New production models and slick concept cars drew applause and gasps at the North American International Auto Show
Detroit, MI – A chill wind blew snow outside but inside the huge Cobo Hall conference centre, a great deal of hot air accompanied every new model announcement.
More than 5,000 journalists from 60-plus countries make this annual pilgrimage to the North American International Auto Show. Dozens of new cars and trucks are revealed to applause and some gasps though not nearly as loudly as in the old days before the internet.
Now carefully orchestrated ‘leaks’ and ‘sneak peeks’ cut surprises to the minimum.
Nevertheless, it’s still the hottest place to be for the auto world despite the frigid conditions outside.
Space limitations prevent us from parading the dozens of vehicles revealed over the two-day official preview, which follow the ‘special invite only’ previews that the manufacturers offer up in the days running up to the show! You get the picture: so here’s just a taste of what caught our eye on the show floor – detailed specs and prices are months away in many cases.
Chevrolet introduced the 2017 Cruze Hatchback, set to go on sale in the fall of this year. The liftgate opens to offer 524 litres of cargo space behind the rear seat. With the rear seat folded, cargo space expands to 1,189 litres. Yes! – Finally, a good replacement for the Pontiac Vibe, which died with the brand.
It features standard 1.4-litre turbo engine with direct injection and Stop/Start technologies plus electric power steering. Sayeth Chevy: “More standard safety features than any other compact car – including Corolla and Civic – with available adaptive features including Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Park Assist.”
The all-new Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew adds room for passengers and gear, in what the manufacturer boasts “expanding choice and versatility in the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever.”
See what I mean about hyperbole-charged hot air? In the real world, the Raptor will do its own talking. It has an all-new 3.5-litre EcoBoost, all-new 10-speed transmission and torque-on-demand transfer case making it more powerful yet efficient and easy to drive off-road.
We thought the Chrysler Pacifica crossover would simply leave the world’s stage, a little embarrassed about ever seeing the light of day. Nothing wrong with it other than it’s just a ho-hum kind of vehicle. But there it was/they were on the Detroit stage: the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid, designed to “revolutionize the minivan segment with nearly 40 new minivan firsts.” (It’s now a minivan).
It offers more than 100 standard and available safety and security features, including 360-degree Surround View camera, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Hold and Forward Collision Warning-Plus.
Okay, we’ll buy that for now. Looks good and promises much in performance and utility.
(Please note carmakers would like us to describe optional extras that cost extra as ‘available features’. Ahem, call us old fashioned but we’ll stick with the ‘options’ option from here on in!)
Honda unveiled the all-new 2017 Ridgeline truck promising “superior on-road performance – with the segment’s best handling, ride quality, cabin quietness and all-weather traction capabilities”. Frankly, it’s in tough in a tough market full of tough successful domestic and import competitors.
A round of applause for KIA, the Korean company that continues to challenge its big brother Hyundai and indeed the rest of the market with interesting concepts and production cars. The Telluride concept is its take on a premium large sport utility vehicle, featuring three-rows of seating for seven passengers. Notable are the front doors and rear-hinged back doors that swing open 90 degrees in opposing directions.
Talking of Hyundai, it unveiled its G90 premium luxury sedan for the new Genesis brand. Don’t snigger, these guys know what they are doing . . . now. Five additional Genesis models are planned for launch within the next five years. Moving upmarket, sorry Hyundai you will be in that rarefied air soon.
The first ever BMW M2 is the entry-level model to the brands renowned M performance line-up. It will feature a newly developed M TwinPower Turbo technology 3-litre, 6-cylinder engine producing 365 hp, capable of soaring to 100 klicks in around 4.2 seconds.
The Lexus LC500 is mighty purty. The premium Japanese brand has teased us with its LF-LC Concepts, now we have a production 2+2 coupe. Its all-aluminum, 32-valve V8’s output is expected to generate 467 hp, using a newly developed 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Acura Precision Concept model made its world debut and these eyes reckons it’s even more purty than the Lexus.