Welcome to the 2019 New York Auto Show. It’s the last auto show, and so far it’s my favorite of the year. We have a new buggy, compact pickup and trail ready SUV from Volkswagen. Ford brought the new Escape and a new Mustang performance variant, and we have a brand new Toyota Highlander and Subaru Outback. Let’s go take a look around.
We’re here at the New York Auto Show with the Subaru stand. Normally the Subaru stand is just some white carpet and some show lighting. This year it’s like we’re in a national park. It’s … Frankly, I’m from Oregon. You’re from Colorado.
It’s making us feel at home. And in that way what better place and what better people to introduce this Subaru Outback which is pretty much the official car of Colorado and Oregon.
Yeah. You actually have to buy a Subaru before they let you move to Colorado.
Now instead of climbing up there and taking a look because we’ve been told we can’t do that we’re gonna go over there and check out another one.
So the exterior, not that different.
Looks exactly like an Outback.
There’s actually oddly a little more black plastic trim on the outside.
A little too much for me.
Right. It’s interesting because it kind of slowly went away from that from the beginning because in the beginning the black plastic trim kind of made it an Outback, and now they’re kind of bringing it back. I guess they needed to make it more macho.
Right. Right. Now we’re inside. Inside it looks pretty different.
Swank. It’s kind of swank for an Outback which has been pretty plain. Now this is the newly available vertically gigantic touch screen here.
11.6 inches. That is massive. This is how big it is when it’s turned on … just for the viewers.
Now this is the onyx trim. So with that you get the black mirrors, the black wheels. This upholstery is special to the onyx, so it’s gray and black and you also have this green stitching.
Yeah, I like this accent stitching.
It’s kind of neat. Oh there’s also a little tray there. Well this is a deep bin here. You can probably fit a phone.
There we go. Almost.
Yeah there are two USB ports. There’s an additional two in the backseat. So this thing here you pop in the cup holder and it gives you a little more space or less space. These are really big, so if you have one of those Nalgene bottles I’m guessing it’s going to fit in there.
One of my complaints about my Subaru that I own now which is a naturally aspirated Crosstrek is that up in the mountains.
It is just so slow.
It’s pretty slow in the mountains too.
I can tell you.
But the new one, the new Outback at least has a turbo now, and that’s what, I think it’s the first turbo since 2009.
That was the one that was a little … the last one that was totally wagon like that had the turbo. Because the old one had the six cylinder, the 3.6 liter flat six, which again in the mountains that would be susceptible to elevation, lower oxygen, but with turbos you don’t have that same problem, so if you live in Colorado like this guy …
… That’s good news.
And so and then this one also has the XT trim which is kind of exciting too.
Yeah, return of the XT trim for the Outback.
Which is interesting because the Forester does not have a turbo charged engine anymore so …
Okay so once again for the third Outback in a row you do have these roof racks or rails that come across … The other one comes across here and you have integrated cross bars, so it means you don’t have to physically remove them and you don’t have those cross bars which will hurt your fuel economy. New for this version though is you can see those little arches, right here, up here, and then in the front as well. It’s additional tie down points say, for a kayak or heck, anything you want to put on the roof because people put things on the roofs of their Subarus. It’s like you have to really.
Mountain bikes, kayaks, skis, snowboards, everything.
Another Subaru if you want probably.
Right. So here at the back we have more of the black body cladding.
It’s like a black plastic sandwich.
Yeah. Definitely more of it and it’s not just this onyx trim level which just have the black trim level on it. And this basically is the same size as the old one. It sure does look the same, but you do have a little more interesting details. This, it’s kind of a scalloped headlight.
You can see here.
Reminds me more of the refreshed Crosstrek’s taillights.
Another element in here … Nice thing with the power tailgate you can have the lock button so you can press it, it goes down and it locks the car so you don’t have to close it then walk over to the side of the door and … Oh the other thing here, cargo cover, so okay great but you can tilt it up and it just raises it up a bit so it just makes it easier to store things without completely rolling it in again.
And my favorite thing which has been the case with Outbacks for a long time, I can completely fit … If I want to camp in the back I can just fold down those seats and I’m good to go.
Oh well we’re gonna try that out.
As five foot seven, unlike my producer and Mr. Riswick here, I can lay down in here and enjoy a nice night’s sleep.
Okay so new Subaru Outback. Let’s go get a drink or something, leave him behind.
