2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part VIII

January 9, 2006


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


Compass Shows the Way to Jeep


2007 Jeep Compass Angie Harmon

2007 Jeep Compass Angie Harmon

With another seemingly random surprise drop-in by an actress — this time, former Law and Order star Angie Harmon — the Chrysler sales and marketing chief Joe Eberhardt revealed the production version of the new Jeep Compass, the new smaller Jeep model that’s aimed more for urban customers and emphasizes fuel economy. Eberhardt called the Compass “the perfect gateway to the Jeep brand.”


The Compass has the footprint of a compact car, and Chrysler boasts that the Compass combines the packaging and functionality of an SUV with the driving attributes and fuel economy of a small car. Built on the same new small-car platform as the Dodge Caliber and made at the same Belvidere , Illinois , assembly plant, the Compass will feature a standard 172-hp four-cylinder made in Michigan with variable valve timing, paired with a new continuously variable transaxle, here called the CVT2. Chrysler says that the ‘2’ signifies that it’s a second-generation CVT that’s been tuned for better engine response.


Although the Compass isn’t as off-road focused as other models in the Jeep lineup, when properly equipped it can claim some measure of off-road ability, including respectable approach/departure angles of 21/32 degrees. Compasses come with either front- or four-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive versions offer a “lock” mode for its active system, specifically for use in deep snow, sand, or other low-traction surfaces. Stability control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, anti-lock brakes, and Brake Assist are standard. Clever features include an onboard rechargeable flashlight and flip-down tailgate speakers.


The automaker is hoping that the Compass will reach out and bring in new buyers who would not have otherwise considered the Jeep brand. It will go on sale late this summer.


Preview: 2007 Jeep Compass by TCC Team (1/9/2006)
A slightly smaller direction for Jeep.





New Camry Adds Distinctive Appearance, Hybrid Model


2007 Toyota Camry

2007 Toyota Camry

Toyota today pulled the wraps off the sixth generation of its best-selling Camry sedan, which will replace the current version that was introduced for 2002. As expected, the new 2007 Camry is highly influenced by the current Avalon, introduced last year, and also inherits various design cues and features from upmarket Lexus models. While the dimensions aren’t markedly different than those of the current Camry it will replace, the proportions have been changed to make it more rakish and flowing, with a more sophisticated headlight and grille treatment, a softer-sloping rear pillar, and the wheels pushed farther out to the corners, increasing wheelbase by about two inches.


The Camry will have a standard 158-hp, 2.4-liter in-line four that’s a revision of the existing engine. The next generation V-6 makes a much bigger leap in power, with the optional 3.5-liter — basically the same engine as is offered in the Avalon — offering 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is mated to an all-new six-speed automatic transmission, while the four-cylinder goes with either a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual. Most notably, Toyota is offering the latest version of its Hybrid Synergy Drive system on the Camry, pairing it with a four-cylinder engine for an emphasis on fuel economy rather than all-out performance; though the hybrid powertrain still delivers up to 192 hp, with EPA fuel economy of 43 city, 37 highway, an official range of well over 600 miles, and 0-60 in less than nine seconds.

Preview: 2007 Toyota Camry by Bengt Halvorson (1/9/2006)
Next Camry range broadens with more luxury and power, and eco-tuned hybrid model.




Sentra Looks to Regain Small-Car Sales


2007 Nissan Sentra

2007 Nissan Sentra

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the sixth generation of the automaker long-established Sentra compact sedan. The new Sentra is built on the automaker’s global “C” platform, and comes with a new 135-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with either a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission.


The Sentra remains front-wheel drive, with a torsion-beam suspension setup in back, and stabilizer bars front and back. Electric power steering replaces the old hydraulic system. Inside, the Sentra offers a floating shifter in a mini center console that juts out from the bottom of the instrument panel — similar to the layout in vehicles like the Toyota Matrix and Lexus RX330.


Just a look at the interior appointments and options list confirms that Nissan is looking to pull buyers in with an upscale look and feel, as the Sentra is finally updated to reflect the rest of the revamped lineup. There’s an overhead eight-disc CD holder and various other storage areas, and available features include a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, an audio input jack, and a Rockford Fosgate MP3 compatible CD-changer system. The rear seat has an innovative 60/40 double-fold system, and the trunk offers an innovative storage divider system. Leather upholstery is now available. Power locks and windows, air conditioning, full-length side-curtain airbags, and side airbags are all standard.


The Sentra is expected to start at around $15,000 and will go on sale late this year as a 2007 model.


More Photos:



Nissan Urges Drivers to Geek Out


2006 Nissan Urge concept

2006 Nissan Urge concept

Nissan also showed a new concept aimed at young gamers. Said to be part driver’s car and part gamer’s fantasy, the colorful yellow trim, frame-and-mesh seats, spare interior appointments, and visible airbag—plus the gimmicky dash and seats—might make someone who sits down in it wonder if this is a real car or not, but the Urge boasts a motorcycle-inspired, driver-centric design, with seating for two (plus a smaller third seat), scissor-style doors, a partially exposed aluminum structure with recyclable composite body, and a racing-inspired cockpit.


For gamers, a display folds down from the rearview mirror, and the steering wheel and paddles can be used as game controls for the integral Xbox 360. There are docks for cellphones and MP3 players, and a custom cellphone can function as a key to start the vehicle. The interface allows customizable info screens, and the navigation system is displayed directly in front of the driver. To seal out the weather, there’s a canvas top that can be stowed away easily.


The Urge might not seem a serious concept at first, but Nissan points out that it’s built on a Z-car wheelbase, though shortened 16 inches, with a target weight of 2400 pounds and a “high-revving small-displacement” engine with a six-speed sequential gearbox.


The game geeks’ dream is described as living “somewhere between the real and virtual worlds,” and we take the colorful concept to be intriguing but just as mysterious.




Nissan Going Gearless


CEO Ghosn said that the automaker plans to soon replace conventional automatic transmissions with continuously variable transmission (CVT) units for all of its front-wheel-drive North American models except the Quest minivan. In addition to advantages in packaging, performance, and initial cost, Ghosn said every million vehicles equipped with CVTs rather than standard automatics reduces carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to putting 200,000 hybrid-electric vehicles on the road.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part I by TCC Team (1/8/2006)
Car and Truck of the year, Lexus LS has eight speeds, Enclave concept..2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part II by TCC Team (1/8/2006)
Shelby GT500, Ford Reflex, predictions for 2006 and Lutz on GM financials.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part III by TCC Team (1/8/2006)
Hyundai HCD-9 Talus, Santa Fe, and the death of the five-day car.2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part IV (1/8/2006)
Nissan's next steps, Benz GL-Class, GM hybrids.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part V by Bengt Halvorson (1/8/2006)
Honda Fit, Ford Edge, and more from Bill Ford.2006 Detroit Show, Part VI by TCC Team (1/9/2006)
The new face of Lincoln, Mazda Kabura, Infiniti G35 and MINI Clubman.

2006 Detroit Show, Part VII by TCC Team (1/9/2006)
GM planning big price cuts, Aston Rapide, Volvo C30, XK pricing.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part IX by TCC Team (1/10/2006)
Camaro by the numbers, Acura RDX, Jaguar gets Ford help.

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