Fuel efficiency takes center stage at Memphis auto show

Fuel efficiency takes center stage at Memphis auto show

January 28th, 2012 TOBY SELLS MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL in Carscruisin

Hybrids, electrics and clean diesels took center stage at the Memphis International Auto Show recently as most major manufacturers will highlight their new cars that get 40 or more miles per gallon.

Anthony Pinkney with Team United, hooks up power packs to enable headlights and other battery powered extras on autos being displayed at the Memphis International Auto Show.

Badges on the fl oor of the Memphis Cook Convention Center led showgoers to vehicles in the "40+ MPG Club." Nissan's all-electric Leaf, which will begin Tennessee production next year, was at the show, as well as fuel-sippers from Ford, Chevrolet, Audi, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and Toyota.

In all, 250 new models were be on display, from high-end roadsters from Bentley and Porsche to rugged, full-sized trucks from Dodge, Chevy and Ford.

Sleek redesigns of familiar models like VW's Beetle, Dodge's Charger and Toyota's Camry drew attention in the Bluff City.

Visitors got sneak-peek looks at pre-production models like the 2013 Ford Mustang, 2013 Chevy Malibu and more. Subaru and Toyota will offer free test drives of some of their new models.

While green technology highlights the show, automakers and others showed off their cutting-edge designs in safety and entertainment technology.

The all-new Ford Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid which runs for a longer time on the battery alone, should get the equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon.

For example, Ford's new Explorer has inflatable rear seatbelts. A number of new models feature accident-avoidance sensors that monitor other vehicles around the car, radar-guided cruise control and alerts to wake drowsy drivers.

Pandora's Internet radio is now on the road in many new models at the show, and many now feature built-in Wi-Fi.

Drivers can also now convert their CDs to digital audio files, which is then stored on the car's hard drive, in certain models from Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. Other models allow drivers to pause live radio.

Not to be outdone by the technology in the cars, the auto show offers a free iPhone app to buy tickets, map a route and get vehicle information.