Every year industry leaders choose the best of the Detroit Auto Show. I thought I would beat them to it. I am fairly confident, however, that my top choices will be similar to theirs. I will choose one production car and once concept car as the top of the show.
Top Production Car: 2013 Ford Fusion
This really should not be a surprise to anyone. The Fusion’s refresh has been the talk of Detroit. The facts that it comes in three versions (gasoline, hybrid, and electric) surprised a number of people. For the gasoline models, Ford is expecting MPG to range from 33 – 37 on the highway, depending on the engine you choose. The choices of engines for the gasoline models include a 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine (170 HP), a 1.6 litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine (179 HP), and a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine (237 HP). The Fusion Hybrid will offer 47 MPG in the city and 44 MPG on the highway, while the Fusion Energi is expected to achieve over 100 MPGe, better than the Chevrolet Volt.
The other major story about the Fusion is its appearance. The new Fusion has been compared to a Jaguar and an Aston Martin. High praise indeed, but this should come as no surprise to those in the know. After all, Ford owns Jaguar and did own Aston Martin. Inside the Fusion, Ford has updated the seats, carpets, and just about everything possible. The big story is the amount of technology in the car. SYNC, of course, but an optional virtual dashboard, option park assist, and optional lane sensing technology, the Fusion is packed with the latest the 21st Century has to offer.
Overall, Ford has delivered a blow to its competition. By comparison the “redesigned” Toyota Camry, the stale Honda Accord, and the over-designed Hyundai Sonata are dull. It even challenges the handsome Kia Optima and Chevrolet’s upcoming 2013 Malibu. The mid-size car market has needed a shot in the arm for some time now, and Ford has delivered.
Top Concept Car: Acura NSX Concept
I was pleasantly surprised when Honda/Acura announced the NSX concept in Detroit, but was disappointed to learn that the car would be labeled an Acura, and not, as it had originally, a Honda. Disappointment in a name and disappointment in a car are two different things, and there is no way to be disappointed with Acura NSX Concept.
This Italian inspired beauty is mid-engined and promises impressive performance. This does not come as a surprise, but what does is when you learn the engine in this car is only a V6. Not just that, but its a hybrid! What does that mean? Well, Acura uses the V6 power along with the power from not one, but three electric motors. Add in a dual clutch gear box and we have the world’s first hybrid supercar. Acura has yet to say how much horsepower the four engines produce or what the MPG rating will be, but they have said one thing, that the car will be built, strangely, in Ohio. That would be like Lamborghini announcing they were leaving Italy for West Virginia!
Nevertheless, no matter where the NSX is built, it is going to change the supercar market place. Could the days of v10s and v12s be over? Can a hybrid supercar really compete with the Italian thoroughbreds? The Acura NSX has a chance, but it is not going to be a simple task.
You can see both these cars, and many more, in person by visiting the Detroit Auto Show. The show will be open to the public through January 22.