Welcome to the Big Apple!
The 2010 New York Auto Show is debuting some of the most memorable and relevant production vehicle debuts of the entire '09/'10 auto show season. While some shows are full of interesting concept cars, they're mostly unrealistic for at least the next several years. This year's New York auto show offers far more tangible excitement. Any one of these cars could be driving through your neighborhood in less than a year. So let's get right to it.
2011 Acura TSX Sport WagonWhat it is: Acura's excellent entry-level midsizer with more utility, and without an increased ride height.
Cool features: It's a wagon! What isn't cool about it? Aside from that, it packs all of the goodies you can find in a TSX sedan, including navigation and the audiophile-grade Acura ELS Surround Premium audio system. Under the hood is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. This combination should be good for 30 mpg on the highway.
Bottom line: Sits right at the intersection of luxury, technology, and utility.
2011 Kia Forte five-doorWhat it is: Kia's Corolla- and Civic-fighter with newfound utility.
Cool features: The Forte five-door completes the compact Kia's trifecta, adding to the already impressive sedan and Koup. Available with your choice of engine--2.0-liter or 2.4-liter 4-cylinder--a new 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, push-button start and navigation, the Forte five-door truly offers something to everyone.
Bottom line: The Koreans are coming...and they mean business.
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
What it is: Lincoln's first-ever hybrid vehicle offering in the form of its midsize MKZ premium sedan.
Cool features: With estimated fuel economy ratings of 36 miles per gallon on the highway and 41 in the city, the MKZ Hybrid is expected to be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan on the U.S. market. An updated version of SmartGauge with EcoGuide offers feedback about your driving efficiency over the long term.
Bottom line: A projected price point lower than its luxury hybrid competitors and generally positive opinions about other Ford family hybrid products could make the MKZ Hybrid a very appealing proposition.
2011 BMW 335is
What it is: Continues a long-standing tradition of appending "s" to sporty BMW models.
Cool Feautres: In 2011, the "regular" 335i receives an updated power plant that ditches the twin-turbo setup in favor of a larger single turbo. In the 335is, the turbo brothers stick around, boosted to 320 hp and 332 lb.-ft. of torque (from 300 and 300, respectively). Aside from the extra juice, the 335is sports an optional 7-speed dual clutch transmission, which is a first for a non-M vehicle, and restyled front and rear fascias along with the whole M-sport interior catalogue.
Bottom line: Right between the 335i and M3, both in performance and price.
2011 BMW 5 Series
What it is: The new sixth generation of the ubiquitous midsize BMW sedan.
Cool features: The 550i's twin-turbo V8 with 400 hp definitely appeals to the right foot. But so does the new 300-hp single turbo inline-6, featuring BMW's efficient Valvetronic throttle-less intake technology for the first time. Driving enthusiasts will be thrilled to know a 6-speed manual will be offered for both engines. An 8-speed automatic is the other transmission option. Don't worry, it's still practical—the trunk is huge.
Bottom line: A sleeker, more powerful and still-luxurious evolution of the 5 Series virtually ensures its continued success.
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
What it is: A new small crossover related to the Outlander. Already on sale in Europe, it's now headed for the U.S.
Cool features: Lightness! Recycled plastic front fenders, thinner high-strength steel, and new lightweight interior materials all help bring this CUV's curb weight to just over 3,000 lbs—lighter than all its competitors. Less heft means better fuel economy and handling, especially combined with a CVT.
Bottom line: Two thumbs up for anything built with an eye on the scale.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
What it is: Cadillac's super sedan with room for five and all their stuff.
Cool features: Start with 556 horsepower. Then consider 551 lb-ft. of torque. Finally, look at the back end and notice the liftgate allowing for 58 cubic-foot maximum cargo capacity. Has a supercar ever been so practical?
Bottom line: Where do I sign?
2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
What it is: As close as you can get to a luxury minivan. Mercedes calls it a crossover. Call it what you want.
Cool features: A much-needed facelift gives this German people-mover a fresh, aggressive look. Standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive is a boon for spontaneous trips to the mountains. But we're most happy that the BlueTEC turbodiesel V6 is returning with its 400 lb.-ft. of torque and an estimated 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
Bottom line: Truly comfortable traveling for six (or seven) never looked so good.
