Ford’s big surprise at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show was, well… Big. It was a full-size pickup concept called the Atlas which is designed provide a hint of what the company’s new pickups might look like. Aside from previewing the next F150’s styling, the Atlas concept also showcased a few of Ford’s most recent fuel-saving technologies.
“The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from their pickup,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “With 36 years as America’s best-selling pickup, we are absolutely committed to setting the agenda in the truck market.”
The rugged exterior design of the Ford Atlas Concept is intended to reinforce the company’s “Built Ford Tough” tagline. Multiple aspects of the concept are also designed to enhance the truck’s functionality and practicality. For example, a number of tie-down points are integrated within the cargo box walls and load floor, along with 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge power tools. An integrated roof carrying system and hidden extendable ramps provide added help when needed. While a 360-degree point-of-view camera system gives the driver a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help with maneuvering in tight spaces.
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The Nissan Resonance concept, which was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, was a stylish crossover vehicle designed to preview the future direction of Nissan SUV design. The concept was created by a team at Nissan Design America, based in San Diego, California.
“This design is not meant to appeal to traditional two-box SUV shoppers, but rather to those whose fashion and design choices make a statement. For Nissan, this concept makes our statement about the future of this segment.” said Francois Bancon, Nissan Motor Co. division general manager, Product Strategy and Planning.
The styling of the Resonance Concept is designed to express a lightweight, aerodynamic feel. The roof’s unique “floating” design is created through the use of the thin, steeply raked A-pillars, a large full-length glass panel and flowing D-pillar design.
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The 2013 Detroit Auto Show played host to the unveiling of Audi’s latest RS-badged weapon of mass seduction. The RS 7 Sportback is the new top-spec version of the A7 line, kicking the S7 Sportback into a distant second place. The heart of the car is a 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine which has been tuned to provide 560-horsepower and 553 lb-ft (700Nm) of torque. With this, the RS 7 Sportback manages to shave a full second off the 0-62 mph (100km/h) time when compared to its S-badged brother, managing the sprint in just 3.9 seconds. The top speed is equally impressive, with the Dynamic Plus Package fitted, Audi will rip out the electronic bureaucrat which normally reigns in the car at 155 mph, and allow it to run all the way to 189 mph.
But its not just the mighty V8 up front that makes the RS 7 Sportback so quick off the mark. Part of the credit should go to the 8-speed tiptronic transmission with reduced shift times and three-mode settings; ‘Sport’, ‘Manual’ and ‘Drive’. And of course it wouldn’t be fair to ignore the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring and a sports differential.
Amazingly, despite its searing performance, the Audi RS 7 Sportback is able to return 28.8 mpg according to the combined cycle test. It manages this through a combination of an engine stop-start system, and a cylinder deactivation system which shuts down cylinders 2,3,5 and 8 when the car is cruising at a steady speed. The switch between four and eight-cylinder operation takes just a few hundredths of a second, and the only real indication to the driver that it is taking place is a visual signal within the instrument cluster.
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The Toyota Corolla Furia concept was a preview of what the next-generation Corolla could look like – minus the big wheels, bright paint work, and fancy LED lighting.
The Toyota Corolla Furia Concept is longer, wider and has a longer wheelbase than the current Corolla. But it also has a slightly lower roofline. And that all adds up to make a car which looks slightly sportier, while also having more room inside.
According to Toyota, the the Furia is designed around a theme of “Iconic Dynamism,” which uses pure and simple surface elements to create what Toyota hopes is a confident, decisive and recognizable appearance appealing to younger consumers.
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At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Honda pulled the covers off a new Honda Fit-based small SUV concept. It was intended to provide an accurate preview of the 2014 production model. According to Honda, the unimaginatively named Urban SUV Concept is supposed to be a fun-to-drive and fuel-efficient vehicle with, get this, “next-generation connectivity targeting active lifestyle customers”. What they’re really saying is they’ve chucked in a couple of USB ports and some Blueteeth, and are hoping younger buyers will bite.
From the outside the Honda Urban SUV Concept really is a giant lump of bland. It’s not especially ugly, just very dull. It’s almost as if Honda took all the most average design cues from a bunch of other CUVs, and then blended them together to make one truly mediocre motor.
