From green to glamorous – You can see it all April 9-13 at the 2014 Denver Auto Show

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The 2014 edition of the Denver Auto Show (April 9-13) features new, interesting and sometimes outrageous vehicles to entertain, enchant and entice Colorado consumers.  CADA will transform the Colorado Convention Center into the Rocky Mountain region’s biggest auto and truck showroom, including an area showcasing the latest in accessories and customizing products.  More than 550 vehicles from 39 manufacturers are on display.

This is a great opportunity for your prospective customers to get a peek at models coming soon to Colorado new car dealerships, as well as the latest technological advances. Show-goers will be treated to 2015 models of the Audi A3, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Colorado, Chrysler 200, GMC Sierra Canyon, Sierra HD and Yukon, the Hyundai Genesis, Mazda6 and CX-5, the Porsche Macan S and Subaru WRX STI.

Some very hot new car and truck models that already have received lots of buzz from Tokyo to New York will be on the floor, including the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Dodge Durango, FIAT 500L, Ford C-Max and Fusion, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Cadenza, Mazda3, RAM 1500, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, Toyota Corolla and BMW 4 Series.

BMW’s new all-electric i3 is just one of the green standouts at the show.  With the price of gasoline still above $3.50 for a gallon of regular, interest in vehicles with outstanding fuel economy remains very high.  Automakers have been racing to develop fuel-sippers and they’ll be prominent in most displays.  The range of options is amazing and extensive. From Toyota’s myriad models of Prius hybrid, the luxurious Cadillac ELR, the electric BMW i3 and the 2014 “Green Car of the Year,” the Honda Accord, there are hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles available in all sizes, shapes and prices.

The quest for fuel efficiency extends to increasingly popular diesels, especially since they are both quiet and powerful and diesel fuel is easily available.  See and learn about the variety of diesels available from Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Jeep, Mazda and of course, Ford and RAM trucks. America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a Denver Auto Show sponsor, will host a display explaining why natural gas is the next big – and logical –  thing in automotive technology for American consumers.

These are all practical transportation solutions but there’s also plenty of excitement and edginess at the 2014 Denver Auto Show. Toyota is bringing the LifeTime Fitness RAV4 and Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner to show off.  These two vehicles were tricked out for the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)show with the RAV4 set up for triathletes and the 4Runner for skiers – each crammed with comforts not usually found in vehicles.  The Hyundai “Walking Dead” Survival Machine is a fantasy vehicle made to survive the Zombiepocalypse.  You’ll be able to have your photo snapped (in costume or out) along with its zombie occupants.

 

Equally exotic, but in a different way is a display of some of the world’s most glamorous, expensive and powerful cars from makers like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus and Maserati.

 

Most of the vehicles on display are stationary, but the popular “Camp Jeep” indoor off-road driving exhibit returns for 2014 with an all-new obstacle: the Trail Rated Pass. Professional 4×4 drivers will take riders along for a thrill ride over the course and up the 35-degree Jeep Mountain in the new Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Wrangler Unlimited.

 

The Denver Auto Show, is presented by Colorado Drives and sponsored by Public Service Credit Union and Allstate Insurance.  Friday is Hispanic Day, sponsored by Telemundo, with lots of live entertainment.

 

Be sure to get your key people to the Innovative Dealer Summit and to the Charity Preview Party.  And we’ll see you at the 2014 Denver Auto Show!

 

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Compressed natural gas; Logical next step for America’s automakers and drivers

 

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Pakistan lags behind the United States in many areas but it leads the world in using natural gas for transportation. America is far behind countries like Brazil, India, Argentina, Italy, Egypt and even Bangladesh when it come to using this economical fuel, even though we lead in natural gas production. About 17.5 million natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are on the road worldwide, but only about 66,000 of them are light-duty vehicles in the U.S.– cars, SUVs or pickup trucks.

According to Boulder-based Navigant research, NGVs will more than double worldwide by 2023, but will the US join the party? Diesels certainly caught on in the last few years. Former General Motors Chairman Dan Akerson pointed out last October, “Think about it. Go back 20 or 30 years ago. Diesel wasn’t very ubiquitous in this country. Forty percent of our gas stations today nationally have diesel in them. If 40 percent of them had a compressed natural gas (CNG) station, think of the impact that would have in our foreign currency deficits, our trade deficits … on our environment.”

