Home  Car Chat Post


Summer's almost here... Let's go camping!: Nissan's SUV-Camping Exhibit at the 2018 New York International Auto Show


Like many Americans, I grew up in a family of avid campers. However, our vehicles were usually an assortment of rugged, ancient Chevy, Dodge, and Ford pickup trucks with no bed liners, and we were lucky to have any old hard camper shell with a functioning window or two. We kids were tossed around in the back with spare tires, jacks, tools, and ice chests, and were very lucky to make it into adulthood. However, we loved every minute of it and I am grateful for the experience, and still love camping to this very day.

Today, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of great choices for safely taking our families on camping trips. Nissan had a small but effective display at the 2018 New York International Auto Show on Level 1, which featured a 2018 Nissan Armada towing a boat, a 2018 Nissan NV Passenger Van with two kayaks tied to the roof, a 2018 Nissan Pathfinder with a tent attached to the rear, a Nissan Rogue in a camp setting, and a Nissan Titan Lifted. I liked all of the Nissans on display, and I arrived with the notion that my favorite would be the Pathfinder. However, it was not so easy to choose after seeing the full display.


Like the old pickups driven by my family, the Armada has a fuel hungry V8 (14 City; 19 Highway). However, the vehicles of today offer a lot more safety and comfort features, and are more practical, too. I do not recall my uncle's old pickup having a seven-speed automatic transmission, a standard feature on the Nissan Armada, which helps for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Nissan's Armada base model also comes equipped with the Endurance 5.6 Liter DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection engine, with 390 hp @ 5800 rpm, and 394 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm, power and torque respectively, which is plenty of muscle to tow a boat, camping gear, and a family of eight. The Armada's standard towing capacity is 8500 pounds.


The Armada has a 26 gallon fuel capacity for longer range between fill-ups, so you'll be arriving to your campsite sooner. Unlike the old pickup trucks we used, the Nissan Armada has a lot of safety and comfort features. For better stopping power the Armada’s brake rotors are large, at 13.8 aches for both front and back rotors, and according to Car and Driver, it can stop from 70 to 0 MPH at 182 feet. The Armada has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure.

The family will arrive to the campsite more rested after a comfortable ride, too, as the Armada has 154.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, and for enhanced passenger comfort on long trips, the Armada’s middle and third row seats recline. The Armada has a standard third row seat that folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly.


The Nissan Armada has fully independent front and rear suspensions, which allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Armada’s wheelbase is: 121.1 inches, and for greater off-road capability the Armada SV has 9.2 inches of minimum ground clearance, allowing the Armada to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. This is essential if you are taking your family camping to areas that have rugged terrain, or to a hard to reach boat launch site, say to Lake Powell, Utah.


However, for the toughest terrain, one might opt for a Nissan Titan Lifted, with the factory-installed lift kit that includes heavy-duty ball joints, custom rod end bearings, and adjustable coil-over shocks that will lift the Titan an additional 6-inches. Just as I had my mind made up about the Nissan Armada as my next family vehicle, the Nissan Titan Lifted stopped me dead in my tracks, and left me drooling. Nevertheless, the 2018 Nissan Armada, is a good balance between functionality and aesthetics, and I am sure my wife would agree.



Every dog has his day, even at 2018 New York International Auto Show


Car Chat members are animal lovers, which is obvious if one ever meets any of us. So it is no surprise when I say that one of the first exhibits that caught my eye was Nissan's update to the dog-friendly version of the Rogue: the Rogue Dogue 2. Anyone who is interested in this vehicle should head immediately to Level 1 upon entering the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Enter on the left side and go down the same row and past the Toyota and Mitsubishi displays. Nissan also has a great camping vehicle exhibit (you will see a large boat being towed by a white 2018 Nissan Armada), but that will be covered in a later article. When facing the Nissan camping exhibit, look to the right for a Nissan Rogue finished in sparkling "Monarch Orange" (looks like burnt sienna to me, but I suppose it is more preferable to refer to monarch butterflies), with Rogue Dogue written in big white letters on the side, and an unmistakable 'doggie clue' familiar to any small child who watches "Paw Patrol" on Nickelodeon: a paw print.


