• New York International Auto Show features crash avoidance, slick styling

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    D2---Mitsubishi-Safety-System20160329The 2016 New York International Automobile Show opens this week as the surge in vehicle sales of the past five years nationally and on Long Island is settling into slower growth, but kept at a robust level by low interest rates and some of the cheapest gasoline prices in years.

    The event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which has long been the nation’s best attended car show, will feature more than 1,000 new vehicles ranging from a redesigned Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact starting at $13,000 to a $200,000 variant of the Land Rover Range Rover.

    The new and remodeled vehicles boast an array of electronic features to help drivers avoid crashes, in most cases via warnings, but in some models, such as the redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-Class, by automatic braking and automatic steering, which uses video cameras to detect when a vehicle drifts out of its lane, and steers it back on course.

    Auto analyst Jesse Toprak, who is developing an auto information website based in Beverly Hills, said the safety technologies are a pathway to self-driving cars, though he thinks autonomous vehicles are at least five years from showrooms. “By offering these accident-avoidance technologies, automakers can make their products more competitive today and also get ready for the self-driving cars of tomorrow,” he said.

    Even the small, redesigned Mirage will be available with a rear camera for safer backing up, and will come standard with “brake assist” to boost brake system pressure for emergency stops.

    The new models are getting better gas mileage and slicker styling, which in some cases is aimed at transforming boxy sedans into the shape of a coupe.

    The show opens to the public on Friday after a two-day media preview and runs through April 3. Last year a record crowd of more than a million people attended.

    What to watch for
    Notable models, based on their predecessors’ popularity, include a Honda Civic four-door hatchback, the Fiat 124 Roadster, which is based on the Mazda Miata, and a new minivan from Chrysler, the Pacifica, replacing the Town and Country. The show also features a revived Lincoln Continental sedan, the brand’s new flagship.

    Also redesigned are the Buick LaCrosse sedan and Volvo S90 top-of-the-line sedan. There’s a new version of the Volkswagen Golf, the Alltrack, and Maserati’s first sport utility vehicle, the Levante.

    New luxury models also include the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio sedan, two variants of the BMW 7-series sedan, the M760i and Alpina B7, and the Lexus LC 500 coupe, which will be offered in gasoline and gas-electric hybrid variants.

    New sporty models include variants of the Porsche 911 and Boxster, and the Chevrolet Camaro.

    The new models will arrive in national and Long Island markets where sales are strong but no longer sharply rising, as pent-up demand from the recession is now largely satisfied.

    Last year, registrations of new vehicles rose by 3.1 percent over a year earlier on Long Island, to 223,819 units, according to the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which runs the show.

    TNS

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