2013 New York Auto Show: Plenty of Value But Little Wow Factor

2014 Highlander
Toyota unveiled the 2014 Highlander at the 2013 New York Auto Show. IBTimes/Charles Poladian

The press got an early look at the 2013 New York Auto Show, and while there were plenty of unveils, cars and conferences, three talking points stood out at the show: the Toyota Highlander, the Subaru WRX and the lack of a “wow” factor.

2014 Highlander Toyota unveiled the 2014 Highlander at the 2013 New York Auto Show.  IBTimes/Charles Poladian

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and the 2014 Highlander got plenty of buzz as the SUV was the first unveil at the show. Toyota had hyped the redesigned mid-size sports utility vehicle heavily before the show with teasers, revealing just a small portion of the car.

The SUV in general has become a preferred family vehicle, and the segment’s popularity showed at the auto show as several automakers unveiled mid-sized SUV’s. But the Highlander stood out with its attention to style while maintaining the safety and fuel-economy features that drivers have come to expect from this SUV.

Some Highlander highlights include a redesigned exterior that will appeal to a younger demographic. The 2014 model features added interior space, which means more room for passengers and cargo space for everything you'd need during an extended road trip. The Highlander's fuel economy was also stressed during the press conference, especially considering the SUV will be available in a hybrid version.

Mid-sized SUV’s were a focal point of the 2013 New York Auto Show, but concept cars also had their time in the spotlight. Perhaps most surprisingly, Subaru stole the show with the turbocharged WRX concept car, which reveals Subaru looking forward with an exterior that makes the model look more aggressive than ever. 

Subaru Impreza WRX Concept Car Bold, and even brash, the next Subaru WRX could look something like this, though production vehicles do tend to be less flashy than the concept cars that precede them.  IBTimes/Angelo Young

As previously noted by IBTimes, the Subaru’s WRX concept car gives a glimpse of what to expect from the future Impreza. Expect a more performance-based vehicle and a powerful engine. Subaru remained tightlipped about details, but there were plenty of exterior elements of the WRX concept to dissect. Carbon fiber design elements were not just for show, as the hood was designed to reduce the weight of the vehicle while giving it a lower center of gravity. The interior is still being designed, so there were no interesting technology features to fawn over.

While the debuts at the 2013 New York Auto Show focused on quality, with an emphasis on fuel economy and performance from many automakers, there weren't many surprises. For instance, photos of Jeep’s 2014 Cherokee were leaked well in advance of its official debut in New York.

Scion’s tC Sports Coupe is another nice entry into the brand’s lineup that offers style and performance with a price aimed at a younger demographic. Rolls-Royce had the flashiest unveil with the Wraith, but the luxury vehicle had already shown off at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. had a strong showing with three new vehicles. and Mercedes-Benz unveiled the smallest AMG available in the United States, but there were no real talking points coming out of the show, unlike at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show, where Elon Musk and Tesla Motors discussed the future of green technology or new fuel cell technology.

At the 2013 New York Show, it's about the consumers, which explains the focus on mid-sized SUVs. There will be plenty of value, quality and style during the show's public days from March 29 to April 7.

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