By on January 16, 2013

2013′s edition of the Detroit Auto Show is the first I’ve covered for TTAC, and it serves as a nice break from the world of low-cost cars, overcapacity and Bertel’s daily demands for Facebook photos of my attractive female friends. Since I was the sole journalist covering the show, most of the coverage was limited to photos and a brief bit of information on the car. But since you all come here to read my semi-informed pontifications for some added context regarding the auto industry  I’ve assembled this handy guide to NAIAS 2013, free of any regurgitated press release info or PR pap. Enjoy, and send any angry criticisms/threats of press fleet acesses revocation to derek at ttac dot com

Winner – Ford: Without a doubt, the big winner at NAIAS is Ford. The F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle, and the Atlas concept is an early preview of what to expect. Sources tell me that the concept was so hush-hush that most employees heard about it only through Ford’s internal news channels or car blogs. The same source claims that while things like wheel-mounted active aero shutters are still in flux, we will see more exotic metals like aluminum and magnesium in play for the next F-Series.

Winner- Cadillac: The General’s lone bright spot at the show. Cadillac’s ELR is what an advanced hybrid/electric/range extender (whatever you want to call it) vehicle should look like. Power is up, all-electric range is down (due to the 20″ wheels and increased power perhaps?) and if enough celebrities are seen driving it, it could be the next status symbol for those wealthy enough to advocate for green causes. The ATS also won North American Car of the Year. Not my choice, but another trophy for GM’s cabinet.

Winner – VW/Audi: VW and Audi were mobbed for so long after their press conferences that it was hard to get photos of their debuts (which will come later). Volkswagen debuted a new Crossover concept with three rows of seats, while Audi debuted the SQ5 and the RS7. All of the vehicles on the Audi stand were immensely desirable and made the BMW and Mercedes products look like reasonable facsimiles of desirable luxury vehicles. I am more convinced than ever that Volkswagen Group’s goal of 1 million units in America by 2018 is feasible, and Audi will likely reach their 200,000 unit sales goal as well.

Loser – Electric Vehicles: Where were the EVs? Nissan announced a price drop for the Leaf to $28,200, but that was the big news for EVs. Tesla had a Model X on display, but its profile was minimal compared to pretty much every other product at the show. While hybrid powertrains continue to go from strength to strength, EVs are slowly losing their grasp of the limelight, existing largely as a PR/Government relations tool rather than a viable transportation alternative.

Loser – Mercedes-Benz/BMW: The unrelenting thirst for volume comes in the form of brand-debasing cheapo lease specials. The CLA and 320i will sell…err, lease, in serious numbers to legions of insecure strivers who can pay $399 a month. But at what cost to the “premium” image of the two brands?

Loser – Chevrolet: Reaction to the C7 Corvette has been “mixed”. Reaction on the internet was positive, but the buzz on the show floor was not as enthusiastic. Personally, I think it is overwrought, riddled with too many vents and gills and crap. Yes, the interior has been improved…at the expense of the exterior. The GM trucks are just as underwhelming in person as they are in photos, and they stayed locked for most of the press days. Not an encouraging sign. With the Ram 1500 now competitive, and the F-150 as good as ever “good enough” is a recipe for diminishing market share in the full-size truck market.

Draw – Infiniti Q50/Lexus IS: Two new luxury sedans competing in the same class. The Infiniti’s exterior is striking and agressive, while the Lexus has the better interior. Traditionally, the Lexus could be written off as the inferior car for the enthusiastic driver – but with the overall competence of the GS, it’s impossible to rule the Lexus.

Draw – Hyundai HCD 14 Genesis Concept/ Acura RLX: A Hyundai source tells me that a lot of the outlandish details of the HCD 14, will not make it to production, but the next generation Genesis will not be as staid and generic as the current car. Let’s hope the overall profile remains, but that front grille has got to go. Meanwhile at Acura, the RLX was utterly ignored, no thanks to the generic exterior styling. Inside, however, is a different story. The cabin is beautifully finished, with immense amounts of leg room in the rear seat. You really feel like you’re in a luxury car. The SH-AWD could be a ground breaking car technologically, but I can’t imagine this car selling in any sort of volume.

Draw - Honda: Honda was back…and nobody noticed. The Accord is riding high on a wave of praise, the Civic is no longer the automotive media’s official whipping boy and the NSX could be viewed up close by appointment only. And the appointment book was pretty much full. Yet nobody seemed to pay too much attention to Honda’s new debuts, from the RLX, the MDX (nearly identical to the current version) and the Urban SUV Concept (a surprisingly fresh and interesting design from a company not known for such things).

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105 Comments on “NAIAS Winners And Losers...”


  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Definitely looking forward to the VW group’s next wave. Agree totally that MB and BMW are beginning to look a bit weird next to Audi. I especially dislike the way they blinged out the 3 coupe … er… 4 series.

    I like the C7 for what it is, but even I have to admit you’re right about it being a bit too busy on the exterior.

    Thanks for the wrap-up summary Derek.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I’m electric cars have matched the demand. It shows the industry is responsive to public demands and less to government mandates.

    And I thought I heard Toyota was number one in sales for 2012?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I think you’re correct about EVs.

      It will be interesting to see how public policy (primarily US and California) changes once these governments realize the public isn’t biting the EV sandwich. You can’t mandate X-percentage of EVs by Year Y if the market doesn’t respond accordingly.

