From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

Every year, New York City hosts the closing act of the auto show season. Unlike similar events held in Geneva or Detroit, the New York Auto Show doesn’t have a reputation that’s engraved in stone. Anything goes in the Big Apple, and the 2019 edition of the event wowed show-goers with an impressive selection of new production models and concept cars ranging from rugged, go-anywhere station wagons to alluring, limited-edition sports car. Muscle cars, electric cars, and trucks were there, too.

If you missed any of the debuts, we’ve compiled a list of the most significant cars introduced under the bright lights of the Javits Center in Manhattan. And while auto show season is over until the fall, the next few months are jam-packed with smaller events all over the globe during which car and tech companies will show off their newest, coolest, and most advanced products. We hope you’ll join us for the ride.

2020 Cadillac CT5

2020 Cadillac CT5
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For a while, it looked like Cadillac had given up on the sedan segment to focus on more profitable crossovers and SUVs. With the CT5, the Detroit-based company proves it’s still in the sedan game, and it’s more serious about it than ever before. Developed to replace the CTS, the CT5 shares styling cues like swept-back headlights and a shield-shaped grille with the updated CT6. It comes standard with a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive, and Cadillac’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise technology is available at an extra cost.

On paper, the CT5 has what it takes to give German and Japanese rivals a run for their money. Deliveries will start during the 2020 model year, and pricing will be announced in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Ford Escape
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Ford took the 2020 Escape in a more car-like direction than the outgoing model to compensate for its shift away from passenger cars in the United States. The result is a family-friendly crossover that wears a sleeker design than before. It’s longer, lower, and wider, and its front end falls in line with recent additions to the Ford family, like the fourth-generation Focus we’re not getting in America. Upmarket trims come with an 8.0-inch screen for the infotainment system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and on-board Wi-Fi, among other tech features.

Escape buyers can choose between a pair of turbocharged, four-cylinder engines rated at 180 and 250 horsepower, respectively. Those seeking a greener powertrain need to step up to the Escape hybrid, but it’s the plug-in hybrid model that occupies the top spot in the fuel economy hierarchy. It can drive on electricity alone for at least 30 miles, Ford told Digital Trends. The trade-off is that it’s front-wheel drive-only.

Genesis Mint concept

Genesis Mint concept
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Hyundai’s newly-emancipated Genesis division is primarily known for making luxury sedans like the G70. With the Mint concept, it showed it knows how to make a city car, too. Styled by designers from South Korea, Germany, and the United States, the Mint is a pocket-sized two-seater with a sporty silhouette and an electric powertrain. It can drive for about 200 miles on a single charge, and it boasts super-fast charging technology that promises to make range anxiety a problem of the past.

With the Mint, you won’t have to worry about parking too close to a wall or another car ever again. Instead of a hatch or a conventional trunk lid, it features a pair of rear-hinged scissor doors that flip up to provide access to the cargo compartment. Of course, this is all theoretical. Genesis stressed the Mint remains a design study, and the company isn’t planning on turning it into a production model in the near future. Its next new mode, a large SUV called GV80, will be the exact opposite of the concept it showed in New York.

2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue
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Hyundai unveiled the Venue in New York, and we’re not talking about the grand opening of a hip new restaurant. Venue is the name of the South Korean firm’s newest crossover. Aimed at what Hyundai identified as “urban entrepreneurs,” the model joins the company’s growing family of crossovers and SUVs. It’s positioned below the Kona in terms of size and price as an entry-level model.

The Venue’s pocket-sized dimensions take Hyundai into a segment of the market most of its rivals have steered clear of due to paper-thin profit margins, and a perceived lack of interest from buyers. Time will tell whether Hyundai’s bet will pay off. Whats certain is that small doesn’t mean basic or cheap. the Venue is offered with a long list of tech features and creature comforts including heated seats, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. We expect pricing will start in the vicinity of $18,000 when it goes on sale later in 2019.

Kia HabaNiro concept

Kia HabaNiro concept
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Kia’s HabaNiro concept is part hatchback, part SUV, and 100% brimming with tech. Designed with autonomous driving in mind, it folds its steering wheel and its pedals out of the way when it’s driving itself, and the driver can relax by watching a movie or browsing the internet on an enormous head-up display that stretches the entire width of the windshield. Passengers don’t need to turn up the volume to hear over the drivetrain because power comes from a pair of silent electric motors that give the HabaNiro through-the-road all-wheel drive.

The Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (READ) system Kia unveiled at CES 2019 relies on artificial intelligence to interpret your emotions. If it senses you’re sad, it adjusts the music and the mood lighting accordingly. If it detects you’re pumped and ready for a night out, it again uses music and lighting to make sure the party starts before you reach your destination.

The HabaNiro isn’t a preview of a production model, though some styling cues and tech features could trickle down to members of the Kia lineup in the coming years. If it’s realism you’re after, Kia also announced a limited-edition, GTS-badged version of the Stinger with a built-in drift mode.

2020 Lincoln Corsair

2020 Lincoln Corsair
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Lincoln began the process of reinventing itself when it released the current-generation Continental. It continued its transformation by unveiling a crossover named Corsair at the New York Auto Show. The model replaces the MKC, and it’s based on the aforementioned 2020 Ford Escape, but we’re glad to report we found a lot less Ford-ness in it than in its predecessor. Lincoln crafted a quiet, relaxing cabin that ticks all of the right tech boxes without going overboard.

Chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra replace the beeps and other alerts that cars normally emit, which is a cool touch that helps the Corsair stand out in an increasingly crowded field. Phone As a Key technology lets owners leave their key fob at home; a smartphone is all it takes to lock, unlock, or start the car. Offered with either 250 or 280 hp, the 2020 Lincoln Corsair will reach showrooms this fall.

