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Old 04-10-2009, 09:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Default The Most Significant Debuts of the 2009 New York Auto Show - Feature

Auto-show season is drawing to a close with the New York Auto Show, and the themes that have dominated the last five months continue to play out in the Big Apple, with diesel, electric, and hybrid vehicles of all shapes and sizes making a big splash. And it will take more than worldwide environmental concerns and uncertain fuel prices to kill the SUV. Read on for the most significant debuts of the 2009 New York auto show.
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2010 Acura ZDX

When BMW introduced its funky-looking X6 SUV, we thought it would go out of style quicker than snap bracelets. Well, Acura has now entered the four-door-SUV-luxury-crossover-thing segment with the debut of its ZDX. Still in relative concept form, the ZDX will be built on the MDX platform and likely carry the same 3.7-liter V-6 engine, powering the same Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. Acura, looking to achieve “a whole new level of prestige” for its brand, just might have added fuel to this niche fire.
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2010 BMW X5 M / X6 M

Apparently, the boys at BMW chose to ignore the memo stating the horsepower wars are over, and that’s perfectly fine with us. In introducing its first M-series SUVs, the performance division came out swinging for the the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. The X5/X6 M’s twin-turbo V-8 puts out 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, and the trucks are expected to arrive at thousands less than the top Cayenne, around the $100K mark. Don’t think for a second that dumping big motors into SUVs means the M division is going soft. These puppies use a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system to lap the Nürburgring faster than the last-gen M3.
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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The new Grand Cherokee has set its sights on regaining respect in the category it created. The sleek new sheetmetal sits atop a Mercedes-Benz ML platform, complete with a 4.5-inch adjustable air suspension set to tackle both on- and off-road terrain. Under the hood is your choice of a 360-hp Hemi V-8 or the first iteration of the all-new Pentastar V-6 engine, rated at 280 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Time will tell if the Grand Cherokee returns to its glory days, but it is headed down the right path.
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Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec Concept

They are clean and efficient, but the true beauty of diesels is their ability to generate big torque from small displacement. Powering the E250 concept is a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder posting 204 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, lagging behind the diesel V-6 in the E320 BlueTec by only 7 hp and 29 lb-ft. Coupled to a seven-speed automatic, the four will return a claimed 28 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway, trouncing the E320 by 5 and 7 mpg, respectively.
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2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 hybrid

Mercedes has long been a leader in diesel sales elsewhere in the world, but its development of a hybrid vehicle lends credence to the notion of battery-boosted combustion engines as permanent fuel-preservation tools in all vehicle segments. Utilizing a transmission developed in conjunction with GM, Chrysler, and BMW, the ML450 is one of two imminent Mercedes hybrids, the other being the S400.
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Mitsubishi Prototype i MiEV

Mitsubishi is aiming to become more active in the alternative-powertrain and minicar markets. The i MiEV will serve both goals, as the diminutive four-door will be powered by a 330-volt battery pack spinning a 63-hp electric motor. The first cars to come to the U.S. will head to Oregon, where they will undergo testing at the hands of the state and Portland General Electric company. Mitsubishi hopes to make the i MiEV available to customers here by 2012 or earlier, and a gasoline-powered model is also planned.
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Scion iQ Concept

Strip away the flared bodywork, oversized wheels, and coil-over suspension, and the Scion iQ is Toyota’s best bet at a Smart Fortwo–fighter for our shores. Indeed, the iQ plays that role elsewhere in the world (badged as a Toyota) and its possible arrival in the States would validate the Smart Fortwo’s American advances. Given the iQ’s conventional transmission and larger interior—featuring rear seats—we think it would be a more intelligent pick than the Smart.
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2010 Subaru Legacy/Outback

With the brand’s convention-bucking hallmarks being its use of boxer engines and an all-wheel-drive-only lineup, Subaru has decided to move toward the mainstream by adding cubes to the cabin. The flat engines and sure-footedness remain, of course, but the interior volume has increased on both the sedan and wagon so that the Subies can better battle the mid-size doyens Camry and Accord. Also significant (to us, anyway) is the loss of a turbo-four-cylinder Outback, although the engine option lives on in the Legacy.
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