Hot Wheels At N.Y. Auto Show

Anyone with a car has seen the upward drift of gas prices, which have jumped an average of 17 cents in the past two weeks. And the auto industry is watching that trend closely, rolling out a variety of more economic, fuel-efficient vehicles.

They're on display at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javitz Center. Hybrids are getting a lot of attention this year, offering electric power assist for lower gas usage. And the other flavor of the moment is the crossover utility vehicle, or CUV. This is the fastest-growing sector in the United States, outpacing even the remarkable growth of SUVs in the 1990s. A cross between a station wagon and an SUV, their attraction lies in spacious and flexible interiors, all-wheel drive, and better fuel efficiency than larger vehicles.

Courtney Caldwell, editor in chief of Road and Travel magazine, highlighted some of the hottest newcomers for The Early Show Wednesday.

Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid
The Vue Green Line is expected to be the lowest-cost hybrid-powered SUV on the market, and advertises a combination of fuel savings, value, and utility. The company says it will deliver an estimated 20 percent improvement in fuel economy, depending on driving conditions. It is expected to carry an EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which would make it the best highway fuel economy of any SUV currently on the market.

Electric Motor/Generator improves fuel efficiency by:
  • Fuel shuts off upon deceleration
  • Engine shuts off when vehicle is stopped
  • Promptly restarts engine when brakes are released

    Other features:

  • OnStar, an in-vehicle navigation, safety and security system.
  • Price: $23, 000

    The Vue Green Line's 2.4 liter hybrid powertrain provides approximately 170 horsepower, 27 more horsepower than the 2.2 liter engine that powers the conventional Vue. The Green Line Vue's acceleration is comparable or better than similarly equipped non-hybrid SUVs. Its 0-60 time is actually one second faster than the non-hybrid 4-cylinder Vue.

    For more information, go to www.saturn.com

    Dodge Caliber Crossover Utility Vehicle
    This CUV offers the functionality of an SUV, but the fuel efficiency of a smaller car.

    A five-door vehicle that combines a sporty coupe-like profile with the strength, stance and functionality of an SUV. Caliber is an affordable and fuel-efficient entry-level compact car.

    Other features:

  • Chill Zone refrigerated glove box
  • iPod flip storage compartment
  • Illuminated cup holder
  • Miles per gallon: 28/32
  • Price: $14,000

    For more information, go to www.dodge.com

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