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Concepts turn up heat at car show

Old 03-28-2007, 06:04 PM
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Default Concepts turn up heat at car show

A Canadian reporters take at the Vancouver International Auto Show.

Concepts turn up heat at car show

Keith Morgan
The Province

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Auto show visitors always love to pore over the latest models, but they ooh and aah over the concept cars peppered around the show floor.

The 2007 Vancouver International auto Show at B.C .Place Stadium (Saturday to April 8) will again provide a glimpse into the future of the auto industry with its presentation of concept vehicles this year.

What has made these flights of designer fancy so much more interesting years is the quickness with which real incarnations of them have hit the road.

Today's concepts are more than trial balloons and even those dubbed as "not for production" amazingly are scheduled if they are well received on the show circuit.

The Chevrolet Camaro concept, which may seem an anachronism in the current climate -- pun intended -- is set for production no ifs, ands or buts. Despite the sudden public eco-awareness, there is a demand for this throwback to the good old days.

GM has done what so many manufacturers have done in recent years. It has developed a hot-looking retro-style coupe that appeals to the nostalgia in all of us, but offers the technology and finish we have come to demand.

The Camaro has a 400-h.p., aluminum small-block V8, a six-speed manual transmission, and has fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology, which cuts out four-cylinders at cruising speed contributing to a highway fuel economy of 7.8 L/100 km or better. If people must drive these beasts then I'm glad of this small concession to conservation. The production edition will offer other powerplant options.

The hedonism continues. GM says of its funky pickup version of the Hummer: "The H3T Concept expresses a vision of the potential of future Hummer vehicles, targeted at enthusiasts who desire the Hummer image and capability, but in a smaller, non-SUV configuration."

The pickup box incorporates side-access doors along with drop-down assist steps that double as weather-tight storage compartments.

Yes, the beast and its various versions will survive and doubtless a hybrid will be on the way. The H3T offers clues as to how the kinder, sensitive Hummers of the future will look.

Just like GM, Dodge looked in its rear-view mirror to come up with the Dodge Challenger concept -- the last Challenger was made 35 years ago. Plain and simple, it's a muscle car with no pretensions to be anything other than a brute.

And not only will it be manufactured, but it will be built at the DaimlerChrysler Brampton Assembly Plant near Toronto as a 2008 model.

The rear-wheel-drive car will feature Hemi engines, is based on the Chrysler 300 platform and will be slightly longer than the original Challengers.

You could call the next concept a mini-monster. Suzuki is displaying its SX4 WRC concept which uses a heavily modified and powerful 320-h.p. turbocharged engine. The car will actually make its World Rally Competition debut in August.

Ford is bringing its Bronco concept but Truck Guy Ian Harwood will bring you the goods on that on Friday.

The Vancouver International auto Show opens Saturday at 10 a.m. for nine days. Watch for our complete preview package on Friday.

For more information now, visit www.vancouverinternationalautoshow
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