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    Report Card: 2014 Detroit Auto Show


    • Which Vehicles Made The Grade At The North American International Auto Show In Detroit?

    The theme of this year's Detroit Auto Show was all about performance. A number of the showings from BMW to Subaru were high performance models of varying degrees. But there were some other surprises to make their way into the show. Which ones made the honor roll and which ones need to see me after the show? Its time for a Cheers & Gears' Report Card.

    Acura TLX Concept: B-

    This was a model I was excited for because I wanted to see how Acura would combine the TL and TSX. The results as shown in this thinly-veiled concept have me worried. Most of this comes down to design as it reminds of the ILX in a bigger package. Not sure if that what's Acura had in mind with design. On the plus side, two new engines and the company learning that transmissions came come with more than six gears shows that Acura is heading on the right track.

    Audi Allroad Shooting Brake: C

    Meh. Should be said this could be a preview for what the next TT could look like.

    2015 Audi Q3: B+

    Finally! The Q3 is coming to the U.S. very soon. I'll admit that out of all the compact luxury crossovers, this is the one that I have been looking the most forward to. Hopefully the RS Q3 will make the journey to the U.S. as well.

    2015 BMW M3/M4: B+

    I'm not quite sold on BMW making the M series of vehicles more the 'look at me!' personality. But I do have to say I like what the company did with going back to their roots in a way with the inline-six and weight-loss measures. Wonder what Mercedes and for that matter Cadillac have up their sleeves?

    2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe: B

    Not quite as polarizing as the CTS coupe, which is a good and bad thing if you ask me. Good on Cadillac having the 2.0T and 3.6L as the engines. Not so good is the new emblem. It looks awful.

    2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: A+

    Lets see, a supercharged V8 with "at least" 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. Check.

    A choice between a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Check.

    Three different packages to keep the Z06 planted to the ground. Check.

    Tadge Juechter saying "“if you could afford the old Z06, you’ll be able to afford the new Z06.” Check.

    2015 Chrysler 200: A+

    Yes, the design of the 200 is mashup of about 15 different vehicles. But you have to admit that the new 200 is far beyond the current 200 and the vehicle that we dare not speak its name of. Throw in the Alfa-derived platform, unique all-wheel drive system, and the availability of the 3.6L V6, Chrysler could have a winner here.

    2015 Ford F-150: See Me After The Show

    Ford, I like that you're taking a big risk with the F-150 by using aluminum. I also like that you announced a smaller EcoBoost engine to join alongside the 3.5 EcoBoost. But the design of it is well... ugly. I'm not sure if having the new F-150 look like a Tonka truck that has take a lot of steroids is what you're trying to go after here.

    2015 GMC Canyon: A-

    Finally, we get to see GMC midsize truck. I think it looks a little bit better than the Chevrolet Colorado. My only concern is, will GM's new midsize trucks jumpstart the market again?

    2015 Honda Fit: B

    While not the most exciting subcompact to look at, Honda focused on improving some of the key things that make the Fit a compelling choice in the class. Cannot wait to get my hands on one.

    2015 Hyundai Genesis: C+

    One of the comments really summed up my thoughts on the new Genesis: "Nice car, but leaves me with an empty expectation that there should be something more. Not sure what, but it is missing something."

    Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept: Incomplete

    It might pack 500 to 600 horsepower under the hood. It might have some clever changes. It could go into production within the next few years. But other than that, the Eau Rouge is just a fancy body kit and some nice interior pieces. Hence why it doesn't get a grade.

    Kia GT4 Stinger Concept: A+

    Best Concept at Detroit Auto Show? Yes. Possibly could see something like this going into production in the future.

    2015 Lexus RC-F: A-

    Still quite not sold on the styling of the high-performance RC coupe. However with the 5.0L V8 engine making more than 450 horsepower does draw me back in. Also, I want to shake the hand of person who decided to swap the joystick controller to a touchpad for the infotainment system.

    2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: A-

    I can't believe that I'm writing this, but the C-Class has to be my dark horse of the show. I wasn't expecting much out of Mercedes' other compact sedan, but the introduction of the CLA has given the luxury maker some breathing room to do some interesting things. Only concern: How much is it going to cost?

    2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: B+

    Why would anyone buy this? Why wouldn't anyone buy this? Very excited for this model since it will be the closest we get the A45 AMG for awhile (maybe ever).

    Nissan Sport Sedan Concept: A

    If this is what Nissan has in mind for the next Maxima, sign me up. Also Nissan, would you please consider all-wheel drive if you're planning to have that 300 horsepower or so.

    2015 Porsche 911 Targa: C-

    Another 911 model, this time with a convertible top that isn't a top! Yeah... Moving on.

    2015 Subaru WRX STI: B-

    Has the same problem as the standard WRX: design isn't as aggressive as the concept shown at New York last year. Hope the drivetrain can help this one out.

    Toyota FT-1 Concept: A+

    Still cannot believe this is a Toyota at all. Maybe the beige-ness is beginning to slowly wear away from the brand. Also big props to Toyota's CALTY Design center in California for getting the chance to do this concept. Well done.

    Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept: D

    More Dune, Less Beetle Volkswagen.

    Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept: C

    This would have received a lower grade were it not for the clever tricks and technologies Volkswagen used in this concept. I wouldn't be surprised if future Volkswagen vehicles have some these features and that the BlueMotion nameplate comes to North America.

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    I agree with most of what you post here except the following:

    Subaru WRX STI should be no higher than a D if that. The car looks too much like a Camry and no changes to the power train. This car should be 400HP and far more radical than it is.

    Porsche is over rated, should be a D, nothing new here just warmed over left overs.

    VW Beetle, I think is a F as they failed to deliver a dune buggy.

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    I love the new C-class, the S-class looks and powertrains are great. The only thing I don't like is the nav screen that sticks up form the dash.

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    I think the Dune concept is promising. If they build it with AWD, it would be killer. I like the LEDs that suggest tow hooks. The new F-150 looks great, IMO. You can bet it will continue Ford's light truck dominance (literally, with all that aluminum.) As far as the Toyota WTF-1 goes, hey, the Ambiguously Gay Duo called, they want their car back. The Cadillac ATS coupe is what a lot of us have been hoping for. It is Cadillac's redemption in our eyes, after the hideous, fat-assed CTS coupe. I do agree that the Honda Fit is much improved, and I hope the 6 speed manual makes it a more relaxed highway cruiser, while allowing it to give better fuel mileage relative to others in its class. The new Fit interior is far above the current car.

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      Oh Big Beautiful Concept, You
       
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      The Swedish do Everything Better
       
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      With that said, this show wasn't its best year, nor was it the worst. A bit lacking in excitement, this years show didn't blow me away with exotic reveals or highly anticipated debuts. It was merely an adequate showing in Cobo. Does it matter? Of course it does. Despite everything, this was still an important show that somehow managed to feel more hectic than usual. It almost seemed as if attendance at media days greatly increased over my last stint here, having to fight more than usual for a good seat at each press conference. All in all, I think I may have to go back to press days for more touchy-feely goodness. It's just too bad I won't be able to enjoy Volvo's lounge... That was some damn good cappuccino.
       

    • By Cory Wolfe
      By Cory Wolfe
       
      As another year falls into the grasps of history, a new one lands filled with drinks, dreams, and the Detroit auto show. With all its shiny cars, crazy automotive espionage, and endless cappuccino, Cobo might just be my yearly heaven. Or is it my own personal hell, taunting me with sore feet, pushy journalists, and a severe lack of sleep? This year may just pin it towards the latter... This show sure can make someone relatively young feel frighteningly old rather quickly. Then again, a smart and well-prepared individual likely wouldn't have this problem, nor would that individual attempt to lug a 20-pound camera bag on his back for two days straight. Yeah, what the hell was I thinking when I bought that? I need a bag with wheels, not one that will put me in a chair with wheels. Enough about my poor planning, though. Let's get on with all the pretentious nitpicks and juicy behind-the-scenes commentary through the eyes of one exhausted photographer.
       
      Surprise! There's No Surprise
       
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      Oh Big Beautiful Concept, You
       
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      Another concept that I was pretty impressed with was the Acura Precision concept, albeit with another terrible name. This one is bit different than the Buick in that you have to see it in person. No, really, you do. Pictures do not do this car any justice, instead making it look overly angular and uninspired. Once you're up close and see how the light hits each panel as the car rotates on the turntable, its something to appreciate. Like the Buick, this is a vehicle that could help Acura become more than just the tarted-up Honda it's always been. There's an identity here to be established, and thankfully, its shield-less. With that said, this one isn't likely to be sitting in your driveway with a huge bow on it for Christmas. In fact, it never will be. What may actually come from this, however, is a new design theme for Acura; a design full of diamonds. Let's hope the diamonds stay with the concept while the rest reinvigorates the brand's appeal.
       
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      Are We Sharing or Are We Copying?
       
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      Corporate Jealousy and Espionage
       
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      The Swedish do Everything Better
       
      As a tired, hungry, and dehydrated photographer, sometimes you have to find time to stop and replenish. That actually doesn't happen, the stopping part that is. In this context it means switching from running to stationary not to relax, but to import photos and send them off to some online editor in a timely manner. Generally, this means working while waiting for the next press conference to begin. You can however, get lucky and sit down in the one of the various automakers' lounges. Here, you may do your work in a nice comfy seat with some delightful cappuccino. After running around I finally found my favorite spot to be: The Volvo Lounge. Staffed with genuine Swedes (one was pretty cute, too, not going to lie), they put the most care into making their drinks. Other lounges simply make a cappuccino while they lovingly crafted a cappuccino. Absolutely wonderful, I'm going to miss the Volvo Lounge.
       
      Final Notes of the Quick Variety
       
      After the photos I needed were taken, edited, and uploaded off to Romania, I finally had some free time to roam the show floor. This is the best part of media days at an auto show. Unrestricted access to nearly every car on the floor is a wonderful thing. There's no one to stop you from getting into any car you wish, except that damned Alfa Romeo Giulia; the Italians have no trouble denying you. I took this opportunity to sit in a few new releases as well as a few older releases I've been eager to fondle with the utmost disrespect. Readers beware: I suspect I may ruffle a few feathers with some of the following comments.
      Lincoln Continental: This car surprised me. I saw the spy photos, the press shots, etc. and I expected it to be a disappointment. In person, it has a certain presence, an air of prestige in which Lincoln has been lacking in recent years. This continues insides where it truly exudes luxury. They really nailed the look and feel of the materials, at least in the pre-production cars on display. Ford Fusion: As a vehicle that was already in my personal top 3 of its respective segment, I wasn't expecting anything crazy. In fact, I wasn't sure how I felt about the refresh at first. I don't know what I was worried about. The updates look good, but that's not the story here. Neither is the addition the delicious Sport model. I sat in the the new Premium trim and was blown away by how good it is. Chevrolet Malibu: Here is where I should say about how much of an improvement this model is over its predecessor. I'm not. Don't get me wrong, it's better, but its entirely incremental. The biggest departure is its looks and it does, in fact, look fine; it's certainly not offensive at all to my eyes. My gripe lies with the interior and what looks and feels like a downgrade in materials. Maybe I shouldn't have sat in the Fusion first, as that car makes this one feel positively cheap. Volkswagen Golf R: "Ah ha," you're probably thinking, "Here comes that bias!" Unfortunately for you, you will see no such thing. While I have briefly sat in a MK7 GTI before, it was at another auto show and I really didn't have much time with it; I didn't this time either. I did, however, have enough time to come away rather disappointed. As a current MK6 GTI owner, I really noticed a difference in quality between the two. It's enough of a downgrade to question whether I'd really want to every upgrade. Mazda MX-5 Miata: Oh sweet Jesus, if there is one car I would have liked to bring home with me, its this one. Such a gorgeous little car. It's as close to a perfect package as you can get and it fits me like a glove. Great touch points, slick shifter, comfortable seats, and practical enough considering its a roadster. If I had to nitpick, it would be over the rather useless cup holders and their nearly impossible to comfortably use position. Chevrolet Bolt: Strangely enough, I really like this little electric car. It's the first one of its kind that could actually be used as your only vehicle without having to shell out an arm, leg, and perhaps a testicle or two. The expected performance is even appealing and perfectly acceptable for its price. I could see myself owning a Bolt in the not too distant future. Am I crazy? I hope not. Genesis G90: This car gave me an experience opposite to that of the Continental; I expected it to be legitimately surprising. In all honesty, it wasn't. Inside and out, this car failed to feel special. It has the content and everything falls in line within the segment, but it's value price betrays it. It looks and feels a step below its competitors, even if its just slightly so. Perhaps that's something to be proud of. Personally, I'd hand over the extra cash for the real thing, one with a soul.  
      With that said, this show wasn't its best year, nor was it the worst. A bit lacking in excitement, this years show didn't blow me away with exotic reveals or highly anticipated debuts. It was merely an adequate showing in Cobo. Does it matter? Of course it does. Despite everything, this was still an important show that somehow managed to feel more hectic than usual. It almost seemed as if attendance at media days greatly increased over my last stint here, having to fight more than usual for a good seat at each press conference. All in all, I think I may have to go back to press days for more touchy-feely goodness. It's just too bad I won't be able to enjoy Volvo's lounge... That was some damn good cappuccino.
       

      Album: Cory's Cobo Craziness 2016
      23 images 0 comments


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    • By William Maley
      This year's Detroit Auto Show was somewhat down in terms of excitement. But considering last year's show was a 'once in a blue moon' event with a number of highly awaited vehicles and some surprises, 2016 was going to be somewhat a disappointment. Still, a number of automakers were willing to give it a shot and show off new models and concepts that would amaze all.
       
