Auto shows always present a confusing story to the general public because the messages being transmitted through the media are intended for a variety of audiences – everyone from those interested in cheap, basic transportation to the enthusiast looking for the hottest, most-up-to-date muscle machine to the high-roller with money to burn on something exotic. At Clean Fleet Report, we know our job is to sort through those disparate messages and deliver to you the ones focused on the cars that deliver the best fuel economy and the most advanced technology designed to enhance MPG.
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, aka the Detroit Auto Show) is the premier auto show on this continent, beginning the year by entertaining thousands of journalists from all over the world and showcasing more than 50 of the latest vehicles from American and foreign automakers. This year’s show is predicted to push the envelope with a record-breaking number of new high-MPG vehicles. Here are some of the expected highlights:
Cadillac will unveil General Motors second model based on Volt technology, the ELR. It promises to be a coupe (compared the Volt’s four-door sedan configuration but technically should be very similar with 40 miles of EV-only range and a small gas range-extender engine that will allow it to travel about 300 miles on one tank of fuel.
Toyota has already teased its Furia concept, which is seen as a preview of the new Corolla model. No details, but the current model delivers mid-30s MPG so expect the new version to top 40 MPG if it is to remain competitive in the compact segment. Toyota could add a hybrid model to continue the proliferation of its Hybrid Synergy Drive.
Acura is expected to introduce the production version of the new NSX mid-engine sports car. In concept versions it had a V-6 engine augmented by an electric motor. The combination in a lightweight mid-engine all-wheel-drive car will likely produce not only excellent performance but good fuel economy for this class of vehicle.
VIA Motors will show three full-size plug-in vehicles. Expanding on their current range-extended pickup models, they will show a 4WD pickup, 4WD SUV and a 12-passenger van aimed at ride-sharing and shuttle operations. The typical VIA setup combines a gasoline V-6 engine with a series hybrid electric drivetrain (similar to the Chevy Volt setup) and give 40 miles of EV range along with an extended range of up to 300 miles with average fuel economy of more than 100 MPG.
Mercedes-Benz will present a redone version of its best-seller, the E-Class, introducing a hybrid version (the E400) to join its gas and BlueTEC diesel models, both delivering highway fuel economy in the low 30s. Both models will feature 7-speed automatic transmissions and options 4Matic all-wheel-drive.
BMW will introduce several concept and production models and continue its focus on “Efficient Dynamics” that includes electric drive, its “ActiveHybrids” and new high-mileage diesels. The company will have its eDrive electric models on display at the show, including the i3 that will go on sale this year (2013).
Jeep is planning to showcase its new diesel engine in the Grand Cherokee. The V-6 VM Motori engine should deliver fuel economy close to 30 MPG in the 4WD SUV.
Volkswagen is expected to present a new Passat-based 7-seat all-wheel-drive SUV that will fit in size between the current Tiguan and Touareg. It’s expected to have both advanced gasoline and diesel engines that should put it near or at the top in fuel efficiency for that class of vehicle.
Tesla, Nissan, Hyundai, Honda, Kia, Ford and others all have press conferences scheduled so it is likely there will be even more EV, plug-in, hybrid, advanced gasoline and clean diesel announcements of high mileage vehicles at the show. Clean Fleet Report will bring all of the highlights as they happen.
In addition to individual model introductions, the Detroit Auto Show also will be the site of the announcement of the North American Car and Truck of the Year winners. As one juror said, have one thing in common–efficiency. The three car finalists are the Cadillac ATS compact luxury sedan; Ford Fusion (which won the Green Car of the Year award in Los Angeles in November), which comes in gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions; and the Honda Accord, which also comes in gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. The truck competitors are the Ford C-Max, which is available as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid; the Mazda CX-5 SUV with its fuel-efficient Skyactiv technology; and the Ram 1500, which boasts 25 MPG from its standard V-6 engine mated to an 8-speed transmission.
Posted Jan. 2, 2013