by Joe LaMuraglia
It has been over a week since I crawled out of the aging Javitz Center in NYC to see the light of day after attending the NY Auto show during press day. Sure, the auto show sounds glamorous but trust me, it is exhausting.
You may not believe this but I didn’t get to spend any quality time with a vehicle until the afternoon of the second day. It is a competition to get in the cars, photograph them and even videotape them. And EVERYONE is trying to do this. One ESPECIALLY friendly colleague from Edmunds.com got ally pissy because, gasp!, I actually sat in the front seat of a car when he was trying to film. Sorry sunshine, I didn’t get the memo that you had a closed set. And for the record, if you ever slam a door in my face like that again, I will take you out. You know who you are.
Alas, I’ve vented. Here are my picks for the Top 5 vehicles introduced at the NY Auto show:
2010 Subaru Legacy and Outback
Subaru has been one of the most consistent supporters of LGBT media and events and as a result, they came out miles ahead in our recent survey as the brand considered most “gay-friendly”. While being friendly to our community is important to the majority of us, it isn’t the only attribute we are looking for and the current Subarus are still niche, quirky vehicles and as a result don’t have as broad appeal. That should all change with the new 2010 Legacy sedan and Outback Wagon. They are roomier, more comfortable and feature a significant leap interior design and quality. The metamorphosis is so significant my considerably “brand aware” niece who I wouldn’t even go near a Subaru before was impressed enough to consider asking for one for her graduation gift. Trust me, that is one of the highest compliments they could get. Improvements in size, design and advanced drive train technology should make the new Legacy and Outback move up the consideration list for gays and lesbians alike.
2010 Mercedes Benz E-Class Sedan and Coupe
Mercedes-Benz made our favorite list from the NY Auto show with their various iterations of the E-Class. Available as a sedan or coupe with engines ranging from mundane to maniacal there should be a new E-Class for just about every taste. The new design is edgy and slightly angry up front that tapers off to a unassuming rear treatment. It doesn’t seem to work as well as other designs on Mercedes-Benz products but it very well grow on us. The new E-Class will be available with a 268 hp V6 in the E350 and a 382 hp V8 in the top-of-the-line E550. Arriving later this year is the E63 AMG, generating an impressive 518 hp; followed in 2010 by the V6 turbodiesel in the E350 BlueTEC. If ourlast experience with the BlueTEC was any indication, the diesel will be our favorite.
2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster
The 2009 Nissan 370Z is an amazing machine with just a few flaws. One of them for me is that it feels a bit claustrophobic. Enter the 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster and you have an entirely new option for those who love speed but hate tight spaces. The new 370Z drop top features all the improvements and features on the coupe plus a standard automatic latching power top and available heating and cooling ventilated net seats – a first for a Nissan convertible. The Roadster comes with a 332-horsepower 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine and a choice of 7-speed automatic transmission or close-ratio 6-speed manual with available “SynchroRev Match” (the world’s first synchronized downshift rev matching manual transmission).
2010 Volkswagen Golf and GTI
Volkswagen has been very popular with our readers so I was eager to see the new VW Golf and GTI at the NY show. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to get some seat time in the GTI the night before, the car may not have made this list simply because I couldn’t get near it during the show! It was THAT popular during press and public days. Both the Golf and GTI feature new exterior and interior designs that take them to the next level of sophistication with soft-touch interiors and revised steering wheels that give the impression of being in a much more expensive vehicle. Besides the new look, the 2010 Golf will be available with VW’s TDI Clean Diesel engine that promises to be fun and fuel efficient. The GTI will feature the awesome 2.0L Turbo engine with 200 hp and either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. Can you say HAWT?
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
When Chrysler’s Jim Press drove out in a FIAT 500 for the launch of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee I was intrigued to say the least. I thought they’d be announcing the final details of a partnership with the Italian car company which would equate to a higher level of hope for the future of their brands. No announcement was made but based on the gorgeous new Jeep Grand Cherokee, it looks like there is some product worth salvaging from the beleaguered Chrysler. The 2011 Grand Cherokee features an all-new design that is larger, more sophisticated and is powered by a more fuel efficient base engine. Jeep says this Grand Cherokee hits the sweet spot between off-road capability and on-road comfort and with the available Quadra-Lift air suspension, they may be right.