      I blame cheap gas and slow battery technology growth. Range anxiety is merely a function of the technology problem. People don’t realize that battery development doesn’t follow Moore’s Law. My Leaf’s 660-lb battery has the energy equivalent of 0.7 gallons of gas, which means its energy density is less than 1% of gasoline. This ratio won’t be much different a decade from now.

      Since Americans will pay anything for a gallon of gas, more gas taxes won’t really change our appetite for the kinds of vehicles we drive.

      • 0 avatar
        tatracitroensaab

        That’s not really true. The American consumer will react to changes in the cost of fuel in the long run. In the short run, of course, they will keep buying the gas to keep their car going, but in the long run they will change their habits and switch to more fuel efficient vehicles. You can already see this happening to some extent – Americans are driving less and are buying more fuel efficient vehicles. Yes our cars are still huge, but that’s because gas is still cheap. Charge Euro style prices for gas and then you’ll truly see a change.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        I’m not so sure that the death of EVs is imminent given that more non-enthusiasts (be that of the automotive or environmental variety) are starting to show interest in them. And thats before gas hits $5.

        Hell, I think that the Model X has the potential to be the real game changer, if the marketing materials are to be believed – efficient, SUV-like, gullwing doors, useable third row seating,etc. That’s a wide swath of the soccer mom market that Tesla is aiming at.

        Then again, I live square in the middle of EV country (though seeing 4 Volts parked in a row at the charging stations at work was still a shock), so take my perspective with a large helping of sodium chloride. Just like I do with the D3 revisionists who reside in the Midwest.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        Charge Euro style taxes for gas…

        There. I fixed it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      I think we’ll see slow growth over time, especially hinging upon the long-term reliability. Leafs and Volts have been on the road for just over two years now in fairly small numbers. When and if the aggregate reliability data starts to trickle through, then consumers will have a better feel for powertrain reliability beyond the manufacturer’s “the battery won’t absolutely keel over by x date”.

      SAE/CHAdeMO DC charging fighting doesn’t help quick charger standardization and rollout. Many people will not even consider EVs as long as they are commuter-only vehicles.

      Price cuts such as the recent Leaf S will help as well. Sure, it’s not quite parity with gas vehicles, but a nicely equipped compact hatch isn’t far away from $21k anymore.

  • avatar
    mike978

    “Volkswagen’s goal of 1 million units in America by 2018 is feasible, and Audi will likely reach their 200,000 unit sales goal as well.”
    I thought VW brand goal was 800K and Audi 200K, giving a combined VW group total of 1 million by the end of 2018.

    A good synopsis, although I don`t see how the Corvette coverage was a loser for Chevy. Draw or winner as it certainly was the main draw of the show. I don`t agree with all of its styling, but there was enough good points that it helped rather than hurt Chevy.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    The Corvette is overwrought? Well yes that kind of goes with the current times. Lots of overwrought car styling out there these days. Festoonery is in vogue. I think the C7 has the biggest ass I have ever seen on a car. That said, some older Corvette models were less appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I think we’re mired in another peiod akin to 1958-62 garishness. Fuel economy demands mean that cars have to be shaped more or less like a Prius, so their designers load them up with all kinds of gingerbread in order to feel relevant. Hopefully, we’ll get back to clean, honest designs by 2020 or so.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        That’s a pretty good point. Given that the wind tunnels decide the shapes of new cars, automakers are resorting to more and more outlandish ornamentation to differentiate their cars and hide the basically rounded lumps of metal underneath.

        Some more succesfully than others. When reviewing the looks of new cars, I can objectively see why certain details are needed to break up the shapes, but subjectively, I hate them.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Not just fuel economy demands but pedestrian safety rules have more and more cars with the same flatish gaping maw kind of front clip with a slab for a hood.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The funny thing about pedestrian safety is that it’s better for the pedestrian to be knocked *over* the car than under. Higher hoods mean more pedestrians will be knocked down & run over, but hey, when has govt ever been wrong?

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        I blame it more on the rising beltlines of cars, due to the demand for worse seating positions and perceived safety. It’s all consumer driven. And once you raise a car higher, it’s hard to make it look good without exaggerated features.

  • avatar

    Have to disagree about the C7 being a loser. When I look around the internet I see 75% positive 25% negative. How that can be called a “loser” or “mixed” must be some special TTAC definition that only you are privileged to…

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      Agreed. I think Derek is way off base on the overall reaction to the C7. Reaction on TCL (which I generally disdain), was overwhelmingly positive. In this case, that actually means something, as it’s full of dash stroking basement dwelling wanna-be’s, but that’s actually the crowd this car needs to appeal to (and it seems to have done so overwhelmingly). A Corvette should be something the next generation aspires to own. That’s what the Corvette is supposed to be, a halo vehicle… a someday attainable supercar that one dreams of owning until that one day they “make it” and can put one in their garage.

      The current old guys who can actually already afford to buy them already own one (or two or three), and likely aspired to own them when they were younger. The new C7 is the next phase of that, for a future batch of owners. Outside of TTAC and/or Corvette forums, I see tons of press and tons of love for the C7 Stingray. That’s a huge win for GM any way you slice it. The ELR on the other hand is getting far less press.

