2000 Ford airbag curtain
FORD UTES TO GET AIRBAG CURTAINS Ford Motor Co. will start offering specially designed airbag "curtains" designed to reduce the chance of death or injury in all of its 2001 model-year sport-utility vehicles. "About half of light truck rollover accidents result in fatalities," noted Ford's safety director, Helen Petrauskas. More than 9,400 people died in rollover crashes in 1997, the latest year statistics were available. In all, rollovers account for 22 percent of all U.S. highway fatalities. Ford officials were a bit vague about specifics, but indicated the new device, which serves both front and rear seat passengers, will become a standard feature on some models and will be offered as an option on other Ford SUVs. In some sport-utes, the bags will also be equipped to inflate when the vehicle is struck from the side. The new Ford system is designed to detect the difference between the rollover and a vehicle simply driving onto a sharp embankment. The rollover curtains use a new method to remain inflated longer than conventional airbags -- up to six seconds -- so it could protect passengers, even if their vehicle rolls over three times.
2000 Hyundai XG
2000 hyundai Santa Fe concept
HYUNDAI DOES SOME SOCIAL CLIMBING With a drastically improved lineup of cars in place, Hyundai will try to build on that foundation with its first true luxury sedan to be sold in North America. The sedan hasn’t been given its Western name yet, but in its home market it’s called the XG Grandeur. The XG is a four-door, five-passenger sedan with a 192-hp 3.0-liter V-6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai expects it will be priced somewhere between $22,000 and $24,000. The big challenge, said Finbarr O'Neill, head of U.S. operations, is Hyundai's downmarket image. "We have to make strides to improve our brand opinion" enough to attract potential customers in a very picky market segment, he said. Separately, Hyundai announced that the Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle, shown as a concept last year, will go on sale in the summer with a choice of four or six-cylinder engines.
2000 Suzuki XL6
A STRETCH FOR SUZUKI The next sport-ute coming from Japan’s small-car specialists could be a big thing – literally. The Suzuki XL6 concept, shown yesterday afternoon at the Detroit show, adds more than a foot to the compact Vitara chassis in its transformation into a six-passenger, three-seating-row SUV. The XL6 concept, which Suzuki says presages a new vehicle coming this fall, is gussied up with a leather interior and four-wheel drive.
2000 Isuzu VX-4 concept
ISUZU GOES BIG, TOO GM’s other Japanese SUV partner reworked their VehiCROSS two-door extreme ute for Detroit, and came up with the VX-4. A four-door version of the spacey-looking VehiCROSS, the VX-4 adds a pair of doors to the basic goodness of a 215-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and four-wheel drive. Icing on the Twinkie for technogeeks includes a mobile DVD system, global-positioning hardware, and a cradle for syncing up a Palm Pilot or other PDA devices.
2000 Ford Equator concept
A GLOBAL CHALLENGE TO HUMMER Call it the stealth concept car. The Equator was placed on the Ford stand in perfect counterpoint to the new GM Hummer concept, but was totally unacknowledged by Ford during its press conferences. The four-seat Equator is a luxury vehicle for global adventure, we gather, but we can’t help but get mixed messages from its huge 32-inch shocks, rugged styling and short pickup bed when contrasted with its leather bucket seats, CD changer, and hydraulic side steps.