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Long Island Auto Show displays 2011 models

Passersby get a closer look at the Chevy

Passersby get a closer look at the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle before a news conference where Chevrolet and PEPCO utilities announced a D.C.-area program to introduce customers to electric vehicles and establish vehicle charging programs. Photo Credit: Wieck Media Services

The latest 2011 car models are rolling off into the Long Island Auto Show at Nassau Coliseum.

About 150 vehicles, ranging from Detroit classics to foreign jobs and hybrids, will be at the show, which also highlights some of the automotive industry's latest technological breakthroughs.

Among the auto innovations: voice-activated Bluetooth devices that allow you to safely text while driving. Plug-in hybrids, new convertibles and crossovers will help car buyers think outside the box. And if you want to see how these babies handle on the open road, you can test-drive some of the latest models, and not just in the coliseum lot.

COMING SOON 

A number of new or redesigned vehicles will make their Long Island Auto Show debut, says Motor Trend spokesman Shaun Foley. Among the revamped rides: the Acura TSX Sport Wagon, the Buick Regal, the Ford Edge, the Kia Sportage and the Toyota Sienna. Among the newest of the new: the Chevy Cruze and the Subaru WRX. Foley says the auto show amounts to a sneak preview of vehicles arriving this fall in showrooms. And - again, according to Foley - you can relax as you check them out with no pressure to buy.

GAS SAVERS

Automakers apparently continue to be pumped about vehicles that are good for the environment and offer fuel economy. The auto show's Green Trail - look for the green arrows pointing your way along the carpet - shows off the latest trends and technology in "alternative fuel vehicles." They include the redesigned Chevrolet Volt, which can cover up to 50 miles on electric power alone, depending on the terrain, driving techniques and temperature. It uses electricity stored in its 16 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The Green Trail also includes Cadillac, GMC, Lincoln and Toyota vehicles. 

SIX-FIGURE WHEELS

For the first time, high-end foreign cars such as Ferraris and Maseratis get exposure in the show, Foley says. But don't get too excited: They'll be displayed pretty much on a "look-but-don't-touch" basis. It's unlikely guests will be allowed to sit inside these luxury vehicles, which carry six-figure price tags. Consolation: You can take your picture next to them, which makes for a decently enviable Facebook photo.

ROAD TEST 

Want to take that beauty for a spin? Yes, you can. Head out to the Coliseum parking lot, where Buick, Chevy and GMC will be participating in a "Ride & Drive" promotion 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To get behind the wheel, you must be 18 or older and present your driver's license. A car company representative will accompany you on the test-drive. Baby boomer alert: the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, a beloved muscle car that was reintroduced a few years ago, will be among those available for test-drives. 

HANDS-FREE

Built-in-Bluetooth technology has been available since 2007 on some Ford models, says regional Ford spokeswoman Tara Martin.

"We've upgraded the system and added new features," Martin says. The Ford Fiesta can now allow access to Ford Sync AppLink phone applications, with which the driver gets Pandora music using voice commands, among other apps.

"You can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road," Martin says.

The 2011-Model Long Island Auto Show

WHEN | WHERE 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Nassau Coliseum

INFO 516-794-9300, autoshowlongisland.com

ADMISSION $10 ($6 ages 7-12 and over 62)

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