2013 NAIAS STARS
Toyota and Honda are using the ongoing 2013 North American International Auto Show to preview two crucial showroom-ready models that are set for the world market.
Corolla Furia has new-found levels of design.
The world's largest car seller Toyota is taking the wraps off the Furia show car, pointing to how the next-generation Corolla could look like in 11th generation form.
As seen with the Furia, Toyota bosses are keen in shedding the dowdy image of its compact (C-segment) four-door saloon, billed as one of the best-selling cars on global basis in the modern history of the automotive industry.
This also includes Thailand where the Corolla has remained the most popular car in its class, thanks largely to it being preferred unanimously by Bangkok's taxi drivers.
Some striking design elements of the Furia that should make production include the wraparound front lights, sleek tail lamps and bumper louvres _ the last aspect aping that of the Prius hybrid-powered car.
Styling cues that should be toned down include the 19-inch wheels (which help give the Furia a dramatic appearance, though), angular exhaust pipes, skirts and rear spoiler.
Toyota has revealed the following dimensions for the Furia which could reflect those of the showroom car: 4,620mm length (up 120mm), 1,805mm width (up 45mm), 1,425mm height (down 40mm) and 2,700mm wheelbase (up 100mm). Such measurements could make the new Corolla the most spacious car to sit in-class due to the generous wheelbase length and width.
Honda, meanwhile, is highlighting the Urban SUV Concept which points to a new crossover body that is gaining increasing popularity in markets like Europe.
In production guise, the Urban SUV Concept will be attracting city-dwellers who like a high driving position, versatile interior and prices cheaper than the CR-V.
Due to go on sale in Japan at the end of the year, the Urban SUV Concept will be joining the next-generation City saloon and Jazz hatchback, both of which will lend mechanicals to the crossover baby.
Honda marketeers are also keen to point out that these three B-segment derivatives, part of Honda's so-called Global Compact Series, will include an all-new interior design and next-generation telematics.
Honda added that the vehicle will be key to achieving the projected 1.5 million sales target it has set itself by the end of 2016. Countries to initially build the Urban SUV Concept are Japan and Mexico.
In Thailand, the first mass-market model that's set to trigger the B-segment SUV fray is the Ford Ecosport.
Urban SUV to sit beneath the CR-V.
FROM ORDINARY TO SUPER
In order to earn the supercar tag, a sports car usually needs to have the following performance credentials: 0-100kph in no more than 4sec and top end speed of at least 300kph.
Saloons, hatchbacks and estates are now fast on track in attaining supercar status, following the world premiere of three models from Germany's big three luxury car players at this year's NAIAS in Detroit.
With prices nudging around 15 million baht in Thailand, the Audi RS7, BMW M6 GranCoupe and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG have taken ordinary cars to new heights by employing similar principles in their drivetrains: twin-turbo V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Depending on the brand, top speeds in these cars are capped at different levels. However, all three are capable of cracking the 300kph barrier in unrestricted forms.
The five-door RS7 _ based on the A7 Sportback _ gets exactly the same power and performance figures of the famed load-lugging RS6 Avant: 560hp 4.0-litre engine, 3.9sec acceleration time and 10.2kpl average fuel consumption.
Despite having the same power albeit a bigger 4.4-litre motor, the M6 GranCoupe is slower at 4.2sec. That's probably because the Beemer is rear-wheel-drive and lacks the take-off traction of the RS7's Quattro four-wheel-drive system.
The revised E63 saloon (also available in estate form) is in the same position with the M6. The Merc has a 557hp 5.5-litre powerhouse that also does 4.2sec.
But when equipped with 4Matic four-wheel-drive, the E63's time is cut by a staggering half-a-second, according to its maker.
And since Mercedes has a big ego, it is offering the S-Model with 4Matic which has a higher 585hp and a spectacular 3.6sec time.
To put that into perspective, the E63 AMG S-Model is just as quick (in fact, a tenth of second faster) as the 25 million baht Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4.
E63 has highest power of 585hp.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor