Typically, early January in Detroit, Michigan, offers a preview of what will be on the road within a year or two, but the 2018 North American International Auto Show posted a rare disappointment. A few automakers skipped the event entirely, and others focused their attention on cool, far-in-the-future autonomous designs that were highlighted the week before at CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
At an event that in years past had been called Detroit’s car show, automakers showed off few cars. The market prefers trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) these days, a preference made evident at Cobo Hall (see Infographic, pg. 26). Following are highlights from the show.American Honda Motor Co.
2019 Jeep Cherokee
Far from a complete redesign, the 2019 Cherokee is a mid-cycle update of a popular
2019 Ram 1500
Unlike Ford’s F-150 which has an all-aluminum body and General Motors Chevy Silverado with a steel bed but aluminum doors, hoods, and liftgates, the Ram 1500 remains primarily steel – with a 98% high-strength steel frame. Still, strategic use of lightweight materials cut 225 lb out of the 2019 model, so it should have better tow, payload, and fuel economy performance.
Acura RDX Prototype
A version of the car that goes on sale in a few months, Honda hopes the RDX Prototype will generate excitement for the new vehicle. Small crossovers are selling extremely well these days, and the second-generation RDX is showing its age. Designers say they did everything they could to highlight the vehicle’s dynamic look, including slightly angling the exterior door handles to match the curves in the body panels.
2019 Ford Ranger
Though automakers shared most of their futuristic vehicles at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, General Motors’ Hydrotec subsidiary brought the minimalistic Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) to Detroit. Effectively a giant skateboard, the SURUS can be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, batteries, or anything else that can generate enough electricity to drive its wheels. The company is pitching it as a solution for military applications and use in disaster zones where refueling can be a challenge. It can be run in autonomous mode, or users can drop a cab on the modular frame.
2019 Mercedes G-Class
2019 Toyota Avalon
One of the few new cars on display, Toyota’s large sedan is holding up better than some compacts, but the car market is not in favor. Never a top seller, it’s doubtful that adding minor styling flair will revive interest in the vehicle, as most people in Toyota showrooms are leaving with Rav4 sport utility vehicles (SUVs).