2007 New Car Extravaganza

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Months ago, in a related article, I covered five new or revised car models set to be launched on the North American market. The Jaguar XK, Saturn Sky, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Land Rover Freelander, and Dodge Nitro are already in showrooms or soon to make their appearance there. Beyond these five there are quite a number of other models also being planned and some have already been released. Let’s take a look at five more models catching the attention of auto enthusiasts everywhere.

Nissan Versa – Yes, Nissan has its own Scion fighter planned and just in time too as two other cars, the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, will also be making their debut in the fast crowding Generation “Y” category. The Versa looks more like a Toyota Matrix as opposed to the bread box looking Scion xB. Available as a four door sedan or five door hatchback, the car will come equipped not stripped and include an AM/FM/CD sound system, air conditioning, 6 speed manny tranny, and power mirrors as standard equipment. Best of all, the roomy Versa will be priced at about $12,000, right in Scion territory.

Saturn Aura – Finally, General Motors is paying some serious attention to Saturn, its “sometime” division. Now that Oldsmobile is out of the way, GM appears ready to take a look at how best to position the Saturn brand. Thanks to GM’s European division, Opel, Saturn looks as if it will benefit from a few new models and the Aura sedan is one of them. Powered by a 3.6L V6, the Aura is shapely, stylish, and much more inviting than its “L Series” predecessor which was also Opel inspired.

Dodge Caliber – Dodge’s Neon replacement goes where no small Dodge has gone before it. The five door wagon/hatchback sits on beefy 19 inch wheels and incorporates the aggressive Dodge crosshairs grille so popular on all of its vehicles. Three engine choices including 1.8L, 2.0L, and 2.4L I4s set the vehicle apart from the crowd. Dodge will be marketing the car well beyond North America in DCX’s quest to spread the Dodge brand worldwide. With a base price around $14,000 the Caliber will be competitive. Still, a Mexican built Scion like “Hornet” will likely become the entry level car within a few years as DCX prepares to take on Scion and the coming cheaply priced Chinese cars.

Volkswagen Minivan – A yet to be named minivan will soon be marketed by Volkswagen. Not much has to be done by VW to prepare for the vehicle’s arrival as it will be a rebadged version of Chrysler’s successful minivans, the Caravan and Town & Country. Yes, VW is turning to its German competitor to fill a void in its line up. For its part, VW will be sharing technology with DCX in the form of the Scion like Dodge Hornet to be built in Mexico. The Hornet will be based on the VW Polo, another vehicle that may be imported to the US market.

Ford Edge – The crossover market heats up with the introduction of the Ford Edge. Marketed between the Escape and Explorer, the Edge will be powered by a 3.5L V6 and be available as front wheel drive people mover or in all wheel drive. Lincoln gets a gussied up version of the Edge called the Aviator.

Other vehicles being introduced include full size trucks and SUVs for General Motors, the Saturn Sky convertible, a revamped Toyota Camry, and new offerings from Kia, Hyundai, and Honda.

The choices for consumers continues to broaden and model year 2007 will be no exception.

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