2020 Nissan Versa

2020 Nissan Versa
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The mission statement Nissan gave to its development engineers was clear. They needed to make the new 2020 Versa better in every way than its predecessor. It wears a much sharper-looking design that borrows styling cues from the Kicks and the Leaf, and it receives more standard tech features, including automatic emergency braking. Its dashboard reminds us of the one found in the bigger Altima, which isn’t a bad impression for it to leave. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are available, but they’re not included in the price of the entry-level model.

Power for the Versa comes from a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine tuned to send 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). It sounds like the manual is missing a gear, but odds are a majority of customers will step up to the CVT. We’ll find out for sure when sales begin during the 2020 model year.

While the Versa is returning for a new generation, the Versa Note hatchback isn’t as lucky. Nissan confirmed plans to deep-six the model in the United States after the 2019 model year, and it’s not planning on replacing it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
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When it became the GLS, the biggest and boldest SUV in the Mercedes-Benz family got a new name and an updated design, but it remained closely related to the second-generation GL under the sheet metal. The second-generation GLS is new from the rocker panels up to the roof line. Mercedes updated its design and extended its wheelbase by 2.4 inches in a bid to carve out more space for passengers and cargo. Even 6’4″ adults can comfortably sit in the third-row seats, according to the company. If you need an incentive to try, remember that the third-row seats are heated, and they come with USB ports as well as their own climate control system.

The GLS receives an array of cutting-edge electronic driving aids, which is fitting for a model billed as the S-Class of the SUV world, and active anti-roll technology powered by a 48-volt electrical system. The MBUX infotainment system already seen on other, smaller models comes standard, too. When it goes on sale during the 2020 model year, the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS will compete in the same segment as the BMW X7 and the Audi Q7.

2020 Subaru Outback

2020 Subaru Outback
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American motorists don’t like station wagons, but the Subaru Outback is the notable exception to the rule. It has been one of the company’s most popular models since it first went on sale in 1994. The Outback has big shoes to fill; Subaru can’t afford to make a mistake if it wants to keep its momentum in the United States. It’s closely related to the 2020 Legacy introduced earlier in 2019, and it’s as rugged as it’s ever been, but it’s more user-friendly thanks to new tech and comfort features.

The available, 11.9-inch touchscreen stands out as the biggest unit ever offered in a Subaru, and it’s pre-loaded with an app named Chimani that provides information about more than 400 national parks in the United States, including the history and highlights of each location. The company’s camera-based EyeSight suite of electronic driving aids is standard across the board, and the Outback gets a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot for the first time. When the going gets tough, motorists can count on all-wheel drive, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and up to 260 horsepower from a turbocharged flat-four engine to power through. Like the Legacy, the 2020 Outback will go on sale later in 2019.

2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Toyota Highlander
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Toyota made the 2020 Highlander a little bit bigger than the outgoing, third-generation model. Its front end remains tall and upright, but its roof line has more of a slope to it, a styling cue which gives it a more fluid look. The dashboard gets significant updates, too, and upmarket trim levels notably benefit from a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.

The fourth-generation Highlander continues to offer seating for up to eight passengers, and a generous amount of space for everyone’s gear. And, while Toyota spent years resisting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it’s finally warming up to the idea of letting the two tech giants settle into its dashboard, so the Highlander is compatible with both features. V6-powered models will reach showrooms in late 2019, while the fuel-sipping hybrid variants will begin arriving in early 2020.

2020 Toyota Yaris

2020 Toyota Yaris hatchback
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The 2020 Toyota Yaris is new, yet it’s familiar. It’s a hatchback variant of the Yaris Sedan, which means it’s essentially a Toyota-badged Mazda2, a model sold overseas but not in America. Is it a Toyazda? a Mazdaris? Your call. Either way, the final design is surprisingly cohesive and handsome. It proves small, relatively affordable cars can be cool, too.

Toyota placed a 7.0-inch touchscreen on top of the dashboard to display an infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition technology come standard, and navigation is available at an extra cost. 106 horsepower from a naturally-aspirated, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine moves the Yaris forward. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but Toyota will release it when the model goes on sale later in 2019.

Who else was in New York?

volkswagen tarok pickup truck concept 2019 new york auto show
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

New York City is home to the last major auto show of the season, so many automakers consider it their last chance to make an impression on the public and on the media. Genesis brought its comprehensively updated G90 flagship to the United States for the first time, while Nissan celebrated the Z’s 50th birthday with a limited-edition model. Volkswagen hinted at how it might return to America’s fiercely competitive pickup truck market by showing off the Tarok concept unveiled in Brazil. It also turned the Atlas into an off-roader named Basecamp that’s obsessed with leaving Manhattan behind and exploring the great outdoors.

Audi’s TT RS pocket rocket got a minor nip-and-tuck before its trip to the Big Apple to help the company celebrate its 50th birthday in America. Mercedes-AMG expanded the second-generation CLA lineup with a mid-range, 300-horsepower model named CLA 35. The A35 and the updated GLC Coupe both made their debut in New York, too. Fans of American horsepower weren’t disappointed, either. Ford gave the EcoBoost-powered Mustang a serious performance injection, and Dodge got patriotic with a Stars & Stripes edition of the Charger and the Challenger. Finally, Acura showed how to make a TLX using some of the same ingredients found in the NSX recipe, and we got an early preview of an electric, Chinese-made sports car named Qiantu K50 coming to American shores in the near future.

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