Two big new cars from Detroit luxury brands led the parade of promotion at the New York International Auto Show this week. Cadillac introduced its tech-loaded CT6. And Lincoln decided on a trip back to the future, calling its posh new model the Continental (pictured above). Honda revealed the look for the next generation of its popular Civic. And new versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima and Nissan Maxima upped the competition among midsize sedans.
Click ahead for a closer look.
The Lincoln Continental was a symbol of luxury in the 1950s and '60s. Ford Motor Co. hopes some of that magic will rub off on their new Continental and help revive its lagging luxury brand. The move definitely got attention judging by the press crowds around the car in New York.
The new Continental, expected sometime in 2016, is powered by a 3.0 liter twin turbo V-6 engine. "We had customers telling us they didn't want aggressive power but effortless power and quiet luxury," Lincoln Motor president Kumar Golhotra said in introducing the new model. The luxury part shows up inside with all blue leather seats, carpets and headliner. The beyond roomy back seat has a desk with a built-in tablet and entertainment and seat controls. Analyst Michelle Krebs of AutoTrader.com said of the Continental: "They have leapfrogged to a different realm of luxury. Lincoln to date has been premium but not luxury. This moves them to the true luxury realm."
Cadillac rolled out the CT6 as the biggest model of its current lineup, aimed at competing with German stalwarts like the BMW 7-Series. The interior is loaded with wood, leather and comfort features -- like seats that can massage drivers and passengers tiring during long road trips. The CT will be powered by three engine choices -- a 265 horsepower turbocharged four cylinder and two V-6 options. The CT6 also comes loaded with new technology, much of it aimed at safety. This includes a 360-degree camera view around the car to eliminate any blind spots and enhanced night vision to help the driver identify animals or pedestrians. And the CT6 also will have wireless phone charging and a Wi-Fi hot spot that can connect to multiple devices.
In a surprise move, Honda unveiled the sporty design for the next generation of its popular Civic. The lineup, starting this fall, will include a sedan, coupe and five-door hatchback models. The new design has a longer wheelbase and a lower stance.
"This is the return of the sporty Civic" said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. The new Civic will have a new 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a new sportier CVT automatic. The new Civic will include a full array of safety features, including lane departure warning, forward collision warning and a multi-angle rearview camera.
Chevrolet introduced a totally-redesigned Malibu that it hopes will compete more aggressively with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry -- leaders in the mid-size sedan class. New, sleeker exterior styling and more backseat room are aimed at areas often criticized in the previous version. Higher-quality materials on the interior, improved controls and General Motors' signature Wi-Fi hot spot all are aimed at attracting new buyers.
Mark Reuss, head of product development for GM, also announced an all-new hybrid version of the Malibu, which he said is rated for 48 MPG on the highway and 45 MPG in city driving. The regular gasoline version is rated at 27 MPG in the city and 37 on the highway.
Taking off from the much-praised styling of the last generation Optima, Kia has continued a swooping, four-door coupe look for the 2016 model. The previous Optima has been the Korean company's best seller despite heavy competition among midsize sedans. Engine choices include a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged entries. The new Optima also offers improved connectivity for music and e-mail with a system that can sync with both Android and iOS 8.
The Maxima, which Nissan likes to call its "four door sports car" is getting a new look for 2016. Presented by Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn, the new Maxima will be powered by a 300-horsepower V-6 engine and will go on sale this summer. The company says it expects the new engine to show a 15 percent improvement in highway mileage to 30 MPG.
Like other new models highlighted here, the Maxima will have a full array of safety equipment. This includes blind spot warning and avoidance or lessening of a crash with a vehicle in front through automatic braking coupled with intelligent cruise control.
With more aggressive styling, Lexus brings a new look to its RX model SUV -- the company's best-selling model. Longer, lower and wider than the current version, the new RX offers roomier space for rear-seat passengers. It will come in both RX 350 with a gasoline engine and the RX 450h as a gas-electric hybrid.
Inside, the new RX has higher-quality trim and a split rear seat back to make it easier to haul passengers and some cargo at the same time. The optional rear seat entertainment system has two 11.6-inch screens on the backs of the front seats. In safety gear, the new RX has active radar cruise control that will help avoid crashes into the car ahead or make them less severe.
Hyundai has given the Tucson, its entry in the compact SUV class, an all-new look with sharply-raked headlights and a large, bold grille. Consumer Reports notes that the 2016 Tucson seems to have been designed with families in mind -- from a hands-free rear lift gate that makes loading groceries easier to stain-resistant seating that helps when hauling kids.
The engine choice is the base 2.0-liter, 164-horsepower four cylinder or an optional 1.6-liter turbocharged version. Safety features on the new Tucson include headlights that turn with the road, lane departure warning and forward collision avoidance with automatic braking.
Ford Focus RS
For those who still like their driving fast and furious, Ford is bringing its European performance version of the Focus to the American market. The RS, due in showrooms in about a year, is equipped with all-wheel drive and a 2.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that Ford promises will generate "well in excess of 315 horsepower."
To go with that power, Ford says the RS has the most powerful braking system the company has ever sold. Along with the RS, Ford is displaying two other high-performance cars at the New York show: The Mustang GT350 and the Ford GT super car.