With gas prices on the rise across the country and around the world, automotive manufacturers are retooling their vehicles to perform better. How far are some auto manufacturers willing to go to stretch a gallon of gas?
The 2011 New York International Auto Show rolls into town this year with more fuel-efficient vehicles across the market, giving buyers an array of choices to choose from. Whether it is a turbo diesel SUV or an electric hybrid sedan, they are trying to offer something for everyone at this year’s show.
Here are some highlights from this year’s New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
By Jonathan Li and Elizabeth Rocklin
Posted 21 April 2011
Toyota’s Scion division has been busy trying new things. The development of the FR-S Concept is no exception. Targeted towards the younger demographic, Scion hopes the FR-S will help energize the brand, as sales have been lackluster lately.
If you are wondering what “FR-S” stands for, it means front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, sport. But at the NYIAS press conference, according to Jack Hollis, Vice President and General Manger of Scion, "Friggin' Really Sweet."
The FR-S is 168.2 inches in length and houses a 2.0-liter flat-four engine that is produced by Subaru. Buyers will have a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Standard is a limited slip differential.
No announcement about production has been made.
In its 9th generation, the 2012 Honda Civic is taking on rivals such as the Hyundai Elantra and the Ford Focus. Focusing on fuel efficiency, Honda is revamping the sedan and coupe, the hybrid model, the natural gas model, the SI coupes and sedan models, and re-introducing the HF model.
For the SI model line, it will sport a 2.4-liter 200-horsepower engine capable of obtaining 31-mpg on the highway. The SI will wear a more aggressive lower grill and side panels.
As for the HF model, the 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine will be capable of obtaining 41-mpg on the highway. One possible pitfall for the company: The HF model will only come in a sedan version.
All versions of the 2012 Honda Civic, with the except of the Civic SI, will have its ECO Assistant technology to educate drivers on how to drive more efficiently.
You can find the new 2012 Honda Civics in showrooms now starting at $15,605.
If you own a Porsche Panamera Turbo and thought your car did not have enough horsepower, well, the car maker now has an answer . The 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S is coming to town.
The new Turbo S will be equipped with the same 4.8-liter V-8 engine as the Turbo, but the Turbo S will have new twin turbos with titanium-aluminum turbines that are lighter and more responsive. This new turbo system for the Turbo S boosts performance to 550-horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.
Exclusively for the Turbo S are the exterior side skirts and four-way rear spoiler, bi-color leather seats for the interior. Coming standard are the active anti-roll system ( PDCC), speed-sensitive steering, electronically controlled rear differential, and variable torque split for the rear axle.
The Turbo S will be in showrooms late spring. Expect to see a base price tag of around $174,175.
The wait has ended for those drivers hungering for this generation’s high performance Jeep Grand Cherokee . The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 will be on sale this summer.
Considered one of the most powerful and technologically advanced Jeeps, the SRT8 will deliver 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft. of torque when the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 is put to use. With all the power comes with Jeep’s Standard Fuel Saver Technology allowing four-cylinders to operate in a wider rpm range, delivering approximately a 13% increase in highway fuel economy and having a range of approximately 450 miles on a tank of gas.
For those track junkies, the top speed is 155 mph. The SRT8 has a 0-60 mph of 4.8 seconds and completed the quarter mile in the mid-13 seconds.
Pricing for the SRT8 has not been announced at the time of publication.
Mercedes-Benz has debuted the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe at the NYIAS. In competition with the BMW M3, the C63 AMG Coupe features a 6.2-liter V-8 capable of producing 451-horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. If you opt for the Development Package, power increases to 481-horsepower.
Panorama tilt/sliding sunroof, 4.5-inch color instrument cluster display, bolstered seats, 12-speaker Harmon/Kardon LOGIC 7 surround sound, and automatic headlamps come standard. Optional are is Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND System Navigation, blind-spot sensors, lane-drift monitor, rear view camera, and adaptive highbeam.
Expect to see the C63 AMG Couple in showroom this September. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Remember Herbie from " The Love Bug? " Well, Herbie’s new relatives are at the New York Auto Show this year. Making its North American debut, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle will likely turn heads.
The 2012 Beetle, based on the 1930s design, is 6-inchs longer, 3.3 inches sides, and 0.5 inches lower than the New Beetle, which was the last generation from Volkswagen. The new interior sports a 70’s look and gone are the large amounts of plastic between the steering wheel and windshield base that were seen in the last generation.
Buyers will have a choice of three engines, a standard 2.5-liter gasoline (22 mpg city/31 mpg highway), a 2.0-liter Turbo (estimated 30 mpg highway), and a 2.0-liter Turbo Diesel (29 mpg city/33 mpg highway). As for creature comforts, panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, navigation, bi-xeon headlamps, keyless entry and start are all options.
