2010 Detroit Auto Show: Family Haulers Out In Force

January 12, 2010

There’s been a definite shift in consumer tastes towards smaller cars in the industry and nowhere is this more evident than in the family vehicle segment, where fuel economy, interior space and safety are crucial.

Unsurprisingly most automakers, from affordable brands to luxury marques, are offering sexy and exciting new models to carry around your most precious of cargo.

While many of the vehicles targeted at families are still in the concept phase, they do offer a glimpse of what we could be hauling the gang around in. Here’s a rundown of what was unveiled yesterday at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show:

2010 GMC Granite Concept

2010 GMC Granite Concept

GMC Granite Concept

The latest concept vehicle from GMC is the smallest vehicle the truck division has ever produced, which is a clear sign that the automaker is targeting consumers looking for a downsized vehicle. The Granite combines cues from all over the GMC lineup--and at first glance, it's also a mashup of those family traits as well as some from successful wagons like the 2010 Kia Soul and the original Scion xB. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that’s rated at 138-horsepower and teamed to a 6-speed automatic shifted by rotation, not through shift gates.

Buick Regal GS concept car

Buick Regal GS concept car

Buick Regal GS

Just because you need to buy a vehicle to carry around your family doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to performance. Cars like the Buick Regal GS are perfect for this situation, offering sports car performance but with enough space to comfortably carry five adults. Although labeled a concept, you can bet a production version of this car will be arriving in showrooms later this year complete with a 255-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual and all-wheel drive system.

2010 Detroit Auto Show

2010 Detroit Auto Show

Lincoln MKX

If a bigger vehicle is a must but fuel consumption is still important then a vehicle like the Lincoln MKX may be ideal. Facelifted for the 2011 model year, the MKX sports a sizeable body, a powerful 305-horsepower V-6 and the latest MyLincoln touchscreen interface. Drive is sent to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission with pseudo manual mode and together with the new engine the MKX will return a fuel economy of up to 25 mpg on the highway.

Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

Cadillac XTS

When money is no object than Cadillac is working on something for you. A new flagship sedan designed to replace the STS and DTS models is brewing and due for release in early 2012. The car has been previewed by the all-new XTS Platinum Concept, a vehicle that emphasizes Cadillac's Platinum line of range-topping models while also reigniting interest in GM’s plug-in hybrid technology. Its powertrain consists of a 3.6-liter V-6 direct injection engine and pairs it with a plug-in hybrid system, allowing the vehicle to coast effortlessly along on electric power alone, while at higher speeds or when conditions demand it, such as brisk acceleration, a combination of engine power and electric power or engine power only propels the vehicle.

Chrysler-badged Lancia

Chrysler-badged Lancia

Chrysler-Badged Lancia Delta

We've known since Sergio Marchionne delivered the marathon press conference on the company's five-year plan that Lancia products would be coming to the U.S. rebadged as Chryslers, and today we got our first glimpse of the new face of badge engineering: the Chrysler Delta. Thinly veiled with a Chrysler-eque grille and badging, the Delta is essentially a straight copy of the Lancia model sold in Europe. While we don't know things like on-sale dates, safety homologation or prices, we can expect the Delta bring a more refined, sporty and useful--it's a hatchback--feel to the Chrysler lineup.

2010 BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo

2010 BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo

BMW 535i Gran Turismo

Call it a crossover or wagon or even a hatch but whatever it is BMW’s new 5-Series Gran Turismo is one type of family hauler that no other brand offers--for now at least. The latest addition to the lineup is a new entry-level V-6 model, which makes the model more affordable for families. Peak output is a healthy 300-horsepower at 5,800rpm and 300-pound-feet of torque from a low 1,200rpm. When matched to the 535i GT’s 8-speed automatic, the engine returns a fuel economy of 26 mpg while still being able to briskly accelerate the car from 0-60 mph in about 6.2 seconds.

2012 Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus

Ford Focus

Available in both sedan and hatch bodystyles, the all-new Ford Focus is the latest addition to the Blue Oval’s expanding global lineup. At the core of the new Focus's assault, beyond the new global platform, lies an efficient 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder with dual variable camshaft timing and direct injection. Helping to get the most out of the new engine is an available PowerShift dual-clutch gearbox, which pairs manual-like efficiency and responsiveness with the ease of an automatic--a well-known technology, but not yet widespread, especially in the Focus' class.

2010 MINI Beachcomber Concept

2010 MINI Beachcomber Concept

MINI Beachcomber Concept

Hot on the heels of the Mini Coupe and Roadster concept vehicles from September’s Frankfurt Auto Show comes a new, more ruggedized concept vehicle that could hint at the styling of the upcoming Mini crossover. The concept is described as a radically open body four-seater based on principals of the 1960s. Ideal for cruising through town, up mountain passes or breezing along the beach, the Beachcomber, just like the Mini Moke, combines the toughness of an off-road vehicle with the convenience of a minicar.

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