The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has seen a few new car unveilings this week, from concepts to production-ready models.
Here’s our round-up of the 10 most exciting.
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Porsche 918 RSR
The Porsche 918 RSR is a hybrid supercar, combining the V8 engine from the Spyder racer and two electric motors for the front wheels, as featured in the 911 GT3 R hybrid. This bumps the 536bhp V8 up to a massive 767bhp when both electric motors are activated. Porsche has said it will build the car, but hasn’t said when. It certainly ticks the exciting box, but it won’t be cheap.
Toyota Prius v
The Prius v is an MPV (‘v’ standing for versatility) version of the hugely popular Prius hatchback. It uses the same Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which combines petrol and electric power, but has 50% more interior space than the hatch to improve practicality for families. We expect to see more of the car at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The Veloster coupé follows the Mini Clubman with an unusual three-door design – a pair of conventional front doors and a supplementary rear door on the passenger side. The design is to improve coupé practicality without losing the sleek looks. The Veloster features Hyundai’s first twin-clutch transmission and promises high fuel economy and low C02 emissions.
Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric was actually unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier in the month, but Detroit was its car show debut. It has an electric motor, a liquid-cooled/heated lithium-ion battery pack, a single-speed transmission and a top speed of 84mph. Like the Nissan Leaf, the battery range is only around the 100-mile mark. However, the Focus Electric can be fully recharged in half the time needed by the Leaf.
The KV7 is only a concept for now, but this bulked-up Soul could be Kia’s replacement for the ageing Sedona MPV. The seven-seater (hence KV7) incorporates the same ‘embrace the box’ philosophy as the Kia Soul, but with a few unique design cues, most notably the single passenger-side gullwing door. The concept uses a 2.0-litre GDI turbo petrol engine that produces 285bhp.
Like the Kia KV7, the Hyundai Curb was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show as a concept car. And just like the Veloster Hyundai unveiled at the show, the Curb has a single rear passenger door. It also displays some other clever design cues like ultra-thin seats made from air cells similar to those found in running shoes to optimise space inside. The Curb also showcases Hyundai’s Blue Link emergency assistance system, which is due for launch.
Ford showed the Vertrek for the first time at the Detroit North America International Auto Show, but we aren’t expecting to see it in a production form until 2012. It’s set to be the replacement for the Kuga as a crossover SUV. We expect the final version to look very similar, minus the big alloy wheels and carbonfibre step plates. The concept uses a 1.6-litre four-cylinder Ford Ecoboost engine, capable of up to 180bhp, which is expected to be a incorporated into most Ford models in the coming years.
The Mini Paceman has been seen before in this concept guise, however Mini announced at the Detroit North America International Auto Show that it will be putting the model into production, although not for a couple of years. It’s essentially a lowered, two-door version of the Countryman, which was only launched last year. The Paceman features the Mini John Cooper Works 211bhp 1.6-litre engine and Mini’s All4 four-wheel-drive system.
Honda took the covers off two Civic concepts at the Detroit North America International Auto Show, the Civic Si Concept Coupé and the Civic Concept Saloon. Both are US-only cars, although the European-spec model is due to be replaced at the end of the year. Honda says: ‘The Civic for the European market will continue to be built in the UK and is not mechanically related to either of the US models’. Looks-wise, these two concepts could offer an insight into the future EU-spec Civic.
Ford C-Max Energi and Hybrid
Ford appears to be the busiest manufacturer at Detroit this year, revealing two new variations of the C-Max – a plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi and the C-Max Hybrid. Both models feature a similar system to that used in the Toyota Prius, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and lithium-ion batteries. The Ford C-Max Energi even has a Brake Coach system, educating drivers how to optimise the use of the regenerative brakes. Both the C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid are expected to go on sale in 2013.
Which? Car Survey 2011
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