Lincoln Navigator goes aluminum, Genesis hints at a future crossover and Jaguar F-Pace wins two World Car of the Year Awards. SUVs and crossovers took a bite out of the Big Apple as automakers squared off for top billing in the fastest growing segment in the U.S. auto industry.
Here are the top SUV and crossover headlines from the 2017 New York Auto Show.
- Double victory for the Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar’s first-ever SUV was awarded top honors in the 2017 World Car of the Year Awards: World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year. Jaguar’s design director Ian Callum said the win “vindicates our decision to bring our unique design principles and dynamic qualities to a new sector of the market.” F-Pace is also a customer favorite. The SUV has remained Jaguar’s top seller since its release in 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, sales of F-Pace hit 5,241 units, more than any other vehicle in the lineup. And the Jaguar brand is clearly benefiting with a 127 percent surge in sales during the same period compared with 2016. The World Car of the Year Awards are decided by 75 automotive journalists from 23 countries.
- Lincoln Navigator gets the Ford Treatment
Ford Motor Co.’s 2018 Lincoln Navigator shed 200 pounds with a switch to an aluminum-alloy body, a change that follows in the footsteps of the Ford F-Series pickup truck and Expedition SUV. Savings from the weight loss refined the ride and helped boost the SUV’s capabilities. Lincoln added laminated front and side glass for improved noise reduction, and increased towing capacity to what it expects will be best-in-class. These changes could help ignite its Navigator demand in the growing large SUV segment. Navigator sales fell 16.2 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017. Lincoln has not released Navigator pricing, but the average transaction price in the large premium SUV segment climbed more than 20 percent to nearly $83,000 from 2012 to 2016, according to J.D. Power.
- Toyota hints at filling the gap left by the FJ Cruiser
After halting production of its fan-favorite FJ Cruiser in 2014, Toyota was left with a glaring hole in its lineup. That got worse when Ford announced earlier this year that it would bring back its popular Bronco SUV. But Toyota might have something up its sleeve. The automaker unveiled its fit and fun FT-4X concept, which simultaneously checks the box on two lucrative segments: Millennials and crossovers. The company said there’s no plan for a production version of the concept, but that it could happen because the car is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture C-Platform, which is currently in use with the Prius hybrid and the upcoming C-HR subcompact crossover. Fans will just have to wait and see if the off-road vehicle comes to fruition. And if it does, here’s to hoping it keeps its rugged charm, door handles that double as water bottles and the rotating handle that configures the rear hatch to open horizontally or vertically. Regardless, it’s clear that the team at Toyota’s North American design center poured a lot of ingenuity into the FT-4X concept.
- There will be a production version of the Genesis concept
Genesis Motors – the luxury division of Hyundai Motor Co. – unveiled the GV80 Concept SUV, which is the brand’s first hint at a utility vehicle. The concept is also a theoretical fuel cell vehicle, which signals Genesis will continue to contemplate the use of alternative propulsion systems. But the real news is that the brand will turn its eye toward the crossover segment. A spokesperson for Hyundai confirmed that while it will take two years to launch, the GV80 will be the first of two crossovers under the Genesis nameplate. Though the GV80 will drop into a smaller segment, its exterior and interior design will make it a worthy challenger among other new crossovers. Especially if it also delivers multiple powertrain options.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk give Mercedes-AMG a run for its money
Mercedes-AMG claims its ML55 AMG invented the super-SUV segment in the ‘90s, but a supercharged entry from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has taken it to new heights. The new Mercedes-AMG GLC63 features a biturbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine with up to 503 horsepower. Meanwhile, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk adopts the 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 engine with 707 horsepower that is also used in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Automakers are finding there are buyers for a high-performance vehicle practical enough to cart kids around on the weekdays. The GLC63 runs zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds while the GLC63 Coupe S takes 3.7 seconds. And FCA’s Jeep brand came out guns blazing with the debut of the Trackhawk that goes zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. Mercedes-AMG may have set the bar. FCA has raised it, big time.