The last stop on the major North American auto show circuit gets under way this weekend in New York City. An Easter weekend tradition since 1900, the New York International Auto Show is the best chance for more than a million visitors from all over the Northeast to get an up close look at the latest new cars and trucks from around the world.
For those of us who cover the business of selling cars, it’s usually a good opportunity to catch a glimpse into the near future, as manufacturers roll out the last of their concept vehicles until the cycle starts all over again in the fall. This year was no exception, though Land Rover had little new to share.
The Land Rover side of the JLR corporate stand may have been a bit quite, but there was plenty to see on Jaguar’s half. A new SVR version of the F-Type sports car was the big debut, but sitting along side it was the new F-Pace, Jaguar’s first SUV which happens to share its platform with the Discovery Sport.
Mechanically identical to its more pragmatic cousin underneath, the F-Pace features a lower roofline, more feline body surfacing and a number of details borrowed from the F-Type coupe. The cockpit takes advantage of the enveloping styling sweep Design Director Ian Callum calls the Rive line, a reference to the classic Italian boatmaker’s signature bulkhead design. It seats seven in a pinch, just like the Disco Sport
The emergence of a Jaguar SUV – particularly one based on Land Rover architecture – is no surprise, especially when you look around at all the other new SUVs from prestigious luxury brands. Maserati and Bentley both had their new family haulers on parade, not to mention the established players like Volvo and its new XC90 and the plurality of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz crossovers. And let’s not forget Jeep, who staged an off-road driving course outside the main entry of the Javits Center for showgoers to experience first-hand.
By comparison, the Land Rover display actually looked a bit forgotten this year, at least on the show’s industry days. A brand that once defined the category of immensely capable luxury vehicles sat quietly while all the others (family included) stole the spotlight.
Perhaps it was more quiet confidence than lack of inspiration. After all, how could anyone explain the Lincoln Navigator concept that looked like a Range Rover had been dropped into a replicator and spit out with only a slightly different grille installed? Seriously, from almost every angle Lincoln’s new full-size barge copied its looks from the current Range Rover. The greenhouse, particularly in profile, is a dead knockoff, and even the rear horizontals – roofline, backlight line, hatch line, bumper line –cascade at the same pace as a full-size Rangie. If imitation is flattery, someone in Lincoln’s styling has a giant crush on the L405. That, or no imagination.
We were hoping for a preview of what’s to come for either the next Discovery or the new Defender, but we’ll just have to wait it out until the fall. We’ll be in Paris come September to let you know.