With most of the industry turning its focus to the upcoming New York Auto Show—which opens to the public on March 29—let’s squeeze in a quick recap of the action in Atlanta, where that city’s own International Auto Show recently wrapped up. Perhaps the biggest news? The all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ and MKZ Hybrid teamed up to share the “Best in Show” trophy from the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association (GAAMA).
The small but significant step in the right direction comes just as inventories for the highly anticipated Lincoln products are ramping up at dealerships, and was no easy task.
“But one vehicle stood out as the best expression of the things we love about automobiles,” according to GAAMA. “The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is visually stunning, technologically advanced, luxurious yet accessible and powerful yet economical. Lincoln offers three powertrain choices, including a 45-mpg hybrid that's priced identically to the base turbocharged 4-cylinder. Technologies include the standard SYNC infotainment system with MyLincoln Touch, standard active suspension and camera- and radar-based driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and parking assistance. In short, the all-new MKZ advances our expectations of what a mid-size luxury sedan should be, and it sets a high benchmark for the competition in its segment.”
2013 Atlanta Auto Show Best New Vehicle: 2014 Mazda Mazda6
The Best New Vehicle at this year’s Atlanta Auto Show was the all-new 2014 Mazda Mazda6. Now backed by the brand’s SKYACTIV powertrain and chassis technology, Mazda’s midsizer delivers EPA marks of up to 26 mpg city/38 mpg highway/30 mpg combined, while still providing 184 hp and the brand’s typically zoomy driving dynamics. Yet what particularly attracted GAAMA judges to the Mazda6 was its high value proposition. Priced from $20,880, “It offers the characteristics drivers want—comfort, safety, a stylish and eye-catching design and outstanding fuel efficiency—all while maintaining a surprisingly affordable price,” reported the Association.
"The new Mazda6 has a mix of all the right things for a great car: reliability, outstanding fuel efficiency, stunning design and affordable pricing,” added Davis Adams, president of GAAMA. “It's just what a car should be for drivers today."
2013 Atlanta Auto Show Green Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
The completely redesigned 2013 Toyota Avalon brought a slew of upgrades to its segment, but one of the most important was the latest iteration of the automaker’s hallmark Hybrid Synergy Drive. By providing an EPA line of 40/39/40, the car delivers stunning increases of 21 mpg/11 mpg/17 mpg over the fuel-economy marks of the 2012 Avalon, and as GAAMA points out, that’s “without sacrificing space or comfort.” Helping with the latter, the hybrid model is based on the Avalon’s premium XLE trim, including leather-trimmed and heated front seats, a power tilt/slide moonroof, a backup camera, and hidden exhaust for a clean finish.
2013 Atlanta Auto Show Best New Truck/SUV: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado
The Bowtie brand’s all-new full-size pickup hasn’t quite made it to dealerships yet, but that didn’t stop the 2014 Chevy Silverado from being honored as the Best New Truck/SUV at the Atlanta show. Per GAAMA: “As the economy improves, drivers are once again looking for pickups suited to both work and play,” and “the Silverado delivers.”
Three powerful and efficient engines, a rugged yet aerodynamic exterior, work-friendly touches like the new CornerStep bumper, and technologies like the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system are all in the mix to help the truck live up to that billing, with customers able to experience the new Silverado for themselves beginning later this year.
2013 Atlanta Auto Show Best New Crossover: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
GAAMA’s choice for Best New Crossover was the seven-seat 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, lauded for “its handsome appearance, impressive available technology and flexible seating,” with the latter coming courtesy of the Santa Fe Sport five-seat crossover. And as the Association also reminds buyers, “both offer technology like Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment system, and both include the automaker's excellent 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.”
“It’s an honor to receive the award for Best New Crossover for the 2013 Santa Fe,” added Mike O’Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “GAAMA is full of exceptional automotive media and this accolade proves that the all-new Santa Fe has what it takes to succeed in a very competitive market.”