2013 North American International Auto Show
Though the holidays have come and gone, the auto world is always in the giving mood. Case and point, the 2013 North American International Auto Show. So let’s head over to Motor City, where the industry’s latest and greatest are on display, and see what’s down the road for the year ahead.
And that road starts with the all-new seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette. This rockstar took Motown by storm as the Stingray was unveiled to a throng of screaming fans the night before the show officially opened to the press.
C7 styling, while not radical, is strikingly different from all previous Vettes. There’s a nod to classic Ferrari up front, dynamically vented hood, flanks, and fenders; even doglegs added to the iconic Corvette taillights. The new Stingray is in a word, "sharp"!
Power is a new small block push-rod 450-horsepower V8 with both direct injection and variable valve timing. 0 to 60 in under four seconds is claimed. With more aluminum in the frame, and genuine carbon fiber hood and roof, this is the most efficient and light on its feet Corvette in the series 60 year history.
The premium interior is totally driver focused with a high style cockpit shape, high grade materials, and high end electronics. And, finally we can even praise the seats. If anyone ever wanted a Corvette before, the 2014 Stingray will make them want one even more.
Once the doors of Detroit's Cobo Hall officially opened, Chrysler, the only U.S. automaker to gain market share last year, led thing off with an updated Jeep Grand Cherokee. The 2014 Grand Cherokee adds a badly needed fuel saving 8-speed transmission with Eco mode, the return of a turbocharged V6 diesel option, and a host of exterior and interior upgrades.
The Grand Cherokee SRT also gains the 8-speed. But, for hot rod sprints, there’s also a new Launch Control, and this 470-horsepower HEMI V8 Jeep takes a big leap in tow rating from 5,000 to 7,200 pounds.
Also helping Jeep to record sales last year is the compact Compass. The 2014 Compass adds a 6-speed automatic, new facias, and a more quality interior.
While the Corvette was an impossible act to follow, Cadillac did its best with the new ELR plug-in coupe. A luxurious adaptation of the extended range electric technology from the Chevrolet Volt. The ELR’s styling adheres closely to the well-received Converj concept. Complete with the brand’s CUE interface, it will have range specs similar to the Volt when it arrives in limited numbers later this year.
On the truck side of General Motors, it was all about the all-new Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra. Clearly aimed at those who need a big truck for big work, these brutes add hi-tech engines, roomier cabs with more accessible rear doors, and lots of features like clever corner rear bumper steps to make toiling more tolerable.
But, the first name in pickups, Ford, was not going to let GM get too much attention and gave everyone a peak at the 2015 F-150. This chiseled-face Atlas concept includes a host of tricks like grille shutters, a 360 degree camera, and tailgate extender cargo rack. This truck king is ready to defend its crown.
Aimed at the crown of the high roof full-size van business is Ford’s new Transit Commercial Van. Replacing the venerable E-Series, Transit engines include standard and EcoBoost gas V6’s and a 3.2-liter I5 turbo diesel.
Ford's luxury brand Lincoln made another move in its comeback with this MKC concept. Well hidden under its dramatic shape are the guts of Ford's latest compact Escape. But, with its split wing grille, panoramic sunroof, and posh interior treatment, the Lincoln MKC looks ready to take flight in 2014.
While Detroit brands try to own this show, this is the 2013 North American International Auto Show, so virtually every import brand also came with new goodies to show.
Official press days kicked off with the 20th annual North American Car and Truck/Utility of the year awards. 49 journalists cast secret ballots to pick the year's top models. The Truck/Utility honor went to a real truck this year, the Ram 1500 with its high tech V6, 8-speed automatic, and user friendly interior. The 2013 North American Car of the Year award went to the Cadillac ATS; a U.S built luxury sport sedan that’s truly a world class car.
Speaking of cars, they dominated the product news from most import brands, from small to large, and from inexpensive to exorbitant.
Toyota intrigued us with it’s Corolla Furia concept. Toyota says the next gen Corolla due by year end will be more like the dynamic Furia and less like the plain brown wrapper of now. One can only hope.
In the small car ranks Nissan is a growing player, now adding the subcompact Note hatchback to its still fresh Versa lineup. Highlights include 40 mpg fuel economy and an adjustable height cargo floor.
Towards the upper end, Nissan’s Infiniti brand showed the Q50, a revamped G37 and a return to using the ”Q” moniker for its cars. With styling drawn from the Essense concept, the Q50 has the first steer-by-wire system in a production car.
Direct rival Lexus showed its all-new IS series sedan. This luxury compact arrives with the full spindle grill treatment, and a host of hi-tech, both performance and personal.
Always a major newsmaker at Detroit, luxury powerhouse Mercedes-Benz previewed it latest treasure, the all-new CLA sedan. On sale this fall, CLA looks like a compact kin to the stylish CLS. But, as the brand’s first front-wheel drive model here, the CLA is a major change for Mercedes in America. The CLA slightly overshadowed the more important public introduction of the new E-Class. Available in sedan, wagon, coupe, and AMG forms, the new “E” is aggressive outside, but to keep things civilized, also adds a new turbo4 diesel and first time Hybrid.
BMW is adding a new car series, numbered "4", as the compact coupe based on the 3 Series sedan gets its own identity. And, it deserves it. Lower, wider, and sexier than its sedan cousin, this 4 Series concept will evolve into a full lineup of production models. The 4 Series shared with stage with the new M6 Gran Coupe, adding a 560-horsepower twin-turbo V8 to one of the sexiest four-door shapes on the road.
Speaking of sexy shapes and performance, Audi revealed the similarly themed RS7 Sportback. It’s twin-turbo V8 spouts 560 horsepower too plus Quattro all-wheel drive.
Looking as powerful as a locomotive, the rear drive Hyundai Genesis HCD-14 concept is a good indicator of where the brand’s premium vehicle styling is headed. Meanwhile, sister brand Kia targets Avalon and takes a step towards premium with its Cadenza full-size four door.
At the ultra-high end of sedans is sinfully appealing 50th anniversary Maserati Quattroporte.
Or the upper crust can “air” their sins in the new convertible version of the 616-horsepower Bentley Continental GT Speed.
When it comes to new SUVs and crossovers at Detroit, the horsepower prize goes to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. With 550 H-P, Porsche’s renowned handling hardware, and torque vectoring all-wheel drive, it is the ultimate driver’s SUV!
As for driving around town, Honda’s Urban SUV concept got a lot of attention. This great looking subcompact is based on Fit mechanicals and will arrive for real next year.
Honda’s premium Acura brand showed a near-production concept of their next MDX three-row mid-size crossover. Smoother, with a longer wheelbase, upon fall arrival the MDX will for the first time come in front and all-wheel drive.
Nissan has a new mid-size crossover coming too. We’re told this sleek Resonance concept says a lot about the next-gen Murano.
This CrossBlue plug-in hybrid concept is the clearest view yet of Volkswagen’s long rumored three-row, mid-size utility. It will be built alongside the Passat in Tennessee if the public likes it.
Audi will take a more powerful approach to carriage with its first “S” model crossover, the supercharged SQ5.
And, supercharged is certainly a great way to sum up the 2013 North American International Auto Show.