It has just been reported that, in about 18 months General Motors (GM) will possibly start selling a plug-in hybrid mid-size crossover SUV under their Buick entry-level luxury brand. Probably set to compete against hybrid-powered Lexus RX series of medium-sized luxury cars, the vehicle may become a serious weapon in the American brand’s fight against Japanese domination on the Chinese market. But, even if you happen to live in Shanghai with its air poisoned by millions of gas-powered cars, don’t hold your breath yet: lots of things can happen in eighteen months and the concept may be scrapped altogether.
SsangYong, the maker of extra-ugly cars and SUVs that has for years been torturing us with their bombastic, deliberately exaggerated (but in a bad, lack-of-good-taste exaggerated kind of way) vehicles that were seemingly designed for the Asian market, but still somehow managed to find their way to other regions, is going to drop a bomb on us. Possibly trying to impress prospective investors that may help the struggling company survive the ongoing economic turmoil, SsangYong plans to present a diesel-hybrid-powered version of its old Kyron mid-size SUV.
The 2010 VW Touareg Hybrid mid-size SUV equipped with a V6 TSI engine and a 52 hp electric motor will feature whopping 26mpg (9.05l/100km) fuel economy in the combined cycle, besting even the oil-sipping 2009 Touareg V6 TDI diesel-powered model that was first unveiled at the LA Auto Show last November. Currently existing only as a prototype, the vehicle will be shown in flesh either simultaneously or fairly soon after the second generation of the popular luxury off-roader will be officially revealed to the public.
Opel Ampera, the long-awaited plug-in hybrid vehicle motivated by GM’s Voltec technology currently employed in the Chevy Volt PHEV, will be officially unveiled at the 2009 international motor show in Geneva.
In a world where a “hybrid” car is often associated with ultra-compact, deliberately hideous hatchbacks with cheap interiors crafted from “green materials”, the upcoming Fisker Karma premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sports sedan looks like a breath of fresh air with its long, beautifully sculpted body, aggressive visual accents and futuristic interior. And, judging by all the press and positive initial reviews that I have seen so far, the Karma seems to be one of the most awaited performance vehicles featuring an alternative drive system. Of course, a new set of photos is always a welcome development.
Set to go on sale early next year as a 2010 model, the new Lexus RX450h crossover SUV gives you the best of two worlds. Featuring an efficient hybrid powertrain, it is almost as frugal as Prius, yet its interior gives you more luxury than a common tree-hugger could possibly hope for. Of course, if you are looking for a hybrid car that will save you lots of cash, this is probably not the best choice: given its official fuel efficiency rating of 29 miles per gallon, which is just 9 mpg better than that of 2010 Lexus RX 350 all-wheel drive model, you will have to cover lots of miles to break even if you count in difference in base price.
Fiat is reportedly working on adding a hybrid-powered version of its highly popular Fiat 500 super-mini to their product line. Although even while equipped with a conventional powertrain, the Italian compact car is not particularly thirsty, the car manufacturer still wants to kill at least two birds with one stone: make the car even easier on your wallet, while still allowing it to be fun to drive. And there is also a matter of swag: everybody seems to be so proud of owning a hybrid these days.
Guys from Newport Convertible Engineering (NCE) have presented their new baby: a built to order Toyota Prius Hybrid. Although the conversion program doesn’t enhance the vehicle’s mileage or its handling in any way, it still adds some value to it, especially if you happen to live in California with its immense number of sunny days. Yeah, right: the Prius NCE is a convertible!
Greenspan was right: the weak dollar is good for the American automakers. Designed by a Dutch automobile designer Henrik Fisker who is also responsible for the gorgeous BMW Z8 and the compact Artega GT sports cars, the new vehicle enjoys an unprecedented for an emerging brand level of public and media attention. In fact, the interest is so high that the company plans to introduce the car to the European market, too, when the vehicle is ready.
It seems that Audi’s North American customers wealthy enough to afford the 2008 Audi Q7 Hybrid SUV won’t be able to help the world to get a little bit greener.