January 18, 2017

Crossovers, Sedans, Autonomous Driving Rule Detroit Auto Show

Is it cold?  Yep!  Are cars on the mind?  Right again.  Then, it must be time for the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  Media Days started off by naming the 238-miles all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, stylish Chrysler Pacifica and utilitarian Honda Ridgeline as North American Car, Utility, and Truck of the Year.  It only got better from there.

Ford Confirms New Ranger, Bronco, Autonomous Vehicle

The Blue Oval gang came bearing great news.  A new Ranger mid-size pickup will debut for 2019, followed by a new Bronco SUV in 2020 and a “high-volume” hands-free autonomous vehicle in 2021.  All of these vehicles will be built in Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant.

VW I.D. Buzz Concept

An autonomous Micro Bus for the future boasts an all-electric driving range of 270 miles, 369 horsepower, and 0-60 mph in 5s.  It can be charged to 80 percent in 30 minutes.  All-wheel-drive keeps it moving.  When in autonomous mode, the driver’s seat turns 180 degrees to face the rear conversation pit loaded with a tablet display, Beats audio and Bluetooth loudspeakers that can be used outside.  An augmented reality head-up display focuses needed information.

2018 VW Tiguan

An all-new Tiguan bolsters VW’s crossover line-up.  A more chiseled exterior contains a more spacious cabin with sliding second row seat and available third row.  The long wheel base model has 57 percent more cargo space.  A reconfigurable instrument panel, panoramic sunroof, power tailgate, and active crash avoidance systems are all on the menu.

2018 Kia Stinger

A slick rear-drive, fastback sport sedan will join the Korean automaker’s line-up later this year.  Muscular styling harbors either a 255 horsepower turbo-four or 365 horsepower 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 – both with 8-speed automatic transmissions.  Kia targets 0-60 mph in 5.1s and 167 mph top speed.  LED headlamps, Nappa leather, 720-watt Harman/Kardon audio, color head-up display, and an electronically-adjustable suspension impress.

2018 Toyota Camry

America’s best-selling car adopts more aggressive exterior styling that accompanies a driver-focused interior with glassy control console, soft-touch materials, and enhanced passenger space.  A 10-inch color head-up display will be available.  Three powertrains include a 3.5-liter V6, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 8-speed transmission, and Hybrid that promises “Prius-like” driving efficiency.  Collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane keep assist, backup camera, and blind spot monitor keep everybody safe.

2018 Honda Odyssey

The fifth-generation Odyssey keeps its lightning bolt windowline, but adds flowing body sculpting for improved aerodynamics.  Middle row seats slide sideways and rearward for versatility while a large infotainment display and cabin watch system to monitor second- and third-row seats please parents.  Underfoot is a 280 horsepower 3.5-liter V6, 10-speed transmission, and new rear suspension with stabilizer bar to improve handling.

Nissan V-Motion 2.0 Concept

It looks like a Maxima with more extreme sculpting, but also hints at an autonomous future.  Wide suicide doors welcome passengers to a cabin styled with zebra wood and quilted leather, but also testing control strategies with a wide dash screen, console touchpad, and screens for rear passengers.  Bose UltraNearfield™ Speakers enhance the driver’s situational awareness.  Nissan imagines its ProPILOT system to guide the car on highways, but also in urban traffic and through intersections.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse

A smaller and lighter second-generation Traverse debuts with seating for up to eight passengers.  Sleek styling fronts a cabin loaded with standard 4G Wi-Fi, fold flat rear seats, hands-free liftgate, surround vision camera, and rear seat child reminder.  Standard 3.6-liter V6 with 9-speed transmission and available AWD tow up to 5,000 lbs.  A full suite of crash avoidance systems are available.  High Country luxury and RS sport editions add personality.

2018 GMC Terrain

Sleeker and lighter, Terrain is more efficient and better equipped.  Evolving design language features fluid forms, sculpted grille, and floating D-pillar.  Denali editions add LED headlamps and 19-inch wheels.  Aluminum trim, heated steering wheels, Bose audio, and Wi-Fi grace the interior.  An array of crash avoidance systems will be available.  Three engines include 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engines and an all-new 1.6-liter turbo-diesel – all joined to a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Audi Q8 Concept

A large crossover with only four seats, the Q8 concept foretells a production model in 2018.  It creates stretch-out luxury with leather-upholstered everything and climate controls in the armrests.  Audi’s virtual cockpit serves drivers.  Behind the bold grille is a 333 horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-V6, hybrid system, and eight-speed transmission.  Audi claims 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and 600 miles total driving range.

Infiniti QX50 Concept

Nissan’s luxury brand spreads its chiseled design language while preparing for its autonomous future.  Driver-centric and passenger-minded, it’s equipped with a lavishly luxurious interior and automated systems to ease driver inputs through stop-and-go traffic.  An innovative variable compression 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 268 horsepower for an invigorating drive.

2018 Lexus LS500

Detroit hosted the premiere of the Lexus LS over a quarter-century ago and played the role again.  Flowing four-door coupe styling leads to a roomy cabin with 28-way adjustable driver’s seat with massager, reclining rear seats with massagers, and Mark Levinson audio with ceiling speakers.  Rich wood, leather, and the world’s largest color head-up display stun.  Underway, a 415 horsepower twin-turbo V6, connected to a 10-speed transmission, scoots from 0-60 mph in 4.5s.  The car can even recognize pedestrians in its path, brake, and steer around them.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

As the Rogue outsells the Altima, Nissan finds space for a smaller version in the hot compact crossover segment.  Smaller stature makes it more urban friendly while improving handling.  Standard, is a 2.0-liter 141 horsepower four-cylinder engine powering the front or all wheels.  Get it with available 19-inch wheels, heated steering wheel, and forward emergency braking.  Sales begin this spring.

Storm Forward!

E-mail Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube and Twitter:  @AutoCasey.

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