Luxury Vehicles Morph Into "Personal Sanctuaries" | Edmunds

Luxury Vehicles Morph Into "Personal Sanctuaries"

NEW YORK — The definition of luxury is changing in high-end vehicles, as automakers strive to make them "personal sanctuaries."

That trend was evident at the 2016 New York Auto Show in a range of vehicles, including the Lincoln Navigator Concept and the 2017 Volvo XC90 Excellence SUV.

The Navigator Concept previews a production vehicle due in Lincoln showrooms in 2017. Lincoln touted the cabin of the full-size SUV as a "personal sanctuary."

The driver seat of the Navigator Concept features independently deployable thigh supports that Lincoln says are intended "for maximum comfort" but which could also be useful for additional support for owners who decide to take their Navigators out on the racetrack.

The concept also was equipped with a custom wardrobe management system, although it is not clear if that feature will end up on the production version.

The top-of-the-line 2017 Volvo XC90 Excellence provides its two rear-seat passengers with their own comfy individual recliners that feature tray tables, footrests, ambient lighting, seat ventilation and a massage function.

Luxury automakers are taking a page from high fashion for some cabin treatments.

For example, the 2017 Maserati Levante, the brand's first SUV, swathes passengers in premium Italian leather with custom silk from designer Ermenegildo Zegna. The special cabin treatment is available as an option with the Zegna luxury package.

The driver is the focus of lots of pampering as luxury takes on new meaning.

The driver seat in the performance-oriented 2018 Lexus LC 500 has been designed with additional bolstering for extra lateral support during spirited cornering, and Lexus notes that "the driver's hip point was engineered to be as close as possible to the vehicle's Cg (Center of gravity) where feedback from the car is the most communicative to the driver."

The new 2017 Lincoln Continental will be available with 30-way adjustable leather front seats when it goes on sale this fall. Those same seats also make an appearance in the Navigator Concept.

Sometimes luxury takes on a practical bent.

One feature that falls somewhere between safety and convenience is the rear-seat alert that's standard on the 2017 GMC Acadia. This system is designed to remind the driver when a child or an item has been left in the second- or third-row seats.

Some advanced performance features that have appeared on luxury models recently, such as many of those on display this week in the Big Apple, may very well become available on more affordable models in the near future.

For example, several new high-end vehicles come equipped with four-wheel steering as standard or optional equipment. Not exactly a new concept, but still uncommon, this technology allows some movement of the rear wheels in concert with those in front to provide better handling, particularly at low speeds.

A few new models with four-wheel steering include the 2017 Audi Q7, 2016 Cadillac CT6 and the 2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso.

Edmunds says: Car shoppers should be sure to ask their dealer to point out the latest in luxury features during their next showroom visit.

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