The cars on the road to the Detroit Auto Show
Thanks to new and interesting ways of reaching the car-buying public, plus the fact that the International CES tech show is now a magnet for automakers, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit has started to lose some of its lustre. However, there's still a lot to be excited about in terms of new US, European and Asian automobiles that will be making their first appearances on January 9 when NAIAS opens to the press.
Chevrolet is widely expected to bring its fastest, most potent ever production Corvette, the ZR1, to the show. For ‘Vette fans it will be bittersweet as it will most likely be the final Corvette with a V8 up front and power going to the rear wheels. Chevrolet's hottest car will be going mid-engine and potentially hybrid in the future.
From objects of desire to objects of ubiquity, Toyota will be taking the wraps off the new Camry, one of the most popular cars on US roads. And even though it's usually a vehicle designed to blend in, Toyota's promising that the latest model will be breaking with tradition and will be as good-looking as it is reliable.
At the other end of the Toyota spectrum, its luxury marque Lexus will be unveiling the LS, its flagship sedan and a car that is going to have to be spectacular to look at and to drive and be full of game-changing technology if it is to compete with the Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series and Cadillac CT6.
Kia, a company known primarily for affordability and reliability, will be looking to assert some sporty credentials with a new GT. All the company has thus far confirmed is that it will be the fastest-accelerating Kia yet (0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds) and will be a proper grand tourer sedan.
A company with no need to underline its sports or GT credentials is Mercedes, who will be bringing the all-new E-Class Coupe to this year's show. Sharper, more aggressive and more purposeful in looks than its sedan counterpart, the coupé also gets an entirely new cabin layout with twin widescreen displays replacing traditional knobs, dials and center console infotainment system.
Meanwhile VW will be continuing its brand repositioning work by taking the wraps off another SUV aimed squarely at the US market. The Tiguan Allspace is an elongated take on the company's existing compact model that shares a number of design cues and underpinnings with the Golf. However, rather than the current five seats, this one will have room for seven and will be going on sale in the US and China from the summer.
The 2017 NAIAS opens its doors to the press on January 9 and to the public on January 14.