Alright, so when Toyota redesigned the RAV4, it was a drastic change.
Now we have the Highlander.
Not so drastic the change.
Right and it’s interesting because the two, both the Highlander and the RAV4, they’re on the same new TNGA pay platform.
They both have the same chief engineer, but one went in a totally new direction, and the other one … This is very much an evolution of the old one, and it’s largely because the old one, specifically because of its size, so this isn’t, is maybe about two and a half inches longer than the old one, which still makes it one of the smallest in the segment. They did think about making the Highlander jumbo, lots of … so like someone my height could fit in the third row seat like you can in the Ascent or the new Kia Telluride.
But that would make it just another … It would also just make it like everything else.
So instead let’s maintain that small size, the thought goes to actually differentiate it. The chief engineer said that just by switching to this platform, this car is sportier, sharper to drive than the old one. So yeah so this is the fourth generation one. I don’t know about you but at the front of the car, Toyota has finally seemed to be moving away from the giant grill that is on the Avalon.
This is the grill that’s attached to the Toyota Avalon. Because if they did that on this car, this basically, this entire thing would be grill I think so it’s not. This isn’t quite as Tacoma-ish as the RAV4 is but I don’t know. I think it looks a little neater …
… than before. I like this little detail here, that it extends beyond the grill.
And then on the inside because it is a lot smaller, the seats, for someone your size, maybe not so much someone who’s short like me but a lot more cramped.
We should probably discuss when we get [crosstalk 00:08:19]… inside.
Alright. Getting into this third row. So yeah.
Now alternatively you could actually use the one pull slide here. You don’t have to awkwardly move around like that. Now … That’s not a very big gap to get in here so …
Yeah, unbutton that suit.
Let’s get limber. Okay. This would have been a lot easier in a suit from the 90’s. Well the seat actually reclines by quite a bit, so that’s good. However, this seat bottom is really close to the floor specifically, compared to a Kia Telluride or a Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent. I’m six foot three. I fit quite comfortable back there, especially in the new Telluride. Back here no. One thing about this, the second row seat in this actually slides an extra two inches or so than it did before which does improve sitting back here.
Yeah I have to slide my feet underneath the seat and it’s not … There’s not much room for that. I am thankful that it doesn’t lean back.
Right. But the thing … The reclining is nice, but of course you would have even less space for cargo behind here, and there’s actually … There’s three cubic extra feet of not cubic feet … more cargo space behind the third row seat which could easily be an extra bag that you weren’t able to bring it along.
And now … You ever seen Ace Ventura 2? Okay. Out of the rhino.
So moving from the cramped third row seat to the front seat, a lot more comfortable.
Well, many, most things are.
That’s not exclusive to this car.
So there’s some stuff. Much like the whole car that is kind of carryover from the old one, the old Highlander had a shelf here underneath the … mid-dash shelf. It does again but now it’s actually two different pieces here.
Here. We can throw a phone in there.
You can put another phone over there. The other thing that carries over is this sliding center console. The cover was a little hard and uncomfortable. That is not the case anymore. Now it’s just one. It’s a little softer. So this is the platinum trim level which means it has a 12.3 inch touchscreen. It is gigantic and it’s not only 12.3 inches, but it’s also really mounted high … virtually can’t turn it on. But even without the 12.3, all the other trim levels have an eight inch one which is still pretty sizable, especially when you can –
… levels have an eight inch one, which is still pretty sizable especially when you consider how high it is mounted in the dash. It’s still going to be right in your line of sight. Really this is a very high quality interior. The old one wasn’t bad. This is just, again, just a nicer evolution of what was here before.
All right, so we’re at the Volkswagen booth where they have three vehicles that you cannot buy.
They’re all concepts.
Yup, all concepts. This one is probably the closest. I mean, you could technically do this to your Atlas if you had a lot of money and wanted to drop another engine in?
You probably could. And the Volkswagen CEO was actually talking earlier today and he says that they might do something similar to this for an actual production car.
But not this exactly. It’ll probably be more toned down.
All right. So this is the Atlas Basecamp. And basically what it is, is it’s a trail-ready Volkswagen Atlas. We got huge BF Goodrich KO2s.
There’s a lift kit on it. It’s actually a 1.5 inch lift over a normal Atlas. Off-road wheels. And then of course you have the massive light bar on the top to see for the trails. Throw some bikes, whatever you have up there. And if you check out the pictures on the site, actually they have this really awesome trailer that they hitch up to it that you can take over-landing and sleep in.
