Category Archive:

Pontiac G6 GXP Concept

1

2006 New York Show Concept Draws from Previous SEMA Concepts
Back in 2004, Pontiac launched the GXP performance badge, planned for use across the range. For 2004 and 2005 model years, Pontiac offered the Bonneville GXP with a 275HP 4.6L Northstar V8. Then they shoehorned a 5.3L V8 into the Grand Prix GXP, for a 303HP stealth sedan. The Solstice GXP is next at dealers, offering a breathed-on 260HP four-cylinder.
Pontiac has been testing the waters of acceptance for a GXP variant of its volume G6 line with concepts at the annual SEMA show, culminating in the 2006 New York auto show G6 GXP coupe concept. (SEMA = Specialty Equipment Market Association.) The company has not yet confirmed production, but is testing the waters of public acceptance again with a concept at the 2006 New York auto show. Seeing the GXP in Pontiac showrooms for 2007 model year would not surprise AutoPacific or VehicleVoice contributors.

Pon_G6_GXP_NYAS_bl_fr.jpg


Continue Reading

Geneva 2006: Saab Aero X Embraces Heritage as it Looks to Future

0

Saab’s Aerospace History Influences Future Design, and a Sports Car Concept
The purpose of the Aero X concept that Saab introduced at the latest Geneva auto show is to explore how the brand might express its heritage and Scandinavian personality in the future. Though the concept on the Saab stand this year is a two-seat coupe, and Saab is said to be developing a sports car entry for sometime this decade, the Aero X is not a direct representation of what that sports car might be. The Aero X allows Saab to display future design cues, further explore eco-friendly powertrains, and express the company personality in a new-generation form.

Saab_06_aeroX_bl_rear.jpg

While the Aero X is not representative of any particular upcoming model, among the exterior graphics expected to be adapted to future production cars are the horizontal sweep across the rear of the concept and elements of the face.


Continue Reading

Dodge Explores Going Small With Dodge Hornet

2

Dodge Hornet: What if Dodge Created B-Segment Car?
Unlike the Lexus concept at this year’s Geneva auto show that took safety and driving aids into a whole other dimension, Dodge explored what form a Class B entry might take in their range. Maximizing interior space and generating a cool look were far more important to this concept.
“Class B”, “B-Class”, “B-Segment” are interchangeable terms that are used mostly in the Asian and European industry to identify very small cars designed for space and fuel efficiency. In the USA, these cars may be referred to as subcompacts.

Dod_06_Hornet_bl_r34.jpg

As Dodge expands its sales internationally, new segments are under consideration. Small cars are an important segment in Europe and one with some growth in the States, but Dodge does not currently have a suitable platform. The Dodge Hornet concept could be considered an audition. Dodge would like to have a Class B entry, but without a platform, they need a partner. What better way to audition than to show off what you can do?
Dod_06_Hornet_bl_fr.jpg

The basics: Hornet is a front-wheel-drive, three-door hatchback with a 170HP 1.6L SOHC 16v four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Suspension is MacPherson strut in front and semi-independent in rear. For this aggressive-look concept, the design includes nineteen-inch wheels and tires and an estimated 6.7-second 0-to-60-mph time. Pedal-to-the-metal and sawing through the gears to max RPM.


Continue Reading

Latest Honda Civic Type R Introduced in Geneva

2

Type R Concept Also Introduces a New Bodystyle.
North America already gets a hot Civic in the form of the two-door Si, but the sporty setup for Europe and Japan bears the Type R name. Though North American buyers do not get a Type R model, the Si offers the same powertrain with less aggressive chassis tuning than a Type R. Introduced as a near-production concept at the Geneva auto show the first week of March 2006, the Civic Type R is a three-door hatchback instead of the two-door coupe sold in the USA and, shortly, the American four-door Si sedan versions. In the USA, Type R has been reserved for Honda’s Acura division, but, while the model designator may not be appropriate for the Honda brand in the States, Civic Type R components may be desirable.

