Five must-see vehicles at the N.Y. Auto Show

NEW YORK — Crowds arriving at the New York Auto Show on Friday are going to be faced with hundreds of vehicles.

After two days of unveilings, it's fairly clear which vehicles are the stars of the show.

Here's our must-see list, starting with the most important:

1. Toyota Camry. The changes in America's most popular car go more than skin-deep.

It would have been easy for Toyota to rest on its laurels and let the design of the Camry ride another couple of years. But it stepped up with an all-new body, especially distinctive from the front.

The new Camry required redesign of 2,000 parts. While the engine and chassis remain essentially the same, the body panels have been almost completely changed. The result is a car that is far less dowdy and far more able to compete in a class where style has become a key differentiating factor.

2. Jeep Renegade. Jeep is probably the most American of brands. After all, it derived from the jeeps that won World War II. So Jeep is taking a bold step by bringing in what it calls an American-designed and Italian-built small crossover.

That said, it's fun. It could give Jeep a youth following among those who maybe aren't ready for a Wrangler. The big question is: Will it still feel like a Jeep, lacking the wide-eyed but confident look of the Wrangler and the others?

3. Acura TLX. Face it: Acura needs a hit in its car lineup. It also has a new executive in charge with orders to separate the brand from mainstream Honda.

The TLX would seem like the right step. It's packed with technology, especially its prowess when it comes to handling. If Acura plans to attract more driving enthusiasts, this could be the car do it.

4. Subaru Outback. The latest generation of the boxy but outdoorsy crossover is a bit sleeker. Even the roof pillar by the windshield is a little thinner, providing better driver visibility than in the current generation.

The Outback will also get a couple more miles per gallon its four- and six-cylinder engines while continuing to offer all-wheel drive.

5. Hyundai Sonata. The redo of the Hyundai Sonata garnered far less attention at the show than that of the sales leader among midsize cars, the Camry, but it is nevertheless significant.

Hyundai says that besides some touches on the outside, it did a lot of work on the car's interior, trying to make it more spacious and quieter.


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