Ford and GM used the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month to provide glimpses of the future. In GM’s case, it’s an alternative-fuel production Cadillac; in Ford’s, a concept truck that hints at a possible F-Series successor. Here’s a look:
2014 Cadillac ELR
Borrowing Chevy Volt’s hybrid drivetrain, Cadillac makes subtle changes in the power hardware, adds copious luxury amenities to the host vehicle and wraps it all in an eye-popping coupe body (based on the acclaimed 2009 Converj concept car) to create the 2014 Cadillac ELR.
Longer than Volt but boasting two fewer doors, the four-seat ELR, called Coupe de Volt by some wags, shares Volt’s 1.4-liter gas engine, its two electric motors (135 kW driver motor; 55 kW generator motor) and its 288-cell, 16.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. However, ELR reprograms the electric-drive controller, boosting total power to 207 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, 58 and 22 more, respectively, than Volt.
That, plus ELR’s livelier suspension – HiPer front struts and electronically controlled variable-rate dampers – promises a sportier drive.
Inside is a sumptuous cabin decked out in stitched leather, suede microfiber, exotic real wood and carbon fiber.
Larger, heavier (by about 300 pounds) and more powerful than Volt, ELR’s electric range, at about 35 miles, is a few less than Volt’s while its overall range, including the gasoline engine, is roughly 300 miles, down from Volt’s 380 or so.
But what a looker!
Look for ELR late this year. No pricing yet.
Ford Atlas Concept truck
Ford calls its Atlas concept truck “a future vision for pickups.” Street buzz calls it a good indication of what we’ll see in the next F-150, which remains a few years away.
This crew cab truck’s look beefs up some traditional F-Series styling cues like round wheel wells, a driver’s-door window sill that drops lower near the A-pillar and the vertical grille nostrils, evident here in an industrial-strength face.
With fuel economy an ever growing concern, Atlas boasts Ford’s next-generation EcoBoost direct-injection, turbocharged engine technology, which here includes an Auto Start-Stop capability.
Further enhancing fuel efficiency are a variety of aerodynamic improvements, including such things as Active Grille Shutters that close when the extra engine cooling is not needed; Active Wheel Shutters that remain open at low speed for good looks but close at highway speed to cheat the wind; a drop-down front air dam for better high-speed underbody wind management; and power-retractable running boards.
Functional perks include Back Up Assist, which, similar to Park Assist, makes backing a trailer easier; Dynamic Hitch Assist, which helps the driver line up the truck and trailer with visual aids; and 360-degree bird’s-eye view cameras for tight-space maneuverability.
Atlas’s production future? Stay tuned.