Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll know that SUVs are hotter than hot cakes right now. New car buyers simply cannot get enough of the high-ridin’ heroes of the high street.
The 2017 New York Auto Show offers everything from a supercar-taming Jeep to a crazy concept from Toyota. We check out 10 of the best SUVs on display.
- Auction specialist names top 6 best-investment cars
- Classic Mini makes a £50,000 comeback
- 21 great 21st century car designs
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Jeep’s claim that the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the “quickest SUV ever” might ruffle a few feathers at Tesla, but there’s no doubting its performance credentials. The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine delivers 707hp and 645lb ft, enough to keep that new Dodge Demon thingy on its toes.
The top speed is 180mph, while the 0-60mph time is polished off in 3.5 seconds. For reference, the Tesla Model X will sprint to 60mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds. But if the Tesla represents the future of the SUV, the Trackhawk is thoroughly old-school. A jackhammer to Tesla’s silent assassin.
Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S Coupe
Nearly 50 years of AMG history has led us here: to the Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S Coupe. The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo produces 503hp and 516lb ft of torque, helping to propel the aesthetically-challenged SUV to 60mph in 3.7 seconds.
The Coupe shares many of its styling cues with the standard and more practical GL63 SUV, which means a bold AMG Panamericana grille at the front and an aggressive rear bumper featuring an integrated diffuser. The key difference is the sloping roofline, which gives it the look of a classic coupe. That’s if you squint. Like, really hard. No, harder than that.
Chevrolet Tahoe RST
Keen not be left chasing shadows – or rather the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – Chevrolet has released a Rally Sport Truck (RST) package for the Suburban and Tahoe. The RST delivers the obligatory styling upgrades and larger wheels, but it’s the Tahoe that has piqued our interest.
Tick the box marked ‘Performance’ and the Tahoe RST is treated to the 6.2-litre V8 engine lifted straight out of the Silverado. While 420hp and 460lb ft of torque might not seem like a big deal in a world where the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk exists, it certainly makes for an interesting SUV. The 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds is more hot hatch than supercar, mind.
Nobody does supersize SUVs quite like the Americans, and the new Lincoln Navigator has the potential to be the best of the breed. Lincoln claims that it will elevate “family travel to first class” and it’s certainly large enough to rival an airliner, with enough comfort and convenience features to challenge a first class departure lounge.
It’s lighter, too, with a new aluminium-alloy helping the new Navigator to tip the scales some 200 pounds lighter than before. That said, it’ll still weigh the equivalent of an out-of-town supermarket. Power is sourced from a twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 450hp.
If the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade are prime examples of all-American SUVs, the Volvo XC60 offers a more European flavour. Introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, the XC60 muscled in on the US market, quickly establishing itself as Volvo’s best-selling vehicle.
More than a million XC60s have been sold, which represents 30% of Volvo’s global sales, so there’s a lot of pressure resting on the shoulders of this good looking SUV. If it’s as good as the XC90 – which we suspect it will be – it stands every chance of picking up where the old model left off.
The Enclave is as important to Buick as the XC60 is to Volvo. Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC, called the original model a “game-changer”: a reference to the fact that it arrived at a time when GM was in need of a hero. The outgoing model has been on sale for close to a decade: a testament to its success and popularity.
The new Enclave is bigger than before, but remains powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine, with power increased to 302hp. Buick has used the new Enclave to launch the new Avenir sub-brand. Think along the lines of Ford’s Vignale, with plusher materials, improved tech and a higher price.
If Subaru wants to mix it with the big boys, it needs an authentic SUV. Something larger than the Outback, tougher than the XV and less niche than the Forester. The Ascent concept previews a future three-row SUV that will be called the, er, Subaru Ascent.
The good news is that the interior looks superb, complete with middle-row captain’s chairs and three seats in the third row. You also know that it will be formidable off-road. The bad news is that the Ascent will be sold exclusively in North America.
Infiniti QX80 Monograph
To say that the Infiniti QX80 Monograph is slightly less ugly than the current QX80 would be like saying Freddy Krueger is slightly less scary than Michael Myers. While it might be true, it’s still going to give you nightmares. But don’t worry, it’s just a design study, so there’s still time for Infiniti to have a rethink.
Infiniti has issued many words to promote the Monobrow – 1,224, to be precise – but doesn’t give too much away. The alloy wheels, in case you’re wondering, are 24-inch in diameter and overlap the tyres to present the appearance of 26-inch rims. An SUV for the Middle East, perhaps, but not one for Middle England.
Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar is old news. Fresh from its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Ellie Goulding was invited to take a tour of New York in the SUV that will sit between the Evoque and Sport in the Range Rover range.
Three engine options will be offered in the US, including a 247hp 2.0-litre petrol, 180hp 2.0-litre diesel and 380hp supercharged V6 petrol. “I have always been a big Range Rover fan”, said a starry-eyed Ellie Goulding.
Half-Blade Runner escapee, half-lifestyle accessory, the Toyota FT-4X concept is based on the same platform as the new CH-R. That makes it a potential rival for the Jeep Renegade – if Toyota builds it.
Inside, there’s an instrument cluster that looks like a smartphone, a removable radio and door handles that double as water bottles. There’s also a GoPro camera mounted in the door mirror. Young, outdoorsy types will love it. If only they could afford to buy new cars…