      It is time to see who is on the honor roll and who be heading to detention after the show.
       
      Acura Precision Concept: C
      Something I never thought I would say: I miss the shield grille. Also, were Acura's designers play too much F-Zero on the Super Nintendo.
       
      2017 Audi A4/A4 Allroad: C+/B+
      At first, I couldn't find the A4 sedan at Audi's booth. But after a moment and looking on the back on a number of their vehicles, I was able to find it. I never thought it was possible to self-plagiarize your design.
       
      At least, the A4 Allroad looks somewhat different than the current model. Also, the interior in both models is really sharp.
       
      Audi h-tron Concept: B+
      Finally, something that isn't an electric concept! Seriously, this is one really sharp looking concept.
       
      2016 BMW M2: A-
      I'll admit I wasn't interested in the M2 when I first wrote about back in October. But seeing it in person, I was intrigued. 0-60 times under 4.5 seconds from a revised turbo 3.0L inline-six and suspension tuning from M? This is something I want to drive.
       
      2016 BMW X4 M40i: C-
      So a 355 horsepower four-door crossover coupe thing with M bits for the suspension... WHY!? *Begins pulling hair out*
       
      Buick Avista Concept: A+
      And now for something surprising: Damn, that's a fine looking Buick. It helps there is a twin-turbo V6 and what many believe to be Alpha platform sitting underneath. Many want Buick to put this into production. But if past experience tells us anything, we could be seeing elements of Avista in a production model.
       
      2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: A
      Mark Reuss said not bringing the first-generation Cruze was a mistake. GM hopes to fix this with the new Cruze Hatchback. After seeing it in person, I think Chevrolet has a real chance.
       
      2017 Chrysler Pacifica: A
      This could challenge the Kia Sedona for sexiest minivan on sale (yes, I know that is a contradiction). Also, the plug-in hybrid is a unique selling point. But why Pacifica? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH TOWN & COUNTRY?!
       
      2017 Ford Fusion: B-
      Postive: Refresh makes it look less like an Aston Martin
      Negative: Who wants to pay close to $40,000 for a Fusion?! (i.e. Platinum)
       
      2017 Ford Raptor SuperCrew: Incomplete
      Whoopie, there is a supercrew version of the Raptor... Ford, just go back to your room and think about why this warranted a show debut. Also, planning to release power figures soon?
       
      2017 Genesis G90: B+
      Somehow the new Equus, wait I mean G90 looks more frumpy than the model it replaces. The new engines and seemingly never-ending list of standard equipment make up for it.
       
      2017 GMC Acadia: A-
      How to drop 700 lbs out of a crossover? Make it smaller. With the Acadia, there is beginning to be some clear differentiation starting to appear in GM's large crossovers.
       
      2017 Honda Ridgeline: C+
      Now more truck like including a space between the cab and bed! Honda, you're not fooling anyone. At least, the in-truck bed is still there.
       
      2017 Infiniti Q60: A
      Keeps much of the design from the concept and brings some much needed new engines to Infiniti. Horray. Also Infiniti's direct steer system is optional which should quiet those folks who believe it is the worst thing to happen to cars (about five or six at last check).
       
      Kia Telluride Concept: Incomplete
      Uhh, hmm. I don't have any words for this concept.
       
      2017 Lincoln Continental: B-
      To quote my Instagram: "Lincoln... I really want to like you, but you are making it so hard to do so." Something on the design just seems off.
       
      2017 Lexus LC 500: A-
      The fact that Lexus made the LF-LC into a production model is shocking enough! Considering they didn't water it down is more shocking. But Lexus, we need to talk about building a V8 that is capable of 500-plus horsepower for this new coupe.
       
      2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: B+
      Mercedes-Benz has taken the Audi ideals when designing their vehicles; using the enlarge and reduce function on the copy machine. But I like what Mercedes is doing with their design on their current sedan lineup. The sharpness of the interior is an added plus.
       
      Nissan Titan Warrior Concept: B+
      Glad to see someone else take Ford on with a Raptor even if it's a concept. Quick Aside: Can someone build a muscle truck again?!
       
      Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept: C
      Whose bright idea at Volkswagen was; let's take the concept we showed at Frankfurt, add some offroad bits, and call it the GTE Active? Great Idea, right? No.
       
      2017 Volvo S90: A+
      Woah. Inside and out, the new S90 is a stunner. It also helps that S90 underneath is the same as the North American Truck of the Year - the XC90.


