The New York International Auto Show displayed a slew of the best 2019 SUVs. These are some of the most exciting SUVs, on road and off.
Americans bought 7.3 million SUVs in 2017, a record 43% of new car sales in the U.S. The mighty SUV has become the king of American roads!
Many current SUV models showed off facelifts, new tech, and sporty performance packages at the New York Auto International Show (NYIAS). The cars profiled are truly new SUVs, ones you might want to consider for your next adventure vehicle.
The name of the game is more tech, more safety, a sportier ride, and more interior room. Every new SUV debuting at the NYIAS has a longer wheelbase, more standard intelligent safety systems, and AWD (at least as an option). Most also offer up a sport model, which many times is nothing more than a nice appearance package.
Read on for our breakdown of the new RAV4, Forester, XT4, RDX, Santa Fe, Aviator, and Atlas Cross Sport (concept). I know that’s a mouthful of letters and numbers. But such is the way of most automotive naming these days.
2019 Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 was the best-selling Toyota and non-pickup-truck in the country in 2017, with just over 400,000 units sold. Toyota is hoping to build on that success with a completely fresh, athletic looking RAV4 in 2019.
The fifth-generation 2019 RAV4 will offer a larger interior, more luxury options, and an all-new chiseled look. Expect to see the 2019 RAV4 hit dealer lots in late 2018, with hybrid models coming in early 2019.
Lengthening the wheelbase by 1.2 inches provides more interior room while also shortening front and rear overhangs. A half-inch more ground clearance, between 6.6 inches and 7.5 inches depending on the model, offsets the longer wheelbase breakover angle. The shortened ends of the vehicle will make this RAV4 even more off-road capable.
With three AWD systems on offer, including a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect, the 2019 RAV4 should be a great all-weather and dirt road adventure vehicle. Toyota’s available Multi-Terrain Select system should also take the guesswork out of off-road driving.
The new RAV4 weaves advanced technology throughout the vehicle. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 will be standard, adding new active-safety technologies. Lane departure alert/assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and much more will enhance vehicle safety. The infotainment system gets an upgrade – now available with Alexa and Apple CarPlay, but still not Android Auto.
2019 Subaru Forester
It seems Subaru and Toyota had similar thoughts when redesigning their flagship compact SUVs. The 2019 Subaru Forester is also a fifth generation of the nameplate, offers a wheelbase that is 1.2 inches longer, comes with more intelligent safety features standard, and should hit dealer lots late this year.
The extra wheelbase length, boxy design, and some other thoughtful upgrades will make the latest Forester the roomiest compact SUV on the market. The rear gate opening is one of the widest on the market, at 51.2 inches. That is a full 5.3 inches more than the outgoing Forester. Getting your gear in and out of this SUV should be a lot easier.
Subaru upgraded the four-cylinder Boxer engine to 182 hp, but there is no longer a turbo option. With the standard Lineartronic CVT transmission and new automatic start/stop technology, expect the new Forester to get about 33 mpg highway. You might get a little worse than that if you choose the paddle shift selectable simulated seven-speed option on a Sport or Touring model. It will be fun to keep that little four-cylinder engine revved up!
The 2019 Forester will come standard with Subaru’s legendary symmetric AWD system and offer an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance. A quieter, more refined interior is accented by the new technologies SUV buyers now expect. Things like a standard rear camera and new electronic parking brake make life with the Forester that much easier.
Distracted driving is a major problem on American roads. To help combat this, Subaru offers a new DriverFocus technology on the 2019 Forester. The system uses facial recognition software to help keep driver fatigue and distracted driving at bay.
The 2019 Forester also comes in a Sport model. It will build upon the luxury appointments of the Premium model but have a unique appearance package. A dark-gray interior with orange accents will compliment the black 18-inch wheels, black Sport grille, and orange exterior accents. An exclusive version of Subaru Intelligent Drive should make the Forester Sport more fun to drive.
2019 Cadillac XT4
Growing off the success of Cadillac’s XT5 midsize SUV, which accounted for 44 percent of all Cadillac sales last year, the all-new luxury compact SUV Cadillac XT4 was born. Built on an all-new chassis specifically for Cadillac, pricing will start at $35,790. You can pre-order your own XT4 now, but they won’t be available until the fall.
The ethos behind the Cadillac XT4 is offering a comfortable luxury compact SUV that is also sporty. A 237 hp 2.0L four-cylinder turbo will help with the sporty side of things, while the sharp, angular body lines offer a luxury athletic look. The nine-speed automatic transmission with start/stop technology will offer up about 30 mpg highway. The optional AWD system will help this sporty little SUV handle rougher roads and poor weather.
Cadillac boasts the rear passenger legroom is best in class, at 39.5 inches. That will make for comfortable road trips with all your friends, and offer quality cargo volume when the rear seats fold down – 48.9 cubic feet to be exact. Ground clearance of 6.7 inches means you’re not going to venture far off the pavement. But it should be fine for dirt roads and snowy highways.
