Detroit Auto Present Hits And Misses

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DETROIT — Richard Truett, workers powertrain savant, design connoisseur and all-around engineering go-to man, jumped up on nearly each stand, thought and contemplated and scratched his head, modified his thoughts a few occasions and got here up with a listing of auto present hits and misses.

Reduce him some slack, even when he did not do the identical for you.

HIT: Ram 1500

It is simple to think about Fiat Chrysler Cars boss Sergio Marchionne giving his truck workforce a clean test and this order: “Spend no matter it takes to make the very best pickup you’ll be able to, utilizing all out there know-how at our disposal.”

Almost every little thing is new from the wheels up. Weight is down by about 200 kilos, although the truck is 9 inches longer. The body is stiffer, the brakes stronger and the physique smoother. The powertrains are up to date and upgraded.

Ram 1500

Inside is the place the Ram design workforce actually stands out. An out there 12-inch display screen with eye-poppingly clear graphics. A lot of the supplies on the seats, sprint and doorways are tender and expensive-feeling to the contact — precisely what you’d count on in a luxurious sedan.

Outdoors, the massive rig look is toned down over earlier generations and completely matches Ram’s new premium mission.

HIT: Chevrolet Silverado (*however with a giant, black asterisk)

Technically, Common Motors checked all the proper containers, proper? The choice listing features a new inline six-cylinder turbodiesel engine. It is bolted to a 10-speed automated stuffed in a physique that’s 450 kilos lighter than the present truck. Freeway mileage might be within the 30s for the diesel. Gasoline engines get an industry-first variable cylinder cutoff system for a gas financial system acquire of practically 20 %. The body is stiffer, the suspension has light-weight elements, and the physique makes use of high-strength metal and aluminum physique panels.

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Silverado: Are these fenders completed? Picture credit score: RICHARD TRUETT

So, how can the brand new Silverado lose with these genes? Chevy wrapped all that in a physique with some unusual styling cues. The entrance edges of the fenders close to the decrease portion of the radiator, for instance, look unfinished.

And the inside misses the mark by a large margin. You’ll be able to’t purchase any mannequin with a ground shifter, and there’s nonetheless an excessive amount of onerous plastic on the instrument panel.

MISS: Honda Perception

It would as properly say “Kirkland” on the trunk lid and be bought close to the frozen part at your native Costco. It is automotive tofu. What is the cope with Honda and its hybrids?

The stubby, cool CR-Z hatchback, now interred, was a futuristic-looking automobile saddled with a buzzy, torpid hybrid powertrain. It was annoyingly sluggish and did not even actually ship nice gas financial system. However appearancewise, it introduced again reminiscences of the much-missed CRX, and also you needed to find it irresistible — till you drove it. The Perception’s snazzy two-motor gasoline-electric drivetrain is able to 50 mpg, however it’s trapped beneath the hood of a automobile that might be invisible on the street.

HIT: Ford Ranger

Ford hasn’t launched any specs for the brand new North American model of the Ranger, however it seems barely smaller than its most important opponents, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — and that is not a nasty factor. The Ranger — which debuted in 2011 in international markets and is being up to date for North American sale — sports activities a metal physique, a easy leaf-spring suspension and one powertrain alternative, a 2.Three-liter turbo-four rated at 280 hp and mated to a 10-speed automated. The chrome grille pays homage to the Tremendous Responsibility and has R-A-N-G-E-R embossed on the sting close to the hood. Good contact.

MISS: Hyundai Veloster

This is the issue: It has been redesigned however not radically restyled. It is perhaps higher in each manner than the outdated automobile, however Hyundai’s sports activities coupe appears to be like just about the identical, and that is the kiss of demise in a stressed phase that calls for radical new designs.

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HIT: Acura RDX

It is a crossover. It is the proper dimension, a bigger compact. It is slick-looking. And it has CR-V underpinnings. It is outfitted with Honda’s premium to enhance dealing with and acceleration. Oh, however a slight demerit for the outsized Acura caliper brand within the grille. One thing this huge appears to be like prefer it belongs on a Peterbilt.

HIT: Volkswagen Jetta

This is a automobile with styling that’s largely devoid of unique considering, and but all of it hangs collectively properly. These overwrought swage strains operating down the facet are a useless try and seize the great mojo from the previous-generation Hyundai Sonata. The taillights and headlights are practically indistinguishable from these on each different sedan, from Alfa Romeo to Toyota. The strakes on the hood have been lifted from the Chrysler Crossfire. Usually, I change off once I see a automobile cobbled along with styling cliches. However the Jetta is an exception. I identical to it.

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MISS: Infiniti Q Inspiration Idea

What’s this, Infiniti’s tackle a Tesla sedan, however with a classy grille and a gasoline engine? The rear glass and taillights look as in the event that they have been lifted straight off a Mannequin S.

HIT: Mercedes G class

Word to Ford and Land Rover: That is the way you redesign an off-road icon. The brand new G class, aside from the headlights and instrument panel, doesn’t stray removed from the blocky, squared-off design of the unique. Let’s have a look at what occurs with the Ford Bronco and Land Rover Defender.

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Oh, did you wish to look out the window? GAC’s Enverge is having none of that. Picture credit score: RICHARD TRUETT

MISS: GAC Enverge

Blemishes within the paint and facet home windows which might be painted physique shade and cannot be seen out of had me scratching my head about this Chinese language-designed idea crossover.

HIT: Lexus LF-1 Limitless

It isn’t onerous to think about this smooth, low-roof idea crossover as the subsequent RX. The copper shade fingers down wins the very best paint job of any car on the present. Nonetheless, one hopes that Lexus reconsiders the massive spindle grille earlier than this one is handed off to manufacturing.

HIT: Toyota Avalon

Sorry, GM. However Toyota nonetheless makes the very best Buick. The brand new Avalon has a Lexus-grade inside, easily sculpted aerodynamic physique and a neat taillight cluster that tucks the reverse lights beneath the brake lights.

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