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A Selection of Hot Cars Seen at the North American International Auto Show's Press Preview

by Mike Halterman
Sunday Jan 31, 2016

The North American International Auto Show will have wrapped up by the time this issue is in your hands (or online, or on our app), but the world's largest auto manufacturers revealed their most innovative new models to the press in a grand preview which was held the first two days of the show, January 11-12. Here are some of the cars that debuted during the press preview. Soon you'll be able to purchase them if you like what you see!

One of the biggest unveilings happened on the first morning of press previews. Chrysler introduced their 2017 Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid models, a replacement for their venerable "Town & Country" line, which is being discontinued in the hope that people will like what they see with the Pacifica and buy minivans again. The first thing you'll notice is the sleek design...the sliding back doors have been hidden from view on first glance (don't worry, they're still there). The Pacifica has a 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine and the Hybrid model will be able to get 80 miles per gallon equivalent in city driving. When it goes on sale later this year, it will be the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market.

Chevrolet fans had the chance to see the 2017 Cruze Hatchback a few days before the press unveiling, and people couldn't be happier with the results. Hatchback sales went up nearly 10% last year alone, meaning Chevy is ready for the 2017 season with a top-of-the-line sporty car with plenty of room for storage. With the back seats folded down, the Cruze Hatchback offers 47.2 cubic feet of cargo space. The 2017 Cruze Hatchback is the most aerodynamic Cruze yet, having shed over 100 pounds of weight from the body and shrinking the still-powerful 1.4-liter turbo engine to just 44 pounds.

It looks like Audi is at the forefront of hydrogen fuel cell technology with their latest concept vehicle, the Audi H-Tron Quattro. Two electric motors are located on each axle, coupled with a 100 kilowatt battery and a 110 kilowatt fuel cell. This kind of energy means the H-Tron Quattro can go from 0 to 60 in just under seven seconds. The on-board hydrogen tanks can take the car as far as 370 miles when filled before departure. The interior is sleek and luxurious, with all the top amenities you can see in current Audi 2016 models. If this technology takes off, you may see it in dealerships in just a few years.

The press preview's second day started off with the unveiling of the heavily revamped 2017 GMC Acadia. This crossover SUV is marketed specifically for the midsize SUV driver, and they've shed 700 pounds off the body to make it more efficient. The 310 horsepower 3.6L V-6 engine ensures that for the size, you will still get great mileage: nearly 30 miles to the gallon in city driving. Despite the smaller weight, there's a lot of room in the interior; the third row of seats folds flat for more storage (now 79 cubic feet). There's also a new standard alert that will tell the driver if something has been left in the second or third row of seats (like a valuable, or heaven forbid, a sleeping child).

If you're looking for a strong, sturdy pickup truck, you usually think of American names and not Japanese automakers. Nissan is now flexing its muscle at all the skeptics since they've introduced the Titan Warrior concept truck during the press preview's second day. The Warrior is three inches taller and six inches wider than the Titan XD that's currently on the market, and the dark matte finish to the paint job and metal fringe design looks very intimidating. Under the hood is a powerful 5-liter, 8-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. It's nearly ready for production so keep your eye out for it in the next year or two!

Elio, while impressive in structure, didn't wow many of the press at the preview with their P5 three-wheeled two-seater, because it was already introduced to audiences in Los Angeles this past fall. If it's new to you, however, you're going to love everything from its mileage to its price tag! They are getting very close to a production date (all cars will be American-made in Shreveport, Louisiana) and you can buy yours as soon as this year for just $6,800! The P5 upgrades from the P4 in that there is a longer and lighter front end, changes to the interior, and a fancier instrument panel, among other tweaks. Its 3-cylinder 0.9-liter engine takes the car from 0 to 60 in 9.6 seconds, maxes out at 100 miles per hour, and has a fuel efficiency of 84 miles to the gallon on the highway.

57 cars in total were unveiled during the North American International Auto Show's press preview. Want to see them all? Go to naias.com and view their photo galleries.

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