Basically live out of that thing.
There’s a toilet, there’s a shower. Do whatever in it.
Inside it looks pretty much like a normal Atlas. Got some Muddy Buddy floor mats to keep things clean.
There really isn’t much other than just a normal Atlas in here. All the good stuff and money was spent in the suspension. And all the cool off-roading accessories that you get with it.
I do love the panoramic sunroof. And if you look in the back, there’s like a cage. So there’s that. I did not notice that in the last Atlas I had in the press fleet.
Yeah, no that’s-
So, that is also an add-on.
That’s definitely not normal at all.
What do you think about this concept?
I think that it’s almost an oxymoron. Like, the Atlas itself is a unibody SUV. It’s not like the Touareg was. The Touareg was a real off-roading machine. This thing, it’s kind of halfway there. It’s cool that the Volkswagen is doing this because people love this whole rugged look, rugged life. They want a car that looks like this and this is definitely more capable than a normal Atlas.
But it’s only halfway there for me.
Right. And like, why would you spend all this money to do something like this to this vehicle when you can just buy a vehicle out there that has that capability?
Exactly. You could buy a Jeep. Something that can really, really hit the trails well. Yeah, not this is… Obviously there’s a lot more luxury in this thing, but to do what you want to do with this kind of vehicle, it’s just not totally up to snuff, I’d say.
All right. Well next to us is a vehicle that probably can fit on this roof rack to be honest. And it’s the VW ID Buggy. So, let’s go walk over there.
They call it the VW ID Buggy. It’s built on Volkswagen’s new MEB platform which is their modular electric platform. So, it’s going to underpin pretty much all of the smaller Volkswagens, even up to a little bit larger crossovers as well. And they put this body on it, which, you know? Absolutely gorgeous. And this is just beyond words cool.
This thing can go top speed 99 miles per hour. I would love to go 99 miles per hour in this thing.
99 miles per hour. It’s rear-wheel drive right now. They said that they could put a motor up front to make it all-wheel drive, which would be great if you decide to go rock crawling like this one is apparently doing, twirling around on the stand here.
But, you have that. You have 0 to 62 in 7.2 seconds. About 200 horsepower. A little bit more torque than that. The entire interior is waterproof so you can just take a hose to it after you’re done rolling through the sand dunes or hitting the mud and wash it all out. Like a lot of all their new ID cars, you have the play and pause pedals there, so you hit the gas and it’s a play symbol and pause it’s the break.
Yeah. It’s a cool little touch they’ve done on all their EV concepts that they’ve had thus far.
All right, so we went from a unibody off-road, trail-ready SUV to an electric buggy. Let’s move on to a compact truck.
So, this one is called the Tarok concept. And this isn’t the first time that Volkswagen showed it actually. They brought it down to Sao Paulo and they showed it in the International Motor Show there. They’re actually going to build a production version of it in Brazil. But Volkswagen brought it to the US to judge and gauge interest for the American market for a pickup this size. And they’re actually pretty serious about it. And this actually has some really great features if you’re going to go out camping and, I guess, rough-it. Without any of the cool gadgets all deployed, it’s a four-foot bed, which is pretty small for pickup standards. Even the smallest beds on the market are five-feet.
Yeah, that’s what the Gladiator has and that felt like a little short.
That’s pretty short. And this one’s pretty small too. But you can see from right here that you can actually see right into the interior because it has this awesome feature where you can drop down the rear seats. The panel that connects the bed to the interior also drops down and it adds about a foot and a half of bed space right there. That is as long as you’re okay with a little bit of the environment coming into the interior with you.
The camping test. So you can… I’m 5’7″, so Shaquille O’Neal is not going to be comfortable in here. But I can lay down in here and if you close the bed and there’s a cover here, you could just sleep. Yeah, there you go. You could totally just sleep in the bed of your truck if you’re out camping.
And even if you put this down, there’s room for somebody that’s over six feet too.
Just look at house massive that looks.
Look at how huge this is right here.
That is just ginormous. I like it a lot. Volkswagen is going to be sharing the next generation Ranger platform, which is obviously bigger than this. But that’s also something to think about too that this might actually be something we see on roads in the next few years.
So they would go for a market with this kind of a truck.
