Ten things that positively and negatively stood out at this year's show.
The 2017 North American International Auto Show has come and gone. And rather than just reflect on what was good, like we usually do, we're taking a broader look at the show as a whole. Here, you'll find our picks for the best and worst parts of this year's Detroit Auto Show.
In case you missed any of it, be sure to check out our Detroit Auto Show page for the full coverage.
Infiniti QX50 Concept
Infiniti’s current design language looks great on this compact crossover shape, and the luscious shade of silvery-gray-brown was a treat to photograph. This concept gets us excited about the QX50 again, especially considering the production version will use a new, variable-compression, turbocharged engine. And with a ton of semi-autonomous technology and a premium interior, the QX50 ought to show up ready to do proper battle with the likes of the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC.
2018 Kia Stinger
People either loved or hated this one (Jeff and Chris, you guys are still wrong). But the majority of our team went gaga over Kia’s gorgeous new Stinger (yes, that's its production name) hatchback. Think of it as the poor man’s Audi S7, but with tons of style and presence all its own. Plus, with rear-wheel drive and a biturbo V6 under the hood, this thing ought to be a real treat to drive. We’re licking our chops in anticipation.
2018 Lexus LS
We love the stately, understated approach to Lexus’ new LS. It wears the company’s design language like a finely tailored suit, with a mix of sharp and flowing surfaces that come together in an attractive, cohesive package. The new LS shares its platform with the LC coupe, and when it launches, will come packed with a brand-new biturbo V6 engine, producing 415 horsepower. We can’t wait to sink into this thing’s cushy-comfy seats later this year.
Like we really have to explain this choice. Michelin brought the Monaco and London cars to the show because of the tire company’s partnership with Singer, and it’s the first time these two vehicles have been displayed publicly. Singer Vehicle Design’s love, craftsmanship, and attention to detail knows no bounds, and every single inch of these 911s is perfectly recreated, with modern amenities thrown in. Plus, they’re gorgeous. Gorgeous. Porsche might not have a stand at the Detroit show this year, but thankfully, there’s still some super-hot 911 action going on inside Cobo.
Audi Q8 E-Tron Concept
Say what you will about awkward crossover-coupes like the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE, Audi’s take on the segment sure has some personality. This Q8 E-Tron concept previews a new production model (that we’ve already seen testing), and the Detroit showcar impressed us with its plug-in hybrid drivetrain, aggressive-yet-refined style, and great shade of blue paint. Oh, and super cool feature: there aren’t any door handles. Instead, you push the light-up Audi logo on the B-pillar. Not for production, of course, but neat nonetheless.
American automakers conspicuously quiet
Despite being held in Detroit – the Motor City – American automakers didn’t have a lot to show this year. Ford showed the refreshed F-150, but used its press conference mainly to confirm upcoming models and force the media to listen to a panel discussion about mobility. Fiat-Chrysler showed its semi-autonomous, all-electric Portal concept the week before, at CES. Buick, Cadillac, and Lincoln all had nothing new to share. Weak sauce. This is Detroit, guys. If anyone’s supposed to bring their A-game, it’s the Americans.
2018 Chevy Traverse
This thing is huge. Chevy’s new Traverse crossover can no longer be called midsize – in a number of ways, it’s larger and more spacious than its big brother, the Tahoe. Even so, nothing about the Traverse screams “new” to us. The powertrains, onboard technology, and interior are just familiar – this car is likely going to feel old only a year or two after its launch.
Where were the exotics?
Detroit isn’t a hugely important market for supercar and ultra-premium automakers, and each year, more and more seem to drop out of the Detroit Auto Show. Porsche told us all about the new 911 GTS models over the weekend, but was a no-show at Cobo. Bentley didn’t have a stand, but showed us the new Continental Supersports at an offsite event in Detroit, the day before the show. Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren… they’re all absent. As someone who used to love going to the Detroit show as a kid to see all the exotic supercars, I’d be disappointed if I tried to do that now.
2018 GMC Terrain
Its gear shifter alone is enough to cement the Terrain’s place as a miss in our books. But beyond that, GMC’s updated small crossover dulled us with its frumpy looks, including a weird floating roofline that looks like it’ll ruin visibility (there are ways to do this right, and then there’s this method). We like the addition of turbocharged engines, not to mention a diesel, but it’s not enough to save the whole Terrain package.
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept
Shit or get off the pot, Volkswagen. A lot of us liked the looks of this I.D. Buzz – a conceptual, electrified, futuristic take on the iconic Microbus. But we’ve seen this before. Twice. First came the Bulli, and then the Budd-e. We get it, VW, you guys like the Bus. But until you actually build a production one again, we’re getting tired of the seeing the same idea rehashed every year.
Photos: Chris Amos / Steven Ewing / Jake Holmes / Motor1.com