Highlights of the 2017 New York International Auto Show
In addition to a slew of sports cars and other expensive sheetmetal, the New York International Auto Show played host to the launch of no less than half a dozen SUVs and crossovers. Indeed, with gas prices sinking and road trip season upon us, the time is right to show off all of the big family-hauling adventure-mobiles. So let’s take a look at some of our favorite cars, trucks, and SUVs that debuted at the NYIAS this year, or were at least new to us.
Range Rover Velar
Further increasing Range Rover….err range is the midsize Velar which was unveiled in New York this year. Slotting in between the Evoque and the Sport, the Velar goes beyond the usual handsome styling we’re used to seeing in Range Rovers and borders on beautiful elegance, at least to our eyes. The new Velar presents a sleek confidence in its styling that makes it look fast, even in rush hour traffic. And lets be honest, like the Evoque, it’ll be rare to see a Velar on anything but pavement, but it’s sure to offer refined driving around town. Perhaps the most exciting piece of this puzzle is the interior, in which Range Rover has focused on creating an uncluttered, minimalist environment that is sure to be a serene place to spend some time.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
This car was pretty much the most hyped up car of the entire show, and for good reason. Dodge teased the Demon like crazy in the months leading up to the unveiling, but never let any of the specs slip. Then, it unveiled the car in a flurry of tire smoke, blowing everyone’s collective minds with 840 HP, a 0-60 MPH time of 2.3 seconds, and a 1/4-mile time of just 9.65 seconds, making it the quickest production car in the world. And that’s exactly what Dodge needed to do to steal all those headlines. To us, it looks like any other Challenger, just with tacky fender flares and skinny tires up front, but make no mistake, this is a very special car to those that live their life a quarter mile at a time.
Cadillac DPi V.R.
Proving to be a dominant force in the IMSA racing series in its debut year, the Cadillac DPi V.R. has been sweeping the series so far this year, claiming decisive victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Long Beach Grand Prix. So, of course it made perfect sense for Cadillac to place their most successful race car front and center in their booth. We love seeing race cars up close and it’s even better when the drivers are there as well to talk about the car, as was the case in New York with Ricky and Jordan Taylor. So maybe it’s not the newest or most relevant product Cadillac has ever brought to an auto show, but it was definitely one of the coolest.
We loved seeing the gorgeous Lincoln Navigator Concept when it debuted in NY last year, and we appreciate just how faithful the production version of the Navigator is to the original concept’s design even more after seeing it in person this year. While it’s no surprise that Lincoln didn’t incorporate the huge butterfly doors, folding side steps, and custom-tailored trunk-mounted closet into the production version, all of the beautiful design and elegance remains for the masses to enjoy. Plus, there’s a 450-hp EcoBoost V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission from the Ford Raptor lurking under the hood that should make the Navigator as fast as it is opulent. We can’t wait for these to start hitting show floors later this year!
Nissan Rogue Dogue
Of all the concept cars we wished were real, the Nissan Rogue Dogue seemed not only the most production ready, but also the most fun. Designed to haul your pupper and all of its toys and gear around, the Rogue Dogue comes equipped with a ramp, a padded trunk with storage, as well as a washing and drying station for when your doggo takes an unscheduled bath. Better still, Nissan brought out three friendly dogs to showcase just how real the Rogue Dogue could be. In our opinion, it needs to be real, so come on Nissan. If you build it, the puppers will come.
Subaru Ascent Concept (plus the refreshed Crosstrek and Outback)
Subaru typically pulls out all of the stops in New York and this year was no exception. We got excited when we heard the Subaru Ascent was going to be in New York. The unloved Tribeca was just in the wrong place at the wrong time for Subaru, but big SUVs are hot right now and Subaru was finally ready to tackle the CX-9, and Expedition, and other full-size, 7-passenger SUVs head on. And if the concept is at all representative of what the production version will look like, Subaru is going to make a huge splash with the Ascent in the 2018. For a concept, the Ascent looked pretty dang close to being production ready, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Subaru will hit the mark with this one. And if that wasn’t enough, they also brought out a refreshed Crosstrek and Outback to bolster the recently updated Impreza and Legacy models. It’s an exciting time for Subaru as they’re riding their recent sales success and shooting for the moon with one great product after another.
Genesis GV80 Concept
With only two models in the Genesis lineup at the moment, the brand needs something other than another beautifully tailored sedan to help bolster the brand a bit. Therefore, it was perfect timing for them to roll out the GV80 SUV concept. The sleek, curvaceous SUV has lots of interesting, sculptural design throughout, like the honeycomb wheels and B-pillar that lets in extra light. The tiny strips of light front and rear don’t do much to define the face of the vehicle, but should we be graced with a production-ready model in the near future, the headlights would likely be a lot more traditional. Inside, the design and layout are classic Genesis with beautiful materials and a well laid out cockpit. Out back, there’s even a custom-tailored set of luggage designed to fit perfect in the GV80′s spacious trunk.
Toyota FT-4X Concept
Speaking of SUV concepts, Toyota’s FT-4X looks like it’s built with the urban adventurer in mind. While it’s unlikely we’d see anything from Toyota that looks or functions quite like the concept, it’s nice to see the huge brand is working on another fun and playful SUV since discontinuing the FJ Cruiser recently. The FT-4X features all sorts of neat design quirks like GoPros mounted in each rearview mirror, door handles that double as water bottles, a removable radio with integrated speakers, and a North Face sleeping bag that functions nicely as a front seat arm rest. All of the above sounds good to us, but we’re not holding our collective breath for anything even remotely as fun to make it into production anytime soon.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a great SUV. It’s comfortable, refined, and capable of covering just about any kind of terrain you can throw at it. One thing it’s not good at, however, is going fast. That’s where Dodge’s SRT division has intervened in the past, stuffing a big V8 under the hood and pumping up the horsepower to 475. And while that was a step in the right direction for people who liked the idea of a fast Jeep, that still left room on the table for FCA’s bonkers supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat engine. Surely, nobody expected the laid-back, outdoorsy folks at Jeep would ever need anything with over 700 horsepower on tap, right? Wrong. Those wack-a-doos at Jeep decided to go off the deep-end and shoved that beastly Hellcat engine into their beloved Grand Cherokee SRT, creating the new Trackhawk. And while it’s a hefty beast at well over 5,000 lbs, it delivers the goods to all four wheels, it ought to be one of the quickest of the Hellcat models.
Audi R8 LMS GT4
Remember how we gushed over the Cadillac DPi V.R. and said how much we loved race cars? Well here’s another one from NYIAS that got our blood pumping: the Audi R8 LMS GT4, Audi’s turn-key race car, ready to compete right out of the box in the Pirelli World Challenge as well as the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Ironically, it actually runs a detuned version of the regular R8′s V10 engine, making *only* 495 hp versus 610 hp in the R8 V10 Plus street car. But really, it’s the trick aero package with the aggressive front bumper, gaping heat extractor in the hood, and jumbo wing out back that makes us lust after this car so much. Even though it’s built alongside the production R8s, it’s a shame this one isn’t street-legal…