More SUVs Please
New-car buyers continue to choose SUVs and crossovers in record numbers; the percentage of SUV sales increased again in 2015 and shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. At the 2016 New York International Auto Show, automakers reflected and reinforced this trend with a wide variety of SUV and crossover debuts. Given America’s continued fascination with the segment, let’s look at all the New York SUV premieres from compact to full-size, including hybrids, high-performance and extremely luxurious models. There was also an important new entry in the full-size truck category, so we’ll take a look at that as well.
In the Big Apple Acura debuted a refreshed 2017 MDX luxury SUV with a new diamond pentagon grille first seen on the Acura Precision Concept at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In addition to the new grille, the 2017 MDX receives a more sculpted hood, a new front fascia, new front fenders, LED fog lights, restyled Jewel Eye headlights, new chrome rocker panels, a revised rear bumper and twin exhaust outlets. AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistance technologies will be standard on all MDX trim levels and includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System with automatic emergency braking, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, and Road Departure Mitigation.
The 2017 MDX will be available with a Sport Hybrid SH-AWD that combines a 3.0-liter V6 engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and an integrated electric motor that powers the front wheels, and a Twin Motor Unit with two electric motors delivering power to the rear wheels. The Sport Hybrid system adds 35 horsepower and is expected to improve city fuel economy by up to 7 mpg. The 2017 MDX is scheduled to go on sale in summer 2016, followed by the Sport Hybrid later in the year, which will be the third Sport Hybrid model in the Acura lineup when it joins the NSX sports car and the RLX sedan.
Buick introduced the updated 2017 Encore compact crossover at the New York show with refreshed styling and new connectivity technology. New standard features include pushbutton start, keyless unlock and an 8-inch color touchscreen. The new styling includes a winged grille with Buick’s new tri-color insignia, new headlights, LED taillights and full LED headlights for top trim levels.
The refreshed Encore also sports a chrome exhaust outlet, body-color heated mirrors and new 18-inch wheels, along with three new exterior colors: Black Cherry Metallic, Ebony Twilight Metallic and White Frost Metallic. Inside, the small crossover receives an updated instrument panel with a new instrument cluster, a 4.2-inch color driver information center and a new center stack with a frameless 8-inch color touchscreen.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep is adding two new versions to the Grand Cherokee lineup for the 2017 model year: the highly-capable Trailhawk and the luxury Summit. The first Trailhawk model was the 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk, followed by the 2015 Renegade Trailhawk. This Grand Cherokee Trailhawk will be the most off-road-capable factory-produced Grand Cherokee ever, equipped for the wilds with Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential; a unique version of Grand Cherokee’s Quadra-Lift air suspension for improved articulation and suspension travel; and Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. The Trailhawk features a front fascia and grille that debuted on the 2016 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition, red tow hooks, 18-inch Goodyear off-road tires, Trailhawk red accents and an anti-glare hood.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The new Grand Cherokee Summit was created to be the most luxurious Grand Cherokee ever, featuring a full leather interior including a Nappa leather-wrapped dash, center console and door panels with Laguna leather seats and edge welting. Four interior color combinations are available, including a new full-wrap Laguna leather interior in Indigo and Ski Gray, with Black, Brown and Dark Sienna Brown also offered. Standard equipment includes a premium suede headliner, lighted door sills, an acoustic windshield; acoustic side glass, Active Noise Cancellation, premium Berber carpet mats and a Harmon/Kardon 19-speaker, 825-watt amp audio system with three subwoofers. Outside, the Grand Cherokee Summit features a new front fascia, a new grille, LED fog lights and new 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
Lincoln Navigator Concept
Lincoln debuted a stunning new Navigator Concept at the New York Auto Show, offering a look at what to expect next in a full-size SUV from Ford’s luxury brand. Inspired by luxury sailboats and yachts, a nautical theme carries throughout the design to include the body lines, Storm Blue paint and teak wood trim. At the front is a larger, taller version of the grille design from the new Lincoln Continental sedan. Power gullwing doors provide easy access to a spacious interior. The doors are wide enough to access both rows and feature a series of three deploying teak stairs that drop when the doors are raised. Don’t expect gullwing doors in the production model, but the overall look of the Navigator Concept is pretty close to the next Navigator.
