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

Honorable Mentions

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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Destino? It wasn't even important enough for the actual exhibit...
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't believe that Fisker-based vaporware made the top 5 over the RS7 and the excellent Lincoln concept.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Guys and Gals, this whole article is about a group of peoples opinions, you dont have to agree! I dont remember anywhere in the article them saying that we all had to agree. Of course we are all individuals with opinions. Give yours and move on. And dont call others Crazy, Stupid, Morons,etc... if their opinion doesnt agree with yours. Calling me stupid because I like the Corvette and you dont, I think makes you eligible for therapy, Thats just MY Opinion!
      Raul Velez
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Destino really?
      • 2 Years Ago
        • 2 Years Ago
        The Island...as in the one with Ewan McGreggor? Where they win the 'lottery'? That one? Good movie, IMO.
        • 2 Years Ago
        I think designers have gone through this retro-phase for quite some time, but that seems to be changing. For the better.
      • 2 Years Ago
      We finally get a diesel Jeep (granted, not the one people want, but still) and it doesn't even make your top five? Well, if I'm going to criticize, I guess I should put myself out there and post my top five. Here goes: 1) Corvette - No explanation needed. 2) Diesel Grand Cherokee - Probably higher than most people would put it, but the fact is that I am far more likely to own one of these some day than any other vehicle at the show. 3) ELR - I like the Volt, I like this even better. 4) MKC - Finally, signs of life from Lincoln. 5) Tough one, there are a few other things I liked, but none of them really jump out at me. I think I would lean toward the Resonance concept though, if I absolutely had to pick just one.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I see how you arrived on this list from a coolness factor kind of approach, but I'd have looked more at what new vehicles are going to have the biggest impact on the automobile market in the upcoming year. Really, how many people will ever buy a Destino. (Heck, how many will ever even see a Destino) Yeah, it's cool. But it won't have any but the most minute influence on the auto market.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Including the CLA does not make sense since it was debuted at a hotel and will not be on the show floor. So for those planning to go to the show in person and curious to see the "Top Five Auto Show Debuts" they can't see the CLA. I think you should have excluded it from the nomination process. Plus you would have then had a much more even and accurate voting since not everyone on your staff got to see the CLA. Let all of the AB people see every car and then vote. Just a thought.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I was a little kid I would ask Santa for that red Corvette, and he would laugh at me just like he did when I ask him for a pony. No Santa I never forgot,......and I still don't like you, and yes that was X-lax in the brownies.
      • 2 Years Ago
      You got the top three right, but the Lincoln MKC and Corolla Furia concept are much more significant than either the dumpy butt CLA or the modified Fisker with the bad logo, scratched up engine, and cheesy name rendered in a cheap plastic sticker.
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
        • 2 Years Ago
        BD = Asshat of the month!
        • 2 Years Ago
        Oh my Lord BlackDynamite, I see Yomama6500, yomama6501, yomama6502, yomama6503, yomama6504, and now yomama6505..... have decided to vote you down.
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