Natural gas vehicles would get a boost from the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Act introduced in February by US Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Carl Levin, D-Mich. It would give alternative fuel vehicle producers regulatory incentives. It would increase the vehicles’ appeal to drivers with benefits like access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes. And it would require a federal study on financing options for natural gas fueling stations.

Fueling stations – or lack thereof – has hampered NGV vehicles’ appeal. Inhofe and Levin call it “a classic chicken-and-egg problem.” Without enough vehicles nobody wants to install fueling stations – and vice versa. There are about 1,500 fueling stations nationwide – 15 along Colorado’s Front Range. That means drivers must plan ahead. However, considering the average price per gallon for CNG is about $2.50 compared to about $3.65 per gallon for gasoline, it may be a trade-off worth considering. Home CNG fueling units also are available that use the same natural gas used for home heating and make it possible to fill up overnight.

Even without Congressional action and the fueling issue, the affordability of US natural gas makes it more attractive for automakers to manufacture CNG vehicles. Honda has offered the Civic CNG since 1998. General Motors sells the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana. Other manufacturers, including Audi, Fiat, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and VW make and sell CNG vehicles in other countries, and will sell them here if demand grows.

Sens. Inhofe and Levin identify bi-fuel vehicles as the “bridge to a more diverse and efficient transportation fuel mix.”  Bi-fuel vehicles can switch between natural gas and gasoline or diesel, extending their driving range. Chevrolet is promising a 2015 Impala bi-fuel and the 2014 GMC Sierra is already available. Ford offers bi-fuel availability in F-150 through F-650 and Super Duty trucks and E150/250/350, Transit and Transit Connect vans. The Ram 2500 also comes as bi-fuel.  

A frequently cited advantage of natural gas is that it’s better for the environment because it burns cleaner than gasoline with reduced hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gases. Gasoline use was reduced by about 400 million gallons in 2013 because of NGVs.

Natural gas vehicles will be part of the future of American transportation, helping us keep rolling while achieving energy independence. As consumers become more knowledgeable about NGVs’ benefits and the fueling infrastructure develops you may want to consider one. You can see several NGVs already available to consumers and small businesses at the upcoming Denver Auto Show, April 9-13 at the Colorado Convention Center.  The NGV Pavilion is sponsored America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). 

Meanwhile, learn more from the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center website at www.afdc.energy.gov.

 

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One million square feet of automotive excellence showcased in Chicago

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Chicagoans may still smart from the New York World Trade Center’s dethroning of Willis Tower as “America’s Tallest Building,” but they can claim America’s largest auto show. The Chicago Auto Show – open through Monday – covers more than a million square feet at McCormick Place, and features three indoor test tracks, including Jeep’s off-road course and Toyota’s truck test track with a seesaw, water crossing and a 15-foot hill climb.

The Chicago Auto Show may not draw as many new concept or production models as similar extravaganzas in New York and Detroit, but still offers an expected million Windy City auto enthusiasts about a thousand examples of gleaming sheet metal plus a few notable debuts and concepts.

Chicago is cold, but Kia warms it up with a couple of hot models. The new electric Kia Soul EV – appropriately accompanied by a hamster in a tuxedo – made its global debut here. Kia says its 109-hp equivalent engine will deliver zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds with a range of 80-100 miles on a charge. It goes on sale later this year (but not in Colorado). The Kia Niro concept is a hipster’s dream city car. It’s a small all-wheel-drive hybrid that Kia says targets “active lifestyle” drivers. Its 160-hp turbocharged engine pairs with a rear-wheel electric hybrid system powered by regenerative braking.

Diesel continues to make inroads into the U.S. market. BMW is showing off the 740Ld xDrive, a diesel version of its largest sedan with a 255-hp 3-liter turbodiesel in-line six, eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It flies zero-60 mph in 6.1 seconds and rolls into showrooms this spring. BMW also unveiled an updated X3 that will also come in a diesel version.

Meanwhile, Nissan revealed the Frontier Diesel Runner concept mid-size pickup with a 2.8-liter, 4-cylinder Cummins turbodiesel. Touted as 35 percent more efficient than the current V6 Frontier it still has almost 200-hp. The Frontier Diesel may be available next year.

