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Interesting vehicles unveiled at Detroit Auto show

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has been buzzing with news.

Here's a look at some of the more interesting debuts.

2008 Chevy Malibu

The all-new Malibu is a significant step forward from the current Malibu. GM will invest $208 million to upgrade the Fairfax plant to produce the next-generation of Chevy's family car. The car goes on sale late this year.

The styling reflects the new face of Chevrolet. With wheels planted out near the corners, the next Malibu has a wheelbase that is 3 inches longer than the Toyota Camry, and that should result in a spacious cabin with plenty of room in the back seat. Inside, a twin-cockpit design theme highlights the instrument panel. The deep center console has a sliding cover that opens to accommodate larger items. An available rear power center provides a household-style, 110-volt AC power outlet.

Two engines will be offered: A 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, and a 3.6-liter, V-6 with 252 horsepower. Both engines will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Ford Interceptor concept

Ford's challenger to the popularity of the Chrysler 300 is a four-door concept built on a stretched version of the Mustang platform. The concept, called the Interceptor, has a massive grill that looks like it came from last year's Super Chief pickup concept. The Interceptor's 120-inch wheelbase and overall length of 201 inches makes it roughly the same size as a Chrysler 300.

The Interceptor has bold, brutish styling with a long nose, short front overhangs and a low-roofed cabin. Power comes from a Ford Racing 400-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8.

Lincoln MKR concept

Ford is working to give the Lincoln brand renewed vigor, and this slinky four-door coupe has a spectacular presence that could point the way to future products. The concept is powered by a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 415 horsepower and is capable of operating on E85 ethanol.

The MKR's grill is a modern interpretation of a double-wing design that debuted on the 1941 Continental Cabriolet. The interior has a T-shaped console that runs from the instrument panel through to the rear seat. Jewel-like gauges have ice blue lighting, and LEDs throughout the cabin emit a similar hue. The seats are wrapped in cashmere leather, the carpet is light mohair and the headliner is wool.

Chrysler Nassau concept

The Chrysler Nassau concept highlights sweeping curves to define the front and rear fasciae. This four-door, four-passenger luxury coupe concept has an emphasis on driving dynamics. The artistic exterior contains design cues that are likely to show up on future models, even if the Nassau itself doesn't go into production. The roofline and rear window blend into the trunk almost like that of a hatchback, although this concept does have a separate trunk. The interior is highlighted by a large center console that extends into the rear seat.

Jeep Trailhawk concept

This concept is based on the chassis of the all-new Jeep Wrangler, and it combines the tough look of an off-road vehicle with the sophistication of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The headlamps, cropped and peering out from beneath a diagonal brow like the eyes of a bird of prey, were the inspiration for the Trailhawk name.

DaimlerChrysler said the Trailhawk taps into rugged Jeep attributes with classic proportions, unsurpassed off-road capability and a new approach to open-air freedom with a top that has removable sections.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Ocean Drive

The Concept Ocean Drive is a four-door luxury convertible based on the twelve-cylinder S 600 sedan. This design study is a chance to showcase future design trends and gauge interest by the general public. Mercedes calls it "an awe-inspiring jewel on wheels" that represents the "maximum in elegance, lifestyle sophistication and exclusiveness."

The Concept Ocean Drive features all of the comfort and convenience features one expects in a premium vehicle. One of the more intriguing is Airscarf, a neck-level heating system on all four seats that enables occupants to drive with the top down on chilly days.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled its new Phantom Drophead Coupe. Production of the new car will start at Goodwood in the summer of 2007.

The two-door, four-seat convertible is a less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design. It has a long hood, large wheels and an all-aluminum space frame. Front-opening doors improve access to the back seat.

The Phantom has a brushed-steel hood and teak decking for the convertible top cover.

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