LA motor show latest newsDetails of Honda’s Insight and VW’s hydrogen cars
23 November 2008
The Los Angeles motor show is taking place right now - here are a few of the new car highlights.
Honda has released further details of its forthcoming Insight ‘affordable’ hybrid, and teased show-goers with a concept design for a hydrogen fuel-cell powered supercar, the FC Sport.
New details about the Insight reveal some of the clever technologies that will help you drive more economically.
‘ECON mode’, for example, adjusts everything from the air conditioning to the engine management system, while the ‘Ecological Drive Assist System’ focuses on improving the performance of the driver, with guidance and scoring - the idea being, if you have an economy target to beat, you will drive more greenly.
The Insight forms a key part of Honda’s hybrid future, which includes hybrid versions of the new Jazz and Civic, and a hybrid sports car, the forthcoming CR-Z.
Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti, has confirmed the new G37 Convertible as its fifth European model line.
It arrives next summer, using a slightly less powerful version of the same 3.7-litre V6 that powers the new Nissan 370Z (see below). It’s a folding hard-top design, and will include luxuries like climate-controlled seats.
Lexus is a big name in the United States, so no surprise it chose LA to unveil its new generation RX 4x4, the RX 450h hybrid.
When it eventually arrives in the UK, the RX450h will replace all existing RXs, making it a hybrid-only range.
Further UK details will follow next year.
Nissan has fully unveiled its new 370Z sports car, and the third-generation Cube.
The 370Z is an all-new replacement for the current 350Z, with a bigger 3.7-litre V6 engine. It’s smaller, lighter, and features some interesting new technology – including a seven-speed paddleshift gearbox option.
The 370Z is faster, more powerful, and more aggressive looking, too - so it’s a shame V6s seem to be going out of fashion right now…
Up until now the Nissan Cube has been confined to Japan, but this all-new version is going global – and that seems likely to include the UK.
It’s a, well, cube-shaped supermini/mini-MPV, heavy on the trendy design but also functional.
Porsche has updated its Cayman coupé and Boxster roadster range with a new look and new engines.
These offer more power – with the Cayman taking a lead over the Boxster for the first time – but are also far more fuel efficient, especially when combined with the Porsche’s new seven-speed ‘PDK’ semi-automatic gearbox. So equipped, every version now officially averages more than 30mpg.
The new cars are on sale in February. Prices start at £34,420 for the Boxster, £41,250 Boxster S, £36,870 Cayman, and £45,050 Cayman S.
Volkswagen has chosen the LA show to introduce diesel to its US car range – as is BMW, incidentally. Starting with the Jetta and Touareg, these feature systems for cleaning up nitrogen oxide emissions in the exhaust, but are otherwise similar to the cars we already get at home.
Perhaps more interestingly, VW is also showing a pair of hydrogen fuel cell concepts – a Tiguan 4x4 and a Touran MPV.
VW is also apparently working on a new form of hydrogen fuel cell that should yield greater performance with reduced complexity. The first such full production car could possibly be on sale by 2020.
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