2019 New York Auto Show - Worst In Show
None of that, nor a bag of chipsby Jonathan Lopez, on
With all the big debuts from the 2019 New York Auto Show now written into the history books, it’s time to take stock of what went down. We’ve already covered the best wins right here, but what about the big misses? What about the lamest special editions and the weakest model updates? Welp, we’ve got ‘em compiled right here in the following Worst In Show list.
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition
Look folks, here’s the thing - I adored the Nissan 370Z. Back when it was released in 2009, that is. I used to think it looked sharp and sexy. In 2009, that is. I used to think it one of the coolest and quickest two-doors to ever wear a Nissan badge. In 2009, that is.
Now, a decade after the fact, the 370Z feels ludicrously dated.
It’s ironic that the Japanese automaker released this 50th Anniversary Edition in New York because it honestly feels 50 years old at this point.
That said, I have a ton of respect for the car that this not-so-special edition is supposed to honor. The BRE Z’s from the ‘70s are legends in their own right, and definitely deserve recognition via some modernized limited-run Z. I’ll also admit that the 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition looks nice with that red-and-white livery color combo.
However, it has to be said - the 370 Z is ancient, and dropping yet another rehashed styling package on it doesn’t change that. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again - where’s the new Z, Nissan?!
2019 Porsche 911 Speedster
Yes, yes, we know the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster is also on our Best In Show list. The thing is, opinions are pretty varied here in the TopSpeed office, and writer Mihai Fira disagrees with Safet Satara with regard to which list this special-edition 911 belongs.
“You’re probably reading this thinking I’ve gone berserk,” writes Fira. “Out of all the cars that debuted, how can I nominate a Porsche in the ‘Worst In Show’ category? After all, this is the highly anticipated swan song for the 991 generation, a collector’s item straight out of the box. But I think it’s a marketing ploy.
The German automaker decided to make just 1,948 of these open-top 911s with added humps behind the seats, each priced at $275,750.
To put that into perspective, the 991.2 Targa sold for $140,950 last year, while the 911 GTS Coupe started at $121,750.
“Yes, all of the above weren’t created to make a Porschephile’s pupils dilate like the Speedster, but there’s still little to justify the Speedster’s price. The two humps behind the seats might be made from carbon fiber, but this thing is almost twice the price of a GT3. The Speedster produces 502 horsepower thanks to a 4.0-liter flat-six, which pairs with a curb weight of 3,230 pounds to hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
“However, buyers will probably be more interested in the stick shift between the seats. Could this be the reason for the price hike? It’s an honest question because when you look at it, the Speedster isn’t even that rare. The 1,948-unit production cap is higher than the sub-1,000 figure of some GT3 variants. I guess Porsche relies on the fact that there are so many fans who will pay out the nose for anything ‘special’ or ‘limited edition.’ Oh, and if you really like the Speedster, there are 997-generation examples out there for as much as $40,000 less - and they come with modern Fuchs rims, too!”
2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio QV NRing Edition
Like the Nissan listed above, these Italian sports machines draw our ire for sullying the concept of a special edition for the sake of an inflated price tag.
Offered as a hat tip to the world-famous Nürburgring race track, these limited-run Alfas are really nothing more than a bunch of aesthetic upgrades.
Both the Stelvio SUV and Giulia sedan get the NRing “treatment,” tossing in an exclusive paint option, carbon fiber trim, and new wheels, with 19-inchers added to the Giulia and 20-inches added to the Stelvio.
Black and red leather upholstery can be found inside, while a few random bits and bobs round it out.
Unfortunately, the only performance updates added to these cars-named-after-a-racetrack include optional Brembo carbon ceramic brakes. All said and done, expect to pay damn near $100,000 for these things. “To put that in perspective,” writes Safet Satara, “you could almost buy two Mercedes-AMG A35 sports sedans for that kind of money.”
2020 Ford Escape
The Escape is one of Ford’s most important nameplates right now, which means the latest fourth-gen model needs to bring the heat to stay competitive. However, TopSpeed writer Andrei Nedelea isn’t buying it.
“Ford could have done so much more with the Escape crossover,” Nedelea writes. “It’s a bland-looking, raised-up Focus with zero styling individuality.
It’s one of those cars that you wouldn’t know which brand it was unless you saw the badge - it really is that bad.
“The Euro-spec Kuga ST Line is a bit better, but it’s still about as interesting as a pile of leaves. This is why manufacturers like Hyundai and others that used to be the butt of industry jokes just a decade ago are now on the upswing. The mainstream automakers have grown complacent, predictable, and a bit dreary to be honest. And this is coming from a guy who really likes the Blue Oval.
“Hopefully the peppier full-ST Escape will make the model more appealing beyond the penny-pinching family demographic that just wants ‘a car’ that fits within their budget.”
Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Escape.
2019 Volkswagen Tarok
Sometimes, a debut leaves us scratching our heads and asking “why?”. And that’s precisely what happened with the VW Tarok, as explained by TopSpeed writer Ciprian Florea.
“The Tarok is a compact truck that Volkswagen will introduce in South America later in 2019. And VW brought it to New York even though there are no plans to sell it in the U.S. Why? Because Volkswagen wants to gauge interest, but that’s a silly reason to parade the truck around a high-profile auto show.
The Tarok is way too small for the U.S. market, it has an awfully small bed, and it’s more like an SUV with a chopped-off roof than a proper truck.
If VW decides to join the U.S. truck market, it will definitely do it with a different, bigger pickup. The Tarok’s presence in New York makes no sense.”
2020 Cadillac CT5
With so many other top-notch options in the premium four-door segment already out, the new CT5 has us wondering why Caddy even bothered.
“I just don’t see what makes this a special car in any way,” says TopSpeed writer Siddhant Dhimaan. “There’s Super Cruise, but nothing else really stands out. Rivals like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are in a different league altogether. After all the hype it created as the CTS’ successor, the CT5 isn’t exactly worth the wait.
“While it does provide a lush experience inside, and it seems mechanically capable on paper, it fails to elicit the same sense of excitement as the Europeans.
Cadillac seems to have moved on from sedans to SUVs like the XT4 and XT6, but it wants to try its hand at sedans one last time with the CT5 - unsuccessfully.
It comes with a four- and a six-cylinder mill the produces 237 and 335 horsepower. The exterior is boxy and a little too plain for the price tag. Cadillac is known for its minimalist design philosophy, but I’m not sure if people will spend more than $50,000 for a plain-Jane design.”
Read our full review on the 2020 Cadillac CT5.