Don't worry. Cars haven't been driven off the roads by sport utility vehicles, pickups and minivans yet.
Shoppers will find that more than 40 percent of the major new models for 2001 are cars. And most of them come with added horsepower.
For example, a high-performance Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is new for 2001, while the revamped Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans come with engines that offer more power than ever before.
Major new SUVs and crossover vehicles make up about a quarter of the new models as 2001 marks the arrival of the Audi Allroad Quattro and the Sequoia, the biggest SUV at Toyota.
Shoppers also will find another one-fifth of the major new models are pickup trucks. The Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma all add four-door versions in 2001, and Nissan's Frontier becomes supercharged.
There are minivan developments, too, as all of DaimlerChrysler's models are revamped this year and General Motors Corp.'s minivans add new features.
Last but not least, a new gasoline-electric hybrid is on sale. The 2001 Toyota Prius promises combined fuel economy of nearly 50 miles per gallon -- a noteworthy feature amid today's volatile fuel prices.
Here are the details:
For the first time, Acura has its very own sport utility vehicle.
The 2001 MDX is the first Acura-designed-and-produced SUV, and it comes with both environmental and luxury overtones.
Powered by a 240-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and mated to a standard five-speed automatic transmission, the MDX is rated at an estimated 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. This is "the best overall fuel economy performance of any vehicle in its class," Acura said.
The MDX, which comes standard with a variable torque management system that automatically transfers power from front to rear wheels when traction is needed, also qualifies as an ultra-low emission vehicle, even in stringent California.
Yet the new SUV, priced in the mid-$30,000s, has lots of standard equipment including leather interior, seating for seven, moonroof, seven-speaker sound system with in-dash CD player, alloy wheels, heated front seats and front and rear automatic climate control.
The 2001 Acura CL coupe has been out since early this year. It's 2 inches longer and a half-inch wider than its predecessor and has new styling and more power.
A crossover comes to Audi in 2001, specifically in the form of the Audi Allroad Quattro.
The new model combines a beefed-up Audi wagon body and 250-horsepower, 2.7-liter, bi-turbo V-6 with a four-position, height-adjustable air suspension.
The suspension can vary the Allroad ride height between 5.6 inches and 8.2 inches for off-road obstacles -- a feature not found on competitors. A five-speed manual transmission is available, too.
Also in 2001, horsepower rises to 170 in the Audi A4 models with the 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Later in the fall, the S4 Avant debuts with the 250-horsepower, 2.7-liter, bi-turbo V-6.
A new variant of the Audi flagship A8 goes on sale early next year. The 2001 Audi S8 will feature a 360-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8.
The 2001 TT Roadster has been out since early in 2000.
In celebration of the Olympics this year, Buick offers an Olympic Edition package available on all Regal models.
The package includes features such as sunroof and Gran Touring suspension as well as the placement of five interlocking rings -- which tie in with the U.S. Olympic Team logo -- on the car's taillamps and floor mats. There are special colors and a leather interior, too.
Also in 2001, Buick offers a rear parking assist system. It's an option on the Park Avenue.
Meantime, early in 2001, Buick debuts its first crossover vehicle. The 2002 Rendezvous is a version of the Pontiac Aztek and will use the same Versatrak all-wheel drive system and 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6.
Unlike the Aztek, the Rendezous offers the option of third-row seating.
The future is here. In 2001, Cadillac becomes the first automaker to offer Internet connectivity in vehicles.
The so-called Infotainment system comes with a Bose audio system and will be available in early 2001 for the 2001 Cadillac Seville and DeVille cars.
The system is voice-controlled and can, among other things, download and read text e-mails to occupants in the car.
Integrated into the system are a navigation system and a voice memo recorder to store thoughts for retrieval later.
The Seville STS also is upgraded in 2001 with a new ride and handling package.
Early in 2001, the 2002 Escalade is due. It's the first remake of the luxury Cadillac SUV since its introduction in the 1999 model year.
The new model is restyled with a big chrome grille and chiseled looks. For the first time, two-wheel drive will be offered, and eight-passenger seating will become standard with the addition of a third row of seats.
