The Mercedes C-Class captured World Car of the Year honors to open the final press day of the show. It topped two other finalists, the Ford Mustang and the Volkswagen Passat. A total of 75 reporters from 22 countries selected the winner and they praised the C-Class for its aluminum and steel hybrid platform as well as its refinement, luxury, safety and ride.
Green Car of the year was the BMW i8, and Design of the Year was the Citroen C4 Cactus. A darn shame we can’t buy a Cactus here!
Calling it a “4-door Sports Car”, Nissan took the wraps off the 2016 Maxima. It features a 300 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 tied to a CVT and riding on a lighter and more ridged chassis. When it arrives in showrooms this summer, prices will start at $32,410 with five trim levels. Nissan said the new model should achieve a 15 percent increase in highway fuel economy to an estimated 30 mpg. Assembly will take place at the plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.
A Volkswagen wagon is next up in the form of the Golf SportWagen Alltrack. It will go on sale next year as a 2017 model with an inch more ground clearance than the FWD offering with up to 50 percent of the torque available to be shipped to the rear wheels. The system briefly brakes a wheel that is slipping allowing the shift of power to the wheel on the opposite side.
Chevy introduced the 2016 Spark minicar that will be offered in more than 40 markets around the world. It will go on sale in the 4th quarter with a new 1.4-liter, 98 horsepower engine that GM says will produce 16 percent more horsepower than the current model. With a CVT transmission, that may result in 40 mpg on the highway. Interior materials have been upgraded and a dot-matrix LCD instrument display has been added along with a 7-inch diagonal color touch screen. And there are three new colors – Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata and Splash. That last color should be right at home in a car wash.
Proclaiming that it showcases a new design language along with over 100 engineering and design improvements, Mitsubishi introduced the 2016 Outlander. It features a redesigned suspension, more sound insulation and a new CVT. Standard features include automatic climate control, third row seating and second row sliding 60/40 seats that also recline. The sole engine offered is a 2.4-liter four with 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Mitsu claims it will seat seven. Pricing was not announced.