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2001 New York Auto Show, Part II



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NY Auto Show coverage

2002 Acura RSX

2002 Acura RSX

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RSX-UAL HEALING. Completing the recent name-changing surgery within its lineup, Acura has finally lost the Integra nameplate. While that great badge is going away, we do get a replacement in the RSX, a Prelude-sized sports coupe with either a 160-hp (base) or 200-hp (Type S) four-cylinder engine. The base RSX offers one of two five-speed gearboxes, either a manual or an automatic with Sportshift; the Type S, a six-speed manual shifter only. A MacPherson front strut suspension will come as a shock to double-wishbone purists. On sale in July, Acura wants to sell 30,000 RSXs annually, with prices ranging from $20,000 to $25,000.

 

2002 Aston Martin Vanquish

2002 Aston Martin Vanquish

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BIG PLANS. Aston Martin’s a small company, but it’s got big plans. Company officials noted that sales have grown 60 percent since 1999, and are expected to grow by another 50 percent this year, to 1500 units. In the U.S., sales should grow 60 percent this year, to 400, said Bill Donnelly, president of Aston Martin North America. “That may make us the fastest-growing brand in the market.” The big boost should come from the addition of the new Vanquish sports coupe, priced at $228,000.

2002 Infiniti I35

2002 Infiniti I35

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I OPENING. Nissan’s Infiniti division is betting on some big growth of its own thanks to the updated and upgraded I35. The old I30’s engine has been replaced with a new 3.5-liter V-6 pumping out 260 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. The look of the sedan has been updated, borrowing some of the design cues of Infiniti’s all-new flagship, the Q45. Long cast in the shadow of European luxury brands—as well as Japanese rival Lexus, Infiniti’s sales have been on an upswing, and last year, exceeded 78,000 for the first time since the brand was launched in 1989.

 

2002 Land Rover Discovery Kalahari

2002 Land Rover Discovery Kalahari

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BRAND WITHIN A BRAND. Land Rover’s Kalahari isn’t a distinct model: it’s a range of existing Rovers equipped with extreme off-road gear. The first of the series, the Discovery Kalahari, was shown with screaming yellow paint, a special fabric interior, a black steel brush bar and headlight guard; and roof rack/ladder combo. Some 150 of the Disco Kalaharis will come to the U.S., each one priced at about $40,000. Meanwhile, the brand is preparing for the on-sale date of its long-awaited Freelander sport-ute, a small premium vehicle to be priced below $30,000.

 

2002 Land Rover Tomb Raider Defender

2002 Land Rover Tomb Raider Defender

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RAIDER AIDER. It’s getting harder to distinguish fantasy from reality these days. Videogame heroine Lara Croft will soon make it to the silver screen in the film version of Tomb Raider. When she’s not racing from one explosion to another, actress Angelina Jolie will be seen behind the wheel of a specially built Tomb Raider Defender. And a handful of buyers will have the chance to get one of those Defenders for their own, said Land Rover’s U.S. chief executive, Howard Mosher. Unfortunately, the edgy SUV wouldn’t meet American safety standards, and there are currently no plans to ship any to the States.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis

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NOT KIDDING AROUND. According to FBI statistics, 750,000 children go missing each year. “That’s staggering,” said actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who is teaming up with Ford as part of a new program, called Commitment to Kids, designed to address the problem. Set to begin on May 25, the program will permit parents to take their kids to one of Ford’s Blue Oval Certified dealers and have them photographed and fingerprinted. That will give parents a useful identification package they can supply to police if a child disappears. Curtis intends to visit Ford showrooms around the country in order to encourage parents to participate. “I will be working on this for at least a year,” noted Curtis, who is active in a number of children’s charities.

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