The all-wheel-drive 2002 Escalade will be powered by a new, 345-horsepower, 6-liter V-8. The two-wheel drive model will get a 285-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8.
The long-beloved Corvette gets even hotter this year, thanks to a new Z06 model that has aficionados swooning.
The 2001 Corvette Z06 is powered by a new, 5.7-liter, LS6 V-8 that puts out 385 horsepower and 385 foot-pounds of torque.
Combined with a stiffer suspension and improvements in the two-seat sports car's stability control system, the new model is the quickest and best-handling Corvette ever, Chevrolet officials boast.
Meantime, the Chevrolet Silverado adds heavy-duty versions for 2001. These three-quarter- and one-ton models come with regular, extended and crew cabs. Two gasoline V-8s and one diesel V-8 are available.
The Chevrolet S-10 compact pickup adds a four-door crew cab for 2001, and the Tracker small sport utility gets a V-6 for the first time. Its new, 2.5-liter, double overhead cam V-6 provides 155 horsepower.
In the 2001 Suburban, Chevy replaces the 7.4-liter V-8 with a 340-horsepower, 8.1-liter V-8 that can generate 455 foot-pounds of torque. The smaller V-8, the 6-liter, gets more horsepower -- 315.
The Venture minivan is restyled this year with new grille and front fascia.
Extended wheelbase Ventures now offer an optional, left-hand, power sliding door, and inside, a third-row, stowable bench seat is available.
Chevy makes traction control standard on all Monte Carlo models in 2001, and a driver side air bag is standard on SS models.
The first 2001 Chrysler has been out since spring, but it's hardly old news. It's the retro-styled 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser, a hot-selling crossover vehicle that offers the fuel economy of a car but the interior versatility of a minivan. Sales have been so strong, some buyers have been struggling to find vehicles at showrooms that are available to test drive.
The latest news, however, focuses on Chrysler's new-generation minivans, due out this fall.
The Chrysler Voyager and upscale Town & Country get new, more powerful engines, including a 230-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that will be available later in the model year.
Both vans are restyled for a richer look and are offered with a wealth of new features, such as power sliding doors, power rear liftgate, three-zone temperature controls, pop-up cargo organizer and removable, powered center console.
The Chrysler Cirrus is discontinued for 2001. In its place is a new Chrysler Sebring sedan which shares some styling cues with the larger Chrysler Concorde, has two, new, more powerful engines, larger standard wheels and a stiffer body. For the first time, a curtain air bag is available as an option, too.
The Sebring four-door's uplevel engine -- a 200-horsepower, 2.7-liter, double overhead cam V-6 -- also is in the new-generation Sebring convertible that debuts in 2001.
Both Sebrings are joined in the lineup by a new-generation Sebring coupe that gets new styling, more four-cylinder and V-6 power, larger standard wheels and quieter interior than its predecessor.
In a year when Korean carmaker Daewoo has been seeing sizable, 175 percent sales growth, there are minor updates.
The Lanos adds a three-door hatchback Sport model, while the hatchback SE is discontinued. Rear styling on both the Lanos hatchback and sedan is revised.
Daewoo's Nubira wagon gets a new taillamp design in 2001.
The best-selling minivan, the Dodge Caravan, is all new for 2001.
From its restyled sheet metal and more powerful engines to its available power rear liftgate, the Caravan continues to hone its versatile people- and cargo-hauling style.
The new Caravan includes a number of minivan firsts, including three-zone temperature control, removable, powered center console, pop-up rear cargo organizer and power sliding doors that allow for easy, not labored, manual operation.
The Dodge Stratus coupe arrives for 2001 with new styling and more power, as the standard 2-liter four is upgraded to a 2.4-liter powerplant that generates 147 horsepower. The optional 3-liter V-6 cranks out 200 horses.
Meantime, the car's body is stiffer and AutoStick, a shiftless manual transmission mode, is now available with the V-6.
The Stratus sedan gets new styling, new chassis and more power. The 2.4-liter four is revised to produce 150 horsepower, and the uplevel 2.7-liter, double overhead cam V-6 puts out 200 horsepower.
