Hot cars at the Detroit auto show

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Associated Press

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 1:33 PM

The North American International Auto Show begins this week in Detroit with media and industry previews. It opens to the public Jan. 19.

Here are some of the new cars and experimental concept vehicles unveiled at the show:

— CADILLAC ELR: General Motors is trying to take the Chevrolet Volt's electric technology upscale in a new Cadillac. The ELR has the same battery and gas-powered generator as the Volt. The car has angular lights and fenders like other new Cadillacs, but it also has a more sloped, forward-leaning aerodynamic look. It also has a plush new interior that differentiates it from the Volt and sets the tone for future Cadillacs.

— FORD ATLAS CONCEPT: Ford is trying to keep its rivals at bay with a concept that hints at the look of the next F-Series pickup. The Atlas has a chiseled design and a bigger, more elaborate grille. Ford is emphasizing fuel economy. The Atlas has shutters on the grille and wheels that close automatically, improving aerodynamics. The new truck also will weigh several hundred pounds less than the current model and have a more efficient engine. Ford won't say when the new truck goes on sale, but it's likely to be a 2015 model.

— KIA CADENZA: Kia is moving into the North American premium sedan market with the 2014 Cadenza, aiming for buyers looking in the gap between mainstream and luxury. Kia got its start in the U.S. as an economy car maker, but has been moving upscale. The arm of South Korean automaker Kia Motors Corp. describes the sedan as having elements of European design, which help define the higher-end market. It will be offered with Kia's most powerful V-6 engine.

— CHEVROLET CORVETTE: The 2014 model is the first all-new version of the iconic sports car in nine years. It has a dramatic styling that picks up cues from the 1963 Sting Ray and newer Corvettes. GM promised it would perform better than the current model yet will get better gas mileage. The two-seater arrives at showrooms in the fall. A 6.2-liter small-block V-8 with 450 horsepower takes the car from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds.

— JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE DIESEL: The top-selling Grand Cherokee is making the jump to diesel power. It marks the first major expansion into diesel in the U.S. by a mainstream SUV maker, showing the potential for boosting power and fuel economy. The SUV's 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V-6 engine promises 240 horsepower and the ability to tow up to 7,400 pounds. It's expected to get 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway in 4x2 models, and 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for 4x4 models.

— VOLKSWAGEN CROSSBLUE: Volkswagen may be getting into the midsize SUV market. It rolled out a concept SUV called the CrossBlue at the show. It would be a first in the U.S. market: a plug-in hybrid SUV with a diesel engine and two electric motors. In electric mode, it would get the equivalent of 89 miles per gallon, a measurement reached by estimating the energy it uses. In hybrid mode, it would get an estimated 35 mpg. VW will decide whether to make the vehicle in the next few months, based partly on reaction of show visitors.

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