Posts Tagged ‘NAIAS’

2013 NAIAS: 2014 Cadillac ELR

January 15th, 2013 No comments

     Cadillac showed us the Converj concept a couple years back in the anticipation that the luxury brand would find a way to incorporate the extended range electric vehicle capabilities of the Chevrolet Volt into a sporty and luxurious coupe. Cadillac has shown us photos over that time, in both publicity shots as well as deliberate ‘spy’ photos. The 3-letter nomenclature proliferating the Cadillac line (save the Escalade) meant revising the name into ELR. Overall, the proportions of the ELR have changed somewhat from the Converj, but the overall effect is very true to the concept. Rather than referring to the ELR’s extended range powertrain as the Voltec, Cadillac uses the EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle) designation. Cadillac claims it is the first full-line luxury automaker to incorporate such technology, using a gas engine generator to recharge the batteries on any drive longer than 35 miles. The 35 miles is about 3 miles shorter than Chevrolet claims with the Volt, likely due to the slightly more aggressive nature of the ELR, which packs an electric drive unit capable of 295 lb-ft of instant torque. Cadillac neglected to announce pricing, but we would expect it to be significantly higher than the Volt’s $39,145 base price before $7,500 federal tax credit.

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2013 NAIAS: Acura NSX Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      Acura more or less stole the show last year with the debut of the NSX Concept and the news that it would be developed and built right here in America. To keep that excitement alive they used this year’s show to roll out an updated NSX Concept to curious journalists wondering how the road to production is treating the original Japanese supercar. From what we saw, it’s off to a great start. The exterior changes are mild and mostly for aero management and cooling purposes, but the biggest news was the proposed interior in this concept that previews one possible configuration for the production NSX. However, Acura was clear that this is only a proposal and not an approved design, since the production NSX still has two years of development left. Hopefully the wheels don’t reach production since they play some strange optical tricks on the eye. We like our wheels to look round, thank you very much. Read more…

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2013 NAIAS: Honda Urban SUV Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      The Fit-based Honda Urban SUV Concept didn’t debut with a lot of specifics but it does give us a pretty good hint of what the CR-V’s baby brother will look like when it arrives next year. The Urban SUV measures just 169.3 inches long and will be powered by an efficient Earth Dreams engine for exceptional fuel economy. Honda says it’ll also debut an advanced telematics system and that the production version will be built in a new plant in Mexico scheduled to open in early 2014. Based on this stylish hint, whatever it ends up being called, we can at least expect it to look good. Read more…

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2013 NAIAS: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      We’ve rarely seen an entire model range replaced in a single auto show, especially one as broad as the E-Class, but that’s exactly what Mercedes did at the North American International Auto Show. We saw the new E-Class sedan, wagon, coupe, cabriolet and AMG-tuned E63 bow in a matter of minutes and we unanimously liked what we saw. The powertrain offerings widen with the addition of a new four cylinder diesel and the E63 now offers up to 585 hp. After that mighty beast the diesel is what we’re most excited about. It’ll arrive in the Fall and offer 369 lb-ft of torque sent through the same updated 7-speed automatic as the rest of the lineup. No fuel efficiency estimates were released but they should be pretty impressive when considering what the outgoing V6 diesel offered. All wheel drive remains an option under most circumstances and is the new default for the E63, which would have struggled to make use of all that power with rear wheel drive only. Unfortunately, it appears COMAND carries over relatively intact, which means we’re in for another few years of dreading changing the radio station. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: Toyota Corolla Furia Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      The Toyota Corolla typically has been known as an automotive appliance. Certainly the Corolla has rarely been a masculine nameplate since the word ‘corolla’ loosely translated means ‘flower petals.’ Even so, Toyota management emphasized at the NAIAS unveiling of the Corolla Furia concept, that over 38% of the 24 million cars the brand has sold since 1968 have been Corollas. Even though the car has sold in large volumes Toyota management admitted that the Corolla has an image problem. Probably happy to allow customer s to remain ignorant about the meaning of the compact’s name, it was obvious with the reveal of the Corolla Furia that Toyota designers and engineers are working hard to change the car’s image. The Furia concept is far more aggressive in appearance than any production Corolla but it was a non-functioning mock-up without a powertrain or interior. No matter, it is refreshing to see that Toyota is working to improve the Corolla’s staid image. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      Volkswagen is not new to the SUV and crossover market. Having offered a relatively large Toureg since 2002 and the small Tiguan since 2007 it is somewhat surprising that VW has never offered a three row crossover under its people’s car brand. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming VW unveiled the six-passenger CrossBlue concept. Looking alarmingly similar to Jeep’s Grand Cherokee, executives assured that the CrossBlue concept could easily be predictive of a future production model. They also assured that the future model would offer seven passenger seating replacing the concept’s middle row captain’s chairs with a bench seat. The CrossBlue is equipped with a diesel engine mated to two electric motors, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and an electric all-wheel-drive system. VW estimates 89 mpge in combined electric mode and 35 mpg as a hybrid. This powertrain produces up to 305 horsepower and an stump-pulling 516 pound-feet of torque. At 196.3 inches long and 79.3 inches wide, VW calls this concept a midsize crossover and expects that a production version would slot between the Tiguan and Toureg in its lineup. This is a curious assessment since the Toureg only seats five and stretches about 189 inches long. Whatever the logic, we say Volkswagen has everything to gain by finally entering the seven passenger crossover segment. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: Hyundai HCD-14 Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      The success of the Hyundai Genesis and Equus have been proof that skeptics of the Korean brand should sit up and take notice. Once exclusively a budget focused brand, the sales success and resale value retention of the premium Genesis and Equus have caused Hyundai to evaluate in which direction it can take its upscale offerings. Once known for frumpy and ambiguously styled sedans and crossovers, Hyundai has been on a design renaissance the last several years. The only cars avoiding this trendsetting style are the Genesis and Equus sedans. In an effort to convey the design direction of these two cars, Hyundai unveiled the HCD-14 (presumably Hyundai Concept Design number 14). This rear-wheel drive sedan features a long hood, suicide doors, and a menacing grille, leaving an impression the car rolled off the pages of a Batman Comic Book. We like the slick roofline, winged Genesis badges, and simple upright grille. Hyundai executives were clear that this car is not a thinly disguised next-generation Genesis, but rather, a design inspiration for the direction Hyundai’s premium offerings will head. Read more…

