CNET Car Tech offers a poll to determine the best car from the 2010 New York auto show.
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.
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New York is the last major auto show of the season, and most automakers have already launched new models and concepts in Europe, Los Angeles, and Detroit, leaving little for the Big Apple. But a few automakers, notably Hyundai, hold back, using this otherwise quiet show to stand out from the crowd, and other automakers show off either cars that will play well in New York or special trim levels.
We went through our coverage from the show and found eight significant new cars. With a couple of exceptions, these cars are not particularly sporty or luxurious, tending more to the affordable and practical, the kinds of cars that actually make sense for a daily commute.
Check out the cars and vote for your favorite.
With 20 more horsepower than than the 335i's 300, the new 335is doesn't quite come up to M3 standards, but it gives 3-series buyers a sporty drive without going into track car territory. Of particular interest in the 335is is the special over-thrust mode, where torque temporarily gets increased to 370 pound-feet when you need to leave behind lesser cars.
Chevrolet Cruze Eco
Eschewing a hybrid model, Chevrolet merely optimized its upcoming Cruze sedan, a Toyota Corolla competitor, for fuel economy. Using aerodynamics, low-rolling resistance tires, and a turbo 1.4-liter engine, the Cruze should get 40 mpg on the highway, besting many hybrids.
Ten years ago you would never equate Hyundai with luxury. But the company is taking bold steps to change its brand in the public eye, and the Equus will serve as a luxury flagship. This big, comfy sedan uses a 4.6-liter V-8 and has amenities such as massage seats and adaptive cruise control, plus a lower price than the Lexus LS 460 and Mercedes-Benz S550.
Hyundai Sonata 2.0T
For potential Hyundai buyers who aren't looking for a big, luxo barge, the company offers a new version of its Sonata midsize sedan, this one featuring a new, direct-injection turbocharged 2-liter four cylinder engine. Hyundai boasts 274 horsepower, beating out many V-6 equipped cars, along with a new suite of cabin tech that includes standard iPod integration and a Bluetooth phone system.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
If you favor high-tech fuel economy over power, Hyundai still has you covered with the company's first hybrid. The Sonata Hybrid uses lithium polymer batteries, a first in the auto industry, and an electric drive system that can propel the car up to 62 mph. Fuel economy is in the high 30s.
The Optima is Kia's sistership to the Hyundai Sonata, and as such will be offered with the turbo and hybrid power trains mentioned above. But where the Sonata has curved lines reminiscent of a Mercedes-Benz, the Kia is more angular, cutting a very different figure. The Optima will also be available with Kia's new UVO system, which offers the core functionality of Ford Sync.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Following the launch of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid, Lincoln fits the same hybrid power train into the MKZ, which also rides on the same platform as the Fusion and Milan. Lincoln says it is the most fuel-efficient luxury car in the world, and can be had with amenities such as the THX audio system.
Finally, the U.S. gets Toyota's little iQ urban runner, badged as a Scion. This little car has won awards around the world for its compact design. It offers a little more room than a Smart car, and cool Scion style. As a Scion, it also gets standard iPod integration, plus head unit options that should include navigation.
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