And as far as powertrains go, it’s really a mixed bag right now. This one has the 1.4 liter turbo charged 4 cylinder. It only makes 147 horsepower, so that’s not a whole lot. 2 liter turbocharged engine that Volkswagen has, something like 220 to 250 horsepower. A lot of torque. I think that people would really dig that in this truck.
So, we hop inside this truck and it really doesn’t look to much like a concept. You have some crazy colors here with-
I don’t know how I feel about it.
… all this blue. But the actual switchgear and all the electronics, pretty normal Volkswagen right here. It’s not crazy out there. It’s a normal infotainment system. You have the digital cockpit in the dash. Normal brindle. You have some dry mounts here, some off-road modes, snow mode. Yeah, all the things that you would expect in a truck that has some off-road aspirations for the American market. You know, if there’s two of you, you can pack the backseat full of stuff or roll down the back seat and fill the bed with it. There’s a whole lot of opportunities here for some adventuring for a smaller party, I’d say.
So, something that doesn’t happen very often is when two or more of us agree on what is the best vehicle at the show. And I think you and I might actually agree.
I think it’s even crazier that vehicle happens to be a crossover too.
10 years ago if you would’ve told me a Lincoln would be that vehicle, I would’ve thought you were insane as well.
Yeah, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. There’s no way that Lincoln could make some crazy comeback to their whole lineup being incredible now.
Right, yeah. Yeah, you were saying earlier this looks like a little Aviator. And the Corsair is A, a cool name and B, it does look like a little Aviator.
Yeah, you mentioned the name. I love that Lincoln is actually using real names for cars now instead of everybody else using just numbers and letter designations. This gives a car a personality. Corsair is a name with history, as is Aviator, as is Navigator, as is Continental. And it looks like a Lincoln. It doesn’t look like a Lincolnized Ford Escape at all. The amount of luxury you get from Lincoln now is like 18 steps above where they were just a few short years ago too.
This kind of gives me an idea for maybe where they might go with an Escape ST because this car has the 2.3 liter EcoBoost Engine in it and the best engine you can get in an Escape right now is the 2.0 liter EcoBoost. So, if they decided to give the Escape the ST treatment, I feel like that’s pretty easy for them to do right off the back, just put that 2.3 in there because it’s powerful.
So, now we’re at the Ford booth where there’s a new Mustang. So, this is the EcoBoost. It has the engine from the Focus RS.
Yeah, this is the high performance package model. It replaces the existing performance package one that was available on the EcoBoost Mustang. And that’s the big draw of it is that it now has the Ford Focus RS engine. This is not the same 2.3 liter that’s in the regular EcoBoost. This has a beefier cylinder head. It’s got a bigger turbo charger. And it makes more power too. It makes 330 horsepower and 350 pound feet of torque.
They also changed the front, so we got the lip up here from the performance pack.
Yeah, the front lip comes from the Ford Mustang GT performance pack one.
I like the grill too.
Yeah, it’s a lot like the Mustang California special model-
… like the grill too.
Yeah, it’s a lot like the Mustang California special models with the badge over on the side, and they’re painted in the same graphite gray as on the rear spoiler on some of these models. Also, these custom stripes that are just on the high-performance package.
Then we get the high-performance 2.3 liter badging right there too.
Yeah, so you can properly proclaim to everybody that you don’t have the V8.
I’m being harsh though because I like affordable performance stuff.
Yeah, and this is obviously more affordable than the GT, but I don’t know, there’s something about a Mustang to me that if I want a performance Mustang, I’m just going to get a V8. I’m going to get a GT, if I have the money.
Maybe so, but I mean, this is going to get much better gas mileage. The current EcoBoost, you can get about 30 mpg on the highway. This does sound pretty cool when they fire it up. They fired it up for us at a backgrounder. It actually sounds kind of hot hatch-esque, kind of like a Focus RS.
Part of me is just a little… I don’t know if I’m… Part of me is a little bitter that this is the only vehicle that we can get that engine in. You can’t get the Focus RS anymore.
Now you’ve got that engine in a purely rear-wheel drive platform, which is kind of cool. We should also touch on some other features. It’s got a shock-tower brace for better stiffness, it’s got completely re-tuned suspension, the springs, the shocks, the anti-roll bars. It’s the 355 rear end. It’s a limited slip differential. It’s also available on every version of the EcoBoost Mustang. You can have it as a coupe or a convertible, and you can have it with either the six-speed manual transmission or the 10-speed automatic. There’s also a special handling package that you can add to the high-performance package that gets you wider tires. It also gives you the magnetic suspension. Oh, and of course it also has the regular Mustang GT brakes. This is on all of them, with the four-piston front calipers.
