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For automotive fans and industry insiders alike, the New York International Auto Show is one of the biggest and most important annual events — and it didn’t disappoint this year, as dozens of new vehicles are making their debut at the Big Apple’s Jacob Javits Convention Center this week.
They underscore the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry and offer something for everybody, whether you want an environmentally friendly crossover, a muscle car or a sedan that will let you drive hands-free. There were also some exciting concepts that promise to translate into cool production cars in the not-too-distant future.
Here’s a look at 10 of the hottest, most intriguing, most unusual and most desirable models to debut at the 2017 NYIAS.
The Dodge Demon was the big hit during the auto show’s annual media preview, screeching into the Big Apple at a private event along the NY waterfront. The quickest factory-built model ever, Demon delivers an astounding 840 horsepower, enough to launch from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds — at 140 mph.
It’s also the first street-legal production car certified by the Guinness Book of World Records to be able to do a wheelie. Meant as much for the track as the street, Demon comes with only a driver’s seat, though you can order one for a passenger, even a rear bench, if you want to take the family along, too.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Two themes dominated this year’s event: SUVs and muscle cars. The Trackhawk falls into both categories. It starts out as the Detroit brand’s midsize mainstay, but Jeep manages to shoehorn under the hood the same, 707-horsepower engine first used in the Dodge Challenger and Hellcat models a couple years back. That makes this the most powerful SUV ever to roll off the factory floor. And while it won’t quite keep up with the new Dodge Demon, it will give a Porsche 911 a good run for the money.
Lincoln invented the full-size luxury SUV category two decades ago, but for reasons hard to explain, Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand all but abandoned the big beast in recent years. After a 10-year wait, an all-new version made its debut at the 2017 NYIAS and it is a real head-turner.
When a driver walks up, its exterior lights wink a hello. Inside, motorists are bathed in luxury and offered the sort of room one might expect from a business jet, including 30-way heated and cooled power front seats. There are all sorts of high-tech features, including twin rear video screens and built-in 4G LTE WiFi.
Like a number of appealing products on display at the show, the three-row Subaru SUV is being billed as a “concept.” But what you see is largely what you will get when the Ascent rises into the production category a year from now. (It will make its official debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show in November.)
Long known for its rugged little crossover-utility vehicles, the Ascent is the biggest vehicle Subaru has ever brought to market, and it’s also the most lavishly equipped, with all sorts of family friendly features, including a rear entertainment system.
Like the rest of the auto industry, Toyota is racing to transform its line-up to take advantage of booming demand for utility vehicles, and this concept hints at what it may bring to market for urban road warriors, millennials who want something cool, yet compact enough to drive around the city during the week and then functional and flexible enough to head out to the urban wilds over the weekend.
The FT-4X — a Toyota code for “future truck, all-wheel-drive” — is loaded with intriguing features, including a center armrest that conceals a sleeping bag, dome lights that transform into flashlights, and a back hatch that either lifts up like a traditional tailgate or swings open like twin barn doors.
Buick Regal TourX and Enclave
Buick gets a two-for-one because its new-for-New York stand reveals just how diverse today’s SUVs are becoming. The Enclave was a breakthrough entry for the once-dying “premium” brand, drawing in a generation of new buyers who might not have ever thought about Buick before. It’s back as the Enclave Avenir, marking the launch of a special, upscale sub-brand — similar to what sibling brand GMC does with its own Denali models.
Meanwhile, the TourX is a German-made version of the familiar Regal line that some might call a station wagon. But Buick aimed to enhance its appeal by giving it a slight lift and a more rugged look and declaring it a crossover-utility vehicle.
The third-largest Japanese automaker recently became the third automaker to offer a hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle in the U.S. market, the Clarity FCV. But it’s only available in a few select parts of California because of a lack of a hydrogen infrastructure.
So, Honda is adding two more versions of the Clarity to appeal to different segments of the emerging green machine market. That includes the Clarity Electric, a pure battery-electric vehicle with a modest 80 mile range, as well as the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid.
Expected to be the best-seller in the group, the PHEV can travel up to 40 miles on battery power alone before its internal combustion engine fires up, letting the Clarity keep going as long as there’s gas in the tank.
This sleek Tesla fighter is slated to reach production around 2019 and it shows just how appealing electric propulsion could become in the near future. With its 130-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, start-up Lucid Motors anticipates range of more than 400 miles. But its twin electric motors produce a combined 1,000 horsepower, enough to hit 60 in under 3 seconds. A prototype recently set a record, hitting 217 mph.
The real appeal, though, is the business jet-style interior. Despite its modest exterior size, the Lucid Air has more interior space than a stretch version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The cabin is filled with high-tech features, including a laptop computer-sized touchscreen to operate most vehicle functions. Lucid claims it will have a 400-hp, 200-mile range entry version of the glass-roofed Air on sale for about $60,000.
Nissan Rogue Dogue
Even man’s best friend has something special to enjoy at this year’s New York Auto Show. Nissan is showing off several special editions of its popular, compact SUV, with one specifically geared for pet fanciers. It will let your pet travel in safety and comfort. The automaker took some of top items from dog owners’ wish lists, such as clip-in harnesses and non-spill water dispensers, as well as a ramp that makes it easy for Fido to climb. There’s even a doggie shower and a drying system, to boot.
Mercedes-AMG GT R
This is a big year for Mercedes’ performance sub-brand AMG. It was started by two former employees who wanted to make faster Mercedes race cars. It’s now one of the most formidable performance badges in the world, and there are AMG versions of virtually every stock Mercedes model.
But to celebrate its 50th anniversary, AMG is adding a track-ready version of the GT coupe — one of only two models ever designed specifically for the AMG division. The Mercedes-AMG GT R not only makes 577 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of tire-spinning torque but can handily top 200 mph.
If you don’t have a place to check that out for yourself, you can at least enjoy its raw power off the stoplight, the GT R launching from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds.