The first global car extravaganza of 2015, the Detroit motor show, is done and dusted for us media types — general admission lurks around the corner — and the CarAdvice team has braved temperatures as low as -15C to cover it for you.
So, here, after two-and-a-bit exhausting days covering the latest and greatest from the auto industry, are our favourite and least favourite cars from the show. Enjoy…
Hit: Ford GT and Hyundai Santa Cruz. Love that both companies managed to surprise us with cars that we really didn’t expect and that, in both cases, are vehicles that are exciting in their respective ways.
Miss: The depressing feeling of seeing so many amazing cars from American manufacturers which have no intention of engineering them for our right-hand-drive market. After all, Australia is in Europe, right? It’s almost like some sort of mixture between heaven and hell for Australian car enthusiasts.
Hit: Honda NSX. Given that it pairs all the high-tech, future-focused hybrid performance you could want with a US$150,000 ($184,000) price tag, it’s a definite hit for me. Sure, it’s not the paradigm shift of the 1990 original, but it’s shaping up rather well.
Chevrolet Bolt. It just shows how good Holden Design is. Make no mistake, this EV crossover concept may be the most important project GM’s local design and fabrication team has undertaken to date.
Miss: Hyundai Santa Cruz. I actually don’t hate the concept, but Hyundai would be better served with a real Toyota HiLux rival rather than this lifestyle ute for “millennials”.
Audi Q7. Just an uninspiring design, and we can reasonably expect to see heaps of them on local roads given the popularity of large luxury SUVs.
Hit: Buick Avenir and Chevrolet Bolt. Trust the Aussies to abruptly come in and ‘get it’. After years of Buicks being rebadged Opels, the Avenir shows that the Aussie team understands how to put a literally beautiful modern spin on a grand heritage.
Likewise the Bolt hits back at eco-cliche models, which feature “trash can” hubcaps and are “painted in blue and white” — both descriptors applied by the Bolt’s Aussie designer, Richard Ferlazzo.
Miss: Chevrolet Volt. I loved the original Volt, in both its styling and the way it drives. The new one is so bloody mainstream that it could be a Honda Civic replacement. It has kept no evolution like the Prius. The interior is also downmarket enough to suggest GM is going to sneakily cull prices.
Hit: That’s easy. The Ford GT is ridiculously good looking and a brilliant evolution from the previous version. This trumps any exotic from Europe.
Honda NSX. This thing is a work of art in every way. Honda spent a year on the getting the steering wheel just right. The level of detail is beyond any of the current crop of supercars.
Miss: Honestly can’t say. Just didn’t get time to see half the cars on display.
Hit: Ford GT. The last Ford GT was a retro-styled supercharged V8, whereas this new one is far more modern. It doesn’t have any fancy hybrid systems, but it does pack a stonking 450kW-plus twin-turbo V6 and a stunning design. The back looks like a jet fighter!
Miss: Have to agree with Alborz, some of my favourite cars from the show won’t be coming in right-hand-drive. Some may make the trip eventually, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Hit: Ford F-150 Raptor. Let’s face it, I look ridiculous in a pickup truck. So, if I’m going to go through that indignity, it may as well as be in something that looks and performs as if it was unleashed from the underworld. Others, however, will argue that I’ve been Stateside for too long, and need all that space and power to haul around all the brisket I’ve been eating… Either way, the aluminium body and 10-speed auto has just enough to distract the whale-hugging side of my brain long enough for me to type all of this.
3D printed Cobra. This could be the future of small scale car manufacture. It’s completely drivable, we’re told, and it looks just like any other regular Shelby replica with lustrous paint, big alloys and a potful of retroliciousness.
Miss: The eternal tease. We can thank the internet for a lot of things — cat memes, instant global communication and CarAdvice — but it’s also a hungry beast that must be fed. So car makers dole select tidbits of info in advance of motor shows to assuage it: a shadowy outline here, a headlight there, a barely glimpsed engine cover behind you! It just makes every not-pre-hyped car, such as the Ford GT, so much sweeter, even if I think it’s a little too gargantuan.
Did you have a favourite from this year’s show? Tell us in the comments section below.