New York Show Highlights Important New Designs
Auto highlights from press preview days in the Big Apple.
Nearly thirty concept and production vehicles premiered during the 2003 New York International Auto Show Press Preview days on April 16th and 17th, and manufacturers stepped out in new directions with original designs, hoping their creations today will become tomorrow's classics.
Toyota Prius Advances Hybrid Technology
In what Toyota called "a world premiere of true global significance," the all-new second-generation 2004 Prius was unveiled in the Big Apple. With distinctive aerodynamic styling, the new Prius is much more dramatic than the original.
Video: Toyota Prius
Prius was the first mass-produced vehicle to offer a gas-electric hybrid powertrain. The new model is built on an entirely new platform with a wheelbase that increases by six inches. With significantly more interior room, the 2004 Prius will be the first Toyota equipped with the company's new high-voltage/high-power Hybrid Synergy Drive. The Hybrid Synergy Drive is a full hybrid system.
Offered in one well-equipped trim level, the Prius comes standard with anti-lock brakes; power windows, door locks, and mirrors; and an electric inverter air conditioning system. The new Prius will arrive in showrooms this fall.
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Three New Nissans, Including Full-Size SUV
In New York Nissan introduced three new vehicles: the full-size Pathfinder Armada SUV; the full-size 4-door Titan Crew Cab; and the open-top 350Z Roadster.
Video: Nissan Vehicles
The Pathfinder Armada is Nissan's first foray into the full-size SUV segment, with exterior design both bold and aggressive. It will be powered by an all-new 5.6-liter 32-valve Nissan Endurance V8 that will produce 300 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed automatic is standard, and the optional 4WD system includes a two-speed transfer case. The Pathfinder Armada will have a maximum towing capacity of 9,100 pounds.
Fold-flat second- and third-row seats are standard, as well as side curtain airbags that provide supplemental protection for outboard seat passengers in all three rows. Other standard equipment includes Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control, and electronic brake force distribution.
The Pathfinder Armada is expected to be available in the fall of 2003.
Nissan also upped the ante in the full-size pickup segment with the 2004 Titan Crew Cab, the first-ever full-size 4-door truck from Nissan. The Titan Crew Cab joins the Titan King Cab that was introduced at the NAIAS 2003 in Detroit this past January.
The Titan Crew Cab will be available in five or six passenger configurations, powered by the same 300-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 as the Pathfinder Armada. The interior space is flexible with a fold-down front passenger seatback that may be used as a work station.
Exterior innovations include a bedside storage compartment, factory spray-in bedliner, and Utili-track tie-down system.
Titan Crew Cab is expected to be arrive in showrooms in December 2003.
Nissan also added the 2004 350Z Roadster to its lineup, featuring a power-operated top with a glass rear window. The top opens in 20 seconds.
The 350Z Roadster is powered by the same 287-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that powers the 350Z coupe. The Roadster will be available in two trims: Enthusiast and Touring.
A unique option is ventilated net seats that have black woven center inserts to keep the driver and passenger cool when it is hot and built-in heaters for when it is cooler.
The 350Z Roadster is coming in the summer of 2003.
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Escape Hybrid and Futura From Ford
Ford used the New York Auto Show to highlight two hybrid vehicles that are in the company's future, the Escape Hybrid SUV and the 2006 Ford Futura midsize sedan.
The Escape Hybrid SUV will feature a full hybrid system that allows the vehicle to run on either the gasoline engine or on the electric engine with battery power alone. Fuel economy is expected to be 35-40 mpg in city driving, while acceleration is expected to be comparable to the 201-horsepower V6-powered Escape.
Four-wheel drive will be optional on the Escape Hybrid; cargo capacity and off-road capability will be equivalent to the standard Escape.
This new hybrid SUV will be available in small numbers to fleet customers by the end of 2003, and will go into retail production in the second half of 2004.
Ford also offered a first look at the 2006 Futura via design drawings. Replacing the time-honored Taurus, the midsize Futura will fit into the Ford lineup between the current Focus and the Five Hundred full-size sedan that will debut next year.
Futura is intended to look like an American car; it takes some design cues from the Ford 427 concept car, including the front fascia with a thick, bent-bar grille. Ford promises breakthrough interior spaciousness.
