Old turntables were built when a turntable was a fixture in every house... much larger market, much larger R&D budget, more competition. Audio magazines ruthlessly testing specs, and many people at the time bought on spec.
Now, turntables are a specialty market.. smaller companies with lower volumes, and much less R&D going on. The only way to get automatic lift, is either go used, or go very low end.
Also, most people who hung on to vinyl after the early 1990s did so for sound quality. Auto-lift, and other automatic features, were often thought to detract from sound quality, and thus any semi-automatic turntable wasn't taken seriously as an audiophile product. The people who wanted such features were among the first to convert to CD and Cassette.
What you're looking for is something in between the cheap nostalgia oriented players, and the "audiophile" oriented players.. a spot which no longer exists in today's market.
I would humbly suggest to just consider a Pro-Ject or something similar. You clearly want something brand new, for several valid reasons, and can get it if you forget about auto-return. Then you can focus on collecting and listening to records, and not on nursing along vintage electronics. If you miss it after all that, spring for one of these https://www.needledoctor.com/The-QUP