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By Corey Conley


Hark! Is that the sound of yonder oompah music I hear? The sonorous snapping of strained lederhosen? The keening peals of clinking steins and sloshing of coppered ale? Oktoberfest must be upon us. To celebrate, we’re scouring the 2017 Frankfurt auto show for its best offerings. Proust!


Ford EcoSport
Ford EcoSport
The mini-SUV market shows no signs of cooling down, and the EcoSport is Ford’s play at a piece of the pie. Like competitors, the EcoSport is a compact hatchback with both its suspension and starting price ($20,990) raised to SUV levels. The base engine is a wheezy 125 horsepower, but opting for all-wheel-drive upgrades to a competent 167. Prices can climb to a nosebleed-inducing $27,735, which will also buy a nicely equipped (and larger) Ford Escape. However for those who absolutely have to blow nearly $30,000 on a sub-compact hatch, the EcoSport comes nicely equipped at any price, with available navigation, leather, heated seats, automatic climate control, and more.


Mercedes Benz X-Class
Mercedes Benz X-Class
Ever wanted to cruise town in a Mercedes while hauling a few thousand pounds of lumber? No? Well too bad, because Mercedes decided the demand is there for the X-Class pickup. Billed as “the first pickup from a premium automaker” (a sick burn to Lincoln and Cadillac, both of whom have offered gussied-up pickups in the past), the X-Class started life as a Nissan Navara pickup, but receives a Benz engine and interior appointments. One thing that definitely carries over from the Navara: its not-for-America status. That’s right: Mercedes won’t sell the bedded Benz in the land where pickups rule the road, but if you happen to live in Germany, pick one up next year for the rough equivalent of $36,000


Mini Electric Concept
Mini Electric Concept
This is hardly Mini’s first foray into electrification, but the world wasn’t ready for Mini’s efforts (nor anyone else’s) 10 years ago when the Mini E first debuted. Now, an ever-growing list of countries are committing to ban gas-powered cars and electrification is a matter of mere survival. Details on this concept are scarce, besides the styling, which nicely futurizes the current Mini design. The electric drivetrain will be shared with the BMW i3, so expect about 150 miles of range and 150 horsepower unless substantial revisions are made. Whether buyers will be drawn from the Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt, which both feature longer range and more power, remains to be seen, but this is the latest sign the Germans are serious about electrification.


Honda Urban EV Concept
Honda Urban EV Concept
Honda’s Urban EV concept is a funky blend of early Japanese squared-off compact cool, and Honda promises the design presages a production model. I hope you brought your nostalgia, because the suicide doors open to reveal ample wood paneling and front bench seat, a combination sure to remind people of endless childhood road trips. The front and rear of the car are thoroughly modern, with integrated screens for displaying charge status or messages to other drivers (clearly this feature has potential for abuse). As for the production model, Honda only promises it will come to Europe in 2019, with no mention of the North American market.


Mercedes Benz EQA Concept
Mercedes Benz EQA Concept
Whereas the X-Class is a foot firmly planted in the past, the EQA shows Mercedes is committed to the future. The EQA is only the second vehicle announced for the new, all-electric EQ sub-brand, but the sexy styling and 268 horsepower indicate that Benz is playing to win in the nascent electric segment. Don’t expect anything driveable until after 2019, when the EQC (the first EQ car slated for production) roll out to consumers.


Kia Proceed Concept
Kia Proceed Concept
Anyone who dared think I would write my monthly auto listicle without tantalizing readers with another slinky wagon, thought wrong. This month the forbidden-to-North American fruit comes in the form of the Kia Proceed Concept. This concept clearly shows the evolution of the “tiger nose” styling language which also adorns the Stinger sport sedan. Large, gear-like wheels, dark red paint, and black side-skirts give the car a low and dangerous stance.  Of course the proportions and concept-car frippery will be excised from any production model, but as with all concepts it’s fun to gaze and wonder “what if?” Expect cues from this concept to find their way into a future kia sport wagon.


www.Dishmag.com / Issue 196 - December 9526
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