2006 New York Auto Show, Part V

April 13, 2006






2006 New York Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (4/10/2006)



Hyundai’s New Elantra: Bigger Than The Rest


2007 Hyundai Elantra

2007 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai is rolling steadily toward its goal of selling 500,000 vehicles in 2006, vice president John Krafcik told New York audiences on Thursday. The brand saw record sales in January and February, and with vehicles like its Elantra drawing back customers for a second Hyundai, the prospects for a record-setting year seem good. The arrival of a new Elantra this year should help Hyundai toward its half-million target. Taller and wider than the outgoing car, the new Elantra has more space than the Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla – even the Acura TL, Hyundai says. Sitting 2.2 inches higher with a higher driving position, the Elantra is two inches wider as well. In EPA terms, it’s large enough to be classified as a mid-size car. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four teamed to a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Hyundai’s extensive standard safety package includes front, side and curtain airbags, as well as anti-lock brakes. Hyundai promises a base price of under $14,000 for the GLS model.



Honda Goes Urban with Element SC


2007 Honda Element SC

2007 Honda Element SC

With the Koreans edging into its niches, Honda is expanding its lineup and is itself experiencing record sales. “Honda now has the most comprehensive lineup in its history,” says U.S. sales chief Dick Colliver, who predicts another record sales year for the Japanese brand thanks to the addition of vehicles like the Civic GX. The natural-gas-powered Civic goes on sale in California next month coupled with the home refueling station, called “Phill,” that lets owners refuel their vehicle in their own driveway. The Civic GX will go on sale in New York in the fall, Honda also confirmed.


Honda also used its New York bully pulpit to boost the street cred of the Element SUV. The new SC edition, coming this fall, adopts a monochromatic look and performance gear to craft a new urban personality for the postmodern surf wagon. Honda’s painted 40 more pieces on the car, added a new bumper and body kit, and dropped the car three inches in ride height while putting on 21-inch wheels. Inside, gloss trim on the dash meets actual carpeting on the floor, new power seats with integrated seatbelts and a center console. The four-cylinder engine will be mated to a five-speed manual or a new five-speed automatic option, and the engine now makes 166 hp, up ten ponies. Side impact and curtain airbags, as well as stability control, will be standard on all 2007 Elements. The SC edition arrives in the fall.



Audi Reframes Cabriolet’s Face


Audi has revised the A4 and S4 convertible for 2007. The models receive the new corporate grille, add two direct-injection gasoline engines for the first time, and have an optional acoustic roof that the company claims now reduces cabin noise to the levels of the sedan even at highway speeds. The fully automatic, electro-hydraulic roof can be operated when driving at speeds of up to 19 mph. A4 Cabriolets come with either a the 3.2-liter, 255-hp V-6 or a  turbocharged 2.0-liter, 200-hp four-cylinder.  The S4 Cabriolet comes with a 4.2-liter, 340-hp eight-cylinder engine. As usual, front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive is available with all engines. A continuously variable transmission, six-speed manual or automatic transmission is offered. Audi claims the four-link front and the trapezoidal-link rear suspension are modified to produce noticeably improved levels agility, handling, and comfort. Standard stability control is supplemented by a rollover protection system with two protective bars, controlled by sensors, behind the rear passengers that are triggered within milliseconds in case of an accident. Standard equipment is extensive: the A4/S4 Cabrios feature the electric roof and dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker audio system, power one-touch windows, cruise control, and a large ski sack.


Audi also announced that its RS4 sport sedan would be priced from $68,820 when it goes on sale in June. The RS4 is powered by a 420-hp V-8.—Ken Zino



New Suzuki XL7 Comes From Theta


2007 Suzuki XL7

2007 Suzuki XL7

The name may look the same as the current version, but the omission of the dash between XL and 7 on Suzuki’s newest ute means a lot. The new generation, is no longer based on the Grand Vitara, but is instead a derivative of GM’s Theta architecture, which also underpins the Chevrolet Equinox.


For the seven-passenger Suzuki version, the platform has been stretched by nearly 8 inches to accommodate the third-row seat. Mayasu Date, chief designer of the XL7, told TheCarConnection that he had to use some visual tricks to disguise the long overhang in the rear.

The new XL7 features a 3.6-liter V-6 VVT engine that was designed by General Motors, but is built by Suzuki. It has 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. With more cubic inches and more horsepower the new engine also has a better fuel efficiency than the current 3.5-liter V-6. An electronic all-wheel-drive system will be available.


Front airbags, side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. The XL7 goes on sale in the fall.—Henny Hemmes

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