2016 NYIAS Impresses, and Gets Upstaged

This year’s New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) did not disappoint, with lots to discover. Among them:

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–    Many new models hiding key holes
–    More manufacturers offering instrument panel help to start vehicles if the key fob is dead
–    Lots of new Hybrid models and two Hydrogen powered prototypes seen
–    Eight pure electric models were on the floor, all of which are, or will be, available this year.

And then the Model 3 debuted, on the other side of the continent.

Of course, for us at DashboardSymbols.com, the fact that manufacturers continue to make key holes disappear is a major focus, and 15 additional models were on the show floor. And while three were prototypes, the rest are on cars available now. In addition, we noted for the first time that the entire Porsche and Range Rover lines hide their keyholes.

More important to our readers, the Ford’s Edge and Mustang, and Chevrolet’s Camaro, Malibu and Cruze now come with hidden key holes covered, indicating that the manufacturer’s entire lines will likely follow. The Lincoln Navigator Concept and 2017 Continental have unique entry options that will bear watching.

Hyundai Genesis conceptKia added its Optima and Sportage models and displayed a 4-door concept convertible with no door handles at all! Hyundai’s soon-to-be luxury line Genesis will also feature hidden key holes.

But what stands out from the show is that, despite gasoline prices at 20 year lows, electric cars continue to move mainstream. Ford (Focus), Chevrolet (Bolt), Nissan (Leaf), Kia (Soul), Volkswagen (E-Golf) and Mitsubishi (I-MIEV) are all on show room floors or will be by year’s end. The Leaf is the oldest and most popular electric car currently available and now will run up to 110 miles on a charge.

We like the chances of the Focus (76 mile range), Soul (93 miles) and E-Golf (86 miles) because they are popular models simply re-powered. Why shouldn’t an electric car share its lineage?

Chevy BoltThe Bolt’s 200 mile charge range sets the standard, but is an unproven look. And Mitsubishi will continue its struggles in the North American market with its cheap-feeling offering that can only go a paltry 62 miles fully charged.

Then came Tesla, and even though all those electric cars are a direct result of the company’s very existence, the NYIAS fades into the rear view mirror.

Tesla Model 3In a single week, and beginning a day before its actual unveiling, the Model 3 garnered the car company an unprecedented 325,000 pre-orders and year and a half before it is promised to be available. A 210 mile range, mid-range pricing, luxury amenities and upscale look place it in a class by itself.

We don’t believe for a minute that gas will stay in the $2 per gallon range. Not a minute. Even if it does, Elon Musk’s Tesla is changing the automobile industry for the better, and forever.

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