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Visa Denied: The New York Auto Show Stars That Australia Will Miss Out On Photo:
2018_acura_mdx_fr Photo: tmr
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2018_dodge_challenger_srt_demon_fr Photo: tmr
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Kez Casey | Apr, 17 2017 | 3 Comments

Now that the New York Auto Show is in full swing and automakers have pulled the cover of their stand candy it’s time to take a look at the headline acts that won’t be making the trip Down Under.

Despite one of the most diverse automotive landscapes in the world, there’s still some brands that Aussie buyers don’t have access to, and even those that are freely available in Australia are restricted by a lack of right hand drive availability for some models. Then there’s those cars that are simply designed purely for North American sales exclusively.

In no particular order TMR takes a look at the cars of the 2017 New York Auto show that won’t be appearing in a showroom near you.

 

Lincoln Navigator

Thanks to its popularity as a co-star in rap videos, Hollywood blockbusters, and as a private import the Cadillac Escalade is almost a household name in Australia, but Lincoln’s attempt at large-scale luxury is no less impressive or imposing.

The production version of the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is the second of the much anticipated ‘new Lincoln’ range from of Ford’s luxury division, designed to embody more of the high-end luxury features found in European competitors while distancing itself from Ford’s mainsteam products.

Despite that, the Navigator still shares its body on frame underpinnings with the Ford Excursion and F-150. Like them, it also switches to an aluminium body, twin-turbo V6 power, and a 10-speed automatic.

Perfect Position front seats feature a whopping 30 points of adjustment plus heating, cooling and massage, 20-speaker Revel audio, dual 10.0-inch rear seat entertainment screens, and a 12.0-inch instrument cluster display are also available, as is a choice of three Lincoln Black Label themes for the retro-futurist-themed interior.

Australian buyers will have to look to the efforts of a right hand drive conversion specialist to get a Navigator here though, with Ford Australia leaving the Lincoln brand to concentrate its efforts on North America and China for the time being.

 

Buick Enclave

A three-row SUV with petrol V6 power, a nine-speed automatic, and an impressive array of radar and ultrasonic safety systems sounds like just the thing for Australian families, but although it could potentially strap a set of Holden badges to come here the new Buick Enclave won’t, leaving that role up to the closely related GMC Acadia instead.

That’s a shame too, as the Enclave looks more like the next generation Holden Commodore and current Astra (which both come from Opel) than the brick-like Acadia which ought to fit into Holden’s line-up like an albatross in a penguin parade.

The Enclave goes after premium SUVs with features like intelligent LED headlights, ionizing air conditioning, active noise cancelling, frameless 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, a front seat centre side airbag, and a reminder system that gets the driver to check the rear seats before leaving the car - to save anyone getting left behind.

 

Acura TLX and MDX

Honda’s upmarket arm would like American buyers to think of it as the Japanese BMW, strangely though the Acura brand doesn’t sell in Japan, and stranger still it doesn’t offer a single rear wheel drive car, unlike BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, and Lexus.

The words “performance luxury sedan” popped up often as Acura described its TLX medium sedan (top of page), but reading through the spec sheet reveals a choice of naturally aspirated 2.4 litre four-cylinder or 3.5 litre V6 engines that sound a lot like what you’d find in a Honda Accord.

That’s because the TLX is an Accord, though the exterior and interior styling are unique, and a little more adventurous than you’ll find in an Accord - but with a front overhang that long the TLX is never going to carry the sporty proportions of something like Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Acura has at least done a more convincing job with the MDX SUV, and although the first-generation MDX was sold in Australia as a Honda, this one won’t be owing to its left hand drive-only production.

Hybrid V6 power and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission sound good on paper, and features like torque vectoring and Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD for short) help connect the MDX to the properly sporting NSX but that’s about as close as the connection gets.

 

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The official name is a long one, but this car will forever be simply known as the Dodge Demon, lauding a mind-blowing set of stats over almost every other performance car in existence and looking more like a heavily worked tuner car than a factory offering.

Up front is a supercharged 6.2 litre Hemi V8 punching out 626kW of power and 1044Nm of torque - enough to give the Challenger SRT Demon the title of world’s most powerful production V8, world’s fastest quarter-mile sprinter (an NHRA certified 9.65 seconds), and world’s longest production car wheelie from a standing start (89 centimetres as verified by Guinness World Records).

The 0-60 MPH mark (96.56 km/h) passes in 2.3 seconds, and despite the very drag car-like specs (like nothing but a driver’s seat in the interior), the Demon is road registerable and the passenger seat and front seat can be optioned back in for US$1 each… Yes, two dollars is all it takes to go from quarter mile terror to fully useable coupe.

Australia’s chances? Zero, of course. Not only is the Dodge brand on hiatus in Australia, but like Fiat Chrysler's Hellcat range the Demon is purely for North American consumption and strictly limited to 3000 cars for the USA and 300 for Canada.

 

The Rest: Ford Explorer Sport, Kia Rio Sedan, Subaru Ascent, Honda Clarity

Ford showed off a new version of its Ford Explorer large SUV, and despite that model being big enough to suit Aussie landscapes, and having some history here the current generation is a no-go for local shores.

Kia added a boot to its Rio hatch to create the Rio sedan. Essential for sales success in North America, but almost invisible in Oz, tiny four-doors don’t get much of a run here.

The last Rio sedan went from full-line model, or special order status before disappearing altogether, meaning Kia’s unlikely to rush the new model here.

Subaru has gone a long time without a large three-row SUV, but finally the Ascent Concept paves the way for a new family freighter. As good as it seems though, the Japanese brand explicitly stated that the production Ascent will be confined to North America only.

Honda’s future-forward fuel cell Clarity sedan has grown to include a fully electric version, and a plug-in petrol electric hybrid. Honda is keen to boast about the hydrogen Clarity’s success, but these two new more mainstream options show the brand needs more volume from its expensive to develop vision of the future.

Japan is likely to add the Clarity variants to its sales roster, but Honda’s past hybrid offerings, CR-Z, Insight, and Civic, failed to make a real impact on the Australian sales charts, putting a hold on the Clarity’s roll-out (in any form) for the immediate future.

MORE: New York Auto Show News

 
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