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2013 NAIAS: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Sedan

January 14th, 2013 No comments

      Ever since its debut in 1989, Infiniti has made it a priority to offer rear wheel drive alternatives to humdrum front wheel drive luxury sedans. For 2014 Infiniti replaces its well-respected G series sedan with the Q50. The Q50 is the first vehicle to bear Infiniti’s new nomenclature, designating all cars with a Q and all SUVs and crossovers with a QX. Confusing alphanumeric nomenclature notwithstanding, the Q50 looks to be an attractive entry in the midsize luxury sport sedan class. Inside, the Q50 ditches the familiar Infiniti center stack in lieu of a more contemporarily styled dual screen interface. While the rest of the interior appears more conventional, the exterior continues with Infiniti’s theme of fluid motion complete with its new signature c-pillar sculpt. The Q50 will continue use of the 3.7-liter V6 found in the G37 sedan it replaces. Also available will be a 3.5-liter hybrid. As befitting a luxury sedan, the Q50 will offer a broad spectrum of technologies, including Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range, predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Distance Control Assist, Blind Spot Intervention, Backup Collision Intervention, Lane Departure Prevention, and Active Lane Control. While those technologies seem to imply Infiniti fears its drivers will be lulled to sleep we expect that the car will be engaging to drive. The Q50 will go on sale in the summer of 2013 as a 2014 model and will be available with rear or all-wheel drive. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: Lincoln MKC Concept

January 14th, 2013 No comments

      The vultures have been circling the Lincoln camp for the last few years.  The slow death of Lincoln’s companion make, Mercury, in 2011 certainly have given the critics a watchful eye. Lincoln executives hope to reverse that perception by giving journalists a peek today of the MKC concept.  The MKC is a small crossover that Lincoln hopes will capture the hearts of those in the market for a small luxury utility vehicle. Ford executives promised that the 5 door crossover is a strong hint at a future production vehicle.  We expect that this small Lincoln will be based on the platform used for the Ford Escape. With hints of Audi Q7 in the rear, and a muscular stance similar to the Range Rover Evoque, we think that Lincoln may be headed back in the right direction. The interior looks inspired by that of the new MKZ and features the distinctive pushbutton gear shift selector. While hardly groundbreaking, we think this glimpse at a future Lincoln looks promising and we dare anyone to tell us they knew it sprang from the bones of an Escape. Read more…

2013 NAIAS: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

January 14th, 2013 No comments

       We don’t get to write about a new Corvette very often and the proof is in the math where it’s taken 60 years to finally deliver up a seventh generation. The wait has always been worth it and this time looks like no exception. The most dramatic changes are with the styling where lines get sharpened and a new quarter window adjoining the door glass takes the greenhouse in a daring new direction. The rear is also emboldened with dramatic LED lights, new vents and quad exhaust. In person the Corvette Stingray (that name returns to denote the base model) comes off as lithe and athletic but not overly refined or timeless. We do expect great things from the 450 hp LT1 V8, which finally features Direct Injection and should pay dividends in fuel economy, especially when paired with the new 7-speed manual transmission. Yes, seven speeds, just like the Porsche 911 only Chevrolet has engineered in a rev-matching system that should be a hoot. The C7 is 99 pounds lighter than the outgoing car and boasts a stiffer chassis thanks to hand-me-downs in the form of the aluminum frame from the ZO6 and ZR1. The interior is one area where we didn’t want to see any sharing from the outgoing car and we’re glad to report the new interior looks and feels leagues better. There are even two styles of seat for those who want even more aggressive bolstering. With as promising as the C7 looks we might not have to write about the next generation Corvette for a long time. Read more…