The finale of the U.S. auto-show circuit, the New York expo featured the strongest showing this year from the Japanese and Korean auto makers.

While nearly absent of major news in Detroit and Chicago, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd., Kia Motors Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Subaru) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. all made headlines in the Big Apple.

Toyota showed off two models, including the next-generation Scion tC.

Fully redesigned for the first time since its 2004 debut, the new tC, due in fall, gets a more powerful 2.5L 4-cyl. making 180 hp, up 19 hp over the outgoing model.

Scion's other model in New York was the tiny iQ. Already on sale overseas, the iQ minicar was unveiled in Scion form featuring a 90-hp 1.3L I-4, and its “3+1” seating configuration. With slightly offset front seats, an adult can sit behind the front-seat passenger, while a child or pet fits behind the driver.

Nissan took the wraps off its redesigned Infiniti QX large SUV in New York, and the all-new Nissan Juke small cross/utility vehicle made its first state-side appearance.

The QX remains on a body-on-frame platform, with a 5.6L direct-injection V-8.

The new engine, in tandem with a 7-speed automatic that replaces the 5-speed automatic in the current QX, delivers more power and better fuel economy, Nissan says.

The 1.6L, 4-cyl. Juke, shown at a pre-media-days dinner near Rockefeller Center, also will feature DI and turbocharging, with an expected starting price below $20,000.

Nissan calls the Juke's design “bold,” but many show attendees had less-kind adjectives. The Juke is set to go on sale this fall in the U.S.

Honda finally caved to its fanboys' cries, bringing the Accord wagon from Europe as the Acura TSX wagon.

Hyundai used its Javits Center stage to debut two new Sonata variants, the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Turbo, as well as again trot out the U.S.-spec Equus large sedan.

Hyundai raised eyebrows at the show for two claims: that the Sonata Hybrid can reach speeds of 62 mph (100 km/h) on battery power, and that an Apple iPad will replace the Equus' owners' manual.

An unofficial media-dinner poll pegged the uniquely styled Sonata Hybrid, with its blacked-out grille, complete with a large piano-black trim piece, as the star of the show.

Kia showed off new versions of the Optima midsize sedan (also coming in hybrid and turbo variants like its Sonata cousin), as well as a new Sportage small CUV that carries over the just-launched Sorento midsize CUV's design language.

Mazda made news by announcing it would retail a diesel-engine midsize car in the U.S. in 2012, bucking the trend of many Japanese auto makers which have canceled their diesel U.S. plans.

Subaru and Mitsubishi both had sporty showings, with the Subaru Impreza WRX, now with a wider body for better handling, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport CUV, which slots below the Outlander CUV in size.

Other New York unveilings included Ford's first luxury hybrid, the Lincoln MKZ sedan; the new '11 BMW 5-Series, 335is coupe and convertible and restyled X5 CUV; 4-door Mini Countryman CUV; and Cadillac's long-awaited 556-hp CTS-V Sport Wagon.

Also shown in the really expensive (and powerful) realm were the $183,000, 563-hp Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and $280,400 621-hp Bentley Continental Supersport 4-seat convertible.

Recession be damned.