Thursday, January 21, 2010

Small, electric and sporty cars take Detroit spotlight



More than any auto show in recent memory, the new cars rolled out at the Detroit auto show will redefine what we drive in the future.

As the show opened to the public on Saturday, small cars that push the previous limits on gas mileage, performance, quality and looks took the spotlight.

But the show also features a fun gas-electric hybrid sports car and a just-plain-gorgeous convertible. And there's an electric car that soon you'll be able to buy.

Here are five of the hottest cars at the show:

CHEVROLET AVEO

General Motors transformed its cheap and ugly Aveo subcompact into a muscular, well-equipped five-door hatchback that gets around 40 mpg on the highway.



The company unveiled the athletic-looking European-inspired Aveo RS. Technically it's just a concept vehicle, meaning GM hasn't decided to build it, but insiders say it almost certainly will be assembled in Michigan.

It has a 138 horsepower and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

AUDI R8 SPYDER

Outside,the all-wheel-drive Spyder looks like a cross between the sleek Audi TT Roadster and a Formula 1 racer. Its metallic paint is dazzling, and the interior is simple yet elegant.



The R8 coupe powered by a 525 horsepower V-10 engine goes from zero to 60 in a breathtaking 3.7 seconds. Gas mileage isn't so great, up to 20 mpg on the highway.

The convertible is due in showrooms in July. The price is likely to be north of $155,000.

FORD FOCUS

The Focus pushes the compact car to a new level of appearance and quality.



Its body is sculpted and aerodynamic, and creases in the sheet metal give the impression of air flowing smoothly from front to back. It has expensive-looking headlamps and tail lights, and the silver paint on a display model is top-notch.

The new Focus, due in showrooms early in 2011, is powered by a new two-liter four-cylinder engine. Ford said mileage will be around 40 mpg on the highway.

HONDA CR-Z

Honda Motor Co. unveiled a hybrid that will bring fun to those who want to be green with the 2011 CR-Z, a sporty two-seater that goes on sale late this summer in the U.S.



The sleek hatchback comes with an electric motor plus a 122-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It has a six-speed manual transmission available, and unlike other hybrids, the driver can choose between sport, normal and economy driving modes.

NISSAN LEAF

The Nissan Leaf begins the new era of electric cars.



You will be able to buy one toward year-end, for about $30,000.

It's designed to go 100 miles before the batteries run down, and can be recharged in eight hours from a home outlet. A quick charger can take it to 80 percent of battery capacity in 30 minutes, Nissan said.

source: thonline