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January 11, 2012

2012 Detroit Auto Show: The Best of the Rest

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Written by: Pete
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The press coverage for the Detroit Auto Show has now been going on for 3 days and we have seen some excellent new concepts and designs and production ready cars from various manufacturers.  Below is a summary of the cars that have been spot lighted and made an impact on the crowd at Cobo Hall these past few days.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The MKVI Volkswagen Jetta has been on the market for about a full year now and has seen massive gains in sales.  Sales are UP nearly 60% in 2011 from the MKV sales figures for 2010.  On the heels of the launch of the performance variant, the Jetta GLI, Volkswagen has decided to launch a green variant, the Jetta Hybrid.
The hybrid Jetta utilizes a high-tech 1.4L Turbocharged and Intercooled 4-Cylinder motor seen extensive use in Volkswagen home market of Europe mated to a 20 kW zero-emissions electric motor.  Together, this combination produces 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, nearly the exact same figures as the gasoline power 2.5L I5 offered in other Volkswagens in the States.  This is said to allow the Jetta Hybrid to hit 60 mph in under 9 seconds and achieve as much as 45 mpg on the highway.  Look for it in showrooms later this year.

2013 Acura ILX and NSX Concepts

Acura brought a pair of concepts out to Detroit this year in an effort to showcase both performance and efficiency.  The ILX Concept being the efficiency component as Acura’s first hybrid model in history.  The 1.5L hybrid powertrain will be the same as the hybrid powertrain seen in the Honda Civic Hybrid.  The ILX will also offer two gasoline engine options, a 2.0L I4 and a high performance 2.4L I4.  The ILX is designed to be a new entry model for the brand and as such should cost well under $30,000 when it comes out.

The NSX Concept represents the performance component of Acuras lineup.  Bring back the iconic exotic sports car from the ‘90’s, this NSX takes a very unique and modern twist on the original car.  These include not only the use of electric batteries to create a hybrid powertrain but also the application of Acuras Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.  The electric batteries will assist a next-generation VTEC V6 with direct injection.  A choice of either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automated manual transmission, another first for the brand.

Be sure to also check out the 2013 Acura RDX that has received a modest cosmetic update and a change to standard V6 power instead of the Turbocharged 4-Cylinder currently used in the 2012 model.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Veloster Turbo

Hyundai, packing a one-two punch this year has brought two new versions of their best performing cars , the Genesis Coupe and Veloster Turbo.  The Veloster Turbo being, of course, a turbocharged model of the recently release Veloster hatchback.  The 2.0L Turbo motor used here is a familiar one to the Hyundai brand and in this application makes a very modest 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.  Being that the car only weighs approximately 2,700 lbs, this should provide a potent combination.  With this combination is a best-in-class EPA rating of 27 mpg City and 38 mpg Hwy.  Don’t keep your fingers crossed on the car actually meeting those numbers.

Next up for Hyundai is the second generation Genesis Coupe, a car that has created a good following amidst stiff competition from much more established competitors.  This time around Hyundai has seemed to ‘correct’ many of the issues with the first-gen car.  Of course that means more power, rarely a bad thing in a twenty-thousand-something, RWD sports coupe.  The 2.0T sees a boost in power to 274hp and the 3.8L V6 to 348hp.  Both thanks to the addition of direct injection.

Also new here is the choice of an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capability.  This, with the addition of direct injection also helps improve fuel economy.  Cosmetically the car shares not one body piece from the previous version.  It has a much wider and lower looking stance.  And inside, the Genesis Coupe has seen a needed improvement in terms of material and build quality and overall refinement.
Look for both the 2013 Veloster Turbo and 2013 Genesis Coupe to hit showrooms anytime this year.

2012 Lincoln MKZ Concept

Not to let its big brother Ford outdo it with the debut of the Fusion, Lincoln has launched their Fusion-based counterpart in concept form, the MKZ.  At this point it does look very conceptual but what Lincoln does assure us is that this car will better position Lincoln in the luxury brand against counterparts from both Europe and Asia.  What you can see here is less visual similarity to the Fusion as the current model and more ‘Lincoln-like’ design cues seen in the MKS and MKT.  Stay tuned for more information on this concept as it makes its transition to production this year.

2013 Buick Encore

Buick, at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, has launched their newest Opel-based product, the Encore.  A ‘compact-luxury crossover’ that is designed to bring some luxury and style to the sub-$30,000 crossover segment, so says Buick.  Based on the Opel Mokka, the Encore, with just a 100.6” wheelbase, is said to be competition for the upcoming Audi Q3 and BMW X1.  Powered by just 140 hp from a 1.4L Ecotec Turbo from the Chevy Cruze, this writer thinks it will need a bit more gusty to keep up with the best in the world.

With an extensive list of features and equipment and a posh, for the price, interior, maybe Buick can make up for its laziness by undercutting the Audi and BMW’s price and content amounts.  Wait and see for yourself at this years’ auto show going on now or drive one for yourself early next year.

2012 Honda Accord Concept

Honda decided to unveil a barely changed and barely disguised concept version of their upcoming next-generation Honda Accord Coupe, also believed to preview the upcoming Sedan.  What we can see here is a mildly revised front end with new grills and headlight housing borrowed from Acura.  Also seen are LED daytime-running-lights.  Out back is a similar story with revised lighting and lower fascias.  Don’t expect the exhaust seen here to make it to market.

The only change to the engines is the addition of direct injection.  What this means is that the same 2.4L VTEC and 3.5L VTEC will net a slight gain in power and fuel efficiency.  A new CVT option replacing the 5-speed Automatic will help the mileage, but not performance, equation here as well.  The big news in terms of powertrains is a new plug-in hybrid option.    A 2.0L i-VTEC I4 will be mated to a pair of Atkinson cycle electric motors and use a CVT ONLY transmission.  Power and efficiency figures are unknown at this point.
Look for the next-generation Accord to hit showrooms sometime later this year, if you will even notice.

The Rest

Also making their debut at the Detroit Auto Show are

  • 2012 Toyota Prius C – A compact Prius.
  • 2013 Lexus LX 570/Toyota Land Cruiser – A mid-cycle refresh of the existing LX 570/Land Cruiser
  • Various production cars seen at other auto shows elsewhere
  • And a plethora of wacky concepts showcasing distant futures for the various makes

For this and more coverage and information regarding the Detroit Auto Show, please visit the website of the 2012 North American International Auto Show at www.naias.com

Related posts:

  1. 2012 Detroit Auto Show: 2013 Dodge Dart
  2. 2012 Detroit Auto Show: 2013 Ford Fusion
  3. 2012 Detroit Auto Show: 2013 Cadillac ATS
  4. 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage
  5. New Lexus LF-LC Concept Revealed


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