      Let the grey hairs gripe and moan about the Vette losing it’s way, I see a whole new generation of future owners putting C7 backgrounds on their computers and downloading them on GT5 (good move as well), and dreaming about piloting one for real. My 2 pennies.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        When you think ‘Corvette’, what’s the 1st thing that pops in your mind??? Corvettes had their day in the sun and the masses no longer dream of owning one when they’ve ‘Made It’ or retired. The whole world has changed since the Summer of ’69.

        A few Corvettes will always sell and rebates never hurt, but I can’t remember the last celebrity, rock star, gold metalist or astronaut (etc) seen in a Corvette, the last few decades. Johnny Carson? Hmmm… Then there’s Shia Labeouf that made press (TMZ) when he rolled/crashed his Lariat F-150 after a night out with friends in Hollywood. He was a proud (hard loaded) F-150 owner.

        Anyone else have any ‘celebs in Corvettes’ sightings? Anyways, there’s too many “I’ve Finally Made It” car choices out there.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        You’re right, Mike. The 911 has taken that aspirational halo car spot in people’s minds that xflow describes.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        DenverMike: Yup, the Vette of old does not get much appreciation from the younger set. Not totally sure why; perhaps images of disgusting fat porches hanging over the safety belt and grey hair spoil the party, but no matter what there is little interest from the 40 and under set. The new car may change that a bit. Calling Chevy a “Loser” is completely wrong. The Vette is certainly going to be a dynamic success. The interior looks to be excellent and the seat should be a vast improvement, good even. Performance will be there, as will excellent-for-a-sports car fuel economy. The new look is growing on me and I think it can bridge the gap of ages. Today’s younger buyers no longer carry the anti GM bias (sometimes earned, sometimes not) and are much more willing to look beyond the typical German stuff. So, unless the drive turns out to be poor, I think the sales of this car will ramp up nicely.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        golden2husky: You mentioned the movie “Corvette Summer” so of course you know, surfer vans were also quite rage along with Corvettes. Markets change and the custom/pedo van market is also about done. Yeah, so sad…

        As great as the new C7 is, sales will eventually continue the slide. It has less to do with GM (Gubment Motors?) bias and more to do with the Corvette slipping further from fashion and rarely on the radar of each new generation of car enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      Volts On Fire

      Loser = GM hack trying in vain to shill for his employer in the comments section of a car blog.

      • 0 avatar
        challenger2012

        Volts On Fire = Loser How sad is that to keep using a misrepresentation (Volt) as your icon? You must be one of those Gob’met Motors haters who ate out of the Fox News feed trough for information and ideology. No doubt, you believed victory was at hand in November. I only wish I could have seen your face on the morning of November 7th. Priceless. LOL x 1,000,000

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        I wouldn’t be so smug about your boy winning. After this morning’s press conference, I suspect he isn’t long for this world.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        The secret service and perhaps your 5th grade civics teacher would like a quick word with you.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I’m sorry, but any Corvette that Martin Milner didn’t drive on U.S. 66 seems overwrought and ponderous. There was a reason Zora was so idolized in his day. Do you think anyone from the Exner- Mitchell- Duntoff era would look at these 4000# behemoths and think “sports car”? But, I’m old and therefore don’t get it, anyway. Pretentious bullshit. A pox on ALL their houses.

    • 0 avatar
      korvetkeith

      4000lbs you say? You’re right, there IS plenty you don’t get.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Maybe the old geezer meant 400 horsepower, not 4,000 pounds?

        I agree that the C7 Vette is overwrought, but look on the bright side — all this feedback can be a positive opportunity for GM.

        This car’s cycle is going to be LONG, at least 7 or more years. It’ll sell well in the first few years and then tail off.
        I’d say the inevitable styling refresh will come around 2018. If GM Design can simplify the C7 just as Bill Mitchell & Co. did to the C2 for the 1967 model year, everyone can come out a winner for once.

        Of course that assumes GM knows how to listen and execute for its halo vehicle. I’m sure plenty of you have something to say about the viability of that happening.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      The C6 Corvette is actually relatively light for a 400+ horsepower V8 sports car – around 3300 lbs. This one apparently has quite a bit of weight saving incorporated, some of which is unfortunately offset by new crash safety requirements and the cylinder deactivation equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Enjoy your Miata or BRZ. Car missions change over time.

  • avatar

    I sort of disagreed with everyone about TTAC’s general disdain for General Motors…but now I’m starting to see it. Those trucks were a bit of a fumble, but polarizing or not, the Corvette was definitely a winner for Chevrolet, just because of all of the publicity it brought. Then you take the opportunity to give Ford’s dated-looking Atlas concept rousing praise, while throwing GM a measly bone: “[The ELR was] the General’s lone bright spot at the show.” As if they actually care…

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      “while throwing GM a measly bone: “[The ELR was] the General’s lone bright spot at the show.” As if they actually care…”

      To be consistent Derek could have written “The Atlas F-150 was Ford’s lone bright spot” since name any other Ford displayed?

      Maybe Ford were not jerks when Ed and BS visited them and hence some love now.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Derek already said Ford won the NAIAS and internet for unveiling a tarted up F-150 (with a rather tame exterior that he posted one photo of) called the “Atlas,” that will have telescoping pinwheels, replicators & an air coefficient most-slippery-bra-evah (helping it achieve uber fuel economy), according to some secret sources/espionage “types.”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Maybe Ford were not jerks when Ed and BS visited them and hence some love now.”