Available in 2005, the Futura will be the next Ford vehicle to offer a hybrid drive system. The first Futuras on sale will have a new all-aluminum 4-cylinder engine and the 3.0-liter Duratec V6 engine, to be followed by the hybrid that will combine a 2.4-liter gasoline engine with a 65-kW electric motor.
Futura will be the first of ten new vehicles from Ford, Lincoln and Mercury that will be built using the same platform as the new Mazda6 sedan. (Ford owns 33 percent of Mazda.)
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Chrysler 300C Concept
Using the theme "Reinventing the Wheels," Chrysler unveiled the 300C Concept in New York. Although a concept, the 300C provides a "strong hint" of the new rear-wheel-drive sedan that will arrive from Chrysler in 2004 as a 2005 model.
Video: Chrysler 300C Concept
Representing a new design direction for Chrysler, the 300C Concept features a long hood and short rear deck, signature Chrysler grille treatment, and a raised beltline to create a tall, thick body. Twenty-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels complete the image.
The 300C Concept marks the return of the HEMI engine to the Chrysler brand, with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine and an electronically-controlled five-speed automatic. The new sedan has electronic stability program, traction control, and the design will accommodate all-wheel drive.
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Lexus Unwraps HPX Concept Car
Lexus introduced the HPX Concept Car, which combines the versatility of a luxury SUV with the performance of a sports sedan in a new and dramatic style.
Attractive yet distinctly different for a Lexus, HPX is immediately identifiable as an SUV, but has more than just utility going for it. The name is derived from High Performance Crossover; HPX was designed by Toyota's California-based design center and is built on the GS430 platform.
HPX is powered by a 300-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The new crossover includes height-adjustable suspension to deliver on the high-performance aspect, but also includes all the luxury and comfort expected from a Lexus.
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Acura Concept TL Reveals New Design Direction
Honda unveiled the Acura Concept TL, which provides strong indicators regarding the design of the next Acura TL that will debut as a 2004 model.
Video: Acura Concept TL
According to Honda, the Concept TL is designed as a reflection of the ultimate athlete, resulting in an aggressive, muscular style. The Concept TL is shorter than the current TL, with a long hood and short rear deck. The grille and front end are similar to the current TL, but the design is punctuated by a distinctive groove that begins at the end of the trailing edge of the front fender and ends just before the taillight, incorporating the front and rear door handles.
The aggressive stance is finished off by 5-spoke 19-inch wheels, with enough room to allow 4-piston Brembo brake calipers.
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Mitsubishi Debuts Three, Including 2004 Galant
Mitsubishi opened the New York International Auto show by unveiling three cars, the 2004 Galant, the restyled Diamante flagship sedan and a new Lancer Sportback.
Video: Mitsubishi Vehicles
The all-new 2004 Galant, making its world debut, is aimed directly at the competition in the midsize sedan category. The new version offers more interior room as well as more power from both the standard and optional engines.
The Galant's optional 3.8-liter V6 is the largest displacement engine in the category and develops 230 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, while the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder increases output to 160 horsepower. The new Galant will be available in four trim levels: DE, ES, LS, and GTS.
Pricing for the DE is expected to start below $19,000 equipped with the 2.4-liter engine and automatic transmission, air conditioning, power equipment and a 140-watt AM/FM/CD audio system.
The world debut of the 2004 Diamante revealed updated styling that incorporates Mitsubishi's new corporate look, including a new front fascia, split grille, triangular headlights and a prominent triple diamond logo.
The Lancer Sportback also made its North American debut in New York, coming to the U.S. to compete with the Toyota Matrix, Mazda Protege5, and the Ford Focus ZX5 in the small, sporty wagon category. The Sportback is a four-door hatchback wagon powered by a 162-horsepower 2.4-liter engine with variable valve timing. It will be available in two trim levels.
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Ford Announces Special-Edition Mustangs
On the eve of the New York Auto Show, Ford hosted a celebration of Mustang at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan to celebrate the 40 years of the Mustang. Two special-edition 2004 Mustangs were unveiled: a 40th Anniversary Edition Mustang and a limited-edition SVT "Mystichrome" Cobra.
