Editors' Choice: Top Five 2012 Detroit Auto Show Debuts

That's a wrap, folks. Press days for the 2012 Detroit Auto Show have come and gone, meaning there's just one thing left to do: pick our favorites.

As we said in our end-of-show wrap-up, the Detroit show is back in full force after several years of being stuck in first gear in the wake of a stagnant auto industry and a horrid economic climate. This year, though, automakers from the United States, Asia and Europe all had impressive production and concept vehicles to show off. After tallying our votes, these are our five favorites.

#5: Acura NSX Concept

The 2012 Detroit Auto Show marked the much-heralded return of the Acura NSX, even if it's only a concept right now. How will the NSX faithful feel about a mid-engined, gasoline-electric supercar that's going to be built in North America? We'll have to wait and see. But here at the show, we couldn't keep our eyes off of the sleek new concept, and frankly, it's nice to see the NSX name back on the books. Interestingly enough, the NSX is the only concept car you'll see on this list.
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#4: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

This time last year, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster was the staff favorite of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. The new Turbo model certainly has a lot to love, what with a 201-horsepower forced-induction inline-four under the hood and a more aggressive exterior design (with matte gray paint!). Korea's new hot hatch certainly looks fantastic, and this car, while not our Best In Show, is perhaps the one we're most eager to get out on the open road.
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
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#3: 2013 Dodge Dart

The Chrysler Group was missing out by not having a strong player in the booming C segment (good riddance, Dodge Caliber), but that all changes with the addition of the 2013 Dart. In a way, it sort of picks up where the Neon left off, and with Alfa Romeo DNA underneath, it could prove to be one of the better-driving compact sedans in the market. Pricing will start just below $16,000 when it hits dealerships this summer.
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#2: 2013 Cadillac ATS

You really had to be at the Cadillac press conference on Sunday night to hear GM's North American President, Mark Reuss, speak about the 2013 ATS. He spoke passionately about the new sedan, citing that the automaker is demanding absolutely nothing but class domination from its new ATS – a tough thing to do when your main competitors are the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. But if we're honest, we left the press event feeling excited about the ATS, and giving it quite a few once-overs on the Detroit show floor only furthered our excitement. We only hope it's as good as Reuss says it is.
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#1: 2013 Ford Fusion + Hybrid + Energi

The 2013 Ford Fusion was, hands down, the staff favorite, receiving substantially more points in our voting than any other vehicle mentioned here (scroll down to see the full breakdown). In terms of a new vehicle debut, the Fusion packs a huge punch. It brings a sexy shape to a segment that for a long time was made up of bland, three-box shapes. What's more, a grand total of five powertrains – one naturally aspirated, two turbocharged, one hybrid, and one plug-in hybrid – were revealed, and if Ford's predictions come through, the Fusion will be the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan by a huge margin. It's the one car we simply couldn't stop talking about, and when tallying the votes it came as no surprise that it's our pick for Best In Show.
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How'd we arrive at this list? Each Autoblog editor in attendance ranked his personal 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). Points were tallied and cars were ranked, but if you're curious, here's how the actual voting breakdown looked. We weren't kidding when we said that the Fusion was the hands-down winner.
  • Fusion – 41 points
  • ATS – 26 points
  • Dart – 23 points
  • Veloster – 21 points
  • NSX – 15 points

Honorable Mentions

As you can imagine, coming up with our list of the five best Detroit debuts wasn't a quick and clean process. There was arguing, name-calling and automaker-branded USB stick-throwing, so the other vehicles that rounded out our personal top-five lists are indeed worth mentioning. Here are the other vehicles that caught the eyes of the Autoblog team in attendance, and how many points they received in our voting.

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