THE SHOW’S GO­ERS

Here’s why car brands and fans flock to Las Ve­gas

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - CRAIG DUFF HYUNDAI VELOSTER TURBO

Sin City — Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada, famed for gam­bling — is be­com­ing a bluechip venue for main­stream au­to­mo­tive brands. It hosts two of the big­gest ex­hi­bi­tions in the US for car mak­ers, nei­ther of them con­ven­tional mo­tor shows.

The Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show, or CES, is in­creas­ingly seen as the place to dis­play the lat­est in-car tech­nol­ogy, whether new in­fo­tain­ment or cut­ting edge elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Sim­i­larly, brands and fans flock to the SEMA (Spe­cialty Equip­ment Mar­ket As­so­ci­a­tion) show to check af­ter­mar­ket parts to im­prove a car’s looks, han­dling, util­ity and per­for­mance.

It’s ef­fec­tively two plat­forms in one. Car com­pa­nies show their ve­hi­cles and how they can be en­hanced with the above mod­i­fi­ca­tions — cars are do­nated to the top tun­ing houses and the re­sult­ing cus­tom ex­am­ples take pride of place among the 2400-odd ex­hibitors in the sprawl­ing con­ven­tion cen­tre. Here are some of the stand­outs.

CHEVRO­LET

The Chevy Blazer is the mid-sized SUV Holden should have. The soft-roader goes on sale in the US early next year and in top-spec RS trim can be had with a 227kW/365Nm 3.6-litre V6.

Its looks will turn more heads than the Holden Equinox, thanks to its classy Ca­maroin­spired de­sign, in­side and out. Chevy staff wouldn’t say whether it was de­vel­oped for right­hand drive mar­kets.

An­other stand­out was the Gen­tex-tweaked Chevy Colorado. Aus­tralia is ex­pected to take US-de­signed Colorados in the next few years, giv­ing buy­ers ac­cess to the mas­sive ar­ray of fac­tory and af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories.

The jacked-up Gen­tex 4WD’s pair of rear­fac­ing cam­eras dis­plays a wide-an­gled view on an LCD screen in­te­grated into the rearview mir­ror. The roof-mounted, so­lar-pow­ered tent pops up and down with a click on the HomeLink in­fo­tain­ment but­ton and the car can be pro­grammed to open the garage door and gates.

The Ca­maro eCOPO elec­tric con­cept, de­vel­oped with Hankook tyres and elec­tr­i­crace spe­cial­ists Lane Rac­ing, has a mo­tor good for 522kW/813Nm and on the drag strip it’s tipped to cover the quar­ter-mile in about nine sec­onds.

Chevro­let sug­gests the mo­tor may evolve into a “crate” engine — that is, de­liv­ered in a

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