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The New York Auto Show is a huge big deal, so to speak, with many automakers launching new or improved cars each year. FCA did not have a huge new launch, but did show two new 2017 Grand Cherokees, the Maserati Levante (first showing in the US), Alfa Romeo Giulia in US trim, and the 2017 Chrysler 300S; and the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica made its NYC debut.
The Maserati Levante was inevitable in an era when Jaguar and Bentley and Porsche already have crossovers or SUVs; the interior is “more different” from the 300C than that of the Ghibli. The seats were fairly comfortable but the lower cushions — along with those of Mercedes, BMW, and others — were firm-to-stiff.
The oversized, mildly garish grille fit right into current trends; the side profile is muscular, and the Buick-like fender vents apparently are functional. The cargo bay isn’t especially large, but the hatch is silent as it goes up and down, and the cabin is quite nice. (See the Levante page for more photos from the New York show.)
The Levante was introduced by Maserati chief Harald Wester, as one would expect.
Later, Jeep showed off the 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk — a model first launched in 2013, and quietly dropped afterwards — and a revised Summit, the top luxury model.
Mike Manley, head of Jeep, called the Grand Cherokee “the most capable full sized SUV in the world,” which makes one wonder if Land Rover and Toyota (old-style Land Cruiser) have lost their touch.
But it was a fine presentation — not much talking and a lot of Trailhawk climbing steps before resting at an angle which must have been uncomfortable for the driver, who had to stay in the car for quite some time while reporters took photos.
Then there was the Alfa Romeo Giulia; there were numerous Giulias at the Alfa Romeo display, including the most high powered sports version shown last year and the 2-liter, 276-horsepower four cylinder variety more people are likely to buy — competition for the BMW 3-series.
See the gray one in back? I honestly didn’t know it was supposed to be locked. Here’s what it looks like inside (see more on our Alfa Romeo Giulia page).
Finally, we come to the Pacifica, which was in some ways the most fun, because it had the most toys. There were three on-site, including one hybrid on a turntable. Having these vans relatively free was important as few have really gone into depth on the radical new Stow ’n’ Go seats, which we shall illustrate in this video:
First you have to move the front seat all the way forward, just like in current models. Then you can move the middle seat forward, and fold it down without the old “flip,” which makes it more predictable and safer. There’s still a cover which has to be unsnapped to be put back into place.
The new seats can also be moved forward easily, allowing entry directly into the back without having to go into the middle of the van, as shown in the video.
The seat itself is not uncomfortable but also perhaps not as well padded as the pre-2008 models’ were. The rear seats are fine for full-size people for relatively short trips but not long-distance runs, and also fold differently — and more easily.
There is also the new theater system with a kids’ game showing; you could play with these much more in the KidZone (see our main show coverage).
This is, oddly, the first engine shot we’ve been able to post, despite Patrick Rall driving one around; he was very impressed with the powertrain, handling, and ride, which I couldn’t judge from a stationary minivan on the show floor.
The interior certainly looked better and easier to use, and there are many, many new features.
Here you see exactly where the minivan was. Now I wish I'd selected a different color scheme. The navigation display is very well integrated, just as it is in the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Finally, the 2017 Chrysler 300S was shown with almost no fanfare, and I would have missed it if not for a press release. If you really really want it, you will have to be patient — you can’t order until August.
The Exterior Sport Appearance Package is standard on the 300S Hemi and optional on the V6; it has a more aggressively styled front fascia, with larger air intakes and exclusive integrated LED fog lamps (set up as strips of eight horizontal LEDs). The Interior Sport Appearance Package uses new, heated and ventilated perforated leather seats with high-bolstered contours in suede for lateral support during spirited driving. Oh, and by the way, that gray paint looks much nicer in person.
You can see extra gloss-black trim; the paint on this one is a new color, Ceramic Gray, but the current paints will contniue. The 300S uses a 300 horsepower, 264 lb-ft V6 or a 363 Hemi V8.
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