This year it's mainly about production vehicles, with very few green concepts in attendance.
That's not such a bad thing though--while there's little truly fuel efficient going on sale, plenty of high-selling models are getting small improvements that will benefit drivers in the real world.
The Cruze is one of Chevy's most important vehicles worldwide--more than 2.5 million have found homes since its launch in 2009. The updated model due in New York gets some Malibu-inspired styling revisions to keep it fresh, as well as various connectivity options.
Powertrain options remain the same. That means the 33 mpg Cruze Eco (28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway) and 33 mpg Cruze Diesel (27 mpg city, 46 mpg highway) continue to trade blows as the most efficient models. The latter has a highway driving range of over 700 miles. Both go on sale this fall.
How do you update a retro-styled car without making it... well, less retro? If you're Fiat, you give the 500 only detail updates for 2015. Biggest of those is a new 7-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster, the result of a shuffle-around that's seen the tachometer and fuel gauge move to the outside where the speedometer used to be.
The speed readout itself is now digital, within the new screen. It's much more modern, without detracting from the 500's stylish retro vibe. The car's 1.4-liter engines are as modern as ever though. No 2015 EPA figures have been announced just yet, but the old car was capable of up to 34 mpg (31 mpg city, 40 mpg highway) with the manual transmission.
Like the Chevy Cruze, Ford's high-selling Focus (the highest-selling nameplate worldwide, in fact) gets a 2015 update and a facelift. Ford's is more significant though, as it introduces the 1.0-liter Ecoboost power unit as found in the Fiesta.
Too small an engine for too big a car? We weren't overawed when trying one in Europe a few years back, but a six-speed manual gearbox should allow drivers to make the most of its performance. We await economy figures with interest--the Fiesta Ecoboost is rated at 37 mpg combined (32 mpg city, 45 mpg highway) with the SFE package and manual transmission.
Finally, an all-new model--Hyundai's new Sonata will appear in New York. While based on the same platform as the previous car, the new Sonata has gained significant tweaks to its chassis, it's a little longer and wider (for greater passenger space) and styling inspired by the new Genesis.
In terms of powerplants, Hyundai is going down the turbocharged route. The old 2.4-liter engine is likely to disappear, with 1.6 and 2.0-liter four-cylinders occupying the regular gasoline lineup. Hybrid fans will be glad to hear the hybrid model should carry over into the new car--though we'd expect some tweaks for extra efficiency.
First launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the smallest Jeep makes its U.S. debut in New York. The styling has had time to grow on us, and it definitely looks better in the metal than in photos--it's a long way from the Fiat 500L the Renegade is based on. With optional 4x4 and a TrailHawk trail-rated model, it'll still handle some light off-roading, too.
Engine-wise, you get the expected Fiat-Chrysler units--a turbocharged 1.4-liter, and a naturally-aspirated 2.4. The latter, with 184 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, has a 2,000-lb towing capacity. As far as economy ratings are concerned, over 30 mpg highway is expected from both.
Unlike its all-new Renegade rival above, the 2015 MINI Countryman will be a redesign of the current car--an all-new model is still a few years away. Styling changes are expected to bring the car closer to the newly-launched 2014 MINI Cooper.
Some of that car's in-car entertainment and connectivity features should carry over too. Economy remains the same though--figures for the Cooper Countryman with the six-speed auto have already appeared on the EPA's fueleconomy.gov website, and they match the previous car's 27 mpg combined, 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway ratings.
Previous Nissan Muranos may have had striking styling, but economy hasn't always been their strong suit. That may change with the latest model, as a hybrid model is being considered for the first time.
Previewed by the Resonance concept, the hybrid may pair a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor. A regular V-6 and CVT combo is likely to be the car's standard engine choice. It should look good though--the Resonance concept was about as sleek as crossovers get, and some of its styling features should carry over to production.
Another all-new model, the 2015 Subaru Outback shouldn't be a great deal different from the 2015 Subaru Legacy, launched at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show in February. Like previous Outback models though, the new car will trade heavily on crossover styling cues.
Powertrain options are as yet unknown, so there's no word on whether a hybrid model will grace the lineup--as it's done with the XV Crosstrek. Expect general improvements from the previous Subaru Outback, though.
2015 Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen has announced an updated Jetta will debut at the New York Auto Show. There are styling tweaks, as you'd expect, but most interesting is the inclusion of VW's latest 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine, producing 150 horsepower. VW estimates a 45 mpg highway rating for the car under EPA testing. The hybrid version also returns.
Some of the car's newfound efficiency is through aerodynamics and low rolling resistance tires, while there's extra kit too--bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, blind spot detection and collision warning systems.
It still isn't a production vehicle just yet, but in true BMW style, the firm's plug-in hybrid X5 is a concept in name alone. Production will begin some time in 2015, but in the meantime BMW is testing the car with a fleet of prototypes out in the real world.
For New York, a "further refined" concept will make an appearance, with some neat light blue details and a luxurious white leather interior. The engine is the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, paired with an electric motor between it and the transmission. In European testing, a 20-mile all-electric range is available.
The current Land Rover LR4--known everywhere else as the Discovery--is getting on a bit these days. It's changed relatively little since the LR3 debuted in 2004, and a new model is just over the horizon. That model is previewed by the Vision Discovery Concept, due in New York.
Why are we telling you this? Well, Land Rover describes the concept's as-yet unrevealed powerplant as a "design and technology vision for a future new family of Discovery vehicles". Land Rover has been exploring various hybrid powertrains over the last few years, and it doesn't take much to expect this'll be the greenest Discovery model ever.
Like the "concept" X5 above, the Golf SportWagen TDI Concept is essentially a production model. In fact, versions of the car are already on sale in Europe. The good news is, the diesel, all-wheel drive, manual wagon (a dream combination for some of our readers) will actually go on sale in the U.S.
It's designed to replace the old Jetta wagon, but it's lighter, more powerful and more fuel-efficient than before. The new 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine makes 150 horsepower (10 hp up on the old TDI), while highway economy will be "17 percent higher" than the equivalent gasoline model.