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2008 lineup saves on fuel, but not power

 
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Old 13 Oct 2007, 04:09 pm
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Default 2008 lineup saves on fuel, but not power

2008 lineup saves on fuel, but not power
And there are more electronics and other gadgets than ever

Three words describe the 2008 model year: electronics, power and safety.

The latest models feature more electronics than ever, from iPod connectors and Bluetooth in-car communication systems to increasingly sophisticated engine controls. One new model, the 2008 Lexus LS600h L, can even monitor a driver's face and give an audible alert about an upcoming obstacle in the road that the driver hasn't noticed.

Infiniti's 2008 EX35 crossover sport utility vehicle arrives with the first all-around camera view capable of showing all four corners of the SUV.

Horsepower keeps going up with the 2008 vehicles, too, though auto engineers say they're improving fuel economy at the same time. Bentley's new and aptly named Continental GT Speed, with 600-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine, is the fastest production Bentley ever. And Honda's eighth-generation Accord gets the most powerful engine ever in a Honda car. It's a V-6 capable of generating 268 horsepower while at the same shutting down two or even three of its cylinders to save fuel when possible.

Several new models, such as the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, include gasoline-electric hybrid power plants that are more fuel-efficient and have lower emissions.

And 2008 promises to bring to U.S. consumers the tiny, odd-looking smart car -- yes, the name is all lowercase -- boasting more than 40 miles per gallon in combined city/highway travel.

Everywhere, new safety features -- particularly head curtain air bags and stability control -- are being added and updated. For example, the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible has standard side, seat-mounted air bags on all versions for the first time.


Chrysler: The biggest news at Chrysler this year isn't necessarily its vehicles, it's the company itself. Germany's Daimler, which bought Chrysler in 1998, sold 80 percent of the Michigan-based automaker to the Cerberus private equity group this summer for $7.4 billion. Since then, Cerberus has been busy installing new executives, advisers and board of directors.

Meantime, in showrooms, Chrysler LLC, as it's now called, has a new, fifth-generation Chrysler Town & Country minivan with a roomy, quieter interior for up to seven passengers; new safety equipment; novel, optional swivel seats; and even a work/lunch table inside.

Indeed, a fully-loaded Town & Country can be equipped like a family room, with up to three video screens, integrated booster seats, dishwasher-safe cup holders and satellite TV. The new Town & Country adds a third V-6 to the two offered last year. The top, 4-liter V-6 with 251 horses and 259 foot-pounds of torque is the most powerful V-6 in a minivan today.

Chrysler's Sebring Convertible debuted as a restyled, 2008 model with new features earlier this year. It's the first time a four-passenger convertible has offered a choice of three convertible tops: vinyl, fabric and hardtop.

Three engines are offered. The base, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with four-speed automatic generates 173 horsepower and provides a fuel-economy rating of 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. This power plant is available on the base LX with vinyl top. The midlevel, 186-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 and top, 235-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 are available with the hard convertible top.

But fuel-economy ratings with a V-6 decline to 18 mpg or below in city traffic and to 26 mpg or below on the highway, according to government figures.

Among the convertible's new features are a stain- and odor-resistant seat fabric, hands-free cell-phone system and a MyGIG information and entertainment system.

Chrysler's full-size SUV, the Aspen, gets a new 4.7-liter V-8 with more power -- 303 horses and 330 foot-pounds of torque. It's also able to use E85 gasoline. The Chrysler PT Cruiser retro-styled five-door gets standard seat-mounted side air bags on all models, including convertible, for the first time.

Check full article at
2008 lineup saves on fuel, but not power


Source: Seattlepi.com
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