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what's really new from the 2019 show


Ford Mustang Mach E

Ford's most ambitious entrance into electrified vehicles yet is not without a bit of controversy. It's not about the all-important range of up to 300-miles, or the spirited acceleration. Even the $45,000 price seems reasonable. But appropriating the Mustang model name, a brand of its own within the Ford oval, has upset more than a few prancing pony fans.

The company asserts that Chairman Bill Ford wasn't keen on the naming strategy until he drove the Mach E, then agreed that it fit the new four-door sports ute. Our view is that the market will decide whether Mustang can be stretched this far, but if Lamborghini and Aston Martin can create SUVs, why not Mustang? But please don't make a Shelby version with skunk stripes and a power bulge in the hood.

Aston Martin DBX

Following in the footsteps of other ultra luxury automakers and market demand, Aston Martin introduced its DBX, a sports utility that delivers the brand's performance and style. The 105-year-old automaker is confident that the DBX will generate new sales from existing sports car clients as well as expand Aston Martin's market. Pricing will hover around $200,000 depending on content, and will compete most directly with Lamborghini's new Urus.

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Land Rover Defender

After a 22-year absence, Land Rover's Defender is back on our shores. While some committed off-road enthusiasts might still prefer modifying used Jeep Wranglers for the unpaved, rugged outdoors, the Defender will go anywhere from Hollister Hills to Beverley Hills in style. And while it wasn't shown with an extra spare and shovel attached to the hood like those old Camel Trophy Defenders, there are plenty of helpful options to choose from, including a full roof platform with a ladder access.

Tesla CyberTruck

It's impossible to be indifferent about the unremittingly rectangular styling of Tesla's new truck concept. Many seem to hate its razor-sharp edgy design, and I'm betting more than a few love the uniqueness. It's not unlike flamboyant architecture that intentionally makes a statement and is both cheered or jeered by a critical public, and that's just what designers live for.

Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO /film buff who borrowed the Ludicrous Speed button from Space Balls, suggested in tweets that he was inspired by the Lotus Esprit in the '70's Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as well as a flying car from Blade Runner. But a responding Tweet suggested the Jonny Cab from Total Recall could be the source of inspiration.

The market will be the ultimate judge and if Tesla can produce an electric pickup that has 500-mile range along with towing and hauling credentials, the CyberTruck will win its share of buyers.

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     Bond's Lotus                Blade Runner               Johnny Cab
VW ID Space Vizzion Concept

VW's contemporary Space Vizzion (will they really call it that?) is an EV concept that may make production in just a couple of years. Based on the same ID platform with a low, flat battery creating a skateboard architecture, the automaker calls this contemporary people hauler an aerodynamic SUV. Feel free to label it an electric station wagon, the point is that its 85 kW battery allows up to 300-miles of range with the utility that buyers are looking for.

VW ID Space
Lexus LC 500 Convertible

The LC500 looks great as a coupe and just as splendid in convertible trim. While the brand's "spindle" grille doesn't always knock bystanders out in a good way, it seems to give this sporty 2 + 2 the right aggressive luxury. And it's a far better solution for Lexus than the folding hardtop of the SC model that tried to be both a coupe and roadster.

Lexus LC500 Convertible
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