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Nissan Altima, Toyota RAV4: Hits from the New York auto show

Rick Newman
Senior Columnist

Dull is exciting, at least for now.

Key vehicles unveiled for the first time at the New York auto show include the latest Toyota RAV4 crossover and the redesigned Nissan Altima sedan. Neither will break horsepower records or set hearts aflutter. But they’ll get the job done.

“These are pay-the-bill vehicles,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher for KBB and Cox Automotive, tells Yahoo Finance from the floor of the New York International Auto Show. “This show is packed full of important new vehicles.”

A few notable trends:

Crossovers continue to replace sedans as the family vehicle of choice. The RAV4 already outsells Toyota’s mainstay sedan, the Camry—and that’s with an old model of the RAV. The newer model, on sale later this year, should sell even better.

Everybody loves pickup trucks, apparently—which is why Volkswagen is planning to introduce one. “Volkswagen is committed to being successful in the US,” Brauer says, “and if you want to be successful here, there’s no better way than to sell an open-bed vehicle.”

Even some of the automakers are going soft on sedans. Ford, for instance, showed a new Fusion in New York, but didn’t bother holding a press event to show off the vehicle, which is the norm.

And electrics keep coming. The latest plug-in is the Jaguar I-PACE, a 400-horsepower, low-rider SUV that starts at $70,000 and delights my colleague Pras Subramanian. Electrics still have marginal market share, and they don’t pay the bills yet—but they could in a few years.

Confidential tip line: Encrypted communication available.

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Rick Newman is the author of four books, including Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman

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