Video: Ford Mustangs
The original Mustang was unveiled on April 17, 1964, at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens, and Ford returned to New York for the announcement of the special-edition 2004 Mustangs to commemorate the anniversary of the original pony car.
The 40th Anniversary package will be available as either a Mustang or Mustang GT in a coupe or convertible body style; a total of 5,700 will be built. The special package will be available in three colors, including an exclusive Crimson Red. The package will include special performance striping, wheels, interior enhancements and unique badging.
Steve Lyons, Ford Division president, also announced that the high-performance Mustang Mach 1 will continue for 2004, based on strong response to the special-edition car for 2003.
The special-edition Mustang SVT Mystichrome Cobra will be offered for 2004 with Mystichrome color-shifting paint that changes color from green to blue, purple and black. The Mystichrome paint is an advanced formulation of the Mystic paint that was first offered on 1996 SVT Mustang Cobra.
The Mystichrome Cobra will be a limited run of 1,000 SVT Cobra coupes and convertibles, and will include a Mystichrome color-shifting leather interior as well.
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Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabriolet Debuts
Making its North American debut was the redesigned CLK Cabriolet from Mercedes-Benz, offering a fully automatic top for the first time in this model.
The four-seat CLK Cabriolet will go on sale this summer in the U.S. as the CLK320, powered by a 215-horsepower V6, and as the CLK500, powered by a 302-horsepower V8. The trunk of the new CLK Cabriolet is ten percent larger than its predecessor.
The CLK Cabriolet offers a full array of electronic and safety features, including a sensor-controlled rear rollover protection that is contained in the rear headrests and deploys automatically when a rollover is imminent.
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Volvo VCC Concept
Volvo unveiled the Versatility Concept Car, or VCC, a concept vehicle that is described by Hans-Olov Olsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, as "a vision of a future V-Range car in the luxury segment using Scandinavian design principles."
The last two concept cars that Volvo produced, the Adventure Concept Car and the Performance Concept Car, went into production as the XC90 and the S60 R. It's not hard to see the VCC as a production vehicle, too.
The greenhouse glass areas and the upper edge of the fenders and doors are very reminiscent of past Volvo wagons.
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Porsche GT3 Coming to U.S.
The 2004 Porsche GT3, the most powerful non-turbocharged Porsche ever offered for street use in the U.S., made its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show.
The GT3 is powered by a 380-horsepower 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission. According to Porsche, the GT3 will accelerate from zero to sixty mph in 4.3 seconds.
The front discs for the brakes are one-inch larger in diameter than the front brakes on the Porsche 911 Turbo, while the rear discs are the same size as on the Turbo. The front brakes use 6-piston calipers and patented inner-vented cooling ducts.
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John Cooper Works MINI
MINI will offer a John Cooper Works Tuning package that boosts the output of the MINI Cooper S's supercharged engine to 200 horsepower. The package will be installed at MINI dealerships and is backed by the factory warranty. The Cooper Works package can be retrofitted to earlier cars as well.
John Cooper built race cars in the UK in 1950s and 1960s, and the race cars he owned himself became known as the "Works" cars, hence the name for the MINI package. The "Works" cars always had two white stripes on the hood.
The John Cooper Works Tuning package includes a different cylinder head, different supercharger, exhaust system, engine calibration, and badging for $4,500 plus installation charges.
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Camry Solara Coupe Gets Big Apple Debut
Toyota chose what it called America's greatest city to debut the all-new Camry Solara, a car the Don Esmond, senior vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division, calls "the most American of any Toyota to date."
Video: Toyota Camry Solara
The 2004 Solara has been extensively restyled with a very sporty yet stylish exterior design. While the front headlights resemble the Camry sedan, the coupe has a much more aggressive look with a deep, wide front fascia and integrated fog lights.
At the rear, the taillights are integrated into the rear corners that drop down into the bumpers, giving the rear of the car a rounded look, somewhat reminiscent of the Lexus SC430 coupe.
For 2004 an all-new 3.3-liter V6 producing 225 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque will be available, as well as a 4-cylinder engine. The V6 will be equipped with an all-new 5-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting.
