2014 Mazda MX-5
2015 Ford Mustang
Stern Ford Mustang Pinball Machine
2014 Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition, 2015 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Edition, Stern Ford Mustang Pinball Machine. Click image to enlarge

Preview and photos by Paul Williams and Jonathan Yarkony

Auto show highlights usually have to do with an overall theme – electric vehicles, high performance cars, all-new trucks – or certain spectacular cars that command your attention. This year’s New York show was a much more eclectic experience. Consumers will have a great time if they visit, enthusiasts will find cars to drool over, but journalists will likely focus more on the interesting rather than the outstanding.

2014 Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition
Take the Mazda stand, for instance. Still no diesel vehicles, but it’s the MX-5/Miata’s 25th Anniversary and there’s a very limited edition model to celebrate that. The car, according to Mazda, is the best MX-5 you can buy. It features an engine with specially selected components, a special Soul Mica paint job, custom and handcrafted interior, special wheels, a plaque (of course) and only 200 available for North America. Very unusually, Canada gets half of those cars (we usually get a tenth of what the US gets), and at $40,925, it’s a rare piece.

Also at the Mazda stand, you’ll find a full range of Miatas and MX-5s from the earliest 1990 models to the 500,000th and beyond. Also race cars and even a one-off coupe.

2014 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Edition
There are other anniversaries to celebrate, and likely the most high profile is the Ford Mustang’s 50th. Introduced in April 1964 as a 1965 model, the Mustang was and is one of the most successful models ever. Even if you haven’t owned one and don’t plan to, I’ll bet you know about the Mustang.

It’s an automotive icon, and yes, there’s a 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. With only 1,964 available, it’s a Mustang GT in legacy Wimbledon White. No special drivetrain or anything, but with subtle design flourishes like the louvered rear quarter windows and chrome surrounds on the rear lights, these Mustangs also wear a plaque signed by Bill Ford. No news on how many for Canada, but I should expect they’ll disappear smartly into collections, so if you want one, order now.

Another Mustang highlight was the presence of special edition pinball machines by Stern. I think Stern is the only manufacturer of pinball machines still in business, so it’s nice (for pinball wizards) to see some new ones in production!

Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI 4Motion ‘Concept’

Over at the Volkswagen stand, the reveal was the facelifted Jetta – not exactly big news – but sitting in the corner was an interesting Golf Wagon. We’re told it’s here to gauge interest, and I reckon Canadians would really like this for a range of reasons. First, it’s a wagon and there’s a market for those in Canada, but this is also an all-wheel-drive model (4Motion) and a diesel (TDI). Furthermore, it looks great; a huge improvement over the current Golf wagon, in my view.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Wagon2015 Toyota Camry2015 Hyundai Sonata
Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI 4Motion, 2015 Toyota Camry, 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Click image to enlarge

2015 Toyota Camry and 2015 Hyundai Sonata
Toyota introduced a new Camry. It’s a big seller, of course. Not an enthusiast vehicle, but let’s face it, Camrys are one of the most popular cars out there, so a new one is significant. And I must say, this Camry is a smooth exercise in design, although the new grille – echoing Lexus – may take some getting used to.

That said, over at Hyundai, a new Sonata debuted; a direct competitor with Camry, right? As you may know, Hyundai has been on a roll of late, their full line of vehicles under the design direction of Peter Schreyer had a huge impact in the marketplace and pushed the industry to elevate design in order to remain competitive. So yes, now we see a much more appealing Toyota Camry, for instance, and consider the difference between the first-generation Ford Fusion and the current model. Everybody’s upping their game.

So what to make of this new Sonata? The swoopy lines are gone; the eye-catching surfaces are dialled back; the “fluidic sculpture” not quite so fluidic. What does this mean? Obviously the look of these vehicles was a major driver in Hyundai’s recent success. People noticed! The new look for 2015 is described by Hyundai as “more mature” and I guess, yes, it is that. And the car is certainly appealing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s no longer the standout that it was. Fair enough, I suppose. Many suggested that the original fluidic motion design had nowhere to go, and maybe that’s true. Hyundai has therefore intelligently made a 90-degree turn towards refinement, simplicity and elegance, even. But will Sonata still get noticed?

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