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2022 New York Auto Show: Hits and Misses

Auto shows are back, and our writers on the floor highlight their fave – and least-fave – new reveals from New York

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After two years of cancellations, the auto show circuit is finally showing signs of life. No, it’s not a healthy heartbeat yet, but at least there’s a glimmer of a pulse! The 2022 New York International Auto Show is a prime example.

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Driving.ca’s Andrew McCredie took an instant shine to Volkswagen’s eclectic (and electric) ID. Buzz. Back in the day, he enjoyed some wild times in a Westfalia. This company took the original Bus and dolled it up as a camper. That original had little in the way of modern conveniences, but it represented freedom — this was a time when many opted out of society and into a hippie-r lifestyle.

The ID. Buzz is its modern counterpart. Gone is the wheezy four-banger in favour of an electrified powertrain. Riding on the VW Group’s MEB architecture, which underpins 30 per cent of all electric vehicles in the Group, it arrives with an 82-kWh battery and an electric motor that twists out 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of instant-on torque. Neither of the numbers will set your heart aflutter, but, as with the original, it will get the job done.

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In Europe, it will launch as a five-seater with a six-seater on the horizon. However, when it finally reaches Canada look for an extended wheelbase version with three rows of seating for seven passengers. McCredie is hopeful the electric Bus will eventually be camper-fied! High hopes aside, don’t hold your breath — it’s not coming to Canada until 2024!

My highlight was VinFast, and not so much because of the cars it produces, but for the manner in which it goes about doing business. It took just 21 months for the company to turn a muddy rice field into a full-on production facility pumping out three electric vehicle models. In an industry that normally lumbers, VinFast sprints!

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The corporate overseer, Vingroup, is also building a new city outside of Hanoi with 35,000 new homes, and it has just completed a university that’s aligned with Cornell and Penn State universities, and this really only scratches the surface.

As for this year’s lowlights, it boiled down to the general malaise of the show. Pre-COVID-19, the New York International Auto Show was the epitome of the city itself — it had buzz, it had hype galore, and there was always something interesting going on.

This year it was a subdued affair, and mainly because some key participants just could not be bothered to show up. Europe was conspicuous by its absence. No Audi, no BMW, no Mercedes-Benz, no Porsche, and no Jaguar Land Rover. Heck, even Cadillac was AWOL. Those manufacturers that did attend the show really did put on, well, a show — and Hyundai and Kia dominated!