Billed as the most fuel efficient luxury car in the US, the CT200h is the latest in a line of interminably named, but generally fine automobiles from Toyota’s luxury division. It is currently Lexus’ only hatchback (if you don’t count their myriad SUVs, which I don’t), and in my opinion, their best looking offering.
With the exception of an oddly-styled C-pillar – that instead of making the car look like a 3-door coupe, makes it look strangely rear-heavy – the CT is a very nice looking car. It does have some of the tiresome current styling memes such as poor rearward visibility, the high beltline and appendage-y looking stalk-mounted door mirrors, but all-in-all, it is a refined, clean and handsome design.
It also wore the best looking set of wheels at the 2012 Utah International Auto Expo.
The Lancia Fulvia, while a fairly rare vehicle, is not unheard of in the US – a quick search at bringatrailer.com shows several listed in just the last few months. What makes this particular example unusual is that it was imported directly from Europe – note the funky euro headlights rather than the typical US-spec round sealed beams.
The first in a regular series – a quick-strike overview of some of the design features of a particular car. This week, the Chevrolet Volt, a new hybrid car from General Motors. The Volt has been significantly hyped in the media, winning the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year award. Does the design live up to the hype? Will it stand the test of time? Take a look and share your thoughts on the Chevrolet Volt in the comments below.
The 2012 Utah International Auto Expo is not a big-time event like Detroit, rather a more down-home affair along the lines of what your meat-and-potatoes American experiences every year about this time. I remember going to the Kansas City show back in high school and this is about the same – row upon row of everyday vehicles that you can get some seat time in while in a brightly light room. A showroom on steroids if you will.
Along these lines, the UIAE reflects the auto industry pretty well. The first thing that I noticed was the Jeep indoor test track. Sign up, show your driver license and you get to take a Jeep up and over a massive incline, over an obstacle course and back to the start. A cool event to be sure, but in years past, that space was taken by cars. The auto industry has shrunk and what used to be relegated to the north parking lot of the South Towne Expo Center is now in the north end of the hall.
But the reason we’re here is the hatchback. And there’s quite a few of them in many different classes – from basic econoboxes to the most exotic of exotics. This recap should be in no way be construed as a be-all, end-all overview of what’s available, more just what caught my eye. In that vein, I’m going to organize this post not by manufacturer and list off a bunch of boring stats, but rather into some more… esoteric categories. Special thanks goes out to Scott from needthatcar.com for setting some rather nasty picks on unsuspecting people, allowing me clear space for the (camera) shot.
Click on the photos for hi-res goodness. Let’s begin…
I kinda hate going to the well two days in a row, but this drink is worth it. A top-notch restoration with some very nice, but not over-the-top upgrades on this two-door Rabbit. If I had the money, time, garage space, money, ability and money, this is probably exactly what I would build. It makes me weep with its beauty. Again, from the brilliant website, bringatrailer.com:
This 1979 VW Rabbit (VIN 1793659078) was given a rotisserie transformation in the style of an early Euro GTI five years and 6000 miles ago. Rarely are these A1 chassis cars so thoroughly built…
From Bring a Trailer, a rare BMW 2000tii Touring – clean enough to be presentable, but not so clean you don’t want to drive it:
Assuming there isn’t any serious rust, which is always a dangerous assumption with 2002s, this 2000tii Touring would be a solid base for a restoration. It is a rare car by any standards, let alone in the USA, and once restored it would be the darling of any BMW show.