Get Real: 7 Practical Car Debuts at the 2014 NY Auto Show

Auto shows are famous for the pure spectacle they offer. Everyone who loves exotic hypercars and high-powered track burners will get their fill at the annual events in New York and Detroit. However, a car show is also the time for automakers to present their bread-and-butter offerings to the public. That means attendees can get a preview of the midsize sedans, compact crossovers, family cars, and efficient subcompacts along with the supercars they’ll never drive.

The 2014 New York Auto Show is the perfect example of how such events can strike a balance between unreal vehicles and the practical cars that fill the garages of most people on earth. In fact, the best selling U.S. car got revamped in time for the event, as did other staples found on highways in America and around the world. Here are seven practical debuts from the 2014 New York Auto Show.

2015 sonata

1. 2015 Hyundai Sonata

The unveiling of the 2015 Sonata was well played by Hyundai on many counts. In following the new Toyota Camry’s showcase, Hyundai reminded everyone how to deliver excitement while retaining practicality. Its centerpiece was the orange 2.0-liter Sport model that packs showy quad exhausts and 245 horsepower.

In every model of the 2015 Sonata, drivers will find so much space the EPA classifies this Hyundai as “a large car.” It’s only midsize in reputation. Company officials remarked on the similarities with the 2015 Genesis, which is a good thing. Hyundai sold over 200,000 models of the Sonata in 2013, which was the phase-out year. This new offering is going to deliver a major boost for the automaker when it hits the market in summer 2014 as a practical, spacious family machine.

2015 Camry

2. 2015 Toyota Camry

The 2014 New York Auto Show kicked off with Toyota presenting a redesign of the most popular car in the United States. With the 2015 Camry, Toyota continues pushing the classically vanilla midsize sedan toward a place near the borders of stylish. The automaker says some 2,000 new parts went into this mid-cycle redesign, but there won’t be big news on the engine front.

Retuned steering and revamped suspension ought to improve the responsiveness of the Camry, but styling was clearly on Toyota’s mind this time. The new Camry goes on sale in late 2014.

2015 Murano

3. 2015 Nissan Murano

Nissan debuted its 2015 Murano alongside its sport concept sedan in New York to show how much influence its experiment had on the new crossover. In fact, both cars were presented in the same color to emphasize the concept-to-reality factor. Besides the very attractive front fascia and profile of the new Murano, Nissan managed to push the fuel efficiency to 28 highway mpg by subtracting 130 pounds from the body weight.

Better looking and more economical? Practicality upgrades work best when they don’t feel like a compromise. This Murano arrives at dealerships in late 2014.

2015 Charger

4. 2015 Dodge Charger

Nothing about Dodge’s muscle car launch in New York gave off the impression the automaker was shooting for practical. However, a closer look at the 2015 Charger reveals some sensible changes. For one, Dodge decided to forego a bit of the old Charger’s bulk so customers would understand the car isn’t a gas guzzler (it just looked that way). The new model takes some design cues from the Dodge Dart as a way of underscoring its efficiency.

Sure, the Charger is spacious and every bit the “four-door muscle car” in terms of power, but Dodge pushed the highway fuel economy to 31 mpg. Powerful can also be practical with the new technology at hand. This model will be available in the fourth quarter of 2014.

2015 Outback

5. 2015 Subaru Outback

Subaru presented its 2015 Outback in New York with improved exterior styling, but the less visible features of the “first sport utility wagon” appeal to the practical auto consumer. There’s more interior room and increased efficiency in the new Outback that should only increase the model’s popularity. At the moment, only the Forester sells better for Subaru in the U.S.

In the model sporting the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine, there’s access to 175 horsepower and an impressive 33 mpg on the highway. It is slated to arrive in dealerships in summer 2014.

2015 Honda Fit

6. 2015 Honda Fit

There’s practical, then there’s Honda subcompact practical. The 2015 Fit is the type of car you might trip over at an auto show, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement in terms of efficiency. In the 130-hp model matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the new Fit will deliver 41 mpg on the highway.

Honda’s showcase at the New York Auto Show was highlighted by the announcement that the new utility will be called the HR-V, as well as the appearance of the automaker’s pet robot ASIMO. Since ASIMO can dance, talk, and run at speeds of 3 mph, it’s easy to see why the humble Fit was upstaged.

2015 Focus

7. 2015 Ford Focus

Bill Ford, chairman of his namesake auto company, was on hand in New York to show off a limited edition model of the 2015 Mustang, but Ford presented two new models of its Focus, which J.D Polk deemed the best selling car on earth for the second year in a row. Most notable in the 2015 Focus Sedan is the arrival of the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine in manual transmission models and improved exterior styling. In other words, this attractive, practical car is about to get more economical.

No mpg quotes were released for the new Focus, but among non-hybrid vehicles the mini-engine EcoBoost models should deliver exactly what the economical consumer seeks. The new Focus will arrive in dealerships in late 2014.