New York Auto Show 2018: Hail the SUV, but Plug in the Mini

By Jonathan Spira on 29 March 2018
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NEW YORK — The auto industry is showcasing dozens of new cars this week at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center. The show, which dates back more than a century and was previously held at the New York Coliseum, the old Madison Square Garden, and the Grand Central Palace, will run through April 8.

Prior to the show’s official opening to the press, BMW’s Mini unit showed off a classic Mini with a twist: electric power. Unfortunately, this juiced Mini is a one-off although the iconic brand will unveil a new fully electric model based on the Cooper, not the classic.

To further tease the faithful, it also showed off the high-tech looking John Cooper Works GP Electric Concept, based on the current Mini Hardtop, as well as its first plug-in hybrid model, the MINI Cooper SE Countryman.

At a separate event to show off this hipster masterpiece, BMW said that the production electric Mini will “remain true to the brand” with its “unmistakable go-kart feeling.”

Jaguar, which debuted its I-Pace electric vehicle in Geneva, announced that Waylon would acquire 20,000 of them for the latter’s robotic taxi fleet.

SUVs are big at the show, no surprise given that the SUV and crossover segment saw a 6% year-over-year growth last year compared to an overall 10.9% decline in car sales.

Cadillac is showing its smaller 2019 XT4 SUV that neatly fills a gap in the storied automaker’s lineup, while Lincoln debuted a plug-in hybrid Aviator. Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Cross Sport, a five-passenger plug-in hybrid version of its seven-passenger Atlas SUV that develops 355 horsepower and can travel 26 miles on battery power before requiring petrol.

Volkswagen also showed off the Atlas Tanoak pickup truck concept, one of the biggest surprises at the show. Meanwhile, Ford said it plans to offer a lineup of eight new SUVs, including five hybrids and one purely electric vehicle.

Nissan debuted the completely redesigned 2019 mid-sized Altima, now available in all-wheel drive and with an optional partial self-driving system, while Toyota unveiled the sharp-looking next generation of its successful RAV4, a compact SUV that replaced the Camry last year as its best-selling vehicle in its U.S. lineup.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)