Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

The hottest SUVs of the 2019 New York Auto Show

This year's New York show has been huge for SUVs and crossovers and we're rounding up the best ones here.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
8 min read
2020 Hy
Steven Pham/Roadshow

The 2019 New York International Auto Show has been a big one for SUVs and crossovers . We saw the debut of no fewer than 10 of them, including concepts and while they all follow the same general design brief, they are all distinct and exciting, spanning a huge size and price range.

2020 Ford Escape brings car-like looks to New York

See all photos

2020 Ford Escape

The 2020 Ford Escape's new face may not be for everyone, and its very existence is a cruel reminder that we're not getting the new crop of small . That said, it does represent a huge leap forward for the model.

The new Escape is softer and more car-like than ever, and that's because Ford is making room in the range for a new, more off-road-focused baby Bronco. This leaves Escape free to tone down all the chunky plastic bodywork pastiche of Escapes past and focus on being an enjoyable and versatile small SUV.

The 2020 model will debut with a couple of interesting engine options including a turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine, a four-cylinder EcoBoost unit and you'll also be able to get it as both a plug-in and non-plug-in hybrid when it hits the market in the fall of 2019.

2020 Hyundai Venue is a small, sophisticated SUV

See all photos

2020 Hyundai Venue

The brand-new Hyundai Venue is the company's smallest and most affordable SUV to date. It's hard to depict just how little it is in photos, but it's several inches shorter than the also diminutive Kona, which Venue will slot in underneath.

We dig Venue's unfussy design -- a trait that we wish other SUVs in this class shared -- but we're less into the available denim-like interior material that can be specced. Hyundai hasn't released official pricing, but we expect it to come in at around the $17,000 mark.

The Venue has a killer selection of standard tech and safety features, and the interior looks and feels nicer than you'd think, something that is becoming increasingly typical for Hyundais these days.

The Venue gets its motive power from a lone 1.6-liter gasoline engine that makes 121 horsepower but can be had with either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. Hyundai also says that Venue will be front-wheel drive only, so don't go thinking it's going to be an off-road wonder like the Suzuki Jimny that haunts our dreams.

Kia HabaNiro is one spicy concept

See all photos

Kia HabaNiro

The Kia HabaNiro concept is an SUV in the same way that it's an autonomous electric car, which is to say that it's not really either of those things, but we love it anyhow.
The HabaNiro's defining characteristic is its wild butterfly-style doors that open up and away from the body in both the front and the rear, revealing the borderline-absurd neon red interior and its lack of traditional screens or buttons.

Instead of normal controls, the windshield turns into a giant heads-up display and provides occupants with all kinds of information and options. It's even configurable, kind of like the home screen on your phone.

HabaNiro is also notable for the way it gets its all-wheel drive. Rather than using a single motor at each axle, or some kind of transfer case arrangement, it packs individual motors at each wheel, kind of like the Warthog from Halo.

2020 Lincoln Corsair brings smart luxury design to New York

See all photos

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Lincoln's MKC crossover was a reasonable enough luxury take on Ford's Escape, but it's not a model that ever really came into its own or had a strong identity that resonated with buyers. Times are changing though and Lincoln is looking to ditch its case of small crossover blues by going all-in on the fancy stuff with its new 2020 Lincoln Corsair

The exterior design language that Lincoln started with the current-generation Navigator works well scaled down to crossover size. The Corsair's interior is among the nicest in its class, though unsurprisingly given its price point, it's not quite as lovely as we've come to expect from vehicles like the Continental and the Aviator. With the Corsair, Lincoln is targeting a surprisingly young demographic, so it's doubling down on the bold two-tone interior color options like "Beyond Blue."

There are two engines on offer with Corsair. The base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 250 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque. The higher-spec 2.3-liter four makes a healthy 280 hp and 310 ft-lbs of twist but buyers only get one transmission with either engine, thankfully it's a decent one.

2019 Mazda CX-5 diesel is rated for 30 mpg highway

See all photos

2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel

Ah, the long-awaited and long-teased diesel engine from Mazda is here in the and was it worth the wait? It'll take driving to know for sure, but based on the numbers... probably not. While the diesel engine offers plenty of torque as you'd expect, its fuel efficiency numbers aren't that spectacular.

In fact, the CX-5 Diesel is rated at a combined 29 miles per gallon, but that's only an improvement of three mpg over the base 2.5-liter gasoline engine. Yes, there's more torque, but couple that with diesel's traditionally higher price-per-gallon and the fact that you can only get the diesel engine with the CX-5's top trim, and it's not so rosy a picture. That's especially true considering there's an optional gas engine with more horsepower and more torque for much less money.

