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Crafty New Engine Tech, two electric SUVs among the best in New York Auto Show

Aurich Lawson / Jonathan Gitlin

NEW YORK – The New York International Auto Show opened its doors to the public on Friday morning. In recent years, it has found its place as the most important of the American auto shows – Los Angeles and Detroit have been cannibalized by CES and withheld from overseas shows, all to the benefit of the Big Apple. This year's event did not disappoint, as we noted during the press preview days earlier this week. There will be a lot more NYIAS content in the coming days, but let's start with our Best of Awards.

Outstanding in the Automotive Industry: Nissan VC Turbo Engine

Since this is a technology release, I start with our award for the coolest technology on display. I was tempted to pay homage to Waymo, who has just worked with Jaguar to build tens of thousands of self-propelled electric SUVs. Waymo is light years ahead of the driverless technology competition, but these robotic taxis will not be ready for use for another two years, so we'll pick it up later.

Another strong contender is Cadillac's all-new V8, which will be released in a V-Sport version of the luxury sedan CT6. It's a 4.2L V8, 550hp (41

0kW) and 850nm (627ft-lbs), courtesy of twin turbochargers. These cling to the top of the engine between the cylinders – a so-called "hot V", as found in current Formula 1 engines. The engine will be unique to Cadillac, although it is rumored a version with a conventional turbocharger arrangement (with the inlets on the outside of the V) will appear in the mid-engine Corvette, which is still unconfirmed, but which everyone knows is on the way

But given the reality of climate change, I'm not entirely happy to call this powerful engine the best technology I've seen in two days. Especially as the Javits Center shows a much smarter combustion engine. It's one that will reach many more people, as found under the hood of Nissan's brand new Altima sedan of the sixth generation. It's of course the Variable Compression Turbo.

It is a 248 hp (185 kW), 370 Nm (373 Nm) four-cylinder, which by some ingenuity has its compression ratio of 8: 1 up to 14: 1 (varying the displacement from 1,997 L to 1,970 L in the process). It replaces the 3.5L V6 of the old Altima with similar performance, but significantly less weight and less fuel consumption. The engine also switches from the regular combustion cycle to the more efficient Atkinson cycle at higher compression. Between technologies like this, Mazda's upcoming Skyactiv-X technology, and Delphi's Dynamic Skip Fire, it's encouraging to see the industry working to make the combustion engine ever more efficient.

Best new small car model: Toyota Corolla

Next up is another smaller vehicle. For impressive, though the Nissan Altima looks like, Toyota had an even more significant revelation for us in Manhattan: the new Corolla. Like the youngest Prius and Camry, it also uses the Toyota New Global Architecture. Toyota's press release announcing the new Corolla has some wonderful descriptions, some of which sound like the names of Iain M. Banks's cultural ships. The design of the hatchback is apparently a theme called Shooting Robust . The styling on the front uses design philosophies named Under Priority Catamaran and Keen Look ; The Cabin is Sensual Minimalism .

The shape is lower, wider and longer than the last Corolla. This means that it has a wider track (the distance between wheels on the same axle) and a longer wheelbase. Toyota says the new Corolla is more fun to drive – though, after my experience at the Camry, I'm waiting for it and make my own decision. It looks the part, especially in the pictured Rival Blue, which is very similar to the Ford Focus RS. (Note: This color fell like a wonderful thumb on the fine New York State Highway Patrol, which earned me a ticket that's still smart two years later.)

That's 2018, there's a lot of technology. An eight-inch touchscreen stands proud of the dashboard – some may cling to the fact that it's not integrated, but the ergonomics are better, and because it's higher, it should minimize the eyes of drivers who are off the road , The infotainment system Entune 3.0 is based on Automotive Grade Linux, and you also get the integration of Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.

That's nice, but the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are probably more important. The suite is called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, and this is the first car in the US that offers it. There is [deep breath] automatic emergency brake function, forward collision warning, brake assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and steering assist, automatic high beam, lane tracing assist (another assistant I consider tracking) and character recognition. Some trim levels also get blind spot monitoring, but no rear cross traffic warnings.

Oh, and there will be a manual transmission.

Best New Luxury Car: Audi A6

Audi is in the process of renewing its entire lineup. Last year we saw the new A8, then we saw the sleek A7 in Detroit. Now it's the A6 that looks much better to my blunted eyes than its predecessor. The front and rear lights are highly stylized, and on the back they go through an animated pattern when you start the car. (The faster, more expensive S6 gets a different order than the "normal" A6.)

The interior uses the same "black panel" concept as the more expensive A7 and A8; Almost all physical keys have been replaced by capacitive ones. Do not worry – these are always in the same place, so you will still develop muscle memory. The latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment system again uses a two-screen configuration (climate controls and other commonly-used functions on the bottom), both of which have haptic feedback. Unlike the A7, the A6 welcomes both front-seat passengers and front-seat passengers, and the stepped design enhances the feeling of spaciousness.

This spaciousness is not just an illusion, because the new A6 has more headroom and shoulder room. and the rear now has more legroom. Of course, a long road trip is the best way to put it to the test, but it felt plentifully spacious for the few minutes I tried. Here in the US, the A6 with a 3.0L TSFI injection, turbocharged, gasoline) V6 engine with 340hp (250kW), which, as I know best, should do 33-35mpg, though it's still figured by the EPA becomes. And a 48V mild hybrid system is standard.

Best New SUV: Hyundai Kona Electri

My selection of new SUVs in New York might surprise some of you. Lincoln showed us a wonderful new seven-seat aviator, and Land Rover brought the limited (and rather expensive) Range Rover SVR, but you can keep it. No, I was hit by Hyundai's new Kona Electric. The connotative Kona (The Green in the Gallery) has just gone on sale and starts at just $ 19,500. But now there is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) option.

A permanent magnet synchronous electric motor drives the front wheels and, at 150 kW (201 hp) and 394 Nm (291 ft-lbs), is more powerful and much more powerful than the Konas combustion engine. But then these Konas do not have to take a 64kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, which according to Hyundai weighs "less than 1,000 lbs" (454kg). Hyundai says it will be enough to give Kona Electric a range of about 250 miles (again, this was not determined by the EPA).

The company claims the fact that the battery pack has a better energy density than the Chevrolet bolt at 141.3 Wh / kg, and it says that at Konica with 117MPGe has better energy efficiency than the Nissan Leaf (112MPe) and Tesla's Model S (104MPGe) and Model X (94MPGe). DC Fast Charging (able to accept 100kW going from empty to 80 percent in 54 minutes) is standard, as is a 7.2kW onboard charging system.

There is one aspect in which the gasoline-powered Kona cuts off its BEV sibling and that's the way it looks. A BEV does not need a big and dirty grid at the front, but the smooth nose does not quite do that for me.

As with all other newcomers, pricing is not yet known. Somewhere in the midst of $ 30,000 before incentives is probably a safe assumption; The Nissan Leaf could be cheaper, but it only packs 40kWh.

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