The 2012 Volkswagen will hit showrooms this Fall at a starting price of around $20,000. Europe and Asia markets will soon follow. If you need to have the convertible version or the Beetle R, a sport-tuned Beetle to race Herbie, you may have to wait until the 2013 models roll out.
Video: Volkswagen's New Beetle
Making its world debut at the New York International Auto Show, Nissan introduced the all-new 2012 Versa sedan. The company claims this 175.3 inches in length sedan can accommodate five adults spaciously, allowing more rear legroom than many mid-size sedans in its class.
The new 2012 Versa sedan will be equipped with at 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that is capable of producing 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft. of torque. All this can be mated with a 5-speed manual or an Xtronic CVT automatic with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). Nissan estimates 30 mpg city and 37 mpg highway
You will see the 2012 Nissan Versa in showrooms this summer with a sticker price starting at $10,990.
The fourth generation Hyundai Accent has made its appearance at the NYIAS this year ready to battle its rivals, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris.
The 2012 Accent is the first in Hyundai’s lineup to receive the new 1.6-liter GDI ( gasoline direct injected) “Gamma” engine that will be paired with either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The new engine can produce 138 horsepower under the hood, giving the Accent the ability to achieve 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
Creature comforts such as six standard airbags, active front restraints, ABS, VSM ( vehicle stability management), and six-way adjustable seats are standard. Options include AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system, iPod/USB auxiliary input, remote keyless entry, and Bluetooth.
The 2012 Hyundai Accent will go on sale in May at a base price of $12,445.
With a more dynamic design, the fourth general Subaru Impreza will likely give drivers something to talk about. To begin, the new Impreza has a sportier stance, giving the driver more command and presumably confidence when driving.
Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine mated with either a 5-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), capable of producing 148 horsepower to all-four wheels. With this new engine, the Impreza becomes the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive car in America at 36-mpg highway, according to Subaru.
Standard goodies include remote keyless entry, tire-pressure monitoring, Eco gauge to monitor fuel economy, electric power steering, and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). Amenities such as navigation, roof rails, larger wheels, fog lights will depend on the packages Subaru has to offer.
The new 2012 Subaru Impreza will be in show rooms this fall. At the time of this publication, pricing has yet to be announced.
With around 200,000 units sold, the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu became General Motor’s best-selling car in the United States. So what’s in store for the 2012 model? Global sales, the company hopes.
Since the Shanghai auto show and NYIAS occurred during approximately the same time period, Chevrolet has revealed the 2012 Malibu in both shows as its first global midsize sedan that would be sold in 100 countries on six continents.
Designed for the global audience, the new Malibu is European-inspired which the company believes will be more sharp and edgy, both physically and characteristically. Chevrolet will use its family of fuel-efficient and powerful four-cylinder engines when the car goes on sale globally.
Pricing for the United States market has yet to be announced at the time of publication.
Though launched in 2010, the Ford Taurus will see a minor facelift in the 2013 model. As the flagship sedan within the Ford lineup, Ford continues to refine and improve the Taurus.
So what are the changes? The exterior style is tweaked. Taillights are incorporated with LED. Under the hood, a new four-cylinder EcoBoost engine capable of producing 237 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque will be an option. This new engine will be mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, which Ford believes, is capable of obtaining 31 mpg on the highway.
Improvements and refinements include electric-assist steering, break-pedal feel, a sportier suspension, a more comprehensive sound-deadening package, and soft-touch materials.
The engine choice for the Taurus SHO will remain the same.
Sale date and pricing was not announced at the time of publication/announcement.
Some may say that being a middle child is not easy - and that may be the case for the current Lexus GS series of sedans. So Lexus is offering up a new GS series model, the LF-Gh Hybrid Concept , to bust out of the middle.
Designed from the ground up, the Lexus LF-Gh Hybrid Concept features an hourglass shaped grille with bubble shape LED headlamps and razor-sharp edged tail lamps. Measuring 192.5-inches in length and 73.6-inches in width, the concept car is only a few inches longer and wider than the 2011 Lexus GS450h.
Till now, Lexus has been pretty low key about further specs for the new concept car. Pricing and fuel efficiency ha ve yet to be announced.
Audi chose a different road at this year's NYIAS: Instead of a spokesperson flanked by swimsuit models, they opted for a flash mob. You know, where a large group of random people just show up at the same place at the same time.
But nation, this wasn't your run-of-the-mill flash mob and they weren't there to introduce a new car. In all "truthiness," they were there to announce that Audi will send a team that includes comedian and "morale officer" Stephen Colbert to compete in the biennial 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race. Colbert and the crew will set sail May 21st for a 777-mile journey on a 65-foot ocean-racing yacht called, "The Audi."
They are, America. And so can you!