Round two of our stroll around the New York International Auto Show, in more or less random order because, well, the only order it’s in is mostly random. Without further ado:
Hyundai Sonata: Can you believe the Hyundai Sonata is in its seventh generation? Believe it. Hyundai rolled out the latest in New York. It’s still recognizable as a Sonata and bears a strong family resemblance to the new Hyundai Genesis now hitting the market, but while it joins the Big Grille Gang, the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” doesn’t have the dramatic lines of Generation Six. Hyundai notes the new design has a drag coefficient of just 0.27, “lower than any non-hybrid in the mid-size sedan class.”
The Sonata comes in two primary flavors, SE and Sport. The Sonata Sport, of course, comes with the usual, a more aggressive front grille and bumper,” plus rocker panel cladding, and dual exhaust. There’s also a Sport 2.0T, which steps things up with quad—as in four—exhaust tips. Hyundai continues its four-cylinder strategy, using the 2.4-liter direct-injection in the four-cylinder engine for the SE, Limited and Sport models, while the Sport 2.0T has a two-liter turbo, recalibrated to move power lower in the rev range.
The Sonata’s “BlueLink” system is upgraded with the new generation, adding destination search via Google, and remote start that also includes remote stop, remote climate control and remote defroster available via the mobile app.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata goes on sale in early summer.
Nissan Murano: We’ve been waiting for an update on the Nissan Murano for a long time, and boy did we ever get one. Nissan designers laid on sporty with a wide brush as it transformed the mid-size crossover. The 2015 Murano will be unmistakable with a pointy prow and the radical-for-family-wheels “floating roof”—actually a blacked-out D-column. Out back are Z-car “boomerang” taillights. Dads will have no trouble driving it.
Nissan says the interior has an “engaging social lounge feel.” Say what? The Murano, however, ups the ante with optional mega-sunroof, NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps with an eight-inch color display, and Nissan’s “Around View” monitor, an “overhead projection” of the Murano’s surrounds.
The Murano comes with loads of optional safety stuff, including Moving Object Detection, blind spot monitor, forward collision warning and forward emergency braking, plus cross traffic alert. LED headlights are also optional.
There’s no need for newness under the hood, at least for the intro, so the 2015 Nissan Murano comes with a 260-horse version of Nissan’s proven 3.5-liter V-6 and continuously variable transmission CVT as the only powertrain package with front or all-wheel drive,
Nissan Versa Sedan: We think they’re small car sensible, but not everyone wants a hatchback, so Nissan follows the 2014 Nissan Versa Note—otherwise known as a hatchback—with the 2015 Versa Sedan. The sedan, however, isn’t just a notchback version of the hatch, but rather has a face like the Sentra, Altima and Maxima, and a sleek roofline bearing no similarity to the hatch’s greenhouse.
Don’t expect anything underneath to be different, however. The Versa Sedan rides on the same wheelbase as the Note, and both have a 109-horse 1.6-liter engine under their respective hoods. And because they’re Nissans, power gets to the ground via a continuously variable transmission, or for those who must shift, a five-speed manual.
Standard on all 2014 Versa Sedans is a standard Bluetooth hands-free phone system. Optional on upgrade models are USB/iPod controls, proximity key with pushbutton start, and a five-inch display with NissanConnect with mobile apps.
Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen concept: Stretch a VW Golf and…you get a Golf Sportwagen. Presented as a concept at the New York show, the Sportwagen will appear in dealer showrooms early in 2015. The new Golf Sportwagen will be based on the new Golf MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, making it lighter, bigger, roomier, more fuel efficient than the Sportwagen it replaces. An inch longer and 0.7 inches wider than the current Sportwagen model, it’s also 0.9 inches lower, with a drag coefficient ten percent better than its predecessor.
The Golf Sportwagen will be powered by either a 170 horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder gas engine, mated to five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, or a 150-horse 2.0-liter turbodiesel, with either a six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
A new feature being introduced is post-collision braking. Set off by airbag deployment, the brakes are set to reduce secondary collisions, and to keep the Golf Sportwagen from moving.
Volkswagen Jetta: New front and rear styling not only change the look of the Volkswagen’s biggest seller worldwide but also tidy up the sedan’s aerodynamics. The new grille is identified by three cross fins, the new Jetta getting a new front bumper and optional adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights. Taillights, rear logos and bumper of the Jetta have also been massaged, with LED taillights available for the first time.
The three four-cylinder gasoline engines—a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated and 1.8-liter turbo and 2.0T TSI Gen 3 turbocharged engines—plus a turbo 1.4-liter full -hybrid version, and a new 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel engine will be available in the Jetta.
A new feature on the Jetta TDI 1.8T and 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel is a closeable shutter behind the grille for faster warm-up and improved aerodynamics and better fuel economy at speed when extra cooling isn’t needed. The shutter opens and closes automatically.
Look for the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta to arrive at dealerships in the third quarter 2014.