The 2004 Solara is expected to go on sale in August.
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Chevrolet Takes Malibu to the Maxx
The 2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx is a four-door hatchback addition to the redesigned Malibu lineup. Chevrolet claims that Maxx offers the comfort of first class at a coach price. With the Malibu Maxx Chevrolet seeks to offer a comfortable, flexible midsize sedan with the versatility of an SUV.
The rear seat of the Malibu Maxx is split 60/40 in both the seat back and the seat cushion, and the rear seats slide forward and backward nearly 7 inches. Rear-seat passengers can individually adjust their seating positions. A fixed rear skylight makes the rear seat area feel more spacious.
Malibu Maxx is a half-inch shorter overall than the Malibu sedan, yet the wheelbase is 6 inches longer than the sedan. With the rear seats folded, the Malibu Maxx offers nearly 50 percent more cargo room than other midsize sedans.
The standard engine for the Malibu Maxx will be a 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. A factory-installed remote starting system will be offered on Malibu and Malibu Maxx, making them the first cars in their class to offer remote staring as a factory option.
Malibu Maxx production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2003.
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High-Performance Cadillac CTS-V First of Series
Cadillac unveiled the Cadillac CTS-V in New York, powered by a 400-horsepower version of the 5.7-liter Corvette V8.
The V-Series CTS includes more than just a powerful engine: to handle the power the V-Series features a standard 6-speed manual transmission, large brakes with Brembo calipers in front, 18-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear high-performance tires, retuned shocks and revised steering.
The CTS-V includes a new front fascia with an integrated aerodynamic "splitter" and brake ducts to direct air to cool the brakes. The rocker panels have an aerodynamic look and the full dual exhaust system exits through the rear fascia with chrome exhaust tips.
A new instrument cluster with aircraft-style gauges and a three-spoke steering wheel with an aluminum bezel highlight the interior upgrades. The CTS-V will be offered in two exterior colors, Light Platinum and Black Raven, with Ebony and Light Neutral offered as interior colors.
The CTS-V is expected to go into production in the fourth quarter of 2003.
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Lincoln Navigator K Concept and Mercury Mariner
The Lincoln Navigator K is the first Lincoln concept vehicle to come from the Ford Performance Group. Powered by a 385-horsepower supercharged 5.4-liter V8, the Navigator K has subtle interior and exterior modifications such as 20-inch chrome wheels and monochromatic paint scheme.
The Navigator K is a concept for now, but Ford is testing the market for new ideas that consumers might like.
Lincoln also debuted a special-edition Aviator, the Aviator Kitty Hawk Edition, which honors the 100th anniversary of flight.
A number of new products are planned for Mercury over the next few years, and the 2005 Mercury Mariner, a new compact SUV based on the Ford Escape platform, was shown in New York.
The Mercury Mariner has styling cues from the Mercury Mountaineer SUV and the recently introduced Mercury Monterey minivan. Mariner is expected to go on sale in the fall of 2004.
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Mazda Shows the Future with MX Sportif
Mazda debuted the MX Sportif, a concept car that Mazda says indicates the design direction for a new global compact vehicle from Mazda.
The vehicle characteristics that Mazda designers were targeting were balanced and linear vehicle dynamics for driving enjoyment, a prominent design with muscular proportions, high levels of craftsmanship, and optimum interior space and functionality.
Mazda touts the MX Sportif as an alternative to some of the tall, boxy crossover vehicles that are on the market. On the stand during the press preview was what appeared to be a very tall, very boxy vehicle covered with a drape that was never shown.
Mazda's angle was that the MX Sportif has the same crossover functionality, but in a package that has styling, personality, and driving fun.
The MX Sportif concept is powered by the MZR 2.0-liter developing 150 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque.
Without saying that the MX Sportif will replace the Protege in the U.S., Mazda officials stated that a name has not yet been chosen for the U.S. version.
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Isuzu Offers Direct Injection and New Ascender
Isuzu announced that a gasoline direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine will be available as the standard unit on the 2004 Axiom and as an option on the 2004 Rodeo.
