New York Auto Show Shows That SUVs Are Still On Top
Sales of SUVs helped the auto industry have a record year in 2016, these models aim to grow that market further
Americans are buying SUVs and crossovers in record numbers. Automakers are responding as fast as they can to offer new variants of the utility vehicle formula to expand their own share of the market. The 2017 edition of the New York International Auto Show was dominated by new SUV and crossover introductions. Autonomous technology, EVs and car sharing, the hot topics of other auto shows this season, were less of a story on Javits Hall floors. The irony of context to Manhattan’s density and traffic begs the question, ‘Why debut this in NYC?’ But SU’s and crossovers are the current pulse of the auto industry. Car sales fell 39 percent in 2016, but the industry recorded a record sales year driven by SUV and crossover sales.
Here’s a look at seven upcoming and concept SU’s that show the evolution of practicality, performance and luxury:
Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar is the forth and newest addition to the Range Rover collection of SUVs. The name comes from a code designation used to describe the pre-production Range Rovers developed in the late 1960’s. The Velar is the mid-sized vehicle in the line between the small Evoque and the full-size Range Rover Sport. It has a new take on the ‘reductionism’ design theme that spans all Range Rovers. The Velar is a sister vehicle to the Jaguar F-Pace.
This is the production version of the Lincoln Navigator Concept shown at the NY Auto Show in 2016. The transition retains much of the original concept’s character both outside and in. The 2018 Navigator is big—there’s no subtler description. It is aimed at the luxury buyer with a large family. And the amenities are scaled to match that. It has the largest sized glass roof of any production vehicle. It can power almost anything from six USB ports, four 12-volt power outlets and a 110-volt plug. There is an entertainment package available with screens for rear seats that can display individually or shared streaming video content.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
For buyers who yearn for a performance car but realize it isn’t practical for their lives, Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. They describe the Trackhawk as ‘the most powerful and quickest SUV ever.’
It makes runs to the grocery store lightening quick with a Supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine that makes 707 horsepower. Jeep says the Trackhawk will go from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. The racing inspired interior has a digital display with an engine dynamometer screen showing engine output and torque stats. Snapshots of this screen can be saved by owners to a USB drive when they take their vehicle for testing and tuning.
The popular selling Volvo XC60 is the next model in the line to receive a complete design update. The premium mid-sized SUV gets an athletic interpretation of the design language found on the XC90 full-size SUV and S90 sedan. Beyond looks, the XC60 includes some new safety technologies like Oncoming Lane Mitigation. The system uses sensors and steering assist to help avoid a head on collision with another vehicle.
Infiniti QX80 Monograph
Created as a design study, the Infiniti QX80 Monograph is the brand’s idea behind what a future full-size SUV could look like. Developed in Infiniti’s Atsugi, Japan design studios, the QX80’s style tends towards softer and fluid shapes versus sharp angles and creases. Their signature double-arch grille has become less severe than their current production vehicles. Headlights and taillights incorporate a unique piano key-shaped LED strip.
Subaru Ascent Concept
Subaru is set to introduce a new full-size SUV called the Ascent. Unveiled at NYAIS was the concept preview of that vehicle. The Ascent Concept is a not that futuristic look at their current “Dynamic x Solid” design language. The emphasized fender forms speak to Subaru’s all-wheel drive system. Other than this being the biggest Subaru to see production soon, it isn’t the most distinctive in visual terms.
Genesis GV-80 Concept
Hyundai’s luxury division, Genesis debuted a plug-in fuel cell SUV called the GV80 Concept. The GV80 Concept is intended to be powered by a combination of electricity and hydrogen. It has a number of interesting design details, including the subtle headlights and taillights. These are diminished in scale since they rely on laser fiber optics to deliver light and need only a small emitting surface area. Subtle geometric patters are engraved or cut out in the exterior body panels and door pillars adding a jewelry-like quality to the design. While the GV80 is the most radical looking of the SU’s shown this year, it is slated to become a production model Genesis in the near future.
Photos: Dave Pinter