Auto News for Jan. 12 (Detroit Auto Show)

The auto world turns its attention to the City of Detroit today and the big International Auto Show. Please check back frequently for updates on all the major introductions and the naming of the North American Car and Truck of the year that kick things off in the Motor City.

But you don’t have to wait for the show to open to see three new offerings, sort of like Hollywood stars posing for the camera before they lay down the red carpet.

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Volkswagen did not wait for the show to open to show off the Cross Coupe GTE hybrid concept that “shows the future design language for Volkswagen’s North American SUV’s.” The mid-size comes with a V6 plug in hybrid drive with a 276 horsepower 3.6 liter engine with two electric motors plus all-wheel drive. It can cover up to 20 miles in all electric mode while carrying up to 7 passengers. The Cross Coupe closely mirrors the production vehicle that will roll out of VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant at the end of next year. It will be warmly welcomed at VW dealers who have been starving for new product to buff up sagging sales in this country.

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And welcome the Avenir, a slick looking concept from Buick, “a flagship sedan exploring progressive design with new levels of passenger well-being and technology integration,” said the maker. The name is French for future, and the Avenir will seat four with a direct-injected V-6 with start/stop technology and a nine speed paddle shift transmission, automatic of course, and all-wheel drive. Buick said it features a 12-inch diagonal color touch screen for its Intelilink infotainment system and a driver recognition feature that automatically syncs all infotainment preferences. It can also access home security cameras with the option to turn on outside lights and close a garage door inadvertently left open. But no, you will still have to manually brush your teeth.

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Then up popped Chevy with the 2016 Volt that it claims is now good for up to 50 miles on just electric power with a total range, including the gas engine, of more than 400 miles. With regular charging, Chevy claims owners can travel more than 1,000 miles on average between gas fill-ups. It will seat five and go on sale in the second half of this year. The standard engine is a 1.5-liter four rated at 101 horsepower and it runs on regular unleaded and a 0-60 run of 8.4 seconds. Charging time is said to about 4.5 hours on a 240 volt system. Still to be determined is whether the new Volt gives rear seat passenger more leg room, one of the demerits of the existing model.

Stick around, because the North American Car and Truck of the year awards are coming up in less than a half hour.

 

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