sponsored by Toyota
A blizzard of another kind descends on Cobo without fail. The wave of production vehicles and concepts unveiled at Detroit could supply a smaller auto show for years. And 2002 promises no different, despite the attacks on America that killed thousands and tipped the economic balance toward recession.
TheCarConnection.com is prepping for the busy show season with our annual Detroit preview. We’ll be updating this with the latest releases up to the Detroit show’s press days, which run from Sunday, Jan. 6th through the 8th. And of course, we’ll be on the show floor those days, bringing you twice-daily news briefs on the latest introductions and press conferences.
2003 Hummer H2Enlarge Photo
A few days ago, GM unveiled the Hummer H2, the first product of its investment in AM General. To be shown en mass at Detroit, the new truck is essentially a Hummer shape grafted on a heavily modified GM heavy-duty truck platform, with a 325-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 and heavy-duty four-speed transmission. A full-time four-wheel-drive system with a locking rear differential is standard; two tire packages will be offered, a softer highway set and a triple-sidewall set for extreme off-roading. A luxurious interior with CD stereos, power windows and leather seats will be standard with each H2, which is entering pilot production soon in Mishawaka, Ind., and goes on sale in July for $50,000-$55,000.
2003 Chevrolet Warrior/Isuzu
Essentially a mini-Avalanche, the Warrior sports the ‘Lanche’s midgate design and is said to be based on the TrailBlazer EXT long-wheelbase SUV. The similar Isuzu Ascender will be shown as well; it’s replacing the Trooper sport-ute in 2003.
2003 Honda Pilot
2003 Honda PilotEnlarge Photo
Honda’s first SUV done in-house was designed to combine the looks and AWD of a sport-ute with the eight-passenger seating, cargo capacity and overall family-friendliness of a minivan. Though it shares platforms with the upscale Acura MDX, the new Honda ute will be smaller on the outside yet roomier on the inside, with lots more storage. It will feature a less sophisticated version of MDX’s 3.5-liter V-6, and boast a 4500-pound towing capacity. Scheduled for launch next summer, the Pilot will be built at the Canadian assembly plant currently producing both the MDX and the Odyssey minivan.
Along with the production Pilot SUV, Honda will show an adaptable “urban adventure” vehicle at Detroit. The Acura-branded concept, called the RD-X, is said by the company to combine the “street performance of a sports coupe with the ruggedness of a next-generation SUV.” The RD-X has 2+2 seating, a flexible rear seating/stowage compartment with a hidden nook for laptops and other valuables, and all-wheel drive. A VTEC-equipped powertrain and a racy interior round out the concept, which will make its debut on Jan. 7 during the Detroit show’s media days.
2002 Cadillac Cien concept
2002 Cadillac Cien conceptEnlarge Photo
Cadillac Cien, CTS and XLR
The ongoing renovations at Cadillac will be evident at Detroit, when the Cien supercar, CTS sports sedan and XLR sportscar are shown in trio. The Cien, a mid-engine two-seater concept, features an all-new Cadillac V-12 engine, which is presented in grand view, housed under a Plexiglas cover. The prototype powerplant is a 7.5-liter 60-degree V design that is unusually compact and might actually find other applications in the Cadillac line-up. It puts out a hefty 750 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque. The 2003 CTS is the production sedan that Caddy hopes can take on the ilk of the Lexus IS 300, while the XLR is near-production convertible based on the Evoq concept.
2002 Land Rover Range Rover
2002 Land Rover Range RoverEnlarge Photo
2003 Range Rover
The ’03 Range Rover is only the third all-new model in the thirty-one year history of the vehicle that created the sport-ute segment, but this time instead of leading the trend it’s following, becoming bigger, more luxurious and more expensive, in line with its younger, brasher competitors from brands like Cadillac. The styling is not radically changed over that of the current model. Power comes from a 4.4-liter V-8 or a 3.0-liter turbodiesel six, both sourced from BMW, and as befits a Land Rover, four-wheel drive is permanent. The interior of the new version is even more luxurious, with wood and leather trim that would not be out of place in a car from its fellow Ford family member Jaguar, and the legendary off-road ability is sure to be maintained.