I think it’s incredible to me that they were able to do this. Basically this started in the basement at Ford as, “Hey, I want to put a Focus RS engine into a Mustang.” Less than a year later we have a production vehicle, which is kind of awesome. I’ve driven the EcoBoost Mustang quite a bit, and I liked it. I think this’ll be a lot more of the character that I was hoping for from the original EcoBoost, so it should be a lot of fun to drive.
So the Mustang isn’t the only thing that Ford brought to the show. It also brought the all-new Escape, so let’s go check that out.
All right, so now we’re sitting inside the 2020 Ford Escape. This particular one is a prototype vehicle that says that later production vehicles will feature four USB charging ports. What do you think about the interior? I mean, you were just in a Corsair. I just hopped out of the Corsair here at the show, seeing it for the first time, and I loved the interior of that.
Yeah, the Corsair is fantastic. The reason that we’re bringing that up is because the Corsair is also based on the Ford Escape platform. Mechanically they’re pretty much the same thing. Obviously this is Ford. It’s going to be sold for a lot less. It’s not going to be as nice of an interior. I will say though, this is a little more plasticy than I was expecting.
Yeah, this is… I know it’ll be sold for a lot less, but this feels like it’ll be sold for a lot less. I mean, you really feel like this is a lot cheaper than the inside of the Corsair.
Yeah, and it’s a little bit disappointing considering there are other vehicles at this price point that offer pretty nice interiors even at a low price point. I’m thinking Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 that come immediately to mind. I do like that it is a more modern layout than a lot of Fords. It doesn’t have this crazy alien-shaped binnacle coming right out at you. It’s more horizontal. It’s a short-
The screen’s up further. I like that a lot too.
Yeah, you don’t have to reach through this cavity to get to it. The dash feels a little bit lower, it’s a little bit shorter, so it feels a little bit more open.
Something that I really like, and our camera man right now is enjoying, is the sliding and reclining rear seat in this vehicle. That’s available both on this and the Corsair.
That one has class-leading rear leg room.
This Escape, this is completely redesigned from the ground up. It’s all new. It’s based on the platform from the Ford Focus, which we won’t be getting.
Yeah, and that’s because people want crossovers, so it makes sense from a business standpoint. But it should drive kind of like a Focus, and it has four different engine options. It starts out with a turbo-charged 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine, and remarkably it has cylinder deactivation, so it can actually run on just two cylinders.
If you don’t want that, if you want power, there is a turbo-charged two liter four-cylinder. That makes 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, which happens to be about the same amount of power as the Focus ST, also rest in peace for the US market.
Yeah, killing off all of the hot hatches.
Besides those engines, there are two hybrid variants. They both use a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. One is a conventional hybrid. It’s like a Prius. You don’t plug it in or anything. You just drive it around. It’s got a small battery that powers it sometimes. That one makes just under 200 horsepower. There’s also a plugin hybrid version, which-
That’s the one I’m looking forward to the most.
Yeah, and it should be nice. It will offer Ford estimates about 30 miles of plugin range, which is pretty solid. I mean, that would get you to work and back if you live fairly close. If you needed to take a long road trip, you’ve still got a gas engine to work with. That one makes just over 200 horsepower.
All right, so in the back it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of leg room here, but you can actually push it back. Then I have it reclined right now, so you can see. Recline all the way back. You have 40.7 inches back here, which is pretty nice.
So overall, what do you think of the New York…
You know, I think it’s been a really good show. I think there are a lot of important reveals, big cars like the Highlander, the Outback, Cadillac revamping their Sedan with the CT5. Those are all pretty important cars, and so they’re significant reveals here. I think that’s really made the show bigger than maybe what I thought it was going to be coming in.
Yeah, I think this show surprised me in a good way. Detroit was probably the opposite surprise in a bad way, but this one, of the year, probably one of my favorites. My favorite of this year, and it’s probably competing with LA as far as favorite of the season. But it makes me, I don’t know, hopeful, looking forward to the cars that we’ll get to drive in the next few months.
Yeah, exactly. There’s going to be a lot of really cool metal rolling out here soon. I mean, even just some special editions and concept cars that we got here. Yeah, just even smaller reveals like that just make this show, as a whole, better than the other auto shows we’ve been at this year.