Lincoln Navigator Concept
Inside, the Navigator Concept boasts the most spacious Lincoln interior ever with six Lincoln-patented Perfect Position Seats that adjust 30 different ways, finished in light blue leather. Monitors behind the head restraints provide second- and third-row passengers with Wi-Fi connectivity to share music and content from personal devices. For the driver a large panel displays key information and can be customized from a touchscreen in the center stack. The cargo area has a wardrobe management system replete with everything you might need for a day on the water. Power comes from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces more than 400 horsepower, along with new technology to adjust for variable surfaces and weather conditions. Different drive modes allow the driver to adjust steering, suspension and noise levels.
The first SUV in the 100-year history of Maserati, the Levante made its U.S. debut this week in New York after its world debut last month at the Geneva Motor Show. The names of many past Maserati models were inspired by the wind, and Levante gets its name from a warm wind that can change quickly from a light breeze to strong gusts that cause heavy swells on the Mediterranean. Based on the same architecture as the Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, Levante shares design elements with other Maserati models including the grille with its prominent trident logo, portholes in the front fenders and the shape of the taillights. The sloped roofline creates a more coupe-like profile.
Maserati’s newest model gets power from a Ferrari-built twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that develops 424 horsepower for the Levante S and 345 horsepower for the Levante. The Q4 intelligent all-wheel-drive system is standard, and both engines have 8-speed automatic transmissions. An electric panoramic sunroof is also standard, and the interior has premium materials with options that include premium leather and Ermenegildo Zegna silk, made in Trivero under a patented process by the Zegna wool mill.
For the 2017 model year, Mercedes adds the AMG GLC43 to the lineup, which is scheduled to arrive in U.S. dealerships by the end of 2016. This high-performance version of Mercedes’ compact crossover SUV is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine that produces 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission and AMG Performance 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.
The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 features a specially-tuned sport suspension based on the Mercedes Air Body Control suspension, which incorporates adaptive damping adjustment and AMG Dynamic Select with five different drive programs. Styling variations include AMG front and rear bumpers; special exhaust outlets, a diamond grille with chrome pins and gloss-black louvers; and 5-spoke 20-inch AMG light alloy wheels finished in high-gloss black.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe
Mercedes-Benz premiered the 2017 GLC Coupe in the Big Apple — a new version of the GLC compact crossover SUV that combines the functionality of an SUV with the sportier profile of a coupe. Up front is a single-louver diamond grille with the Mercedes-Benz star similar to other Mercedes coupes, and the windshield is less steeply raked than the standard GLC to create the flowing roofline. The GLC Coupe will be offered in two versions — GLC300 4MATIC Coupe and Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe — when it becomes available at U.S. dealerships in early 2017.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe
The GLC300 4MATIC Coupe sources horses from a 241-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine combined with a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes off-road suspension, Dynamic Select with five transmission modes, direct sport steering and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 gets power from a 362-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine that will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Standard equipment includes AMG Ride Control sport suspension and AMG Performance 4MATIC with a torque split that delivers the majority of the power to the rear wheels.
MINI Clubman ALL4
The MINI Clubman ALL4 made its world premiere at the New York show, adding the versatility of all-wheel drive to the capability of the new MINI Clubman for improved performance in all weather conditions. The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system can shift power from the front wheels to the rear wheels in a quarter second, and is lighter and more compact than the previous all-wheel-drive system for improved handling, fuel efficiency and interior space.
MINI Clubman ALL4
Powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine that produces 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, the MINI Clubman ALL4 is offered with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed Steptronic automatic unit. The MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque at 1250 rpm, offered with a standard 6-speed manual transmission or — for the first time — with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle made its U.S. debut at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, offering a balance of electric vehicle efficiency with the long-range capability of a gasoline-electric hybrid. The Outlander PHEV combines a 2.0-liter gas engine and two high-performance electric motors and Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control 4WD system to deliver efficient all-weather capability and efficiency.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Outlander PHEV sources power from a full-time twin-electric motor 4WD system that provides quick torque, with the electric motors mounted separately at the front and rear axles to deliver responsive performance through the S-AWC system. Electrical power is stored in a high-capacity 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and a regenerative braking mode captures electricity while stopping. Three drive modes are available: EV (full electric mode), series hybrid (electric power with generator operation) and parallel hybrid (engine power and electric motor assistance), with the PHEV system automatically selecting the most efficient drive mode given road conditions and other factors.
