Dan Carney, Senior Editor

March 28, 2024

7 Min Read
The Hyundai press conference kicked off the 2024 New York International Auto Show.
The Hyundai press conference kicked off the 2024 New York International Auto Show.Dan Carney

At a Glance

  • Hyundai/Kia Group
  • Infiniti
  • Polestar

New York’s auto show continues in its bid to keep this form of industry gathering alive. Unfortunately, there were no new car introductions by domestic automakers, but Ford held a press conference commemorating the fact that it was 60 years ago at the New York Auto Show where the Mustang made its debut.

Imported brands, meanwhile, continued to support the show, with important reveals by Hyundai, Kia, Infiniti, and Polestar. Honda also held press conferences for the previously-seen Acura ZDX and Honda Prologue electric SUVs.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group’s premium Genesis brand hosted a pre-show off-site event to showcase that company’s latest developments, adding to the show’s buzz.

Hyundai

The more mainstream Hyundai brand rolled out a pair of updated models that look sure to be popular. The company’s hot-selling Tucson compact crossover SUV gets a thorough refresh for model year 2025, with more rugged styling and a redesigned interior that includes the return of knobs and buttons to the infotainment and climate control systems.

It seems that companies insist on learning the hard way that the useability of physical controls for these functions means that customers will continue to insist on them. There’s also a panoramic curved display with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and another 12.3-inch central infotainment display.

Related:2023 Los Angeles Auto Show Regains Traction

At the same time, the company is moving to a more avant-garde transmission shifter design, with a column-mounted twist shifter replacing the conventional console shifter on the premium trim levels. USB-C device charging ports are installed throughout, and the new 12-inch color head-up display can show turn-by-turn directions via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A proximity-key entry system with pushbutton start is now standard equipment and Hyundai’s Digital Key 2 Premium system gives 2025 Tucson drivers the ability to use their phone as the car’s key. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy, Advanced NFC, and Ultra-Wideband technologies to let drivers open and start the Tucson without taking the phone out of their pocket or purse and to even temporarily share a key with family and friends.

The 2025 Tucson offers a range of powertrain options, including a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter, direct-injected and multi-port-injected base engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Available hybrid and plug-in hybrid systems use a 178-hp 1.6-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged combustion engine. Total system output with electric motor assistance for the hybrid model is 231 hp and 268 hp for the plug-in hybrid.

Related:Greatest Hits from the 2023 Japan Mobility Show

The Hybrid powertrain incorporates a 47.7-kW electric motor, which is an increase from the outgoing model’s 44.2 kW, and a 1.49-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The plug-in hybrid’s electric motor is more powerful, at 72.0-kW versus the outgoing model’s 66.9 kW. The battery is 13.8 kWh and can be recharged in less than two hours on a 7.2-kW Level 2 AC charger.

An important upgrade for the new Tucson hybrid and plug-in models is driver-adjustable levels of regenerative braking for better driver satisfaction. Both hybrids employ 6-speed automatic transmissions.
Hyundai’s stylish compact pickup gets tougher for 2025, with a new off-road-themed XRT trim level all-terrain tires, front tow hooks, and improved off-road capability. All 2025 Santa Cruz models gain the same instrument and infotainment displays and the return of physical knobs and switches as seen in the Tucson.

Kia

Kia is replacing its long-running Forte compact sedan with the alphanumerically badged K4 for 2025. It includes available tech such as 29 ADAS features like Blind Spot View Monitor, 360° Surround View Monitor, and segment-exclusive emergency evasive steering assist.

“The all-new K4 advances Kia’s commitment to deliver sporty sedans with advanced technology and elevated performance,” said Steven Center, COO and EVP, Kia America. “Succeeding in the compact segment means overdelivering on the features that customers want, and the K4 is designed to exceed expectations.”

Related:2024 North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year Finalists

The company aims for the K4’s interior to lead its class, with the segment’s first standard, integrated digital instrumentation built using Kia’s Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) operating system with OTA capability. Kia says that ccNC processes faster and in higher fidelity, with frequently used Quick Controls available with a swipe on the screen. Wireless Apple CarPlay10 and Android Auto11 come standard on all K4 models.

There’s also a digital key that lets drivers unlock and drive the K4 using their phone as the key, as with the K4’s corporate cousins at Hyundai.

K4s will be propelled by either of two available drivetrains: a base 147-hp 2.0-l driving through a CVT and a turbocharged 190-hp 1.6-l engine with an 8-speed automatic and paddle shifters.

Unexpected touches for the compact sedan class include the availability of an acoustic glass windshield and acoustic tires for a placid cabin environment. Sporty GT-Line models get multi-link rear suspension for improved ride and handling.

Infiniti

As with the K4, Infiniti’s new QX80 full-size SUV is a clean-sheet design. As is the trend in SUV design, the 2025 QX80 is boxier than the outgoing model. This new vehicle boasts an array of interesting technology, including firsts for the brand such as dual 14.3-inch monolith style displays, an in-car camera, flush door handles, Invisible Hood View, ProPILOT Assist 2.1, personalized 64-color ambient lighting, and electronic air suspension.

A couple of notable features that Infiniti says are firsts for the QX80’s segment are Biometric Cooling, Klipsch Reference Premiere Audio, and Individual Audio. Biometric Cooling uses an infrared sensor integrated into the vehicle's headliner detects when a back-seat passenger is hot and automatically adjusts the temperature and air flow to send cool air to the second row. The company says that its testing shows Biometric Cooling can get passengers to a comfortable temperature in 50 percent less time.


The Klipsch Reference Premiere Audio System packs 24 speakers and 1,200 watts of amplifier power to deliver incredible sound. Highlights of the system include titanium tweeters, four High Line roof-mounted speakers, an 8-inch TriPower subwoofer, and a 24-channel amplifier. The system incorporates DynamicAudioReveal technology to actively adjust audio equalization to mask background noise, and DJX 3D Surround algorithm to create an immersive sound experience throughout the cabin.

If that’s not enough, check out the metal-trimmed headrest-mounted speakers. The Individual Audio technology uses these to deliver specific audio elements to one or both front seat occupants, providing navigation directions, music, or phone calls without disrupting the audio elsewhere in the vehicle.

The QX80’s powertrain for 2025 is a twin-turbocharged 450-hp 3.5-l V6 matched to a 9-speed automatic transmission that features a 40 percent wider spread of gear ratios than the outgoing model’s transmission for better acceleration and better highway fuel efficiency.

The QX80’s new air suspension lets the vehicle kneel like a city bus in the Easy Access mode, which drops the floor 2.8 inches from the normal height. The Off-Road setting, on the other hand, raises the ride 2.4 inches for increased ground clearance. Infinity brags that the 2025 QX80’s chassis has 57 percent better lateral stiffness and 300 percent better torsional stiffness than the old model.

Polestar

Swedish EV brand Polestar introduced the Polestar 4, a so-called SUV coupe that is notable for its lack of a rear window. Rear vision is provided using a camera.
The Polestar 4’s defining feature could be its aggressive price, which at $54,900 for the 272-hp Long Range, Single-Motor version, is reasonable for a premium-brand EV. The 544-hp Dual-Motor edition starts at $62,900 and can sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.

“Polestar 4’s innovative SUV coupe design offers the best of both worlds for those seeking the ultimate driving performance without sacrificing occupant comfort and a captivating exterior design,” said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar North America. “Debuting Polestar 4 to the North American market on a stage such as the New York International Auto Show is a significant milestone for our brand.”

Standard features include 20-inch 5 V-spoke black diamond cut alloy wheels, panoramic glass roof, adaptive cruise control, 360 parking camera with 3D view, energy saving heat pump, front illuminated Polestar logo, e-latch doors, power-operated tailgate with soft close, Polestar digital key, wireless phone charging, and 8-way electrical driver seat and 6-way electrical passenger seat.

The optional Plus Pack adds head-up display, automatically dimmed exterior mirrors, 12-way electrical seats with manual leg extension, electronic reclinable rear seats, MicroTech upholstery, 3-zone climate control, rear control, and entertainment screen, heated steering wheel and rear seats, 11-kW AC charging, and Harman Kardon premium audio system.

Electrified hot-rodders can select the Performance Pack for 22-inch Performance forged wheels, Brembo brake calipers, and summer performance tires.

The battery pack is 102 kilowatt-hours, which is good for 300 miles of driving range for rear-drive single-motor Polestar 4s and 270 miles for the all-wheel-drive dual-motor models. Peak DC fast-charging is 200 kW.

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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