Hits and misses at the Detroit auto show
Like seeing a good movie, half the fun of going to an auto show is talking – about what you loved and hated. Here's my list of highs and lows from the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center on Detroit's riverfront.
There's still time to choose your own hits and misses or get a second look at your dream vehicle. The show runs till 7 p.m. Sunday.
–Ford F-150 and Mustang: Cobo Center could have shifted on its foundation because of the crowds at Ford's stand during the show so far. The aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 may change the way we look at pickups because of its light weight and features like LED lights and a 2.7-liter Ecoboost V-6. Every other automaker that makes a pickup is counting the days till it can buy a fleet of F-150s to take apart and study.
Mustang fans from around the country flocked to the dramatic 2015 Mustang, which gets an independent rear suspension, an impressive turbocharged engine, classy interior materials and driver-friendly controls for the pony car's 50th anniversary.
–BMW 2-series: As the 3-series has grown, it created space for this new rear-wheel-drive coupe to fill the classic niche of the nimble and exciting small BMW. The 2-series looks like the keeper of the flame for BMW's claim to be the ultimate driving machine. It's a bigger, better replacement for the 1-series that's been on sale for the last few years.
–Cadillac ATS coupe: This jaunty two-door should be the first of several body styles based on Cadillac's award-winning ATS small sport sedan. Lighter but more powerful than BMW's new 428i coupe, the turbocharged ATS coupe pushes Cadillac into new territory.
–Honda Fit: Promising plenty of room, good fuel economy, useful technology and value, the new 2015 Fit subcompact hatchback looks like a return to the virtues that have made Honda a favorite with buyers. Built in a new Mexican plant, the new Fit is slightly shorter but has more passenger space than the old model.
–Chrysler 200: The low, sleek 200 is a rolling validation of Chrysler's alliance with Fiat. It boasts a new modern architecture, segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission, Chrysler's terrific Uconnect control system and features like automatic parking, adaptive cruise control and LED lights. It should be Chrysler's best midsize sedan ever.
–Mercedes-Benz C-class: The first Mercedes car built in the U.S., the 2015 C-class' new styling restores an appealing elegance to the Benz mainstay. The awkward clamshell hood is gone, replaced by a sleek body that houses more passenger and luggage room. The new C is bigger and roomier, but as much as 220 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
–GMC Canyon: I'm dying to drive a pickup that fits easily in the parking lot at my local grocery store. Full-size pickups like the F-150 and GMC Sierra are incredibly capable, but they've gotten so big that everyday use is challenging. I'm ready to try a midsize pickup, particularly when a fuel-efficient diesel arrives in 2015. The Chevrolet Colorado shares the Canyon's size and specifications, with different looks.
–Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: Mercedes' AMG performance models usually add an element of excitement and menace to the brand's vehicles, but this compact's lowered ride height and overheated detailing belong with the tweaked Hyundais and Scions at Hot Import Nights. The lurid rear wing is part of an optional body kit that should have been erased before it left the drawing board.
–Ford Edge concept: For this, we waited eight years? The handsome Edge was the first sign of an exciting renaissance in Ford design when it debuted in 2006. This mildly disguised version of the new 2015 Edge expected later this year warms over that look with character lines and LED lights, but fails to inject new vigor into the medium-sized crossover.
–Kia K900: Kia's charge upmarket to challenge rear-drive luxury sedans won't be helped by the K900's doggy name, or the laughable conjoined chrome portholes in its front fenders. These things are almost never functional, but that doesn't mean they have to be cartoonish.
On the other hand, Kia's GT4 Stinger compact concept looked good, with pleasant echoes of the long-lost Saab Aero-X concept cart.
–Beetle Dune concept: VW completely wasted a quirky chapter of its heritage by trying to link this mildly modified Beetle to classic dune buggies based on the original Beetle. An honest open-bodied, stripped-down new Beetle dune buggy would be a show-stopper, but this bland concept missed its wave. It doesn't even have a surfboard, for Herbie's sake!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Mark Phelan is the Detroit Free Press auto critic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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