Compared to the LA Auto Show's many green vehicles, just one plug-in rose above the rest in Detroit: the Cadillac ELR. The luxury coupe based on the Chevy Volt's powertrain technology makes an attempt to dress up the plug-in, while increasing margins for General Motors. We think the ELR holds true to Cadillac's Art and Science design language, yet still stands out as unique among Cadillac's portfolio.
The ELR will get the same 1.4-liter range-extending gas engine from the Volt, as well as the 15.6 kWh lithium-ion battery. Total output will be 207 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. All-electric range is only down one mile from the Volt, at 35 miles.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
450 horsepower and still the best bang for the buck on the market, the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show after many months of speculation.
Chevrolet certainly delivered on all the hype. The new Corvette's design makes vast improvements in aerodynamics, with tech taken directly from the Corvette racing team. The new, angular exterior also sports air channeling vents, including intakes at the rear that pass air to heat exchangers, in order to cool components under sportier conditions.
The Corvette rides on an aluminum frame that saves on weight, but adds much more rigidity. While the new Corvette's overall weight isn't that different from the previous generations, tradeoffs have been made to improve the interior and increase performance, as well as fuel economy.
And our favorite part is that the classic Corvette nameplate is now updated with cutting-edge technology. Upgrades include electric power steering, a rev-matching 7-speed manual transmission, and a fully digital center gauge cluster. Much like the Cadillac XTS, the cluster can be configured for multiple drive scenarios.
VL Automotive Destino
Another Bob Lutz creation with a familiar face, the Destino is a Fisker Karma with a Corvette ZR1 engine. Yes, that's right. Lutz and the VL team have gutted the Karma's plug-in powertrain in favor of a 100% gas-powered V8 engine. While we don't expect to see many of these 638-horsepower Karmas around, it really does say something about the Karma's design that there is demand for a V8-variant.
"Coach building," as it's called, isn't anything new. VL Automotive buys a Karma, strips out its insides, sends it back to Fisker for a credit, then inserts a big old supercharged V8. Fisker denies any involvement in the Destino, but they must be happy to get some battery packs handed back, since bankrupt battery supplier A123 Systems has suspended production.
The Destino will be built in Auburn Hills, Mi. and is expected to start shipping this summer. Price is higher than a stock Karma at $180,000, but you'd be one of a few to have a ZR1-powered Karma. As expected, fuel economy suffers: 15 city / 24 highway.
Other highlights: The next generation Jeep Cherokee is set to offer a diesel option for 2014; Volkswagen's Cross Blue three-row crossover boasts 89 MPGe from its diesel-hybrid powertrain.
So did the Detroit Show do enough for you? Or were you expecting to see more EVs? Sound off in the poll below.