Top three debuts at New York International Auto Show

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
Mazda unveiled the hardtop version of the MX-5, called the RF, at the start of the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

Of the many things the Big Apple is famous for, cars are also among them. One of the year’s biggest automotive spectacles — the New York International Auto Show  (NYIAS) — is going on right now until April 3, and there has been some seriously interesting news coming out of the east coast event.

2016 Mazda MX-5 RF roof up

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

The fourth generation of everyone’s favourite modern roadster, the Miata, was released last year in soft-top form, and it was only a matter of time before a hardtop version would be announced. And now it has: introducing the MX-5 RF. Sporting fastback looks, it features a retractable rear window and the roof can be fully stowed. Surprisingly, the storage capacity in the trunk remains the same for both models.

2016 Miata MX-5 roof down

In North America, the RF will utilize the familiar SKYACTIV-G 2.0 gasoline engine.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota is touting the latest plug-in variant of the new Prius as the being the “best-equipped, most technologically-advanced model to date.” Greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system give the Prime a 22 per cent reduction in fuel consumption compared to its predecessor, resulting in a projected 1.96 Le/100 km (litres equivalent) and a total range of over 965 kilometres.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime interior

Design highlights include very cool quad-LED headlights, lightweight aluminum used for the hood and carbon fibre for the hatch, and an available 11.6-inch interior multimedia screen.

Genesis New York Concept front

Genesis New York Concept

Following closely behind the debut of the production G90 sedan, Hyundai’s recently separated luxury division now turns its attention to something sportier. The New York Concept is a hint towards the brand’s future styling direction, represented here by a long hood, unique fender vents, tapered rear deck and copper-coloured accents. Inside, a massive 21-inch LG 4K display dominates the dash connected to an interface combining touchpads and 3-D gesture control.

Genesis New York Concept side

A hybrid powertrain generates 241 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission

Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster: new vs. old

ND vs NA Mazda MX-5 Miata
The evolution of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Photos by Benjamin Yong.

It seems like ages ago that Mazda first broke news of the fourth-generation MX-5, affectionately referred to as the “ND” by car geeks for its chassis code, via a teaser videoand some cryptic messaging. Now that units have finally started finding their way from dealership lots into buyers’ eager hands, let’s have a look at just how much, or as it turns out, how little, things have changed since the original NA Miata first made an appearance on our shores way back in 1989.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata angle


With today’s stringent safety and emissions regulations, it’s common for new vehicles to be bigger and significantly heavier than their predecessors. The latest Miata bucks this trend by actually being shorter than the original, by 33 millimetres, and has lost approximately 68 kilograms compared to the outgoing model. That means it’s only 83 kg heavier than the featherweight first generation.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata front

There are sadly no more pop-up headlights, replaced by swoopy KODO Soul of Motioninspired flush mounted units. But like the NA, the 2016 MX-5 comes standard with a manually operated soft top. Before you complain about losing the previous slick Power Retractable Hard Top (PHRT), the current top can be raised and lowered easily using just one hand, and the whole operation takes a few seconds without having to leave the driver’s seat.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata interior


While the first three iterations featured an instrument cluster and dash layout that really didn’t change that much, the ND catches up with the times by integrating a digital information screen next to the tachometer and adding a touchscreen infotainment interface. You still get supportive seats and a driver-focused cabin, and most basic operations like locking/unlocking doors and adjusting windows and mirrors are now motorized across the board.  


Keeping in line with the other contemporary Mazda offerings, the Miata now features a complete fuel saving and performance boosting SKYACTIV suite centered around a 155 horsepower engine making 148 lb-ft of torque. That’s a sizeable boost when you consider the car once made 116 hp and 100 lb-ft. And even though a six-speed automatic transmission with optional paddle shifters are available, for maximum fun factor you’ll want the six-speed manual that feels as satisfying to shift as ever.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata engine

Balance has always been a staple for the sultry roadster and it remains so with a front engine/rear-wheel drive configuration, near 50/50 weight distribution, and independent suspension. Safety features have also been modernized with all trims receiving anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, traction and dynamic stability control and driver/passenger/side airbags.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 is available now and starts at $31,900.

OpenRoad's Frankfurt Motor Show 2015 top picks


Visitors inspect automobile manufacturers’ latest wares at IAA 2015, which runs now until Sept. 27 in Frankfurt, Germany.

The 66th annual Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA), or Frankfurt Motor Show, is in full swing right now in Germany. There have been dozens of new vehicles and concept debuts since the show opened a few days ago, but we picked out a handful that are particularly intriguing. Here are OpenRoad’s top three cars from this year’s IAA.

Porsche Mission E

Porsche has been very interested lately in the field of hybrid technology, evidenced by their release of several partially electric models last year. The Mission E concept car, however, is the brand’s first four-seater that is completely powered by electricity. With a range of over 500 kilometres on one charge, it only takes approximately 15 minutes to replenish 80 per cent of the battery thanks to Porsche’s unique 800-volt turbo charging system.

Porsche Mission E rear

Key stats

Horsepower: 600

Powertrain: two permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM)

Transmission: all-wheel drive

Seats: four

Fun fact: A camera mounted to the rear-view mirror detects the driver’s mood.

Mazda KOERU concept


Before you ask — KOERU means “exceed” or “go beyond” in Japanese, which is what the company is trying to do with their latest crossover concept. It has Mazda’s current KODO styling written all over it, but also includes a few twists like the rings around the LED headlights that are supposed to resemble an untamed animal. As usual, engine specifics aren’t being disclosed but expect some form of SKYACTIV.

Mazda KOERU concept rear

Key stats

Horsepower: ?

Powertrain: ?

Transmission: ?

Seats: five

Fun fact:  The KOERU is rumoured to lead to a three-door CX-4 model, or a new CX-7 or CX-9.

Toyota C-HR Concept

Toyota C-HR

Consumers’ appetites for compact, fuel-efficient crossovers the world over continue to grow, and Toyota is hoping to capitalize on that with the C-HR Concept hybrid. The automaker has stated plainly they are looking to bring a new model to market, and hope to have a production-ready model to announce in a matter of months. Few specifics are known at this point besides the dimensions: 4,350 millimetres (length); 1,850 mm (width); 1,500 mm (height); 2,640 mm (wheelbase).

Toyota C-HR side

Key stats

Horsepower: ?

Powertrain: ?

Transmission: ?

Seats: five

Fun fact: The original concept featured a three-door design with a blue and black roof.