2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist – The Secret is Revealed

General Motors has been working on an updated part-hybrid system for its D-segment sedans and the car manufacturer was reluctant to reveal what car would get the first powertrain. The 2010 LA Auto Show was chosen as the location to reveal that the Buick LaCrosse is going to be the lucky vehicle to be fitted with the new eAssist system. All models of the LaCrosse will come with the eAssist system and the 2012 models will feature a 2.4 liter, inline 4 cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The same powertrain is already available in the 2011 LaCrosse, but the eAssist system is used to improve fuel economy further and current estimates claim an EPA rating of 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, which is quite an improvement from the current 19 mpg and 30 mpg in the city and highway respectively.

The eAssist system now uses a lithium-ion chemistry in the battery pack, which increases horsepower during acceleration by 15 horsepower and can also recover 15 Kw of electricity through the regenerative braking system. The car is not designed for complete electric driving like full hybrids, but is more suited to be driven in conjunction with the gasoline engine. The battery pack is also used more to provide a power assistance to the engine than to actually store power and propel the car forward through that. It is an extension of the current internal combustion engine rather than a complete replacement.

The Buick LaCrosse with eAssist should be available in dealerships by the middle of 2011 and although prices are yet to be finalized, initial estimates point to a base price of around $30,000 for the CX model.

Mazda Shinari Concept – From zoom zoom to Soulful Motion

The Shinari is the latest design theme from the Mazda stable and finally puts an end to the Nagare design language that Mazda was persistent to follow. The new Shinari design them is based on the Kodo concept, which essentially means ‘soul in motion’.

The LA Auto Show was host to the Shinari concept being unveiled and the noticeable differences were the absence of the Nagare’s strakes and the smoother flowing lines of the Shinari. The Shinari concept is a five-door sports hatch and is a collaboration of engineers and designers from U.S., Germany and Japan. The impact of having a new design language means that production cars in Mazda’s stable will now be getting touches of the new Kodo concept, so executives at Mazda are keeping a tight lid on when the concept will make its debut.

Mazda is doing extensive research and development on a new platform, new six-speed automatic transmission as well as a new Sky engine that is more fuel efficient. The Sky engine will be available in both gasoline (Sky-G) as well as diesel (Sky-D) and they incorporate some innovative engineering solutions. The gasoline inline 4 cylinder is a 2.0 liter engine that Is normally aspirated and will produce more power than the current inline-4 and reduce emissions by more than 15 percent.

The Sky-D on the other hand will feature a 2.2 liter turbocharged inline 4 cylinder with a two-stage turbo system and fuel injection. It also features a revised combustion chamber that will help deliver 20 percent more power than the current diesel engine. Both engines are mated to the six-speed automatic ‘Sky-Drive’ transmission. Mazda is aiming to play with the boys at BMW and Audi and is also making a host of changes to its interiors to improve quality and design.

2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet – You think you know convertible..think again

Nissan has been threatening us with a convertible version of its Murano vehicle for sometime now but until recently these were always shrugged off as rumors. Nissan has used the LA Auto Show to unveil the Murano CrossCabriolet and this madcap vehicle is well on its way to becoming a production model.

Sources at Nissan do not expect the vehicle to be a volume seller but according to Brian Carolin, Nissan’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, “there’s a degree of bravery for us to bring out a car like that right now. It will surprise a lot of people.”

The Nissan CrossCabriolet is supposed to be the first of its kind all-wheel-drive, two-door convertible. It blends the utility of an SUV with the sophistication of a sedan and the obvious fun of driving with the top down. All that is good but engineers had the tough task of increasing the rigidity of the vehicle in the absence of the B-pillars and came up with the idea of strengthening the A-pillars. Other small but significant structural changes were also made with longer front doors and a glass incorporated canvas roof. The new configuration does not affect aerodynamics and it remains at a respectable 0.39 Cd as compared to the 0.37 Cd with the Murano.

The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet will only be available in one trim level and this means that Nissan has pulled out all the stops with the model. When the car goes on sale next year it will feature High Intensity Discharge bi-xenon headlights and Light Emitting Diode (LED) taillights and 20-inch five-spoke wheels with titanium finish among other standard features. The interiors also feature a heated steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, Bose audio system and other extras as standard.

The Murano CrossCabriolet will feature a 3.5 liter V6 All-wheel-drive that gives a maximum output of 265 horsepower and maximum torque of 248 pound-feet and the engine will be mated to an Xtronic CVT gearbox. The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet opens up a whole new segment but we will have to see if it is worth it.

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