The 13 most important cars of the 2019 New York auto show

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From three-row crossover SUVs to shapely mid-size sedans, the 2019 New York International Auto Show had an important new-car introduction for just about every kind of buyer Wednesday. 

The show opens to the public Friday and highlights eventually headed to showrooms include the 34-mpg 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the shapely 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan, the luxo-laden 2020 Lincoln Corsair, and the capable 2020 Subaru Outback. 

This year’s New York auto show was light on gas-guzzling SUVs and electrified production cars. Instead, automakers unveiled models aimed at the heart of the market, even the 2020 Hyundai Venue that may cost under $20,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

Here’s a look at the New York show highlights. 

2019 Audi Q3, 2018 Paris auto show

2019 Audi Q3, 2018 Paris auto show

2019 Audi Q3

Audi took its time bringing the Q3 to the U.S. after debuting the small crossover SUV last fall at the Paris show. Was it worth it? We’ll have to wait until we drive it, though its tech-heavy interior and toned exterior made a good impression when we finally saw it in the flesh. 

2020 Cadillac CT5, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Cadillac CT5, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Cadillac CT5

Cadillac says it’s not done with sedans—at least not yet. The automaker’s CTS gives way to the new CT5, which is slightly smaller than its predecessor in a bid to keep Cadillac competitive globally. The dramatically styled CT5 has an elongated roofline and a short trunk lid that gives it an Audi A5-like hatchback style. The only downside? The CT5 has a conventional trunklid, not a hatch, natch. 

2020 Ford Escape, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Ford Escape, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Ford Escape

Ford’s new Escape crossover has streamlined, car-like styling and four engine choices ranging from a turbo-3 all the way up to a plug-in hybrid that will offer up to 30 miles of electric-only driving. If the Escape’s soft looks aren’t for you, Ford has strongly hinted that a boxier, more off-road sibling will join its crossover SUV lineup. 

2020 Hyundai Sonata, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Hyundai Sonata, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Hyundai Sonata

Easily the most eye-catching mainstream debut at the 2019 New York show, the 2020 Sonata discards with the current model’s blend-in looks for an evocative shape and comes standard with 1.6-liter turbo-4 power. A new, stiffer platform should make the automaker’s mid-size sedan more fun to drive than the current model, which has been criticized for its bland personality. 

2020 Hyundai Venue, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Hyundai Venue, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Hyundai Venue

With the Venue, Hyundai’s lineup now includes a crossover SUV for just about any need. The Venue slots in below the Kona, but it doesn’t offer all-wheel drive and its 121-horsepower inline-4 probably won’t light up its front tires. The Venue should be inexpensive and offers an alternative to the underwhelming Nissan Kicks and it may cost as little as $20,000.  

2020 Lincoln Corsair, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Lincoln Corsair, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Lincoln’s version of the Ford Escape doesn’t look or feel much like its pedestrian brother. The new Corsair replaces the MKC and it justifies its name change. A 250-hp turbo-4 should deliver plenty of power for the compact crossover, although a 280-hp turbo-4 will be optional when the Corsair goes on sale this fall as a rival to the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz A35, 2019 New york International Auto Show

2020 Mercedes-Benz A35, 2019 New york International Auto Show

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG, A35 AMG

Mercedes took to New York with hot versions of its two smallest cars, the swoopy CLA-Class and the relatively staid A-Class. A 302-horsepower turbo-4 shuttles power to all four wheels. A stiffer suspension completes the package for these two pocket rockets. 

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 Coupe

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 Coupe

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe

There’s nothing coupe about the Mercedes GLC-Class Coupe aside from its name and perhaps its sloping roofline. As the style-oriented companion to the comparatively workaday GLC, the GLC Coupe puts form over function. For the most part, we think it works pretty well, although we might be smitten with the AMG-tuned 469-hp GLC63S. 

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

Luxury can be humble, at least to a point. The new Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV balances personal jet comfort with mild-hybrid powertrain frugality in GLS450 and GLS580 forms that make use of twin-turbo 6- and 8-cylinder engines. The new GLS will be built in Alabama and is expected to spawn a flamboyant Maybach variant in the future. 

2020 Nissan Versa, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Nissan Versa, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Nissan Versa

The smallest Nissan sedan adopts mini-Altima style and promises a healthy dose of refinement. For now, Nissan has only shown a four-door subcompact, but it’s possible—and plausible—that a Versa hatchback will follow. A standard LCD screen in its instrument cluster gives the Versa class-up appeal inside. 

2020 Subaru Outback, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Subaru Outback, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Subaru Outback

Subaru is back in the turbocharging game with its go-anywhere Outback. Its tough-wagon looks stick around, but big improvements inside net a more comfortable, spacious, and tech-heavy interior. The 182-hp flat-4 base engine delivers an estimated 33 mpg on the highway, while the new 260-hp turbo-4 should give the Outback more zip over high mountain passes. 

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

Call it a Toyota or a Mazda, the Yaris Hatchback doesn’t care. Behind its Toyota badge and gaping grille, the 2020 Yaris Hatchback is really a Mazda 2 sold globally. That’s no bad thing, as the Yaris sedan (which is a Mazda 2 with a trunk) is a hoot to drive thanks to its balanced suspension and sharp steering. We have similarly high hopes for the Yaris hatchback.

2020 Toyota Highlander, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Toyota Highlander, 2019 New York International Auto Show

2020 Toyota Highlander

Look beyond the new Highlander’s shapely body and more spacious interior. What’s really newsworthy with the company’s new three-row crossover SUV is what’s underneath. The new Highlander Hybrid boasts a combined fuel-economy estimate of up to 34 mpg thanks to its frugal gasoline-electric powertrain. Inside, the Highlander Hybrid has room for up to eight passengers and an available 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment. 

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