Once the countdown to the New Year is over, a countdown of another sort begins almost immediately: to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This year, the Motor City’s annual event showcased lots of sporty goodness as well as practical and efficient vehicles from the likes of Lexus, Buick, Honda and more. Let’s have a look at a few standouts from the show.
ACURA PRECISION CONCEPT
Although there’s little chance Acura’s latest concept debut will actually be made, that doesn’t detract from its significance. Known as a “vision car,” the Precision signals a future design and engineering direction for the automaker. There is a clear styling influence carried over from the NSX supercar launching at the same show a year ago. The Precision Concept is very low, very wide and boasts a stretched out wheelbase and huge wheels. The signature Jewel Eye headlights found on the TLX and others have been reimagined resulting in a constellation pattern LED configuration.
Making a stop at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas before arriving in Detroit, the Chevrolet Bolt is GM’s latest stab at the electric vehicle. The two biggest draws of this particular EV are the relatively low price point and the range, said to be in the neighbourhood of 320 kilometres on a single charge. The battery is nestled underneath the floor, opening up the cabin space so five adults can sit comfortably. The Bolt is no slouch, either, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than seven seconds.
If it’s one thing we know on this side of the globe, it’s trucks. That’s why Honda’s new 2017 Ridgeline mid-size pickup truck was designed by Honda R&D Americas and is being built at their manufacturing plant in Alabama. The bed is 5.4 inches wider and 4 inches longer than the outgoing pickup, and includes an In-Bed Trunk allowing for valuables to be stored securely without taking up extra space. The Ridgeline runs off a 3.5 L VTEC V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and both front-wheel and all-wheel drive will be available.
BUICK AVISTA CONCEPT
Ok, so the Buick Avista Concept car might be a Chevrolet Camaro wearing a clever disguise. But is there really anything wrong with that? Built on the same platform, underneath this two-plus-two, rear-wheel drive coupe’s curvy exterior lays a twin-turbocharged V6 motor pumping out 400 horsepower. At first glance, most people probably even wouldn’t be able to identify the Avista as a Buick. But there are clues, like the newly revised coloured Tri-Shield emblem in the middle of the big mouth mesh grille.
LEXUS LC 500
The global debut of the LC 500 luxury coupe at NAIAS is a “dawn of a new era,” according to Lexus. This rear-wheel drive flagship is clearly inspired by the LF-LC Concept unveiled in 2012, and is a two-plus-two seater housing a 5.0-litre V8 engine with 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque under the hood, similar to the one found in both the RC F and GS F. Power is transferred using a unique 10-speed automatic transmission, which is smaller and lighter than some eight-speeds found on the market, and is said to help propel the LC 500 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.
Previously seen in conceptual form only, the production-ready 2017 Lincoln Continental made an appearance at NAIAS showing off the company’s new design language, also shared with the MKZ. The upscale sedan utilizes a 3 L V6 powerplant making 400 horsepower, and features neat additions like electronic door handles operated by touch. A grade-topping Black Label trim will cater to the luxury crowd offering enhanced interior options.
You might have noticed that the popular G Coupes have disappeared from Infiniti’s lineup – don’t worry, because they’re not gone, just renamed. The Japanese luxury brand introduced to the world the third-generation version at the big show, which is now called the Q60. There are two V6 options for the 2017 model, driving either 400 or 300 horsepower to the rear wheels, and Infiniti has developed an upgraded form of the Direct Adaptive Steering system with customizable steering feedback.
Hot off the heels of the successful release of their top-of-the-line 2016 XC90 luxury crossover SUV, the Chinese-owned Swedish manufacturer has now come out with the sedan equivalent: the S90. Both share the same Volvo Scalable Product Architecture underpinnings, and a 2.0 L engine that is turbocharged and supercharged at the same time in the T6. Output is rated at 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Not only can the Volvo City Safety System automatically brake the S90 if it detects an impending collision with another vehicle or pedestrian, for the first time it can do so if it senses a large animal ahead, too. This is yet another step in Volvo’s mission to create a fully autonomous vehicle by 2020.