Check out the latest cars from the 2014 North American International Auto Show - NAIAS - in Detroit
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit is one of the most important gatherings for new car manufacturers in the world. This is where many of the most significant models are introduced to the public for the first time. If you watch the news or read the paper, you probably know that the press preview is happening at the NAIAS right now. This is actually the first time in many years that I am not in attendance. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t cover it here. The manufacturers have great media departments, and you can pull up videos and pictures from almost all the big reveals. Let’s check out some of the action from COBO Hall.
If you’re familiar with this website at all, I’m sure you won’t be surprised that the 2015 Corvette Z06 is my choice for most exciting new car. As if the 2014 Corvette Stingray that we saw introduced last year wasn’t cool enough, now we’ve got one with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that churns out an incredible 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. This is nothing short of a supercar; as good as any sports car built anywhere in the world. I’ll probably never be able to own one, but I’ll spend a lot of time fantasizing about it. Incidentally, the base Stingray, which is already on dealer showrooms, won the prestigious NAIAS Car of the Year Award.
Another high-profile reveal was the 2015 Ford F-150. This should be of interest to our local readers, because this truck will be built right here in Kansas City at the Claycomo Assembly Plant. It looks pretty nice, although I wouldn’t say it’s a radical departure from the current model’s styling. Ford really wants you to know that it has an “all-new high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body.” This is supposed to save 700-lbs over a conventional body, thereby increasing fuel economy. I’m not sure what all this is going to do for overall durability, or if repair costs are going to be significantly higher, but it does seem innovative to build a mainstream pickup truck in this manner.
Cadillac is not resting on their laurels anymore with the introduction of the 2015 ATS coupe. That’s because it showcases their new logo, which ditches the wreath altogether in favor of a wide, flat version of their familiar crest. This emblem is completely different than any Cadillac crest before it, although it does loosely recall similar shaped logos from the mid-to-late 1950s. The ATS sedan is a fantastic-driving car with a mediocre back seat. With the coupe, Cadillac essentially said, “to hell with the back seat, we’re going to make this one look cool.” I’d say they did a good job in that department.
Here’s a picture of Ed Gardner, the President of the Chrysler brand, introducing the all-new Chrysler 200 sedan. Now I can’t honestly say that I was ever particularly impressed with the outgoing Chrysler 200, so just based on the pictures this seems to be a huge improvement. The appearance and platform of this new car are all Fiat, so in this case, a little Italian passion apparently helped. Four- or six-cylinder engines will be available, and they will both be mated up to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This car sits in the sweet spot for American buyers, right in there with the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, and Honda Accord. Chrysler needs a hit here, and it looks like they’ve taken the appropriate steps to get one.
Porsche went a little retro with the introduction of their 2014 Targa S and Targa 4S. It has the curved back window and metal B-pillar that evoke the Targa cars introduced in the mid-1960s. On this modern interpretation, the entire back window and trunk lid area pop up automatically so the roof panel can drop back in there with the touch of a button. For such a little top, the whole thing is very impressive. The 350-hp Targa 4 starts at $101,600, while the 400-hp Targa 4S begins at $116,200. And if they’re like other Porches, there will be a whole list of extraordinarily expensive options.
Toyota doesn’t often deliver cars that interest most enthusiasts, but the FT-1 Concept seems to be getting plenty of buzz. A buch of dancers wearing helmets and driving suits brought it out, so you know it's sporty. Toyota says “FT” stands for “Future Toyota”, and “1” represents “the ultimate”. Whatever. Many people seem to think this car will be the impetus for an upcoming Toyota Supra. Toyota calls it “function styling”, and it has subtle cues from former Toyota sports cars like the 2000GT and older Supras. All I know is that it’s more exciting than a Corolla, and it’s a nice shade of red.
Various manufacturer media departments were able to furnish more than 160 crystal-clear photos from this week’s 2014 North American International Auto Show, so I assembled them all into one big slideshow below. Or, hit this link for a nicer version.