auto show:

New York Auto Show 2008 – 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe


A New Coupe, A Year Away
Hyundai spent their New York auto show time introducing their new rear-drive sporty coupe, the Genesis Coupe. Related to the Genesis sedan on sale this summer, the coupe arrives in spring 2009.


Genesis sits on Hyundai’s first in-house rear-drive car platform. The stylish coupe tames down its looks from the concept introduced in Los Angeles in November 2007, but mostly in losing hood scoops and refining lights, front grille, and spoiler shapes. What Hyundai held back for introduction was that the powertrain lineup includes a turbocharged and intercooled 212HP 2.0L I4 as the base engine. The 3.8L V6 arrives as expected, but most figured the second powertrain would be the sedan’s V8.

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New York Auto Show 2008 – 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe


It’s All About the Look
Pontiac introduced a hardtop version of the extroverted Solstice at this year’s New York auto show, along with the G8 GXP and G8 ST. As cool as it looks, don’t rush to the dealer. Your Solstice coupe won’t be there until early 2009.



The Solstice coupe looks great. With the same engines and suspension setup as the roadster, you can bet it’ll be just as fun on the road. But Pontiac built in compromises with a lift-off roof panel, liftglass (versus tailgate), and useless but nicely styled rear quarter windows. Yes, small coupes always offer less interior and cargo space and poor visibility compared with sedans and SUVs. Small, sporty coupes (or convertibles) are always compromised. But the compromises don’t need to be this obvious.

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New York Auto Show 2008 – A Pair from Kia


Kia‘s New York auto show stage held both concept and production surprises. We believe that the KOUP concept, though too cutely named, hints at the next-generation Spectra. Kia described the KOUP as “closer to production than you might think,” strongly hinting Kia may add the coupe itself. The production surprise was the facelifted 2009 Optima. This new look takes Optima a step forward.


Kia KOUP: Is there a pocket rocket in Kia’s future?


2009 Kia Optima gets a fresh look

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2009 Volvo XC60: First Official Pictures


Formal Worldwide Reveal Set for Geneva Auto Show
Volvo is among several luxury makes adding smaller and smaller crossover SUVs over the coming years, as consumers get more concerned about fuel economy and worldwide regulations get tighter. Whether the European CO2-emissions regulations or U.S. CAFÉ standards, the combination of buyer sensitivity and governmental interference means smaller, more efficient, and lighter vehicles are on the horizon.


The XC60 goes on sale in the States in early 2009, and will be offered with only one powertrain. This single powertrain, a 285HP six-cylinder, should provide a nice combination between get-up-and-go and efficiency. Judging by these photos, I’m looking forward to seeing the XC60 on the road and getting my chance behind the wheel. Smaller and better-looking than the aging XC90, its size is better suited to my own life. U.S. buyers get their first look in March at the New York auto show.

There are buyers for whom small but Spartan will not be acceptable, and they are being targeted with vehicles like the XC60. Small, nimble, but still practical in both cargo and their cost-per-mile. Volvo looks to sell 50,000 XC60s around the world, with the United States one of the top five markets. These entries are not poised to take the lion’s share of SUV sales, but they will be important for the bottom line, for meeting regulations, and for keeping market share.
Enough talk. More photos, plus Volvo’s official release, below the fold.

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Infiniti Announces Pricing on 2008 EX35 – $31,300 – $36,250 (to well over $40K)


SUVs are on their way out and Crossover SUVs are on their way up. Those in the market for a versatile vehicle with seating for four full size adults and cargo, the ride quality of a car and the image of an SUV have flocked to Crossover SUVs. It’s not a new concept but the idea really didn’t catch on until Lexus came out with their RX 300 in 1998. XUVs as they’ve come to be called are typically built off of a unitized car platform and owners really appreciate the benefits. They tend to cost less than SUVs, get better fuel economy and handle better.


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BMW Concept X6 and X6 ActiveHybrid: BMW X DNA Defined

At the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show, BMW Introduced The “First” Sports Activity Coupe
Technically, BMW is right. This is the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe. But that seems a matter of degrees, as Infiniti’s FX is really the world’s first SUV Coupe (and that was introduced back in 2003). The difference between an SAV and an SUV is in the mind of BMW, not the mind of the consumer.



Claims to world’s first aside, two X6 Concepts, one with an undefined but implied large conventional powerplant and another with BMW’s also largely undefined two- mode hybrid powertrain, were shown at the 2007 Frankfurt show in September. The X6 Concept and X6 Concept ActiveHybrid preview a vehicle we’ll see on the roads in 2008, built alongside the X5 at the company’s Spartanburg plant. Both gathered strong interest at the show, though the real test will be seeing the X6 on the autobahn, freeways, and suburban and city roads next to everything from the most sedate family sedan to the largest SUV to the smallest sports car. Will its striking roofline be enough to draw attention and appreciative looks or just look out of place? Though given graceful and dynamic surfacing, below the beltline the X6 looks every bit the SUV it is.

The X6 and X6 ActiveHybrid Concepts show what to expect from the exterior, though the interior and powertrain and mechanicals details are yet under wraps. We expect conventional X6 powerplants to be pulled from the X5, and the ActiveHybrid Concept confirms BMW’s intent to offer the jointly developed two-mode hybrid system (after the fragmenting of DaimlerChrysler, this is a four-way venture between GM, Daimler, The Chrysler Group, and BMW). BMW will use their own engines with the two-mode hybrid system, as do the other partners, and may call the system ActiveHybrid in production.

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Volkswagen up!: What a New-Century Bug Might Look Like


Small City Car Concept Revives Rear-Engine Layout, Explores the Future of Interior Displays
At an event the evening before the official start of media days of this year’s Frankfurt auto show, Volkswagen revealed their latest city car concept. Small outside and big inside, the up! takes a layout similar to the first Beetle, with a rear-mounted engine (though VW did not specify what engine might be packed in back there).



Cute and clever, VW may consider bringing the up! to the U.S. market in a few years. At less than 136 inches long, up! is about 30 inches longer than the smart fortwo, but about the same length shorter than the current New Beetle. Instead of a traditional center stack, up! offered a seven-inch touch screen that VW called “the way that future human-machine interface will look and operate.” Not only a touch-screen-based system for controlling navigation, climate, audio, and phone, a proximity sensor reacts to hand gestures. Once the element you wanted to control shows up in the menu, a simple wave of the hand brings up the specific control screen. Glad they cleared that up for us! Instead of gauges, there is an eight-inch screen in front of the driver, displaying all the relevant information. This small concept offers seats for four, with all but the driver’s seat removable and stowable. Described as similar to a self-inflating mattress, a valve allows air to be released and the seat adjusted for maximum comfort for any passenger.


Many of Volkswagen’s concepts find their way into production eventually, and VW continues to explore solutions for a low-cost city car that is environmentally friendly, economical, affordable, and still profitable. Whether or not we see up! in the States, a four-door version is likely to find its way into production in a few years.

Sure does remind me of the Mitsubishi i… looks more substantial, but the concept is very similar.
Mitsubishi i.jpg

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