SUVs keep getting more popular, and automakers keep making them better.
At this year's Detroit Auto Show, pickup trucks were the name of the game. The New York Auto Show was a different story. As the popularity of SUVs continues to grow and the SUVs themselves continue to get better, automakers will keep pumping out awesome new models. We should have called this year's New York Auto Show the 2018 SUV Show, considering how many excellent new models were revealed. In both production and concept form, the SUV reveals from the 2018 New York Auto Show were excellent.
The Jaguar F-Pace SVR was one of the first headline grabbers at the New York show. The F-Pace was already one of the best looking SUVs on the market in our opinion, but Jaguar made it even better by stuffing in a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 550 horsepower. It is estimated that the F-Pace SVR will hit 60 mph in around 4.1 seconds, making it a stiff competitor for other fast SUVs like the Mercedes GLC 63 AMG and Porsche Macan Turbo.
Speaking of fast SUVs, the F-Pace couldn't quite make it to the end of the show as the fastest SUV to be revealed. This honor goes to the Maserati Levante Trofeo. Maserati has finally given its Levante SUV the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 from the Quattroporte sedan. Instead of producing 523 hp as it does in the sedan, the V8 in the Levante produces 590 hp. Not only is the Maserati more powerful than the Jaguar, it is quicker to 60 mph at just 3.9 seconds.
Not all SUVs are 500 hp, fire breathing monsters, but even the so-called average SUVs came with some serious improvements in New York. The 2019 RAV4 rides on Toyota's new TNGA platform. Powertrains are still rather yawn inducing: a 2.5-liter inline-four paired to an eight-speed automatic and an optional hybrid system. FWD is standard, but AWD is available optionally. In 2017, the RAV4 was the best selling non-pickup truck in the US, so buyers clearly love it. Now the RAV4 just got even better, so it should continue to dominate in the sales race.
Acura previewed the new RDX Prototype at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, but the company brought out a more production-ready version for New York. For 2019, Acura decided to downsize from a V6 to a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 272 hp. Power goes out through a new 10-speed automatic, which should offer smooth power deliver. On the inside, Acura has replaced its two-screen infotainment system in favor of a new unit with a remote touch pad. A sportier A-Spec version will join the lineup, as will an eventual return of the Type S badge.
The Hyundai Sante Fe has been showing signs of age, but the new 2019 is a leap in the right direction. This new model uses Hyundai's signature Cascading Grille, which gives the SUV a luxury look befitting of a Genesis badge. The Sante Fe Sport model is no more, replaced by the standard Sante Fe. A new Sante Fe XL replaces the old seven-seat model. Passenger volume has been increased, but power remains the same with a base 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder with 185 hp. There is an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with around 232 hp. Hyundai will even make a 2.2-liter diesel model with 200 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.
Subaru has been known to play it safe when replacing its cars, but the company decided to be a bit bold with the new Forester. The updated 2.5-liter boxer engine now includes auto stop/start producing 182 hp - up from 170 last year. The new Sport trim adds red accents on the exterior and interior, adding a nice aggressive look to the otherwise boring Forester. We'd like to see Subaru add a turbocharged engine to match the aggressive looks on the outside, but we're just happy to see Subaru let its hair down a bit.
Cadillac needed to make a big splash on its home soil, so it decided to reveal a entry-level crossover called the XT4. The Escalade and the XT5 crossover have been a huge successes for the brand, but its sedans haven't sold as well. Cadillac is learning how important SUVs are to its future success, so the company's new entry level model will be a crossover. The XT4 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four producing 237 hp. With a new nine-speed automatic and a completely redesign CUE system, the XT4 should be a successful model for Cadillac.
Finally, we conclude the list of New York SUV reveals with two amazing concept cars from Lincoln and Volkswagen. The 2020 Aviator is a bold new concept for Lincoln, capitalizing on the stunning good looks of the new Navigator. The Aviator is imagined as a plug-in hybrid mated with a twin-turbo V6, but no power figures were estimated. The Volkswagen Atlas Sport would use a 3.6-liter V6 mated to a pair of electric motors, producing a total output of 355 hp. Both of these concepts look great and we hope the production versions look just as good.