If you’re under the impression that this year’s Detroit Auto Show was smaller than usual, you’re not alone. This sentiment was amplified by the fact that several car makers – including Bentley, MINI, and Land Rover – decided to skip the event altogether.
That doesn’t mean it was dull, however. Companies from all over the globe trekked out to the nation’s Motor City to introduce new products including drool-inducing concepts and production-bound models brimming with tech features. To round out our coverage, we’ve singled out our top picks from the 2015 Detroit Show.
2017 Honda Ridgeline
Honda intentionally gave the second-generation Ridgeline a more conventional design in a bid to reach a wider audience. The stylish flying buttresses that characterized the original Ridgeline are gone, but the spacious crew cab configuration has been retained.
Built on a unibody platform, the Ridgeline offers buyers a more car-like alternative to the current crop of midsize pickup trucks. It’s unique on the market in that regard, but it might not stay that way for long because Hyundai has hinted the production version of the Santa Cruz concept is right around the corner.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The 2017 E-Class predictably falls in line with Mercedes-Benz’s recent design language, which means it bears more than a passing resemblance to the smaller C-Class and the S-Class flagship. Don’t let the sheet metal fool you, there’s plenty to be excited about under the skin.
An array of sensors, cameras, and lasers allow the E to brake and accelerate autonomously at speeds of up to 130 mph. The driver still has to control the steering, though an improved version of Mercedes’ steering assist technology helps keep the car in its lane. The E also offers an industry-exclusive feature called Pre-Safe Sound that emits a short interference signal if it detects a collision is imminent to protect the occupants’ hearing.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
Chrysler has completely reinvented the minivan. Wearing a nameplate last used nearly a decade ago on a short-lived crossover, the 2017 Pacifica gets a new look inspired by the 200 sedan and it rides on a brand new platform. Inside, families will be delighted to find a built-in vacuum cleaner – a feature borrowed from Honda — and Chrysler’s trademarked Stow n’ Go folding seats.
The Pacifica can drive on electricity alone for up to 30 miles thanks to an available plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of two electric motors and a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It’s the industry’s first hybrid minivan, and Chrysler’s first mass-produced plug-in car. Non-hybrid models get a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew
Developed by Ford Performance, the 2017 Raptor SuperCrew is based on the aluminum-bodied F-150, an architecture that allows it to weigh about 500 pounds less than the original model. It continues to feature unmistakably loud, in-your-face styling, but it trades its predecessor’s 6.2-liter V8 engine for a more efficient turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that’s bolted to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
You’ll have to be patient if you want to put a 2017 Raptor in your garage – assuming it fits, that is. While a near-production-ready version of the truck was introduced at last year’s Detroit show, the Raptor isn’t scheduled to land in Ford showrooms until the end of the year.
2016 BMW M2
BMW introduced the 2016 M2 all the way back in October, but the coupe inexplicably skipped the Los Angeles Show and it didn’t make its official debut until the Detroit show opened its doors. It will have big shoes to fill when it goes on sale because it was designed to replace the vaunted, limited-edition 1 Series M Coupe.
A look at the specifications sheet suggests it’s up to the task. BMW has shoe-horned a 365-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six in the 2’s engine bay, installed ultra-light aluminum suspension components, and fitted a muscular-looking body kit. It’s nearly as fast to 60 mph as a Porsche 911 Carrera S when it’s equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.