        Shouldn’t it be about the product, not the personalities of the PR folks? I think you’re selling Ed and BS short here.

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        Derek was there, the rest of us were not. “…but the buzz on the show floor was not as enthusiastic…” Sounds like his review is based on what was happening at the NAIAS, not on TTAC. I could care less about a Corvette as I don’t plan on buying one.

        A new production truck getting overshadowed by a concept does sound like a mix of bad luck and a solid miss.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Some people would say that any publicity is good publicity. That works for celebrities, but not so well for companies that depend on public goodwill to pay their bills.

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      Agreed Kyree. I was blown away by the positive response to the C7… even on TTAC. And the Ford Atlas is a concept. A CONCEPT!!! No matter how good it looks you can’t buy one. I loved the GMC Granite concept vehicle last year (IIRC). I still can’t buy one.

      And everyone is judging the GM trucks before we know the full specifications.

    • 0 avatar

      Karesh just wrote a positive review of the Malibu, which everybody loves to hate on. GM has some hits and some misses – just like everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        Kreindler, agreed that GM has their fare share of misses (maybe more than their fare share)… but TTAC turns everything they do into a miss. From implying that GM is somehow misleading with truck inventories when they calculate them using industry standard methods (and only villifying them when the calculation shows positive results)to calling Chevrolet a Loser in this article and saying reaction to the Corvette was “mixed,” the evidence is stacking up pretty high that TTAC has some bias.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Have to agree – don’t see how Ford did better than GM since the Atlas concept (a concept mind you) was just as overwrought as the C7.

        Now, while I think the C7 could lose a couple of the vents for a cleaner look on the outside (the interior, in black and brown, looks very nice), it has gotten a lot of attention.

        Add to that the ELR and the ATS winning Car of the Year and GM wins this one pretty handily.

        I’m hardly one to refrain from criticizing GM when warranted, but TTAC has a history of taking an excessively negative bent when it comes to all things GM (notwithstanding Karesh’s somewhat positive review of the Malibu); it’s not so much in the reviews, but the editorial commentary and headlines.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “Personally, I think it is overwrought, riddled with too many vents and gills and crap.”

    One could describe the Ford Atlas with EXACTLY the same words. Such is the nature of vague design criticism.

    Still, I have no choice but to defer to the impressions of those who were actually AT the show to gauge reaction to both the Ford and the Vette.

    So if the Vette’s reaction was mixed, I understand dropping Chevy from “draw” to “loser” due to their tepid new trucks whose success it, let’s face it, are FAR more important to the company’s future prosperity than the halo C7.

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    How about Lincoln? It sounds like the MKC is being well-received, but how was the buzz at the show?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    As for the press fleet, I think you all should say f@ck it and review real cars instead of hand-prepped ringers, but for better or worse you’ve gone down the velvet alley with everyone else in the automotive manufacturer-reviewer complex.

    • 0 avatar

      Does any web site have $30,000 odd to buy (say) the new Mercedes CLA?

      Even if they did, could they afford to take the $5,000+ depreciation hit off buying it, driving it a few miles and then selling it?

      Worse yet, they would get it after everyone else had a chance to review it thanks to the press fleets getting cars before the dealers.

      Consumer Reports can buy a car for testing, but that’s just because they are well established and have a high subscription fee everyone has to pay. The Truth About Cars is well established for a web site, but I don’t see it ever being able to take a hit of $5,000+ per car times about three or four reviews a week.

      And if they did, I think I’d rather see them pay their reviewers well ….

      D

  • avatar

    good assessment. it’s the kind of stuff that keeps me as a multiple times a day visitor of TTAC. thx DK.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Until someone actually has a chance to drive one and get some real world performance data no one can say at this point whether or not the new GM trucks are a hit or miss. Let’s wait to see how they are received by the people that actually buy and own trucks versus some Miata driving kid at TTAC before we call them a loser.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      That’s not Derek’s style. In his very first article published on TTAC, he definitively defined the 2013 Ford Fusion a “game changer” at a time when he (nor anyone else able to provide a public review) hadn’t yet driven one, let alone had the opportunity to start one.

  • avatar
    dabradler

    I’m a twenty something Canadian male and the only winners are far as I’m concerned are the corvette, the NSX(gorgeous)/MDX/RLX.

    The Cadillac ELR was the dog of the show, nothing like a more expensive/heavier version of a niche car that already got bad fuel economy. Same size fuel tank yet goes from 380 miles gas range to 300 miles, for a drivetrain that could barely get 30mpg off premium fuel in the Volt that sounds like a real technological flop.

    Audi and Lexus’s made no impact and looked like every other vehicle they are making, talk about bland. I can’t tell a 10 year old Audi from a brand new one at an autoshow.

    interiors of the Corvette and the NSX are by far the most interesting things revealed at the show. Didn’t know or care Ford released anything truck related until I saw all the comments on your post about it. I guarantee nobody under 30 will ever know that concept truck existed.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The Cadillac ELR was the dog of the show, nothing like a more expensive/heavier version of a niche car that already got bad fuel economy.”

      The Volt? Bad fuel economy? In comparison to what?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        For the Volt fuel economy, he’s referring to its mediocre highway fuel economy, which seems to be about 33 mpg. Lots of cars do better than that, including old beaters.