This will be the first application of a direct-injection gasoline engine in a truck or SUV, and the first application in a vehicle priced under $100,000. The only vehicles with gasoline direct-injection engines are the BMW 760Li and the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Available in September, the direct-injection engine will offer more horsepower and more torque, while using less fuel; it will use regular unleaded gasoline.
Isuzu also announced that a 5-passenger version of the midsize Ascender SUV will go on sale in January 2004. Previously the Ascender, which shares a platform with General Motors midsize SUVs including TrailBlazer and Envoy, was only available as an extended wheelbase 7-passenger.
Isuzu further announced plans for an all-new SUV in 2006 that will be powered by the same 3.5-liter direct injection engine that will be available in Rodeo and Axiom.
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Kia Steps Up With Large Sedan
In New York Kia debuted the 2004 Amanti, a large sedan that will offer a new level of room and comfort in a Kia sedan.
For its first entry in the large car segment, Kia focused on the exterior design to offer a car that makes a bold statement, hoping to appeal to a new group of buyers.
The Amanti has a very distinctive look, with a chrome grille and headlight clusters that match the lines of the hood and grille. Chrome trim accents the bumpers as well. The roofline is rounded at the C-pillar, making a very formal roof that also creates more rear-seat headroom. Michelin tires and 16-inch wheels are standard.
Amanti's interior incorporates a wood-grain finish—the dashboard is dominated by a horizontal band that sweeps into the upper doors and includes the instrument cluster and KCD display for the trip computer.
Automatic climate control and a 270-watt AM/FM stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer are standard, along with power windows and locks.
The Amanti is powered by a 195-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
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Subaru Adds 2004 Baja Turbo
For 2004 Subaru will add the 210-horsepower Baja Turbo to the lineup alongside the Baja and Baja Sport. The Baja Turbo is powered by a 2.5-liter intercooled turbo engine to give the Baja line sports sedan performance with the versatility of a small pickup.
As with other Subaru turbo models, the Baja Turbo can be easily distinguished by the functional hood scoop that directs air to the intercooler. The engine develops 235 lb-ft of torque as low as 3600 rpm.
Every vehicle Subaru sells in the U.S. is all-wheel drive, and the Baja Turbo offers two different systems depending on the transmission. The 5-speed manual has continuous all-wheel drive with a viscous-coupling center differential. The 4-speed automatic gets Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive, with an electronically controlled transfer clutch to adjust power distribution front to rear.
Baja Turbo includes the Switchback System to reconfigure the back seat and cargo area for versatility in carrying passengers or cargo. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, a moonroof, an AM/FM audio with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, power windows and door locks, fog lights, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, keyless entry system, and roof rails with cross bars.
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Ferrari Challenge Stradale, Maserati Vintage
New York marked the North American debut of the Ferrari Challenge Stradale, a road car that derives additional performance beyond the 360 Modena, based on racing experience in the Ferrari Challenge International Championships and FIA GT races.
Challenge Stradale uses the same all-aluminum body and chassis produced for the 360 Modena, as well as the 3.6-liter V8 engine with five valves per cylinder.
The Challenge Stradale benefits from a significant weight reduction over the 360 Modena, as well as a more high-performance chassis setup, enhanced brakes, and an F1-style automatically shifted manual gearbox with paddle shifters.
The Challenge Stradale on display in New York was painted in Rossa Scuderia, which is the same red color used for Ferrari Formula One cars, with trim similar to customer race cars of the past.
Maserati used the New York show for the worldwide debut of the Maserati "Vintage" package, which allows owners to personalize the 2003 Maserati Spyder with options reminiscent of great Maseratis of the past.
Examples include a chromed air grille on the front fenders, similar to the 1957 3500 GT; or gauges finished in racing blue with numbering that follows the style of the 1950s racing cars.
Other Vintage package elements include a chromed front grille; a front Maserati trident badge with hand-painted red accents; chromed handles; wheels with a special polishing technique that enhances the mechanical characteristics of the car; silver-painted brake calipers; chromed outside mirrors and chromed roll bars.
For the interior, personalization options include aluminum pedals with vintage-style Maserati trident logos, and aluminum trim for the center console and door panels.
The Vintage package will be available to North American customers in October.
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