POSTED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2012:
Rounding the Bend
An excellent showing in Detroit has car enthusiasts hopeful
The Detroit Auto Show comes along once a year. A couple weeks ago, all of the manufacturers showed off their best of the best and up coming vehicles and prototypes at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The exhibit saw record-breaking numbers of people that attended, as opening day was the largest in 5 years (pre-Detroit bailout). So, here are some of the auto-week's award winners and my picks for the best up and coming vehicles.
The Acura NSX, which was sold from 1990-2006 catapulted Acura into the Luxury Brand category and helped brand the manufacturer as a real player in that segment. At the Show, Acura showed off its intent to revive the NSX. It stood above all the other concepts for its styling and performance potential. Not to mention, it has the best blend of throwback styling and modern flair. Others in this category were the Lexus LF-LC, Lincoln MKZ, and the Toyota NS4.
Porsche brought their open-top version of the Porsche 911 and turned heads for the powerful performance and premium packaging. Others considered for the award were the Mini Cooper Roadster, Hyundai Veloster Turbo, and Mercedes Benz SL.
Dodge has worked hard at overhauling their product line. Dodge hasn't had success with a small car since the Dodge Neon back in the mid 1990's. Chrysler realized it needed to end its dependence on trucks and SUV's and the Dodge Dart is a perfect example of the evolving company.
Dodge showed the Dart and promised superb fuel economy, attention to interior detail, and a low starting price around $16,000. The Dart will give Dodge a highly competitive vehicle in the small car segment.
Best In Show
The new Ford Fusion won the Autoweek Editor's Choice for Best In Show. Where other manufacturers had bland styling for their sedan segment, the Fusion was bold. Its aerodynamic styling, coupled with the EcoBoost 4 cylinders, promising peppy performance and economy all in one, caught the attention of the editors. Others considered for this award were the Dart and NSX.
Top Auto Show Picks
Redesigned 2013 Nissan Pathfinder
In the 27 years the Pathfinder has been on the road, it has gone from a truck chassis to a uni-body frame, back to a truck chassis. The 2013 Pathfinder, disguised as a concept at the Detroit Auto Show, has a completely different platform than ever before. It will ride on the FF-L platform, used on a variety of Nissan vehicles right now, such as the Murano crossover, Altima and Maxima.
The Pathfinder showed off sweeping lines, front and rear spoilers, and extreme aerodynamics, which Nissan promises to carry through the rest of their line in years to come. Nissan promises that the Pathfinder will be 25 percent more fuel efficient than the current 4.0 V6. The Detroit concept didn't have an interior but Nissan released photos, showcasing the three rows of seats, to hold up to seven people. It is slotted to go on sale this fall.
The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Hyundai is promising a lot more performance and driving enjoyment on the 2013 Veloster Turbo with a turbo-charged version of the company's "Gamma" 1.6 liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine. It produces 201 horsepower and a lot more torque, available at lower revs.
Hyundai is saying that the Veloster Turbo will have a better power-to-weight ratio than the Mini Cooper S, and boasts a stellar 27 MPG city, 38 highway. The Hyundai Veloster is already a top pick for those wanting a small, sporty, practical car. The Turbo version will help to cater to those wanting better performance but still some practicality. The Veloster Turbo will arrive in dealerships this summer.
The NS4 debuted at the Auto Show as a plug-in hybrid, separate from the Prius family, in the mid-sized vehicle segment. It essentially has the same footprint as the current Prius. Toyota officials said it will feature a next-generation hybrid system, with better fuel economy, and lighter components. Tokuo Fukuichi, head of design for Toyota Motor Corp, led car enthusiasts to believe that they are considering a new design for the Prius. Saying it has a high center of gravity. There is much speculation that the NS4 is the new design for the Prius.
The MKZ concept debuted at the Auto Show and turned heads with its old-school throwback styling and bold futuristic lines. It showed the classic split-wing grill, which was featured on one of Buick's classics, the 1938 Zephyr. Buick officials say this concept is not just for "show," it will closely preview what the new MKZ will actually look like when it hits dealerships.
The concept showed multi-unit LED lights, flashy wheels, and a huge panoramic glass roof. Inside, the MKZ concept has a four-seat layout, with a sleek center console, push button transmission, a 10.1 LED instrument panel, and an eight-inch touch screen monitor. The MKZ is slotted to hit dealerships later this year.
The huge showing at this year's Detroit Auto Show was definitely promising for the manufacturers, considering the years of sales slumps and losses. There are many great concept cars to be on the lookout for, as well as vehicles scheduled to hit dealerships throughout the year.
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