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2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part V

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2007 Ford Edge

2007 Ford Edge

2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)

 

 

Honda’s Fit for the City

 

2007 Honda Fit

2007 Honda Fit

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Under a comic-book motif and an indie-rock soundtrack, with no question as to who was being appealed to, Honda introduced its new Fit, a model specifically adapted for North America from the Jazz, a popular urban model sold in other markets including Japan and Europe.

 

With a 109-hp, 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder engine running through a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission (claimed first in segment), the Fit offers a highly flexible passenger and cargo space, with up to 90 cubic feet of passenger volume. Honda has something called the Magic Seat, an arrangement that allows the seatbacks to fold down or the seat bottoms to flip up—providing a deeper cargo floor for tall objects or a larger cargo area for shorter, broader objects. With all seats up in place, Honda boasts that the usable cargo area is close to that of the Element behind its second row.

 

Honda puts an emphasis on safety in the Fit’s packaging, as all Fits include dual front side airbags and side-curtain airbags, along with ABD and electronic brake distribution. Otherwise, the Fit definitely tends toward the basic, with a rear torsion-beam suspension, drum brakes in back, and standard 14-inch wheels, but it does come with an electric power steering system.

 

2007 Honda Fit

2007 Honda Fit

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It’s the first car in its class to offer paddle shifters with the automatic transmission, on the Sport model. A six-speaker, 160-watt sound system is available, along with an iPod Music Link accessory. The Sport model also adds larger wheels, cruise control, and various appearance goodies. A line of customized performance equipment is also available.

 

As the Civic has gradually moved up in size and price over time, the Fit takes over the entry-level spot in the Honda lineup that the Civic once occupied. American Honda executive VP Dick Colliver said that Honda has the best CAFE average of any full-line automaker, by a rather significant measure, and the company can only stand to strengthen its standing with the introduction of its new Fit. —Bengt Halvorson

 

 

Fukui: Acura Important for Global Success

 

In an address to the press at the Detroit auto show, Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukui emphasized the global establishment of the Acura brand as something very important for Honda. Fukui said that 2005 was a record year for Acura, with 209,610 sales in the U.S., and the brand should continue to grow with new products in the pipeline. The brand is set to be established in China this year, and Honda has announced plans to bring Acura to its home market Japan in 2008. In the U.S. alone, Honda expects 1.25 million sales this year, up for the tenth straight year, and predicts 1.3 million for next year—a figure that some analysts were calling conservative for the automaker who just racked up both the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. —Bengt Halvorson

 

 

Ford Edges Into Crossover Market

 

2007 Ford Edge

2007 Ford Edge

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As part of a “Driving American Innovation” product and concept unveil event at the Detroit auto show, Ford’s Americaspresident Tom Fields rolled out Ford’s long-awaited mainstream crossover vehicle, the Edge, built on the same platform as the to-be-introduced Lincoln MKX.

 

In the same class as vehicles like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, or Toyota Highlander, the tall-roof Edge has a smooth, very non-trucklike shape—including a front end that bears some similarities to the recently introduced Ford Fusion sedan—that puts it in a different market segment altogether than traditional offerings like the Explorer. With a 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and either front or all-wheel drive, the Edge is set to offer very carlike performance. And it will offer standout features like a huge panoramic roof. Fields said that the Edge should get good fuel economy—in the mid-20s on the highway. The Edge will be built in Oakville, Ont.—Bengt Halvorson


 
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