By on January 17, 2013


The North American International Auto Show press days have come and gone.  That means journalists no longer need to get dressed every morning, and can return to clipping their toenails while blogging in their bathrobes.  OEM staffers get to return home – unless, of course, home is Detroit.  Then they’re counting down the days until New York.

For those who missed the show, never fear: I’ve rounded up everything important and summarized it in one highly useful story.  It’s almost like you ate the food yourself.

Acura’s new MDX Prototype looks a lot like the current MDX, except with five times as many LED lights.  Unfortunately, no amount of LEDs could save the ZDX unless they obscured its styling by blinding onlookers.

Acura also showed the latest NSX Concept in Detroit, marking the 93rd time they’ve vowed to resurrect the NSX since dropping it in 2005 because no one was buying it.  Reportedly, Japanese management is happy with the latest one because it has so many LEDs.

BMW released its new entry-level 320i, which gets the same 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway ratings as the 328i despite losing 60 horsepower.  BMW said they don’t actually plan to sell any 320i units, priced just $3,400 beneath the 328i, but created it simply to prove the 2.0-liter turbo engine can produce any amount of power and still get 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

BMW also showed off its new 4 Series, renamed from the 3 Series because, apparently, it’s one better.  The 4 Series follows BMW’s usual loose definition of a concept car, meaning that it’s actually production-ready and will return 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Cadillac used the Detroit show to answer a question no sane person would consider asking: why isn’t there a less practical Chevy Volt that costs more?  The production-bound ELR looks like the bastard offspring of an Escalade and a Volt, except with two doors.  While GM says the ELR will be limited-production, my guess is the market will teach GM a new definition of “limited” not known since the Chevrolet SSR.

The star of the show was the Chevrolet Corvette, despite mixed reactions from attendees who just want Chevy to bring back the 1963 Corvette and add anti-lock brakes.  To those with concerns, not to worry: having downloaded the latest Vette in Gran Turismo, I can say without a doubt that it drives tremendously and sounds terrific.  It’s also surprisingly resilient to high-speed collisions with Armco.

While the Vette went too far, the latest Silverado didn’t go far enough, as it doesn’t offer any new engines or even LEDs.  Chevrolet says it drew inspiration for the new Silverado’s “complete overhaul” from updates to the 2012 Honda Civic.

Ford’s enormous new Atlas concept previews the direction the brand may take with its next F-150.  The grille is now large enough to swallow a Democrat whole, while the wheels and tires were designed specifically to ravage the most delicate parts of America’s national parks system.

In prison transport news, Ford also brought its new full-size Transit van to Detroit, capturing the hearts and minds of the Cobo Hall catering staff and possibly no one else.

Infiniti released the Q50, which is different from the Q60 and the Q70, although no one is precisely sure how.  All-wheel drive versions will be called the Q50X, which is different from the QX50.  In response to the confusion, Infiniti distributed an easy-to-use name chart to members of the press – similar to what Lincoln has to give its own management before each auto show.

Kia’s luxurious new Cadenza sedan is based on either the Hyundai Azera, Equus, or Genesis, all of which may be the same car.  Vain drivers will enjoy the optional front-mounted Lexus emblem, which will help them feel better about spending $40,000 on a Kia.

Speaking of Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand showed off its new 2014 IS sedan, evidently designed to closely resemble the Halloween mask used in “Scream.”  The old model’s straightforward controls were replaced with complicated new ones, part of Lexus’s plan to lower its average buyer age by deliberately confusing the elderly.

The best car shown in Detroit was the Mercedes CLA, aimed at the BMW 1 Series, or possibly the 2 Series, which will get 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.  Between this, the GL63 AMG, and the weird Tonka-like G-wagen concept from LA, Mercedes says it will soon bring a vehicle with LEDs to every model range.  That may even include the highly competitive “vaporware supercar” segment, where it will go toe-to-toe with the Acura NSX, the Jaguar C-X75, and nearly every German with a shed, a blowtorch, and an Audi V8.

Because LED size equals awesomeness, the Toyota Corolla Furia Concept has an LED light bar that stretches across its entire front end, and – since that’s not enough – houses another set in its bumpers.  Toyota engineers on hand admitted it’s the only way they know how to make the Corolla interesting.

The Volkswagen CrossBlue concept previews a larger Touareg with modern styling and interior design.  But it also borrowed some retro cues from the original Touareg, including wipers that activate when the stereo’s “next track” button is pushed.

And there you have it, folks: the North American International Auto Show.  With the journalists and OEM staff gone, it’s time to bring on the public.  And increase security.

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