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2017 Detroit Auto Show Preview

2017 Detroit Auto Show Preview

By Christian Wardlaw, December 20, 2016

Car enthusiasts and the automotive industry ring in each new year with the annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), held in Detroit. This year, the 2017 Detroit Auto Show adopts a technological theme, called Automobili-D (since the Los Angeles Auto Show is already using “AutoMobility LA”). A day of new product debuts is planned in advance of the show’s opening to the public on January 14. This is what you might expect to see.

Audi is planning a press conference in Detroit, but what the company plans to show remains a mystery as of mid-December 2016. Both the Audi A6 and the Audi A8 are due for a complete redesign, and the company is expected to introduce new SQ5 and SQ7 performance versions of its popular SUVs to the U.S. market. Audi is hard at work on autonomous vehicles, too, and could announce a new technology related to self-driving cars.

BMW has already released details about the redesigned 2017 5 Series, but the car appears in the flesh for the first time in Detroit. Leading up to the show, the company has announced a 5 Series lineup expansion that includes the 540i, 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, and powerful M550i xDrive. BMW also plans to preview its upcoming X2 crossover with the X2 Concept.

Chevrolet will reveal a redesigned 2018 Traverse in Detroit. Rumors are flying that a new Blazer is also in the product pipeline, based on the same architecture as the redesigned 2017 GMC Acadia, so the Traverse will retain the full-size crossover positioning that GMC abandoned with the latest Acadia. Another possible debut is a hot new ZR1 version of the Corvette.

A redesigned 2018 Ford Expedition is almost ready for prime time and could be the company’s Detroit Auto Show focus. Expect to see the 2018 Fiesta in Detroit, too, and perhaps a refreshed 2018 Ford Mustang. Other surprises could include whatever comes next for the full-size Taurus sedan, or a concept vehicle pointing the way to the next-generation Explorer SUV.

GAC Motor
The Chinese Guangzhou Automobile Group is holding a press conference in Detroit and will showcase its products on the hall floor during the public auto show days. Visit GAC Motor’s website ( and you’ll find a range of awkwardly proportioned sedans and SUVs with more than a passing resemblance to Korean vehicles of the 2000s.

Look for a redesigned 2018 GMC Terrain in Detroit. The new Terrain will continue to share its basic architecture and powertrains with the Chevrolet Equinox, which is also new for 2018. Expect an impressive array of driver-assistance, collision-avoidance, and infotainment technologies, in addition to a trio of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines—including a diesel said to get 40 mpg on the highway.

Honda will reveal the next-generation 2018 Odyssey in Detroit. From styling and utility to safety and driving dynamics, the new Odyssey faces a tough competitor in the Chrysler Pacifica. Also, the Chrysler is available in plug-in electric hybrid format, so Honda had better bring it’s “A” game to the Motor City.

The oldest model in the Infiniti vehicle lineup is the QX50, which originally debuted as the EX35 for the 2008 model year. Given that the QX50 slots into one of the most popular vehicle segments in the luxury class, it desperately needs replacement. That successor is expected to arrive in Detroit, looking quite similar to the QX Sport Inspiration Concept vehicle that Infiniti has already shown to the public.

Kia marches to the beat of its own drum, and that continues with the expected reveal of a new car called the GT. A 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback with rakish styling, the GT is rumored to be based on the same platform as the Genesis G80, built by its parent company, Hyundai Motor Co. Think Audi A5 Sportback or BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and you’ll understand what the Kia GT is going to be.

Once a car is on sale for a decade without a complete redesign, it unofficially qualifies as ancient. The current Lexus LS, the company’s flagship sedan, is ancient. A new one will be unveiled in Detroit, sitting on the same brand-new platform and component set as the hot new LC Coupe. Expect a V-8 engine, a hybrid drivetrain, and far more dramatic design than the current LS.

Mercedes-Benz recently unveiled the all-new 2018 E-Class Coupe, and if history is any indication, that lineup will expand in Detroit with AMG-flavored performance variants taking center stage. Don’t be surprised to find the new E-Class Cabriolet on display, either, providing show-goers with a little taste of summer within the dead of winter.

Ancient describes more than just the Infiniti QX50 and Lexus LS. Nissan’s Frontier pickup truck is older than both of them, and basically looks the same as it did when it first went on sale for the 2005 model year. Is the company finally ready to reveal a replacement, one equipped with a new V-6 engine that is also destined for the Titan half-ton truck? If not, it oughta be.

Toyota has already confirmed that it will introduce the completely redesigned 2018 Camry at the Detroit Auto Show. The most popular midsize sedan in America, the new Camry sits on the automaker’s latest global architecture, and the company says it will be both appealing to behold and fun to drive.

After launching an SUV push with the 2018 Atlas in Los Angeles, Volkswagen may finally provide a look at the production version of the long-gestating Tiguan replacement. The 2018 Tiguan is expected to grow in size to better satisfy American preferences.

With the S90 sedan, V90 wagon, and XC90 SUV lines fleshed out, Volvo may turn its attention to the S60, V60, and XC60 models during the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. All three are ripe for replacement, and the company has already announced that they will ride on the same scalable platform and architecture used for the company range of flagship models.

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