Inside the 2019 XT4, you’ll find all the luxury leather and technology you’d expect in a modern Cadillac. An 8-inch touchscreen dominates the dash and offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Besides the infotainment’s touch features, it also offers physical controls for most of the settings. The addition is ergonomic and keeps driver focus on the road. Sadly, Cadillac’s awesome Super Cruise autonomous driving system won’t be available on the XT4, at least at launch.
2019 Acura RDX
The styling of the 2019 Acura RDX luxury midsized SUV comes from Acura’s latest NSX supercar. That sporty, aggressive design language carries throughout the third-generation RDX. You should see the new RDX on dealer lots mid-2018.
A longer, wider, and lower chassis should provide sporty handling and plenty of room inside for five passengers and loads of gear. The 2019 RDX is a full 3 inches longer than its predecessor, with 2.7 inches of that between the wheels, offering up noticeably more interior room.
Instead of the V6 powering the current-generation RDX, the 2019 RDX will harken back to the vehicle’s roots with a 272 hp VTEC turbo-four. Mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, the little VTEC should offer quality fuel economy and a sporty ride when desired, which can be selected through the four-mode Integrated Dynamics System.
The return of optional torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) in the RDX will make this SUV super competent in all weather conditions. The system can send up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels, as well as 100 percent of that torque to one specific rear wheel at a time.
The ultra-wide panoramic moonroof is one of the largest in this size SUV and comes standard on all 2019 RDXs. Also standard are 12-way adjustable and heated front seats, a host of intelligent safety systems, a 10.2-inch dash-top display, LED headlights, and so much more.
The A-Spec variant of the 2019 RDX will offer up bigger wheels, optional red and black interior, glass black accents throughout, and some custom cosmetic touches. While it looks really sharp and sporty, the A-Spec trim doesn’t enhance performance or luxury aside from the sportier, lower-profile tires.
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
A new design and naming program for the fourth-generation Hyundai Santa Fe are on tap for 2019. The current five-passenger Santa Fe Sport name will be dropped, and it will simply be called the Santa Fe.
The current three-row seven-passenger Santa Fe will be called the Santa Fe XL. To make things even more confusing, there will be a diesel version of the 2019 Santa Fe, which will have an “occasional use” third row. This row won’t be available on the gas-powered Santa Fe models.
The new Santa Fe design language features a more open and taller cabin, offering better visibility and a roomier feel. Muscular bodylines, especially in the rear of the vehicle, make the new Santa Fe look athletic and ready for action. More rear passenger legroom and cargo room are mostly due to the stretched wheelbase. It increases by 2.7 inches to 110.7 inches.
You can choose between three power plants in the 2019 Santa Fe: 2.4L four-cylinder (185 hp and 178 lb-ft), 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder (235 hp and 260 lb-ft), or a 2.2L turbo-diesel (190 hp and 322 lb-ft). The diesel option is the most surprising and will probably be the most fun to drive with all that torque! No idea how much extra that diesel will cost us yet, however.
A new eight-speed automatic transmission, with available column-mounted paddle shifters, should offer up both good fuel economy and an engaging driving experience with all engine options.
All versions of the 2019 Santa Fe should hit dealer lots sometime this summer.
2020 Lincoln Aviator
Lincoln teased the Aviator at the NY Auto Show. Expect it to hit dealer lots sometime in 2019. The Aviator is a three-row SUV that looks very much like the Range Rover Velar. This isn’t a bad thing, as the Velar is a sleek, beautiful luxury SUV.
The Aviator will enter the medium luxury SUV segment, which accounted for over 500,000 new vehicle sales in 2017. A twin-turbo engine, probably some iteration of the Eco-Boost V6, powers it. Expect a plug-in hybrid option.
Technology will be at the forefront of this new luxury SUV offering. A big 12-inch touchscreen will come standard. “Phone as a Key” technology will allow you to forgo the smart key fob and control the rear hatch, door locks, and engine start/stop from your smartphone.
Lincoln also introduces Suspension Preview Technology with the Aviator. The system will use forward-scanning cameras to watch the road for potholes and bumps while seamlessly adjusting the suspension. Its smooth ride is something you’d expect from a Lincoln optimized with the latest technologies.
VW Atlas Cross Sport Concept
While just a concept at this point, we can’t overlook the debut of the VW Atlas Cross Sport Concept. It is very close to the small SUV that you can expect from VW’s Chattanooga, Tenn., factory. Expect the vehicle at dealer lots sometime next year.
The Atlas Cross Sport is a smaller version of the Atlas – the same chassis and wheelbase. But it is 7.5 inches shorter overall. It offers seating for five and a 355 hp plug-in hybrid system featuring two electric motors and a 3.6L V6. In theory, that combo should be good for 130 mph top speed and 0–60 in around 5.4 seconds. And it has a 26-mile all-electric range.
A massive 12.3-inch digital cockpit dominates the dashboard. An additional 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment screen is mounted in the center console. Other controls are kept to a minimum for a clean, futuristic cockpit design.
Which is your favorite design? We hope to get behind the wheel soon to see how they fare on and off road.