        The Volt lives a netherworld of fuel economy. City drivers don’t accumulate enough miles to justify its expense, and highway drivers don’t save anything on fuel. Its sweet spot is in mixed driving.

        However, as a Leaf driver myself, I understand the attraction of the technology and the subsidies (of which I disapprove, but will take if available). I have other cars for highway driving, so I have no complaint about the Leaf’s ‘bad fuel economy’ (I’ve been averaging about 116 MPGe, FWIW).

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        @gslippy:

        EPA rates the Volt at 35 city / 40 highway on premium.
        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=30980

        Lots of cars out-perform their EPA ratings and lots of cars under-perform their EPA ratings, of course, but the EPA rating offers at least a starting point to talk about fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        gslippy…

        You do realize that Volt fuel economy is AFTER the 40ish mile of electric range is exhausted right?

        Carrying a 435lb T-shaped battery pack tends to drag down fuel economy. I would consider someone who commutes 15-20 miles each way on a highway a ‘highway commuter’ They would be on battery almost all the time depending on temperature etc.

        Yes, the Volt doesn’t make much sense for someone commuting 50-60 miles a day unless they can plug in at work.. But, 40 miles per day is the average commute in this country.

        I do look forward to your updates on Leaf ownership. I’m not sure how long you’ve had it, but if you live in cold weather, have you experienced significantly lower range on the coldes days or is that a non-issue?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @protomech, sunridge place:

        Yes, I know the Volt’s fuel economy starts after the EV-only mode ends. I won’t argue the 33-35/40 mpg rating; I’ve read a few reviews where it was as low as 32. Careful drivers can do better.

        I live in western PA, and have had the Leaf since late September. Its range is greatly affected by several factors: speed, climate control, and payload. The effects of cold weather seem to be indirect; that is, the battery itself seems to perform OK, but the use of climate control really eats into the range. Also, I drive the speed limit even more than before. Finally, I’ve noticed that carrying 5 adults makes a noticeable difference in power draw even though the Leaf is already heavy at 3400 lbs.

        Someone online compiled a fascinating graph for the Leaf’s range, which basically shows it delivering the displayed range if it’s 70 F outside and you’re driving 45 mph. Then it shows the derating (or uprating) as you move away from those numbers. I’ve beaten the displayed range only a couple times by hypermiling. Otherwise, driving it normally and comfortably, I’ll only get about half the displayed range in the cold (30 F) and at highway speeds. That’s right: half. However, a longer commute would actually be better because the climate control would settle into lower power draw once the cabin is warmed up. The car also has a climate control timer that lets you warm/cool it before leaving in the morning, while it is still plugged in, so this portion of the power draw doesn’t tax the battery.

        I’m looking forward to springtime, so I can see the range return to better numbers.

        I’ve told Nissan they could easily come up with a predictive model that provides a more realistic range, based on outside conditions and historical driving habits. As for me, I have a 9-mile commute so my risks are pretty low no matter what happens.

        But nobody should buy an EV thinking their commute can be half the EPA range number.

        Having said all that, the EPA rates the Leaf at 99 MPGe, and since getting the car I’ve averaged 116 MPGe. For my driving, this amounts to about $100/month saved, compared to my 30 mpg xB1 that I used to drive, with little sacrifice in the type of driving I do.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      I’m a twenty something American male and this whole post was sarcasm, right?

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      “I’m a twenty something Canadian male and the only winners are far as I’m concerned are the corvette, the NSX(gorgeous)/MDX/RLX.”

      Therein lies the problem for GM and HMC.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Wow – MDX and RLX as a winner and nothing in Audi’s lineup made an impact? Did you sit in the Red R8? Did you see the RS7? NSX was very nice and lower than I expected, but I am rather shocked about you thinking the MDX mid-cycle action was a “winner”.

      I’m on the fence about the ELR, but I was prepared to dislike it and the car looked better in person. a bit strange in the very high hood, but much more resolved than the CTS coupe, especially in the rear fender.

      Did anyone see the GMC sierra interior cutaway? Other than sitting in it, it is quite clear what the interior will be like from that. I’m not sure what the issue is about the locked doors. I really liked the iPad slot especially.

      Tesla Model X and the Lincoln MKC were great.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Totally disagree with Chevrolet being the “loser”. Awww…just because you weren’t allowed to see a particular object up close – no matter what OEM it is, too bad. You’ll get your chance eventually.

    Yes, I am back in GM’s camp since 2004 after a 27 year “hate”. I like enough of their products to actually own and drive one – quite happily, I might add. Sorry to all the foreign fans, but that’s why we have so many choices – something for everybody.

    As for the new GM trucks…I like the more conservative styling. They kind of look like – are you ready? – a TRUCK! After all, who dictated that every new vehicle has to look like a 1990′s Civic ricer with tacked-on aero kits and other various enhancements, as if it is going to have to break the sound barrier in suburbia?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’m with you on the styling of the GM trucks. I don’t find them offensive, I find them very truck-like. A mild improvement on the existing trucks styling IMO. I think it was right for them not to gamble too much on style, a large chunk pickup buyers are more traditionalist than revolutionist.

      I think they’ll do well and the new powertrains will give them a boost.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I guess I don’t get how nobody was paying attention to Honda products if the NSX appointment book was full. That means there were as many people as Honda desired looking at the NSX, which will be / has been their most expensive car.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Best thing about the ford atlas? The name. Taking a shot at the bail out baby’s perhaps with ayn rand inspired name?