Another alternative-fuels debut is Chevy’s 2015 Silverado HD CNG Bi-Fuel that runs on both gasoline and compressed natural gas. Its advantage is that CNG is currently 62 percent less expensive than gas and with heavy work use could save a business big-time. Coming soon.

Also in the “rugged” category is a trio of off-road-capable Toyota trucks. The TRD Pro Series Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runners will have heavy shocks and front skid plates. Count Fiat in, too, with the 500L Adventurer Concept, modified to handle tougher terrain. It certainly looks more rugged with a roof basket to hold gear and aggressive interior and exterior styling.

Subaru is earning major props for the redesigned Legacy with better fuel-efficiency. Continuously variable transmissions and all-wheel drive are standard. The lower-end 2.5i has a 175-hp 4-cylinder boxer engine that gets 30 mpg combined. The 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder achieves 23 mpg combined. It also has impressive new safety and infotainment features. On sale this summer.

Volvo is spotlighting two showstoppers it developed with racing partner Polestar: the S60 and V60 wagon. They’re not your suburban-mom Volvos with high-performing 350-hp turbocharged engines that will sprint from zero – 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Car & Driver says they “drip with aggression” and are “unbelievably hot.” Fewer than 200 will be available.

Two other high-performance head-turners are the Cadillac Elmiraj concept and Maserati Ghibli. Maserati’s four-door sport sedan has a twin-turbo V-6 and gets more than 400-hp for about $70k. The Elmiraj is a two-door hardtop with a 4.5-liter V-8 that gets an estimated 500-hp. Long and lean outside, it features luxury interior touches like Brazilian rosewood veneer. No word on whether it will ever be produced.

We’ll see some of these vehicles – and much more – soon at the Denver Auto Show, April 9-13 at the Colorado Convention Center. From fuel-efficient hybrids and electrics to supercar standouts and everything in between, be sure to come preview your next vehicle. 

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Want more in a vehicle? You’ll see it at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

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Spurred by dueling government energy and emission requirements and consumer demands for power, automakers are making ever-more amazing vehicles and showing them off now through January 26 at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

The obvious message is “We’re doing more and better with less.” More powerful but less polluting; Smaller engines but better performing. And everything has more, more, more technology.

Two notable debuts are pickup trucks, the revamped Ford F-150 and the new GMC Canyon. In the F-150 Ford substituted aluminum for a lot of its steel, shedding 700 lbs. As Ford’s biggest seller, a substantively changed F-150 is a big gamble that could be a segment game-changer. GMC’s Canyon, coming next fall, is a midsized pickup available in two- or four-wheel-drive and with two engine options including a diesel in the future. Both the F-150 and Canyon are packed with technology.

Chevy’s 2014 Silverado was named North American Truck of the Year and the seventh-generation Corvette is the North American Car of the Year. But huge buzz accompanied Chevy’s introduction of the 2015 Z06 Corvette Stingray supercar, a 625 hp, 6.2-liter V8. On sale later this year, it will have an optional Performance Data Recorder  (PDR) to record drivers’ performances for playback or upload to social media.

From BMW comes the redesigned M3 Sedan, 175 lbs. lighter due to aluminum and carbon fiber and smaller, faster engine (zero-60 in 3.9 sec.) that boosts efficiency while lowering emissions. BMW also unveiled the M4 coupe with the same engine. Both come loaded with driver assistance technology.

Porsche’s 911 Targa harks back to its storied past with an open top and flat, brushed silver roll bar. The Targa 4 gets 350 hp from its 3.4-liter six-cylinder. The 3.8 liter 4S gets 400 hp, doing zero-60 in 4.2 seconds.

Toyota’s FT-1 concept (FT: “Future Toyota”) takes head-up display to a higher level with a separate screen with important info coming to eye level from the steering column. The click-pad sits on the steering wheel. Nissan’s Sport Sedan Concept,  designed with 21-inch wheels, V-shaped grille and sharply angled headlights, is a likely preview of the next Maxima.

Audi’s Allroad Shooting Brake concept plug-in hybrid hits 155 mph with 408 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and two electric motors. It joins a trend toward carbon fiber bodies, trimming weight. Infiniti’s Q50 Eau Rouge concept also has carbon fiber bodywork. It’s lower and wider than the Q50 sedan. An Infiniti executive said if produced it likely will get 500+ horses.