Hon_07_CivicTypeR_bl_rear1.jpg

Though the previous Type R Integra won over many U.S. enthusiasts, we haven’t seen a Type R in the States since the 2001 model year version. The Type S models that Acura offers now do not have the same rough edges and aggressive personalities of Type R models.
The Civic Type R gets the same 197HP 2.0L DOHC 16v I4 that the U.S. Si offers and goes on sale in early 2007. Civic Type R models have traditionally offered about 200HP, but with the improvements to the suspension and chassis that the 2006MY change brought being further enhanced by the Type R treatment, the driving experience should be more involving and entertaining. More pedestrian versions of the 3-door hatchback will launch ahead of the Type R in Europe and Japan, though North America will not see the 3-door bodystyle. As Honda also announced its return to Formula 1 with a full works team, the company asked team driver Jenson Button to assist with the Geneva Civic Type R Concept unveiling.
Hon_07_CivicTypeR_bl_show.jpg


Continue Reading

Aston Martin Rapide Looks Set for Production

Aston Martin May Beat Porsche Panamera to Market
At the 2006 North American International Auto Show, Aston Martin unveiled a concept called Rapide. Within a month or so of the introduction, suppliers confirmed to Automotive News reporters production is being planned for summer 2007. Aston could bring out its new sports car two model years ahead of the Porsche Panamera, due in 2009CY for 2010MY. Reports are that Aston is planning to build 3,000 to 3,500 units annually, compared with the Porsche’s 20,000-unit target. Comparing the Porsche to the Aston Martin is a touch misleading, however, as the Aston is likely to command a transaction price comfortably above the Porsche. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand when the Rapide was unveiled complete with a designer pooch. We’ll take the car, you can have the dog.

A_M_08_Rapide_bl_show.jpg

The addition of the Aston Martin Rapide will give luxury-minded buyers several four-seat, grand touring entries to choose from by the end of the decade, whether two doors like the BMW 6-Series and Bentley Continental GT or four doors like the Mercedes-Benz CLS, Porsche Panamera, and Aston Martin Rapide. Though not necessarily direct competitors, entries like these similar philosophies, with seductively gorgeous exteriors, pampering and sumptuous interiors, more power than you ever need, and a driving experience tuned for the grand touring side of life as much as the sporting side. These aren’t racing cars barely dressed for the street like a Dodge Viper or Porsche Carrera GT, though they have enough power to win most stoplight challenges.
A_M_08_Rapide_bl_front.jpg


Continue Reading

Kia Multi-S to Join U.S. Lineup as Kia Rondo

0

Editor’s NOTE: The Multi-S was launched as the Kia Rondo late in 2006.
Small Minivan Explores Reaction at Best-Attended U.S. Auto Show
As the Chicago Auto Show has a reputation for having the highest attendance figures of all U.S. auto shows, what better place to test a possible new people mover? While this concept was first shown last September on Kia‘s stand at the 2005 Frankfurt auto show, Chicago marked its first North American appearance. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice contributors were on hand at both showings, and can promise that there were no real changes between Frankfurt and Chicago, aside from Kia showing a gasoline engine in the States and a diesel in Frankfurt.

Kia_07_UN_Multi-S_bl_f34.jpg

In Korea and Europe, where North American minivans are too large and the exception rather than the rule for family transportation, Kia sells a minivan smaller than the Sedona. The second-generation of this vehicle is being developed under the codename UN, and it is expected to join the U.S. lineup before the end of 2006. While the final verdict on the Kia’s U.S. nomenclature is not in, Multi-S is reportedly in the running.
The UN will be a more modern and fully featured than the example currently sold in international markets, making it more competitive in Europe as well as giving it a chance in the States. The concept dimensions indicate a vehicle slightly bigger than the Mazda5 and that the U.S. version is likely to get a four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Kia Motors America Vice President of Marketing Ian Beavis characterized Multi-S competition as “drawing from station wagons, vehicles like the Mazda5 and even small SUVs. The Multi-S did pretty well against the new Toyota RAV4 in research.”
Kia_07_UN_Multi-S_bl_r34.jpg


Continue Reading

Nissan Titan Onyx to Expand Titan Range

0

Titan Onyx Suggests Future Personalization Options
At the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, alongside and overshadowed by the updated 2007 Quest, was a Nissan Titan concept called Onyx. Following the press conference and walking the show amongst other industry watchers and journalists, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents noticed a lack of activity around the Onyx. With any luck, the car-buying public that the Chicago show truly caters to took more notice the following week.

Nis_06_TitanOnyx_bl_fr.jpg

Nissan created the Onyx concept to gauge reaction for potential future special edition packages or perhaps dealer-installed accessories. The idea is not a bad one, as the other truck manufacturers offer various add-ons, and there is a perception that Nissan buyers may be more into personalizing their ride than some other makes. Nissan has a strong reputation among the tuner crowd, and if they stay loyal to the brand for a truck, they are likely to take their penchant for personalization with them.
Nissan is committed to expanding the Titan lineup, and though the Onyx was only a very small step in that direction, heavy-duty and diesel variants of the Titan will likely arrive before the end of the decade. Showing the concept Titan also likely endeavored to generate some attention for Nissan’s full-size pickup at the show, where it was heavily overshadowed by the unveiling of Toyota’s next Tundra.