When Nissan displayed the Rogue Dogue last year at 2017 New York International Auto Show, after much titillation generated by the fact that it was built by Dennis McCarthy, car coordinator for Fast and Furious films, and citing a survey of 400 dog owners indicating that 83 percent said it is just as important for their dog to be safe and comfortable in their vehicle as other passengers, many dog lovers expected this concept vehicle to become available for sale. What happened? It is still a concept car not available for sale nor as a factory upgrade, even after an update. What's up Nissan? According to your own survey, we pet owners and dog lovers want this vehicle or one like it.

Regarding safety, the 2018 model features ProPILOT Assist technology, which provides assisted steering, braking and accelerating during single-lane highway driving. According to Nissan, this is "the foundation for the autonomous vehicles of the future, helping drivers stay centered in the lane, navigate stop-and-go traffic, maintain a set vehicle speed and maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead."

Rogue, the canine member of the Car Chat team, was very excited that Nissan’s best-selling crossover had been made pet-friendly with features like custom removable dog bed, 360-degree dog wash shower and integrated dog drying system, and built-in food and water dishes, and most importantly, the Rogue Dogue had been named after him! He also likes that fact that he will be as safe as his humans with clip-in harnesses, and his beverages will also be secure in non-spill water dispensers. Furthermore, Rogue likes that he and his doggie pals will not be able to just jump out of the vehicle because they will be secured by leash fastening attachments in the second row and rear cargo area.

Description: photo2_nissan_rogue_dogue2_1400

The following is a list of the Rogue Dogue modifications installed in the original project vehicle last year, with an infographic provided by Nissan:

  • Secured, removable custom dog bed in the rear cargo area
  • Built-in (fold-down) non-spill water dispenser
  • Built-in (fold-down) non-spill dog food dispenser
  • Slide-away dog ramp for easy access to rear compartment for small or elderly dogs
  • 360-degree (hoop and hose) dog shower with 10 gallon pressurized water reserve
  • Integrated dog drying system with compressed heated air dryer and outside hose attachment
  • Heated air vents for rear cargo bed area
  • Easy-to-clean custom interior materials
  • Modified second-row/cargo area pass-through passageway
  • Removable pet partition with Rogue Dogue logo between the second-row and cargo area
  • Second-row dog hammock (clips around front and rear headrests)
  • Raised rear floor in rear compartment housing utility drawer and dog ramp; drawer faces covered in custom easy-clean upholstery
  • Side wall mounted poop bag dispenser
  • Rear facing passive side view mirror cameras (video sent to hard drive) to capture dog’s road trip experiences – head out the window, interaction between dog and other drivers – for later viewing
  • Dog first aid kit
  • Harness clips mounted in rear compartment
  • Rogue Dogue logo key fob

Source: http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/nissan-rogue-dogue-ready-for-fast-fur-ious-debut-at-the-2017-new-york-international-auto-show?query=Rogue+Dogue


When Rogue and his pals want to strut their stuff as they disembark, like when it is time to join the second line in the Krewe of Barkus dog parade during Mardi Gras, they have a secure ramp to exit the Rogue Dogue 2. The ramp is also quite helpful for large dogs, small dogs (who want zero help from their humans), and also the people that care for them who may have back injuries and cannot lift heavy objects or lift objects at awkward angles. These features are not mere gimmicks, but are tools for those who work as pet groomers and caretakers. Humans and dogs have had a symbiotic relationship for several millennia, and it is both retrospective and forward-looking for Nissan to create such a concept vehicle. However, why leave it at the conceptual stage, especially considering the profound nature of the human-canine relationship?

Again, Nissan, we pet owners want this vehicle or one very much like it. Maybe one of your competitors will beat you to the punch if you do not act soon. This might also be a great opportunity for small manufacturer to create new, up-to-date aftermarket packages that will work in other new vehicle platforms. Are you listening Nissan?

What do you have to say Rogue?




2018 New York International Auto Show
Jacob Javits Convention Center
11th Ave. (between 34th & 40th St.)
March 30th - April 8th
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm


Antique Cars at the 2018 New York International Auto Show: The 1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria


One of my favorite things to see at any automotive show are the antique vehicles. The 2018 New York International Auto Show has some beautiful, rare models on display. The exhibit is being curated by the Saratoga Automobile Museum, which is sponsored by the Silver Arrow Society, a local group of auto enthusiasts. The Museum opened in 2002, and "The Museum’s mission is to preserve, interpret and exhibit automobiles and automotive artifacts. We celebrate the automobile and educate the general public, students and enthusiasts regarding the role of the automobile in New York State and in the wider world. In addition to technical and design aspects, our educational focus is on the past, present and future social and economic impact of the automobile."


