-Prix car. Most notable were two new entries to the North American market: Vinfast, a Vietnamese brand looking to make a name for itself, and INDI EV, a startup leaning very heavily into in-car computing and even blockchain to differentiate itself from other skateboard-platform CUVs. Look for more from these two EV companies soon.
“This year, more than ever before, the New York Auto Show is elevating electric vehicles to new heights by dedicating nearly an entire floor to EVs, charging solutions, and consumer awareness programs,” said New York Auto Show president Mark Schienberg. “As automakers develop innovative new products and dealers prepare to distribute EVs to the masses, events like the New York Auto Show play a key role in engaging millions of buyers across the country by giving them the opportunity to experience these amazing new vehicles in-person.” This goal succeeded. With three test tracks featuring vehicles from Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, and others, in addition to personal mobility tools like scooters and e-bikes, the NYIAS is plugged into electrification. Multiple industry executives revealed plans to electrify more of NYC to power commuter and municipal vehicles as well. I, for one, am thinking of losing myself in the woods someday so this flying ambulance can rescue me.
Every Car is Nice Now
All new cars are good. From all the auto makers. Sit in the Rogue, the Kona N, the WRX—doesn’t matter. Even today’s most entry-level vehicles make luxury cars of yesteryear seem like piles. Case in point, the new Ford Maverick. It feels solid and well-screwed together. The interior, while not posh, is thoughtful and well designed. It’s utilitarian, but it looks and feels great—even a little funky. Sure, the base model claims to be below 20 grand, but the market these days probably won’t allow that. With prices inching up, you’d think yes, new cars SHOULD be nice, and you’re right. But I think this is indicative of a larger trend over the years that has let improved technological and manufacturing processes lead to higher-quality, cost-effective vehicles. I hope that continues. Just as soon as we get past those pesky supply chain problems.
Bill hosts a blog and YouTube channel that lead him to think more deeply about what it means to drive. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.