Acura pushes power into RL; Dodge debuts Challenger

It will be available in select North American markets in mid-2009, Ford said. The company would not say how much it will cost.

Hyundai i-Blue Fuel Cell Concept: Among automakers working on developing hydrogen vehicles, South Korea's Hyundai usually isn't one of the top names that pop to mind.

But that could change with this concept. It's not a conversion of one of its existing vehicles, like the fuel-cell version of the Tucson SUV. Hyundai's research director, Hyun-Soon Lee, calls it a "tremendous leap forward" for the company.

The i-Blue concept packs a fuel cell capable of 370 miles under its floorboards, which Hyundai says gives the car a more even weight distribution. It's capable of a top speed of 100 miles per hour and has a range of 370 between fill ups.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse: Chevy gets a version of the hot-selling, full-size crossover SUV that GM already is marketing as the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Production of the Traverse is scheduled to begin in the third quarter. Like the others, Traverse will have three rows of adult-size seats and a 3.6-liter V-6 engine (281 hp, 253 lbs.-ft with single exhaust, 286/255 with duals), coupled to front- or all-wheel drive. To be sure you don't run out of things to buy, Traverse has an options list like a luxury car: rear-view camera, power tailgate, rear-seat video, heated and cooled front seats, XM satellite radio with real-time traffic updates.

2009 Ford Edge Sport: The Edge is getting edgier with a factory-customized model that has lower-profile tires, a lower grille and bigger wheels. The latest version of the popular crossover will go on sale this fall. In addition to the wheels and grille, the Edge Sport has side and rear skirts and polished dual exhaust tips. It will be available in blue, black, silver and red with dark gray leather seats. The Sport Edge joins the SE, SEL and Limited models in the Edge family.

GMC Denali XT hybrid concept: A product of Holden, General Motors' Australian unit, it sports a cargo bed that might be just a skosh undersize for the U.S. — half an inch too narrow to slide in a 4-foot-wide sheet of plywood or drywall, and just 4 feet 7 inches long – unless you drop the Chevrolet Avalanche-style midgate to open the interior for cargo use. A concept with little chance of making production, its hybrid drivetrain mates a 4.9-liter V-8 to an electric-drive system. GM says such a vehicle should be able to tote 1,100 lbs., tow up to 3,500 lbs. — similar to a conventional compact pickup. GM calls it an SUT — sport-utility truck — and says it's meant to test reaction to some ideas GM has for future designs.

2009 GMC Sierra dual-mode hybrid: A big truck with a small appetite? GM says that's what you get when you combine a powerful V-8 with an electric drive system. On sale fourth quarter this year, it'll be available with either rear- or four-wheel drive, but only in the crew-cab configuration. GM says it's possible to run on battery power up to 30 mph before needing the gasoline engine. Which is a serious one: 6-liter V-8 rated 332 hp, 367 lbs.-ft. of torque.

Totes more than 1,400 lbs. in the cargo bed, GM says, and tows up to 6,100 lbs. Fuel economy boost from the hybrid system is supposed to be 40% in town, 25% overall. That implies 18 to 20 mpg in most types of driving, up from 13 to 16 mpg for the gasoline-only versions, depending on drivetrain.

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