The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located in Upstate New York, north of Albany, and "is located within the 2,500 acre Saratoga Spa State Park, in the heart of historic Saratoga Springs, New York, world famous for its legendary, much honored one-mile thoroughbred track. The museum’s facility is the totally restored and renovated Saratoga Bottling Plant, a beautiful neo-classic structure built in 1934. The Museum is adjacent to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and near the landmark Gideon Putnam Hotel. Within walking distance in the Park are the National Museum of Dance, the Spa Little Theatre and the lavish Hall of Springs banquet facility."

Source: https://www.saratogaautomuseum.org/about-main/

The car that caught my eye at the 2018 NYIAS was the 1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria by LeBaron. The Stutz Motor Company was founded as the Ideal Motor Car Company in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1911, and continued until 1935. In 1912, Harry C. Stutz renamed the company Stutz Motor Company and began selling high-performance roadsters, such as the famous Stutz Bearcat (which appears in the Velvet Underground's 1970 song "Sweet Jane"). This collaboration was not unusual for luxury cars at the time. Luxury makers would ship rolling chassis to companies such as LeBaron (later purchased by Chrysler Corporation) where they would then be completed with custom body work.


The sample featured here is apparently a "catalog custom," built as a one-off in order to insure LeBaron's position as a consultant for Stutz's custom body program (see placard below). When automakers of some expensive cars were quickly trying to produce multi-cylinder engines during the so-called "cylinders race" of the early 1930s, in 1931, Stutz developed the DOHC 32-valve in-line 8 called the "DV32" (DV for 'dual valve'). Unlike other manufacturers who were producing V12 and V16 engines, Stutz stayed with the dual overhead cam 8 design like sporty cars by Alfa, Bugatti, and Duesenberg. These cars were advertised as capable of exceeding 100 MPH.


The Stutz DV-32 chassis made its debut at the 1931 New York Auto show, which became the platform for a range works by coachbuilders LeBaron, Fleetwood, Rollston, and Weymann. However, many of the Stutz chassis were built by Rollston Company of New York City, Manhattan’s most prestigious coachbuilder at that time (this is one of the six convertible Victoria chassis built by Ralston). Approximately 200 were made with production ending around 1934. So this is, indeed, a very rare car.


The 1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria is a majestic motorcar, and I know I am in good company regarding my tastes in fine automobiles, as several notable celebrities have owned Stutz cars, including Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra.


2018 New York International Auto Show

Jacob Javits Convention Center
11th Ave. (between 34th & 40th St.)
March 30th - April 8th
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm

For more information:


The Top 10 Best Concept Cars at the 2018 New York Auto Show

10. Nissan Rogue Dogue 2

Nissan Rogue Dogue 2 Concept NYIAS

For doggy lovers, especially those with heavy dogs that can't jump, the Nissan Rogue Dogue 2 concept makes bow-wow life easier. This conversion concept, if it comes to life, will include such niceties as an extendable ramp that telescopes from the cargo area to allow Fido easy entrance and egress, a padded paw-senger compartment with a net partition, adjustable leash-attachment points and non-spill food and water bowls.

When Can You Buy

Several of these pet-friendly accessories are available now through the Nissan parts department or third parties. Others, like the extendable ramp, may come later.

9. Volkswagen Atlas Sport Cross Concept

Volkswagen Atlas Sport Cross Concept

The Volkswagen Atlas is barely dry and the first copy is coming: The Atlas Sport Cross is shortened both ways, length and height, for a sportier look and drive.

When You Can Buy

The changes are simple and the factory Tennessee has room. This could hit showrooms this Fall or early 2019 if its coming. Hopefully it loses the light-up grille first.

8. Nissan Titan Lifted

Nissan Titan Lifted Concept

This is what we call an aftermarket concept: all of the components to make the Nissan Titan Lifted will be available soon through the Nissan parts counter and service department.

7. Ford Fusion Self-Driving Delivery Prototype

Ford Fusion Self-Driving Delivery Prototype

With several fatal events recently, people may be even less ready to have an unmanned car bring them pizza and groceries. This Ford prototype, based on the current Fusion Hybrid, utilizes state-of-the-art radar and computer systems to guide the car to the front door of the package recipient. Designed in concert with Dominoes Pizza, they have been testing in Ann Arbor, Michigan since last Summer.

