Honda Ridgeline: Most "Impactful?"In the lexicon of auto-show press releases, new words are created where perhaps they shouldn't be. "Impactful" is one of those non-words bandied about, and if you understand what it's supposed to mean, you'll understand why Honda's Ridgeline truck could be the most impactful vehicle of the show.
The Ridgeline is Honda's first pickup truck, although the company sold 491,604 trucks last year in the form of Pilot and MDX SUVs and Elements and CR-Vs. In 2004 Honda also hit a ninth straight record sales figure — and it plans on another in 2005, when it hopes to sell about 1.45 million vehicles in the U.S., up from nearly 1.2 million this past year.
The Ridgeline will be a significant chunk of that new sales volume — and it's a significant threat to vehicles like the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. New for 2006, the Ridgeline isn't beholden to any particular Honda sibling: it's 93 percent new componentry, Honda says, though it does share some structure with the Pilot SUV. The Ridgeline sports a four-door cabin with a five-foot bed grafted on the back, lined in composite material and reinforced underneath with three steel rails for added strength. Thanks to the beefed-up structure the truck is rated as a half-ton, with a 5000-lb towing capacity. Power comes from a version of Honda's corporate 3.5-liter V-6, here churning out 255 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque.
In terms of flexibility, the Honda doesn't quite outmaneuver the Chevy Avalanche, since its rear cabin wall is fixed. But what it does with the available room is remarkable: there's a secure cargo trunk under the rear end of the bed, large enough to hold a 72-quart cooler or three sets of golf clubs. The rear seat folds and latches up against the cabin wall, leaving enough room to carry a mountain bike behind the front seats. The tailgate swings both ways, like your adventurous uncle Stu; it drops down like a conventional truck and can also swing on a left-side hinge for easier access to the front reaches of the bed.
Honda will ladle the safety gear on the Ridgeline: standard features will include anti-lock brakes, stability control, and side curtain airbags.
The Ridgeline is built in
2006 Lincoln Zephyr
2006 Lincoln Zephyr
Infiniti Prices M, Shows Kuraza
2006 Infiniti M45
2006 Infiniti M45 by TCC Team (1/10/2005)
Momentum builds at Infiniti's upper range.
Wild Kuraza Is "Unconstrained"
2005 Infiniti Kuraza concept
Dodge Charger Brings NASCAR to
2006 Dodge Charger
The new four-door coupe has generated some discussion about its design, but will no doubt be heading for the same amount of success as the Magnum. There will be three versions: the Charger SE with the 3.5 V-6 and a five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick; the SXT has extra features such as a split-folding (60/40) rear seat and eight-way power adjustable driver's seat.
The R/T model is the one with the 5.7 HEMI V-8 and the Performance Handling Package, with another package offering 18-inch wheels, leather seats and a tire-pressure monitor. Prices have not been announced yet, but they may be well in the range of comparable versions of the Magnum, say, from the mid-$20,000 to mid-$30,000 range. — Henny Hemmes
Preview: 2006 Dodge Charger by TCC Team (1/10/2005)
Two doors, four doors, who's counting?
Subaru B9 Tribeca
2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca
Fuji Heavy Industries CEO Kyoji Takanaka said that the B9 Tribeca closely adheres to the core values of Subaru. The first vehicle to be created under the direction of new design director Andreas Zapatinas, the B9 uses Subaru's new distinctive "soaring wings" grille, which hints Subaru's aircraft history and also the boxer engine under the hood.
The Tribeca will be offered in either five-seat or seven-seat configurations, though the third-row seats on the latter look very small. Entertainment options include a nine-speaker MP3 sound system and a DVD system with nine-inch screen.
Powered by a 250-hp flat-six "boxer" engine, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission running to a variable-torque-split all-wheel drive and a low center of gravity, the B9 should have driving characteristics similar to the rest of the Subaru line. Safety-wise, Vehicle Dynamics Control and four-channel ABS will be standard, as will front, side, and curtain airbags. On the luxury side, rear air-conditioning controls are standard, along with a list of luxury car features, and overhead shower lighting and indirect floorboard lighting help lend a premium feel.
2006 Subaru Tribeca
The Tribeca will be built at Subaru's assembly plant in
2005 Suzuki Concept-X
The Concept-X will be powered by an "all-new" transverse-mounted 3.6-liter V-6 engine (likely sourced from General Motors); an all-wheel drive system, called 4GO, is primarily geared for the road, but it also has a low range and off-road capability. A stability control system, ABS, and side curtain airbags for all six passengers round out the safety list. Pedestrian impact measures have been used, there's a lane departure warning system, and special CCD heat-sensing cameras help prevent accidentally driving over objects. Active cruise control is also installed.