2011 Scion iQ
What it is: An all-new "premium micro-subcompact" aimed at young, urban buyers. In other words, the smallest 4-seater you've ever seen.
Cool features: Ten air bags, including the first-ever rear window bag, show that Scion is taking this tiny car's safety seriously. The iQ's diminutive size means it will make an exceptionally good city car, with maneuverability and parking spot availability galore.
Bottom line: It's not much bigger than a Smart fortwo, and urban buyers will likely find it to be more practical.
2011 Scion tC
What it is: Finally, a brand new tC coupe. The old tC was attractive, but starting to wear out its welcome after nearly six years.
Cool features: The new car features much edgier design elements, giving it a more aggressive and unique look. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder puts out 180 horsepower, (19 more than the last model), while also returning better fuel efficiency and producing fewer emissions. The sounds coming from a new sport-tuned exhaust should please many young buyers.
Bottom line: Packed with goodies as most Scions are, this new tC is poised to stay at the top of its game.
2011 Hyundai EquusWhat it is: A $50,000+ flagship Hyundai.
Cool features: More comfort in the back seat than most living rooms; the rear seats feature foot rests, heating, cooling, humidity control and massage. Don't forget the optional mini fridge in place of the middle rear seat. Aside from those features, the interior sports leather-wrapped everything, an alcantara headliner, and real wood accents. The Equus will only be sold through select dealerships alongside the Genesis and Genesis Coupe, and it comes with an Apple iPad in place of the owner's manual.
Bottom line: Hyundai hit the reset button on the ultimate luxury vehicle segment.
2011 Hyundai Sonata HybridWhat it is: A gasoline-electric version of Hyundai's impressive Sonata midsize sedan.
Cool features: Completely different front and rear fascias distinguish the Hybrid from other gasoline-only powered models, while key numbers 37/39 (city and highway MPG, respectively) impress. The Sonata hybrid also marks the first use of lithium polymer batteries in a vehicle for the North American market, making the battery pack significantly lighter than comparable nickel metal hydride units.
Bottom line: The red-hot midsize hybrid segment gets even hotter.
2011 Hyundai Sonata TurboWhat it is: The top-end, gas-only-powered Sonata
Cool features: The all-new 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged 4-cylinder engine produces 274 horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque, while achieving an estimated 34 mpg on the highway on regular fuel.
Bottom line: A 4-cylinder that's more powerful than a 6-cylinder with the fuel economy of early hybrids.
2011 Kia Optima
What it is: Kia's midsize sedan in a very attractive new wrapper.
Cool features: The thoroughly modern, sweeping sheet metal is just the start. There will be three brand new direct-injection engines: a 200-hp 4-cylinder, a 274-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder, and a hybrid model coming next year. The interior has a performance bent, featuring paddle shifters and cockpit-like surroundings for the driver.
Bottom line: Hot new looks, a bevy of standard features and that famous 100k-mile warranty—if Camry and Accord aren't already watching their backs, they should be.
2011 Infiniti QX56
Cool features: More miles per gallon and more horsepower at the same price as the old model. It also gets some of Infiniti's newer technology, like the handy Around View Monitor and blind spot warnings, while a brand new Hydraulic Body Motion Control system helps reduce body roll in corners.
Bottom line: Getting significantly more for the same price, plus a striking new exterior? Seems like a pretty good value proposition, depending on your opinion of the dramatic new styling.
2011 Subaru Impreza WRX
What it is: Subaru's sportier Impreza model with a small shot of steroids.
Cool features: Broader bodywork allows for wider front/rear wheels and tires, adding about 1.5 inches of extra track width all around. Power remains the same, but combined with stiffer rear subframe bushings and Subaru's excellent symmetrical AWD, handling performance should see a nice boost.
Bottom line: STI looks and improved grip on the more attainable WRX? Suby fans everywhere rejoice.
2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
What it is: Subaru's sportiest Impreza. Back with a sedan body style, this is the first time the STI will be offered as both hatch and sedan models.
Cool features: With the return of the STI sedan, everyone is talking about the reappearance of the shopping-cart wing; its coolness is in the eyes of the beholder. A heavily revised suspension and wheels that are over 4 pounds lighter (each!) than the past model's mean the new STIs will have sharper handling.
Bottom line: The STI was already pretty sweet. This is sweeter.