One thing we do love is that the CX-5 is still as handsome and fun to drive as ever, so other than money, you may not be giving up a ton of performance by swapping to the oil burner. Mazda says that the diesel CX-5 will be on sale in US dealers later this year.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe brings tweaked style to New York Auto Show

See all photos

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is a perfectly nice SUV with good styling and plenty of room inside. Mercedes decided to throw most of that out the window by adding a GLC crossover coupe derivative, for which it can charge more money. Not that we can blame Benz for it, those things sell like crazy.

Now though, Mercedes felt it was time for a bit of an update, and that's what it's rolled out in New York. One of the most notable changes is the move to the fancy new MBUX infotainment system that made its debut on the new A-Class. Other tweaks include mostly additional interior color and material options.

The entry-level version GLC 300 Coupe packs Mercedes' 2.0-liter inline-four engine that makes 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That's a 14-hp bump over the 2019 model. Hotter AMG versions are allegedly in the works, but we'll have to see precisely what that means later in the year.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class brings big luxe to the Big Apple

See all photos

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS

Mercedes' GLS has historically been the SUV you buy if you absolutely, positively have to have a ginormous vehicle with the Three-Pointed Star on the hood, but you actually want to be comfortable. It's big and cushy and opulent in a way that the G-Class could never manage.

Mercedes decided it was time to give its biggest ute a goose in the styling and tech department for 2020 and we like the results. The new GLS thankfully didn't grow much on the exterior, because the last thing that it needed was to be bigger. It's already big enough that you probably have to pay property taxes on it in some nicer parts of the country.

Inside, it's all wild ambient lighting and vast swaths of leather, wood and metal. Mercedes does this kind of luxury better than almost anyone these days, and the GLS keeps that proud tradition going. Tech gets a big boost for 2020 as well. Gone is the older COMAND infotainment system, and in its place is MBUX, a much quicker and more intuitive system that we first saw on the new A-Class.

Engine options are kind of predictable, which is to say that there are a few flavors of V8 to be had. The cool bit is that Mercedes is pairing its always-delightful 4.0-liter twin turbo unit with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. This increases the GLS' pep off the line and also contributes to improved handling thanks to the E-Active Body Control System that debuted on the GLE.

2020 Subaru Outback is as ruggedly handsome as ever

See all photos

2020 Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback -- aka your favorite crossover's favorite crossover -- was starting to get a little long in the tooth, especially when compared to its fancy new Forester and Legacy siblings. Subaru realized this and took it upon itself to rectify this.

The new Outback packs most of the Subaru quirkiness that you know and love into a more modern, tech-heavy package that looks and likely drives better than it ever has. The engine in the 2020 Outback is -- as you probably guessed -- a boxer four, but this time you can get it with a turbo. In fact, it's the same motor that we've got in our long-term test Subaru Ascent, and it's pretty good.

The base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer, and both engines are bolted to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is great for fuel economy, but can be bad for fun on a twisty road.

While the new Outback's exterior refresh is relatively subtle, its interior change-out is much more dramatic. It's one of the best-looking interiors that we've ever seen from the brand. Add in a much-improved infotainment system that revolves around a new 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander gets a new platform, new tech and new drivetrains

See all photos

2020 Toyota Highlander

The fourth generation of Toyota's large-to-medium-sized people carrier is easily its most technologically advanced. That is thanks in large part to the switch to Toyota's TNGA-K platform which gives the Highlander access to all of the latest goodies from Toyota's toy box.

The most exciting part of the Highlander refresh is arguably the move from a traditional-for-Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive to the next-generation Predictive Efficient Drive that uses a combination of GPS data and learned driver behavior to more efficiently apply electrical power from the vehicle's battery system.

There's also a basic 3.5-liter gasoline-powered V6 available that uses the D4 fuel injection system that we first saw on the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.

The Highlander is available in a bevy of trim levels, but even the most basic models get some seriously advanced driver assistance systems as standard, and we're big fans of the democratization of safety. Good job, Toyota.

The Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp concept is ready for adventure

See all photos

Volkswagen Atlas BaseCamp

Atlas SUV has been around for a minute, but it never really stood out as having much in the way of outdoorsy off-road chops. Volkswagen's solution to that problem involved calling up some aftermarket partners, butching the Atlas up and calling it the Basecamp concept.

The Basecamp gets bigger, beefier tires and wheels that look like they belong somewhere out near Moab, rather than the local mall parking lot. VW then added a sweet and extremely utilitarian roof rack and lights. It's also packing a super sweet lightweight trailer that has also been modded for the rigors of the trail.

The only thing we don't like about the Basecamp concept is that it is, in fact, a concept and VW will probably never get built and sold. Bummer, right?