AA Buyer's Guide: A slice of American pie
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If you watch a lot of American TV, you’re bound to have seen some different looking vehicles loitering in the background, many of which are developed specifically for the huge US market.
We think some US domestic models could resonate with New Zealand buyers, even though the feasibility of a right-hand drive model can't always be justified by the manufacturer.
Kiwi drivers have shown a strong interest for American flair in the past. Just look at how popular the Ford Mustang was when it was introduced to our shores back in 2015 – an unprecedented 550 preorders were made.
Other American models, such as the Ram and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks are available in NZ today (both are “remanufactured” to right-hand drive in Australia), but we thought we’d take a look at some other American rides that we’d love to see here.
Ford Bronco (from US$26,660)
The Ford Bronco is infamously known for OJ Simpson’s car chase through Los Angeles back in 1994, which an estimated 95 million people watched on TV. Just two years later, the last Ford Bronco rolled off the production line.
Following a 25-year hiatus, the Ford Bronco is back for 2021, possessing the chassis underpinnings from the Ford F-series and Ford Ranger and will come in both two and four-door configurations.
With a base price starting at just US$26,660 and a robust 4x4 terrain management system known as “GOAT” (Goes Over Any Terrain), the new Bronco has proved a popular choice already, with all the reservations of its First Edition already exhausted.
Power-wise, Ford has opted for a rather reserved 1.5l EcoBoost engine, coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. If however, you opt for the First Edition or Badlands model, you are treated to a more powerful 2l engine.
We think that this vehicle would be a great choice for the Kiwi recreational lifestyle and a good alternative to the outgoing Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, which has a much thirstier 3.6l engine.
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody (from US$72,095)
It was a sad day when we saw the Australian-built Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon pack up their V8s and leave, but what if there was a worthy replacement from the States?
The SRT Hellcat packs a 6.2l supercharged Hemi V8 SRT engine, which produces 527kW, guided to the wheels with a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. On the track it can do a quarter of a mile in just 10.96 seconds! To slow all this muscle down, it comes equipped with Brembo six-piston front brakes and two-piece front rotors.
It’s a brash car and some may argue that the market for these sports sedans in NZ is drying up, but it would certainly be a viable option for those Ford and Holden fans looking for a comparable replacement.
Cadillac Escalade (from US$77,490)
You can’t talk about Cadillac without acknowledging the Escalade SUV.
Synonymous with movies and hip-hop music, the Escalade appears in over 50 pages of the Internet Movie Cars Database (IMCDB). An example driven by the late James Gandolfini in the TV drama The Sopranos sold for US$120,000 back in 2015.
The current Escalade comes in a choice of five stunning trim levels, but even the entry-level model gets a 313kW 6.2l V8, coupled with Cadillac’s 10-speed automatic transmission. It also features Premium Smooth Ride Suspension as standard.
The interior features all the mod cons like memory seats and an AGK 19-speaker audio system, wireless charging and a wifi hot spot. There’s also an abundance of room, with space for up to eight occupants.
The US has a great range of exciting cars, and although we haven’t got every model in NZ right now, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming…