Every year, car companies wait until the Detroit Auto Show to unveil their newest prototypes. It’s an event that’s always full of glitz, glamor and surprises, and this year was no exception.
These 15 vehicles were the most head-turning of all the cars on display. Some of them are stunning new takes on familiar classics, and others are brand new.
In a chest-pounding, bar-stool-topping aggressive feint at European luxury car manufacturers like BMW, Cadillac is releasing the CTS-V with lots of fanfare. During a press conference, Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac, inveighed, “We will take on the established market leaders by challenging them head on in the very segments where they have built their reputation. We will challenge them precisely where they are the strongest.” One would think they were storming Normandy.
2. 2016 Audi Q7
This midsized crossover has a few surprises in store even for drivers of older Audi models. The Q7 comes equipped with Audi’s Multi-Media Interface, a big touch screen in the center console that can be programmed to handle lots of handy functions like entering addresses. It also has a “Virtual Cockpit” – all the dashboard readouts have been combined into one contiguous screen. Mix and match, it’s all fully customizable. It also comes with two tablets for backseat entertainment.
3. 2016 Acura NSX
Buzz was circulating about this “supercar” for quite a while before it was unveiled at the Denver Auto Show. Acura pulled out all the stops with this one. A V6 gasoline engine powers the back wheels, while two separate electric motors power the front wheels. It boasts an impressive 550 horsepower, and only costs a cool $150K. A limited production run is set for the coming months.
4. Buick Avenir Concept
You can look, but don’t count on driving. The Avenir Concept is a prototype car that Buick manufactured to illustrate new trends in auto design. It was also Buick fanning its feathers, which are apparently more lustrous than people expected from a company otherwise known for non-flashy autos.
5. 2016 Chevrolet Volt
The Volt got a facelift. It looks much less like a weird space ship escape pod and much more like a car. Chevy also managed to shave 243 pounds off its weight, by reducing the size of the battery. But don’t worry, the new Volt can go about twelve extra miles on its charge than before. It also recharges more efficiently as you drive, giving it superior gas mileage.
6. Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept
Soon, the days of only being able to make forty-mile jaunts in your hybrid car before having to switch to gas may be over. The Chevy Bolt EV Concept is Chevy’s answer to the Tesla. It can drive an astonishing 200 miles on one charge. And it has a reasonable price point, at $30K. Tesla is set to release its own “economy” version at $35K.
7. Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept
It’s been a long time since an American car company produced a truck like this. 22 years, in fact. The last crossover sedan/pickup was the Subaru Brat.
Hyundai is agnostic as to whether or not they’re going to mass-produce their Santa Cruz Crossover. They’re still dipping their toes in the water.
8. 2017 Ford GT
This car was the talk of the town. Or, rather, the talk of the auto show. Ford’s new 600+ horsepower GT is set to elbow its way into the Lambo / Ferrari / McLaren set. Its 3.5 liter V6 engine, coupled with an aluminum and carbon fiber body, make for an extremely powerful and lightweight vehicle. They haven’t announced the price yet, but we’re guessing it’s not cheap.
9. Honda FCV Concept
This futuristic car will be able to drive 300 miles on a single canister of compressed hydrogen. And you’ll be able to fuel it back up in three minutes or less. Plus, it looks like it belongs in Star Wars. pretty cool concept.
10. 2016 Lincoln MKX
Lincoln is in storm-tossed financial seas, but at least they’re treading water. The new MKX may be the plank of wood they cling to. This midsize crossover has a lot to offer, including a luxurious interior and an upgraded EcoBoost V6 engine. Our hopes are with them.
11. Infiniti Q60 Concept
This car is interesting largely for its exterior, which is molded in a way that minimizes straight lines. The organic, panther-esque shape lends it an aspect of power. And that suggestion is backed up by a V6 engine that will be a significant upgrade to previous Infiniti engines.
12. 2016 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma was a dinosaur for ten years, enjoying no substantial upgrades. But it was a popular dinosaur, that didn’t really have to adapt to corner its niche. But facing new competition from Chevrolet and GMC in the midsize pickup market, Toyota is giving the Tacoma a makeover. The new 2016 model will have an optional V6 engine upgrade over the standard four-cylinder, and a much improved chassis and suspension.
13. Local Motors Strati
Believe it or not, you’re looking at a 3D-printed car. The Strasi, produced by an Arizona startup called Local Motors, is composed largely of “thermoplastic,” molded by a 3D printer. It’s only meant to be driven on roads with a 45mph speed limit or lower. But the days of being able to print out a highway-ready car aren’t that far off.
14. 2016 Nissan Titan
The new Titan lives up to its name. Especially in the grille department. The Titans come with either a V6 or V8 engine. Or, if you need some serious power, you can upgrade to the Titan XD, which has a Cummins V8 turbo-diesel engine that’s capable of producing 555 foot-pounds’ worth of torque.