A sedan extravaganza in the Big Apple
A slew of mid-sized, full-sized and luxury-brand sedans will be unveiled at the New York auto show this week.
Acura, Chevrolet, Fisker, Lincoln, Lexus, Nissan and Toyota plan to show either concepts of signature sedans, important redesigns or all-new ones.
Making its debut will be a new Toyota sedan that may be the replacement for the full-sized Avalon, along with redesigns of the Lincoln MKZ, Chevrolet Impala, Nissan Altima, Acura RL flagship and Lexus ES 350. Fisker will unveil its new sedan, code-named Project Nina, at a preshow, off-site event.
But it's not just a sedan show. Hyundai's redesigned Santa Fe crossover will debut, Mercedes-Benz will roll out a redesigned GL SUV and freshened GLK crossover and Honda's Crosstour crossover gets new front-end styling.
Chrysler Group will spotlight changes to its best-selling vehicle, the Ram pickup, as well as an all-new Viper sports car.
The redesigned RL sedan debuts in New York before going on sale this fall. Acura officials refer to the car as "our new flagship," rather than the RL. That suggests a name change. The new flagship will carry the first iteration of Honda Motor Co.'s Sport Handling All-Wheel-Drive hybrid system that also will appear on the NSX supercar coming in 2014.
The system uses a V-6 engine to drive the front wheels via a seven-speed transmission, combined with two electric motors that drive the rear wheels. Acura says the system will deliver excellent cornering and the horsepower of a V-8.
An updated version of the X1, the compact crossover sold in Europe since 2009, will make its global debut. The X1 will come to the United States this summer for the first time, competing with the Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLK.
A convertible version of the high-performance M6 two-door will be unveiled with a new 560-hp twin-turbo V-8.
General Motors will unveil the 2013 Buick Enclave, which is among GM's three full-sized crossovers that will be reskinned for the upcoming model year. The Enclave will get some exterior styling changes, new LED headlights and taillights and an improved interior.
General Motors will show a redesigned Chevrolet Impala, the 10th generation of the iconic nameplate. The 2014 Impala will move to a longer version of GM's front-wheel-drive Epsilon platform, which also underpins the Buick LaCrosse and upcoming Cadillac XTS.
GM scrapped plans for a rear-wheel-drive Impala. The car's redesign was delayed several years by cost-cutting moves during GM's 2009 bankruptcy.
GM also will show a reskinned Chevrolet Traverse for the 2013 model year. The full-sized crossover will get sheet-metal changes and the industry's first front-center airbag.
Despite quality and cash-flow problems that hampered the launch of its $103,000 Karma sedan, Fisker Automotive is moving ahead with the plan to unveil its smaller Project Nina sedan. Project Nina, planned for pilot production this year in Delaware, will be powered by a four-cylinder BMW engine combined with an electric motor.
Fisker executives say the starting price will be in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.
The Crosstour's polarizing front-end styling gets a makeover as part of a midcycle change. Other styling tweaks are intended to make the crossover look more macho and capable.
The redesigned Santa Fe crossover will have a new look. Teaser images show that the third-generation Santa Fe will adopt Hyundai's signature hexagonal three-bar grille. Hyundai calls the look "storm edge" and says it reflects the styling direction of future Hyundai crossovers.
A long-awaited electric sedan will be unveiled, some two years before the car goes on sale. Although the five-passenger car uses the same chassis as the Nissan Leaf, early peeks at the Infiniti version indicate that it looks more like an Infiniti G sedan than a Leaf. Designers were given freedom to create a different car from the wheels up.
Infiniti will reveal the model's name in New York. Although billed as a concept, the New York car will be similar to the production version that will appear in 2014.
Jaguar is expected to announce plans for a small sports coupe and convertible based on the C-X16 concept. The car would compete with the Porsche Cayman. It will not be shown at the New York show.
The redesigned ES 350 and the new ES hybrid will be unveiled, continuing Lexus' "spindle grille" front-end styling. Still based on the Camry platform, the redesigned ES 350 will use the 3.5-liter 268-hp engine from the Toyota model. The hybrid version will be Lexus' first hybrid offering for the ES nameplate.
Lincoln will show its redesigned MKZ mid-sized luxury sedan. The sedan is built on the same front-wheel-drive architecture as the Ford Fusion and European Mondeo. But it will differ from its Ford siblings in several key aspects. For instance, the MKZ will be offered with three powertrains: a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four cylinder, a V-6 and a hybrid version. The Ford sedans have no V-6.
The GLK crossover gets a diesel-engine option as well as midlife exterior updates, including new front headlamps and a sportier rear bumper. The diesel-powered GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC with all-wheel drive arrives in early 2013 with a 190-hp, 2.1-liter inline-four-cylinder engine.
The first new GLK variant to go on sale is the GLK350, which arrives this summer with a reworked V-6 engine that gets a boost in horsepower to 302 from 268.
The redesigned full-sized GL SUV will be unveiled. Mercedes hasn't released details but spy shots show a sportier front end, changes to the rear and a slight increase in size.
The high-performance SL65 AMG roadster will debut. It has a twin-turbo V-12, 6.0-liter engine with 621 hp.
A midcycle update of the Outlander Sport includes a new front fascia, grille and rear bumper, and a revamped rear suspension and continuously variable transmission.
In shadowy teasers released last month, the redesigned Altima does not appear to have received radical design changes. Nissan is thought to have focused on interior refinements and powertrain improvements for 2013.
The 2013 Ram 1500 will include a number of refinements and an all-new powertrain. Chrysler will put its 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 into some versions of its top-selling pickup, combined with a new eight-speed transmission.
Chrysler's performance-oriented SRT brand will introduce its first stand-alone vehicle: the 2013 SRT Viper. SRT models introduced so far have been based on other Chrysler Group vehicles. The new Viper is to be built at Chrysler's resurrected Conner Avenue plant in Detroit. The latest version of the hand-built two-seater promises to improve upon the last Viper, which was branded as a Dodge when production ended in 2010.
The 2013 Outback crossover and Legacy sedan get a mild freshening, with new headlights, grilles and bumpers. Both vehicles also get a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine.
Toyota plans a world debut of a sedan, but isn't confirming that the car will be the replacement for the Avalon. A teaser sketch shows fastback styling similar to the coupe-sedan lines of the Volkswagen CC, Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS. Toyota calls the sedan's styling "elegant yet athletic."
Dealers who saw a preview of the car last fall said Toyota called it "the Avalon replacement."
A dealer source said that the car will "completely change" the perspective toward the full-sized sedan segment.
Toyota will show the Venza with a midcycle change.
Ryan Beene, Lindsay Chappell, Mike Colias, Diana T. Kurylko, Mark Rechtin, Larry P. Vellequette and Bradford Wernle contributed to this report