Toyota surprised us with a plug-in hybrid Prius on the floor at the 2008 Detroit auto show. The company has resisted the plug-in hybrid movement previously, citing the fact that you don't need to plug in the Prius as a virtue. But there has been quite a bit of interest in plug-in hybrids from individuals and even power companies. Plug-in proponents claim to get 100 mpg by modifying Priuses and recharging the batteries when the cars aren't being used. Toyota seems to have finally given into the plug-in pressure, starting up its own plug-in program and handing over … Read more
Car makers showed off a huge number of concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show, indicating new creative efforts in design departments around the world. The cars shown ranged from vehicles that are ready for production to much more speculative designs.
For the past year, we've seen various Mazda concepts expressing the Nagare, or flow, theme, including the Ryuga, Hakaze, and Taiki. But the Furai, shown at the 2008 Detroit auto show, gives real hints of Mazda's production plans. The Furai uses flow lines around the hood and in the side vents, but the wheels are mounted conventionally. Mazda says that the Furai is a study intended to bridge the gap between road and race cars. The Furai is built on a chassis used in Mazda endurance racers, and uses a three rotary engine putting out 450 horsepower, which … Read more
At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, diesel cars grabbed their share of the limelight, as manufacturers such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW prepare to import new diesel vehicles to the U.S. New diesel engines promise performance equivalent to gasoline cars but much better mileage, and new technology means cleaner emissions.
When we had the new Cadillac CTS in for a review last year, it impressed us enough to give it an Editors' Choice. At the 2008 Detroit auto show, Cadillac is capitalizing on its success with that car by showing off a coupe version. This coupe design concept does away with the rear doors, stretches the front doors, and pulls the roof line all the way back to the trunk lip, creating a fast back look. In addition, it achieves more sporty lines by emphasizing the connection between the A-pillar and the hood. Overall, the car represents an uncompromising demonstration … Read more
We previously blogged about Ford's partnership with Gracenote to get album cover art for its in-dash music server, but that's just part of this new navigation and entertainment center. Sirius Travel Link provides a range of data services integrated with the navigation system for traffic, weather, and other useful information. Ford will roll out this new navigation system initially on the Ford F-150 and the Lincoln MKS. We got to try the system out at the 2008 Detroit auto show.
A new car company named Fisker showed off its luxury plug-in hybrid sports car and demonstrated its substantial financial backing by occupying some prime real estate on the floor of the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The company follows in the wake of Tesla in its effort to develop a successful, high-end, eco-conscious sports car.
Ford's new Explorer concept, unveiled at the 2008 Detroit auto show, is designed less to show the future direction of the Explorer model and more to showcase Ford's new fuel-saving technologies. But most of these technologies are merely new to Ford and have already been used by other automakers.
Volkswagen's latest iteration of the Passat, launched at the 2008 Detroit auto show, looks remarkably different from its forebear, and brings in a host of electronics usually reserved for expensive luxury cars. But we are most excited about the all-new navigation and entertainment system, which looks to be a big improvement on Volkswagen's current offering. The car will be imported to the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Hummer doesn't embody environmentalism, but that's the spin GM CEO Rick Wagoner gave when he introduced the Hummer HX concept at the 2008 Detroit auto show. The Hummer HX is smaller and lighter than Hummer's other three models, but, more importantly, uses an E85-capable 3.6-liter V-6 engine. Wagoner extolled the virtues of ethanol as fuel during the press conference, punctuating the point by announcing a partnership between GM and Coskota Inc. to produce ethanol fuel using a new, cost-effective process.
As for the Hummer HX, it is a rugged-looking concept that brings Hummer design cues into … Read more