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2003 Detroit Auto Show Preview

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2005 Chevrolet Equinox

2005 Chevrolet Equinox

updated 12/30/02

2003 Detroit Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (1/6/2003)

Detroit’s annual auto show is a love-it and hate-it event. The timing couldn’t be worse: the city’s settled into the bleakest trough of the winter, and though the downtown renaissance continues apace, there’s still more to recommend Motown in the middle of summer than in the earliest days of a new year. And to top off the indignity, there’s the Japanese-subway jostling for press kits and oversubscribed press conferences to boot.

But enthusiasts and industry types have to love the annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), this year open to the media from Jan. 5-8 and to the public beginning the Friday after. Like no other show, Detroit puts a huge variety of hardware on display — much of it never seen before. Concepts and production cars alike fire off almost on the hour, so rapidly that it often takes a team of reporters just to make it to the newsworthy events.

TCC’s team will be doing just that in Detroit. Starting Sunday, Jan. 5, we’ll be reporting non-stop from the show floor to bring you the very latest product introductions, concept car reveals and newsmaking quotes from the top industry executives. Until then, stay tuned here as we update and add to this preview of what we expect to bring you from the Cobo Hall floor:

GENERAL MOTORS

2004 Cadillac SRX

2004 Cadillac SRX

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Cadillac SRX
The SRX, a luxury crossover vehicle inspired by the 2001 Vizón Concept, will feature Cadillac’s radical new styling theme, along with an optional 295-hp 4.2-liter Northstar V-8. The standard engine will be a V-6. With all-wheel-drive, StabiliTrak traction and yaw control, an adjustable suspension height and three rows of seating, this Caddy is built on GM’s new Sigma rear-drive platform. And the name SRX? Simply, “S” is for the series, “R” for reconfigurable and “X” for crossover. The SRX will be built in Lansing, Mich., and will go on sale before summer of 2003.

2004 Cadillac XLR

2004 Cadillac XLR

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Cadillac XLR
Like its German rival, the Benz SL roadster, the Cadillac XLR is a two-seat roadster with a trick hardtop designed to fold down and store in the trunk. With the XLR, that process takes 29 seconds. The SL needs just 17.The XLR is powered by a modified version of Caddy’s popular Northstar engine, though this is the first time the big V-8 has been used in a longitudinal, or “north/south,” application. For the roadster, the Northstar has gained cam phasers and the cylinder walls have been stiffened. Mated to a five-speed automatic with manual override, it is expected to put out somewhere between 300 and 350 horsepower, a bit more than the SL500’s 302 hp. The acceleration difference could be even more dramatic due to the fact that the XLR, at 3500 pounds, is about 10 percent lighter than the big Benz.

2005 Chevrolet Equinox

2005 Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet says it will market its first crossover vehicle, the Equinox, in the 2005 model year. The new vehicle is based on the company’s Theta architecture — that’s the Saturn VUE to those of us outside the Renaissance Center. The Ingersoll, Ont., CAMI plant now building the Chevy Tracker and Suzuki Vitara will be converted to Equinox production in 2004 for a 2005 model-year launch, according to GM. GM will spend more than $322 million to update the plant for assembly of the new vehicle. The Equinox is part of GM’s efforts to completely revamp its mid-size car portfolio and woo buyers back from the Japanese brands.

2004 Chevrolet Colorado

2004 Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
The popular Chevrolet S-10 pickup will be replaced midway through 2003 with an all-new model codenamed GMT355. Sharing the newer styling sensibilities of its Silverado sibling, Chevrolet’s version of the Chevrolet-Isuzu engineered truck will also get a new name: the Colorado. The GMC version will be known as the Canyon. Powered by a new series of twin-cam in-line four-, five- and six-cylinder engines, the new pickups will be slightly larger and have a more car-like interior than today’s compact trucks. A fall launch is planned for many versions of the Colorado, which eventually will count extended cabs, four-door crew cabs and an “Xtreme” youth-oriented model among its family; GMC’s plans haven’t been confirmed.

