NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW 2017: 10 CARS TO WATCH

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The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan begins January 8th and will run through the 22nd. We will have more news from the show once it is underway, but here are some notable vehicle launches to watch for.

Audi

Press conference, January 9, 2017 at 8 a.m. EST.

Audi understands that sedans have jumped the shark. Its new flagship is the full-sized Q8 crossover.

BMW

Press conference, January 9th, 10:45 a.m. EST.

The all-new 5 Series will debut at the show. BMW has already shown plenty of information on the 2017 5 Series, but it makes its official debut at the show.

The new BMW 5 Series will be a complete line with a plug-in hybrid, a mainstream executive sedan, and a 200 MPH race car in disguise. BMW will also have its new X2 Concept crossover on display.

Chevrolet

Reveal Monday, January 9th.

Chevy will reveal a completely new Traverse compact crossover at the Detroit show. The new Traverse will go head to head with the Toyota Highlander. Chevy says the new Traverse will be capable of carrying eight passengers and will have unique, new headlight technology. Chevy will also have its new 2018 Equinox on display. Perhaps GM’s most important vehicle after the Silverado, the Equinox will have new drivetrain options, including a diesel engine.

Truck fans will be lined up 10 rows deep checking out the new Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-road pickup, which was just revealed at Los Angeles.

Ford

Ford is mum on what it will show off this year. The rumor mill is abuzz with chatter about a new V8 engine for the Mustang, a possible hatchback/Kammback for the same, the return of the Ranger pickup and (be still our beating hearts) a new Bronco (please, please let it look like this one they showed back in 2002). Stay tuned for a last-minute update on this important brand’s display.

Honda

Press Conference January 9th, 12:00 p.m. EST

The big minivan reveal at the Detroit show will be Honda’s new Odyssey. Honda says the new design is lower and wider and that it has a “youthful design.” We believe two out of the three. The big news is a new powertrain. Could that mean an AWD option to match the only minivan on the market that turns all of its wheels under power, the Sienna from Toyota?

Infiniti

Press Conference, Monday, January 9, 2:30 p.m. EST

Infiniti is bringing a new concept of the upcoming QX60. Any Lexus RX 350 owner or fan will recognize the design. This is a smart move by Infiniti. Premium crossovers are outselling premium cars by a wide margin and that gap will only continue. Infiniti promises its new four-cylinder engine will have “the performance of a V6, but with better efficiency.” If only we had trademarked that phrase ten years ago!

KIA

Press Conference, Monday, January 9, 1:30 p.m. EST
(Note: Sunday, January 8 is a pre-Media Day debut)

There are quite a few Kia GT preview photos floating around, but that’s been true since 2011, when Kia first showed a GT concept.

The latest pics delivera few more hints at what’s to come from this rear-drive sedan. Photos suggest the car will be powered by a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 (not unfamiliar to Kia fans), hooked to an automatic transmission, and if the videos are any indication, it could be the first Kia with any real performance potential.

Lexus

Monday, January 9, 8:30 a.m. EST.

The Lexus LS400 was the car that reinvented the full-size luxury sedan market in 1989. Lexus doesn’t take revamps to the LS lightly, so we’re excited to see what’s on the docket in Detroit. The challenge for Lexus is that the only full-size sedan anyone talks about anymore is the Tesla Model S and that car is now over five years old. What will Lexus do to wow its loyal buyers?

Mercedes-Benz

Monday, January 9, 9:45 a.m. EST

Mercedes-Benz is showing an all-new GLA compact crossover SUV at this year’s North American International Auto Show, calling it a “fitness programme for the compact SUV.” You can interpret that as a shot across the bow aimed at the many builders of dull, uninspiring compact crossovers.

Toyota

January 9th, 12:30 p.m. EST.

Toyota will unveil its 2018 Camry. Sales of the current model are still strong, and the Camry still outsells some automakers’ entire fleets, but to keep pace with the Accord and the rest of the excellent pack of sedans in the midsize segment the Camry needs to step it up. Will the Camry get the 2.0-liter turbo from the Lexus NX and IS line? Will the base trims switch to a CVT transmission? Will the Camry still be painted in fan-favorite beige, given Akio Toyoda’s mandate to make the cars more fun?  We will soon know.

If you can’t make the show in person, check out Toyota’s livestream here.

Volkswagen

Monday, January 9th at 10:15 a.m. EST.

VW will show off its most important U.S. vehicle at the Detroit show, its compact Tiguan crossover. No other vehicle has as much responsibility for VW’s sales turnaround as the new Tiguan. Look for it to be bigger, boxier, and more like the Passat in terms of standard content than the outgoing “puffy Golf” it replaces. Our Nicole Wakelin said the outgoing Tiguan looked like a “Hot little hatchback.” The company that brought you the almost unpronounceable Tiguan and Touareg now invite you to try Moia.

VW’s is getting into the ride-sharing business a bit late, but look for its latest I.D. family concept to be tied to ride sharing and autonomous drive at the VW area. Volkswagen showed the I.D. at the Paris Auto Show last year.

Show Information

You can get more information on the North American International Auto Show in Detroit at its website. The full show schedule is right here.

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John Goreham

John Goreham