Sign in to follow this  
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Autos evolve as shown by award picks

1 post in this topic

Autos evolve as shown by award picks

BY MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Of the six finalists for 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year:

• Three come from automakers that needed government help to survive the financial crisis.

• Four rely on technologies that didn't exist 15 years ago.

• Three embody the shift from old-style workhorse trucks to more efficient vehicles.

The Chevrolet Volt, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are rolling proof that GM and Chrysler can produce the world's most sophisticated cars and trucks. Decades of bad decisions laid them low, but they've made good use of their do-overs. They introduced excellent vehicles and hired new workers to build them.

The sophisticated drive systems in the Volt and Nissan Leaf should silence critics who dismissed electric cars. The Ford Explorer and Hyundai Sonata 2.0T's direct-injection and turbocharged engine wring new levels of power and efficiency from gasoline-powered engines. Meanwhile, hybrid technology grows ever more deeply embedded in mainstream vehicles; witness, the Sonata hybrid.

All three truck finalists use a unibody chassis instead of a pickup-style frame. The original 1992 Grand Cherokee was one of the first trucks to adapt that structure. The passenger-oriented Explorer and Dodge Durango adopted it to improve their fuel economy and passenger space. The 2011 Grand Cherokee shows it can also be the basis of rugged off-road SUVs.

The times have changed. Automakers and vehicles have changed with them, as the finalists for 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year demonstrate.

Read more: Mark Phelan: Autos evolve as shown by award picks | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101217/COL14/12170337/Autos-evolve-as-shown-by-award-picks#ixzz18PC9mquj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this