Hyundai’s second-generation Genesis is a reality, not a concept, with optional all-wheel drive and either a 3.8-liter V6 or 5.0-liter V8 that gets up to 420 hp. The trunk opens automatically after three seconds just by standing behind it with a key. Chrysler’s all-new 200 also has optional all-wheel drive and both four- and six-cylinder versions. The smaller 295-hp engine will get at least 35 mpg highway.

Kia tantalizes with the GT4 Stinger concept, a 2+2, 315-hp sports car. VW’s Beetle Dune concept features a higher clearance to handle uneven off-road terrain. VW’s Passat BlueMotion concept gets 42 mph on the highway by deactivating two of four cylinders at city speeds, providing a start-stop system and a coasting function.

The tiny-but-mighty 2015 Honda Fit comes with a 1.5-liter, 130 hp engine, adding 13 hp. It boasts 41 mpg highway with an amazing 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

Add to these the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, Volvo XC Coupe and Mini John Cooper Works concepts, premium versions of the Scion FR-S and tC Coupes, VW Volkswagen Golf R all-wheel-drive, Lexus RC F Coupe and Subaru WRX STI. And that’s just scratching the surface.

This year marks the NAIAS’s 25th anniversary, successor to a regional show beginning in 1907. The Detroit Automobile Dealers Association, Executive Director Rod Alberts, and NAIAS Chairman Bob Shuman of Shuman Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram and their committee have provided a glimpse at what could be the beginning of a new automotive Golden Age.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year and special year-end deals make it better

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The economy continues to improve and new car and truck sales are the strongest they’ve been in years.  Colorado’s automobile dealers are celebrating with the best deals of 2013.

Vehicle sales have exceeded expectations in 2013, but with two weeks yet to go, the rush is on to bump them up even more. Why? Dealers want to clear out their inventory of 2013 models to make way for 2014s. They have end-of-year manufacturers’ sales targets to meet. It’s a competitive industry and both manufacturers and dealers compete for bragging rights and often bonuses.

Colorado’s been short on snow but there’s been a blizzard of TV advertising to get consumers in the buying mood. It features Michael Bolton singing for “Happy Honda Days,” Santa Claus touting Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota’s friendly receptionist welcoming you to “Toyotathon.” Check out “Hyundai Holidays and ”Chrysler brands’ “Big Finish 2013.” Lincoln offers the “Wish List Sales Event;” Infiniti its “Limited Engagement Winter Event;” Buick and GMC their “Holiday Events;” and Cadillac’s “Season’s Best Event. “Unwrap a Jag Sales Event;” and Ford’s “Dream Big Sales Event.”

Chevrolet promises it’s “Giving More.” Subaru says it’s time to “Share the Love;” Lexus pledges a “Season to Remember;” Acura proclaims the “Season of Reason;” Nissan the “Season to Choose Innovation and Savings;” and Audi argues it’s the “Season of Audi.” BMW wishes you a “Happier New Year.”

The truth is, if you’re in the market for a new car, you may be happier with this old year, because the deals in coming months may not compare. Dealers’ 2013 year-end offers are made sweeter by low interest rates, when financed through captive factory lenders, and the fact that used cars continue in high demand, ratcheting up trade-in values.

Some holiday vehicle sales require closing by midnight December 31, but many extend to January 2, and a few to Monday, January 6, folding in weekend sales. Consumers who resist the temptation to make a new car the centerpiece of Christmas gifting likely will find even more negotiating room between Christmas and New Year’s. For those who just can’t wait, the savings offered this week before Christmas are still substantial.

Dealers generally offer the best deals on less popular and 2013 models: lowest interest rates, highest cash incentives and most attractive leases, often as little as 0.0 percent annual percentage rates and zero down/zero security deposit/zero due at signing – sometimes with zero first month payments, too, such as offered by both Volkswagen and Volvo. On more-popular models and 2014s interest rates rise to 1.9 percent, 2.9 percent – all the way up to 5.9 percent for a Ram Chassis Cab.

Cash incentives, bonuses or allowances are available in amounts up to $6,000 for some Cadillac models. Lower amounts are available on Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Buick and BMW, among others. Pickup trucks, including those from Ford, GM and Ram, also offer incentives – like up to $8,500 off on some 2013 Ford F-150s.

