NAIAS 2013: …And The Best Of The Rest

The North American International Auto Show is huge, and there were not enough hours in the day to see everything, talk to everyone, or to cover all the green cars that have come to dominate these shows. That said, we did manage to snap some pictures of some of the cooler  green concepts and cars scattered about the show. Consider this our “wrap-up” post, with a return to our regularly-scheduled news stories tomorrow.

The Chevy Spark EV:

This was our first up-close-and-personal look at the Chevy Spark EV, which GM says will cost less than $25,000 after Federal tax incentives. Coupled with 400 ft-lbs of torque and a 0-60 mph time of 8 seconds or less, and the Chevy Spark EV could prove popular for those seeking a budget EV.

But what is really going to matter is the as-yet-unreleased maximum range for the Spark EV. Early estimates put it in the 80+ mile range, but GM is remaining tight-lipped for now.

The Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept:

VW wants to one day rule the world with its cars, and it hopes the new CrossBlue Concept will go a long way towards making that goal attainable. While just a concept, the plug-in diesel-electric hybrid SUV offers perhaps the most-efficient drivetrain of any mid-size SUV, concept or otherwise.

A 2.0 liter TDI engine couples with two electric motors to offer an estimated 89 MPGe in a seven-passenger SUV that looks like something you might soon find on dealership lots. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

The Smart ForStars EV:

Smart car haven’t been selling as well as parent company Daimler hoped, though that may all change if Smart begins to emphasize EVs over conventional cars. Or at least that’s the plan. While the Smart ForStars is merely a concept EV, Smart is in fact hoping to bring the cheapest EV to market with the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.

The Smart ForTwo ED will reportedly retail for less than $19,000 after tax incentives, though we doubt it will get even half of the cool features or looks of the ForStars concept. Which is a shame, because the world could use an affordable and cool-looking EV right about now.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel:

This has to be one of the most-watched vehicles leading up to the NAIAS. With a new-for-America 3.0 liter turbodiesel engine making 240 horsepower and a stump-pulling 420 ft-lbs of torque, the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel is capable of 30 mpg highway and can still tow 7,400 pounds.

With automakers working to meet new fuel economy standards while maintaining the level of performance customers have come to expect, diesel engines are a natural solution. But can Chrysler price this diesel engine where the return-on-investment makes sense for the average buyer? That remains to be seen…but we’re optimistic that there will be lots of diesel Jeeps on the roads in the near future.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.