​Automakers reinvent and reimagine at the New York auto show

This year's New York auto show was a stage for many automakers to reinvent themselves.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The 2015 New York auto show wasn't just a cavalcade of announcements, new models, and new tech; it was also an opportunity for many automakers to reinvent themselves. For some, that meant a complete change in direction. For others, we saw minor course corrections and refinement.

Lincoln presents the Continental concept: a big, ultra-luxury sedan crammed to the gills with enough chrome and leather to make the big European bespoke brands stand up and take notice. The automaker's revival of the Continental name (as opposed to the current MK nomenclature) and the absence of the automaker's current mustachioed grill indicate that Lincoln is looking at a brand reinvention in the near future.

The 2016 Jaguar XF's exterior revisions are subtle, but its tech is all new. Sarah Tew/CNET

Jaguar, a brand that's already been through a reinvention over the last decade, continues to refine its image at the New York auto show with the unveiling of the 2016 Jaguar XF . The midsize executive sedan shakes off its low-tech stigma with a new quad-core InControl Touch Pro infotainment system. The model also gets an exterior redesign that refines the model's understated design.

Much lower on the price scale is Honda. After the lukewarm reception of the 9th-generation model, the Honda Civic was in desperate need of reinvention and a big injection of excitement. Enter the Honda Civic concept at the 2015 New York auto show. The eye-searing green coupe previews the 10th-generation Civic model for the North American market, but draws heavily from the acclaimed European version of the Civic hatchback. The 10th-gen Civic will be powered by a range of turbocharged engines ranging from an efficient 1.5-liter to the 300-plus horsepower 2.0-liter in the Civic Type-R.

Honda's new Civic concept turned heads with its neon green paint and kept our attention with expected engine options. Sarah Tew/CNET

Scion, on the other hand, seemed to be struggling with its identity at the New York show. The young specialty brand debuted a pair of new models, the 2016 Scion iM and the 2016 Scion iA . The iM is an import from Toyota's global offerings, while the iA is a rebadged Mazda. Both look promising; neither looks like anything else in Scion's lineup. As the third child in the Toyota family, it's no surprise that Scion gets a lot of hand-me-downs, but more and more, Scion is starting to feel like a brand without an identity of its own.

The other side of that coin is that the 2016 iA may end up being one of the best models in Scion's lineup. When it reaches the market in the fall, it will be affordable, have the best standard equipment of any Scion-badged vehicle, and -- with Mazda's suspension and engine underneath -- should be reasonably fun to drive.

There's also Nissan's futuristic new take on the four-door sports car, McLaren's Cadillac's sporty new flagship , and so much more. You'll have to check out the rest of CNET's coverage of the 2015 New York auto show to see it all.

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