The German automaker has unveiled a petrol version of the sporty Q5, albeit less so than their oilburner. With less power and a slower 0 – 100 km/h speed than the diesel model, this SQ5 TFSI will have to be priced well if it is to succeed on the local market. It’s powered by a supercharged 3,0 litre engine, producing 260kW from 6000 to 6500 rpm, and 470Nm at 4000 to 4500rpm – hardly revolutionary stuff, but slightly above the performance of the SQ4. Fuel economy is rated at 8,5 litres per 100km, and Audi intends on fitting an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox and the Quattro all-wheel drive system – nothing new there. With what is said to be a stiffer suspension, the ride is lowered by 30mm on 20″ alloys, with 21″ wheels available as an option. The American market expects the SQ5 in dealerships towards August this year, so expect it locally either at JIMS or on launch early next year.
Read more about the Audi SQ5 here.
The Silverado (and the GMC Sierra) was revealed before Detroit Auto Show, so while it was on display there, it’s not really news for in-the-know petrolheads. More information can be found here.
Ford F-150 Atlas Concept
Ford pick-ups have enjoyed great success in America, and it’s only fitting that the Atlas concept – which showcases design elements for models to come – be unveiled at Detroit this week. Atlas, they mythological figure with the strength to carry the world on his shoulder, is a fitting name for the oversized trucks that are so popular in the US. For that reason, they’ve equipped it with a reinforced roof, a fold-out step and cargo ramps (which tuck away under the tailgate). Dynamic Hitch Assist – technology long overdue in our opinion – gives the driver a bird’s eye view of the tow hitch to assist in hooking up a trailer or caravan.
On top of load carrying capabilities, Ford is concentrating on fuel economy, with wheel shutters on the alloy wheels to improve aerodynamics. At low speeds, they align with the spokes. At high speed on open roads, however, they close to create an almost flat wheel surface. They’re powered by energy harnessed from the wheels, which recharge their batteries. They open when the vehicle has heavy loads or brakes sharply.
All this may seem like overkill, but the F-150 accounts for a massive part of Ford’s global sales, and the new model – due in 2015 – is make or break for the company.
Read the full Ford press release here for more info, or watch the video below.
Honda SUV concept
As promised, Honda revealed their Urban SUV Concept at Detroit this week. Essentially an SUV based on the locally sold Jazz (known as the Fit internationally), the word is this model will go into production next year. It’s shorter and smaller than the popular CR-V, and is set to compete in the newly popular segment of the mini-SUV, established locally by the Nissan Juke. Honda says that the biggest focus for this little car will be fuel efficiency, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it will be manufactured to deal with local fuel.
Read the full press release from the Detroit show here.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Improvements made to the Grand Cherokee of late have taken the SUV to new heights, and it seems the improvements to the vehicle are to continue. Most notably Jeep have opted for an eight-speed automatic transmission. The eight-speed auto boxes are more and more common in off-road going vehicles, with the benefit of improving fuel economy whilst allowing for a better spread of gear ratios. The engine line-up isn’t being changed, but off-road systems seem due to receive an upgrade. One of these is an improved Selec-Terrain system, which will now not only have five terrain options, but also the ability to automatically select the appropriate setting according to the terrain, if the driver sets it to auto. Jeep also claims to have improved the safety of the SUV greatly.
Read more about the new Grand Cherokee
Jeep Compass bidding farewell?
Also from Chrysler at Detroit were the new incarnations of the Compass and Patriot, set for release in 2014. Rumoured to be the last of these to be built, the SUVs on show come fitted with a six-speed auto ‘box (no more CVT) and a slightly new look for the Compass. Freedom Drive II is an option made available on both the Compass and the Patriot, and is essentially an off-road package that still comes with CVT. Other trims include new 18″ wheels, a reverse camera and extra airbags on the Patriot. The engine choices are said to remain the same.
You can read more about the 2014 Jeep Compass and Patriot models here, expected in SA towards 2015.
Mini JCW Paceman
The last in line to receive the JCW treatment is the Mini Paceman, on show at Detroit this week. The package is standard as applied to the rest of the Mini range, includes a All4 all-wheel drive system and sees the Countryman-based min SUV producing 183kW and 163Nm of torque.
Click here to read specs for the JCW Paceman showed at Detroit.
Nissan Resonance concept (Murano preview)
The Resonance Concept shown by Nissan at this year’s first Auto show is said not to only be a preview of where the Japanese company’s design is headed, but more specifically a concept model for the locally popular large crossover, the Murano. The exterior is a dramatic shift for what is already an unusual and bold design, and features a so-called ‘floating’ roof and a whole new cockpit designed around the idea of “first-class space travel”.
Engine specifications weren’t revealed, but it was said that the concept Murano has a hybrid powertrain with an all-wheel drive system, a small traditional engine as well as an electric motor. This should be paired with an updated version of the CVT ‘box already fitted to the Murano.
Interestingly, the production of the future Murano is set for Mississippi in the US.
Volkswagen CrossBlue concept
A surprise reveal at the Detroit Show from VW was the CrossBlue concept, a three-row SUV with a hybrid drivetrain. The CrossBlue, set for US and Canadian markets, has a plug-in diesel and electric drivetrain and promises the lowest fuel consumption in the large SUV market. They’ve put a 2,0 litre turbodiesel in the concept vehicle with two electric motors. The three powertrains are said to produce around 227 kW and just under 700Nm of torque. A six-speed DSG box has been fitted.
Read more about the hybrid capabilities of the the VW CrossBlue here.