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Detroit Flexes its Muscle Cars

by Tom Strongman

The popularity of Fords heritage-styled Mustang inspired Chevrolet and Dodge to design concept cars based on modern-day interpretations of the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Both were among the standouts shown at the press preview days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Eva Longoria, star of the hit TV series, "Desperate Housewives" was on hand to help introduce the Chrysler Imperial Concept to the throngs of journalists at the North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center in Detroit.   more photos

Chevrolet Camaro Concept

Dodge Challenger Concept

Classic muscle cars are enjoying tremendous popularity among collectors, so it makes sense that manufacturers cash in on the baby boomers interest in cars from their youth.

Crossover SUVs were the other hot item in Detroit. These car based SUVs are gaining increasing ground as buyers realize that these smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient SUVs will meet most of their needs.

Here is a list of new Photo Galleries showing coming vehicles and concept cars.  This list is sure to grow in the coming weeks.

Production Cars
These cars are in production or will be shortly.  They will be arriving at a showroom in the near future

Concept Cars
a chance we may see some of these cars in the coming years

 Following are some brief highlights from the Detroit Car Show.
     (Click on the images to expand)

Acuras RDX prototype compact SUV showcases a luxury interior, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive and a turbocharged, 2.3-liter engine that produces 240 horsepower. Acura said the RDX combines SUV utility with sports-car handling. It will be built in Ohio and go on sale in the summer.

Audis Roadjet concept is a performance-oriented sedan with a coupelike profile. It has a 300-horsepower V-6, seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive.

The Enclave concept is a luxury crossover SUV built on a car chassis. It has room for six and is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 with 270 horsepower. All-wheel drive and a fully independent suspension are standard. No production plans have been announced.

2007 Escalade and Escalade ESV have a 403-horsepower V-8, six-speed automatic transmission and a host of luxury convenience equipment. Cadillacs SUVs ride on an all-new frame shared with the Chevrolet Tahoe.

Chevrolets Camaro concept blends styling cues from the 1967 - 1969 models with a 400-horsepower V-8, six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel independent suspension. No production plans were announced, but it would be surprising if Chevy didnt build it.

 Chevy unveiled the 2008 Tahoe Two-mode hybrid that should be 25 percent more fuel efficient than the standard Tahoe. The powertrain, developed in concert with BMW and DaimlerChrysler, combines a gasoline engine and electric power. In city driving, this system can operate solely on electric power at low speeds.

The Imperial concept is another derivation of the Chrysler 300 chassis and powertrain. It is 17 inches longer and 6 inches higher than a 300. The unusual styling reflects classic Imperials of the 1930s and 1950s. Production plans have not been announced.

Dodges Challenger concept is based on a Dodge Charger chassis and Hemi V-8. Its styling pays homage to the 1970 Dodge Challenger muscle car. Clean lines and big wheels to create a vehicle that is sure to tap into the resurgence of interest in muscle cars. Production plans have not been announced, but it would be surprising if the Challenger werent built.

The Ford Edge crossover SUV uses Fords new 3.5-liter, 250-horsepower V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. This sporty wagon packages comfort and style with SUV practicality and a car chassis. The Edge will be available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2006.

The all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler has a 2-inch-longer wheelbase, a new frame and a 3.5-inch-wider track. A 3.8-liter V-6 replaces the 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Comfort and safety items such as vehicle stability control, power windows, anti-lock brakes, side airbags and a navigation system will be offered. The Wrangler will be available in three models.

The Jeep Compass is a compact crossover SUV powered by a 172-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional. Side-curtain airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes and traction control will be offered. The Compass goes on sale in the third quarter of this year.

Lexus previewed its next luxury sedan, the LS 460, in both standard and long-wheelbase versions. It is powered by a 360-horsepower V-8 mated to the worlds first eight-speed automatic transmission. The LS 460 goes on sale in the fall.

Lincoln introduced a luxury crossover SUV called the MKX and the MKS performance luxury sedan concept. The MKX crossover is based on the Ford Edge. It is loaded with luxury items such as a panoramic glass roof, heated and cooled seats, and a THX audio system.

The MKS full-size sedan concept has a 315-horsepower V-8, six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and an optional panoramic glass roof. Production plans have not been announced, but Lincoln executives said the MKS points to what is coming in the future.

The Kabura sport coupe concept and the CX-7 crossover SUV were the highlights of Mazdas show presentation. The Kabura is a tidy, muscular little coupe that would slot in between the MX-5 Miata and the RX-8.

The Mazda CX-7, which has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 244 horsepower, is designed to blend sporty handling with SUV practicality.

The Mini concept, slightly larger than the current model, is a reinterpretation of the original Mini Traveller wagon. The show car has more room for cargo and a revised interior with seats that seem to float inside the vehicle. All doors open wider for easier entry and loading.

The compact 2007 Sentra, which goes on sale in the fall with a starting price around $15,000, is slightly larger than before. It has a 2.0-liter engine and a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission.

The Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV features a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor/generator. The Vue can operate solely on electric power at low speeds, and it is expected to achieve 27 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway.

Toyota unveiled an all-new Camry in standard and hybrid versions. Bold styling is intended to make the Camry more attractive to buyers who think past models have been too bland. The Camry has been the best-selling car in America for seven of the last eight years.

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