SUVs making their debuts at the 2019 New York International Auto Show include the redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback and the Lincoln Corsair, Toyota Highlander and Mercedes-Benz GLS.
Audi and Porsche also plan vehicle reveals, demonstrating how luxury brands target New York with high-priced models to capture the glamour of the Big Apple. The show starts Tuesday.
Joining the glitzy, upscale crossovers sure to be rolling down Wall Street soon is an outdoorsy alternative. Subaru’s redesigned 2020 Outback is clearly targeted at buyers seeking outdoor adventures.
The new Outback will likely retain familiar characteristics such as a long, sloping roofline, high ground clearance and roomy interior. It will feature a new rigid platform, improved technology and standard safety equipment.
The 2020 Outback will aim to retain its title as a cult favorite among fans, said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific Inc.
“It’s a tremendously important car to Subaru,” Kim said. “There is this long-term customer that is predisposed to a station wagon on stilts.”
The Outback is based on Subaru’s Legacy and typically follows the sedan as it adds new features and technology. The new Outback is expected to share the platform, turbocharged engine and 11.6-inch portrait-style touchscreen that debuted on the Legacy earlier this year.
“It will get a huge upgrade,” Kim said. “Subaru is getting serious about the Outback’s technology, which is something they were lagging on before. It’s important because the center console is one of the industry’s big battlegrounds today.”
The 2020 Outback leads a pack of SUVs aimed at families. There will also be a new Toyota Highlander three-row crossover. Several small, subcompact crossovers including the Hyundai Venue and Mazda CX-30 will make their entrances at the show.
The redesigned Ford Escape and Audi Q3 will celebrate their public debuts. Limited-edition versions of the stylish Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Maserati Levante and Range Rover Sport are also expected.
Automakers often choose the New York auto show to debut their upscale models.
A group of luxurious vehicles will continue that tradition. They include the new -Mercedes-Benz GLS and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. Jaguar Land Rover plans to show a top-level Autobiography trim of its Range Rover Velar and an innovative new inline-six engine in its Range Rover Sport HST.
“New York is where you debut your really important luxury models,” Kim said.
One vehicle hoping to make a splash is the 2020 Lincoln Corsair. The compact luxury crossover, a redesigned version of the Lincoln MKC, needs to impress in order to compete in a crowded segment.
The recent launch of the larger Lincoln Aviator could encourage fans of the brand. The Aviator featured a dazzling interior and optional plug-in hybrid powertrain. If the Corsair follows a similar path it could offer an enticing alternative to its BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Cadillac XT4 competitors.
Compact crossovers have “become the heart of the luxury market,” Kim said. “It’s really critical Lincoln gets the Corsair right. It should be a unique and well-differentiated entry to the segment.”
Non-luxury brands will also stake their claims in the crossover segment. The Hyundai Venue and Mazda CX-30 are both new subcompact models. The redesigned Ford Escape is making its auto show debut.
Toyota is introducing the latest generation of its three-row Highlander family hauler. It is one of the highest-volume models of any crossover. It topped 244,000 sales in 2018, a 13 percent gain compared with the year prior. The new version will ride on an upgraded platform and could adopt aggressive styling similar to its adventurous RAV4 sibling.
Still, most of the vehicles will appeal to high-end buyers, Kim said.
“It reflects the current market’s insatiable hunger for crossovers combined with the traditional New York focus on luxury,” he said.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Subaru Outback: The top-selling vehicle in the Subaru lineup returns with its trademark high ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. The redesigned 2020 Outback is expected to offer improved technology while holding onto its rugged roots.
- Lincoln Corsair: The compact crossover formerly known as the MKC will start new life as the Corsair and continue Lincoln’s effort to transform its reputation. The brand could position the Corsair as a quiet and refined SUV as competitors are placing emphasis on performance, Kim said.
- Porsche Cayenne Coupe: The first sports SUV gets more sporty with the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, a version of the five-seater Cayenne with a steeper, sloping roofline and redesigned panels for a more athletic posture. Each Cayenne Coupe comes with a roof spoiler and a rear spoiler that automatically extends at certain speeds.
- Mercedes-Benz GLS: The three-row SUV is the largest vehicle in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup and faces new competition from the recently released BMW X7. The growth of the SUV market has made the GLS nearly as important as the brand’s S-Class sedan, especially in China.
- Hyundai Venue: The Venue will be the smallest and least expensive crossover in Hyundai’s lineup, the automaker said. It gives the brand an entry in the subcompact segment with which to court young buyers or those in need of more versatility than a compact car provides.
- Mazda CX-30: The new CX-30 makes its U.S. debut in New York and will slot between the brand’s CX-3 and CX-5 models. Its shape is more SUV-like than the subcompact CX-3, with more passenger room and cargo space. Mazda’s familiar dramatic styling lends the CX-30 an interesting look in the segment.
- Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe: In addition to the GLS, Mercedes-Benz will also show a restyled version of its GLC Coupe. The fastback compact crossover receives the MBUX infotainment system and upgraded driver-assist features. Mercedes will also introduce a new engine lineup for the model.
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST: The arrival of the Range Rover Sport HST marks not only a new trim level on the popular luxury SUV, but also a new engine carrying loads of technology. The HST introduces a new inline six-cylinder engine for Land Rover that uses a 48-volt mild hybrid system, an electric supercharger and a turbocharger to deliver its power.
- Land Rover Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography: Land Rover will also take its versatile Range Rover Velar crossover to new heights with the Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition. The SUV features modern but understated exterior design masking a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine making 550 horsepower under the hood.
- Audi Q3: The redesigned Q3 crossover makes its U.S. debut with familiar yet updated styling, standard all-wheel drive and large available infotainment screens to highlight its luxurious interior. Audi is hoping to make a stamp on the luxury compact SUV segment with an emphasis on sporty performance.
- Ford Escape: The 2020 Escape moves to a more carlike design in an effort to attract urban customers. The styling also separates the Escape from off-road vehicles that Ford plans to release in a similar size. Three-cylinder engines, a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid powertrain are available.
The 2019 New York International Auto Show will open to the public April 19 and close April 28.
Jerry Hirsch February 8, 2019
Heavy-duty trucks from Ford, Chevrolet and Ram as well as adventure SUVs from Toyota and Land Rover were the top vehicles at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.