2011 Detroit Auto Show

With its worst days hopefully behind it, the auto industry comes to the Detroit Auto Show with a clean slate, and a fresh batch of new vehicles and concepts to chart out its future. From Ford's first electric cars to Porsche's latest hybrid race car here are some of the top picks from the show.

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    Porsche 918 RSR

    Porsche 918 RSR  It won't be on sale at dealers, but Porsche's latest racing car concept is tailor-made for an auto show. Based on the company's upcoming 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar, the single seat coupe features a hybrid powertrain that uses a mechanical flywheel to store energy captured under braking and can send it to a pair of electric motors to power the front wheels on demand. Working in concert with a mid-mounted V8 engine, the 918 RSR has a combined output of 767 horsepower.
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    Cadillac CTS-V Racecar

    Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Racecar Hoping to accelerate its already fast-paced growth in the sales race, Cadillac is going racing on the track. The CTS-V Coupe race car is set to debut in the Sports Car Club of America World GT Challenge series this February in St. Petersburg, Fla. Just like in the showrooms, it will be going head to head with the likes of BMW and Porsche.
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    Hyundai Veloster

    Hyundai Veloster The $17,000 Veloster is Hyundai’s latest four-door, but it’s not a sedan. Instead, there’s one door for the driver, one in back for the luggage, and two on the passenger side. Cute. The rear door won’t get used too much as seating is limited, but with a peppy 138 hp engine, the Veloster promises Mini Cooper-type fun with 40 mpg highway fuel economy. To keep up with the Gen-Y types that like bright green paint, the Veloster comes standard with Hyundai’s new Blue Link telematics system, which gives turn by turn directions, let’s you send text messages with your voice and can play AVI and mpeg videos on its seven-inch touch screen display.
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    Hyundai Curb Concept

    Hyundai Curb Concept The Curb concept aims to attract buyers even younger than Hyundai’s current demographic. The smaller than a Tucson crossover features show car only opposing doors, a pop-out bike rack, 12-inch displai, and an social networking capability that can broadcast the car’s location to other vehicles. Yea, that’ll keep the paparazzi off of your tail.
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    Ford Vertrek Concept

    Ford Vertrek Concept Whether Ford knows it or not, it's name means "departure" in Afrikaans, and as the eventual replacement for the boxy Escape trucklet, it lives up to the moniker. Build on the same platform as the Focus compact car, something very similar to the small crossover will be on sale globally next year, with fuel efficent four-cylinder turbocharged engines and all-wheel-drive.
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    Ford C Max

    Ford C-Max Ford got out of the minivan game a couple of years ago as the vehicles fell out of favor with customers, but with the segment heating up again it is returning to it with a small, European-designed minivan that actually lives up to the name. Similar in size to the original minivans of the 1980’s, the seven-seat people carrier is loaded with modern, high tech features including a self-parking system and a hands-free rear liftgate that can be opened by passing your foot under the rear bumper. The C-Max is powered by a choice of fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines, including the first application of Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharged 1.6-liter.
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    C Max Energi

    Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi They share a name with the C-Max, but while this pair of inflated compact cars don’t have sliding rear doors or a third row of seats they do have something the minivan doesn’t – electric motors. Lithium-ion batteries, too. Details are scarce, but Ford says that the C-Max Hybrid will get better fuel economy than it’s current efficiency leader, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which means at least 39 mpg combined. The C-Max Energi should do even better than that because it is a plug-in hybrid – not entirely unlike the Chevy Volt. Both electrified versions of the C-Max will go on sale in 2012.
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    Ford Focus Electric

    Ford Focus Electric Set to go on sale by the end of 2011, Ford’s first electric car is based on its new Focus compact. With a 23 kilowatt-hour battery pack, Ford expects the five-door hatchback to have a range of up to 100 miles between charges. Plugged into a 240-volt home charger available from Best Buy, the battery can be charged in just 3-4 hours, about half of the time its closest competitor, the Nissan Leaf, takes to top up.
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    Prius v and Prius c Concept

