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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jan 16, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff




Ford Mustang (production) At last year's NAIAS, Ford unveiled the Mustang concept, and the public reacted with a loud "hurrah." A year later, the icon of Ford's all-American image is back as a production model that is true to its concept. Based on an all-new purpose-built, muscle-car chassis, the new Mustang offers a fresh interpretation of its heritage design cues including a long hood, short rear deck, side C-scoops and aggressive forward-leaning grille. This rear-wheel-drive pony car is available with a 300-hp, 24-valve MOD V8 or 200-hp SOHC V6. Pricing on the new Mustang starts at under $20,000.


Ford Shelby Cobra (concept) There's been a void in the pantheon of great performance cars ever since Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby parted ways in the 1960s. Those with thick wallets could afford to fill the void by owning and driving a classic Cobra while simpler folk had to settle for vicarious curbside pleasures. That may be about to change thanks to the reunion of Ford and Shelby and their drop dead beautiful new offspring. And if the crowds around the Cobra display at the NAIAS are any indicator, people are eager for a production version. Indeed, the Editors of AutoWeek awarded the Cobra Concept "Best In Show." Similar enthusiasm greeted the Ford GT when it premiered at the NAIAS two years ago, and now it's a production vehicle. One can only wish the same here. The Ford Shelby Cobra concept brings it all together. Design. Performance. Pedigree. Its design is clean, almost minimalist. There's the massive grille opening, side air outlets vents and a simple windscreen with aluminum pillars. The long nose hides a monstrous 6.4L V10 capable of delivering of 605 hp and 501 ft-lbs to the massive 19-inch rear wheels. It can go from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds and reach a top speed of 195 mph.


Ford Five Hundred (production) A new flagship in its lineup and the cornerstone of its "Year of the Car" strategy, the Five Hundred is Ford's newest entry in the mid-size family sedan market. Even though the overall package is a foot shorter than the full-size Crown Victoria, the Five Hundred offers double the rear seat legroom and a larger trunk. Built on an all-new crossover vehicle platform, it features command-style seating that positions the driver as much four inches higher than traditional midsize cars. Available in front-wheel-drive as well as all-wheel-drive versions, the Five Hundred comes standard with a 3.0L Duratec V6 teamed with a CVT. In addition to a platform that benefits from Ford's partnership with Volvo, the car also features state-of-the-art safety technology including an energy-channeling frame and body structure as well as side impact and rollover protection.


Ford Freestyle (production) Like its platform sibling, the Ford Five Hundred, the new Freestyle is front and center in Ford's strategy to rebuild its presence in the car market. Purpose built to be a crossover where package and versatility are key in to the segment, the Freestyle seats seven in three rows. A notable safety feature developed through its partnership with Volvo is an exclusive three-row side curtain air bag system. Like the Five Hundred, Freestyle is available in both front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive configurations teamed with the 3.0L V6 and CVT.


Ford Bronco (concept) The Ford Bronco concept has the heft a lead paperweight. That's a good thing. Especially when "Tough Truck," or in this case "Tough SUV," is the number-one impression you want to make. This concept's weighty lines and sharp angles emerge from what appears to be a solid chunk of iron. This vehicle is all about function as implied by the monotone exterior, exposed door hinges and massive metal bumper. Under the hood is a 2.0L intercooled turbo diesel teamed with six-speed transmission.


Honda SUT (concept) Honda used the Detroit show to present its first-ever pickup, a concept vehicle dubbed the SUT, for Sport Utility Truck. It's a compact SUV with an open cargo box, similar to the configuration of the Chevy Avalanche and Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Honda emphasizes the SUT is different from truck-based vehicles, saying its unibody construction offers advantages in comfort, handling, stability, fuel economy and emissions. And rather than challenge existing trucks with claims of toughness, Honda says the SUT is aimed at "cool dads," active men with children looking for a practical vehicle that can be used for recreation rather than work or ultimate performance. The SUT is built on the Honda Pilot/Acura MDX platform, powered by a 3.5L V6. Though the SUT is a concept vehicle, Honda announced it will begin assembly of a pickup at its Alliston, Ontario, assembly plant in 2005.


