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2017 Detroit Auto Show

14th January 2017

As I sat down to write my usual report for the Detroit Auto Show, I realized that I wouldn’t have a lot to say this year. Nothing really stands out. Sure, there are many nice cars this year, including some world premieres. The overall desirability of cars, trucks, and utilities has never been better. Better fuel economy, better looking, better technology (some of which won’t kill you). The downside of all this excellence is that it’s tougher to stand out. And nothing did.

What really didn’t help this year was the absence of several of the high-end sports and luxury makers. Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Tesla, McLaren, Land Rover, and Jaguar were all MIA.

Here a brief rundown of some of the notable cars, in no particular order:

  • Roush P-51 Mustang. Rousch slaps a supercharger onto the Ford 5.0 V8, giving it 727 horsepower! 🙂
  • Ford GT: not new, but if you can walk by the GT on the Ford stand without drooling all over yourself, you need to check your pulse.
  • 2018 GMC Terrain: all-new; smaller, loses 400 pounds, gets a more refined look, maybe too refined. Powertrain lineup is all-new: 1.5L or 2.0L turbo 4 gas or 1.6L turbo Diesel.
  • VW Atlas: new SUV designed especially for the US market. And they did such a great job, the result of their efforts looks amazingly like the quintessential American SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. No kidding – if you squint, you can barely tell the difference.
  • Toyota Prius Prime: this is the 2nd generation plug-in Prius, now with a new name. It’s just as…quirkey…as the “regular” Prius. Lots of people buy the Prius, but I think it is (and always has been) a weird-looking car that drives like a tin can on wheels. Sorry, but it’s true.
  • Kia Stinger: brand new entry 4-door hatchback RWD/AWD optional. 2.0L turbo (255 hp / 260 torque) or 3.3L twin-turbo V6 (365/376).
  • VW ID Buzz: yet another in a long line of micro bus concepts from our Diesel-impaired friends. VW’s electric offensive is clearly partly an attempt to deflect the stare of government regulators and partly a peace offering to environmentalists they’ve offended with Diesel emissions trouble.
  • 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA: they said it’s new, but who can tell?
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe moves to the new platform already adopted by the sedan
  • 2018 F-150 – freshened (very slightly), with new engines, including a Diesel for the first time
  • 2018 Chevy Traverse looks very much like a larger scale model of the recently-introduced new Equinox
  • Audi Q8 Concept – a more emotional, coupe-like version of the Q7. Plug-in hybrid. Was introduced during the preview, but was gone on the first public day of the show.
  • Nissan Rogue Sport – a new entry for Nissan in the small SUV segment. It’s not a new car, though; it’s already sold in other markets as Qashqai
  • 2018 Honda Odyssey: honestly, it’s a minivan. Ho-hum. It’s good-looking as minvans go, and Honda has finally integrated the sliding door track into the gap between the body and the rear window. Chrysler did this a million years ago, and Ford did it more than a decade ago.
  • 2018 Toyota Camry: some will tell you that it’s an exciting new aggressive design. Maybe for a Camry. I’ll tell you it’s mildly more expressive, but stakes no new ground.
  • Nissan Vmotion 2.0 concept: winner of the Eyes on Design best concept car. It’s very good looking.
  • 2018 Lexus LS 500: newest version of the Lexus that started the brand back at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show. Has a twin-turbo V6, 415 horsepower and 442 pound feet of torque, 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds, 10-speed auto tranny.
  • Volvo V90: this is an S90 wagon, and brings to 3 models that have Volvo’s new design language, including and especially the gorgeous interior.
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio: an all-new utility on the same platform as the recently introduced Giulia (still can’t buy it, though). Like the Giulia, Stelvio will be available with either a 2.0L I4 with 280hp & 306 torque on the base model. Upgrade to the Quadrifoglio and you get a 2.9L twin turbo with 505hp & 443 torque. Score!
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