No two auto shows are ever the same -- that's part of what makes our coverage of each and every show so challenging and rewarding. But there are some similarities year-to-year that we can't help but notice. Automakers tend to follow the same trends or react to the same market forces. They often bring the same types of cars to specific shows, too: think of all the wild supercars we see in Geneva, for instance.
At this year's New York Auto Show, several automakers essentially repeated the types of introductions they did last year. The specific vehicles are different, of course, but more often than not they're in the same basic category or segment as what we saw at the 2018 New York show. Keep reading to see how this year's debuts matched up with last year's, and check out all the other debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with our complete coverage here.
Alfa Romeo's product rollout is in a bit of a lull right now -- though we know that new models are in the pipeline. For now, though, Alfa is keeping customers interested and dealers sated with special-edition models of its great-driving Giulia and Stelvio. And that was the case at last year's New York show, too.
In 2018, both cars got Nero Edizione models with various pieces of blacked-out trim. This year, the cars get Quadrifoglio NRING (for Nurburgring) special-editions. The packages, which mostly consist of visual upgrades and are limited to a total of 110 cars between Giulia and Stelvio combined, celebrate the cars' lap records at the 'Ring. For the Giulia Quadrifoglio, that was a 7:32-minute lap while the Stelvio Quadrifoglio completed a lap in 7:51.7 minutes.
Cadillac may no longer call New York City home, but its introductions here have been plenty consistent: sedans, and performance-focused ones at that. That's quite a difference from rival American luxury brand Lincoln, which as you'll read about later, instead focuses on SUVs in New York.
What Cadillac brought this year is the 2020 CT5, a sport/luxury sedan designed to take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It has a longer wheelbase than the old Cadillac CTS but a shorter overall length. And 2.0-liter turbo and 3.0-liter twin-turbo engines, as well as Cadillac's well-regarded Alpha chassis, bode well for enthusiastic driving.
Last year the brand also had a sporty sedan here, specifically the CT6 V-Series. With its twin-turbo 4.2-liter V8 cranking out 550 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, it's quite the appealing machine for enthusiasts. While initially said to be dead on arrival, the car was granted a stay of execution.
The new luxury brand has a variety of sedans on sale and a crossover on the way, but it used both this year's and last year's New York events to look a bit further into the future. Both years, Genesis showed highly styled electric-car concepts. In 2018, it was the Essentia, a GT with stunning cab-rearward proportions and a beautiful interior. The only technical details revealed were that 0-to-60 miles per hour would take just 3 seconds. Oh, and Genesis also suggested it might actually push the Essentia to production.
This year's Genesis concept is a fair bit smaller, but the Mint is again a design-focused debut, and once again it's electric. Designed as a city car, it would have a battery range of about 200 miles per charge. Again, there are hints that it could, in perhaps a tamer form, reach production: "We really hope to see this in the very near future," Manfred Fitzgerald, global head of the Genesis brand, told Roadshow. Another similarity between the two models? Both show cars have upward-opening butterfly doors.
Lincoln is going all-in on what luxury customers have been proven to love: SUVs. Last year, New York played host to the introduction of the Aviator, a three-row model available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. OK, so technically the Aviator was a prototype/concept when we saw it in New York, with the finalized production model arriving at the LA show in the fall.
This year it's the same basic idea, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Lincoln Corsair is a replacement for the MKC, and again it seems quite in tune with what we know luxury shoppers want: premium design and materials, a roomy cabin and loads of technology. Lincoln is certainly on a roll launching new crossovers, and the New York show is a prime location for those debuts.
Bringing practical, roomy and family-friendly crossovers seems to be Subaru's M.O. in New York -- arguably at most auto shows, actually -- with the back-to-back introductions of the new Forester in 2018 and the Outback in 2019.
Both crossovers ride on the automaker's Subaru Global Platform, which underpins almost all of the company's models at this point, and both feature a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter flat-four engine as standard. One big difference remains, however: the Forester no longer offers a turbo engine, whereas the Outback adds one with the return of its XT trim level.
"Toyota in New York" may as well be code for "better-looking crossovers," as that's been the car company's strategy recently. Last year, the new RAV4's rugged and remarkably appealing design impressed us. And this year, we had a similar reaction to seeing the new 2020 Highlander, which has a great new design. Neither model is only about style, of course, with the Highlander offering great updates like a hybrid powertrain good for up to 34 mpg.
The 2020 Toyota Highlander gets a new platform, new tech and new drivetrainsSee all photos
On the other hand, Toyota's New York strategy could also be summed up as, "hatchbacks." They're a bit different in size and origin, of course. Last year's introduction was the Corolla Hatchback, which rode on the automaker's new TNGA platform and showed off much, much sportier design than we had seen from a Toyota product in quite some time. This year, it's the Yaris Hatchback, which is not only a fair bit smaller but also from a different parent: specifically, the Yaris five-door is actually a Mazda2 underneath. Either way, we can't help but see the symmetry in the introductions of crossovers and hatches here.
Talk about a tease: this makes two years in a row that VW has shown off a pickup truck concept in New York. While officially those are intended just to gauge the public's interest, we have heard that VW is "100 percent" investigating selling a truck here.
Last year's concept was based on the Atlas, hence the name Atlas Tanoak, and seemed pretty far off into show-car world with things like a light-up grille, enormous wheels and exaggerated design details. But this year's Tarok concept -- even the names sound the same -- seems a fair bit more production-ready, especially when you see the basically-a-regular-VW interior. The Tarok is quite small compared to, say, a Toyota Tacoma, but with a roomy and flexible cargo bed, it still would offer a lot of utility for suburbanites who need a pickup truck only occasionally.