Options for car buyers growing

Options for car buyers growing

Those looking for a new vehicle already have plenty of options to choose from, but in the coming months the field will widen as several manufacturers are planning to bring new cars, trucks and vans to market. Awaiting car shoppers are a mesmerizing array of enhancements, new features and design changes to existing vehicles that are now at dealerships or will be in the weeks and months to come.

At the Atlanta International Auto Show, held at the Georgia World Congress Center March 9-13, several automakers introduced vehicles that will be coming to showrooms soon including the Lexus LC500 and Buick Envision.

Nissan’s 2016 Sentra has been redesigned and has 20 percent new parts.  Photos by Gale Horton Gay
Nissan’s 2016 Sentra has been redesigned and has 20 percent new parts. Photos by Gale Horton Gay

The Lexus LC500 has a striking appearance described at the show by a Lexus representative as “athletic and sensuous.”  The specs are impressive: 5-liter V8 engine that generates 467 horsepower and goes from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds, according to the website.

At the show, a Lexus representative said the vehicle was launched years ago strictly as a concept car but received such a positive response Lexus officials decided to put it into production.

Chrysler’s 2016 Pacifica features a next generation stow and go system in which second-row seats collapse into the floor.
Chrysler’s 2016 Pacifica features a next generation stow and go system in which second-row seats collapse into the floor.

“This is the truest form of concept to production that we have ever made,” said the official.

Pricing hasn’t been finalized for the LC500, however, the representative said he expected it likely would be in the $100,000 range. The coupe is expected to be in showrooms in March 2017.

Buick expects to begin selling its 2016 Envision in June.

Described by a Buick official as “beautiful from the inside out,” the Envision fits into the compact luxury SUV category and is positioned between Buick’s Enclave and Encore.

The 2016 Buick Envision is a compact luxury SUV.
The 2016 Buick Envision is a compact luxury SUV.

The crossover is equipped with a 2-liter turbo engine, six-speed transmission, all-wheel drive, 8-inch screen, leather interior and heated front and rear seats.

Pricing was available at the show but it’s expected to compete with vehicles such as the Acura RDX, which is priced in the $35,000 range.

Another vehicle with a load of changes is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica van that is “all new from the ground up,” according to Patrick Keitz, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid product manager. He said there are 40 “firsts” incorporated into it and that it was created to be a “best fit for each member of the family.

Among the features a “next generation stow and go system” through which second-row seats collapse into the floor and the driver’s seat can be moved forward or backward for easier access to the second or third row. It also comes with hands-free sliding doors, a built-in vacuum system, two second-row touch entertainment screens (different media can be viewed on each) that parents can control from the front seats.

The hybrid version of the Pacifica, which Keitz said is the first hybrid minivan, switches between electric and gas, and gets up to 80 miles per gallon/electric in the city and promises a 530-mile driving range.

The 2016 Nissan Sentra is another car with significant changes.

Steve Parrett with Nissan Communications said the sedan has 20 percent new parts and is visibly different. It has a new steering column, shocks and struts. It comes with “intelligent cruise control” that monitors the speed of vehicles in front of it, a 5-inch screen and new console.

Parrett called it the “quietest and most advanced Sentra,” which is priced from $16,788 to $24,000.

During the show, the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association selected vehicles it determined were the best in several categories. They are:

• Best SUV—2017 Infiniti QX30

• Best Green Vehicle—2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

• Best Luxury Vehicle—Lexus LC500

• Best Performance Vehicle—2017 Accura NXS

• Biggest Bang for the Buck—2017 Hyundai Elantra

• Judges Choice—2017 Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio

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