What a show. The first automotive expo of 2013 turned out to be quite a good one, with huge debuts of both production and concept cars taking place under the lights of Detroit's Cobo Hall. American automakers normally use this space as a way to roll out their big debuts, but there were some really important showings from a number of foreign makes, as well.
It's all good stuff, to be sure, and because of that, we've assembled our list of what we believe were the five best debuts here at the Detroit Auto Show. If you've been paying attention to our show coverage, you probably have a good idea of what the first-place spot will be, but the other four places might be a bit surprising.
But enough teasing. Scroll down to see the list of our editors' top picks from Detroit.
#5: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA
Okay, so the Mercedes-Benz CLA didn't technically debut under the lights of the Detroit Auto Show, but it was still rolled out as part of the whole weekend of events. And even though a good number of our staff in attendance weren't able to see the little Merc in the metal, it still garnered enough attention to be our fifth-best-in-show car. Good looks, excellent aero, plush refinement and a low starting price make this CLA a truly desirable vehicle.
#4: VL Automotive Destino
We can almost guarantee that you've never heard of Destino before this week's auto show coverage, and you'll want to pay close attention to this one. It looks like an ordinary Fisker Karma, but what VL Automotive (a company backed by the one and only Bob Lutz) has done is to remove all of the ordinary powertrain bits, swapping them out instead for a supercharged, 638-horsepower LS9 V8 direct from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. It even comes with a manual transmission! It's seriously rad, and will be coming to market quite soon, albeit priced from about $180,000.
#3: Ford Atlas Concept
No, this is not the new Ford F-150 pickup, but it does preview the shape of things to come. Ford rolled out this Atlas concept to show what's possible with the future of its best-selling truck, combining new styling elements with better interior refinement and innovative technology. Under the hood, a new generation of EcoBoost powertrains complete with start/stop will drive the Atlas forward, and we fully expect all of these things to come to production on the new F-150 in the coming years. We hope it looks just like this brute, too.
#2: 2014 Cadillac ELR
Remember that stunning Cadillac Converj concept from a few years ago? Well, it's made the leap to production, now wearing the name ELR. We're thrilled that General Motors managed to keep much of the Converj's pretty design intact for the road-going car, and trust us, it's gorgeous. Underneath that sleek sheetmetal is the Voltec powertrain pulled from the Chevrolet Volt, meaning this range-extended plug-in coupe will be good for something like a range of 35 miles in pure electric mode, 300 miles total. We can't wait to see this shockingly attractive Caddy hit the road.
#1: 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray
Like you didn't see this one coming. We pretty much knew from the moment we entered Cobo Hall that the 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray would be our best-in-show pick, only because of how important it is on so many levels. But what we didn't necessarily know was just how breathtaking the car's presence would be here at the show. It constantly had a crowd around it, was the absolute most-talked about car amongst show-goers, and will continue to generate a ton of buzz until it officially hits the road later this year. Because of that, the C7 is, without a doubt, our top pick from all that took place in Detroit.
So... how'd we arrive at this list? Each Autoblog editor in attendance ranked their personal show favorites from one to five, and points were awarded to each – five points for the first place spot, one point for the fifth place spot, and appropriate numbers in between. Votes were tallied and cars were ranked, but if you're curious, here's how the actual voting breakdown looked:
- Corvette – 44 points
- ELR – 20 points
- Atlas – 13 points
- Destino – 12 points
- CLA – 10 points
Part of the fun of doing this list is seeing what each individual staff member votes for. And since this is a point-based list, there are always a good number of cars that don't quite make the Top Five cut. So in addition to listing them all below, we'll even point out who raised their hands for each car. You know, so you can make fun of us in the Comments if you see fit.
- Lincoln MKC Concept – 9 points (John Neff, Chris Paukert, Zach Bowman)
- 2014 Audi RS7 – 8 points (Zach Bowman, Steven Ewing, Drew Phillips)
- 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel – 8 points (Zach Bowman, David Kiley, Chris Paukert)
- 2014 Audi SQ5 – 4 points (Jeffrey Ross)
- Tesla Model X – 4 points (Sebastian Blanco)
- Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept – 4 points (Sebastian Blanco, Seyth Miersma)
- 2014 Mini John Cooper Works Paceman – 3 points (Steven Ewing)
- Nissan Resonance Concept – 3 points (Sebastian Blanco)
- Toyota Furia Concept – 2 points (Chris Tutor)
- 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG – 1 point (Jeffrey Ross)
- 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe – 1 point (David Kiley)
- Mazda Skyactiv-D Racecar – 1 point (Drew Phillips)
- BMW Concept 4 Series – 1 point (Steven Ewing)
- 2014 Lexus IS – 1 point (Seyth Miersma)
- Hyundai HCD-14 Concept – 1 point (Chris Tutor)