Hyundai HCD8 Coupe (concept) The HCD8 Coupe concept vehicle is the first product to be developed at Hyundai's new US-based design center, in Irvine, CA. It's powered by a 250-hp, supercharged, 2.7L V6 and rides on an air suspension that lowers the body up to four inches while cruising. Yellow LEDs are used for front and rear lights. The rear seats fold forward to increase cargo space. There are no plans to produce the HCD8, which Hyundai calls an exercise to define its brand character.


Infiniti QX56 (production) The all-new Infiniti QX56 is built on the same platform as Nissan's Titan pickup and Pathfinder Armada SUV. It's the first Infiniti to be assembled outside of Japan and will come off the line along with its platform siblings in Canton, MS. The eight-passenger QX56 is a big vehicle; Nissan says the second row offers the most legroom in its class, and the third-row seat is large enough for adults. The engine is a 5.6L V8 that produces 315 hp and 390 lbs-ft and can tow up to 8,900 pounds. Two- and four-wheel-drive versions will be offered, with prices starting around $50,000. The QX56 goes on sale this spring.


Jaguar S-Type (production) This is the second facelift for the Jaguar S-Type since its introduction in 1999, and, indeed, the evolutionary changes have tightened the exterior design. The most-notable changes are in the rear, where the decklid has been raised and seems to integrate more smoothly into the rest of the body. The hood is now made of aluminum, which Jaguar says improves weight distribution and balance. Engines are unchanged, ranging from a 3.0L V6 to a 390-hp, supercharged, 4.2L V8 that catapults the S-Type to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The new S-Type arrives at dealers in April.


Jeep Rescue (concept) This go-anywhere, do-anything concept is aptly named "Rescue" ## the ultimate search-and-rescue vehicle. Said to be a Jeep of the near future, this "hero" offers no nonsense rugged performance. Its mission is to amplify Jeep traits to the extreme. The iconic Jeep looks give the impression of being chiseled out of solid metal. Jeep Rescue is built on a body-on-frame construction with adjustable ride height suspension. Tire pressure on the massive 37-inch run-flat tires can be tuned from the cabin for maximum traction on all surfaces. The doors are removable. There's a folding front windshield and retractable backlite. A sliding glass sunroof in front and a fold-forward canvas roof in the rear open the interior to the elements. Rescue is powered by a 325-hp Cummins turbo diesel and loaded with an impressive array of rescue and safety equipment such as a topographical mapping system, infrared cameras, satellite telephone and retractable four-point harnesses for occupants.


Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (production) The 2004½ Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a stretch version of today's Wrangler, offering more cargo space and rear seat passenger room. Overall length is increased 15 inches, with the cargo area increased 13 inches and second-row legroom given an extra two inches. Jeep says the 10-inch longer wheelbase improves on-road comfort and quietness. In addition, the Wrangler Unlimited's towing capacity is boosted to 3,500 pounds, 1,500 pounds more than the standard Wrangler. The Wrangler Unlimited goes on sale in April.


Kia Spectra (production) The all-new 2004 Kia Spectra is due to hit showrooms this spring. This four-door compact sedan features a longer wheelbase, wider track and more horsepower than its predecessor for better handling and a roomier interior. Occupant protection includes front-, front-side and full-length side-curtain airbags. A 2.0L DOHC engine delivers 138 hp and 135 lbs-ft and can be paired with a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic.

NAIAS 2004 Part 4 Land Rover Range Stormer (concept) Lexus RX 400h (production) Lexus GS 430 (production) Lincoln Aviator (concept) Lincoln Mark LT (production) Lincoln Mark X (concept) Mazda MX-Micro Sport Concept (concept) Mercedes-Benz GST (production) Mercury Mariner (production) Mitsubishi Eclipse Concept-E (concept) Mitsubishi Sport Truck Concept (concept)

NAIAS 2004 Part 5 Nissan Frontier (production) Nissan Pathfinder (production) Nissan Actic (concept) Pontiac G6 (production) Pontiac Solstice (production) Saturn Curve (concept) Scion tC (production) Suzuki Reno (concept) Toyota Highlander Hybrid (production) Toyota FTX (concept) VW Concept T (concept)

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