The Neon American Club Racer model returns in 2001 after a two-year absence, while the Durango sport utility gets a new interior.
It's another busy year at Ford.
The Escape small sport utility arrives for 2001, offering the most interior room in the small SUV class at 133.9 cubic feet and choice of two engines.
The base 2-liter four-cylinder generates 130 horsepower, but even the 200-horsepower, 3-liter V-6 is rated with commendable fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The four-door, five-passenger Escape is available with front-wheel drive or a new full-time four-wheel-drive system called Control Trac II.
Ford's Ranger compact pickup is redone for the new model year, with new styling, better ride and handling and a new, 205-horsepower, 4-liter, single overhead cam V-6 among the engine offerings.
A new model of Ranger is the youth-oriented Ranger Edge. It includes bolder styling, front tow hooks, special wheels and washable floor.
Ford's 2001 Explorer Sport Trac, which combines the five-passenger seating of the Explorer SUV with a shortened pickup bed in back, debuted earlier in 2000, as did a newly styled, two-door Explorer Sport.
The 2001 Windstar has new styling and more safety features for 2001.
The new Windstar becomes the first minivan to add a vehicle stability control system and the first to offer power, adjustable accelerator and brake pedals. There also are new, side-door-open warning strobes that alert other drivers of an open minivan door.
Ford's F-150 SuperCrew trucks add two new models. The Harley Davidson edition has special chrome accents, embroidered leather seats and a one-of-a-kind Harley rumbling exhaust tone.
The SuperCrew's King Ranch edition includes a bevy of luxury appointments including rear-seat captain's chairs, lighted running boards and special leather embossed seats.
There's a new, upscale SUV in the GMC lineup in 2001.
Wearing the Denali badge for the first time, it's a new model of the eight-passenger GMC Yukon XL line. The Denali version boasts a 320-horsepower, 6-liter V-8, full-time four-wheel drive and a host of luxury appointments including a Bose Acoustimass sound system.
It joins the Yukon Denali, which is another upscale SUV that's slightly smaller than the XL.
The GMC Sierra adds heavy-duty versions this year. These three-quarter- and one-ton models come with choice of three cabs, two box configurations, and two- or four-wheel drive.
GMC also introduces a Sierra C-Series this fall. Calling the C-3 a professional-grade pickup, officials note it comes as an extended cab, half-ton model with a 325-horsepower, 6-liter V-8, a new, heavy-duty automatic transmission, full-time all-wheel drive, 17-inch wheels, performance-tuned suspension and special body trim.
The Sonoma compact pickup adds a four-door crew cab for 2001, and the entire Jimmy SUV line changes its name to Envoy with the start of early 2002 model production in January.
Honda's new-generation Civic takes center stage in 2001.
The new model is roomier inside. In fact, for the first time, the Civic becomes a compact, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The hatchback, however, is gone from the lineup.
The new car also has more power, thanks to a larger, 1.7-liter, four-cylinder engine that continues Honda's maxim of being super-thrifty with fuel.
Side air bags are a new option on the new Civic.
Meantime, the 2001 Accord is slightly restyled, front and rear, and adds more standard features and safety items. More than 20 engineering refinements also make the interior quieter than in the 2000 Accords.
For example, all new-model Accords have dual-stage, dual-threshold frontal air bags that monitor seatbelt usage and crash severity to adjust air bag deployment during a crash.
cides with Isuzu's 85th year in business. To mark the occasion, two of the company's SUVs will be offered with equipment-laden anniversary packages.
The 2001 Trooper with anniversary package includes limited-production white pearl paint, a Nakimichi sound system, leather and wood trim inside and 12-spoke alloy wheels.
The 2001 Rodeo Anniversary Edition comes with two-tone paint, chrome tube steps, leather and wood trim interior, power moonroof and upgraded audio system among other items.
In other news, Isuzu renames the Amigo, its two-door, hard- and soft-top SUV. In 2001, the Amigo becomes the Rodeo Sport, a move that the automaker hopes "will bolster consumer awareness" of the vehicle.
Among the models offered will be a two-door Rodeo Sport with a four-cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission.
The hard top Rodeo Sport will be the price leader.