Most notable is the concept's six-bucket-seat interior, flashy materials, and space-age control center and display pod. An aircraft-style two-handled controller replaces a steering wheel, adding to the sci-fi look. A sophisticated "Infotainment" system that will combine music, information, and navigation features. Dual 12-inch LCD screens are provided for the second and third rows.
To those who've seen the countless crossover concepts over the past few years, the shape of the Concept-X will be quite familiar, but its chunky, flared-out 20-inch wheels and aggressive stance give it a serious look.
Most of the concepts shown at this year's NAIAS have looked like production cars, or at least resembling a production car, but Suzuki's Concept-X crossover sport-utility was more like what we've come to expect from concepts in past years — a full-on design exercise with a cobbled-together interior and an underside and details that didn't resemble anything readying for ramp-up. Although it was strictly a concept, with GM broadening Suzuki's portfolio it's only time before we see a serious production vehicle in this class from Suzuki. —Bengt Halvorson
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
"In many ways, the LS7 is a racing engine in a street car," said Dave Muscaro, the assistant chief engineer for the small-block V-8, in a press release.
But this time, more power is only the beginning. Although the Z06 has a familiar profile and interior, compared to the standard Corvette it has its own distinct powertrain, body structure, and chassis system. Developed simultaneously with the C6-R race car, the Z06 has an aluminum-based body structure and uses special materials such as carbon fiber, magnesium, and even balsa wood throughout to help reduce improve weight distribution, bringing overall curb weight down to 3130 pounds.
Performance figures are stunning: 0-60 in less than 4 seconds, the quarter-mile in less than 12 seconds, and a top speed of over 190 mph. Huge cross-drilled discs-14-inch in front and 13.4-inch in back-provide massive stopping power to suit, and huge three-inch-diameter exhausts have a louder, less restrictive mode for all-out performance. Seats with improved side bolsters are included to help keep occupants in place.
The Z06 will be built at the same
Smart fortwo Looking Better For U.S.
2004 Smart city coupe
It would be a 180-degree change of strategy for the German automaker, which sees smart as its answer to BMW's successful MINI brand. The thinking at smart had been that
"The car has created overwhelming interest and demand," said Cordes.
"Both Mercedes and smart have new chiefs and they are looking at the whole
"Following the very successful launch of smart in
DaimlerChrysler is also trying to determine if the overwhelming positive response to the fortwo at public relations events will translate into actual sales. One Mercedes-Benz executive who said the issue is very sensitive inside the company, said the company is playing out public relations gameplans anticipating the first time a fortwo gets creamed by an SUV and a serious accident or fatality is caused.
"Selling the Smart fortwo in the
One indicator of potential popularity for the fortwo has been the early work of two
The companies are awaiting Federal approvals, but have waiting lists of hundreds of customers. Bidding for a fortwo on eBay recently reached 27,000, though the online auction company ceased the bidding when they found out the car wasn't approved yet.
The actions of the importers have also been a headache for smart
Volkswagen Plans The Concept R for the
2003 Volkswagen Concept R
Though the chairman wouldn't say how many of the details from the concept would make it into a production model, he said he plans to bring it out in "two to three years." For the
Volkswagen introduced an all-new Jetta at the
The Concept R could fill a gap in Volkswagen"s lineup. With the Microbus concept scuttled, VW could look to a production version of the Concept R to bring some excitement and novelty to the lineup as the New Beetle, which was launched in 1999, ages.
The Concept R was powered by a mid-car mounted V-6 engine that returns 265 horsepower and accelerates the roadster in 5.3 seconds to about 62 mph. It would be the first rear-drive VW since the company discontinued the original Beetle and its derivatives, the Microbus, Squareback, and Karmann Ghia.
If VW makes good on its plans, and depending on how it's priced, the car will face broad competition in the roadster segment from a restyled Mazda Miata, the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and smart roadster, all of which would likely be priced under the VW. — Jim Burt
|American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc.||AXL||28.44|
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|Ford Motor Company||F||14.55|
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|Goodyear Tire & Rubber||GT||14.59|
|Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR)||HMC||25.87|
|Johnson Controls Inc.||JCI||61.55|
|Magna International Inc.||MGA||77.50|
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|Sonic Automotive Inc.||SAH||22.75|
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