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ROAD & TRAVEL Auto News: 2007 North American International Auto Show Coverage

Unveiling the Best in Detroit:
the North American International Auto Show

by Jessica Howell

This January, ROAD & TRAVEL was stationed in downtown Detroit for the annual North American International Auto Show (this year marked the show's 100th anniversary) — getting the lowdown, as always, on the industry’s hottest new vehicles so we could report back to you — our readers.

There was plenty of sparkle and shine on automaker’s displays this year and nearly 7,000 automotive journalists came to the Motor City from all across the world to report on the year’s biggest auto extravaganza, in what still remains the world’s automotive capital.

To celebrate, there were exciting unveilings of new production models, geared-up debuts of clever concept cars and over-the-top displays to showcase them all.

What exactly was revealed beneath those bright lights? Read on for a look at what intrigued us at the auto show and what you can expect to see on the roads in the next year…

[Cars] [Crossovers] [Minivans] [Trucks]

Cars

2008 Cadillac CTS (All-New)
A string quartet quietly played on stage while we waited for the reveal of Caddy’s newest sedan, inspired by the landmark Sixteen concept. Moments later, two young men of the black-clad stage crew hopped on stage for a thumping, lively performance that made violins, suddenly, very cool. It was a great segway to the CTS reveal. Traditional, elegant, but seeped in “cool” factor, the new CTS boasts the performance of a sports car and slick design of a concept — amidst the conservative luxury segment. We love it. But really, with a 3.6L V6 and 300 horsepower, what’s not to love?
When You’ll See It: Fall 2007

2008 Chevrolet Malibu (All-New)
Redesigned for the new generation, the all-new Chevy Malibu debuts in 2007 as a 2008 model featuring a more stylish, contemporary look headed up by Chevy’s “new face” — a dual-port grille design. An upscale, two-tone interior option and new blue backlit gauges round out the Malibu’s chic interior makeover. Also added is OnStar Gen 7 — featuring standard automatic crash notification and Turn-by-Turn Navigation – the first factory-installed, fully integrated GPS nav system from OnStar.
When You’ll See It: Fall 2007

2008 Dodge Avenger (All-New)
Rounding out the Dodge line-up, Avenger joins the pack in the extremely competitive mid-size car segment. All-new for 2008 and featuring the bold, aggressive style of big brother Magnum and clever touches of little brother Caliber, Avenger will offer great mileage — 30 mpg — AWD, ESP, Traction Control and the look and feel of Dodge’s retro hit, the Charger. The added bonus, of course, is space. And two more doors. The bottom line? A sporty, fun sedan that’s totally likable.
When You’ll See It: Spring 2007

Next Generation MINI Cooper and Cooper S (All-New)
The second generation of MINI has come. Don’t think, however, that you won’t recognize the zippy European car on the streets. The profile, with large, round headlights and wheels that are pushed to the very corners is still the same, only this time, MINI is roofed with a hardtop, or an optional retractable hardtop package dubbed “Cooper Sidewalk.” The super-small car will offer a 1.6L 4-cylinder with increased performance that makes 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 126. The S ups the ante with a top speed of 139. Cool custom features like ambient interior illumination and auxiliary input make MINI even more desirable to Americans this time around.
When You’ll See It: Winter 2007

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer (All-New)
Star of The Fast and Furious and forever emblazoned in the minds of speed-hungry teens, the Mitsubishi Lancer is fast, cool and known for its custom-friendly features. For 2008, the Lancer gets redone from the wheels up — an all-new 2.0L 4-cyclinder powers it, harnessed to a 5-speed manual — offering a 0-60 time of under eight seconds. Also available on sport trim GTS is a 6-step Sportronic mode, a first in the segment. Seven airbags are standard, including the first Mitsu driver’s knee airbag.
When You’ll See It: Spring 2007

2008 Smart fortwo
After years of talk, the Smart fortwo is on its way to the U.S. We got a chance to slide into the European version at the show, roomy and comfortable for even my 5’8” stature. Cute, tiny and a little bit silly-feeling, Smart fortwo is a two-seat fuel efficient wonder that will likely thrive in urban environments. Taking up the space of only half a typical car, Smart fortwo can be parked vertically in a horizontal parallel parking space — a definite plus for hurried drivers. Despite the natural safety concerns of a thimble-sized car, we liked Smart. The price tag however, near $15,000, seems a little bit high for half a car.
When You’ll See It: Winter 2008


Crossovers

2007 Hyundai Veracruz (All-New)
The coolest thing, claims Hyundai, about their new mid-size crossover Veracruz, is that it doesn’t really look like a Hyundai. They’re right. From the outside, Veracruz looks like a sleek, pricey vehicle that’s been granted the flow and grace of a luxury brand. Instead, the seven-passenger Veracruz fits Hyundai’s practicality mold with a low sticker price but boasts luxe features like a proximity key, adjustable pedals, backup warning system, power liftgate and rear-seat entertainment with DVD. The price…? Well, they wouldn’t say, but it will sticker under $30,000 – making it the line’s priciest vehicle. For all the gizmos, space and style it provides, our guess is that this will bring new faces to Hyundai.
When You’ll See It: Spring 2007

2008 Nissan Rogue (All-New)
It’s low to the ground, sleek, sexy and yet, it’s practical. Nissan’s new small crossover, the Rogue, is poised to capture the eye of young adults that desire a certain degree of sportiness but also need space and functionality in a vehicle. For them, Rogue provides AWD, ABS, EPS and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). Inside, there are optional heated seats, Bluetooth, Intelligent Key and Bose audio system with MP3. With seating for five, Rogue seems to be an ideal transporter for young, “active” drivers, Nissan’s target audience. Pricing is expected to start around $20,000 — making Rogue both a smart and sexy buy. We’re excited to get behind the wheel of this one.
When You’ll See It: Fall 2007


Minivans

2008 Chrysler Town & Country and
2008 Dodge Grand Caravan (All-New)

The fifth generation of Chrysler Group minivans are set to arrive as 2008 models, showcasing an all-new, contemporary exterior and a dubbed “family room on wheels” interior. Updated with 35 new features, both Town & Country and Grand Caravan offer five different models, three seating/storage systems and three powertrain options. What appealed most to us was the Swivel ‘n Go seating set-up now available — which makes second row bucket seats able to swivel 180 degrees, facing the third row. A removable table can also be installed between the two rows and an industry-first integrated booster seat is available too. Sounds like a pretty smart idea to us. Chrysler likes to think so too, touting that they’ve got a “recipe that will be a favorite with any family.”
When You’ll See It: Fall 2007


Trucks

2008 Toyota Tundra CrewMax
Toyota’s Tundra took the burly segment by storm at the Detroit auto show, unveiling the all-new 2007 Tundra CrewMax full-size pickup. Designed, engineered and built in America, the Tundra line-up is setting out to create new standards in safety, styling and of course, rugged capabilities. We’ve gotta admit – they’re doing a good job. The Tundra CrewMax houses a 4.7-liter, V8 that produces 271 horsepower at 5,400 rpm. Also available is a 5.7-liter, V8 that offers a whopping 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm (next years models will offer flex-fuel compatibility.) More options, more power and an exterior that’s smooth as butter make Toyota’s Tundra definite competition in the traditionally tried-and-true pickup market.

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