The auto industry is healthy again. Coming off a year that saw sales grow to 15.6 million cars, there were good vibes all around the 2014 North American International Auto Show this week in Detroit.
That recent success has translated to a memorable show, full of exciting reveals, optimistic patrons and a general rosy outlook for the industry as a whole.
We spent the past few days walking the show floor in downtown Detroit. There were some great concepts, production cars and even a few surprises along the way. Head through for our favorites, and make sure to check out Autoblog's complete coverage to see everything else.
Ford F-150Ford's big news at North American International Auto Show on Monday was its completely redesigned 2015 F-150 pickup truck that replaces steel with high-strength aluminum in much of the body.
The F-150 is consistently the best-selling vehicle in the country, making a complete redesign a dicey move. On the one hand, Ford needs to keep up with its competition in exterior and interior design and features, performance and fuel economy. On the other, the American automaker has to be careful not to change too much and risk alienating its loyal customers.
Ford's use of aluminum helps give the truck better fuel economy -- it weighs 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor -- but doesn't take away any of the payload or towing capacity that truck buyers want.
Ford F-150 Photos
Ford F-150 Information
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-ClassThe C-Class is no longer the entry-level Mercedes. That distinction belongs to the new CLA-Class. This has allowed Mercedes to make some big updates, essentially turning the C-Class into a miniature S-Class, which is the brand's flagship.
The sharp-looking C-Class employs an entirely new exterior and interior design. It will come in a wide variety of body styles and with several different engine options, including high-performance variations. It will also have luxury options that were previously available on much higher-priced vehicles, such as air suspension and a heads-up display.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Photos
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Information
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06If you said, upon seeing the new Corvette Stingray this year, "Hmm I like this, but 455 hp isn't really enough," you're in luck. Chevrolet has unveiled the beastly Corvette Stingray Z06, which employs a massive 6.2L supercharged V8 engine that makes 625 hp and 635 lb-ft of torque.
Another notable upgrade on the Z06 is the new eight-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet says that it's faster at shifting than even Porsche's lauded 911 dual-clutch transmission, which is arguably the best in the business right now.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06 Photos
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06 Information
2015 BMW M4
BMW has been messing around with its naming convention lately, which has led to some "new" models, such as the M4, seen here. The muscly ride was previously known as the M3 coupe.
The M4 employs a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that kicks out 425-hp and 406-lb-ft of torque. It's also 176 lbs lighter than the M3 coupe it replaces, bumping its 0 to 60 mph time down to 3.9 seconds.
BMW M4 Photos
BMW M4 Information
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge ConceptThis candy-apple red Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept turned heads all over the North American International Auto Show. The paint, which is surely expensive, is simply gorgeous. The aggressive carbon body and muscular low stance recall its papa, the RB9 Formula One car.
The Q50 could show its racing stripes under the hood as well. Infiniti's president Johan de Nysschen, said a production version would come with nothing less than 500-horsepower and 600-ft-lb torque. We really, really hope to see these on the road. It would do wonders for the Infiniti brand.
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept Photos
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept Information
Kia GT4 Stinger ConceptKia has come a long way from the econo-boxes for which it used to be known. The automaker's first foray into sports cars has tantalizing lines and a slick, low-slung body, as well as a legit turbo four-cylinder racing engine that produces a respectable 315-horsepower. It's low, wide and handles the road on 20-inch wheels.
While the GT4 isn't confirmed to grace dealer lots anytime soon, Kia did make mention in their debut of the Stinger that it has a history of producing cars that very closely resemble the concept. There's hope yet.
Kia GT4 Stinger Concept Photos
Kia GT4 Stinger Concept Information
2015 Honda Fit
Honda's lightweight model may have a future as a heavy-hitter in 2015. Everything has been dialed up on the redesigned Honda Fit. It's roomier, faster, wider and more aggressive.
The little hatchback gets a combined 36 mpg using a 1.5L engine capable of producing 130 hp. The Fit is one Auto Show model that isn't a tease, as it's expected to be available to the public this spring.
Honda Fit Photos
Honda Fit Information
2015 Hyundai Genesis
Under the cosmetic changes of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is a new ultra-ridged platform. The new version of this luxury sedan also comes with an all-wheel drive option known as HTRAC for those in snowy climates, as well as a plethora of smart safety features like emergency braking and blind-spot detection.
The Genesis can be powered by one of two engines: A 5.0-liter V8 which produces 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque or a 3.8-liter V6 making 333 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. All of that power and style for (hopefully) under $40,000 will be available in the U.S. this spring.
Hyundai Genesis Photos
Hyundai Genesis Information
Toyota FT-1 Concept
Another favorite at the Auto Show, the Toyota FT-1 Concept is pure cool. FT-1 stands for Future Toyota 1, and it's a future worth sticking around for. It hints at performance vehicles to come from the Japanese automaker.
The cabin is snug, while a colored heads-up display adds to the sense that this is more cockpit than cabin. Auto enthusiasts have been begging for a Toyota Supra replacement for years. It appears they may be getting close to having one.
Toyota FT-1 Concept Photos
Toyota FT-1 Concept Information
GMC CanyonThe GMC Canyon didn't receive nearly the amount of fanfare of other big launches like the F-150 and Toyota FT-1. But it's still an important vehicle in its own right. The Canyon, along with the recently launched Chevrolet Colorado, solidifies GM's commitment to revitalizing the midsize truck segment, which nearly died during the recession.
The Canyon will be offered with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine making 193 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque on the base end, and a larger 3.6-liter V6 with 302 hp and 270 lb-ft as an option. A 2.8-liter diesel inline four-cylinder will also be available after launch. Both two- and four-wheel drive configurations will be available, depending on the model.
GMC Canyon Photos
GMC Canyon Information
Volvo XC Coupe ConceptVolvo has undergone a dramatic departure from the boxy, suburban safety machines for which it used to be known. With some sleek new sedans and wagons, including a few high-performance variations, the Chinese-owned Swedish brand is working toward being mentioned in the same breath as BMW and Audi.
Not much is known about this concept except that it looks good. Volvo has declined to outline any sort of powertrain details, although there was a "plug-in hybrid" badge over the driver-side front wheel. We're not sure if this showcar has any production future, but we do expect to see this design language on future models.
Volvo XC Coupe Concept Photos
Volvo XC Coupe Concept Information