New York Motor Show 2013 Top Five

Our editor-in-chief, Steve Fowler, has picked out his five favourite cars

1. Range Rover Sport

The undisputed star of the show, and not just because Daniel Craig brought New York's streets to a standstill as he drove the Range Rover Sport into its unveiling. The car spoke volumes. Craig didn't utter a word.

The new Sport takes themes from the Evoque and Range Rover to produce a muscular, yet sleek SUV that looks, well, sporty.

The interior is a class act, too, while engineering boss Nick Rogers can barely hide his excitement at how good the car is to drive. We'll be the judge on that… What we can say, though, is that there'll be a seven-seat version – or more correctly a 5+2 – while the longer wheelbase than a Range Rover and lower ride height will make it easier to get in and out of than the bigger model.

The Sport goes on sale in September with prices starting at £55,000. If that tickles your fancy, get your name down fast or you could be waiting until this time next year.

2. Kia Soul

No film stars at the launch of the new Kia Soul, just a dancing hamster. No really. Just stick Kia Hamster into YouTube and see… Anyway, the all-new Soul is a slightly beefier version of the old car, but the tweaks have had a real impact – this could be a serious rival for the current crop of baby SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka that look staid by comparison.

There's a deep front spoiler, the now obligatory panoramic sunroof and a funky rear, plus a longer wheelbase so there's more room inside - which is where the biggest improvements have been made. The quality has improved ten-fold, while there's the expected big screen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity.

A stiffer bodyshell and chassis should mean big improvements to ride and handling, too.

3. Mercedes CLA 45 AMG

In a slightly weird juxtaposition, the arrival of the beefy four-wheel drive 355bhp CLA 45 AMG was heralded by ballet dancers. Still, the car certainly looks the part with its pin grille, deep spoilers all around, oversized wheels with slithers of rubber for tyres and gloss black trim.

Inside, there's loads of carbon-fibre looking stuff and the return of red seatbelts. We've already been for a ride in this new hot sister for the A45 AMG, so we know what 0-62mph in 4.6secs feels like and just how good AMG have made a four-cylinder engine sound.

Audi unveiled its new S3 saloon in New York, but it's not as fast as the Merc and wasn't actually at the show, so there's no place in our Top Five for Audi!

4. Jeep Cherokee

With a face that only a mother could love, the all-new Cherokee will arrive at the end of the year to do battle with the equally visually-challenging Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Kuga.

At least Jeep has admitted that its new model's looks are, er, challenging. Design boss Mark Allen told us that looks that stir debate mean greater longevity.

What's not up for debate is Jeep's claims on off-road ability – they sound seriously impressive and the way the car clambered over some seriously looking blocks on stage had the audience hooked. Although that might have been down to the look of terror on the driver's face. Interior quality of the Jeep knocks rivals into a cocked hat, while underneath all that sits the chassis from the Alfa Giulietta.

5. Chevrolet Camaro

A round-up of a US car show wouldn't be complete without a bit of homegrown muscle. Following hot on the heels of an all-new Corvette comes a mildly tweaked Camaro – a sleeker, wider-looking front end and new flush taillights are about the only change you'll notice, unless you're sitting in the new Recaro seats looking at the full-colour head-up display.

We took a fancy to the new, track-focused Z/28 model with its OTT body kit, (relatively) low weight and whopping 7.0-litre engine. Although Chevvy says it has aimed for hot laps rather than hot stats, the Z/28 should still be good for 0-60mph in under four seconds.

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