February 16, 2001
Thursday at the Show
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2002 Impreza WRX Sport Wagon
2002 Infiniti Q45
2003 Nissan Z
Pontiac Vibe GT
2002 Acura 3.2TL
2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT
2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R
New models from GM, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti, Subaru and Volkswagen
General Motors is dislaying their all-new 2002 mid-sized SUV’s: the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rendezvous, Cadillac Escalade, and for the first time in Canada, the Oldsmobile Bravada. These new SUV’s are substantially longer and wider than the current crop of GM mid-size SUV’s, and some offer seven passenger seating. Look for the Chevrolet SSR concept, a cross between a convertible sports car and a pickup truck – it’s been confirmed for production – and the Vibe, a new hatchback/SUV hybrid aimed at younger buyers. And of course, there’s the Batmobile, designed to bring attention to GM’s OnStar system. GM’s Saturn division is showing the new VUE compact SUV which features Saturn’s dent-resistant, rust-proof plastic body panels and a unique continuously variable transmission.
Honda is showing a new, for-Canada-only S2000 in a unique Spa Yellow Pearl colour with a matching hardtop. Price? $53,000. Acura has a new base 3.2CL Coupe model starting at $36,000, and a new 2002 TL Type S sedan with the same 260 horsepower engine as the CL Type S.
Nissan’s big showstopper is the new Z sports car, a modern revival of the 240Z sports car that was Datsun’s big seller in the 70’s. Nissan is also showing a sporty new Sentra SE-R, a high-performance version of the Sentra economy sedan.
Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, is displaying the 2002 Q45, a 380 horsepower super sedan that looks ready to challenge BMW and Mercedes. As well, Infiniti is showing the wild FX45 SUV/wagon hybrid, a luxury vehicle for those ready to take on off-road excursions, and the rear-wheel-drive XVL concept car.
Subaru’s newest model is the redesigned Impreza – the highlight of the Impreza lineup is the high-performance WRX sedan and wagon models. The WRX, modeled after Subaru’s rally cars, has a 227 horsepower 2.0 litre turbocharged four cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive. Fancy bodywork, including spoilers and a functional hood scoop completes the WRX’s racy demeanor. The basic Impreza’s have been redesigned as well: the RS Sedan, TS Sport Wagon and the Outback Sport. All three now have the 165 horsepower 2.5 litre flat four cylinder engine found in the current 2001 Impreza 2.5 RS.
Volkswagen’s redesigned Passat sedan and Passat Wagon are the stars of VW’s stand. Though they look similar to the current models, only the roof and doors are carried over. They have stronger, stiffer bodies and new optional side curtain airbags – in fact there are over 2,300 changes. The base 1.8T turbocharged four cylinder engine now has 170 horsepower while the optional 2.8 litre V6 still has 190 horsepower. Also in attendance is a new Wolfsburg Edition of the Jetta sedan with sharp 16 inch polished alloy wheels and 16 inch performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, and front sport seats. Also shown is a limited production New Beetle 1.8T Sport which features 17 inch wheels and tires, sunroof, leather and a killer Monsoon audio system.