Detroit Auto Show: the highlights
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Honda InsightSkip to next paragraph
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The original hybrid – from way back in 1999 – gets reborn for 2010 with a new design and hopes that it can bring Honda back to the forefront of fuel-efficient car sales. Of interest to hypermilers is the car's new "Ecological Drive Assist System" that turns achieving peak efficiency into an interactive experience. The speedometer changes color and the dashboard displays images to correspond with green driving practices. Think traffic meets Tamagotchi.
GM is thinking big in rolling out this small car based on 2007's Beat concept. Slated to arrive in 2011 in Asia, South America, Europe, and the US, the forward looking city car is GM's entrant in the efficient small car market. Expect it to get somewhere around 40 m.p.g. and to sell like hotcakes.
Mini Cooper E – and drop-top
The 2010 version of the cute and popular Mini Cooper convertible cleverly conceals the rollover protection bars behind the rear seats – a cosmetic change, but one that improves the top-down look of the car. And buyers of the 2010 model can track time spent with the top down with a standard "Openometer."
The electric version of the fixed-roof Cooper debuted at the show and is being leased to 500 drivers in LA and New York, with "just enough storage space for a gym bag, and a range of only 120 miles before recharging, all for triple the cost of the gasoline-powered model," according to Bloomberg. But drivers of "mom's taxi" need not apply – the gas-free Mini sacrifices its back seat to make room for the 570 lb battery pack.