Story and photos by Jim Robinson
Metroland Media/Wheelstalk.com -
DETROIT, Mi.: The undisputed star of this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
It marks only the third time since the Corvette was launched in 1954 that the Stingray name has been used – such is its importance to GM.
Shown in coupe form in Detroit, its styling leaves no doubt this is a Corvette but it is easily the sleekest version yet with a 6.2-litre V8 producing an estimated 450 hp and 450 lb/ft of torque and will have a 0-60 mph time of less than four seconds. Corvette officials say it is expected to be better on fuel than the (US) 26 mpg of the current model.
The interior features genuine carbon fiber with magnesium frame seats and dual eight-inch configurable infotainment systems.
Heightening the ride and handling is a five-position Drive Mode switch that allows the driver to factor in 12 different “attributes” while the new seven-speed manual transmission comes with Active Rev Matching that anticipates when the driver is about to shift and matches the gear to engine speed.
For those who want more, there is the track-capable Z51 Performance Package including: an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, integral/differential/transmission cooling as well as an aero package that improves high speed stability.
Over at Ford, it was all about trucks with heavy emphasis on commercial vans starting with the all-new Transit full-size van powered by a new 3.2-litre Power Stroke five-cylinder diesel. In Europe, the same engine produces 197 hp and 347 lb/ft of torque.
The new engine features state-of-the-art piezoelectric fuel injectors fed through a high-pressure common rail fuel system and advanced emissions technology with the expectation of fuel economy exceeding (US) 40 mpg.
And then Ford showed what they called “a little surprise” with the Atlas Concept pickup giving a very clear indication of what the next generation F-150 will look like.
The design was heavily influenced by customer feedback with the inclusion of multiple tie-down points integrated within the cargo box walls and load floor. There are 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge power tools. An integrated roof carrying system and hidden extendable ramps give the truck unique functionality for a variety of jobs. Inside thin, lightweight leather seats allow extra legroom for rear passengers.
The Atlas powertrain features Auto Stop-Start that shuts off the engine when stopped in traffic to save fuel.
Other fuel saving devices include Active Grille Shutters that close to improve aerodynamics when cruising at steady speeds; Active Wheel Shutters that automatically close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics and a drop-down front air dam that lowers at highway speeds to improve underbody airflow. The air dam is raised at low speeds to improve ground clearance.
The diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is back with a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel with a range of close to 1,000 km.
Also available with the current 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and 5.7-litre Hemi V8, it will also feature air suspension, a choice of four-wheel-drive systems and the ability to tow up to 7,400 lb.
And it will also be the safest Grand Cherokee ever with more than 60 driver security features including Front Park Assist, Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Selec-Speed Control.
Also on the Jeep stand were the refreshened Patriot and Compass CUVs.
GM Canada president Kevin Williams told Canadian autowriters the car he is most excited about this year is the Cadillac ELR.
It is not a hybrid but an Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) much like the Chevrolet Volt.
A T-shaped lithium-ion battery rated at 16.5 kW provides primary motive power good for 35 miles of normal driving. When that is depleted a 1.4-litre gasoline engine/generator kicks in extending the range to 300 miles.
The battery/engine can be configured into four modes – sport, touring, mountain and hold. Hold allows the driver to use the engine as a generator to save battery power for things such as prolonged city driving.
The battery alone has 295 lb/ft of torque that is instantly available allowing it to sprint to 60 mph in about eight seconds. When the battery is depleted, the engine/generator produces 207 hp.
Chrysler introduced a much extended lineup of Blacktop trim package vehicles.
For the 2013 calendar year, the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, Durango seven-seat SUV and Journey mid-size crossover join the Challenger, Charger and Avenger to complete the Dodge brand’s offering of Blacktop packages.
As an example, the Dodge Blacktop package adds unique Gloss Black wheels, select exterior paint colours, Gloss Black-painted “split-crosshair” grilles with Gloss Black matching grille surround, Black headlamp bezels, as well as some unique Blacktop interior touches.
Fiat continues to spin out versions of the 500, and at Detroit, it showed the Fiat 500 Abarth “Tenebra” design concept with unique Matte Grigio (gray) paint and special appointments including a roof-size Abarth scorpion logo.
The Fiat 500 “Cattiva” design concept highlights the 500 Turbo’s sophisticated appearance featuring sporty bi-color look and blacked-out appearance.
The Detroit show opens to the public on Friday.