You wouldn't expect a minivan to make a major styling statement, but the next Odyssey, previewed as a concept at the Chicago auto show, might do just that. The "lightning bolt" beltline and aggressive, CR-Z-like front fascia signal Honda's shift toward more expressive, dynamic design. Still, don't expect form to overrule function, as Honda is promising more interior space and better fuel economy.
Gen X Van: Just as Toyota did with the aggressively restyled new Sienna, Honda seems to be targeting a younger, less conservative minivan buyer.
CR-Z Type R
The CR-Z won't be a screamer, with a 0-to-60-mph time of nearly ten seconds, but rumor has it that Honda is at work on a more powerful electric motor that could push output closer to 200 hp. Sorry, still no gasoline-only version.
Meanwhile, Over At Acura...
Honda's luxury brand hasn't quite succeeded in its mission to move upmarket. A new strategy will rely heavily on hybrids to distinguish the brand, starting with the TSX.
What: Sporty, economical two-plus-two.
When: Early 2011
With the arrival of the genesis coupe, it's been easy to forget about the Tiburon, Hyundai's recently departed, front-wheel-drive sport coupe. But Hyundai still has its sights on that market. The Veloster concept, first seen at the 2007 Seoul auto show, provides a preview--the production car's styling is said to be "80 percent Veloster." The Veloster name, though, might be dropped in favor of Tiburon, although the new car is positioned below the old Tiburon and emphasizes fuel economy as much as fun-to-drive performance. Based on the new Elantra, it will be powered by a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder. Hyundai hopes to match or beat the Honda CR-Z hybrid's fuel economy (36/38 mpg for the automatic) and is aiming for a 40-mpg highway rating. Without the expense of a hybrid system, undercutting the CR-Z's price should be easy.
New CRX? Looks like Hyundai, not Honda, will bring us the modern-day CRX that so many have been clamoring for.
What: Mercedes-Benz S-class rival (really).
When: Summer 2010
Pampering Practice: Having just shocked Us with the Genesis, which goes up against the e-class, Hyundai is wasting little time making its next, even more ambitious move upmarket. Based on a stretched Genesis platform, this full-on luxury sedan is sized between the Lexus LS460 and LS460L. Hyundai hopes to duplicate the Lexus ownership experience on a smaller scale -- to that end, the Equus will be displayed in a separate area of the showroom, and not all Hyundai dealers will be allowed to sell it.
What: Hyundai's hope to finally take on the Honda Civic.
When: Late 2010
Catching Up With The Wagon: An all-new platform underpins the Elantra sedan and hatch. both launch with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an optional six-speed automatic; a 1.6-liter direct-injected four comes later. The same platform will be used for the new accent, which debuts early next year. the highly regarded elantra touring carries on unchanged.