2004 Chevrolet Malibu

2004 Chevrolet Malibu

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Chevrolet Malibu
The 2004 Chevy Malibu will come to consumers in two forms—a sedan and an extended sedan with a hatchback called the Malibu Maxx. The Malibu sedan will offer a 2.2-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Where Chevy hopes to impress buyers is that a nicely equipped six-cylinder Malibu will be priced around where a four-cylinder Toyota Camry or Honda Accord stickers. As for the Malibu Maxx, it gets six inches more in overall length and wheelbase and a moveable rear seat for a flexible rear cargo area; it should make its debut at either the Chicago or New York auto shows later in 2003.

2004 GMC Envoy XUV

2004 GMC Envoy XUV

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GMC Envoy XUV
Imagine a cross between a Chevy Avalanche and Buick’s Cielo concept built on an Envoy XL chassis. Thanks to its power sliding rear roof, dual-function tailgate with power window, and second-generation midgate, the XUV is the new definition of functionality. The industry-first power-sliding rear roof creates a space 32 inches by 32 inches when fully retracted, so tall pieces of furniture, appliances or even trees now are easily transportable. The new midgate’s glass window is power operated. Once the glass is lowered and the second- and third-row seats are folded and tumbled, you’re ready for those four-by-eight-foot sheets of whatever. Plus, you can hose out the cargo area thanks to two exit drains leading to hidden gutters. GM’s lauded 4.2-liter in-line six is the XUV’s powerplant; but if 275 hp/275 lb-ft of torque isn’t enough, you can opt for the 5.3-liter V-8 with only 10 more horses but 50 more lb-ft.

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

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Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac has already shown off the 2004 Grand Prix at the Texas State Fair, but we expect to see it in Detroit alongside a concept version with more than 300 hp. The ’04 Grand Prix gets smoothed out and styled up, though it doesn’t grow any larger. There are three models in the lineup: GT, GTP and GTP with the Competition Group. The GT gets twin exhausts and 16-inch wheels, standard traction control and ABS, an interior blessed with higher quality trim, as well as a 200-hp version of the venerable 3.8-liter V-6.

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

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2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

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The GTP adds supercharging for 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Both engine variations have electronic throttle control. The GTP with the Competition Group, which Pontiac expects to account for 10 percent of Grand Prix sales, adds 17-inch wheels with 142-mph-rated tires and TAPshift (Touch Activated Power) control to the automatic tranny. For accessibility, the rear doors swing open 82 degrees, the trunk opening is 10 inches wider, and the lift-over height is almost six inches lower. Couple that with flat-folding rear and front-passenger seats and the Grand Prix can swallow a kayak, GM says. The new Grand Prix begins assembly at GM’s Oshawa plant in the first quarter of 2003.
GM Sketches Out '03 Concepts(8/19/2002)

Cadillac Sixteen
Domestic luxury leader Cadillac isn’t ready to cede the upcoming Detroitauto show to its import competition. Caddy plans to challenge ultra-lux marques such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Maybach with a V-16-powered concept vehicle that “suggests” an up-market shift in direction for General Motors’ flagship marque. A 1000-horsepower, naturally-aspirated, 90-degree V-16 engine will serve as the heart and soul of the sedan, appropriately named the Cadillac Sixteen. It will harken back to the ‘30s, when Caddy not only ruled the road but was audacious enough to put a 16-cylinder powertrain into production. With the engine nearly as long as two V-8 Northstars bolted end-to-end, the huge hood will dominate the design of the car, which measures 220 inches nose-to-tail. But the Sixteen won’t be a retromobile. Its styling will emphasize the Art & Science design theme of such current Caddy vehicles as the CTS sedan. Sixteen is a joint effort of GM and Canadian metal supplier Alcan. The body is all-aluminum, wrapped around a primarily aluminum spaceframe chassis. Even so, the huge vehicle will weigh in at close to 5000 pounds. There’ll be a short/long-arm suspension and for those who like big wheels, the Sixteen will be shod with 24-inch tires. Pulling a page from the Maybach handbook, the 4-seater will feature fold-down, business class-style rear seats. Interior styling has been influenced by the luxury goods maker, Bulgari. One of the more interesting touches will be the car’s “architectural” interior lighting. Expect a wealth of high-tech hardware, from the sedan’s computer-controlled suspension to its infotainment system. Sixteen will be a “completely functioning car,” a senior source notes. But don’t get your hopes up – yet. There are no plans to build the car, at least not now. First, Caddy would like to enter the premium luxury segment dominated by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. After that? Stay tuned.


 
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