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Top 5 Best Debuts at the 2018 New York Auto Show

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The 2018 New York Auto Show was a fantastic show full of surprises and significant debuts.

Auto shows rarely surprise us, but this one was genuinely exciting and the show floor was absolutely buzzing. The New York show is a big one for debuting cars that real people buy — not supercars or exotics, but affordable crossovers and cars from mainstream brands.

Here are AutoGuide.com‘s top picks for the five best debuts:

5. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe / Lincoln Aviator Concept

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Coming in fifth place is a tie between two very stylish crossovers. The Hyundai Santa Fe debuted with upscale aspirations, three engine options (including a diesel), and a ton of new tech. The Lincoln Aviator is just a concept, but it looks production ready with a very Range Rover-inspired stance and a beautiful interior. This hybrid V6 luxury CUV is exactly the kind of product Lincoln needs to bolster its revival and a production version should debut sometime later this year.


4. 2019 Nissan Altima

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With the excellent Honda Accord and Toyota Camry that came out last year, the Altima was falling behind, but Nissan has fixed that problem. The new 2019 Altima leaps ahead of its competition by offering all-wheel drive for the first time, something the Accord and Camry don’t have. The family sedan gets a fresh new style and an optional VC Turbo engine, a high-tech new offering that will help both performance and fuel economy.


3. 2019 Toyota RAV4

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Although it wasn’t the most exciting reveal, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 was one of the most significant. This compact crossover is a huge cash cow for the Japanese automaker and it got a radical redesign that makes it look a lot more rugged. We like that Toyota took a big risk with the redesign (unlike Subaru, whose new Forester looks exactly the same) and that the RAV4 gets tangible updates all around that should make the crossover a stronger offering.


2. Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak/Atlas Cross Sport Concepts

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This was a refreshing pair of concepts from Volkswagen because they weren’t part of the I.D. family of design studies that are too far out to get excited about. This pair of Atlas-based concepts look almost ready for production and Volkswagen has already confirmed the Cross Sport Concept will be produced. With the Tanoak, VW is testing the reactions to see if a pickup truck will be popular. We liked the styling of these Atlas-based concepts, especially the unique lighting.


1. Genesis Essentia Concept

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This gorgeous concept car was a huge surprise. No one knew it was coming and Genesis did a smart thing by not teasing the debut, which paid off because the element of surprise plays a huge role in stealing the spotlight at an auto show. This sleek concept is how Genesis envisions an all-electric luxury grand touring coupe. Genesis will be coming out with a sportier model soon, and we’re excited to see how this concept’s design will influence a production model. The Essentia Concept was easily the most stunning and surprising debut of the whole show.