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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

November 20, 2008

Los Angeles Auto Show Opens Today

The curtain rose today on the Los Angeles Auto Show which runs from Nov. 21-30. This annual auto show is typically all high spirits, glitz and technology, but this year the backdrop certainly has to be the broken economy. GM and Chrysler have cars on view, but didn't even bother to send high-level representatives. Ford on the other hand is doing their best to make a good showing.

Both Ford and Nissan brought new or re-designed vehicles to the table that are worthy of mention.

2009_ford_mustang_2 Ford Mustang has updated the successful retro version that launched in 2005. The new model is similar to its predecessor, but has a more aggressive look. The interior received a complete redesign and is reported to be very well done.  The V6 and V8 engines get a bump in both horse power and fuel economy. A new and improved suspension system based on the one used in last years special “Bullitt” edition will be used across the entire model line.

2009_ford_fusion_2 Ford has had the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV since 2004, but this year they have finally smartened up and introduced a hybrid car. The Ford Fusion Hybrid will be available in 2009 and will get an estimated 39 mpg city and travel 700 miles on a tank of gas. It can also reach speeds of 47 mph on electric power alone. This car is designed to compete directly with the Toyota Camry Hybrid which it beats out by 6 mpg. That’s a good start.

Nissan_370z Nissan launches its sixth-generation Z, the 370Z. Like the Mustang it doesn’t look dramatically different from the previous model, in this case the 350Z, but virtually every part has been redesigned. They’ve also launched a national Z tour with Car and Driver  so Z fans can get a peak at the new vehicle.

Nissan_cube_3 Brand new for 2009 is the Nissan Cube. To American tastes this vehicle looks somewhat like a Scion XB clone, but in fact the Japanese have been building small boxy vehicles for decades and the Cube started production overseas in 1998. It's space engineering at its finest with maximum space for a minimum footprint. The wrap-around rear/side window is certainly a head turner.

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