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It seems that Hyundai is just going from strength to strength. It wasn’t long ago that their concept cars looked like the outgoing models from the competition. But now they have the skills to make good looking production cars, and judging by the HCD-14 Genesis, jaw-dropping concept cars.
The HCD-14 Genesis is intended to provide a glimpse of what the next-generation Genesis sedan might look like. Albeit in a more toned down and less futuristic form. The bold face of the concept is characterised by the large upright grille and jewel-like LED lights. The sleek profile of the car is made even more seamless with the removal of any superfluous details. Even the door handles have vanished somewhere into the bodywork. And unlike so many modern cars, there aren’t a bunch of largely useless lateral air intakes and outlets to break up the graceful lines.
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Volkswagen’s big – both literally and figuratively – news at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show was the CrossBlue Concept. It was a 6/7-seat SUV concept vehicle which was designed specifically for the U.S. and Canada.
The CrossBlue was designed in Germany under the leadership of Walter de Silva (Head of Design, Volkswagen Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Head of Design, Volkswagen Brand), in close coordination with Volkswagen of America. The vehicle is designed to provide the visual impact of an SUV with the spaciousness and flexibility of a minivan.
“The CrossBlue concept is exactly the right type of vehicle for the U.S. market,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “It combines a truly versatile interior layout with sophisticated Volkswagen design, to give a unique and supremely stylish offering in this segment. Moreover, the vehicle showcases our innovative German powertrain engineering and the bandwidth of the new MQB architecture.”
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One of the more exciting and unexpected concepts at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show is a sublime mix of luxury sedan and raw V8 power. The recipe calls for a Fisker Karma shell, slightly altered with the help of new front and rear bumpers, and a comprehensive drivetrain swap which sees the hybrid innards of the Karma tossed on the proverbial garbage pile and replaced with a GM sourced 6.2 litre V8.
The Destino was the result of a collaboration between GM’s retired charismatic chairman Bob Lutz, and industrialist Gilbert Villereal. VL Automotive are already in the process of testing a number of prototypes ahead of the production debut later this year.
The standard cars will be fitted with a 6.2 litre LT-1 direct injection V8 rated at 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. However for those wanting even more performance VL Automotive will kindly drop in a supercharged 6.2 litre LS9 V8 which produces 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a 4-speed auto or a 6-speed manual.
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The 2013 Detroit Auto Show is a big event for Chevrolet. Not least because it was the chosen venue for the all-new Corvette C7’s unveiling. The 2014 Corvette marks the return of the iconic Stingray name, and it also sees the Corvette undergo its most radical overhaul since the modern-looking C5 took over from the distinctly dated C4. To quote Daft Punk, the C7 is harder, faster, stronger, better.
The C7 takes the usual Corvette recipe, but chucks out all the ingredients which have been causing issues since, well almost since the car was born. That means quality control has been dialed up significantly, especially in the interior where the Corvette has always been criticised against its peers, as well as significantly cheaper models. The exterior too has been sharpened up a bit, mainly with the aim of attracting more discerning buyers who were perhaps previously put off by the Corvette’s rather brutishly simple no-nonsense design.
The previous C6 generation had already proved itself in the performance department, especially the ZR1 which was more than a match for some of Germany and Italy’s most desirable offerings. So it comes as no surprise that the C7 builds on that benchmark and offers even more speed than the C6 straight out of the box.
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With Ford still in the process of trying to turn their luxury division Lincoln into a profitable and healthy business again, their new lineup of cars need to good. And not just kinda sorta good. They need to be good good. Enough to tempt buyers away from their Lexi, Bimmers, and Caddys, and back into Lincoln showrooms. So that makes the MKC Concept an important vehicle for the company. It might have the c-word tacked onto the end of its name. But rest assured this concept will become reality in the very near future.
The Lincoln MKC Concept is a compact utility vehicle which offers a fairly accurate vision of what a future production model will look like. The compact utility vehicle segment has balooned in the last few years, and Lincoln is eager to get a slice of this lucrative pie by positioning itself somewhere near the premium end of the market.
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