2016 Detroit Auto Show: Trucks and SUVs (and one minivan)

SUVs-TrucksPersistent Popularity
Trucks and SUVs — specifically crossovers — continue their sales reign in America, so it’s no surprise that a number of new models were ready to join the ranks at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While a few of these vehicles are still just concepts, others will be arriving in showrooms later this year. Here’s a look at the new trucks and SUVs — and one minivan — that were shown for the first time here in Detroit.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceAudi h-tron Concept
The German automaker showcased its vision of a new hydrogen-powered crossover at this year’s Detroit show. The Audi h-tron quattro concept presents the fifth generation of fuel-cell technology from Audi and Volkswagen. Lighter materials reduce the weight and improve performance, responsiveness and efficiency. The fuel cell delivers power to two electric motors — a 90kW motor on the front axle, 140 kW on the rear — representing a new possibility for Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive. Audi claims a zero to 62 mph time of less than 7 seconds, with a total range of about 372 miles with a full-tank of hydrogen.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceAudi h-tron Concept
The h-tron also provides a test bed for the latest in autonomous driving and parking — features expected to go into production next year with the new-generation Audi A8. The system computes a model of the car’s surroundings in real time and makes this information available to the assistance systems, which can aid in parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds up to 37 mph. Another advanced technology in the h-tron includes multiple large OLED displays in front of the driver — wafer-thin films can take on virtually any shape. The driver controls the lights and systems for autonomous driving with one of the screens, while the large display on the right is for managing media and navigation.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceBMW X4 M40i
BMW took the wraps off the all-new X4 M40i in Detroit, which has impressive power and capabilities. The X4 is BMW’s sporty small crossover, and the sportiness has been taken up a notch with this new M edition. The X4 M40i is easy to differentiate via gray metallic accents, black chrome tailpipes and 20-inch M light-alloy double-spoke wheels. The interior stands out as well, featuring an M leather-wrapped steering wheel, M gear shift lever, sport seats, model-specific door sills and “X4 M40i” digital lettering on the instrument cluster.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW X4 M40i
Of course the heart of any M car is under the hood, and this X4 M40i is no exception. Power comes from a turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine that puts out 355 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is quite impressive — the X4 M40i can reach 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. An 8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission is standard, as is BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which has been configured to favor the rear wheels. The BMW X4 M40i will be available in U.S. showrooms in February 2016.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceChrysler Pacifica
The one minivan on this list, the Pacifica is the latest version of the venerable Chrysler minivan. While we’re not crazy about this new vehicle recycling the name of a marginal crossover, there are a number of unique innovations in the new model. The sliding side doors and rear hatch can be operated hands-free — activated with the wave of a foot underneath them. Heated and ventilated seats are available, as is remote start — a nice feature for frosty mornings. Pacifica will also be available with Stow ‘n Vac — an integrated vacuum that reaches all four corners of the van for easy cleanups.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceChrysler Pacifica
Pacifica will also be the first hybrid minivan on the market. The Pacifica Hybrid features a 16 kw lithium-ion battery that can provide up to 30 miles of electric-only operation. Chrysler estimates a fuel economy rating of 80 MPGe during city driving. Total horsepower from the hybrid powertrain is estimated around 260, which should provide more than adequate performance. Batteries get stored under the second-row floor, preserving the ample cargo space in the rear, as well as the Stow ‘n Go seats in the third row.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceFord F-150 Raptor
We saw the Raptor in concept form a year ago here in Detroit — this year Ford pulled the wraps off the final production version of this high-performance off-road truck. The F-150 Raptor will offer more room than the previous version, built in SuperCrew configuration — four doors with an interior that can seat five comfortably. “F-150 Raptor means superior off-road capability, from rock crawling to sand running,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “With the addition of SuperCrew, F-150 Raptor customers can leave the pavement behind — without sacrificing comfort and space,” Pericak observed.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceFord F-150 Raptor
Six inches wider than the standard F-150, the Raptor features a dual exhaust and 17-inch wheels shod with BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires designed for off-road performance. Power comes from a new high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine producing 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque. The updated 4-wheel-drive unit offers a Terrain Management System that allows the driver to choose from six preset modes for different terrain and driving conditions, including Street Mode, Weather Mode and Baja Mode. Raptor is expected to arrive in showrooms by the end of the year.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceGMC Acadia
Although the natural progression of an SUV in America seems to be its assured growth in all directions when the new model debuts, the all-new Acadia is actually smaller than the previous model. About seven inches shorter in length and 3.5 inches narrower, the Acadia manages to offer similar or better seating space. As an added bonus, GMC has managed to knock 700 pounds off the overall weight. This translates to better performance and fuel economy from either a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine or 3.6-liter V6. The V6 will offer an estimated 310 horsepower with a 4,000-pound towing capacity.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceGMC Acadia
As with the previous generation, a number of different trims will be available for Acadia buyers, including the top-of-the-line Denali and a new All-Terrain version providing enhanced off-road ability. Safety is a priority — of course — so Acadia can be equipped with the latest in safety technology, including Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Surround Vision camera, Lane Keep Assist and Front and Rear Parking Assist. Acadia is available with 5-, 6- or 7-passenger seating — the third row is a 50/50 split and when folded provides a flat cargo floor for easy loading. The new Acadia is slated to arrive in showrooms in spring 2016.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceHonda Ridgeline
Honda took the wraps off an all-new Ridgeline pickup truck at this year’s auto extravaganza in Detroit. Remaining unique in the truck market with unibody construction, the Ridgeline carries over a number of features that stand out now as much as they did at the truck’s introduction 10 years ago, including the in-bed storage trunk and dual-action tailgate — which is both left- and bottom-hinged. The Honda of pickup trucks now gets the industry’s first in-bed audio system, making the Ridgeline an excellent option for a tailgate party. The bed is wider and longer than the previous generation — with 48 inches between the wheelwells, Ridgeline can handle the obligatory sheet of plywood, laid flat.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceHonda Ridgeline
The 2017 Ridgeline will be powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the new Pilot. Although horsepower specs have not been released, it will likely be similar to the 280 horsepower found in the Pilot. For the first time Ridgeline will be available with front-wheel drive as well as Honda’s i-VTM4 torque vectoring AWD system with Intelligent Terrain Management. All Ridgelines are 4-door models with a spacious interior and room for five. The rear seat can be folded for added cargo-carrying versatility.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceKia Telluride Concept
The Korean automaker provided a glimpse at a bold new design direction for Kia with the debut of the Telluride SUV concept. Designed at Kia Design Center America in California, the Telluride is built on a stretched Sorento chassis and is 4.4 inches taller, 4.7 inches wider, and 9.5 inches longer than the current Sorento. The Telluride features a larger version of Kia’s “tiger nose” grille, flanked by recessed quad LED headlights that look similar to those on the K900 luxury sedan. The muscular appearance is enhanced with pronounced wheel arches and 22-inch 5-spoke wheels. At the rear, thin vertical taillights accentuate the design.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceKia Telluride Concept
Telluride makes use of a hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain that combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a powerful electric motor to produce 400 horsepower while achieving 30 mpg on the highway. Rear-hinged rear doors provide easy access to the interior, where all four seats in the first two rows include a series of diamond-cut openings that contain imbedded Smart Sensors to capture the occupant’s vital health information. Given Kia’s history of bringing concept cars to market in a form very close to how they first appeared, the Telluride may be a good indication of what to expect in a future large SUV positioned above the Kia Sorento.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceNissan Titan Warrior
The all-new Titan XD pickup is just arriving in showrooms, but Nissan decided it was already time to showcase a custom Titan. This Titan Warrior certainly stands out from the crowd with carbon fiber fenders, functional hood vents, carbon fiber cabin and tailgate spoilers, and a large front skidplate. Custom LED lights front and rear — with integrated, roof-mounted LED off-road lights — add to the Warrior concept’s aggressive styling. The custom suspension, large off-road tires and matte-gun metal finish complete the look.

