Thursday, April 12, 2007

New York motor show : Chevy Triplets

New York motor show
Chevy triplets steal limelight
These three Chevrolet superminis stole the limelight at the New York expoBy Sam Hardy

Following on from the computer-generated illustrations we published last week (Issue 955), Auto Express can now bring you the best pictures yet of the exciting trio that points the way to a head-turning Matiz replacement. Most eye-catching is the Beat – a three-door hot hatchback painted Vertigo Green and featuring aggressive LED tail-lights which take styling cues from the Ultra WTCC concept.

Under the bonnet is a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine, while inside, the headlining uses fibre-optic lights to provide a ‘sky-at-night’ feel. What’s more, the dash features a pop-up juke-box instead of a standard stereo.

An altogether more rugged interpretation is the Trax – a crossover fitted with protective moulded bumpers and a spare wheel mounted on the rear. Under the skin, it gets a hybrid 4x4 system that uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels.

Chevrolet says the set-up is cheap to manufacture, easy to fit and has no negative effect on fuel consumption. That means it could quite easily make its way on to future small Chevrolets.

Completing the stylish trio is the retro Groove, which takes its inspiration from Sixties hot rods. This model sports an upright windscreen, chunky shoulders and large 17-inch alloys in a wheel-at-each-corner layout. Under the bonnet, power comes from a 1.0-litre diesel engine.

Each concept has been created at parent company GM’s design studio in Incheon, South Korea. They have been made not only to reflect bosses’ desire to expand the Chevrolet range worldwide, but also to suit changing tastes in the US, where smaller, more frugal cars are becoming popular.

However, the concepts’ main purpose is to show the look of the next Matiz, due in 2009. To gauge public reaction, the marque has set up the site, where fans can pick their favourite design.

Sister firm Vauxhall will unwrap its new small car – to replace the Agila – next year, but it won’t share the Chevy’s platform. Instead, this architecture will be used on another Vauxhall, to sit above the Agila, in a few years’ time.

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