Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New York to Showcase New Japanese SUVs

Honda, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki have announced that the latest versions of their large SUVs will make debuts at the NY International Auto Show.

Honda will unveil the next-gen Acura MDX in "concept" trim, while Mitsubishi will present the 2007 Outlander, which has been on the market in japan since October. Suzuki will pull the wraps off its all-new 2007 XL-7.

2007 Acura MDX Concept

As part of the company's 20th anniversary celebration, Acura will display a concept version of the 2007 MDX at New York. Designed, developed and built in the United States, customers can expect to see the 2007 MDX in showrooms later this year.

Based on the artist's renderings released by Acura, it looks as if the front end of the new MDX is quite a departure, with the traditional shield-shaped Acura grille taking on a much bolder and assertive appearance. On the concept, at least, it dominates the front-end, and should be quite eye-catching in person.

From the rear, the '07 MDX shows a very strong family resemblance to it's little brother, the upcoming (Summer '06 on-sale) RDX entry-level luxury SUV.

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi has chosen New York as the site of the North American unveiling of the fully redesigned Outlander. On sale in Japan since October, the 2007 Outlander benefits from a new, stiffer structure and is powered by Mitsubishi's new 3.0L MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system ) V6. The new engine's power gwts put to the ground via a new electronically-conteolled 4WD system. For those not in need of 4WD, a front-wheel-drive system designed specifically for the North American market will be available.

Other '07 Outlander features include steering-column-mounted shift paddles, a split rear tailgate, and seven-passenger seating thanks to a 3rd row seat that stows beneath the floor.

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander (Japan-spec)

In the looks department, the 2007 Outlander fares much better than it's predecessor, which always struck me as being decent-looking until you got to its very homely face. That's all over now, as the '07 shows off a taughter, cleaner, sportier look all around, and sports a very handsome front end. Don't expect to see the front-mounted rearview morror on the Japanese-market Outlander make it onto the U.S. model, though.

Photo Update 4/5/06: Thanks to Mitsubishi for the image of the U.S.-spec 2007 Outlander:
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander (U.S.-spec)

2007 Suzuki XL7

For 2007, the Suzuki XL7 drops the hypen from it's name, and gets a total redesign. Full details won't be available until Suzuki's April 13 press conference, but what is known for sure is that the new XL7 is being marketed as a crossover and gets a 3.6L V6 powerplant, a significant change from the 2.7L V6 that powers the current model. If the redesigned-for-2006 Grand Vitara is any indication of the XL7's styling direction, expect a good-looking replacement for the version currently on the market.

Update: Suzuki released a teaser shot of the new XL7 (above, shown with the new SX4 hatchback), which sports a very Ford-like three-bar grille.

Press Releases