Arriving in Manhattan a week after the Ringling Brother and Barnum & Bailey Circus rode the rails to Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the New York International Auto Show opens its doors just as the populace emerges from its winter isolation and spring teases an appearance -- and as the car-shopping season starts to warm up. The show opens to the public on Friday and continues through April 7.
While it is an important industry event in terms of public attendance, the New York auto show also signals the point at which the carmakers' exhibition circuit starts to pack its bags for the season. When two days of press previews kick off Wednesday morning, journalists will see a relatively modest array of world premieres -- and by all indications, an eclectic mix of vehicles that do not seem especially well suited to New Yorkers or their daily driving needs.
For example, Chrysler's offerings at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center will include a nominally street-legal SRT Viper, the Time Attack track racer, and an off-road-ready utility vehicle, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Likewise, a new Porsche 911 GT3, with 475 horsepower, seemed a better match for local conditions when it was unveiled in Geneva this month and not an ideal choice for idling in a rush-hour jam on the F.D.R.
Some of the alluring debutantes that might have been of keen interest to New York's automotive cognoscenti -- million-dollar supercars like the LaFerrari, the Lamborghini Veneno and the McLaren P1 just introduced at Geneva -- are notably missing. Attendees will, however, find a so-called art car display that includes a psychedelic-themed 1956 Cadillac "Love Car," an electric vehicle exhibit offering short ride-along opportunities in seven previously introduced E.V.'s and a Camp Jeep rough-terrain course.
Mainstream attractions like an updated Honda Odyssey minivan will compete for attention with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive and a handful of new Kia models; Acura will introduce a new MDX, Nissan adds a hybrid version of the Pathfinder, and Jaguar hopes to dazzle the crowds with its XJR sedan.
New York's show is shoehorned rather snugly on the calendar this year between an auto salon that ended March 17 in Geneva and another that begins April 20 in Shanghai. With less than two weeks between the end of one show and the beginning of another, many automakers are clearly dealing with schedule challenges.
The new vehicle introductions here actually begin on Tuesday night at various locations throughout Manhattan, staged solely for the press corps. These events include the debuts of new vehicles from Audi and Cadillac. Audi's A3 will not be put on public display at the Javits Center after the press program, although the Cadillac CTS, an important model for General Motors' luxury brand, will be.
On the other hand, the press will not see the show's new motorcycle display in the Galleria area, which will feature the latest from Honda, Harley-Davidson, Can-Am and others. Organizers said the space that it will occupy is being usurped by news conferences Wednesday and Thursday.
Here are some of the highlights attendees can expect to see:
BUICK The LaCrosse and Regal sedans are treated to an exterior freshening and upgrades in the cabin, including for the infotainment system.
CADILLAC The next edition of the CTS will be introduced, although it may not be recognizable as new from the outside. The important changes are under the skin, where a new 420-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-6 and 8-speed automatic transmission reside.
CHEVROLET Three important high-performance models grace the Chevy stand: a convertible version of the new Corvette Stingray, a reworked Camaro said to include new powertrain options and the new SS rear-wheel-drive sedan that was first shown to Nascar fans at last month's Daytona 500, where it raced and won.
DODGE The improvements continue for the Durango S.U.V., with many of the same mechanical refinements recently introduced on the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee. The look of the newest Durango will not change much, but it will be more efficient, the company says.
INFINITI What was the brand's JX crossover model becomes the QX60, which will be offered in a hybrid version.
JEEP The reincarnation of the Cherokee was supposed to be one of the show's big surprises, but photos appeared on the Internet last month. So Jeep went ahead and spilled the rest of the beans. The Cherokee replaces the discontinued Liberty model.
RANGE ROVER If you liked the recently introduced redesign of Land Rover's flagship, the Range Rover, you will probably like the Sport version, too. It's the unmistakable Range Rover look, in a bit more sporty and aerodynamic package.
SRT The limited-edition Viper TA -- only 33 examples will be made -- is positioned as a racing-caliber machine that is still street legal. The intent here is to provide devoted Viper fans with a version of the 640-horsepower sports car that places greater emphasis on handling performance.
SCION TC A new version of Scion's tC sports coupe is being unveiled. It will be interesting to see if there is room in Scion's lineup for a new tC alongside the recently introduced FR-S sports coupe. A convertible version of the FR-S, shown in concept form at Geneva, will not appear in New York.
SUBARU The first gas-electric vehicle from Subaru, the Crosstrek Hybrid, will be shown, as well as a new "performance concept car," which could have something to do with the next WRX. Yes, please.
TOYOTA The latest generation of the popular Highlander crossover will be unveiled. Sneak peeks show a fairly significant redesign. Toyota promises to pack in more value as well as three rows of seats.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.