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New vehicles roll into Big Apple’s show

Image: Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Hyundai’s new Genesis Coupe will provide stiff competition for new American muscle cars.Hyundai
/ Source: Forbes Autos

Since the New York International Auto Show is being held just two weeks after the Geneva show this year (a month has separated them in the past), many manufacturers seem to have exhausted their supply of major debuts.

The spread in New York won't be all leftovers, though.

Below are the models making their world debut in the Big Apple. The New York International Auto Show is held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, and is open to the public from March 21-30.

2009 Acura TSX
On Sale: April 2008
Price: Around $28,000

The all-new 2009 Acura TSX unveiled in New York appropriates some of the angular styling seen in Acura’s SUVs, with a signature crease flowing from the front bumper through the door handles. It is closely related to the European version of the Honda Accord that debuted at the Geneva auto show.

While the new TSX looks different from the outgoing version, there’s less of a change in power or fuel economy. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is carried over from the current model, although it has just a touch less horsepower (201 versus current model's 205) and slightly more torque (172 versus 164 in the current model).

That makes the 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine coming to the TSX in 2009 the big story. The TSX will be Honda's first diesel-powered vehicle for North America. But it won't be the last, as a diesel Accord is expected to arrive later next year, potentially followed by a diesel Honda Pilot SUV, Odyssey minivan, and Acura MDX SUV.

The diesel engine has passed all North American emissions rules without the need for a separate urea injection tank, unlike those in upcoming BMW and Mercedes-Benz diesels.

2009 Honda Fit
On Sale: Fall 2008
Price: Around $14,000

Honda is hyping the 2009 Honda Fit introduction in New York as a world premiere, but the version shown in North America is very similar to the Japanese domestic market version (called the Jazz) unveiled last October at the Tokyo Motor Show. The new Fit features improved fuel efficiency, more power, and increased interior room.

Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda, introduces the 2009 Honda Fit during the Honda news conference at the New York International Auto Show Wednesday, March 19, 2008. Mary Altaffer / AP

Honda claims that the compact Fit hatchback has an interior worthy of a midsize vehicle to better compete with the larger Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris market leaders. The current Fit is the only subcompact to offer upscale touches like paddle shifters and a five-speed automatic transmission, although the Japanese version offers a continuously variable transmission in its automatic models.

The Fit will offer side airbags, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control, as well as a more powerful 1.5-liter engine. The Fit’s focus on practicality continues with a new rotating front seat, 10 cupholders, and a “luggage board” that helps partition the cargo area for different-sized objects.

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
On Sale: Spring 2009
Price: Not yet determined

Hyundai’s new Genesis Coupe will provide stiff competition for a strongly re-emerging class of American muscle cars.

Unlike the hatchback concept version, the Genesis Coupe has, as the name implies, a more common two-door body style with a separate trunk. Power comes from a 212-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine, while an optional 306-hp 3.8-liter V6 outpowers the current Ford Mustang GT, by far the market leader in the class.

The Genesis Coupe makes more power with two fewer cylinders than the Mustang GT’s 4.6-liter V8, although the Mustang’s 320 pound-feet of torque easily trump the Hyundai V6’s estimated 263 pound-feet.

The Genesis Coupe is scheduled to arrive by spring 2009. Even more competitors will join the fray by then. The Dodge Challenger will have more than just high-performance SRT8 models available, and General Motors will have started production of the Chevrolet Camaro as well.

Suzuki Kizashi 3 Concept

Suzuki unveiled the third iteration of the Kizashi concept car at the New York auto show. No timing or powertrain details have been announced, although Suzuki reps say the Kizashi 3 is the “closer-to-production vision” of a future Suzuki sport sedan.

All three Kizashi concepts will be on display in New York. The first and second versions appeared at last year's auto shows in Frankfurt and Tokyo, respectively.

The bottom line? Suzuki says the Kizashi 3 most closely embodies what a top-of-the-line Suzuki vehicle will look like.