A new, lighter by 716 pounds, Q7 was the talk of the Audi stand this morning. Equipped with the 3.0-liter TSI engine, the Q7 weighs in at 4,398 pounds compared to the earlier model, or Audi said, the weight savings “of a concert grand piano” thanks to the use of a lot of aluminum. Audi will offer three leather packages and two design selections, one sporty and one elegant. Optional will be a fold down third row seat. Those sitting in front can opt for a climate controlled contour seat with up to 18 adjustments and optional massage function with five intensity levels depending on how bad a day you had at the office. All models will come with all-wheel drive. The 2016 model will hit U.S. showrooms next year and there is no word yet on what it will cost.
The mid-size truck market just got hotter with the Detroit introduction of a completely revamped Toyota Tacoma. In addition to a new look there is a new engine, transmission and revised suspension tuning. The new engine is a 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped both direct and port fuel injection. The 2.7-liter four is also available. Both engines will be paired to a new six-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift. A new six speed manual will be available with the V6. In the good idea department, is an optional tri-fold hard tonneau cover to hide stash in the truck bed. Dual zone automatic climate control and a power moonroof are also on the option list and five models will be listed. No word yet on prices or availability.
And say hello to the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept, one fine looking vehicle if I may say so. Hyundai said it is a new interpretation of truck utility for a “new generation of buyers, especially Millennials.” For ease of access to the rear seats, the concept features rear hinged doors and the truck bed has a drawer-like sliding function for carrying long loads. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter diesel with 190 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque with up to 30 mpg for the light footed. All-wheel drive of course. Size wise it is said to be close to that of a small cross over vehicle with a bed big enough to consume two mountain bikes. In releasing the Santa Cruz, Hyundai emphasized it is more like a crossover vehicle than a pickup truck “for the growing population who sees and pursues the world differently, those who want all the traditional attributes of a small CUV, but need the day-to-day versatility of an open bed.” Will it ever see the light of day? That probably depends on the reaction it receives at the auto shows.
Hyundai also introduced its first plug-in hybrid, in the form of a Sonata that it claims can travel up to 22 miles on electric power. With a level two charger, it can recharge in as little as two and a half hours.