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Hints, Surprises and Wows From Detroit.

Detroit. Motor City. The once thriving city once again hosts its annual Motor Show, the North American International Auto Show and, as expected, the unexpected has been unveiled, as have some truly good looking cars.

Hyundai showed off its Santa Cruz concept; it’s a design that Hyundai doesn’t have available and would certainly attract interest around the world, being a Crossover Utility Vehicle or CUV. Santa Cruz ConceptPitched between a ute and a tray-back SUV, the stunning design is aimed at “Millennials”. “The Santa Cruz Pickup concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing Millennial lifestyle we call ‘Urban Adventurers’,” said Mark Dipko, director, corporate planning, Hyundai Motor America. “This new crossover allows them all the expandable utility they need throughout their active week, from work-life professionalism, to social interests, to a whole variety of outdoor pursuits, without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings.”

Motive power would be, at this stage, a 2.0L diesel, with over 400 Newton metres of torque, matched up with Hyundai’s well proven 4WD system and showcases Hyundai’s innovation by having an expandable load bed and tailgate extension. Hyundai research also shows a swing away from traditional utility style SUVs in the US; women who buy more than half of all CUVs sold in the U.S., now account for only 10 percent of pickup sales. Hyundai also unveiled its Sonata hybridSonata Plug-In Hybrid; with a 9.8kWh lithium ion battery, the Sonate should have a 35km all electric range. A 2.0-litre Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. Sonata PHEV’s Nu engine produces 115kW and 190Nm of torque and the total system output is 150kW at 6,000 rpm.

Ford showcased its anniversary GT40; to be sold under a new, umbrella organisation called Ford Ford GT Performance, the sleek, low slung two seater may be powered by a twin turbocharged 3.5L engine, producing over 600 horsepower. A team of designers, headed by Todd Willing, the head designer for Ford Asia Pacific, penned the edgy yet curvy beast. Built from weight saving carbon fibre, the GT40 features an active rear spoiler and upwards swinging doors. There’s two other vehicles released as well; a Shelby Mustang GT350R and a ten speed automatic Raptor. The Mustang will be powered by a 5.2L flat plane V8, pushing over 500 horsepower to the ground via a six speed manual and limited Ford Raptorslip diff. Aimed at primarily track users, there’s been a weight shedding program, including carbon fibre wheels, removing the rear seats, radio and aircon. The Raptor will have a 3,5L V6 EcoBoost twin turbo engine, multiple drive modes, an aluminuim body and that ten speed auto was codeveloped with General Motors.Shelby Mustang

Honda (Acura in the US) went back to the future with a long rumoured car, the NSX. Taking styling cues from Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari, the mid mounted, twin turbo hybrid Honda NSXengine is expected to pump out 550 horsepower via a nine speed automatic. There’s, apparently, a range of driving modes, including “Quiet” (presumably a more electric mode) and prices are said to be at around $150, 000.
Although Holden will close as a manufacturer, its much vaunted design studio showed why GM will keep it running, with two utterly different concepts being show. An almost Barina sized, glass roofed, electric car, the Bolt bookended the Buick Avenir, a large car with plenty of tech, such as a twelve inch touchscreen, wireless mobile device charging and wifi hotspotting. It will roll on 21 inch diameter wheels and will seat four in sumptuous comfort. 2016-buick-concept-avenir-landing-page-masthead-1920x730_v3The projects were started and finished in the Port Melbourne based design studios. Again, no confirmation as to whether either will go into production.

Staying with General Motors, there’s a school of thought that says a two door, four seater car rumoured to be coming to Australia will be the Corvette, not, as some think, the Camaro. The latter hasn’t been engineered for right hand drive although it would be a logical and ideal match for Ford’s Mustang. Stefan Jacoby, head of GM’s International Division, wouldn’t be drawn on exactly what it would be, saying only “We will bring a true sports car to Australia for the brand Holden,” “It will be something which fulfils the requirement of a true Holden sports car.” Expect it to arrive in 2018.