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      No.

    • 0 avatar

      No, but I believe there was a GM engine family called “Atlas.” It was used throughout the whole of the GMT-3XX lineup, which included the midsized trucks and body-on-frame SUVs. I’m pretty sure the last of them went out of production after 2009…

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Yes it was. One of the ten best engines. A straight six. My daughter’s 2007 Trailblazer has one. A pretty nice ride and a very good motor. If I didn’t have a 100-mile-a-day commute, I’d be standing in line when she decides to sell it.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Right on Zackman.

        The Atlas I6 was one of GMs best engines ever. It’s an engine that should have lived on after the demise of the Trailblazer (and Envoy/Ascender/Rainier/9-7x/Bravada).

        Silky smooth and with nice power output it would have made a great choice for the Canyon/Colorado/H3 or even the base 6 for the Silverado/Sierra.

        Given the option I’ll take an I6 over a V6 any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      If it was the Ford Atlas Shrugged, maybe. Otherwise, I’ll refer you to a list of the other possible Atlas insprations

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_%28disambiguation%29

      * hint, it’s the one the can carry the earth in its bed

  • avatar
    nic_mach

    I really thought Mercedes’ move was misunderstood. First, FWD isn’t downmarket anymore – look at Mini, Evoque, VW. Second, they’re forced into this by mpg regulations. They fumbled their chance at small cars with Chrysler (hardly a surprise with their truck heavy lineup, but still) and Smart hasn’t caught on, and probably will never catch on in the US market.

    This is one time when an acquisition might make sense. They’re spending millions to go downmarket, yes, and imperiling their imperial branding, yes, so why not gamble on a partnership with Mitsubishi or one of the ailing French brothers? Why not gamble with Opel?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’d say their prior partnership with Chrysler is already close enough to Mitsu (given the historical Chry-Mits dealings), that they don’t need another partnership with a 2nd tier company.

      But, might be time for a new lower type Scion-y brand exercise!

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      I think the CLA might be a game-changer for Mercedes. Their previous front-drive cars have been unimpressive.

      Impressive, surely from a purely engineering standpoint, but the B-Class is one of the few test drives I’ve ever turned down. I handed that one off as quickly as possible. Buzzy, plasticky and it didn’t really make any cases for itself over a comparably priced front-wheel drive “ordinary” car.

      Merc is finally cottoning on… people will buy a “cheap” car from a premium manufacturer as long as it feels and looks like a premium car, no matter how small. And given the dimensions of the CLA, it’s not really small. Likely as big inside as a Hyundai Elantra, which is the biggest in its class. It promises to be nowhere near as cramped as a BMW 1-series, and with the aerodynamics, it promises to give great high-speed performance out of relatively small engines.

      Okay, the front end is goofy as hell, but a lot better than the wall-eyed 1-series.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree; I think this was a wise move for Mercedes-Benz, especially considering the fact that its competitors all have a lot of metal in the semi-premium/entry-level luxury market. Of course a manufacturer like Mercedes-Benz has to count for the fickleness of buyers whose whole reason for buying an S-Class is that it won’t be in the service bay next to some teenage-punk’s plebeian wannabe-luxury car. But as long as this doesn’t become the next C230 Kompressor SportCoupe and as long as it doesn’t define the brand, I don’t see how this is an issue.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      FWD is downmarket – which is why Mercedes and BMW limit it to their sub-entry models.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Strongly disagree about Chevrolet being a loser.

    IMO, the C7 is amazing and I am still drooling. I’ll take a z51 over an M3…er sorry, M4? Also, I don’t understand what you mean when you say, “riddled with too many vents and gills and crap.” Oh, you mean the hood scoop and side vents…those things many sports cars have that never seemed to bother you? I’m relieved that GM went neither too evolutionary (a la C6) nor “clean” like a boring VW/Audi. To me the new Stingray hits a good balance of modern, agressive, and younger styling–without straying too far from Corvette DNA.

    Yes people will whine that the C7 too looks European, or no longer looks enough like a ‘Vette. People say this everytime a Corvette is redesigned. They are also usually the type that never buy domestic vehicles anyway. And finally, the very SAME people who criticize domestics for inferiority European makes ironically turn around and complain that the domestics “copy” the Europeans when domestics do in fact hold their own. I mean, just admit that you are biased and enjoy paying a premium for your German brand (also google 5 year old German car reliability).

    As for the trucks, the Silverado unfortunately still carries its just-a-truck styling. The Sierra on the other hand is pretty handsome and the looker. I think they’ll do fine and if anybody is going to be stealing market share its Ram, because despite TTAC’s wishes, that company is actually doing well.

    Also keep in mind that the Ford Atlas concept is just that…a concept. I promise you see those fancy head/tailamps on the base workhorse models.

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      My only concern with the C7 is that the car seems fully evolved from the get-go. Ordinarily, the intro car is clean and they add all this stuff later. I don’t know where they can take it with the Z06 or ZR1.

      I did a quick hack job in Photoshop to remove the the vents. It’s actually more attractive less the hood and tail slats.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Agreed, I just looked at pics of this car in dark grey metallic and it looks awesome – the vents blend right in, whereas on the red car, they look tacked on. Maybe they should go with a monochrome trim scheme for the lighter colors.

