New models at Detroit auto show offer more promise than compromise
By Mark Phelan
Published: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Compromise, schmompromise. The 2013 North American International Auto Show is about having your cake and eating it, too.
“It's all about increasing efficiency without penalizing performance,” Porsche R&D chief Wolfgang Hatz said at the show this week.
Cars and trucks that offer more power and higher fuel economy are the order of the day on the show floor at Cobo Center in Detroit, where the show opens to the public on Saturday.
It's the future of performance, as automakers embrace the idea that buyers expect their new vehicles to be more efficient and more capable. No trade-offs, thank you very much. We expect it all.
The relentless advancement begins with the beautiful and efficient 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Code-named Y1XX, its 6.2-liter V-8 produces 450 horsepower, accelerates the two-seater to 60 mph in less than 4.0 seconds and will score a higher EPA rating than the outgoing model, thanks to lightweight materials and new technologies.
Ford's hulking Atlas, a concept vehicle pointing the way to the 2015 F-150 that will go on sale next year, sings the same song in a different key.
Ford says aerodynamic tweaks and new technologies will make America's workhorse sleeker and more fuel-efficient.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV adds a long-awaited diesel V-6 — courtesy of Fiat, which specializes in the brawny and frugal engines — to become the first model in the iconic brand's history equipped to conquer the brutal Rubicon trail and break the 30-mpg barrier on the highway.
Some new vehicles at the show offer almost cartoonish levels of power while promising greater efficiency and lower fuel consumption and emissions. The Maserati Quattroporte luxury sedan wrings 532 horsepower out of a mere 3.8 liters of V-8 engine. Needless to say, it also uses 20 percent less fuel than the less powerful car it replaces.
The procession of new high-mpg models isn't just for big spenders. Honda's small crossover — a concept that's nearly identical to a production model coming in 2014 — sneaks a five-passenger interior into an aggressively styled SUV body that promises to score above 40 mpg in highway fuel efficiency tests.
Nissan also promises more features and 40 mpg-plus in its roomy new Versa Note subcompact hatchback.
New hybrids and electric cars abound as well. Volkswagen's CrossBlue concept crossover combines diesel and electric efficiency. Lexus' low-slung new IS becomes the first of the brand's small sport sedans to come with a hybrid, while the Cadillac ELR wraps sumptuous leather and Cadillac style around the drivetrain of the award-winning Chevrolet Volt.
Mark Phelan is the auto critic for the Detroit Free Press; email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Natural gas industry buoyed by advancing technology
- Car only as good as its tires
- JPMorgan whistle-blower gets $64M for mortgage fraud tips
- Teach your engine well
- Wake up and smell the bacon app
- Encouraging employment report fails to stir much excitement to stock markets
- Coca-Cola CEO’s pay, bonus drop
- Cabbies protest ride startups