    Toyota Prius v and Prius c Concept After selling nearly a million Prius hybrids in the United States, Toyota has finally figured out it has a good thing on its hands and is expanding the brand. The production-ready Prius v wagon is a larger version of the car that offers more passenger room and 50 percent more cargo capacity while still managing to deliver fuel economy of 40 mpg combined. On the other end of the spectrum, the Prius c compact concept promises a lower price and better fuel economy than the current car's 50 mpg. When the production version goes on sale in 2012 Toyota promises that it will be the most fuel efficent "cordless" hybrid on the road, a reference to all of the plug in hybrids on the way over the next few years...like the Prius plug-in also coming in 2012.
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    Chevrolet Sonic

    Chevrolet Sonic Chevy celebrated the beginning of its 100th annivesary year with less than a bang, announcing that it is replacing the Korean-built Aveo subcompact with this stylish U.S.-made Sonic. Party! The sporty exterior is complimented by a more upscale cabin with a motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster pod. Engines come from the recently introduced Chevy Cruze, including a 138 hp turbocharged motor. Fuel economy has not been announced, but the larger, heavier Cruze is capable of up to 42 mpg on the highway. A sedan version of the Sonic will also be available when it goes on sale later this year.
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    Buick Verano

    Buick Verano Buick continues the work of filling the void left by the closing of Pontiac with this new compact sedan. A close cousin to the Chevrolet Cruze, this luxed-up version features an exterior that looks like a 7/8th scale Buick Regal inside and out. Power comes from a 177 hp version of GM’s corporate 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 31 mpg on the highway, but a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo will be added later on as Buick looks to compete with cars from the likes of Audi and Lexus. Pricing has not been announced, but it should be substantially less than the Regal’s base price of $26,995. Buick says that it will be the quietest compact car in America.
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    Kia KV7 Concept

    Kia KV7 Concept In just a few short years, Kia has gone from being the builder of cheap, uninspired-looking cars to one of the style leaders in the industry, something reflected in its recent sales success. Now its designers have taken on an even more arduous task: making the minivan cool. The KV7 concept is an extra boxy minivan that is anything but square. Gullwing doors where sliders usually are help, and a wood-floored lounge-like interior doesn't hurt either. A computer desk is meant to facilitate the efforts of a new class of humans called "ringleaders" who Kia says "are busy organizing road trips, social outings and new adventures for themselves and their friends to experience together." It's unclear how exactly they choose who has to drive.
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    Chrysler 300

    Chrysler 300 Chrysler has updated its gangster getaway car with a wedgy profile, flush headlights and grille, and a slightly less claustrophobic chop-top to go with an all-new and much improved interior. A big V8 engine is still available if you need to go on the run, but the 300 also gets the company's latest Pentastar V6. It's both more fuel-efficent and more powerful than the old motor, and comes at a lower base price of $27,995.
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    Mini Paceman Concept

    Mini Paceman Concept It may not look it in pictures, but the Mini Paceman is one of the company’s new maxi-sized vehicles. Based on the upcoming Countryman five-door crossover, this all-wheel-drive three-door features a lower roofline, 211 hp turbocharged engine and unlikely leather-wrapped exterior door handles. If it makes it into production, don’t expect the latter to come with it.
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    BMW 1 Series M

    BMW 1-Series M Coupe As the vaunted BMW M3 has become more powerful over the past two decades, it has also gotten larger, heavier and more expensive – to the chagrin of many enthusiasts. For them, BMW has created a high-performance version of the company’s smallest car, the 1-Series, that was inspired by the original 1988 M3. Featuring a 335 hp 3.0-liter turbocharged engine, M-tuned traction control and suspension, and a six-speed manual transmission, the little speedster is expected to cost $47,010.
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    GMC Sierra All Terrain HD Concept Pickup trucks are still big sellers in the United States, and this GMC concept celebrates the vehicle type in all of its glory. Powered by a big, honking 6.6-liter diesel engine, the lifted Crew Cab has nearly a foot of ground clearance, Fox off-road shocks, and "mud terrain" tires nearly a yard across.
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    Honda Civic Concept