When You Can Expect a Delivery

Amazon, Apple, Google, Uber and others are all working on this technology at breakneck (hopefully not literally) speed. Expect your first normal delivery without human intervention by no later than 2035.

6. MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept

MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept

In 2013, MINI produced the Cooper GP, a very limited production high-performance version of the standard Cooper with 211 horsepower and no back seat. The new MINI Cooper Works GP Concept, like the original, concentrates on adding aerodynamic, aggressive-looking body work and taking weight out elsewhere. It will have at least the 228 horsepower of the MINI John Cooper Works. It only comes with a 6-speed manual transmission.

When You Can Buy

Since it's based on the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door, a special version like the MINI Cooper Works GP could be in dealerships as early as 2019.

5. Acura ARX-05 Prototype Race Car

Acura ARX-05 Racecar

This experimental race car has a 3.5 V6 twin turbo engine similar to the one in the NSX, or even the MDX and TLX. Unveiled back in August of last year, this car has already handled a few races in the specialized prototype racing class.

When You Can Buy

Hmmm. Do you have a few million dollars? Add in another hundred million for your race team. Then wait.

4. Mazda Kai Concept

Mazda Kai Concept NYIAS

Just gorgeous. Basically a styling design, the Kai portends a new level of Mazda's design language that bodes well for their future. Under the hood, Mazda's new SKYACTIV-X spark-controlled compression-ignition gasoline engine combines aspects of a diesel with a gasoline engine. It also has the latest SKYACTIV-X chassis, a light-weight strong unibody.

When You Can Buy

Mazda tells The Car Chat that they will be installing the SKYACTIV-X engine in a Mazda3 in 2019, as early as this Fall. 

3. Toyota Fine Comfort Ride

Toyota Fine Comfort Ride

More of a concept of riding than an actual vehicle, this display allows you to sit and experience the future via virtual reality. It highlights the driverless future of riding and having the vehicle entertain you and keep you connected to your friends and associates while you're whisked to your location effortlessly and in fine comfort.

When You Can Ride

At the rate of autonomous vehicle development, you can ride and watch MTV legally in about 10 to 15 years.

2. Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak

 Volkswagen Tanoak Concept Rear

The Atlas Tanoak is more in the direction of "We could build something like this if you really want us to, nudge, nudge, wink, wink." Based on a stretched Atlas chassis and featuring its V6 powertrain, there's not much that a few crash test evaluations and final part sourcing couldn't work out.

If they build this truck, their Chattanooga, Tennessee plant is a natural: it avoids the 25% tariff on trucks and it's under-utilized. A production vehicle could possibly hit the streets by 2020.

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Grille

Volkswagen seemed proudest of the design feature that stood out the most: the glaring light-up multi-piece grille. They left it lit the entire show. This is the kind of thing you would expect to see on a Pontiac or Mercury, if they made them anymore. They don't.

When You Can Buy

Maybe as early as 2020.

1. Genesis Essentia Concept

Genesis Essentia New York Concept

The Essentia shows that Genesis' penchant for hitting concept cars out of the park is going to be a consistent thing. Last year the New York crowds were wowed by the Genesis New York Concept, and in 2015 it was the Vision G Concept.

The Essentia shows the future styling direction of Genesis in a fanciful coupe, complete with scissors doors, floating front fenders, tires filling the wheel-wells within less than an inch, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a center tunnel that looks no less than a foot and a half tall. With the doors open, the honeycombed, futuristic structure is fully on display. This is what the designers call the next version of "Athletic Elegance."

Genesis Essentia NY Concept Interior.

In the imaginary future where the Essentia is manufactured (or perhaps printed by nano-robots), it will be all-electric and uses a carbon-fiber monocoque (a frame that envelops the car, similar to unibody). These engineering concepts don't really match the exterior design, which looks like it holds a front-mounted V12 in the nose, due to the hood's length and the deep cooling paths. Oh, well, electric cars will feature exterior speakers that play the sounds of 426 Hemis and Ferrari engines in the future.

