Payne: Best of the 2024 New York auto show

Posted by Talbot Payne on March 31, 2024

New York — The heyday of the mega-media auto show has passed. But the show must go on.

In recent decades, auto shows were theme parks — each year showcasing more spectacular displays than the last. Manufacturers packed in media to introduce their latest toys. At the 2019 New York International Auto Show, automakers trucked in media for major reveals like the Cadillac CT5, 300-mph Koenigsegg Jesko, Ford Escape, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Mustang Ecoboost High Performance, Mercedes GLS, Porsche 911 Speedster, Subaru Outback, VW Tarok pickup concept, Chinese start-up Qiantu K50, and more. This year, there was the Genesis Neolun concept, Genesis GV60 Magma and a smattering of practical SUVs.

New York Auto Show. Genesis GV60 Magma, X Berlinetta Turismo, GV80 Magma.

New York Auto Show. Genesis GV60 Magma, X Berlinetta Turismo, GV80 Magma. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

Reveals have moved elsewhere in this new media age and shows have returned to their original purpose: get customers in seats. With that spirit in mind, here are my favorite cars and attractions inside New York’s Javits Convention Center.

Tedson Daydream Porsche 911 restomod delivered to Michael Strahan. Hey, it’s New York and there is a lot competing for your entertainment dollar. The Big Apple is stuffed with ginormous towers, wealth and celebrity. Sometimes all in one. Strahan is the towering, ex-All-Pro New York Giants defensive end who has made good as a TV host in his post-football career. Good thing, because he has an automotive sweet tooth to feed.

New York Auto Show. Michael Strahan recieves his Porsche Tedson Daydream. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

The latest addition to his collection was delivered at the Javits Center: a Tedson Daydream restomod, 600-horsepower, hybrid, 1995 Porsche 911. You have our attention, Michael. Croatian physicist Goran Turkic created Tedson to satisfy the insatiable thirst for upgraded, air-cooled-engine 911 supercars.

Tedson not only beats factory Porsche to a hybrid 911 powertrain (Porsche’s hybrid will reportedly arrive later this year) but does so with a manual transmission — something Stuttgart rarely offers anymore. Strahan was good enough to leave his car in the exotics section of the NYIAS for the week next to other goodies like the 1986, V12-powered “Rambo Lambo” Lamborghini LM002 and the 1,813-horsepower, 258-mph electric Rimac Nevera supercar that can hit 60 mph in a face-flattening 1.74 seconds.

New York Auto Show. Tedson founder and CEO Goran Turkic

New York Auto Show. Tedson founder and CEO Goran Turkic. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

Toyota sportscars. If those cyborgs are too rich for your blood, wander down the aisle to the Toyota display, which features (God bless them) three sportscars under $60k. The $47,535 Supra, $37,595 GR Corolla and $30,395 GR86. Yes, I’m calling the four-door GR Corolla a sportscar.

New York Auto Show. Toyotoa performance cars, GR Corolla, Supra, GR86

New York Auto Show. Toyotoa performance cars, GR Corolla, Supra, GR86. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

The all-wheel-drive hot hatch is one of the most entertaining rides in autodom. Somehow, Toyota engineers squeezed 300 horses into its three-cylinder engine. The GR86 is as quick as it is good-looking, and the Supra shares its smooth, inline-six-cylinder mill with a BMW Z4.

Chevy Trax. Speaking of affordability, Chevrolet leads its exhibit this year with the terrific second-generation $21k Trax. That’s a welcome change from escalating prices across the industry that have driven the average new-car transaction price to (cough) $48k. The attractive, high-tech Trax is especially welcome from a brand that is going all-electric with pricey EVs like the $50k Blazer EV.

The bow-tie brand usually fronts its show space with King Corvette — affordable as supercars go, but still pricey. Trax is an entry-level hatchback that will get first-time buyers into the brand for when they might one day afford a ‘Vette.

Other easy-on-the-wallet, stylish new entries at the show include the ‘24 Nissan Kicks and the Kia K4, which replaces the ol’ Forte.1949 VW Beetle. Bring grandpa to the show and he’ll remember this gem. On Jan. 17, 1949, the first VW Type 1 — aka, the Beetle — set wheel on U.S. shores. Costing $1,268 ($16,000 in today’s dollars), it was the bargain Bug that launched VW to global prominence. By the mid-1960s it was selling over 300,000 units a year in the United States. It’s a reminder of how different the EV transition is on the wallet. Next to the Beetle is the electric VW ID.Buzz, an electric throwback to another cheap ‘60s V-dub, the Microbus. ID.Buzz costs a whopping $50k (compared to $21k for the Microbus in today’s dollars).

New York Auto Show. 1940 VW Beetle and 2025 VW ID. Buzz

New York Auto Show. 1940 VW Beetle and 2025 VW ID. Buzz. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

VW has said its electric ID.4 SUV is the most important vehicle since Beetle as the brand transforms. But ID.4’s $41,000 price tag helps explain why it hasn’t flown off the shelves.Mustang 60th birthday. Another ’60s icon celebrates its birthday in New York. Like the Bug, the Mustang helped define American car culture, offering an affordable sportscar to the masses. Mustang, too, no longer sells for the price ($32k today versus $24k in 1964, inflation adjusted) nor the volumes (500,000 unit sales in the ‘60s, 60,000 today) — but it remains true to its brand: an affordable, head-turning, gas-fired kick in the pants.

New York Auto Show. Mustang 60th birthdayNew York Auto Show. Mustang 60th birthday. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

At NYIAC, Ford debuts a matte finish for its seventh-generation pony (universally hailed as one of the best-looking ‘Stangs ever) that is available for $5,995 on any model. Try that on a Ferrari. “Mustang has been about freedom of expression for 60 years, and our new Matte Clear Film provides a whole new way for customers to make Mustang their own,” said Chief Engineer Laurie Transou.

New York Auto Show. Mustang Mach-E Rally

New York Auto Show. Mustang Mach-E Rally. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

Mustang has expanded as a sub-brand with the electric Mach-E SUV to both broaden demographic appeal (think Porsche SUVs) and gain government emissions credits so Dearborn can keep producing the V8-powered Mustangs the faithful want. The latest Mach-E model — the lifted, off-road Rally — is on display in New York.EV test track. Big Auto and Big Government want you to go electric and NYIAS offers — like Detroit and LA — an indoor test track to try out what will be your only powertrain choice in 10 years.

It also affords showgoers the chance to jump in some pretty fancy machines since EVs are largely a premium niche. Test bots include the Cadillac Lyriq, Chevy Blazer EV, Silverado EV Work Truck, Kia EV6, VW ID.4, Nissan Ariya, Lexus RZ 450e and Lucid Air.

New York Auto Show. EV test track, Lucid Air and Cadillac Lyriq

New York Auto Show. EV test track, Lucid Air and Cadillac Lyriq. Henry Payne, The Detroit News

The $80k Lucid Touring is my favorite with gorgeous styling and an interior that could fit a marching band. “Put your heads in the headrest because this thing accelerates fast,” warns the test driver. Zot! That’s fun. And the track is short enough that you don’t have to worry about range anxiety.

The New York International Auto Show is open to the public through April 7.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or @HenryEPayne.

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