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Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Top ten at Detroit Auto Show 2011
The 2011 Detroit Auto Show defies any real trend. There are hot new race cars, fuel-sipping hybrids, all-new all-electric sedans and steady progress in pickups. The only thing missing at this show are concept cars—left behind, it seems, for the progress of new, real models. Here are our picks for the top 10 cars at the Detroit Auto Show.
After a 10 year gestation, the Prius will spawn hybrid offspring. In essence, Prius will become a car line, just like Lexus and Scion. The model c is a small fuel-efficient hatchback that will arrive next year about six months after the Prius v.
Currently Ford sells a different small SUV in Europe and the U.S. But that will change next year, when the Vertrek replaces the Escape. It will probably be powered by the new 1.6-liter turbo engine, but we’re hoping that the 2.0-liter diesel that’s available in Europe will also make the trip stateside.
While nominally a concept car, the Curb will soon be for sale. This sporty coupe has three doors—two on the passenger side and one on the driver side—and will likely be powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder. The base price will be about $17,000.
BMW 1 Series M Coupe
While in appearance, the M Coupe, doesn’t deviate greatly from the existing car, this is BMW’s most eagerly awaited 2011 model. With a 335 hp twin turbo straight 6, sport suspension, and a 6-speed manual transmission the M coupe is a driver’s car with few rivals. The only downside is the $47,000 base price.
The Civic was the sixth best selling car last year, despite it being at the end of its life cycle. So naturally the new version, which is due this summer, does not deviate greatly from the current car. There will also be coupe and sedan body styles, a hybrid, and a natural-gas powered version.
With typical nonsensical concept cars in short supply, the one car that made every car enthusiast a little weak kneed was the 918 RSR. This hybrid racer has a mid-mounted V8, electric motors driving the front wheels, and a flywheel energy accumulator in the passenger seat. This car will be raced this year as Porsche continues its hybrid research.
Minivans are the most efficient haulers on the road today, boasting far more interior volume than most SUVs yet delivering better mpg. The downside, of course, is the mommy-mobile stigma. Kia, however, may have found an alternative with the KV7, a design exercise that may preview future vans.
We’ve known for at least a year that VW would build a new mid-size sedan to compete, price- and size-wise with sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Now we know that the new car will replace the Passat and it’s as roomy as an Accord and will start at about $20,000. But only VW will offer a diesel engine
Ford Focus EV
In about a year, Ford will offer an EV version of the new Focus in selected markets. The powertrain is similar to the Nissan Leaf’s, but Ford says that the Focus EV will charge remarkably quick—just three hours on a 240-volt circuit.
GMC All Terrain HD Truck
Now that GM’s pickups have updated mechanicals, the company is turning its attention to the exterior. The All Terrain HD is one possibility for the next GMC pickup and it employs several design cues, like the flared fenders, from the GMC Terrain SUV. Expect to see something like this in the neat future.