      Click here to view the article
    • By William Maley
      This year's Detroit Auto Show was somewhat down in terms of excitement. But considering last year's show was a 'once in a blue moon' event with a number of highly awaited vehicles and some surprises, 2016 was going to be somewhat a disappointment. Still, a number of automakers were willing to give it a shot and show off new models and concepts that would amaze all.
       
      It is time to see who is on the honor roll and who be heading to detention after the show.
       
      Acura Precision Concept: C
      Something I never thought I would say: I miss the shield grille. Also, were Acura's designers play too much F-Zero on the Super Nintendo.
       
      2017 Audi A4/A4 Allroad: C+/B+
      At first, I couldn't find the A4 sedan at Audi's booth. But after a moment and looking on the back on a number of their vehicles, I was able to find it. I never thought it was possible to self-plagiarize your design.
       
      At least, the A4 Allroad looks somewhat different than the current model. Also, the interior in both models is really sharp.
       
      Audi h-tron Concept: B+
      Finally, something that isn't an electric concept! Seriously, this is one really sharp looking concept.
       
      2016 BMW M2: A-
      I'll admit I wasn't interested in the M2 when I first wrote about back in October. But seeing it in person, I was intrigued. 0-60 times under 4.5 seconds from a revised turbo 3.0L inline-six and suspension tuning from M? This is something I want to drive.
       
      2016 BMW X4 M40i: C-
      So a 355 horsepower four-door crossover coupe thing with M bits for the suspension... WHY!? *Begins pulling hair out*
       
      Buick Avista Concept: A+
      And now for something surprising: Damn, that's a fine looking Buick. It helps there is a twin-turbo V6 and what many believe to be Alpha platform sitting underneath. Many want Buick to put this into production. But if past experience tells us anything, we could be seeing elements of Avista in a production model.
       
      2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback: A
      Mark Reuss said not bringing the first-generation Cruze was a mistake. GM hopes to fix this with the new Cruze Hatchback. After seeing it in person, I think Chevrolet has a real chance.
       
      2017 Chrysler Pacifica: A
      This could challenge the Kia Sedona for sexiest minivan on sale (yes, I know that is a contradiction). Also, the plug-in hybrid is a unique selling point. But why Pacifica? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH TOWN & COUNTRY?!
       
      2017 Ford Fusion: B-
      Postive: Refresh makes it look less like an Aston Martin
      Negative: Who wants to pay close to $40,000 for a Fusion?! (i.e. Platinum)
       
      2017 Ford Raptor SuperCrew: Incomplete
      Whoopie, there is a supercrew version of the Raptor... Ford, just go back to your room and think about why this warranted a show debut. Also, planning to release power figures soon?
       
      2017 Genesis G90: B+
      Somehow the new Equus, wait I mean G90 looks more frumpy than the model it replaces. The new engines and seemingly never-ending list of standard equipment make up for it.
       
      2017 GMC Acadia: A-
      How to drop 700 lbs out of a crossover? Make it smaller. With the Acadia, there is beginning to be some clear differentiation starting to appear in GM's large crossovers.
       
      2017 Honda Ridgeline: C+
      Now more truck like including a space between the cab and bed! Honda, you're not fooling anyone. At least, the in-truck bed is still there.
       
      2017 Infiniti Q60: A
      Keeps much of the design from the concept and brings some much needed new engines to Infiniti. Horray. Also Infiniti's direct steer system is optional which should quiet those folks who believe it is the worst thing to happen to cars (about five or six at last check).
       
      Kia Telluride Concept: Incomplete
      Uhh, hmm. I don't have any words for this concept.
       
      2017 Lincoln Continental: B-
      To quote my Instagram: "Lincoln... I really want to like you, but you are making it so hard to do so." Something on the design just seems off.
       
      2017 Lexus LC 500: A-
      The fact that Lexus made the LF-LC into a production model is shocking enough! Considering they didn't water it down is more shocking. But Lexus, we need to talk about building a V8 that is capable of 500-plus horsepower for this new coupe.
       
      2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: B+
      Mercedes-Benz has taken the Audi ideals when designing their vehicles; using the enlarge and reduce function on the copy machine. But I like what Mercedes is doing with their design on their current sedan lineup. The sharpness of the interior is an added plus.
       
      Nissan Titan Warrior Concept: B+
      Glad to see someone else take Ford on with a Raptor even if it's a concept. Quick Aside: Can someone build a muscle truck again?!
       
      Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept: C
      Whose bright idea at Volkswagen was; let's take the concept we showed at Frankfurt, add some offroad bits, and call it the GTE Active? Great Idea, right? No.
       
      2017 Volvo S90: A+
      Woah. Inside and out, the new S90 is a stunner. It also helps that S90 underneath is the same as the North American Truck of the Year - the XC90.
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