A new, five-speed automatic transmission debuts on the 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Matched to a 235-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8, the combination has a second overdrive ratio for better fuel economy on highway drives and less noise. It's optional on both Laredo and Limited models.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee trim is updated slightly.
The soft top on the Wrangler is thicker, more durable and quieter this year than in the past. There are new antilock brakes and new skid plate for the fuel tank.
Inside, a new tilt-steering wheel mechanism is available, as is a storage helper called Add-a-Trunk.
The Cherokee comes with only one engine in 2001. It's a 190-horsepower, 4-liter, inline six. The 125-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder is no longer offered.
All-speed traction control becomes standard this year on the Lincoln LS sedan with V-6 and manual transmission.
Power, adjustable brake and accelerator pedals are standard on the 2001 Town Car.
All Lincolns will be available with telematics and communications systems that include cell phones, voice controls and 24-hour emergency service.
Lincoln also adds complimentary maintenance on all 2001 vehicles. The program covers routine maintenance for the first three years/36,000 miles.
Lincoln's first pickup truck -- a four-door model called the Blackwood -- is scheduled to arrive in the first half of 2001.
It will debut as a 2002 model, complete with pickup bed adorned on the outside by a composite material and brushed metal stripes, 18-inch aluminum wheels, low-profile tires, Dutch rear doors and a host of interior comforts.
In fact, the only optional luxury feature is a console-integrated satellite-based navigation system.
Power comes from the Blackwood's 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8.
The 2001 Cougar is updated with new front and rear fascias.
A Cougar S model is due later in the model year, powered by a 196-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6. It rides on 17-inch wheels.
Horsepower in the Grand Marquis with standard 4.6-liter V-8 is increased to 220, and the Villager minivan is freshened with new front and rear styling.
Later this year, a new Mountaineer debuts. It will be a 2002 model and will have new, sharp-edge styling to differentiate it from its Ford Explorer sibling.
Two engines will be offered: A 210-horsepower, 4-liter V-6 and a 240-horsepower,4.6-liter V-8.
The 2001 Aurora debuted early -- in the spring of 2000 -- as the big news at Olds for the new model year.
For the first time, this Olds sedan flagship comes with a choice of 215-horsepower, 3.5-liter, double overhead cam V-6 -- borrowed from the Olds Intrigue sedan -- or 250-horsepower, 4-liter, double overhead cam V-8.
Pricing is lower than its predecessor, too, with the new Aurora with V-6 starting around $30,000 rather than the mid-$30,000s of previous V-8-only Auroras.
This well-equipped, mid-sized four-door also comes with OnStar, an emergency notification and service system, as a standard feature, with a free premium subscription for the first year.
Among the new features on the Olds Silhouette minivan are cordless headphones and larger video screen.
And, early in 2001, the 2002 Bravada arrives. The re-engineered and restyled sport utility vehicle will be 10 inches longer and 5 inches wider than the current Bravada.
It also will feature a new General Motors Corp. engine -- a 4.2-liter, inline, Vortec six-cylinder with at least 250 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque. Both two- and all-wheel drive Bravadas will be offered.
This venerable nameplate is in its last year in 2001. Parent company DaimlerChrysler AG announced in 1999 it was phasing out Plymouth by the end of 2001 to concentrate on other global brand opportunities.
But the wildly styled, two-seat Plymouth Prowler roadster, in its final year with a Plymouth badge, gets new colors for 2001 in the form of a limited, Black Tie Edition that, for the first time, will have Prowlers rolling out of the factory in a two-tone color scheme. The top of the car is painted Prowler Black, while the lower part is Prowler Silver.
Though just 162 Black Tie Editions will be built, they won't mark the end of the line for Prowler.
Starting in January, the car becomes the Chrysler Prowler and will be sold at Chrysler dealerships.
Plymouth's other remaining nameplate, the Neon, already is sold by Dodge and returns for 2001 with a wider selection of features such as split-folding rear seatbacks, rear glass defroster and floor mats. Side air bags are a new option.
The buzz at Pontiac has been nonstop for months, and it's all about the brand's provocatively styled Aztek.
Described as a sport activity vehicle, the Aztek is built on the platform of the Pontiac Montana minivan and uses the Montana's 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter, overhead valve V-6.
But inside, the five-passenger Aztek is anything but a minivan. Among its features is a removable center console that doubles as a cooler. It's standard on the GT model.
There's also an optional sliding rear cargo tray that can support up to 400 pounds and an optional camping package that provides a half-tented sleeping space at the rear of the Aztek.
Late this year, an all-wheel drive system is added. Versatrak uses twin gerotor pumps to sense wheel slippage and automatically directs torque where it's needed.
Elsewhere at Pontiac, the Montana is restyled with new grille and front and rear fascias. Inside, a third-row, stowable bench seat is available in extended wheelbase models, there are new cupholders on the instrument panel, and standard side air bags now include head and thorax protection for the Montana driver.
The Firebird Formula WS6 is discontinued for 2001, but the 5.7-liter, V-8 Gen III LS1 engine gets a new camshaft and intake manifold.
The new model year began early at Saturn with the debut of the 2001 SC coupes.
All SCs continue as the world's first and only three-door coupes. The 2001 models also have new body panels below the beltline, new clear lens headlamps, new wrap-around taillamps, new wheel covers and new, integrated spoilers.
Inside, the Saturn SC1 and SC2 instrument panels come with a one-piece top cover for fewer squeaks and rattles. Door panels and center console also are redone, and sound systems and climate control are updated. There's a revised antilock brake system, too, that reduces the noises that come when the system is activated.
A hybrid, three SUVs and a truck make news at Toyota for 2001.
The long-awaited, high-tech Toyota Prius began arriving in the summer. The second hybrid car offered for sale in the United States by a major automaker, the five-passenger Prius sedan is about the size of a Corolla.
But it's powered by an internal combustion engine teamed with an electric motor. The combination hybrid powerplant, where the 33-kilowatt electric motor helps boost torque and the 70-horspower, 1.5-liter, gasoline engine provides long-range power, gives the 2001 Prius a fuel economy rating of 45 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway.
Best of all, the car's electric motor never needs an electric outlet. The motor is powered by constant, as-you-drive recharging of the 38 battery modules inside the Prius.
The new model year also marks the arrival of Toyota's first mainstream, full-size SUV.
Built on the platform of Toyota's full-size Tundra pickup, the eight-passenger Toyota Sequoia is larger and roomier than Toyota's current big SUV, the five-passenger Land Cruiser.
The Sequoia is powered by the same 4.7-liter, i-Force V-8 that's in the Tundra, but in the new sport utility, the engine develops a maximum 240 horses and 315 foot-pounds of torque. Both two- and four-wheel drive Sequoias will be available.
Toyota also introduces the second-generation RAV4 in 2001. The new model is longer, wider and taller, inside and out, than the 2000 model and has a more rugged look.
Power for the 2001 RAV4 comes from a new, 148-horsepower, 2-liter four-cylinder with variable valve timing. Both two- and four-wheel-drive models will be available.
Toyota adds another new SUV later in the model year. The mid-size, 2001 Highlander, available in two- and full-time four-wheel drive, promises car-like ride and handling along with the versatility of a sport utility.
With a flurry of new models in recent years, Volkswagen finally has a relatively quiet model year in 2001.
The 2001 EuroVan, due late in the model year, gets a higher-powered, 201-horse V-6 with four valves per cylinder. It also offers single seats for the second row, a stability control system and new middle console.
The 2001 VW Cabrio goes from two trim levels to three, with the base GL priced below the 2000 model but including such features as manual windows and outside mirrors, air conditioning and alarm.
A new Volvo sedan debuts this fall. The S60 has the roofline contour of the Volvo C70 coupe but is built on a new platform intended to increase chassis rigidity and improved handling.
The five-passenger S60 continues Volvo's recent styling trend toward strong shoulder lines and cab-forward design.
Power comes from a 168-horsepower, 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated, dual overhead cam five-cylinder, a 197-horsepower, 2.4-liter, light-pressure turbo five-cylinder or a 247-horsepower, 2.3-liter high-pressure turbo five-cylinder.
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