Continue Reading

Dodge Rampage Explores Possible Future Trucks

5

Rampage Concept Takes On Chicago
One of the most interesting concepts at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show was the Dodge Rampage pickup truck. As an increase in trucks for personal use, versus commercial or work use, caused a boom in truck sales this century, some are looking to where the future is for these nontraditional truck buyers. Though Ford’s Explorer Sport Trac was ahead of GM’s midgate-equipped full-size Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT and Hummer H2 SUT, the Ford was effectively an Explorer with an open cargo area, while the GM system truly expanded functionality. Subaru‘s Baja fits in there somewhere, though too small and lightweight to really play well with trucks. Then the Honda Ridgeline arrived for 2006, winning both Truck of the Year and honors from both Motor_Trend and a group of North American automotive journalists, though sales have not quite met expectations. There are now six products of this type on market, competing in several different truck segments (or in SUV segments, depending on your perspective). But in the final analysis, think of Rampage as a Honda Ridgeline with a HEMI.

Dod_06_Rampage_bl_show.jpg

Dodge took a crack a developing their own truck-plus-SUV concept for the 2006 Chicago auto show, and AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand to see it. We left before the public got a chance to see the concept, but industry buzz around the show was positive. We think the truck looked terrific, and appreciate Dodge’s ability to keep its clear personality and flavor in varied vehicle types. Alongside the Rampage in Chicago were the Dodge Nitro and Caliber SRT-4, both with aggressive and strong Dodge personalities as well.
Dod_06_Rampage_bl_show_2.jpg


Continue Reading

Mazda Kabura Explores an Entry Sporty Coupe

1

MX-5-Based Concept Introduced in Detroit
Owing more mechanically to the recently launched third-generation Mazda MX-5 (you remember, the sports car formerly known as Miata) convertible than to the RX-8 (which has been expected to spawn a two-door variant), the Kabura concept that introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show offers exterior dimensions between the MX-5 and RX-8. The concept explores the idea of an entry-level sports coupe that also offers enough interior space for today’s demanding audiences. While Mazda did not promise the Kabura is scheduled for production, they did indicate that if produced, it would stand as its own model line, alongside MX-5 and RX-8. Vehicle Voice and AutoPacific correspondents were there to take a look.
The Kabura is a two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe powered by the Miata’s 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to the six-speed transmission and borrowing suspension setup and components from the Miata. If our recent drive of two versions of the Miata are any indication, the Kabura could be a terrifically fun car to drive, though its larger size and expanded interior utility could increase the vehicle’s weight.


Continue Reading

Chrysler Revives Imperial Nameplate for Luxury Concept

3

Imperial Takes Style Cues from the Past
The Chrysler Group has a history of presenting stunning concepts, particularly at the North American International Auto Show. Some of these reach production, though the 2006 Imperial concept is still just a concept. The Imperial may have a weaker business case than the Dodge Challenger it was introduced next too, but with it Chrysler explores how far up the luxury chain they may be able to reach. Vehicle Voice and AutoPacific correspondents were on hand for the unveiling, complete with star of Desperate_Housewives Eva Longoria flubbing her line. Expected to say she was desperate to have one, she turned out to be not that desperate to have one. No matter, in the end, as the concept won best in show from a 100-person Detroit News readers’ panel.

Cry_06_ImperialCncpt_bl_rr1.jpg

The Imperial is envisioned as a flagship sedan, and looks to a lengthened version of the Chrysler 300 (LX) platform, though it has an additional seventeen inches between the axles and another six inches in height. This allows for the long, narrow proportions the company was looking for as well as the room to pamper rear-seat passengers. While the Dodge Charger borrowed inspiration from the Charger of old and the Dodge Challenger concept was a modern replica of the 1970 Challenger, Imperial looked to the 1930s and 1950s sedans that also bore the name.
Frankly, the styling of the Imperial has been very controversial no matter what the Detroit News poll says. Pundits have been ripping it apart. One design chief we talked to wondered what has happened to Chrysler’s vaunted styling team? Another senior designer thought it had interesting cues from the side view but that the front and rear designs were abominable. We know Chrysler can do a tasteful, very upscale Imperial. We’ll wait to see the next one.


Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

2018 NVSS

2018 New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey
By Invitation Only


Start Survey

Membership

Join

Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice