Auto show press days are not as glamorous as they seem in magazines and on the internet. You spend hours walking, you sit through endlessly repetitive new car presentations (think Power Point with flash bombs and smoke machines) and the food is horrible. As are the outfits most of the other journalists are wearing.
So in case you missed all of the action at this year’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show here is a list of the ten most important new car launches at the show. Yes, I know there aren’t any electric cars on this list but to my way of thinking they are still just niche vehicles with little relevance to the everyday new car buyer. So until that fact changes I think these cars will serve quite nicely as many people’s next new car.
2012 Honda Civic Concepts
Sure, we didn’t get to see the interior of the Civic “Concept” Coupe Si and sedan but at least there was presenter Pete Wentz’s (Fall Out Boy) hair to make fun of. The Civic looks set to be another big hit. Mr. Wentz’s hairstyle, however, does not.
2012 VW Passat
Some say VW played it too safe with the Passat but when you consider the fact that it is competing with models like the Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry it is easy to see how stylish this decidedly Germanic sedan truly is. It may be built in Tennessee but the heart of this Passat is still all VW. My personal favorite from the show along with the Civic.
2012 Chevy Sonic
This new subcompact Chevy is about as much like the Aveo it replaces as Natalie Portman is to Paris Hilton. One is talented and the other one very clearly is not. Chevy finally has a competitor to take on the Fit, Versa, Mazda2 and Fiesta!
2011 Jeep Compass
Slap the front end of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee on the front, bring interior quality up to modern standards and you have the recipe for a truly saleable Jeep Compass. This soft-ute crossover used to have zero credibility but I think Jeep is going to see a decent number to those who can’t afford or don’t need something the size of the Grand Cherokee.
2012 Buick Verano
It may just be a Chevy Cruze underneath but the 2012 Buick Verano proves GM is getting a whole lot better at badge engineering its cars for different brands. First off, they didn’t try to pawn this off as a Cadillac and secondly the Verano looks nothing like the Cruze inside or out. Very clever.
2012 Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai touted this oddly stylish compact sport coupe as a frugal, lightweight (just 2,500 lbs.) to models like the Scion tC and Honda CR-Z. Although I definitely wasn’t sold on the looks of this car in concept form, its slightly toned down appearance in production form looks set to make this yet another runaway hit for Hyundai.
2011 Audi A6
Yes, it looks like the A4 and A8 on the outside but to my eyes it may be the best interpretation of that design language yet. As always the interior of the 2011 Audi A6 shows other automakers how it should be done.
2012 Toyota Prius V
Love the Prius but just need more room for your growing family. Seeing this slightly larger Prius makes you wonder, “Why didn’t they do this before?”
2012 Ford C-Max
Ford looks set to steal from the Mazda playbook with its new miniature minivan that apes the size and layout of the Mazda5. You may think this size minivan is pointless but Mazda sells about 20,000 a year with no marketing budget for the car. That’s impressive as is the C-Max.
2012 BMW 6-Series Convertible
This is one occasion where BMW’s recent toning down of its design language has paid dividends. Where the old 6-Series convertible had that awkward bustle back trunk there is now a more fluid and cohesive design. Die-hard fans of the old 6-Series drop top needn’t worry as the odd “flying buttress” look still features in the top design.