Some excellent deals are available on electric cars, even above generous federal and state tax credits. For example, Chevrolet’s Volt carries a $7,000 cash allowance. Even some popular Toyota Prius models have cash-back or zero interest rate deals.

Subaru offers holiday savings but for another year it also pledges to donate $250 to a choice of charities: the ASPCA, Make-a-Wish, Meals on Wheels, National Park Foundation or Teach for America.

Small business owner alert! Substantial federal tax deductions go away after December 31 on purchases of some new and used vehicles if they’re used more than 50 percent for business. Vehicles weighing more than 6,000 lbs. (SUVs, trucks, vans) get the biggest deductions, although smaller tax advantages are available for lighter vehicles, including some passenger cars.

With the average age of American automobiles around 11 years, maybe this is the year to give yourself, your family or your business the gift of a shiny new car or truck.

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New and unfamiliar looks, varied power sources on display at Tokyo Motor Show

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The future of the automobile may depend on consumers forsaking the conventional idea of a “car” that can carry up to seven.  The cars of the future may be more along the lines of “personal mobility vehicles,” with a capacity of one, two or three people. And they may come with fewer than four wheels.  Think tricycles.  Cars may still be gasoline-powered, but it’s just as – or even more – likely they will be powered by diesel, compressed natural gas, electricity or hydrogen fuel cell…or a combination of fuels.

These are the big takeaways from the 43rd edition of the Tokyo Motor Show, which ended last Sunday. Tokyo is always a big deal in the automotive world, if only because Japan is home to 15 auto manufacturers, six of which are among the world’s top 15.

The three-wheeler is an idea whose time may have come, at least in Japan. Toyota’s FV2 Concept has generated huge buzz with its one seat and its tricycle wheel configuration. It steers by leaning and has exterior panels that change based on the driver’s mood. Toyota also showed off the i-Road one-seater electric that it says will do 28 mph with a 30-mile range. It has two wheels in front and one in back.

The Nissan BladeGlider concept evokes a fighter jet with a wedge-shaped narrow front dual-wheel track and doors that swing up. According to CNET, the electric vehicle “was the sickest set of wheels on the floor…” Nissan’s CEO hinted the BladeGlider may roll into production in the near future.

Honda and Hyundai got major props at the L.A. Auto Show for fuel cell concepts.  Now Toyota is jumping in, too, with the FCV concept that the automaker says will go into production in 2015 for wide distribution.  Daihatsu’s FC-DECK is a truck concept that runs on a fuel cell and looks more like a Lego than a truck.  Demand will be limited without more U.S. hydrogen fueling stations.

Most manufacturers still are staking their green futures on electrics, hybrids and other fuel-sipping petroleum-based technologies.

For example, Volkswagen’s Twin-Up! is a diesel-electric hybrid projected to get 200 mpg. Mazda3’s SKYACTIV-CNG concept uses both gasoline and compressed natural gas.  Subaru attracted major attention for its Viziv plug-in hybrid, 1.6-liter turbo-diesel with three electric motors.  Honda is betting its Vezel concept hybrid SUV, built on the Fit platform, will be as successful as the original Fit. Engine details are skimpy but Honda promises a Sport Hybrid i-DCD as well as a 1.5-liter gas engine. The Vezel is at least a year away from the U.S. market

For the current gasoline-powered universe, Subaru showed off the Cross Sport Design concept. Motortrend.com enthused, “What Subaru has done is take the obnoxiously fun-to-drive BRZ and sexed it up with increased cargo room and a sleeker profile.  Throw in the affordability factor of the BRZ and that sound you hear is our saliva puddling on the floor” There was more salivating over Nissan’s IDx Freeflow and IDx Nismo concepts, reminiscent of the legendary Datsun 510.  Nissan isn’t saying if they will resemble the 510 in the way they drive – or if they’ll ever come to market.

There’s still plenty of speed on four wheels in Tokyo in the form of the Lexus LF-NX Turbo concept – the first turbo for Lexus.  Nissan’s latest GT-R Nismo sizzles with 600 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque.  It’s street-legal, but just barely and looks wicked inside and out.  Meanwhile, Porsche unveiled its Panamera Turbo S with a longer wheelbase, more space and luxury.  Speed?  It tops out at 192 mph with a 570-hp engine.

