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DETROIT AUTO SHOW: Revealing show for automakers

Chrysler debuts new Motown in Motown

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Chrysler

The Chrysler 300 Motown made its formal debut at the North American International Auto Show. The Motown has 100 tracks from original Motown recording artists loaded on to the Uconnect SD card reader.

The special-edition 300 arrives with Chrysler's Pentastar 3.6 V6 (292-horsepower) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The exterior touches include 20-inch aluminum wheels, bright chrome trim and Motown badges on the front fenders. Inside, it sports Pearl White Nappa leather upholstery with black piping and piano black accents.

If it all sounds rather gaudy -- it actually looks pretty cool and is sure to curry favour with Motown fans.

Jeep

The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel made its long-awaited debut. In Canada, the previous diesel became the hottest-selling version of the Grand Cherokee -- it accounted for over 50 per cent of sales. The trend should return with a vengeance.

This time around the 3.0L, V6 turbodiesel delivers 240 horsepower and a stump-pulling 420 pound-feet of torque, which gives it an enviable 3,364-kilogram towing capability. When compared to the Pentastar V6 gasoline-powered engine found in the base Grand Cherokee, the turbodiesel delivers 56 per cent more torque yet reduces fuel consumption by a whopping 30 per cent.

All Jeep Grand Cherokees also earn Chrysler's eight-speed automatic transmission, which improves fuel economy in all models. The wide-ratio box also features a 44.1:1 crawl ratio in the two-speed transfer case, which is 46 per cent lower than before.

Dodge Dart GT

After launching the naturally-aspirated and turbocharged derivatives of the Dart, Dodge is set to unleash the GT. It features a 2.4L, four-cylinder, engine that produces 184 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. It will be teamed with a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission with a manual model.

The Dart GT is based upon on the Limited trim, which explains the perforated Nappa leather seats, Uconnect with an 8.4-inch touch screen and voice recognition as well as the 10-way power driver's seat and 18-inch aluminum wheels. More importantly, it arrives with a sport suspension and high-performance shocks that change the damping characteristics according to the speed of the body's motion. It promises to deliver a much sportier drive.

Lincoln

Lincoln revealed the MKC Concept. According to Lincoln, the small luxury crossover market has grown 200 per cent in the past four years -- it grew 60 per cent in 2012 alone. As such, Ford's upscale arm is missing out on valuable chunk of business.

The Concept featured the latest take on the Lincoln split-wing grille, a muscular side profile, bustled rear end and, of course, LED lighting. Access to the cargo area is through a clamshell liftgate that supports Lincoln's signature full-width taillights and yet more LEDs. The exterior appearance is very Range Rover Evoque-ish, at least to my eye, which means sportingly handsome.

Inside, the cabin is premium all the way, featuring leather seating along with classy chrome and wood accents. It also features pushbutton shifter for the transmission arranged vertically on the left side of the centre stack. Again, according to Lincoln, this is the way of the future as it does away with the usual bulky shifter, which opens up more space and an uncluttered look.

When the MKC comes to market later this year, expect many of the arty bits of design to make way for more practicality, a range of EcoBoost engines and a boatload of content including Sync and MyLincoln Touch.

Corvette Stingray

One of the most anticipated debuts was that of the all-new C7 Corvette. The 2014 model resurrects the Stingray nameplate. The exterior style is a knockout. Nobody will mistake it for anything other than a Vette. I like the new look, although some suggested GM should have pushed the stylistic envelope a little further.

The interior matches the Stingray's outré style in every area. The materials are superb and the amenities abound. Everything from a choice of two seat styles to a pair of eight-inch configurable displays that recognizes iPad-like hand gestures is present.

Details of the new 6.2L V8 engine were released a month ago -- 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. This engine can be teamed with a seven-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Combine this very potent powertrain with the Stingray's lightweight design (the chassis is aluminum, the fenders are made of composite materials and the hood is carbon fibre) and you have a sports car that rockets from rest to 96 kilometres an hour in under four seconds!

It will also be the best Vette yet when it comes to fuel economy. As it requires a mere 12 hp to keep the Stingray rolling down the road, the new engine will remain in four-cylinder mode for reduced fuel consumption.

As for the handling, the Stingray promises to be stellar. The list of advanced driver technologies includes Drive Mode Selector -- it allows the driver to tailor 12 different functions and choose from Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track modes.

The Z51 package takes things to a higher level all together -- it features GM's third-generation Magnetic Ride Control suspension, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, bigger brakes, larger tires, dry-sump lubrication and an aero package.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2013 F2

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