NewsArts & Culture / January 19, 2018

Crossovers, Trucks, Concepts Dominate Detroit

Auto correspondent Casey Williams shares the highlights of the North American International Auto Show from Detroit's COBO, Detroit North American International Auto Show2018-01-19T00:00:00-05:00

It’s cold, it’s bitter, it’s January, and it must be time for the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  Despite fewer participants, there was plenty of hot sheetmetal to get your heart beating.  From new pickups to visions of an autonomous future, it was all inside COBO Hall.  Here are the highlights:

North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

As is annual tradition, the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year were announced on Day One.  Despite Volvo not having a display at the show, a panel of automotive journalists selected the Honda Accord, Lincoln Navigator, and Volvo XC60 as their choices.

Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Infiniti’s near-future Q-ship adopts new design language with gracefully curved body panels, fastback roofline, LED headlamps, and body color grille that appears as one form from the side.  Enter the minimalist interior through pillarless center opening doors to enjoy floating infotainment screens, birch wood trim, and door pockets lined with a material created by weaving silk threads with paper shreds.  Beneath the hood is the world’s first turbocharged variable compression ratio engine that balances performance and efficiency.  Next-generation ProPILOT allows end-to-end autonomous driving.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Presented as a future flagship luxury crossover for Lexus, the LF-1 could be powered by a fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or pure EV.  By 2025, every Lexus will be electrified.  The vehicle was designed at Toyota’s CALTY studio in California.  Organic shapes buttress sharp creases over 22-inch wheels and a swoopy interior with leather, wood, and copper undertones.  Tiny cameras project rearview images on either side of the instrument binnacle.

2019 Ram 1500

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

A sleeker Ram harbors interiors refined with a 12-inch touchscreen that rivals Volvo.  Tap into 4G Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging, and 900 watts of Harman Kardon audio.  FCA’s eTorque mild-hybrid system with 48-volt battery accompanies 3.6-liter V6, 5.7-liter HEMI V8, and upcoming diesel engines to increase torque by 90 lb.-ft. to 130 lb.-ft.  Cabs are 4 inches longer and allow reclining rear seats.  Safety is enhanced by adaptive cruise, collision mitigation, and trailer sway control systems.  Sweet glory, the Rebel edition returns. 

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Its face isn’t pretty, but the Silverado is dramatically improved.  New exterior styling complements an industrial-looking interior with 4G Wi-Fi and 3 inches additional legroom in Crew Cabs.  Eight trim levels top out with High Country editions.  Check the 7-inch wider bed, stronger steel bed floor, and available fob-controlled power tailgate.  Choose a 5.3-liter V8, 6.2-liter V8, or Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six diesel with a 10-speed transmission.  Production begins in Fort Wayne, Indiana this fall.

2019 Ford Ranger

- Photo: Doug Jaggers

Ford engages the mid-size truck segment with a mini-F-150, available in uplevel Lariat trim and FX Off-Road package with skid plates.  SuperCab and SuperCrew cab configurations add choices.  A terrain management system echoes the Raptor’s; power comes from a 2.3-liter turbo-four connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission.  Automatic emergency braking helps avoid collisions.  Production begins in Michigan this year.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Fifty years after Steve McQueen drove a Highland Green Mustang in the movie “Bullitt”, Ford delivers a sequel.  Clean styling goes without a spoiler, but dresses out with black five-spoke alloys, mesh grille.  Interiors wear all-digital LCD instruments and RECARO black leather seats with green stitching.  Ready for power slides, it’s stoked with a 475 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine that kicks the car to 163 mph.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon

-  AP Photo/Tony Ding

The “G-Wagon” has been around 40 years and this is its first major refresh.  While it looks much the same except for LED headlamps, it’s 2.1 inches longer for increased rear legroom.  The cabin adopts the brand’s twin-screens “Widescreen Cockpit” and delicious diamond-stitched leather.  Underneath, a new independent front suspension, adjustable shock damping, and 416 horsepower 4.0-liter V8 get it done – as do three locking differentials and “G-Mode” that configures the powertrain and chassis for off-roading.  It’s still a beast, but ever so friendlier.

2019 Toyota Avalon

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Toyota takes a cue from the Camry by offering elegant (XLE, Limited) and aggressively styled sport versions (XSE) of the redesigned Avalon.  A 2-inch longer wheelbase enables limo-like rear legroom in a cabin loaded with leather seats, slick center control panel, aluminum, Yamaha wood, and available 1200w JBL audio system.  It’s the first Toyota to feature Amazon Alexa-enabled device connections.  Step into a 301 horsepower V6 or hybrid with 208 horsepower.

2019 VW Jetta

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Trading boring for controversial, VW’s compact sedan embraces coupe-like exterior design with enough ridges and creases to please a tailor.  Upscale interiors are available with VW’s Digital Cockpit flatscreen instrumentation.  Get it with 400w Beats audio, panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise, and 147 horsepower turbo-four with 6-spd manual or 8-spd automatic transmission.  Prices start at $18,545.

Nissan Xmotion Concept

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Pure fantasy, this concept blends American adventure with Japanese style.  The exterior is ruggedly handsome, wearing Nissan’s V-motion grille and U-shaped headlamps, while the interior employs multiple infotainment screens, an arched wood console joined using traditional Japanese techniques, and whimsical floating top levitating above it.  Screens can be controlled via gestures and eye motions.  Xmotion is more about Nissan’s direction than its current location.

2019 Acura RDX

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Honda’s luxury brand re-ups its commitment to compact crossovers with a chiseled grille, LED exterior lighting, panoramic roof, and cabin with premium materials, simplified infotainment screen with touchpad interface, and full suite of crash mitigations systems.  Enthusiasts will enjoy a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive.  A new A-Spec adds to sporting pleasure.

2019 Honda Insight

- Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Honda replaces high-deck styling with more athletic attire, including LED headlamps, which echoes the latest Civic and Accord.  As a Prius-fighter, the car employs a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and lithium-ion batteries to exceed 50-MPG.  An upscale interior houses Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto to enhance infotainment. Safety is covered by adaptive cruise and full suite of crash mitigation systems.  Sales begin early this year.

2019 Kia Forte

-  AP Photo/Tony Ding

Designers sought inspiration from the Stinger sport sedan in updating the Forte as the cowl was moved back for more of a rear-drive look.  More premium interiors are stocked with standard 8” touchscreens, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and available 320w Harman Kardon audio.  Get it with Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance, and Smart Cruise Control.  Under-hood is a 147 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine enabling 35-MPG combined.

2019 Hyundai Veloster

 -Photo: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Hyundai debuted out its second-generation Veloster with a base 147 horsepower four-cylinder engine and 201 horsepower turbo variant.  Mini hot hatch styling evolves with an angrier grille and wider stance.  Veloster will be the first U.S.-bound Hyundai to be tuned by the automaker’s N performance brand.  Sales begin in the second quarter of 2018.

Storm Forward!

Send questions and comments to Casey at; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.



Related News

2019 VW Jetta R-Line Is A Good Car For Spoiled Automotive Journalists
2020 Comes Early At L.A. Auto Show
2019 Subaru Forester Owners Get What They Want