    • 0 avatar
      ZekeToronto

      “… nor ‘clean’ like a boring VW/Audi.”

      But we’re not talking sedans here and the closest thing VW/Audi has to a Corvette is an R8. That car isn’t what I’d call a clinically clean design–it’s downright fussy in certain respects–yet I find it much more appealing than the C7.

  • avatar

    The Vette’s overall shape is an improvement over the C6, but it’s way WAY overdone. I have no doubt that it’s a very good sports car, but I think they missed a big opportunity here.

  • avatar
    jco

    i think it ultimately matters very little what anyone thinks about the C7. it has already done it’s job of creating ‘buzz’ for GM. the buzz will be positive from those who are paid to make sure it is (and even from those who aren’t). and the negative press will still be publicity for GM. since I doubt that the C7 will perform poorly, again it won’t matter.

    but the C7 is NICHE SPORTS CAR. like it or not, GM needs to sell volume cars that people want to own. cars that people want to choose over an Accord or a Corolla. the bailout, the Volt mishaps, the management bumbling; it will not make a difference anymore if this ‘new’ GM starts making great (not just good) cars. if GM wants to continue making mediocre cars like old GM, they can do that. they can do whatever the f*** they want. but don’t expect people who can choose something else to WANT them, or for critics to not criticize them for it. like it or not, the very very public bankruptcy was always going to bring increased scrutiny on GM and Chrysler. that’s the way it should be. and I think the ‘new’ Chrysler/Fiat is starting to sell better cars to the American public, as well as seeming like a new-ish company, something I don’t think has gone unnoticed here and elsewhere.

    whether or not you want to make TTAC or any other press the bad guy for praising Ford, their non-bailout (even though they also did take *some* govt checks) turnaround has been far more noticeable. the cars and trucks they sell now are cars that people are actively choosing to buy. and they bear little resemblance to Ford’s own bad old days.

    my family grew up on GM. I don’t think my family had a car that wasn’t a GM until the mid-90s. i myself am not anti-GM. but as long as the new GM continues doing things the way Old GM did them, they’re gonna be criticized for it. and they should be. they should listen to the criticism instead of defying it. they went through a very public bankruptcy and restructuring and it isn’t wrong to expect something to be different because of it.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The next gen Genesis doesn’t have the same “4-door coupe” profile/greenhouse as the HCD-14 concept, having more of a traditional, but elongated greenhouse.

    However, based on some words by Krafcik, there is some indication that Hyundai may be contemplating adding a 4-door coupe based on the Genesis to their luxury lineup.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Agree that the C7 ‘Vette may be a bit overcooked styling-wise, but I think that may have something to do with the color. I just saw pictures of it at C/D in dark gray and it looks sensational.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/photo-gallery/2014-chevrolet-c7-corvette-stingray-z51-photos-and-info-news

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      That’s got to be the crappiest web gallery online. Tiny pictures, a perpetual loading bar, and a stupid slideshow function that no one has ever used. I’ve been there three times and given up all three.

      Lovely car though.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        i know. it makes me really angry that the LeMons galleries go on there. it is prohibitively difficult to browse on a phone, which should be a big no-no these days. i have nothing against C/D, but please change your photo gallery system, C/D web nerds.

        C7 really does show off better in that color..

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Works better if you hit the “zoom” button. Then you can scroll through the pictures easier. And that car looks great in that dark color. Love the Stingray logo too…

  • avatar

    I don’t think the CLA/320i are inherent problems for either German brand. The CLA, if anything, is an aesthetic and “lugzhury” improvement over the A/B-classes. The 320 is just a 3-series, only 180 hp, and the delights of horsepower-creep notwithstanding (hello 268-hp Camry, or for that matter, the 178-hp base Camry!), 180 horses in a mid-size sedan is perfectly reasonable power.

    The come-down would be if either marque started cheaping out these cars in ways they don’t with other models.

    Also, M-B/BMW have ALREADY gotten away with these tactics in the recent past, and continue to do so. The 1-series is a thing (not to mention the 318ti), and not a thing that wiped out the brand. The B-class aside, Mercedes also had the C230 and CLC that, despite some fairly savage reviews, did not destroy their brands. The CLA is probably an attempt to build a car from the ground up that can be leased on the cheap.

    The C-class and 3-series are already pretty mainstream choices in North America (and especially in prosperous striver towns like Vancouver, where it seems like a 328i/C-class/A4 lease is automatically issued along with your realty license), so all this does is push both brands further into market slots where they try to decouple size (both body and engine) from price.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “The 320 is just a 3-series, only 180 hp, and the delights of horsepower-creep notwithstanding (hello 268-hp Camry, or for that matter, the 178-hp base Camry!), 180 horses in a mid-size sedan is perfectly reasonable power.”

