Saturday April 15, 2017
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The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at the 2017 New York Auto Show. ― AFP pixThe Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at the 2017 New York Auto Show. ― AFP pixNEW YORK, April 15 ― The overriding automotive message from this year's New York Auto Show, which is about to officially open its doors to the public, is “Go big, or go home.”

After the flurry of polished new fenders that was the Geneva Motor Show in March, New York was a spartan affair, at least in terms of global launches. However, all the stand-out cars that made their debut on press day on April 12 had one thing in common ― they were huge; either in terms of sheer size, engine displacement, or as in the case of the Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk, both.

Being able to claim the mantle of the world's fastest and most powerful gasoline-propelled production SUV ― 707hp, 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 180mph ― is some feat, but even the Trackhawk was overshadowed by fellow Fiat Chrysler creation, the Dodge Demon.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at the 2017 New York Auto Show.The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at the 2017 New York Auto Show.Despite being teased relentlessly over the past month, the street-legal drag racer didn't disappoint at its debut. Powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre Hemi V8, outputing 840hp, the car accelerates from 0-60mph in 2.3 seconds and can cover the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds. It's so fast it will pull a Guinness World Records certified 2.92 feet-wheelie off the line.

The Demon will be remembered as the most powerful American muscle car in history, but it will do so at a show that was otherwise all about SUVs and crossovers.

Mercedes also launched its first ever mid-sized performance focused AMG-powered SUVs at the show ― the GLC 63 and 63 S in two body forms but with the same twin turbo 510ph V8 calling the shots.

Lincoln rolled out the all-new Navigator SUV, a three-row behemoth of a car ten years in the making that wants to go toe-to-toe with Range Rovers in terms of luxury, technology and creature comforts.

The Mercedes AMG GLC 63 S 4MATIC+ Coupe at the 2017 New York Auto Show. The Mercedes AMG GLC 63 S 4MATIC+ Coupe at the 2017 New York Auto Show. Buick used the show to launch a new Avenir luxury sub-brand and apply its premium aesthetic to the Enclave seven-seat crossover. “This is a vehicle intended for Buick customers who demand the best and the latest our brand has to offer,” said Buick VP Duncan Aldred.

Chevrolet went in the opposite direction with Rally Sport Truck (RST) versions of its Tahoe and Suburban that give the popular soccer mum SUVs a Fast and Furious makeover.

“The RST is designed for customers who want a street performance look without sacrificing capability or refinement, along with the option of increased performance as well,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet Truck Marketing director.

Away from production car reveals, crossover concepts were also seen. Hyundai's Genesis luxury brand showed off the hydrogen fuel cell-powered GV80 SUV concept that mixes old-school luxury with next generation powertrain technology.

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator at the 2017 New York Auto Show. The 2018 Lincoln Navigator at the 2017 New York Auto Show. Likewise, the Infiniti QX80 Monograph was the Japanese premium marque's latest attempt to explore the gap in the highest echelons of the SUV market.

“[It] represents a detailed study into our expertise of exterior design. QX80 Monograph shows our concept of luxury and style on the road, and is an exploration into how we could enhance our future Infiniti offering in the luxury SUV segment,” said company president Roland Krueger.

And with this overt focus on high-sided luxury ― even Subaru previewed the Ascent Concept, its three-row crossover that will soon be a production reality ― it fell to Toyota to bring things back down to reality with the fun FT-4X.

Described as the SUV for casual millenial adventurers, the concept mixes genuine practicality with analog chic, almost completely devoid of anything other than mechanical technology. The windows are hand-cranked, there's no touchscreen and the internal door handles can be removed and used as water bottles on an impromptu trek. ― AFP-Relaxnews

The Subaru Ascent Concept at the 2017 New York Auto Show. The Subaru Ascent Concept at the 2017 New York Auto Show.

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