Nissan debuted the TITAN Crew Cab half-ton at the New York Auto Show, expanding its full-size pickup line with the new truck joining the heavy-duty TITAN XD model. The TITAN half-ton has the same aggressive styling of the TITAN XD, but the wheelbase is about a foot shorter. The TITAN half-ton will initially go on sale as a Crew Cab model, with Single and King Cab versions available later in the year.
The TITAN half-ton pickup gets power from a new 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance V8 gasoline engine mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. A V6 engine will also be offered with details announced at a later date. TITAN half-ton will be offered in 4×4 and 4×2 configurations with three different bed sizes and five different trim levels. The TITAN half-ton will arrive at U.S. Nissan dealers in summer 2016.
Porsche is adding to its Macan lineup for 2017 with a new version of the compact SUV. Joining the Macan S, Macan Turbo and Macan GTS, the new Macan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission with Auto Start Stop technology. Active all-wheel drive with Porsche Traction Management is standard, with load-leveling air suspension and the PASM system with adaptive dampers available as options.
The Macan 2.0 is distinguished from other models by matte black window trim, black brake calipers and unique stainless steel exhaust tips, while the front fascia and the lava black side blades are the same as the Macan S. Standard equipment includes Bi-Xenon headlights, 8-way power front seats, Alcantara seat inserts, Porsche Communication Management, a Piano Black interior package and a lane departure warning system. The most fuel-efficient Macan powertrain, the 2.0-liter is rated by the EPA at 20 city / 25 highway / 22 combined mpg. According to Porsche, the Macan 2.0 will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds (with the optional Sport Chrono Package with launch control) and achieve a top track speed of 142 mph. The 2017 Macan can be ordered now, with deliveries scheduled for July 2016.
Toyota unveiled a revised 2017 Highlander midsize SUV at the New York Auto Show, complete with performance upgrades, refreshed styling and the addition of a new SE trim level. Exterior changes include a new grille design with different finishes for different trim levels, sleeker taillights and chrome trim on the rear bumper for Limited and Platinum trim levels. Inside, a new brown leather interior becomes available for the Highlander Platinum and additional USB ports keep devices powered up. Highlander SE adds a sportier trim level with 19-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, dark paint for the front grille, dark headlight housings and dark roof rails. Inside, the SE includes black leather-trimmed seats with silver stitching and pattern seat inserts.
The 2017 Highlander will offer a new direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine that will produce more horsepower than the current V6, but also provide improved fuel efficiency. The new engine mates with a Direct Shift 8AT 8-speed automatic transmission and a new Start and Stop Engine System. The new 3.5-liter V6 will be standard on the Highlander Hybrid, combined with an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive. For 2017 Highlander Hybrid will be offered in LE and XLE trim levels in addition to the current Limited and Platinum versions. The 2017 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid are scheduled to go on sale in fall 2016.
Volvo XC90 Excellence
Making its American debut at the New York Auto Show, the ultra-luxurious Volvo XC90 Excellence is a 4-seat version of Volvo’s new award-winning full-size SUV. Instead of the standard XC90 configuration for seven occupants, the XC90 Excellence includes duplicates of the driver and front-seat-passenger seats in the second row for a unique luxury experience. Nappa leather and open-pore wood from the XC90 Inscription are expanded throughout the interior, and a partition separates the passenger space from the cargo area. A 1400-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system envelops occupants via 20 speakers.
Volvo XC90 Excellence
Rear-seat passengers in the XC90 Excellence get pampered with individually reclining seats that include massage and ventilation functions; increased legroom; a retractable control touchscreen; folding tables; a refrigerator with bottle and glass holders; heated/cooled cupholders and handmade Orrefors crystal glasses. The XC90 Excellence sources mechanical motivation from Volvo’s 400-horsepower T8 Twin-Engine Plug-in Hybrid Electric powertrain with an Orrefors crystal gear shifter. The XC90 Excellence will be available in limited numbers for the U.S. market in summer 2016, at an MSRP of $104,900.