      Yeah, perfectly reasonable…until the BMW pilot gets wasted by a 16-year-old girl driving daddy’s aforementioned 268-hp Camry…

  • avatar
    suspekt

    So much to say about this post.. I will keep it brief…

    1. The Vette is perfect. I have spent hours contemplating the design from as many angles as possible… has anyone noticed the extent to which the lower body cut protrudes and then blends into the front and rear fenders. It is a work of art. So much surface tension. It puts the styling on the Aston Martin One-77 to shame… just look at it, its amazing….
    –> also, about all the vents and whatnot… you do realize the colour theme for the red Z51 launch model was mean to exaggerate all those details right? A buyer can always go monochrome or choose a car in black to downplay those bits
    –> The car is a canvas. Just like the GTR, the Mustang, and the Camaro. These cars need to provide a canvas on which doting owners can add their personality. They way the C7 has been designed, both the designers and the buyers can have endless fun customizing the exterior to reflect ones own personality
    –> it truly is a design that only a major OEM could afford to reconcile from so many perspectives… bravo GM, bravo…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I am not a Vette nor GM fanboy.

      In fact, I pretty much gave up on GM and went to either Chrysler or imports (Honda, Mazda, Nissan) during college, since my GM cars burned me with reliability/durability issues so badly in the 90s.

      And on top of that, consider that I grew up in the literal, beating heart of “GM country,” where at least 1/4 of my neighbors’ parents worked for General Motors.

      With that said, there’s no question GM has upped their game in terms of reliability, fit and finish (especially interiors), and yes, styling cues, too (I still maintain that many GM performance or muscle cars are too bloated, heavy and saddled with unnecessary appendages & details that detract, not add, to the aesthetics).

      This C7 Vette is probably the best looking Vette in a long, long time, both inside and out, and rivals the Viper in terms of having just the right balance of stylistic cues and clean lines (okay…it could afford to lose a few details, but it’s close to “there”).

      In fact, I see this C7 ebbing closer to Ferrari F430-esque, at a time when Ferrari is ebbing closer to the bigger, less clean-lined vehicles they had been producing.

      The icing on the cake is that the LT1 is a fantastic motor, that has been fine tuned yet again with genuine improvements by GM engineers, and with the power to weight ratio that the base Vette has, let alone the performance versions, it’s going to offer value that will probably be unprecedented. If it’s priced from 50k to 70k, depending on options and the chosen motor, it’s going to be a Ferrari 458 fighter at a fraction of the cost.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “In fact, I pretty much gave up on GM and went to either Chrysler or imports (Honda, Mazda, Nissan) during college, since my GM cars burned me with reliability/durability issues so badly in the 90s.”

        Just curious, I can get GM hate of the period but why Chrysler? From my relection the 90s weren’t exactly good to them either.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I wasn’t hating on Chrysler. I owned two after giving up on GM, and one was nearly trouble free over a 3 year lease period, and the other was completely trouble free over the 2.5 year period that I owned it.

      The numerous GM vehicles I owned back then were so bad that I swore I’d never step foot in a GM dealership of any affiliation for the rest of my life. Roger Smith was the devil incarnate.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    I’d pretty much say that TTAC really flubbed it on some of these calls.

    The Ford Atlas is beyond fugly.

    Cadillac ELR is the answer to a question nobody asked. Nobody wants a luxurious Insight, people want four doors. Good looking though.

    The ‘Vette was unadulterated win. Yes, it is a bit busy in styling, but overall a success. Maybe the first vette I would ever consider buying.

    VW and Audi – VW comes out with a Ford Explorer competitor and Audi just bumps up motors from the parts bin. Yawn.

    Lexus and Infiniti – those are draws since they are new cars, but frankly Lexus styling is poor and the Infiniti needs a better engine.

  • avatar

    ” riddled with too many vents and gills and crap”

    I loathe fender gills that are just slapped on, and I don’t like the current fad of imitating the Aston Martin One-77′s fascia’s side gills, but all of the vents and gills on the new Vette are functional, so they don’t bother me. I think the vents on the rear fenders are integrated well into the shape (there are things I don’t like about the design but I like the shape of the back end, if not the actual rear face of the car). Those rear vents are used to cool the heat exchangers for the transmission and rear end.

  • avatar
    carguy

    How is Acura not a loser in this list? The only real new products were both mostly ignored. The NSX is a show pony only.

    I would also disagree with the Corvette but has been covered by other comments.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    The critics of the C7 are the same people who will never buy one. It is for a new generation, but then these same kids don’t get licences until they “have to drive to work”, maybe 18 or 21?

    They really want cars that drive themselves, so they can keep texting and surfing on iPhones, pads, whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I relate to this so much that it’s hard to over-emphasize.

      I can’t count how many times I’ve heard broke-ass 18 to 25 year olds speak condescendingly about cars that they not only don’t have a clue about, but that they’ll never be able to afford.

      Think the Hyundai Tiburon driver who rags on a Mustang Boss because of its “lame handling.”

      I see it all the time, everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      We get a fair number of Corvettes (of various generations) as trade-ins, and I don’t hate on them. They’re fun and exciting cars.

      I’m not a huge fan of the look of the C7 – the quad center exhaust looks a bit hokey (dual side pipes would have been so much cooler) and I agree with whoever said the back end looks like a bad knock-off Ferrari.

      Calling it the Stingray GM obviously wants to kindle a bit of nostalgic retro-love, but the C7 doesn’t have the sexy curves or testosterone-laden musculature of the C3.

      I’m sure it will be an incredible car to drive, but stylistically I’m not a fan.

  • avatar
    redav

    I agree that the Corvette is overdone. I really don’t care for all the creases on everything nowadays. But the worst part IMO is that they made it look like a family member of the Camaro, and that’s a step in the wrong direction.


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