The second of the two New York Auto Show media days included presentations of radically more fuel-efficient Ram pickups and an all-new Infiniti electric luxury sedan, among many others. And while the lighter schedule of the second day didn't quite bring the overflow of reveals, there were quite a few noteworthy new model premieres.
Be sure to catch up on all the highlights from Day One; and here are some more highlights from the second day of press conferences at the 2012 New York Auto Show:
A twenty-percent boost in fuel-efficiency is no trivial matter—and that's what Chrysler claims for some of its most popular 2013 Ram 1500 models. The refreshed model line, which got its official debut on the New York show stand, doesn't look all that much different from the outside, but it took some extensive reengineering to achieve those efficiency improvements. New eight-speed automatics for most of the model line, a new V-6, and an all-new lighter frame with more high-strength steel are all part of it, but advanced features like grille shutters and auto stop-start go the extra mile.
Inside, the 2013 Ram also gets a more luxurious look and feel, including soft-touch materials for the dash and doors, a version of the reconfigurable instrument cluster that's coming in the 2013 Dodge Dart (as well as the 2013 Viper), reconfigured climate controls, and Chrysler's latest Uconnect touch infotainment and connectivity interface. But what's most radical is what's missing from the Ram; there's no column shifter, no shift lever, just a new rotary dial on the dash—which we think truck shoppers will like after the initial surprise, as it frees up a lot of space.
Shoppers are rating design and styling as more important than ever—even in large, comfort-oriented cars. And with the outgoing Avalon a perfectly comfortable, capable, albeit nearly characterless sedan, we're happy to see this new 2013 Avalon
, which was first shown at New York, come out of Toyota's design process looking far more distinctive and upscale. Though a bit odd from the front, the new Avalon has an attractive profile (we see a bit of Audi A7), and a curvaceous new interior layout. one that should compete well with the likes of the Hyundai Azera, Buick LaCrosse, or Volkswagen CC.
Yesterday we gave you a glimpse of the concept that Infiniti brought to New York; but today, we have details. The Infiniti LE Concept
is indeed based on Nissan Leaf running gear, but it's been designed with luxury, not just efficiency, in mind. At 186.4 inches long, the LE Concept is in mid-size sedan territory, and the swoopy, elongated roofline should help allow a little more space than you'll find in some other sedans its size. Just as in the Leaf (it will be assembled beside the Leaf in Tennessee), you'll find a 134-hp (240-lb-ft) electric motor system and 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; range should be comparable, at up to 100 miles. One key difference, though, will be the introduction of a large tablet-like touch screen, part of a high-end infotainment system.