© Rod Hatfield, TheNowDeviceNissan Titan Warrior
Designers must have had fun designing the Warrior’s interior. Seats are wrapped in a carbon-colored high-strength fabric trimmed with Magma orange accents. The interior is trimmed in carbon fiber, polished chrome finishes and leather with accented Magma orange stitching. Other interior features include unique hot-and-cold drink containers integrated into the center console, and robust auxiliary toggle switches integrated into the center stack for additional off-road accessories. Although Nissan says there are no plans to put the Warrior into production, it provides an indication regarding what’s possible with this large new pickup truck.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Tiguan GTE Active
Volkswagen provided a glimpse of the upcoming all-new Tiguan with the GTE Active concept. The concept was designed to showcase the possibilities of a plug-in hybrid with true off-road capability. With all-terrain tires and integrated roof lights, the GTE Active certainly looks the part. Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen brand board of management, explained: “The Tiguan GTE Active Concept shows the potential of the Volkswagen plug-in drive systems. The powerful all-wheel-drive system ensures that an SUV such as the Tiguan offers superior off-road performance, even in 100 percent electric mode.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Tiguan GTE Active
The innovative powertrain in the Tiguan concept features a turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engine with two electric motors — one on the front axle, one on the rear. In normal driving situations the Tiguan GTE Active can run in electric mode only, utilizing both electric motors when 4WD is needed. Up to 20 miles can be travelled without burning any gasoline — with a full charge and a full tank of fuel, the GTE Active boasts a range of 580 miles. The new Tiguan is slated to launch in Europe this spring, with a long-wheelbase version scheduled to enter the U.S. shortly after the release overseas.

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