When You Can Buy



Car Chat team takes a road trip to the 2018 New York International Auto Show

The saga begins as two team members, the mad scientists, hastily depart from the undisclosed New Orleans laboratory in a 2015 Dodge Challenger at ludicrous speed to St. Louis where they rendezvoused with the Master Villain and his sinister sidekicks Driving Kitty and Bari-Gary. Upon arrival, all of the important equipment and additional accoutrement were transferred to an 2016 Ford Flex Limited EchoBoost AWD, including a cargo carrier attached to a trailer hitch receiver. After a Systems Check, and a clearance for departure was granted by the wives of the team members, they proceeded at warp 12 to Allentown, PA, where they recharged their warp coils at the local Red Roof Inn, and refilled the antimatter pods at the Queens City Diner the next morning.

As we had had pushed the warp drive to the limit the night before, we were able to roll into New York City at a more leisurely pace, and when traffic was (slightly) less intense. Master Villain used his expert driving skills to navigate from New Jersey through the Lincoln Tunnel into the heart of the City. As we approached, I saw the skyline had changed since my last visit. Tears welled in my eyes. No words can describe what I felt at that moment. One of the mad scientists, the author of this tale, had taken the journey before, but not since 1985. I had been through the Lincoln Tunnel several times as a child during the 1960s and 1970s, as my grandparents and father are natives of Manhattan - for me it felt like returning to my second home. I was born and raised in New Orleans, but I am also from New York, and feel connected to this magnificent city. 


The last time I visited and viewed the City from above, it was from atop the World Trade Center. This time it was from the Empire State Building, which I had not entered since I was, perhaps, 13 years old. From this vantage point, the Car Chat team was able to see many iconic buildings, like the majestic Chrysler Building, five boroughs, parks, and neighboring states. Looking toward the Hudson River, we could see our destination, the Jacob Javits Convention Center, where the 2018 New York International Auto Show is currently being held.


After our our birds-eye view of the City, a side trip which was likely driven by Driving Kitty's feline nature and need to look down upon his potential prey, we ventured toward the Javits Center on foot, carrying our press kits and lugging our photography equipment.

We came upon many interesting sights and smells along the way, some pleasant, some not so pleasant. I chuckled when I walked passed a NYC Metro Transit Police Smart ForTwo wondering how any normal-sized person could comfortably fit inside wearing tactical gear and still leave room for other important items (bagels with lox and cream cheese, and triple shot espresso). However, that reflects my decades-long diet of New Orleans Creole and Louisiana Cajun food. Those tiny cars are truly necessary in such tight spaces, and densely populated urban areas.


The glass façade of the Javits Center impressed us as we approached our final destination. I have always liked buildings with lots of glass windows, even though they maybe be impractical in some situations, such as in areas prone to high winds and vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones. Nevertheless, glass windows let in a lot of natural sunlight, which is good. It is a welcoming sight for any visitor.


As a father of a five year old, I am happy to report the 2018 New York International Auto Show has something for everyone, and is a family-friendly event. There are entertaining virtual reality displays and games to play, and even lego work station sponsored by Ford that will encourage STEM-related creativity. Near the Lego work station, Ford also provided a glimpse into the near future regarding autonomous, self-driving delivery vehicles as a service.


Also on Level 3, Toyota has provided a driverless concept display and a virtual reality experience for two passengers - a really fun experience! It gives us a look into a very likely future, and had me wondering how soon this will happen. I imagined that my daughter would be traveling in a vehicle very much like it on her way to a future New York International Auto Show, and I could see myself as a grandfather in the back seat with a grandchild, completely unconcerned about driving -- perhaps this is a sign the 'back seat driver' may become an extinct phenomenon.


In conclusion, this is a fun event for the whole family and all auto enthusiasts. It is definitely worth the effort to come to New York City for this event because you can organize so many other touristic activities around it, so many, in fact, that it goes way beyond the scope of this article to even mention them. The latest models and important highlights of the 2018 New York International Auto Show will be discussed by the Car Chat writers in subsequent articles. Lastly, as members of the press, we enjoyed our sneak peek, and truly appreciated the hospitality of the NYIAS organizers and staff. They provided a first-class service, and the same can be said of the Doubletree Hilton Times Square South staff as well, especially the awesome concierges Matt and Bruno who helped us with parking, and gave us hot cookies as we left the hotel.

Oh, one last mission we had to accomplish before we left New York City: acquire world famous, New York-style thin crust pizza! However, we'll cover that offbeat story in a later article.



2018 New York International Auto Show

Jacob Javits Convention Center
11th Ave. (between 34th & 40th St.)
March 30th - April 8th
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm

For more information:


Contact Us