Some undeniably beautiful cars have been unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show this year – and it's not even finished yet. Chief among them is the Buick Avista, a delightfully proportioned tour-de-force of auto design, understandably attracting clots of impressed rival designers. Boasting a 3.0 litre V6, GM's design chief Ed Welburn took great pleasure in explaining the Avista's design subtleties to the assembled crowd. Buick say they won’t be building the Avista, but as with so many other prototypes, it may well end up as the basis for some future production model.
More challenging on the eye was the new Lexus LC500. From the sides and rear the design exudes aggressive beauty, but the huge latticed front grille was less well-received: a little too much executive flashiness? Based on the LF-LC concept shown in Detroit four years ago, the LC500 has no less than 10 gears in its automatic gearbox, suggesting that its 5.0-litre V8 may return a decent MPG figure, despite its size.
In terms of more futuristic, eco-friendly drivetrains, there was plenty on view at Detroit. Audi's stunning h-tron Quattro concept garnered a good deal of attention with its hydrogen fuel cell, set to arrive in 2020.
Another German auto-brand looking to lead the way in alternative drivetrains is VW, which on the eve of Detroit showed off its ostentatious semi-electric sport-utility, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept. The prototype looks to cash-in on America's on-going fascination with the SUV, while shoring up the firm's environmentally-friendly credentials.
Volkswagen intends to produce 20 all-electric or semi-electric vehicles by 2020, as part of VW CEO Matthias Mueller's business roadmap.
A SEAT PHEV range by 2020?
As a major brand within the VW stable, this could also mean SEAT increases its focus on PHEVs in the coming years. In 2013 we saw the Spanish firm's Leon Verde plug-in hybrid prototype, which returned 176.6mpg and emitted 36g/km. As VW throws its weight behind the development of plug-ins and hybrids leading up to 2020, we may well see some hyper-efficient new models in SEAT show rooms too.
Buying a new SEAT
Until then, those looking to buy a SEAT in the more immediate future have a wealth of options available. For hatchback lovers the new Ibiza SC offers high-octane motoring pleasure, while those seeking a nippy city runabout may be won over by the super eco-friendly Mii. Those seeking a family car without losing out on performance or styling may find the exciting new Ibiza 5-door or Leon 5-door models meet – and exceed – their needs.
Discover Miler and Middleton’s full SEAT range today - Miler and Middleton – the most trusted and professional SEAT dealership in Essex.