    Honda Civic Concept Honda likes to roll out "concept" cars at auto shows that look exactly like the production versions that come after shortly them, and this first look at the ninth-generation Civic is no different. Going on sale this spring in coupe and sedan forms, the compact will offer your typical lineup of four-cylinder engines, along with a new hybrid model featuring a high-tech lithium-ion batery pack, as well as a model that runs on compressed natural gas, the only one you can get from a major manufacturer.
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    Jeep Compass

    Jeep Compass Not even the lowliest Chrysler products were forgotten as it went about the business of refreshening its lineup of cars and crossovers over the past year. The compact Compass gets a fresh new interior and a body that looks a lot like a 7/8ths scale Grand Cherokee. In fact, it even has its big sister's eyes, in the form of its headlights. And, to finally make it an official member of the Jeep family during this 70th anniversary year for the brand, the Compass has been given a revised suspension and all wheel drive system that earns it the coveted Trail Rated stamp of approval. But with all of that comes a higher base price of $19,250.
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    Volkswagen Passat

    Volkswagen Passat Surprise, surprise. After months of teasing us with sketches of its so-called “New Midsize Sedan”, when Volkswagen finally unveiled the Chattanooga, Tennessee-built car it had the name Passat stamped on it. Available with a choice of a four-cylinder, turbo-diesel or V6 engine, the new car was designed specifically with the U.S. market in mind and is both larger and about $8,000 cheaper than the previous edition, starting at just $20,000 when it goes on sale at the end of the year.
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    Audi A6

    Audi A6 Audi's new midsize sedan doesn't stray too far from the company's corporate identity in the looks department, but under the hood it's a different story. Along with a couple of gasoline engines and a diesel powerplant, the A6 will be Audi's first car available with a hybrid powertrain, witch matches a four-cylinder engine to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack for an estimated 38 mpg combined.
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    Tesla Model S

    Tesla Model S We won't see it in the flesh until early 2012, but Tesla has offered a look under the skin of its upcoming 7-passenger electric car - it has two rear facing seats in the back, if you were wondering where everybody fits. The lightweight aluminum chassis was developed in house by the young automaker, without the constraints of being designed around an internal combustion engine. The company reiterating that it plans to sell the Model S at a starting price of $57,400 before tax breaks. The entry-level version of the car has a projected range of 160 miles per charge. That's 60 percent more than current electric offerings like the Nissan Leaf.
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    Mercedes-Benz C-Class

    Mercedes-Benz C-Class Don't look for it at the show, it's not there, but at a private media event before the doors opened, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new line of C-Class cars, which go on sale later this year. MB says the new "Baby Benz" has been given one of its most extensive mechanical makeovers ever. We'll leave it to you to spot the differences, but the biggest development is hidden under the hood. Along with a pair of V6 engines, the C-Class will also be available with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, the first for a U.S.-bound Mercedes in years. Danke, Corporate Average Fuel Economy.
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    Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec

    Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec Germans like diesels, and Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of trying to get us to feel the same way. It's so dedicated to the cause that it has now endowed its flagship vehicle - the S-Class - with an oil-burning V6 that's even more powerful than the one that the volks back home get in theirs, making it the only full-size luxury car in the United States with this type of engine....for now.
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    BYD E6

    BYD E6 Chinese automaker BYD has been coming to the Detroit Auto Show for a few years now, always promising to start selling cars in the United States "this year." Well, this year, it has returned with a slightly updated version of its E6 electric wagon that it says will go on sale in the United States early next year, so there's a twist. The Warren Buffett-backed company says its car will be able to go 200 miles per charge - twice what the current crop of electric family cars are capable of - and cost $42,000. We'll see next year.
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