It’s only fitting to finish with Mercedes-Benz’s SLS AMG GT “Final Edition,” allegedly the last Benz gullwing supercar (6.3-liter V-8, 583 hp, zero-60 mph in 3.6 seconds).  It’s supposed to be replaced with a twin-turbocharged GT, but it’s being whispered in Tokyo that “final” might not mean “forever.” Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LA Auto Show highlights what’s headed to showrooms next year and beyond

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Los Angeles is the City of Angels … but it’s also a city of cars, freeways, two-hour commutes and photochemical smog. It’s fitting that the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opened Friday for a 10-day run, is a showcase for gorgeous cars with mind-boggling technology to make driving safer and easier, that are also greener and more fuel-efficient than ever.

The show boasts “More than 50 Vehicle Debuts that Will Blow Your Doors Off,” plus a lot more. The L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge features 25 auto designs and nine concept cars based on “Biomimicry & Mobility 2025 – Nature’s Answer to Human Challenges” to address congestion, sustainability, air pollution and safety. A Connected Car Expo showcased new mobility solutions, app development and other auto technology for three days before the main auto show opened.

But the main business of the show is to show off cars, especially the ones coming to showrooms in the next year or so. Major themes in L.A. are luxury, crossovers and continued focus on fuel efficiency for economy and the environment.

That said, let’s talk about Colorado – specifically, Chevy’s new Colorado mid-sized pickup, which GM hopes will lure buyers from Toyota and Nissan and maybe out of SUVs. Available next fall, the Colorado is smaller and more fuel-efficient than Detroit’s full-size trucks with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, offering 193-hp, 184 lb-ft of torque and towing capacity of 6,700+ lbs. Chevrolet brags that the Colorado will beat Toyota’s Tacoma on efficiency.

Compact crossovers are wildly popular in the U.S. so it’s not surprising that there is huge buzz in L.A. over new entries particularly of the luxury variety. Porsche unveiled its Macan (Indonesian for “tiger”). It comes in two versions: the 3.0-liter V6 “S” delivering 340-hp, and the Turbo with a 3.6-liter V6, 400-hp engine.

Lincoln introduced its new MKC crossover with a turbocharged 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine. Mercedes-Benz is showing off the CLA45 AMG concept with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers 355-hp and promises zero-60 mph in under five seconds. It could be in production by the end of 2014. Jaguar’s C-X17 concept offers an all-new aluminum unibody construction and efficient engines to boost fuel-efficiency without affecting performance or speed, but there’s no promise on when it will come to market.

The next generation Ford Edge concept is a slightly larger SUV, stuffed with advanced technology like automated parking that can pull out of a tight parking-lot space even before the driver gets in. The even-larger VW CrossBlue Coupe concept, expected to go into production next year, has a 415-hp V6 plug-in hybrid power plant that VW says gets the equivalent of 70 mpg.

Other gas-sippers on display include BMW’s i3 and i8 EVs, MINI’s turbocharged engines – including a three-cylinder – in a slightly larger but familiar body, and a pair of exciting fuel cell vehicles: the Honda FCEV concept, slated for production in 2015, and the Hyundai Tucson hydrogen fuel-cell car that will be sold in the U.S. beginning next year. The FCEV is expected to have a range of 300+ miles and promises refueling in about three minutes. The Tucson is rated at 134-hp with a range of 400+ miles. Right now there’s only one hydrogen fueling station in Colorado, but it’s government-owned, so it may be awhile before we see a hydrogen-solution here. However, Honda is part of a consortium working to ramp up America’s hydrogen-fueling infrastructure.

There’s much more to see in L.A., including the new BMW 4 Series convertible, Jaguar F-Type Coupe, Mercedes S65 AMG luxury sedan, a next-gen Subaru 268-hp turbo WRX, a 600-hp 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo, the VW e-Golf and Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid. Fiat is showing a “1957” retro 500. And for big spenders Aston Martin’s Vanquish Volante Neiman Marcus Edition – seen in the famous Christmas catalog – can be drooled over and bought for $344,500. Only 10 are available and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them tooling down L.A.’s freeways, piloted by Hollywood’s famous or even by somebody right here in Colorado.

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