As families begin thinking about summer vacation, auto show planners are getting ready for a long-deserved break as the domestic circuit wrapped up another season with the New York Auto Show. And if you think the last show gets the scraps, you’re sorely mistaken. The Big Apple was the backdrop for the symbolic resurrection of a domestic celestial brand, the debut of a new take on hybrid technology and the place where an automotive design icon was reborn.
After months of getting beat up in the press, GM decided New York was the perfect venue to fight back by showing the world the products that will bring Saturn back from the abyss. Along with the production Aura sedan and the Sky roadster, Saturn took the wraps off the Outlook SUV and the PreVue concept, which will share its styling with the Opel Antera as Saturn continues on its path to align its product styling and development with the European marque. The Outlook will be based on GM’s Epsilon platform, sharing its underpinnings with the upcoming Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia and will not be sold in Europe under the Opel badge. The next Vue, however, will share its underpinnings and styling with an Opel, while the next-generation Opel Corsa may be shared with Saturn, insiders say, adding the new small car may be built at a facility outside North America.
The redesign of the TT, the car that single-handedly put Audi near the top of the auto design ranks, made its debut. The shape of the car has become more streamlined, although the overall length has increased 5.4 in., which seems to have produced a longer hood line and a more conventional front fascia design incorporating Audi’s new horse collar grille. The rear fascia is much cleaner and features a contemporary appearance. Inside, the TT’s interior gets a significant upgrade as the instrument cluster features two round chrome-trimmed gauges that protrude from the dash, while a leather-stitched wrap encompasses the gauge cluster, providing a touch of luxury. The remainder of the interior features signature TT cues, including round air vents and HVAC controls. Audi seems to have taken the easy route with the new TT, but it’s likely to keep the quirky two-seater on the “cutting edge” of design.
The techno-juggernaut of the show was the LS 600h L, an odd mixture of over-the-top luxury and environmentalism. Powered by a 5-liter V8 mated to large electric motors and a high-output battery pack, Lexus claims the LS 600h will achieve output of 430 hp, equal to that of some 12-cylinder engines. While final EPA mileage figures were unavailable, Lexus expects this luxury sedan to achieve the best V8 fuel consumption ratings in its class along with a Super Low Emission Vehicle rating.
Electroluminescent lighting incorporated into the seats, doors and headliner; headlamps that change colors, and a video screen behind the front badge. Where else would you expect to find these features but the latest concept from Scion? The Fuse doesn’t disappoint, as Scion says it was designed to provide a glimpse at a future coupe for the youth-oriented brand. Inside, the Fuse features a bank of video screens that can be used to project navigation, movies or video game images, depending on whether the vehicle is in operation. The car includes a tailgate that converts into outdoor seating hanging out with your peeps.
The off-road legend expands yet again as Jeep displayed two new models: the four-door Wrangler Unlimited and entry-level Patriot. The newest small Jeep borrows its underpinnings from the C-Segment platform group, including the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass. The main difference is the Patriot will be offered in a trail-rated model able to traverse moderate off-road trails (see CVTs Go Off Road), while the Unlimited expands the reach for the Wrangler with its additional 20.6 in. wheelbase, providing more than enough room for two averaged-size adults to fit comfortably into the rear seats. Unlike other SUV marques that have expanded their portfolios at the sacrifice of functionality, the Unlimited is a true Wrangler, with its folding windshield, convertible hard- or soft-top and available heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles.