Driver's Seat: Highlights of the Pittsburgh International Auto Show



Here are some of the shiniest highlights planned for the Pittsburgh International Auto Show:

2015 Ford Mustang: This muscle car had its humble beginnings 50 years ago as a pony car.

Its long evolution now leads to a new look that somehow manages to be unmistakably Mustang, with a boxy grille up front and three vertical taillights on each rear corner. The car now offers three engines: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four for the economy minded, a 3.7-liter V6, and a 5.0-liter V8. The EcoBoost bears no relation to the 2.3-liter that powered the red-headed Mustang II stepchild of the mid-70s; this one is projected to make more than 305 horsepower (the V6 has 300, and the V8 more than 420).

A six-speed manual or automatic transfers the power to the rear wheels.

Expect the Mustang to land in the states sometime this fall. Until then, Ford lovers can hope the Ford display features a sound file of the unmistakable exhaust note of the Mustang engine revving like Philadelphia did last week.

2015 Cadillac Escalade: This giant, luxurious SUV gets a makeover that GM officials call "evolutionary, not revolutionary."

"It had to look like an Escalade," said Todd Brown, Escalade marketing manager.

It still does. On display in Philadelphia was a model with the popular 22-inch wheels that give the Escalade its modern horseless-carriage look.

The new model gives the chrome a satin touch, improves the ease of folding the rear seats into cargo space, and has one more surprise: "We needed to raise our luxury game a bit," Mr. Brown said. The Escalade was stingy with luxury? Okaaay.

2015 Chrysler 200: The Fiat-Chrysler marriage has amped up the styling for the Detroit side of the pond, and now the bread-and-butter 200 sedan gets its turn.

J.T. Delcamp, Chrysler 200 brand manager, presented the vehicle, which looks like a big brother to the Dodge Dart -- that's fitting, because it borrows the platform from the Dart and Jeep Cherokee.

"It's the new face of the Chrysler brand," Mr. Delcamp said.

The base LX model is expected to start at $21,700, $100 less than the 2014 model. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder will be standard in all four trim levels, and a 3.6-liter V6 will be optional. A nine-speed automatic transmission with dial control sends power to the wheels, and all-wheel drive is available as well.

Outside, the sedan gets LED headlights, fog lights and taillights, while the inside will boast wood trim with available leather seats with ventilation and heat, among some of the classier features.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Pittsburgh gets a first look this weekend at the hottest rod from General Motors.

The return of the Stingray name for the 2014 model brings the most powerful standard Corvette model ever. The LT1 6.2-liter V8 engine produces 455 horsepower. Z51-equipped models go from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. Two seven-speed manuals and a six-speed shiftable automatic power the rear wheels.

The Stingray starts at $51,995, and a soft top starts at $56,995.

2015 Ford F-150: Coming to market at the end of 2014, the F-150 aims to take a fairly innovation-free market segment and inject some new life into it.

The F-150 gets a new high-strength steel frame and aluminum body that together account for a reduction of 700 pounds off the truck's bulky body. The truck also gets an available 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that shuts down the engine when the vehicle is stopped, helping to conserve fuel.

Buyers also have three other engine choices: two 3.5-liter V6s and a 5.0-liter V8.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra: These siblings got a whole new redesign for the model year, their first since the 2007 model year.

"Bold, brawny, chiseled" were some of the adjectives GMC marketing director Roger McCormack used for the new trucks. They come with a choice of a 4.3-liter V6 or a 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter V8 engine.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD: The heavy-duty General Motors trucks get a redesign that follows on the heels of the new-for-2014 Silverado and Sierra.

A 6.0-liter V8 or 6.6-liter DuraMax turbodiesel V8 power these big haulers, and they produce 360 and 397 horsepower respectively. But the 798 pound-feet of torque give the diesel some impressive hauling ability.

2015 Subaru SRX WTI: Coming this spring, the super-souped-up Impreza sedan features at 305-horsepower turbocharged boxer engine.

The standout bright blue Launch Edition will be shown in Pittsburgh. Only 1,000 units of this hot rod's Launch Edition will be made available.

Scott Sturgis, a freelance auto writer, can be reached at mrdriversseat@gmail.com.


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