We broadcast the Car Pro Show from Cobo Center in Detroit this last weekend, home to the North American International Auto Show, otherwise known as the Detroit Auto Show, still the premier auto show in America. I got a chance to check out the new entries, and thought it would be appropriate to give you the vehicles to watch in the future. In no particular order, here are the vehicles I think were the next-generation stars of the 2017 NAIAS:
Certainly you can see the difference at a glance, but Toyota didn’t get too radical. There is a delicate balancing act when dealing with the number one selling car in America for over a decade. It needs to be upgraded for sure, but not so much you alienate the most loyal customers. Toyota seems to have found the sweet spot with this car.
Again, you don’t want to screw up the #1 selling overall vehicle in the U.S. Ford completely re-did the F150 just two years ago, choosing to go to an all-aluminum body, which people took to almost immediately. Later this year, we’ll see the updated exterior and interior, with styling cues from the already popular 2017 Ford Super Duty. Engine upgrades and the new 10-speed automatic will keep this truck the sales leader.
In my opinion this was the biggest hit of the show. The hot-looking hatchback has a long nose and short deck lid, and looks nothing like a Kia. It is muscular, looks fast, and has a great stance. You’ll be able to chose from a couple of turbocharged engines mated to 8-speed automatic transmission. This car is sure to make people pay attention to the entire Kia lineup.
Minivans just don’t seem to change very often. It is a small piece of the total auto sales in America, dominated by Honda and Toyota, with Chrysler Pacifica trying to make inroads. The new Odyssey doesn’t look all that different on the outside, but will come with advanced electronics, more horsepower, a 10-speed automatic, and a cool communications system so that the front seat passengers can more easily communicate the people or kids in the back.
Always one of my favorite midsized SUVs, the Traverse has a much bolder look for 2018. It hasn’t changed much since its initial introduction, and while the GMC Acadia was downsized, the Traverse is getting a little bigger. It is pretty clear GM is trying to put space between the Traverse, Acadia, and Enclave instead of having them compete with each other. This new Traverse looks exceptional.
The pony car never changes a lot, just enough that you can tell something is different. Ford has given the front end a more muscular look and has announced it will drop the 6-cylinder engine choice. Most people wanted the big V8 or the 4-cylinder Ecoboost that performs very well. The sports car segment continues to struggle, and it takes aggressive incentives to make them sell, but Ford hopes this refresh will woo away some Camaro and Challenger buyers.
VW ID Buzz
The Microbus is still a concept at this point, but one thing we know is, it looks cool, especially to those of us who grew up with VW buses. VW says they will build it, and when they do, likely three years or so from now, it will be electric, like most Volkswagens will be by then-thanks to the diesel scandal. Certainly it drew a lot of attention in Detroit, in spite of its stupid name.
I’ve been to the Detroit Auto Show many times, and this is not the most memorable crop of new vehicles I have seen, but there is still a lot to look forward to. Automakers are trying to keep cars relevant, while trying to get their piece of the hot SUV market. With that said, it is trucks that will continue to dominate the sales stats year after year.
Photo Credit: Honda, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Kia, NewspressUSA