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What's New: December 2005

Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Hyundai HCD9 Talus concept

Following the Neos III concept shown in Tokyo, Hyundai will be revealing the HCD9 Talus sports concept at the North American International Auto Show in January. Hyundai will also be showing the all-new Santa Fe SUV.

Mazda CX-7

At the Detroit show Mazda will showcase the CX-7, a CUV that uses the same platform as the Ford Edge, but with more expressive, less macho styling to befit Mazda's 'Zoom-Zoom' philosophy. Seating five, the CX-7 joins the American market in Spring 2006, and is made distinctive by front wheelarches that creep into the hood (as on the RX-8), and the distinctive quarterlight graphic. The DRG puts the headlamps high for a deep front bumper to hold the large pentagonal grille, while the side-glass graphic is emphasised by a chrome key-line. The sporting overtones are substantiated by the 2.3liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 245PS.

Mazda Kabura concept

Completing the trilogy of concept cars Mazda has launched over the past six months is the Kabura, this time showcasing the abilities of Mazda's advanced design studio in California. The concept is a compact sports car for first time buyers, whose rear-drive layout is shared with the RX-8 and MX-5. Though the CX-7 launched alongside shows Mazda combining room with zoom, the Kabura is intended to be the ultimate interpretation of their 'Soul of a Sports Car' ethos: the word 'Kabura' itself is the name given to the sound of the first arrow fired in a battle, and is Mazda's metaphor for pursuing new ventures.

Nissan Urge concept

Designed in California with the PlayStation Generation in mind comes the Nissan Urge concept. The Urge follows concepts such as the BMW Just 4/2 shown at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, prioritising low mass over muscle. Set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show, it is a small motorcycle-inspired sports car that combines a high-revving low-capacity engine with extensive use of aluminium for high performance. A key innovation is the colour-infused panels, while as befits a market of gamers, the cockpit is driver-orientated with both a six-speed gearbox and an integrated X-Box 360.

Kia Soul concept

The Kia Soul concept is another variation on the CUV theme that has also been embraced by Ford and Mazda, and builds upon the aesthetic previewed by the Kia Mesa at last year's show. The sketch released by Kia shows a sure-stanced car with wheels pushed to the corners, shrouded in inflated arches. Concealed pillars mean the wrap-around screen sweeps back to the thick D-pillar, which also holds the vertical rear lamps. In keeping with its 'utility' concept, the load space is multi-configurable, and features a waterproof drawer for 'wetsuits and hiking boots'. The production version will tackle the Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7 in this expanding sector.

Mercedes GL-Class

Mercedes-Benz will launch the new GL-Class at the NAIAS in January, ready for joining the American market in Spring 2006. Completing Mercedes' range of large SUVs, the new GL replaces the G-Class that has been around for more than 25 years, bringing together the off-road talents of its forebear with the comforts of Mercedes limousines. Measuring 5080mm in length, the titan will seat seven and their luggage thanks to a 3075mm wheelbase, while engine options include the familiar 3.5 V6 and the new 4.6 V8 and 388PS 5.5 V8 from the S-Class. There will also be two diesels providing up to 700Nm of torque.

The statuesque exterior is complemented by a similarly solid interior: though derived from the ML, it uses higher quality materials to bring the car head-to-head with the Range Rover -which leaves the ML-Class to compete directly with the Land Rover LR3 (Discovery). Prices are yet to be announced, but are expected to start at $75,000, while Europeans will have to wait until next September.