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BBC Autos

Surveying the 2013 New York auto show

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

  • Outsize influence

    In a city where yawning potholes, unannounced lane closures and left-lane turn restrictions can stymie the most hard-bitten commuter, the New York auto show should be a blip on the motor-show calendar. What the city offers an automaker, however – ready access to the world’s biggest media organisations, unique off-site event spaces and a bottomless pool of A-list entertainers and celebrity chefs that, for a price, will gladly reinforce a company’s image – make it one of the most closely watched shows of the year.

    The 2013 edition was characteristically short on significant global debuts, sandwiched as it was between the Geneva and Shanghai salons, but there was plenty to admire, if not outright marvel at. What follows is a survey of the vehicles that held our eye over the show’s two media days this week.

  • 2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT

    The quarry for 30 customers – 25 in the US and 5 in Canada – is a hardcore track toy that stretches the XK’s sensuous body into its eighth year of life. True, those who hand over the requisite $174,000 for an XKR-S GT receive not a single extra drop of horsepower over the $132,875 XKR-S, but exclusivity has its price – as do carbon ceramic brakes, carbon-fibre wings and winglets, and the deepest of black lacquer paints. (Newspress)

    More on the Jaguar XKR-S GT

  • 2014 Range Rover Sport

    Nearly all the luxury and performance of the indomitable 2013 Range Rover at a $20,000 discount. With the savings, one could buy a lightly used Mazda MX-5 Miata for weekend canyon runs. Or, if the Sport would never see a rutted, muddy track, a vintage Toyota Land Cruiser. (Newspress)

    More on the Range Rover Sport

  • 2014 Kia Soul

    Resolutely boxy and upright, the previous-generation Soul was gawky to a fault. Kia’s designers smoothed the corners for 2014, and the erstwhile class nerd has grown into something of a looker, if not an outright heartthtrob. Throw in smart pricing and solid reliability, and the Soul could spell trouble for the Mini Cooper Countryman and the unproven Fiat 500L in North America this year. (Newspress)

    More on the Kia Soul

  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

    Yes, it was previewed in lightly veiled concept form in 2012. Yes, it made its formal international debut at the 2013 Geneva motor show. But neither the GTI nor its mass-market sibling, the Golf, had been granted a North American audience until this week. The European-specification GTI on display at the Javits Center did not disappoint, but disappointing in the extreme is the year-plus that must pass before a US-spec GTI appears in Volkswagen of America’s showrooms. (Newspress)

    More on the Volkswagen GTI and Golf

  • 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

    Evoking the lightweight, fire-belching monsters that competed on the Trans-Am race circuit in the 1960s and 1970s, the Z/28 is an unabashed throwback. “I know it's the car for me,” Mark Reuss, General Motors’ president of North American operations, said at the car’s introduction. Surely he is not alone. (General Motors)

    More on the Camaro Z/28

  • 2014 Jeep Cherokee

    A high approach angle and a bulldog stance distinguish the resurrected Cherokee in a pack of anonymous car-based sport crossovers, but it is its hardware – low-range four-wheel drive, a nine-speed automatic transmission, torque-rich engines – that could lure lapsed Cherokee lovers back to the Jeep jamboree. (Newspress)

    More on the Jeep Cherokee

  • 2014 Cadillac CTS

    The early intel on the 2014 CTS suggested we would see a mid-life facelift, the kind of inconsequential nip-tuck that automakers will dedicate four pages of a press release and 30 minutes of an auto show to glorifying. But undertones of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class aside, the CTS shown in New York reflected a confidence at Cadillac unseen since tailfins and dagmars figured among its design cues. Taut and lean, the CTS (particularly in the pictured Vsport guise) looks every bit a premium product from a brand rediscovering its swagger. (Jeffrey Jablansky)

    More about the Cadillac CTS

  • Subaru WRX Concept

    Toward the end of the second day of press previews, just when all the quantities in New York seemed known, Subaru rolled out the one true surprise of the show: a sinuous conceptual interpretation of the WRX. Spokespeople were cagey about the concept’s prospects of affecting the design of the next WRX – formerly a star on the World Rally Championship circuit – but after two days of relatively pro-forma debuts, the car’s presence was a cyberpunk tonic. (Jeffrey Jablansky)

    More about the Subaru WRX Concept

    Click here for complete coverage of the show.