New York Auto Show Preview: Green Production Cars & Concepts

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2014 Volkswagen Golf (European spec)

2014 Volkswagen Golf (European spec)

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Media days at the New York International Auto Show start a week from today, and there's a big slate of green cars coming this year.

This year's show will offer everything from vehicles heading into production that you'll find in showrooms in a few months to concepts that have little chance of being built in their current form.

Here's our roundup of what's new, what's novel, and--most of all-what's green at next week's New York Auto Show.


In addition to the cars below, we suspect we may also see one or more of the following vehicles show up at the New York event:

  • 2014 BMW 528d
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
  • 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid
  • 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
  • 2014 Scion tC
  • 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

As we learn more about those, and any other cars we haven't included as yet, we'll add them to our list.

Meanwhile, here are the cars we know will be revealed at next week's New York Auto Show.

2013 BMW 3-Series - First U.S. Drive, February 2012

2013 BMW 3-Series - First U.S. Drive, February 2012

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2014 BMW 328d

BMW, along with Audi and Mercedes-Benz, is making a renewed push into clean diesel powerplants for its luxury vehicles. While they're more expensive than gasoline engines of equivalent power, they deliver some truly impressive fuel-efficiency numbers--especially in highway usage.

The last generation of BMW 3-Series offered with a diesel used a straight six, but now BMW is fitting its 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, which puts out 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Combined with a new eight-speed automatic transmission--yes, twice as many gears as cylinders--it delivers 0-to-60-mph acceleration of 7.2 seconds.

More importantly, BMW says it'll be rated at highway fuel economy of more than 40 mpg. And rumor has it the BMW 3-Series wagon will get the diesel as well, offering the first competition to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI SportWagen.

2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid

2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid

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2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid

If you hadn't been aware, Infiniti has renamed all its models--giving them names beginning with the letter Q. (Don't get us started.)

The QX60 for 2014 is last year's JX seven-seat luxury crossover, and the hybrid version replaces its 3.5-liter V-6 with a supercharged 2.5-liter four mated to a 25-kilowatt (34-hp) electric motor and Nissan's continuously varible transmission. Total combined power is 250 hp.

We drove a prototype JX Hybrid in Japan last fall, and question whether its on-the-road behavior will compare well to the Lexus RX 450h hybrid crossover it competes against. The hybrid JX used its electric motor largely for supplemental power, with virtually no electric-only acceleration.

Infiniti expects a 25-percent improvement in EPA gas-mileage ratings, so we'll see at the show exactly how beneficial the hybrid system is to the large crossover's fuel efficiency.

2014 Jeep Cherokee

2014 Jeep Cherokee

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2014 Jeep Cherokee

This new mid-size crossover utility vehicle is a radical departure from the well-loved Cherokee sold from 1985 through 2001.

That vehicle was clearly based on a truck; the new 2014 Cherokee, which replaces the old Jeep Liberty, is based on an all-wheel drive version of the same Fiat-based underpinnings used for the Dodge Dart compact sedan.

Engines will likely include a 2.4-liter four and a 3.2-liter V-6, with a variety of transmissions and at least one all-wheel drive system that's Trail Rated. Chrysler released a video showing the Cherokee off-road yesterday, to underscore its tough Jeep credentials.

The goal, of course, is not only refinement and on-road capability, but far superior fuel efficiency. Chrysler says the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will get up to 45 percent better fuel efficiency ratings than the Liberty it replaces.

2014 Volkswagen Golf (European spec)

2014 Volkswagen Golf (European spec)

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2015 Volkswagen Golf

We won't see it until sometime in the first half of 2014, but Volkswagen is showing a U.S. version of its lighter, more spacious, and more fuel-efficient seventh-generation Golf hatchback at this year's New York Auto Show.

The latest Golf (along with the sporty GTI model) is already on sale in Germany, with a wide array of diesel and gasoline engines and various transmissions.

But the U.S. version will be built in Puebla, Mexico, alongside the Jetta sedan that's already built there--the two cars have historically shared underpinnings--and that line needs to be brought up to speed and quality standards before the cars can be put on sale.

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI will get an all-new EA288 turbodiesel to replace the aging 140-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder used in today's Golf TDI models.

That engine will be fitted with the diesel-exhaust fluid system that injects urea, to pass U.S. emissions standards with a greater margin of comfort than today's Golf with its older TDI turbodiesel engine.

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Comments (2)
  1. John, I think the new 3-cyl Mitsubishi Mirage/Colt (or whatever name it ends up with at its unveiling) deserves a spot on your list.

    Sure, it's a cheap and plain-looking econobox, so it will not get the spotlight. But it's undeniably green. Mitsu set out from the start to design in above average efficiency:

    - It's quite light (under 2000 lbs), the lightest 4-door car available in the US;

    - It has class-leading aerodynamics (see )

    - It may have the best (or next to best) combined EPA fuel economy for a non-hybrid. It ranks at or near the top of its class in multiple countries where it's already sold.

  2. @Darin: Fair point. Mitsubishi hasn't officially confirmed that they're going to unveil the Mirage at the NY show, but I'll add it to the list of possibles and do a section on it if any information comes out before the show. Not entirely clear that they'll use the 3-cylinder engine for the U.S. though ....

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