This year’s New York Auto Show had some exciting new product announcements to report on after a scarce lineup in Chicago earlier this year. This year’s show ushered in a slew of new redesigns and even resurrected a nameplate from the past.
One of the most anticipated introductions came from Jeep which announced the return of the Cherokee nameplate for the 2014 model year. Sitting on top of an Alfa Romeo based platform (shared with the Dodge Dart) the new Cherokee will be offered in both front and all-wheel drive versions backed by a 2.4L four cylinder engine or 3.2L Pentastar V6. Despite being built on a modular platform Jeep is still able to produce a “Trail Rated” version capable of tackling the toughest of off-road conditions. While the Cherokee may not be the most photogenic vehicle at the show, in person it actually looks pretty good. Die hard Jeep fans might be disappointed with new Cherokee both aesthetically and mechanically (unibody construction) because it’s so drastically different than the previous generation that departed in 2001, but with issues like stringent CAFE standards looming in the near future the new refined, aerodynamic, diluted Cherokee just makes sense.
Another fresh domestic introduction came from GM’s corner as Cadillac showed off their new 2014 CTS. Initial thoughts were for Cadillac to change their naming structure to the Small, Medium, and Large since the ATS, CTS, and XTS all look so similar now. What Cadillac is doing is reminiscent of German luxury brands throughout the 1990’s, remember when the BMW 3, 5, and 7-Series all looked the same? In terms of sheer size the 2014 CTS has grown and is now longer, narrower, and lower to the ground than the previous generation. Initially the CTS will be offered with three different engines, first up is a high powered 3.6L twin-turbo V6 producing 420 horsepower, second a naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 churning out 321 horsepower, and last a 2.0L turbo four cylinder for the base car producing 272 horsepower.
Mercedes-Benz dropped a bomb when they introduced the new CLA entry level luxury four-door coupe earlier this year to compete with vehicles like the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. Even though the base model CLA doesn’t go on sale until September MB hasn’t wasted anytime showing off a production ready version of the pocket rocket CLA45 AMG. This new entry level AMG will be powered by a 2.0L turbo four cylinder cranking out 355 horsepower, which MB officials call the most powerful production four-cylinder engine in the world. Power will be disbursed through a version of the brand’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and all new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. As with any AMG badged vehicle performance is the name of the game, 0-60 mph times should click off in the 4.5 second range and the top speed will be electrically limited at 155 mph. The CLA45 AMG should start arriving at US dealers this November and carry a sticker price starting at $47,450 plus destination.
Toyota showed up with a production ready version of their all-new 2014 Highlander which is a very nice upgrade over the outgoing model. In typical Toyota fashion styling is sporty but conservative, nothing over the top or segment changing. In terms of utility, engineers were able to design the rear suspension in a way to save interior space allowing for three seats in the third row. This takes the total seating capacity up to eight. Base models will be powered by a 2.7L four-cylinder power plant which will only come in front-wheel-drive, but looking at the increased size of the new model makes it hard to believe that a four-cylinder can pull that much weight around. For buyers wanting more power or all-wheel-drive they will have to walk up to the 3.5L V6 or Hybrid V6 models, which should be the majority of sales. Pricing has not been finalized, but we can expect to see the new Highlander showing up around the first part of 2014.
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